Our final look at Gameweek 10 casts an eye over the form of City’s resurgent Argentine. We further analyse Manuel Pellegrini’s free-scoring side and ponder the lack of viable options in midfield after yet another relatively barren weekend:
A 7-0 drubbing of hapless Norwich saw eight different players serve up attacking returns but for Fantasy managers, one player stood head and shoulders above his Etihad team-mates. The win continued Sergio Aguero’s relentless form under Manuel Pellegrini as he makes up for a distinctly average 2012/13 – already, in just nine appearances, he’s played a part in as many goals as the previous campaign under Roberto Mancini, with eight strikes and seven assists compared to 12 goals and three assists last time around.
Still sitting in just 21% of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) teams, Aguero has so far risen 0.2 this week after an 18-point return against the Canaries, courtesy of a goal, three assists and maximum bonus points. What also seems different this term is the lack of rotation employed by Pellegrini – for as long as Aguero is injury-free, he has started, with a sub appearance at Stoke the result of uncertainty over his fitness for the Britannia trip.
The Argentine has delivered spectacularly – only once in his seven starts (bizarrely at home to Hull) has he failed to score or assist. Crucially, from an armband perspective, it hasn’t just been occasional assists that have kept him ticking over – Aguero’s propensity for explosive hauls has seen him produce four sets of double figures already.
In addition, he’s far from a flat-track bully. The City forward has already scored twice against United and also delivered against Chelsea and Everton – with Pellegrini’s team primed to attack, he’s more than worthy of the tag “fixture proof”. An average of 9.1 points per game sums up Aguero’s impact in the opening few months of the new season and takes him to the top of the leaderboard on 82 points – with a trip to Sunderland on his agenda next, few non-owners will risk going into next week’s match without him.
We cannot overlook City. In a Gameweek where just 21 goals were scored, Pellegrini’s side delivered seven as their swashbuckling form continues – they have now found the net 28 times, nine more than any other side apart from Arsenal. After a hugely underwhelming defence to their title last term, the Chilean has been tasked with bringing the style back to the Etihad and so far he’s succeeding.
While Aguero is the undoubted star up top, there’s options elsewhere for Pellegrini’s side. City have three of the top 10 scoring midfielders in the FPL game – Yaya Toure is second only to Aaron Ramsey in that classification and has also produced five goals, just one less than his tally in each of the past three seasons. David Silva, so often blighted by inconsistency under Mancini, has now scored or assisted in five of his seven appearances, while Samir Nasri has matched the Spaniard’s haul of 42 points so far. For those looking for differentials in mind, they are owned by just 6% and 2% respectively, with Silva’s average of 6 points per game indicative of his flourishing form under Pellegrini.
In spite of their weekend clean sheet, City’s attacking impetus is likely to lessen their resilience this time round – it’s highly debatable whether a Mancini side would have shipped three at Cardiff and Villa, for example. Instead, it seems the Chilean is prepared to concede the odd goal if it allows his key performers to play with the handbrake off – bad news for the backline, then, but a promising turnaround for Fantasy managers in a season where the likes of Chelsea and Spurs, sitting second and fourth respectively, have managed a combined 25 goals; three less than Pellegrini’s rampaging side.
The Talking Point
Once again, the midfield let us down badly, with only six players in this classification managed to find the net over Gameweek 10. A run of five blanks, allied with an ankle injury that forced him off at Cardiff, has Michu owners scouring the market for an alternative, while Ross Barkley’s drop to the Everton bench also has his 35% owners mulling over their next move but the problem is that few midfielders are making a persuasive case as potential replacements. Hull’s Robbie Brady sits inside the top 10 midfielders, for example, despite starting just one of the last four Gameweeks – Eden Hazard is sixth, though has scored or assisted in just three of his 10 appearances.
Indeed, with defences delivering 10 clean sheets over the weekend, backline options are more than holding their own thanks to the new bonus points system this season. Four keepers and five defenders have scored more than 50 points after 10 Gameweeks – only Ramsey and Toure have managed this feat in the midfield.
With Aguero firing up top, and Luis Suarez averaging 9.6 points per game since returning from suspension, big investment up top is paying off handsomely. United’s front two are also hitting their stride – three goals in as many games for Robin Van Persie, and attacking returns in six of the last seven for Wayne Rooney highlights the increasing influence of the heavy-hitters at a time where the goals are coincidentally drying up for the likes of Olivier Giroud and Christian Benteke.
It’s understandable that some may be wary of tying up funds in three premium priced forwards for fear of being caught short in midfield. Experience tells us that sooner or later they will come good but when the vast majority are serving up scraps, investing in two or three mid-price options and splashing the cash up top looks a justifiable tactic right now.