As usual on a Monday we bring you a round up of all the major talking points from the previous weekend’s action and this Monday is no exception but there is however a greater need for fantasy premier league managers to pay close attention to what has gone before as this week in the Irish Times fantasy premier league see’s the next round of games for round 14 starting tomorrow Tuesday 27th and running up until Friday night the 30th at midnight, with round 15 kicking off on Saturday as usual.
So with little time to waste between rounds let’s get down to business and have a look at the major points to take note of ahead of round 14.
After being dropped to the bench for Totteham’s 5-2 drubbing at the hands of north London rivals Arsenal last time out Defoe would have been eager to show why he should be the number one striker at The Lane and he certainly did that this weekend as he popped up with a brace as Spurs beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday. Defoe showed all he has to offer with a superb solo effort to get Tottenham off and running and he was also able to show he can do the simple things as he slotted home from 4 yards into an empty net after being set up by Aaron Lennon. With Adebayor suspended AVB has little choice but to start Defoe but with 7 goals to his name this season he may well be a viable option for fantasy managers at least until Adebayor’s return and the rotation risk rears it’s ugly head.
Round 13 saw United go into what many saw as a favourable home game with QPR and there was little doubt that Robin van Persie was the man expected to bring home the points for fantasy managers and there was certainly cause for concern for those managers who opted to continue without the services of the flying Dutch man, but in a surprising revelation the Dutch master failed to pick up any attacking points for the second game in succession much to the dismay of the 46% of fantasy managers who placed their faith in him, in fact RVP was the only United forward not to pick up points. Games against West Ham and Reading will surely afford him plenty chance to rectify his brief drought and ease his owners’ fears.
Wigan have one man to thank for their 3-2 victory over Reading at the weekend and that man is of course Jordi Gomez. Gomez has been somewhat of an impact sub for Wigan in recent times but when he plays with such pace and skill it’s difficult to ascertain why he doesn’s see more of a regular starting spot in the Latic’s line up. An injury to Franco Di Santo allowed Gomez his third start of the season and, lining up on the right of a front three and he certainly did his chances of a regular starting spot no damage with a super hat-trick . While Di Santo came off the bench and could now start in midweek, his record of three goals in 10 appearances may persuade Roberto Martinez to keep faith with Gomez and if that is the case he is one to watch over the coming weeks as Wigan face Man City, Newcastle, QPR and Norwich in their next four.
Black Cat’s on the bounce
Sunderland have seemingly sorted out their attacking frailties and after winning two games on the bounce fantasy managers can be forgiven now for thinking that the Sunderland strike force is one to consider for the coming weeks and with a home game coming up against QPR on Tuesday night they might just be right. Stephane Sessegnon’s two goals in two games and an assist last time out will have fantasy managers wondering if we are about to see the form that saw him pick up 7 goals and 12 assists last season as stated Sunderland face QPR on in round 14 and after that Sessegnon and Sunderland face a tricky trip to Norwich before back-to-back home games with Chelsea and Reading in a double fixture week for the Black Cat’s in round 16. Also back on the radar is Steven Fletcher who has picked up attacking returns for the second match running, having provided an assists for Sessegnon’s goal and it seems thing may be on the up at the Stadium of Light.
The Baggies bite back
After losing two games on the trot to Man City and Newcastle many thought that the Baggies train had run out of steam but it seems that that couldn’t have been further from the truth as the have gone onto win the next four beating Southampton,Wigan, Chelsea and Sunderland. Shane Long continued his superb season under Steve Clarke as he grabbed his 5th goal of the season and his second in two games. He has now produced attacking returns in nine of his 13 appearances and with returns like that could well be worth consideration for those looking to freshen up their forward lines. Throughout Clarke’s midfield and attack, there is consistency, though. Peter Odemwingie’s assist means he has produced points in three of the last four and, while as James Morrison dropped deeper, this afforded Zoltan Gera to move into “the hole” and find the net which will have caught the eye of many fantasy managers looking to make a few midfield changes to their squad and at £3.7 million is he relatively cheap.
Big Show, No Show
After all the hype surrounding this last weekend’s clash at the Bridge between Chelsea and City it turned out to be a day for the defenders as both sides kept clean sheets in what was in all honesty hugely disappointing for fantasy managers heavily invested in the likes of Silva, Mata, Tevez, Aguero and Hazard. With many of the Bridge faithful showing their discontent with the appointment of new boss Rafa Benitez their was little in the way of attack to show that he has made a difference as of yet, but of course it’s early days, at the back however it was Chelsea’s first clean sheet in 7 and their 5th of the season so all was not lost as they managed to keep the Champions quiet, as we said it is too early to read too much into the effect Rafa will have but if a stronger resolve at the back is to be one of them we will know more over the next three as they face Fulham, West Ham and Sunderland.
The Britannia fortress
The is no mistaking that the Stoke defence is one of the meanest in the league and after another clean sheet at home this weekend fantasy managers will be keen to cash in on their home form as they welcome stuttering Newcastle to the Britannia in round 14. Stoke have conceded just one goal in six at the Britannia now after keeping out Fulham which is all the more impressive, given the Cottagers had scored in each of their last nine, at an average of two per game. So it would seem that the Potter’s defence is where it is at at the moment for fantasy managers looking for a clean sheet or maybe even two if they double up. After round 14 Stoke face two away games against West Brom and Villa so caution is advised heading into those two especially against the high flying Baggies but for now investment in the Stoke back line of either Huth or Shawcross seems like a shrewd move for fantasy managers.
Garrido goes again
Norwich’s recent superb defensive form, allied with his assist against United last Saturday, made Javier Garrido a highly sought after fantasy prospect. The Canaries left back was brought in by many a fantasy manager ahead of last weekend’s clash with Everton and he didn’t disappoint as although the clean sheet eluded him he was on had to supply the assist for Bassong’s late equaliser at Goodison. Whether or not this is a band wagon worth jumping on for the long term is as of yet a little unclear but for the short term it can’t seem to hurt with the rejuvenated Carries in good form and with games coming up against Southampton, Sunderland and Swansea in the next three Garrido is certain to attract attention.
Saint’s Second Win
Southampton continued their winning ways over the weekend as they saw off an injury ravaged Newcastle side 2-0 at the Stadium of Light much to the dismay of former Saints’s boss Alan Pardew. In truth Southampton looked good value for the win with Gaston Ramirez the star of the show with a goal and an assist. It would seem that Nigel Adkins now has his midfielders playing the way he wants with Adam Lallana and Jason Puncheon also getting in on the act with attacking points. The Saints continue to be one of the most potent attacking teams in the league and the trio have become integral to their recent revival. With Ramirez now seemingly heading for full match fitness after his recent injury worries he is a hugely attractive option for those looking for a midfield differential. Round 14 will prove to be the litmus test for the Saint’s as they face another side on the up in Chris Hughton’s Norwich, but of they can get something from this game expect heavier investment in Southampton over the coming weeks.
Enrique pushed up
A second consecutive clean sheet for the Spaniard, who was again deployed in an advanced position on the left flank, with Stewart Downing behind him at left-back. It’s still not clear if Enrique will remain in this role but, in the short-term, he’s offering both attacking and defensive returns and in truth was unlucky not to get his second goal in as many games after his effort was adjudged to be off side and really for fantasy managers looking to invest in the Liverpool back line Enrique is the best option at the moment.