The other Dutchman delivers. City turn up the volume on their neighbours. United’s defence is the latest to capitulate. Our futile search for an assured clean sheet returns goes on. Here’s Gameweek nine broken down…
While City collectively hijacked the weekend headlines, from a Fantasy manager’s perspective, Rafael Van der Vaart’s brace at Blackburn raised the alarm. The Dutchman’s haul was signposted; his spot-kick conversion at Newcastle issued a reminder to his potential as controller of Tottenham’s set-pieces.
Van der Vaart was duly raised in our Watchlist rankings to our top five midfielders and Sunday saw him deliver on that promise with two goals, fetching maximum FPL bonus in the process. As mentioned in our Scout Notes earlier, it’s five goals in four games for the Dutchman.
The reaction has been immediate – Van der Vaart is already the most transferred in player so far this gameweek, as Fantasy managers desperately look to juggle resources to find a “route to recruit”.
Therein lies the problem. As David Silva continues to deliver and Nani prepares to enter a run of favourable fixtures, finding room and the finances in midfield areas is tough. Scrimping on the forward line is an option but surely a major risk. Some will cash in on the wasteful Luis Suarez ; others may even look to get rid or Wayne Rooney to free up funds.
Certainly, looking at the transfers out so far, the likes of Rooney, Ashley Young and Nani are being sacrificed – Suarez has also suffered heavy sales. While all those players face testing away games this weekend – they follow that with home fixtures against Sunderland and Swansea respectively.
Knees appear to have been jerking and there’s set to be thousands relying on returns when QPR pull up at White Hart Lane at the weekend.
We’ve had our fill today – the press have pulled apart Man City’s 6-1 thrashing of United with the same kind of precision demonstrated by Roberto Mancini’s ruthless attackers on Sunday. It’s a performance and a result that could well shape the season – the reactions of both teams now crucial, with United threatening a backlash, City promising more of the same.
For Fantasy managers the attacking returns were unanticipated – the emergence of Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko as mid-price options continues, as does the uncertainty surrounding their starting roles. Indeed, looking ahead, the anxiety surrounding the City teamsheet for the gameweek 10 clash with Wolves is already palpable. With a trip to Villarreal a week on Wednesday, Mancini will surely be weighing up his options for a home clash with a side who narrowly escaped a sixth successive defeat against Swansea on Saturday. Will he need Sergio Aguero and David Silva? Even Vincent Kompany’s owners will be fidgeting.
While it appears that few City players are safe from Mancini’s messing, Sunday’s showing demonstrated that Fantasy managers have to live with the uncertainty or risk missing out on an array of truly explosive attacking talent.
The Talking Point
The dismantling of the United defence exposed the weaknesses that we’ve been seeing with alarming regularity this season. While Nemanja Vidic’s absence is significant, even with the Serb installed, United have looked a fragile defensive force. Their demise at the back has already seen funds shifted to attacking areas of our Fantasy squads, with dirt-cheap defenders drafted in to fill the gaps. It’s a tactic encouraged by the fact that Ferguson’s men aren’t the only side who have failed to deliver – right now, Fantasy football is facing up to a defensive crisis.
Chelsea’s performance in the 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road was admirable but there’s no escaping the statistic that Andre Villas-Boas’ side have still kept just a single clean sheet this season. Jose Bosingwa will escape suspension against Arsenal in gameweek 10 due to Chelsea’s Carling Cup involvement, but patience is surely wearing thin with the Portuguese full-back and his defensive colleagues.
Bosingwa’s net transfers in the Fantasy Premier League game already show a deficit of 36K and it’s difficult to argue against that given the fact that Arsenal will draw up to Stamford Bridge next weekend. With Liverpool and Man City also at the Bridge in the next six, Bosingwa’s remaining owners may need to cling to the hope of clean sheets away from home or further attacking returns from the right-back – a far from ideal scenario when you consider the funds involved.
Newcastle have so far provided a course of some reliable low-to-mid price defensive talent but, when you scan their forthcoming fixture list (sto EVE mci mun CHE), it seems unlikely that they will continue to help compensate for the lack of clean sheets amongst the “ bigger” sides.
That leaves us relying on Stoke City to exploit their forthcoming run of three home games in four and, rather surprisingly, back at United’s door.
Will the 6-1 thrashing inspire new focus from Ferguson? With Vidic back in the defence, will the United boss look to build results from the back in the weeks to come?
With a fixture list that lends assistance, there’s little doubt that United’s defence still has the potential to deliver in the month ahead. The real question is, how many Fantasy managers will invest in that potential and dare to keep funds tied up at the back?