We take one last look at Gameweek 12 to hail the impact of Manuel Pellegrini on a certain Argentine. Palace’s recent resilience may be boosted by the arrival of Stoke’s former boss, whilst the captaincy issue in any given Gameweek seems to be whittled down to one of two South Americans:
Faced with the Premier League’s most resilient away defence last weekend, Sergio Aguero once again served up a huge Fantasy haul as City humiliated Spurs at the Etihad. While they’d put seven past Norwich in the previous home encounter, the visit of Andre Villas-Boas’ side seemed a different proposition, with Tottenham conceding a single goal on their travels prior to last Sunday.
The absence of David Silva made little difference to the hosts as Aguero tore apart the visitors’ backline, with a brace and assist in the 6-0 demolition helping him to 15 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) points; his fifth set of double figures in 10 league starts.
Now up to 99 points for the campaign, Aguero’s prospects have been re-ignited by the arrival of both Pellegrini and Alvaro Negredo – a player his manager has described as “the perfect player for the Premier League”.
Incredibly, City have now scored more goals (26) at home than any side has managed in total and while their toils on the road may affect their title aspirations, Aguero’s form remains consistent, having produced the points in three of his four starts on the road. With 12 strikes and eight assists to his name already, the Argentine has already played a part in more goals than over the entire 2012/13 campaign under Roberto Mancini (12 goals, three assists) and with Pellegrini determined to go on the offensive, Aguero’s pivotal role in one of the most potent top-flight attacks we’ve seen for some time looks a gift-wrapped present for Fantasy managers as the season unfolds.
New boss Tony Pulis arrives at Palace in the perfect moment. Having leaked goals in each of their first 10 league matches, the Eagles’ ship has been steadied by caretaker boss Keith Millen, who has engineered back-to-back clean sheets against Everton and Hull, with a narrow win at the KC helping them climb off the foot of the table.
In his first match in charge, Pulis rolls up to injury-hit Norwich, with playmaker Robert Snodgrass and big-money forward Ricky Van Wolfswinkel both consigned to the treatment room . After that, it’s three matches in four at Selhurst Park (WHM, CAR, che, NEW) as Pulis looks to instill the resilience that helped the Potters to 30 clean sheets in the previous three seasons.
Certainly, judging by his time at the Britannia, we won’t be expecting a free-flowing brand of football – Pulis, essentially, is the anti-Pellegrini, and will be charged with no more than ensuring top-flight survival at whatever cost. If he can build on the defensive stability introduced by Millen, Pulis may yet bring Palace’s backline options into consideration – indeed, with a run of seven home games that reads (WHM, CAR, NEW, NOR, STO, HUL, WBA) he could hardly ask for a better chance to make Selhurst Park a fortress. With Julian Speroni at 4.5 in FPL and Danny Gabbidon, Joel Ward and Dean Moxey all just 4.0, there are budget options aplenty should the former Britannia boss make his mark.
The Talking Point
Aguero’s stunning haul against Tottenham kept Luis Suarez in the shade for once but the Uruguayan was also in the points, with a goal and assist in the Merseyside derby ensuring his incredible tally ticked over. While we saw a number of popular frontline options rack up the returns this week, with Romelu Lukaku, Olivier Giroud and Wayne Rooney all returning double figures, the explosive consistency of Suarez and Aguero is leaving the rest standing.
Since the Liverpool forward returned from suspension in Gameweek 6, the highest haul delivered from a Suarez-Aguero partnership over the subsequent seven fixtures has been (13, 7, 16, 17, 18, 16, 15) – right now, they are almost limiting the captaincy call down to just two players in any given Gameweek. Impressively, given that Aguero was sidelined for Gameweek 6, this means that he’s outscored Suarez in four of the six league fixtures he’s been available for since the Uruguayan’s return.
Indeed, despite the fact that Rooney has registered three sets of double figures in the last four (12, 12, 4, 11), it almost seems a gamble not to have the armband on either Suarez or Aguero at any point. The United frontman has averaged an impressive seven points per game this term, yet this still pales into insignificance against the South American duo – Suarez has managed 10.4, while Aguero has delivered nine ppg.
Whilst the likes of Lukaku, with seven goals and an assist in eight appearances for Everton, and Loic Remy, with eight strikes in nine starts for Newcastle, have more than delivered during their loan spells, no one can get near Suarez and Aguero right now. With Liverpool travelling to Hull this Sunday and Aguero welcoming Swansea to the Etihad, both look poised to deliver big time yet again – those managers bold enough to roll into the weekend without one or both in their front three face an uncomfortable couple of days.