Loic Remy and Andros Townsend steer QPR to a crucial home win over Sunderland. Christian Benteke finds the net again as Villa prevail at the Madejski. Romelu Lukaku helps West Brom edge past Swansea, while Norwich pick up another clean sheet in a goalless draw with Southampton. Elsewhere, Wigan and Man City are through to the FA Cup Semi Finals, with the Latics’ win at Everton meaning David Moyes’ men now have a double Gameweek 33:
QPR Starting to Click
A crucial home victory over Sunderland, following on the back of last weekend’s three points at St Mary’s, harvested consecutive wins for the first time this season for Harry Redknapp’s side. The availability of Bobby Zamora proved hugely significant, as Redknapp was finally able to roll out a 4-4-2 formation – with the former Fulham man alongside Loic Remy up top, the R’s struck three times, scoring more than any other game this season.
Indeed, they have now hit the net five times in the last two, compared to four goals in the previous 10 –an upturn in attacking displays which has coincided with Adel Taarabt’s omission from the first XI. While the Moroccan was dropped last weekend, Redknapp revealed his absence yesterday was down to injury, though it’s questionable whether he would have started, given Junior Hoilett’s flourishing form. The former Blackburn man delivered another assist, while fellow winger Andros Townsend hogged the headlines courtesy of a goal and pair of assists; at just 4.4 in FPL, he has now started three of the last four since arriving on loan from Tottenham. With Remy notching his third in four starts, the picture is starting to look a little rosier for Redknapp’s troops – just one point from safety, they now square up to Villa, Fulham and Wigan in the next three.
Redknapp had this to say on his two widemen, suggesting that the QPR boss may well maintain his recent attacking stance for the trip to Villa Park…
“I had no doubts Andros was a fantastic signing for us. He’s been excellent. He can run all day and you never have an easy game against him, he’s relentless. Him and Junior [Hoilett] gave them real problems. We played with two old-fashioned wingers and it worked.”
While the QPR boss again singled out Remy’s partnership with Bobby Zamora as key for the remainder of the season…
“The big change is that Remy has come in and has scored three goals for us and he did his stuff again today. I’ve said all along that if I could get Loic and Bobby up front together we would start being a threat to other teams.”
Benteke Amongst the Goals Again
Paul Lambert’s side clinched a crucial win in the proverbial six-pointer at the Madejski, with the in-form Christian Benteke’s 12th goal of the season helping the midlanders climb out of the drop zone. Subject to over 62,000 transfers in last week, Benteke also vindicated our decision to hand him a place in the Scout Picks XI by notching for the sixth time in the last seven Gameweeks and, with three home games in the next four (QPR, LIV, FUL) in addition to a trip to Stoke, plenty more owners will be scrambling to jump on board the bandwagon, with his current FPL price of 7.1 still seeming more than a little kind.
Another in-form Belgian who garnered plenty attention prior to the weekend deadline, Scout Pick Lukaku also delivered as West Brom saw off Swansea at the Hawthorns. With Shane Long ruled out due to an ankle injury, the on loan forward was handed his ninth start in the last eleven he has been eligible for, having missed out against parent club Chelsea last time out. He duly obliged, netting his seventh goal in his last eight appearances but the day ended in disappointment for his owners – a missed spot-kick saw him return just four points. Nevertheless, he maintained an incredible run of consistency that has seen him score, assist or pick up bonus in 12 of his 13 starts; with such a strong run of form, his owners won’t be too concerned by back-to-back trips to Stoke and West Ham up next.
Boosted by his run of goals, Lukaku was philosophical in his post-match analysis of his performance…
“I didn’t have the easiest game but still I got a goal and that means I am there and I am switched on all the time. As much as I wish I had scored the penalty, ultimately it didn’t matter, and we still won and we got our three points. These things happen in football and you have to move on and not let them stay in your head. Overall I had a very good game so I am happy.”
Michu Back In “The Hole”
Michael Laudrup’s decision to hand Luke Moore a rare start saw Michu move to a more withdrawn role again yesterday. Having climbed off the bench to notch the winner in last week’s home game with Newcastle, Moore was rewarded with a starting berth up front and vindicated his manager’s decision by scoring Swansea’s consolation at the Hawthorns. The Spaniard’s form is clearly a worry for his owners right now – he has found the net in just one of his last nine appearances, suggesting Laudrup could well retain Moore up top for the upcoming visits of Arsenal and Spurs in an attempt to re-ignite Michu.
