James Wilson is United’s goal hero as Ryan Giggs makes eight alterations to the United XI in their final home match of the season. Robin Van Persie emerges from the bench to fire the Red Devils’ third, whilst Matty Fryatt ruined the hosts’ clean sheet by notching for a much-changed Hull XI as Steve Bruce looks towards the FA Cup Final:
Giggs Bloods Youngsters
With only pride left to play for this season, and a new managerial reign potentially on the horizon, Ryan Giggs chose to showcase the talents of United’s academy last night. Whilst the likes of Juan Mata and Ashley Young found themselves consigned to the bench, teenagers Tom Lawrence and James Wilson both made their debuts in a United shirt, with the latter grabbing the headlines with two goals and a commanding display in the lone forward role. Adnan Januzaj was afforded his first start since a goalscoring performance against Newcastle back in Gameweek 33, and although he failed to pick up any attacking returns, the Belgian impressed throughout his 90-minute display and was heavily involved in the build-up to all three of his side’s goals, suggesting he may well keep his starting berth on Sunday.
Mata owners, meanwhile, now face the decision of whether to sell after last night’s no-show. In what has become one of the most disappointing double Gameweeks in memory so far, injuries and team selection leaving us filled with uncertainty and searching for alternatives as the final round of fixtures approaches. Ironically, David Moyes’ departure has lessened Mata’s Fantasy prospects – he’s started just one of Giggs’ three matches in charge, playing 96 minutes over that trio of fixtures.
Goalscoring Cameo for Van Persie
Whilst Wayne Rooney missed out once again for United with a groin complaint, Robin van Persie tasted action from the bench for the second successive game and rewarded the 1,200 managers to plump for his double Gameweek services with an 86th-minute goal and two bonus points. Although the Van Persie alternative has hardy proved pivotal across the Gameweek, those who took the ultimate gamble by investing in the Dutchman will be consoled by the fact that he outscored fellow heavy-hitter Sergio Aguero by eight points to five, and will hope to see him return to the starting line-up for United’s final game against Southampton on Sunday.
Whilst his owners will now likely hold after last night’s strike, Van Persie faces a tough task on Sunday at St Mary’s. Given that Southampton have conceded a single goal in their last four matches, Rooney and Aguero owners are more likely to target Liverpool and City alternatives, with Daniel Sturridge and Edin Dzeko set for significant investment prior to their respective home clashes with Newcastle and West Ham.
Jones Exits Early as Vidic Waves Goodbye
As well as shuffling the pack further up the field, Giggs opted for a unconventional defensive line-up, with Patrice Evra’s 11.4% ownership left disappointed by the full-back’s omission from the squad and Phil Jones the only defender to survive from last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sunderland. Jones, however, only lasted 21 minutes before leaving the field with a shoulder injury which could dent his World Cup hopes. Post-match, Giggs gave a tentative analysis of Jones’ condition:
“He knew straightaway he had done something. Usually when something like that happens it is not great. Hopefully he will be OK but it is too near [to the incident] to say.”
Owned by just 3% of FPL managers, Jones’ potential absence on Sunday will have minimal effect and will allow Giggs to freshen up the backline once again. If anything, last night’s teamsheet highlighted the fact that the Welshman’s next starting XI is likely to be equally unpredictable and with the rumours of Louis Van Gaal’s installation growing stronger, investing in any United player at this point carries an unnecessary degree of risk. Many managers loaded up on their assets prior to the double but a mass exodus looks likely as we turn to more secure options for Sunday’s finale.
Hull Strikers Blank Again
Having both notched in Gameweek 36, Hull’s forward duo Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic harboured a fair amount of attention going into the double Gameweek, but the pair ultimately disappointed. With the former only afforded 45 minutes at Old Trafford, and the latter an unused sub despite neither being eligible for the upcoming FA Cup final, the strike partners failed to make up for their blanks against Aston Villa at the weekend. Both sit firmly in the differential bracket and with Sunday’s opponents Everton conceding two or more goals three times in their last four fixtures, even a sub appearance could see Long or Jelavic get in amongst the points and give their owners that vital edge over their mini-league competitors. The only concern is that Bruce is now solely focussed on the Wembley clash with Arsenal and, as last night’s teamsheet showed, the Tigers boss may look to give his other forward options increased game time in preparation for the Gunners showdown.