After the excitement of the champions league midweek it’s back the domestic action as our coaches here in the managers office take a look at midfielders for round nine of the Irish Times fantasy Premier league. The midweek champions league action turned out to be very disappointing from many Premier league teams as Chelsea and Arsenal both lost on Wednesday night, Manchester United however showed go to spirit and determination to come from behind on Tuesday night at Old Trafford.Our coaches have kept the close eye of those fixtures and certain individuals who are sure to figure heavily in many fantasy Premier league teams. Looking by at round eight of the Irish Times fantasy Premier league it was a disappointing week for many fantasy managers as Gareth Bale failed to appear for Tottenham’s game against Chelsea’s as his girlfriend went into labor and are Santi Carzorla was another heavily tipped player who failed to perform in round eight as Arsenal failed to produce the goods against Norwich, but with a number of interesting fixtures coming up this weekend we turn our attention to the prospects that lay in store for round nine and give you our early thoughts on some midfielders who could perform very well for your fantasy team this weekend.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham) £5.4 million Fixture: Southampton (Away)
Gareth Bale was a surprise exclusion from Tottenham’s match day squad as they lined up against Chelsea at White Hart Lane, unawares to fantasy managers his girlfriend went into labour an hour before kick off and he rushed from the ground to be by her side. Tottenham went on to give a good account of themselves as they played out an enthralling game which saw 6 goals, but unfortunately for Spurs Bale’s absence was notable and they lost 4-2, but this time round Bale will be back in the starting line up and raring to go as they travel to Southampton in a game that on paper looks to be already decided. The Saint’s have conceded 9 goals in their last 3 games and have only managed one win so far this campaign. With the Southampton defense shipping goals like nobody’s business this will be a game made for Tottenham and Bale as they look to get back to winning ways and Bale will certainly be one to bring in ahead of Sunday’s kickoff.
Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) £4.4 million. Fixture: QPR (Home)
After a bitterly disappointing round 8 for both his team and from a Fantasy Football managerial point of view, Cazorla will be chomping at the bit to get back to the excellent form he has shown since his arrival in England. Arsenal welcome QPR to the Emirates stadium on Saturday afternoon when they should well get back to winning ways. The R’s are without an away league win in 17 attempts which will further the Gunners’ confidence for Saturday’s encounter. The Spaniard already has 2 goals and 3 assists to his name and could well capitalise on QPR’s dreadful away record. They have already conceded 9 goals in 4 away league games and their unwanted record doesn’t look like its about to change this weekend. Cazorla has been offered something of a free role by Wenger and plenty of Fantasy Football managers have profited from this. His ability to find free space in and around the opposition’s penalty area could prove fruitful both for Arsenal and for Fantasy Football managers in what looks like a likely victory for Arsenal.
Juan Mata (Chelsea) £5.3 million Fixture: Man United (Home)
The enigmatic Spaniard has been in superb form this season for Chelsea and the evidence of this was clear for all to see as he notched up 2 goals and an assist against Spurs at the Lane on Saturday as Chelsea ran out 4-2 winners. The Blue’s stand top of the table four points clear of Manchester United ahead of this weekends encounter at The Bridge and despite it being only October if they can beat United a seven point gap would be very beneficial as we head towards the busy Christmas period. Mata has been without doubt at the heart of Chelsea’s good play along side Eden Hazard and the pair will be looking to breach a United defense that has been less than impressive so far this season. Despite what you think the outcome of this game will be the chances of United keeping a clean sheet are very slim and there can be no doubt that Mata will be a thorn in their side and look to punish any lapse in concentration.
Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) £6.4 million. Fixture: Sunderland (Home)
Although Walters has just one league goal to his name thus far, he has shown plenty of quality and along with his goal, his 3 assists have seen him well up the list of points scoring midfielders. A home tie with Sunderland this weekend, provides him with the ideal opportunity to improve his current tally of points. Walters has formed a decent partnership with Peter Crouch and has been playing further forward off the big striker. This makes Walters an attractive proposition for prospective Fantasy Football managers as Walters is listed as a midfielder when he in fact plays the majority of his football in an attacking role. Walters is also the first choice spot kick taker for The Potters. With 3 draws and a defeat, Sunderland are yet to win away from home in the league. Stoke showed plenty of promise in last week’s defeat to Man United, while Sunderland needed a late own goal against 10 man Newcastle to salvage a point. The Black Cats defence hasn’t been all that convincing this season and when they come up against the big and powerful duo of Walters and Crouch on Saturday afternoon, the Irish man looks to be the likely benefactor.
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