Norwich Defensive Resilience
Chris Hughton’s side continue to produce the clean sheets at Carrow Road, with yesterday’s goalless draw the third time in the last five home games they have kept out their opponents. The Canaries have now registered nine clean sheets this term, with seven of them in front of their own fans – with Swansea, Reading, Villa and West Brom their final four visitors, plenty more defensive points could be on the cards before the season is out, with the likes of Russell Martin and Michael Turner looking superb value for money at 4.3 and 4.2 respectively in FPL. Hughton fielded a 4-4-2 formation for the second successive home game yesterday – having reverted to his default 4-4-1-1 for last weekend’s trip to Old Trafford, he rolled out a front two once again, suggesting he’s looking to be a little less defensive at home.
Pochettino’s Tinkering a Worry
In a week with just six fixtures to choose from, the last thing Fantasy managers needed was Southampton’s new boss tinkering with his first-team and denying us crucial points. Mauricio Pochettino changed both his full-backs from last weekend’s home loss to QPR – Danny Fox and Nathaniel Clyne dropped out, replaced by Luke Shaw and Maya Yoshida at left-back and right-back respectively; the latter moved from his usual centre-half berth, allowing Jos Hooiveld to return to the starting XI. Jason Puncheon’s owners also have reason for concern, after the winger was dropped for the second time in the last three. A cut-price midfield favourite, Puncheon’s security of starts afforded under Nigel Adkins is quickly becoming a distant memory – he was handed a one-minute sub appearance and thanks to a booking, failed to return a single point.
FA Cup Sixth Round
Everton 0 Wigan 3
Aside from the injured Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka, Everton were virtually at full strength for yesterday’s match. The somewhat surprising loss was significant news for Fantasy managers – David Moyes’ men now have a double Gameweek 33 on their agenda, comprising of a home clash against QPR and trip to Arsenal – the Gunners, of course, also face a double, with Norwich arriving at the Emirates prior to the Merseysiders’ visit. Marouane Fellaini’s Fantasy owners will also be on alert after the Belgian picked up his ninth booking of the season yesterday – he now teeters on the suspension tightrope, with one more caution automatically activating a two-match ban. He has three league matches to navigate before the curfew passes on April 15.
For the Latics, Jordi Gomez staked a claim for a first-team spot by grabbing a goal and assist in the 3-0 romp. Maynor Figueroa also found the net for Roberto Martinez’s side – the 4.3 priced FPL defender has now notched in two of the last three in all competitions, while Arouna Kone supplied an assist for Gomez’s strike to creep onto Fantasy radars ahead of a run of two home games (NEW, NOR) and a trip to QPR in the next three. The club’s home clash with Swansea, initially schedule for Gameweek 33, will now need to be shifted as it clashes with the FA Cup Semi Finals – it could be move to midweek of the same Gameweek, though. Wigan are also still awaiting a new date for the league trip to City, which was due to take place this weekend.
Man City 5 Barnsley 0
Roberto Mancini made six changes from the side that edged past Villa on Monday evening, with Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero once again on the sidelines due to calf and knee problems respectively. It was all about Carlos Tevez, though, as City cruised into the last four with a lethal display against the Yorkshire club. The Argentine had a hand in all his side’s goals, netting a hat-trick in addition to supplying a couple of assists; Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva were also amongst the goals, with the Spaniard providing two assists before being subbed off on 66 minutes. The result means City’s Gameweek 33 home showdown with West Brom now requires a new date – again, it could be moved to the following midweek, thus staying within the confines of Gameweek 33. In addition to the above-mentioned home clash against Wigan, then, they now have two Etihad matches which need rescheduling.
Post-match, Mancini was full of praise for Tevez’s display and downplayed any suggestion of injury after the player was subbed off on 77 minutes:
“He asked to come off – he said, ‘it’s better for me to come off’ – maybe he was tired. Now it’s important that Carlos continues to score because we need him to score until the end of the season – after I don’t know what can happen, Carlos has another year left on his contract.”
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby