Monday lunchtime finds us pondering the inevitable rest heading Robin’s way as part of Sir Alex’s policy of pre-European vacation. We also assess the lure of the late-comimg Latics and look at the latest developments in Moussa Sissoko’s convincing campaign to break the midfield template…
Robin will be in slippers for the Canaries clash…
In all likelihood, Sir Alex Ferguson had already decided to keep Robin Van Persie out of the Gameweek 28 home clash with Norwich. Saturday’s events, which saw the Dutchman suffer an impact with a cameraman behind the QPR goal has surely just sealed the deal. Van Persie is apparently nursing a badly bruised hip according to the United boss – a setback that is due to be assessed today. Already the press have jumped the gun this morning, declaring Van Persie fit to face Real Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League a week on Tuesday. Admittedly, that would seem likely with Ferguson now handed a ready-made excuse to keep his talisman out of Saturday’s home encounter which, against the backdrop of a 12-point gap at the top, looks routine. We have to expect that the noises from Old Trafford this week will offer little definite prognosis on the Dutchman, allowing Ferguson to keep Van Persie a doubt for the weekend in order to justify his omission from the teamsheet for the Canaries visit.
We can’t rely on Evans after all…
Having talked up the form and presence of Jonny Evans coming into the weekend, Sir Alex conspired to restore the Rio Ferdinand/Nemanja Vidic partnership at Loftus Road, leaving Evans alongside him on the bench. Ferguson has previously stated that he would use Ferdinand and Vidic sparingly: Evans’ form allowing him to rotate them match-to-match. Having started in Monday night’s Cup tie, Vidic looked the favourite to make way this time around and yet Ferguson went for his experienced duo, even against a side that had offered little by way of goal threat going into the game. Fantasy managers are now back to the drawing board with Evans; we would expect him to start against Norwich but then there’s also a chance that Ferguson has him earmarked for a role against Madrid which could see him preserved again. With Rafael on the rise after his Shepherds Bush strike, Evans owners will be pondering an upgrade to the Brazilian or even beyond that, to Patrice Evra. The fact is, if United prevail against Madrid, nobody is 100% secure from Ferguson’s policy of rest prior to European exploits: City’s failure to keep pace in the title race has seen to that.
Wigan are at it again….
Clambering out of the bottom three courtesy of an abject Reading performance, Roberto Martinez’s side nonetheless deserve credit for exerting their brand of football at the Madejski. The visitors dominated possession and the chances to ease their way to three points and offer a reminder that we’ve been here before. The Latics came late to the party last season, with the likes of Victor Moses earning our attention and, on Saturday’s evidence, they have players in form once again. Shaun Maloney is pulling the strings and fetching returns playing in the advanced midfield role. Jean Beausejour’s left-peg wand is again casting spells from wing-back, while up front, Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone are combining to form an effective partnership. A home clash with Liverpool, followed by a potential blank in Gameweek 29 will curb our enthusiasm for now but, with three home games in four to come from Gameweek 30 onwards, Wigan look set to provide an unlikely source of run-in returns once again.
Sissoko is threatening to form a new “Power Five”….
Newcastle’s French resistance is now in full swing, having sealed a third win in three games since Alan Pardew opened the St James’ Park gates to his new arrivals from across the channel. Moussa Sissoko is, of course, the star turn: his third goal in four starts cemented his status as the new mid-price midfield darling and, having leapt by 0.3 in value in the Fantasy Premier League game last week, he’s now set to continue his ascent as new owners come flocking. Places in our midfields had looked at a premium but with Marouane Fellaini now identified as the weak link having scored in just one of his last nine league outings, Sissoko looks ready-made to break up the “power five” that has formed in so many squads. With Reading at Goodison next, patience with Fellaini may be exercised for one more week but there’s no denying Sissoko’s allure from Gameweek 29 onwards.
It’s time to downgrade our Potters….
Dimitar Berbatov’s moment of brilliance was enough to earn Fulham the points and consign the Stoke defence to a ninth successive match without a clean sheet. Having previously established themselves as the meanest obstacle in the Premier League, the Potters rearguard has since crumbled with the likes of Asmir Begovic, Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth now resembling expensive “elephants in the room” who can no longer look their Fantasy owners in the eye. Luckily, Marc Wilson provides a ready-made solution. Back in the side at the Cottage, the former Pompey man is available for just 3.9 in the FPL and looks assured of starts over Stoke’s run of home matches against West Ham, West Brom and Villa to come in the next month. The downgrade looks a no-brainer, if we can spare the free transfer to make the switch.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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