As we all emerge from the hibernation of international week, I’ve decided it’s time to justify my status as Scout Contributor by dusting off the typewriter and picking up the Differentials again this week. We have a little bit of everything this time – we’re running the rule over an old Fantasy favourite, a youngster set to make his first start and another Belgian import who may well be primed to make his mark at Goodison next Monday…
Here’s a player that would surely have been essential last season had he nailed down a regular starting spot is ex-Manchester United striker. Dimitar Berbatov – seven goals in just 521 minutes of football meant he was involved in 50% of the United goals scored when on the pitch. As the Premier League’s top scorer in 2010/11 and the first United striker to hit three hat-tricks in a season since Ruud Van Nistelrooy, it’s no surprise that clubs were queuing up for the Bulgarian hitman’s signature over the summer. After flirting so precariously with Fiorentina, Berbatov caught the train from Manchester airport to West London at the last minute and now that he’s back in the Fantasy mix, we’re jumping on board before rush hour hits.
Despite losing two key players in Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey, Fulham will still fancy their chances this season and Berbatov, Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega will all have a big part to play. Of the three it is Petric that has had the most immediate impact but there is no denying the explosive potential of Berbatov. If he can get anywhere near his goal scoring record from the last few seasons with United, then we can expect his current FPL ownership level of 2.1% to rocket. Priced at 6.9 and 7.5 in FPL and the Sky Sports game respectively, he offers a decent option as our cheap third forward slots this weekend.
An injury to Neil Taylor brings the young Swansea left-back firmly onto Fantasy radars. While many had assumed new boy Dwight Tiendalli would be installed into Michael Laudrup’s first XI, the Dane confirmed earlier this morning that Davies will take his place for the trip to Aston Villa tomorrow.
While Laudrup admitted the 19-year-old is unlikely to nail down the role over the entire campaign, at present Davies looks firmly in the driving seat over the short-term, at least. Priced at 4.0 in FPL and a mere 3.6 in the Sky Sports game, he offers a cut-price route into a backline that has conceded in just one of their three fixtures thus far. With three home matches in the next four after this weekend (EV, RDG, WIG), Davies, with just 0.3% FPL ownership, is an intriguing option for those Fantasy managers looking for a defensive alternative over the next few Gameweeks.
As a real punt, we’re heading to Goodison to pick up one of Everton’s summer signings. Today’s news of an injury to Darron Gibson plays a significant part in our thinking – with the Irishman sidelined for “two to three weeks” due to a thigh problem, Marouane Fellaini may return to central midfield, affording Mirallas a role in “the hole” behind Nikica Jelavic. David Moyes may even decide to roll out a 4-4-2 for the visit of Newcastle on Monday evening and Mirallas – priced at 7.5 in FPL and 7.7 in the Sky Sports game is a real differential to consider, with just 0.3% ownership in both games.
Yet to begin a league game this term, Mirallas has been eased into the fold with a couple of sub appearances but highlighted his potential with two goals and a pair of assists in a sparkling debut, as Everton racked up a 5-0 Capital Cup win over Orient. His acquisition won’t come without risk but if he starts, as we expect, the potential for points against an injury-hit Newcastle may even see him outshine the more popular Jelavic (9.6%) in the final match of the Gameweek.