An instantly forgettable Saturday saw the majority of Fantasy managers scratching for points, as clean sheets crumbled and captain options faltered. Here’s the Stock Check on a day of slight returns…
On the Up
The consistent form of Theo Walcott has, understandably, seen Santi Cazorla drift down the Fantasy pecking order and, for a player once at the forefront of Arsenal’s attacking potential, the Spaniard has now become an effective differential. A brace today won the game for the Gunners and took him to 11 for the season, keeping him above Walcott in the overall Fantasy Premier League (FPL) rankings.
Sticking to the script, with Jonny Evans dropped to the bench, Rafael stepped up his claim as the weapon of choice in the United backline with a stunning third goal of the season. Despite being rested back in Gameweek 24, Rafael’s claims are strong, although, like all United assets, the Brazilian looks vulnerable for the Gameweek 28 home clash with Norwich ahead of the Champions League second leg with Madrid.
The Ivory Coast international took little time to underline his importance to the Latics cause with two first half strikes – taking him to eight goals for the season. Selected as one of our three differentials this week, sadly for Kone, competition in his price bracket remains fierce, with Romelu Lukaku, Dimitar Berabtov, Rickie Lambert and Christian Benteke all offering value with their sub 7.0 price tags.
The Bulgarian continues to do just enough to keep his points tally ticking over: a ninth goal of the season today was his third in six to offer a reminder that, if Martin Jol’s side can somehow rediscover some form, Berbatov remains a rare talent worthy of consideration.
On the Scout Picks bench this week, the German returned an assist, clean sheet and is likely to earn bonus points from today’s 1-0 win. Riether has enjoyed an outstanding season and has now contributed four assists this term, whilst Martin Jol’s defence have conceded just twice in the last four league outings.
The Belgian justified his Scout Pick selection with a brace, taking him to 12 goals for the season. Once again, Lukaku looked an unstoppable force at times and the fact that Steve Clarke paired him with Shane Long from the start provided some encouragement. Lukaku is, however, ineligible for the Gameweek 28 fixture with parent club Chelsea.
While the Potters defence conceded for the ninth consecutive league outing, the return of Marc Wilson at left-back at least gives those still holding Stoke’s defensive assets an obvious escape route. At 3.9, Wilson looks set to be a hugely popular acquisition for those downgrading the likes of Asmir Begovic and Ryan Shawcross, after a string of disappointing Gameweeks over the past two months.
Rio Ferdinand’s recall at Loftus Road was far from a surprise but, with Sir Alex Ferguson previously talking up the need to preserve Nemanja Vidic, it was a real surprise to see the Serbian maintain his starting role at QPR at the expense of Jonny Evans. With the rotation of Ferdinand and Vidic looking a likely trend, Evans had seemed nailed on for a run of starts: today’s teamsheet confirmed that as far from certain.
Robin Van Persie
The Dutchman provided the assist for Rafael’s opener at the Bush but the Dutchman’s contribution was cut short by a hip injury sustained in a collision with cameramen on setting up the goal. Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t seem too concerned post-match, although there are big question marks over Van Persie’s start in the Old Trafford clash with Norwich next weekend, regardless of the injury.
Benched for the third consecutive league outing, memories of the 17-point haul in double Gameweek 23 now seem distant as the German struggles to maintain his start in Wenger’s lineup.
The Everton Defence
David Moyes’ side remain unable to see out matches and, having looked in command at Carrow Road, conceded two second half goals to lose the points. They’ve now gone four without a shutout with just four for the season in total, as Leighton Baines’ owners were left clinging to the comfort of the assist for Leon Osman’s opener.
Having looked to be a viable budget option in the Royals back four, Pearce was relegated to the bench by Brian McDermott and Sean Morrison earned a recall to the defence. Given the performance by the Reading defence, however, you have to wonder if Pearce will earn a recall soon enough.
A miserable day for the Royals was compounded by a straight red card for the Russian who earned an early bath for a reckless challenge on Maynor Figueroa. Pogrebnyak will miss three league outings against Everton, Villa and United.