The Premier League’s bizarre shortage of goals continues as Sunday’s headline acts muster just two strikes between them. It saw both Olivier Giroud and Daniel Sturridge maintain their goal-a-game records, whilst at the Hawthorns, Swansea struck twice, leaving the Baggies without a goal in their three league outings.
The Game Changer
Giroud’s moment of quality proved the difference in a disjointed North London derby. A sublime flicked finish from a smart Theo Walcott centre was the Frenchman’s third goal in as many league games as he goes on establishing his top-flight reputation.
While we’re anticipating arrivals at the Emirates before the window slams shut, it’s fair to say that if a world class striker fails to saunter through the Emirates door, then Fantasy interest in the impressive Giroud will accelerate.
Currently priced at just 8.6 in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game, Giroud is owned by over 13% of managers following an outstanding pre-season that saw him strike eight goals. He has taken that form into the season and is not only accepting his goalscoring opportunities with confidence, his all-round play as Arsenal’s centre-forward has undoubtedly improved. It remains to be seen if that’s enough to discourage the lesser-spotted Emirates chequebook from fluttering in the direction of the Arsenal attack.
The fixture computer did few favours for Swansea’s Fantasy prospects over the opening two matches. A home clash with the champions and an away trip to Spurs returned just a single goal but, today at the Hawthorns, we saw Michael Laudrup’s side kick-start their season and remind us of the talent they have within the ranks.
Ben Davies was a member of our team of the season last term after a full campaign at left-back generated eight clean sheets, a goal and two assists for the initial value of just 4.0. Priced at 5.0 this time round, he’s been largely ignored but will end the Gameweek as the top scoring defender having cracked the opening goal in the 2-0 win over West Brom. Team-mate Pablo Hernandez failed to make the anticipated impact in his first season but promises improvement this time around. Goal and assist returns today will earn him a couple of bonus and see him rank as the top midfielder in the Gameweek; at just 6.0, the classy Spaniard – who has now played a part in all three of his side’s strikes this term – could yet be a prospect for those who cannot stretch funds to cover Michu.
With Liverpool and Arsenal at home in the next three, the tests keep coming for Laudrup’s men but today’s result reminded Fantasy mangers that we’ll need to monitor progress at the Liberty and be ready to pay attention once the schedule eases from Gameweek 8.
The Selection Poser
Kolo Toure’s absence from the Liverpool lineup through a groin injury was perhaps expected, although noises from Anfield prior to the match gave his Fantasy owners some hope that he’d be available. It wasn’t to be.
With the injury played down by Brendan Rodgers, Toure could easily be in contention following the international break. However, it appears he may be about to slip down the pecking order by then. According to reports and Rodgers himself, Liverpool have agreed fees for defenders Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori. The signing of Sakho from Paris Saint-Germain, looks particularly daunting for Toure owners. The 23-year-old is a French international and is said to have commanded a fee of somewhere in the region of £18 million. It seems unlikely that Liverpool have paid that kind of money to have him play second fiddle to Toure. Sakho can be deployed at left-back but with Aly Cissokho recently joining the club as back-up to Jose Enrique, long-term, it looks as though Toure’s position is under real threat. The former City man is currently owned by over 9% of Fantasy Premier League managers.