Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata both score twice as United hammer Norwich in Ryan Giggs’ first match in charge. Wilfried Bony bags a brace as Swansea sweep aside Villa. Danny Rose fires Spurs to victory at Stoke, Morgan Amalfitano’s impressive form continues as the Baggies edge past West Ham, Everton’s Champions League hopes are dented thanks to a pair of own goals, whilst Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic help secure a late point for Hull at the Cottage:
Rooney and Mata Run Riot as Giggs Gets Off to a Flier
United served up an emphatic win in their first game of the post-Moyes era against a lacklustre Norwich yesterday. Wayne Rooney’s brace – with the opener courtesy of spot-kick duties – took his recent tally to eight goals in as many matches, and ahead of back-to-back home games against Sunderland and Hull, means he has scored twice in each of his last two home appearances. The scramble for his Fantasy signature is sure to hit fever pitch after a 13-point haul against the Canaries, with many now determined to end the season with a front three of Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez – the United man already looks an early favourite for next week’s armband after United served up their highest home win of the season in Giggs’ first match at the helm.
Juan Mata may have started the game on the bench as Giggs opted for a 4-4-2 but the Spaniard needed little time to make a statement. Replacing Danny Welbeck just before the hour mark, he equalled Rooney’s two-goal salvo in less than 15 minutes to take his tally to five strikes in his last four appearances – his omission from the starting line-up will be somewhat disconcerting ahead of the double but Mata’s impact will persuade plenty to snap up his services prior to next Saturday’s deadline.
Giggs Turns to Experience at the Back
The interim-manager’s decision to select the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra proved crucial to United’s defensive prospects. The Red Devils had mustered just one clean sheet in their previous seven at Old Trafford – a 2-0 win over Cardiff back in Gameweek 23 – but were immediately back in the points as Giggs’ impact was felt immediately at both ends of the pitch. Fantasy faith in United’s backline now looks likely to pick up pace over the next few days, with Giggs perhaps unlikely to tinker as he looks to finish the season with a flourish.
Toffees’ Hopes of Fourth Crumble
Fantasy managers holding Everton defenders would have had high hopes of a clean sheet for yesterday’s trip to St Mary’s. Given that the Saints had had failed to score in each of the two games since Jay Rodriguez was ruled out for the season and the Merseysiders had four shut-outs in the previous five, defensive returns looked on the cards. The Toffees self-combusted, however, with own goals from Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman handing Southampton a victory which makes a major dent on their aspirations for a fourth-place finish – indeed, results elsewhere now places question marks over Everton’s chances of finishing fifth, given that their next game is at home to title-chasing City. With a double Gameweek 37 now on the horizon, the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert look likely to be sacrificed by many after their respective droughts continued – the former two have gone four games without a goal, whilst Lambert has now drawn a blank in each of the last three.
Tigers Front Two on the Double Gameweek radar
Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long both grabbed a goal apiece in Hull’s 2-2 comeback draw at Fulham to arrive on Fantasy radars ahead of their upcoming double. Steve Bruce’s side had scored just four times in the previous six Gameweeks ahead of their trip to the Cottage but finally rediscovered their form, with the winter signings scoring in the same game for only the second time since arriving at the club at the turn of the year. Given that both Jelavic and Long are ineligible to play in the FA Cup Final, game time looks guaranteed for the final three matches (avl & mun, EVE), and priced at 6.5 and 5.5 respectively, they may appeal to those looking for a budget option up top.
Dejagah in the Goals Again for Cottagers
Felix Magath started with a 3-5-1-1 formation for yesterday’s clash but a couple of half-time changes proved crucial. Lewis Holtby made way for the Iran international, who once again showcased his attacking threat for the Cottagers by taking his tally to four goals and an assist in nine appearances since Magath was appointed. With a trip to Stoke preceding a home encounter against Palace, Fulham could still yet clinch their survival – Dejagh, at 4.9, and the 5.0-priced Hugo Rodallega, whose assist means he has produced returns in each of the last three, look vital to their chances.
Rose the Unlikely Tottenham Hero as Shawcross Sees Red
Whilst most of the Fantasy attention surrounded Christian Eriksen for Spurs’ trip to Stoke, their left-back hogged the headlines as Tim Sherwood’s side clinched a somewhat unexpected victory. Rose’s first strike of the season – courtesy of an Emmanuel Adebayor assist – saw the Potters lose in front of their own fans for only the third time this term as the visitors moved to within three points of fifth-placed Everton. The north London club now have games against West Ham and Villa still to follow, and with four wins and a draw in the last six, have the momentum to edge past the Toffees.
Stoke still have reason for optimism in spite of yesterday’s disappointment. Mark Hughes’ side could have a major say in the battle to beat the drop – a home clash against Fulham and trip to West Brom see out the season, though they’ll need to make do without skipper Ryan Shawcross for the Cottagers clash, with the centre-half set to serve a one-match ban after being dismissed for two yellow card offences yesterday.
Bony at the Double Again as Swans Tear Apart Sorry Villa
The Ivorian mirrored last week’s brace at Newcastle as Swansea clinched their survival by thrashing out-of-sorts Villa. Bony’s second half of the season goes from strength to strength and there’s no doubt he’s placed himself firmly in Fantasy managers’ plans for next campaign – yesterday’s exploits took him to 16 goals in his debut year at the Liberty, a tally bettered only by Liverpool pair Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and United’s Wayne Rooney amongst forwards so far. Granted, his short-term appeal is dented by the lack of a double Gameweek 37, but with a home showdown against Southampton preceding a trip to Sunderland, his owners will be tempted to hold in light of his outstanding form.
A goal and two assist from Jonjo Shelvey, allied with a strike from Pablo Hernandez, highlights the attacking options at Garry Monk’s disposal. Shelvey’s 16-point haul – his highest of the season – took him onto 118 points in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game, just four fewer than Raheem Sterling, for example, and also suggests he may be a mid-price option to watch in 2014/15, providing the Welsh outfit can clinch their survival.
Amalfitano in the Points Again
The Baggies midfielder continued his recent form as Pepe Mel’s side clinched a crucial victory over West Ham to boost their chances of staying in the top-flight. Amalfitano had grabbed two goals and an assist in his previous four and once again made a key contribution, teeing up Saido Berahino for the only goal of the game. Available for a mere 4.2 and owned by just 2% of FPL managers, he now has a double Gameweek 37 – albeit trips to Arsenal and Sunderland – and a home game against Stoke still left and seems the one in-form option amongst Mel’s first-team who looks worthy of a flutter.