A merciless Arsenal, inspired by Santi Cazorla’s promptings, send brave Wigan sliding into the Championship with victory at the Emirates. Over the Madjeski meanwhile, City start the post-Mancini era with a comfortable 2-0 win. Here’s the Stock Check from Tuesday’s encounters…
On the Up
Olivier Giroud’s three-match ban brought Podolski in from the cold having struggled to cement a starting role for weeks prior to the Frenchman’s indiscretions. This was Podolski’s third consecutive start as the central attacker and finally brought him returns. The German’s brace took him to 11 goals for the season, which, coupled with 9 assists, will go down as a reasonable haul given that Podolski has completed 90 minutes on just two occasions on the league. Giroud returns from his ban for the trip to Newcastle – it remains to be seen if Podolski holds his position, or even his start, for Sunday’s clash.
The Spaniard went into tonight’s encounter having blanked in eight of his last nine league outings: his ownership had dropped week-by-week as a result. However, with over 21,000 managers acquiring Cazorla ahead of Gameweek 37, the Gunners playmaker sparked into life to assist each one of Arsenal’s four goals this evening. Once again, then, Cazorla confirmed himself as an explosive midfield option that perhaps lacks the consistency of a true midfield heavy-hitter.
In contrast, Walcott has rediscovered the consistency that had previously seen him return in 11 of 15 starts from Gameweek 11-30. Tonight’s strike means that Walcott has now fetched goals in his last three consecutive matches, rewarding those who awarded him the Gamweek 37 armband.
In truth, Maloney’s stock is in the balance. On the one hand, the Scot’s sublime free-kick effort rewarded his owners with their third set of returns in the last four outings. However, with the Latics now relegated, Maloney will go into Sunday’s meeting with former club Aston Villa with little but pride at stake.
Retained in goal after appearing in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, Hart earned his third consecutive clean sheet and his 18th of the season. With City rotating their defence once again, Hart was the only member of the rearguard to play all three of those matches, offering rich rewards for those who acquired his services for the Gameweek 36 double.
Having proved a huge disappointment over City’s two Gameweek 36 fixtures , those Fantasy managers who held Aguero, despite concerns of rotation, got their reward in the shape of tonight’s opening goal at the Madjeski. That strike was Aguero’s third in his last five league appearances. The Argentine did, however, leave the field on the hour-mark in some discomfort having stretched for a James Milner cross – we await an update on that potential knock.
Denied by a superb Wojciech Szczęsny second half stop, similar to Maloney, the Ivorian striker now has little to play for when he faces up to Villa on Sunday. With just a single goal in his last seven, Kone has failed to spark over the Latics run-in to provide the goals required by his side, or expected by his Fantasy owners.
With both Sergio Ageuro and Edin Dzeko on the scoresheet, Tevez came away from the Madjeski with a blank and his owners will now be nervy head of the potentially profitable home clash with Norwich on Sunday. With Brian Kidd in charge, it’s difficult to predict the likely lineup but Dzeko once again made his claim for a starting role with a 14th goal of the season from the bench. Tevez has just one assist in his last five league appearances.
Bonus Predictions – Courtesy of the BAP Chap
Arsenal 4 Wigan 1 – Podolski 3, Cazorla 2, Walcott 1 (in the mix Ramsey)
Reading 0 Man City 2 – Aguero 3, Silva 2, Yaya Toure 1 (in the mix Dzeko)