A devastating hat-trick from Daniel Sturridge does the damage in the mini-leagues as Robin Van Persie lives off scraps and Gareth Bale blanks. With Michu cruelly notching at Old Trafford, this was a day of frustration for many. Here’s the Stock Check on Sunday’s seven matches…
On the Up
A stunning hat-trick took Sturridge to five goals since Luis Suarez picked up his 10-match ban, offering little doubt that the former Chelsea striker can fire Liverpool to victories, with or without the Uruguayan. Available for just 7.1 going into the Gameweek, Sturridge was a shoo-in for the Scout Picks this week and those who acquired his services reaped handsome rewards in a Gameweek where the heavy-hitters have, so far, stuttered. They can also look to the final day Anfield clash with QPR with huge optimism. Sturridge will undoubtedly be the hot property going into Gameweek 38 and into next season.
When Liverpool notch goals, there’s every chance that the mercurial Brazilian will play some part. Inevitably, Coutinho profited from Sturridge finishing, earning another brace of assists to take him to seven for the season, with four in his last three league starts.
While Coutinho has been central to Liverpool’s attacking ploys of late, Snodgrass has been vital to Norwich all season. With a four-nil thrashing of West Brom confirming the Canaries’ top flight status, it was no surprise to see Snodgrass factoring among the points. The former Leeds playmaker notched his sixth goal of the season and his eighth assist. Snodgrass has returned two goals and three assists in his last six league starts to reward those who sat tight through a difficult spell for Chris Hughton’s men.
When fit, the Belgian has been a consistent bright spark for Everton and, despite failing to return in his last five, earned a recall to the Scout Picks bench to repay our faith with a brace. His classification as a forward, whilst being utilised out wide by David Moyes, has somewhat hampered his popularity but Mirallas will be of interest next season, particularly if he is granted a more central attacking role under the new regime.
The Everton Defence
An incredible run of form has now seen the Toffees rearguard fetch seven clean sheets in their last nine league fixtures. Leighton Baines and his colleagues at the back have conceded just a single goal in the last six – made all the more extraordinary by the fact that, at the turn of they year, they’d kept just two shut-outs.
Having sparkled in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea, the Togo international cemented his start in the Spurs lineup for the testing trip to the Britannia and earned recognition in this week’s Differentials. Adebayor delivered again, notching a priceless winner to keep Tottenham’s Champions League ambitions on track. That’s three goals and two assists in his last five league starts. With a home clash with Sunderland to come, Adebayor’s form may yet roll on.
A lost Fantasy asset after his transfer from Craven Cottage, the former Fantasy big fish has spent the season overshadowed by the brilliance of Gareth Bale. Today’s opening strike in the win at Stoke was Dempsey’s seventh goal of a frustrating term for the US international, having struggled to cement a regular starting role under Andre Villas-Boas. Two double figure hauls in his last four starts demonstrate his potential and rewarded those who took a punt on his differential status.
Hatem Ben Arfa
The headline act in this week’s Differentials, the Frenchman assumed spot-kick duties at Loftus Road, stroking home the penalty to level matters after Loic Remy’s opener. Sacrificed following Rob Elliot’s dismissal, Ben Arfa will surely earn another run-out when the Magpies host Arsenal on the final day, with their Premier League status now secured.
Having been written off for the remainder of the season by his manager, the Spaniard made a rapid recovery from a hamstring problem to start at Old Trafford and notch a eighteenth league goal of a hugely successful season. A frustrating blow to the thousands of Fantasy managers who sold him on off the back of Michael Laudrup’s early prognosis.
While it’s harsh to knock a player who has been simply outstanding all season, today’s failure to get amongst the points in Tottenham’s Britannia victory will have come as a major blow to those who handed him the armband. His consistency has been so great of late, we have come to count on regular rewards from the Welshman. His failings were at least cushioned by Robin Van Persie’s failure to score in the win over Swansea, although the Dutchman’s two assists will still sting. Those who backed Sturridge or Frank Lampard with the armband, meanwhile, will have made up huge ground.
Strongly backed going into the Gameweek with what looked a tempting home fixture with West Ham, the Belgian again failed to return. Fellaini was largely utilised deep today by David Moyes, helping to counter the threat posed by Andy Carroll. He has now failed to return in his last six league starts.
The budget Canaries stopper finally made way as John Ruddy returned to the starting lineup against the Baggies. Having kept a clean sheet, Ruddy announced his return in some style, surely consigning Bunn to the bench for the final league fixture.
The Newcastle stopper is another budget option lost to us for the final day. Elliot saw him marching orders for two bookable offences and, with Tim Krul sidelined, it will be Steve Harper between the posts to face the Gunners at St James’ Park.
The Spaniard dropped to the bench as Brendan Rodgers resurrected his 3-5-2 experiment at the Cottage. While Enrique’s owners will take consolation from the fact that Dimitar Berbatov spoiled the Liverpool clean sheet, they will be concerned on Enrique’s start for the Anfield clash with QPR.
Bonus Predictions – Courtesy of the BAP Chap
Aston Vila 1 Chelsea 2 – Lampard 3, Hazard 2, Cahill 1 (in the mix Azpilicueta)
Stoke 1 Tottenham 2 – Dempsey 3, Adebayor 2, NZonzi 1
Everton 2 West Ham 0 – Mirallas 3, Osman 2, Howard 1 (in the mix Pienaar)
Fulham 1 Liverpool 3 – Sturridge 3, Coutinho 2, Coates 1 (in the mix Berbatov)
Norwich 4 West Brom 0 – Snodgrass 3, Holt 2, Howson 2 (in the mix Hoolahan)
QPR 1 Newcastle 2 – Gouffran 3, Coloccini 2, Cisse 1, (in the mix Ben Arfa)
Sunderland 1 Southampton 1 – Puncheon 3, Bardsley 2, A.Johnson 1 (in the mix Lambert)
Man United 2 Swansea 1 – Ferdinand 3, Van Persie 2, Michu 1 (in the mix J Hernandez)