Having analysed the Likely Lads in the first of our two-part series focussing on the upcoming double Gameweek, we now turn our attentions to those players who may appeal to Fantasy managers willing to take a gamble or two:
Ron Vlaar has earned bonus points in seven of the nine occasions Villa have registered a clean sheet this term, though with a single assist to his name, he’s offered little in the way of attacking returns. Nonetheless, at 4.3, he offers a budget rout into Paul Lambert’s defence ahead of games against Hull and City, as the midlands outfit look to improve upon a recent record of just one clean sheet and 15 goals conceded in the last six.
Whilst James Chester’s name has been bandied about the site since last summer, Liam Rosenior could be the better option. The full-back is just slightly more expensive, at 4.1 to 3.9, but has picked up maximum bonus points on each of the last three occasions Hull have delivered a clean sheet – by comparison, Chester has mustered a single bonus point all season ahead of their trips to Villa and United. Rosenior’s attacking forays have also come to fruition in recent matches, with a goal and assist in his last six.
Despite a change of manager and tactical approach this term, the City left-back berth is no nearer being resolved. Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy have each started four of the last eight – the Serbian’s cult status around these parts will ensure he remains in some managers’ thinking, though; with a goal, seven assists and 12 bonus points to his name so far, the 5.0-priced Kolarov may well just appeal to those in the position to gamble.
Phil Jones has started each of the last eight for United, though with Ryan Giggs now at the helm, it remains to be seen whether his security of game time is quite so concrete. A 10-point haul against Norwich last weekend suggests Jones could well retain the right-back berth, though with Chris Smalling also in contention and Rafael closing in on a comeback, his acquisition may still be a little risky. If the 5.9-priced former Blackburn man can hold down his role in Giggs’ XI, back-to-back home games against Sunderland and Hull bode well for his points potential.
With Phil Bardsley dropping down the pecking order, Marcos Alonso offers the greatest attacking threat amongst Sunderland’s back-four. Available for 4.5 ahead of the games against United and West Brom, the Spaniard has very strong underlying statistics and has picked up an assist, a clean sheet and a single bonus point in the past couple of matches and is owned by just 0.2% of FPL managers.
Leandro Bacuna was forced off with illness at the weekend but is expected to recover in time for Villa’s home clash with Hull. Priced at 4.9, he’s scored five times and has a share of free-kicks to boost his appeal – amongst Villa’s outfield players, only the injured Benteke has produced more points this term. Coming in at 4.5, Marc Albrighton was fielded out of position on the right of the front three last weekend and picked up an assist – the second in his last three starts.
Hull duo Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone come in at 4.5 and 4.7 respectively. Both have produced 102 points this season – Livermore has chipped in with three goals and an assist, whilst Huddleston has found the net twice and provided six assists, with his underlying statistics the most impressive of the pair. Certainly, the trip to Villa looks their likeliest chance of picking up the points, with midweek opponents United desperate to turn in a strong showing in their last home match of a very forgettable campaign.
Stretchered off in the Gameweek 35 win over West Brom, David Silva’s fitness is a major concern ahead of City’s double. Frustratingly, the Spaniard had produced his most effective displays of the season prior to the Baggies match, with three goals, four assists and 10 bonus points in six appearances – such form suggests that, even if Manuel Pellegrini utilises him in just one of the upcoming games against Everton and Villa, Silva could still prove a worthwhile option. Tomorrow’s press conference should hopefully clarify the matter.
Handed his first home start since Gameweek 23 in Ryan Giggs’ first match at the United helm, Antonio Valencia caught the eye in a 4-0 hammering of Norwich with an assist and bonus point for his endeavours. The Ecuadorian is available for just 7.0 ahead of the Red Devils’ pair of home fixtures and could well be set to start both matches as Giggs looks for natural width down the right hand side.
Emmanuel Giaccherini has proven hugely influential in recent matches for Sunderland with a series of standout displays off the bench. The Italian has registered a goal and three assists in just 66 minutes over the last trio of fixtures but may have to make do with second-half cameos unless Gus Poyet swaps out Adam Johnson or Fabio Borini from the starting XI. If he can barge his way into first-team, though, Giaccherini – who sets you back 6.2 – clearly has the form to deliver.
Priced at 4.4, Graham Dorrans has struck twice in West Brom’s last five matches and has now started each of the previous seven – the Scot looks a viable alternative to his fellow wide-man Morgan Amalfitano for those scouring the market for a budget midfielder.Stephane Sessegnon has also scored twice in the last seven, though at 6.4, is far less favourably-priced after starting the season as a Sunderland player. Nonetheless, the Benin international’s underlying statistics are superior to any team-mate over the last few matches and his role in “the hole” offers him the chance for further returns.
Four goals and a pair of assists in his last six starts sums up Edin Dzeko’s current form. The big Bosnian has featured in the first XI in all but one of City’s last seven matches and seems to have moved firmly ahead of Alvaro Negredo in the pecking order – priced at 7.1, he’s far more budget-friendly than team-mate Sergio Aguero but with the Argentine and Wayne Rooney targeted by many, Dzeko may struggle to oust the likes of Luis Suarez or even the in-form Connor Wickham for the third forward slot. Bearing in mind that Yaya Toure and a City defender are also high on Fantasy shopping lists this week, the Bosnian may well sneak under the radar as Manuel Pellegrini’s side look to fire the goals against Everton and Villa.
Given the strength of United’s two fixtures, Robin Van Persie could be the best double Gameweek punt in some time. The Dutchman’s hat-trick against Olympiakos last month, in the very match that forced him onto the sidelines with a knee injury, hinted that he was finally finding his best form of the season and with United sure to go on the attack, there’s no question that he could flourish. There’s enough doubt surrounding his game time to make his acquisition a risk, though. With a World Cup just around the corner, will Ryan Giggs take unnecessary risks with Van Persie’s fitness or simply ease him back to match sharpness with a couple of sub roles? Wayne Rooney is certainly the safest option but his strike partner is more than capable of having a real impact on this upcoming Gameweek and may will be the preferred choice of those looking to chase down mini-league rivals.
Handed his first start since Gameweek 27 last weekend, Saido Berahino vindicated Mel’s decision by firing the winner against West Ham. As mentioned in yesterday’s Say What article, the Baggies boss was full of praise for the youngster’s performance and Berahino – priced at 4.5 – looks poised to retain his starting berth for the double, with the midlands outfit hoping he can make the same impact as Sunderland’s Connor Wickham and help fire them to safety.