The Gunners deliver the expected goals as Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud step up, only to be overshadowed by Gervinho. Elsewhere, returns for Gareth Bale, Michu and Rickie Lambert will put smiles on faces as both United and City gathered further clean sheets. Here’s the Stock Check on Saturday’s events so far…
On the Up
Topping the captain poll, Cazorla was well backed going into the Gameweek and duly delivered handsome profit with goal and assist returns. That maintained his strong recent form that has seen Cazorla fire five goals in eight league appearances. With the double Gameweek beckoning, further heavy investment and price rises look inevitable.
Back in the starting lineup, the Ivorian enjoyed a superb afternoon, fetching a goal and two assists as Arsenal strolled against Nigel Adkins’ side. Priced as a 6.8 midfielder in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL), Gervinho could yet prove a handy differential for the forthcoming double Gameweek, although there’s little doubt that the injury to Theo Walcott was a major factor in his return to the starting lineup today.
Fit and immediately recalled to Arsenal teamsheet, ousting Carl Jenkinson, Sagna’s position as the first choice right-back looks to be confirmed. At just 4.6 in the FPL, the Frenchman may now prove to be a popular target for the Gameweek 33 double.
The Pole is another potential target for the Gunners double having seemingly confirmed himself as the current number one having retained his start for today’s game. There’s little doubt that there is scant security on offer here, however, with Wojciech Szcesny surely a constant threat, but at just 4.3 in the FPL, Fabianski is perhaps a risk worth taking for those with transfers to spare.
The Frenchman justified his Scout Picks selection with a first goal in five league outings, taking him to ten for the season. Again, Giroud may well have registered points in time to attract interest ahead of Gameweek 33.
The Welshman blanked as Spurs slipped to Fulham last time out but Bale would not be denied at the Liberty Stadium. A goal and assist returns for Bale took him to an incredible 17 goals for the season and continued a run that has now seen him score eight in eight league games. Maximum bonus points would give Bale his sixth set in his last ten matches. Regardless of his potential blank in Gameweek 33, Bale’s form makes him as essential as any player right now.
Like Bale, the Belgian came out of the trip to Swansea with goal and assist returns to further his reputation as a defender that offers strong potential for attacking points. This was Vertonghen’s fifth of the season, his third goal in three games. Spurs are without a clean sheet in six which does little for the Belgian’s appeal but there’s little doubt that Vertonghen will be a serious Fantasy consideration for next season.
The Spaniard went into the clash with Spurs have returned points in just two of his last nine league outings. Today’s goal was a welcome return to form, then, and some repayment for those who had kept the faith in a player that had seen heavy Fantasy Premier League sales of late. Sales could still continue with the Gameweek 33 blank, although a tempting double looms in Gameweek 36.
A sublime deadball strike gave Lambert his fourteenth goal of the season and his fourth in his last seven league outings. Lambert has more delivered on his promise this season and has shown a recent consistency that has belied his modest price tag. With strong fixtures to come, while Lambert lacks the appeal of a double Gameweeek, he could continue to earn attention before the season is out.
Picked out in the Differentials this week, the former Burnley man maintained his strong form with a goal that brought him back-to-back strikes. Rodriguez has now scored or assisted in six of his last eight league matches – outstanding consistency for a 5.1 FPL forward.
While it’s too little too late all round for City and Silva, the Spaniard was another Scout Pick to come good as he struck his fourth goal of the season in the rout of Newcastle at the Etihad. In a season of tepid returns, that was just the second time in seven matches that Silva has fetched FPL points – perhaps symptomatic of City’s decline.
Tevez is one City player that has maintained some form, however. Today’s goal was his third in four appearances and took Tevez to 10 goals and 13 assists for the season. Tevez has now returned a goal or assist in five of his last seven league outings for City.
The big Geordie was never going to tempt Fantasy investment given his disappointing season in front of goal, but today’s returns were somewhat signposted. Carroll had scored in his last two home matches and duly delivered a brace against West Brom today to offer a reminder of his talents. Carroll is ineligible for the Gameweek 32 trip to Anfield up next as a condition of his loan deal.
David De Gea
A sixth consecutive clean sheet delivered further defensive returns and the Spanish keeper is the only defensive player who has been present for them all. While the Untied back four has experienced rotation, De Gea stays cemented as the number one and continues to present the most secure route into United’s rock solid rearguard.
The Ivorian came good once again, moving into double figures for the season with a vital goal – his fourth in his last four league starts. With Wigan typically ending the season with a flourish and with a Gameweek 36 double on the horizon, Kone goes on delivering value and tempting investment as a third striker option.
The Brazilian returned to the starting lineup having been rested against Reading, only to be forced off with a groin injury that, according to reports, has already ruled him out of Monday’s FA Cup replay with Chelsea and will make him an early doubt for the local derby with City.
Despite some recent strong performances at right-back, Jenkinson immediately made way for the return of Bacary Sagna today, seemingly relegating him to a cameo role once again for the season run-in.
The Gunners left-back was replaced by Kieran Gibbs on 71 minutes having picked up a knock. With Gibbs now threatening his starting role, it remains to be seen if the injury to Monreal will cloud the issue for the Gameweek 32 trip to West Brom.
While the big Belgian returned an assist for the Baggies today, the penalty he won was taken by Graham Dorrans – indication that Lukaku has now relinquished spot-kick duties after his recent miss in the win over Swansea.
Chelsea’s Attacking Assets
The defeat at Southampton means that Chelsea have now scored just four goals in their last four league outings – hardly impressive and encouraging form going into a potential double Gameweek in a fortnight’s time. With the Chelsea schedule and Rafa Benitez’s rotation policy a continued concern, confidence in the likes of Juan Mata (absent today through illness) and Eden Hazard (rested to the bench) will have taken another dent. A strong performance against struggling Sunderland is required next time out to restore the faith should Chelsea lose out in Monday’s Cup replay and present the Gameweek 33 double.
The Uruguayan was thought to be a key player for the Saints and yet he’s had his minutes curtailed by Mauricio Pochettino and was on the bench again today. With the Saints’ form so strong, it seems unlikely that Ramirez will cement a starting role over the remainder of the season as starts in the Southampton midfield remain in flux.
Having established himself as the Saints’ number one, starting the last twelve league matches, Boruc was forced off at half-time today, making way for Kelvin Davis. Details on any injury are sketchy right now but he could now be a doubt for the trip to Reading in Gameweek 32.
The Serbian missed out on City’s clean sheet due to injury according to noises from the Etihad. With Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott keeping a shut-out, it remains to be seen if Nastasic can regain his fitness and starting role for the trip to Old Trafford up next.
Bonus Predictions – Courtesy of the Bap Chap
Sunderland 0 Man United 1 – Van Persie 3, Vidic 2, Young 1 (in the mix Carrick, Buttner, Smalling)
Arsenal 4 Reading 1 – Gervinho 3, Cazorla 2, Arteta 1 (in the mix Mariappa) (top 2 very tight)
Man City 4 Newcastle 0 – Clichy 3, Silva 2, Kompany 1 (extremely tight)
Southampton 2 Chelsea 1 – Rodriguez 3, Lambert 2, Terry 1 (in the mix S.Davis)
Swansea 1 Tottenham 2 – Vertonghen 3, Bale 3, Sigurdsson 1 (the 1 is very low and open)
West Ham 3 West Brom 1 – Carroll 3, O’Neil 2, Collins 1
Wigan 1 Norwich 0 – Kone 3, Beausejour 2, Alcaraz 1 (very low and open behind Kone, no gimmes)