Gareth Bale blasts a hat-trick to confirm his returns to fitness and heavy-hitting fantasy status, while the Potters find a cutting edge to recover from an early setback and consign Liverpool to defeat. Here’s part two of the Boxing Day Stock Check…
On the Up
A devastating hat-trick took Bale to nine goals for the season and gives the Welshman six goals in his last six league appearances. Incredibly, Bale has scored just two goals and only one of his four assists at White Hart Lane, proving to be a deadly weapon on the road. With strong fixtures to come, Bale’s form will bring him huge investment with significant FPL price rises to follow.
His opening strike for Spurs took the England man to ten for the season and keeps Defoe bubbling in the FPL rankings, some 11 points ahead of Wayne Rooney. Bale’s form and his popularity as a midfield acquisition will doubtless dent Defoe’s appeal but Defoe shouldn’t be dismissed lightly. He has started every league match since Gameweek 11 and has never gone more than three starts without scoring.
The Spurs Defence
Their strong run continues: Andre Villas-Boas’ rearguard have now kept four clean sheets in the last five after earning their third consecutive shut-out this evening. With their fixtures remaining strong (sun RDG qpr), there’s no reason to suggest that this kind of form won’t continue in the short-term at least, with Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris justifying their current rankings in our Watchlist.
The converted spot-kick at the Britannia gave Gerrard a third goal in three league starts and means that he’s now delivered returns in five of his last six outings. As tonight’s display demonstrated, however, consistency remains an issue in the Liverpool camp.
One of the most unfashionable Fantasy assets around, Walters demonstrated what he is capable of by delivering a brace to notch his biggest returns of the season. With five goals and three assists so far, Walters has delivered strong value for his 6.4 price tag and, if Michael Kightly retains the right-wing role shifting Walters up in support of the lone striker, he could yet go on providing profit.
With strong and reliable budget options thin on the ground up front, Jones has quietly established a starting role in Tony Pulis’ side at the expense of Peter Crouch and is taking his opportunity. While the Potters attack is far from potent, Jones looks an effective blunt instrument and has provided two goals in three games, with an assist tonight – a good return on a 5.0 FPL price tag.
Ryan Shawcross & Geoff Cameron
Both were teetering on the tightrope and both toppled off with bookings in the victory over Liverpool. The Stoke defensive stalwarts, with over 40% FPL ownership between them, will now miss the home league clash with Southampton this coming weekend.
The Villa Defence
Having conceded just two goals in five matches between Gameweeks 12-17, Paul Lambert’s back four have simply capitulated in the last two matches, shipping 12 goals to Chelsea and Spurs. With five conceded to City and three to United, it’s becoming clear that Villa are all too easily disposed of by the bigger sides. While fixtures are obliging in the coming weeks, confidence in the Villa rearguard has been shattered.
Caulker has, on occasions, looked a strong option within the Spurs back four, having enjoyed a run of starts from Gameweek 6-11. Since then, however, he has been subject to heavy rotation with the likes of Michael Dawson, William Gallas and Jan Vertonghen all vying for the centre-back roles. Caulker was benched again today and with Benoit Assou-Ekotto close to a return at left-back, it appears the Vertonghen/Gallas partnership could emerge as the established first choice option.