An injury to Marko Arnautovic may cause further widespread changes among Fantasy Premier League squads.
His owners will be sweating on a hamstring problem in the coming days and will have their eyes on alternatives already.
Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Felipe Anderson owners as a host of differential options helped West Ham to their latest win.
West Ham United 3-1 Cardiff City
Goals: Lucas Perez x2 (£6.2m), Michail Antonio (£6.8m) | Josh Murphy
Assists: Robert Snodgrass x2 (£5.3m), Arthur Masuaku (£4.3m) | Sean Morrison (£4.7m)
Marko Arnautovic (£7.2m) could be the next player to leave the Fantasy Premier League template after he was taken off injured in West Ham’s win over Cardiff. The Austrian forward went down clutching his hamstring and it seems unlikely he will feature too much over the Christmas period. The return to fitness of Andy Carroll (£5.4m) as well as the form of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (£6.2m) and Lucas Perez (£6.2m) mean that Manuel Pellegrini has plenty of options to replace him. If he is set for some time on the sidelines, the popularity of Callum Wilson (£6.9m) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.6m) should rise accordingly.
“It is a hamstring injury, we will see tomorrow.” – Manuel Pellegrini
Also stepping up as a potential alternative option at West Ham was Robert Snodgrass (£5.3m) who recorded two assists in the win. Since returning from suspension in Gameweek 14 he has started two matches in a row while Grady Diangana (£4.5m) has featured for just 14 minutes. The Scottish international was also subbed after 75 minutes at the London Stadium suggesting that Manuel Pellegrini is keen to use him again in Gameweek 16. Snodgrass’ two assists were a delivery on the creative promise he’s shown this season. In the last four Gameweeks, he had created more chances than Felipe Anderson (£7.1m), who came out of the 3-1 win with just two points.
The only reason that Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m) did not get his first home clean since Gameweek 6 was because of a scrappy late Cardiff City goal. The Bluebirds had not particularly threatened in the match and the Hammers were certainly on course for a well-deserved shut-out. In contentious circumstances, Josh Murphy (£4.8m) bundled the ball over the line deep into stoppage time with Fabianski obstructed from being able to make a save. However, his owners will still be content with his first-half penalty save and eight-point haul.
Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m) missed out on the match with his recent injury problems. He was considered a doubt for the encounter but was fit enough for the bench, although he did not come on.
Michail Antonio (£6.8m) got his first goal of the season, a header from one of Snodgrass’ corners. It was an impressive display from him but Fantasy managers looking at West Ham options should probably exercise caution. The midfielder was deployed at right-back, not for the first time in his Hammers’ career, allowing first-choice Pablo Zabaleta (£4.3m) could have a rest. With Ryan Fredericks (£4.6m) still out injured, Antonio may well be the preferred alternative to Zabaleta at right-back during this busy period where rotation will be rife.
Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere (£4.8m) was entirely absent from the matchday squad having sustained a minor pain in his ankle.
“Jack (Wilshere) has a small pain in his ankle, not the one he injured before. If he is not 100 per cent then I was not going to select him.” – Manuel Pellegrini
Joe Ralls (£4.7m) announced himself as Cardiff City’s penalty taker but his time in that position may be short-lived after seeing his poor effort saved.
It was a poor night for Cardiff and their Fantasy options. A number of them are still playing out-of-position, so to speak with Callum Paterson (£5.3m) the centre-forward once again and Victor Camarasa (£4.6m) deployed on the right flank of the attack.
Murphy has now featured only as a substitute in two of his last three matches while, as we already mentioned, the circumstances of his headed goal were fortuitous at best.
West Ham XI (4-4-2): Fabianski; Masuaku, Ogbonna, Diop, Antonio; F Anderson, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass (Diangana 75′); Arnautovic (L Perez 40′), Chicharito (Carroll 64′).
Cardiff XI (4-1-4-1): Etheridge; Bennett, Bamba, Morrison, Ecuele Manga; Gunnarsson; Hoilett (Murphy 64′), Arter, Ralls (Mendez-Laing 64′), Camarasa; Paterson (Harris 73′).
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