As we wave farewell to a Gameweek that failed to deliver the anticipated bounty of points, we assess the lessons learned. How Luis Suarez turns nasty when the goals go missing, how Everton’s recovery could be short-lived and consider whether it’s time to severe ties with treasured assets, with motivation now a key factor.
Suarez turns bad boy when things go awry…
It was all going so well for the Uruguayan. With double figure Fantasy returns in his last three outings, Suarez was flying and had become a fixture in many a squad, providing a hugely viable alternative for those shedding the off-colour Robin Van Persie. Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton has put a rather different complexion on matters, however. With the St Mary’s yellow card, Suarez is now just a single booking away from serving a two-match ban. He has to navigate through the next three league outings, avoiding another caution, in order to save himself and his Fantasy owners from an untimely interruption to his season run-in. Significantly, Suarez’s last four bookings have all come in Liverpool defeats so, with Villa, West Ham and Reading to come, perhaps victories will ensure not only goals for Suarez but also a safe path to the April 14 curfew date.
Everton may have re-gained momentum but will struggle to maintain it…
The victory over City continued Everton’s incredible record against the blue side of Manchester and, having threatened to wreck their title hopes last season, this time around the Toffees seem to have applied the final nail in their coffin. Everton’s performance was encouraging ahead of the Gameweek 33 double with QPR and Arsenal although, with both Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar now facing two-match bans, there’s a real risk that David Moyes’ side will lose the momentum gained on Saturday over the next pair of matches. Everton will face Stoke at Goodison and Spurs at the Lane without arguably their key attacking players and, with Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard also absent at the back, arguably the spine of the side will be brittle. This could be good news for those holding Stoke and Spurs assets and curb interest in Everton ahead of their double.
The keeper situation is worsening by the week…
So Mark Bunn picks up a ban and could lose his Gameweek 31 start to John Ruddy. Wojciech Szczesny is kept on the bench and seemingly looks to have lost the jersey to Lukas Fabianksi for the time being. Ali Al-Habsi is dropped to the bench with Joel Robles given a start against Newcastle. Meanwhile Tim Howard, Tim Krul and Pepe Reina remain sidelined. In a nutshell, then, these are turbulent times between the posts, aided somewhat by Asmir Begovic’s clean sheet – his first in twelve league outings. Can we put trust in the Stoke stopper again or should we just shelve our ambitions in the mid-price and jump on Petr Cech, Joe Hart or David De Gea for the run-in? Even with the United man apparently ensconced in behind a rotating back four, there’s even a chance we’ll see some rotation at Old Trafford once the title is sewn up, such is our fortune when it comes to this position.
Old loyalties are being tested…
Forget Robin Van Persie’s run of one goal in six for a moment. How about Theo Walcott’s similar run of no goal in five, Juan Mata’s run of a just an assist in his last four or even Michu’s barren spell of goal returns in one of his last twelve league appearances? Having put faith in these Fantasy mainstays and been richly rewarded for long spells, suddenly the faith is being stretched to breaking point, as previously consistent scorers hit the buffers. In a Gameweek that saw so few heavy-hitters deliver, we can perhaps be philosophical about the failings of these players but at what point do you cut your losses and look elsewhere? Perhaps the willingness to cut ties with established players when they begin to falter is the difference between a good Fantasy manager and a great one.
Motivation and fatigue are becoming key factors…
With Swansea struggling for form after sealing a European spot, Newcastle and Spurs failing after Europa League exertions and City falling flat in their doomed quest to challenge United, suddenly it seems that Fantasy managers have to look to external factors more than ever. Is there a risk that teams without the motivation of a relegation battle or the scramble for a top four finish, suffering from a diminished will to win? While Aston Villa and QPR put on a show that typified the cut and thrust of Premier League football with millions at stake, Stoke and West Brom played out a meaningless 90 minutes almost without incident. As we reach the season climax, it seems we now have to question what’s left in the tank and whether there’s enough at stake to motivate players to perform at their top level and for managers to field their strongest lineups. Failure to consider such factors in our selection policy could be decisive over the run-in.
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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 love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas