As the New Year rolls around many fantasy managers will have been hopeful of ending the year with a bang and after what can only be described as a goal fest of a weekend it would seem that many managers will have done just that. There were no few than 41 goals this weekend with 7 players scoring two or more goals over the weekend and there were also 4 players who chipped in with two assists by the close of play on Sunday which means that it will most certainly have been a weekend full of fantasy points for many.
As usual on a Monday our coaches here in the managers office have gone through each fixture and come up with a compilation of the best and the worst pieces of news that fantasy managers should be aware of as we head into another round of games on New Years day.
As the contract saga rumbles on into the new year Theo Walcott once again showed why he deserves the deal he is after with a hat trick and two assists against Newcastle on Sunday. The England international was given his third consecutive start up for the Gunners and as you can see he didn’t disappoint as Arsenal tore the visitors apart in the second-half and certainly made a convincing case for a continued role up front.
With Walcott in such fine form netting 4 goals and three assists in his last three games his fantasy prospects ove the coming days look strong as Arsenal travel to Southampton. It would seem that it is not only Walcott’s display that has fantasy managers excited about the Gunner’s potential, Olivier Giroud’s introduction against Newcastle saw the French man move up front with Walcott moving out wide and it did little to dampen the Gunners attacking strength as Giroud stepped up with two goals and it is also worth noting that Walcott did still manage a goal and two assists from the flanks which goes to show that he is still capable of getting results from the wide areas and his points return may not be completely hinged on him retaining that central role.
After his brace from the bench Giroud will have undoubtedly forced his way in the reckoning for the Gunners game at St Mary’s and may just be one to keep a close eye on over the coming weeks if you are looking for a differential.
Bemba Ba once again showed why he has been linked with a winter move away from Newcastle as he grabbed two goals against the Gunners to make it 13 goals for the season so far. Newcastle as a whole are in somewhat of a free fall after the weekends defeat means that they have now conceded 16 goals in their last five games and have only won 2 in their last 10 which now leaves them just three points off the drop zone heading into the new year.
Ba has however been removed from their bad results as he continues to find goals despite the team’s results. Yesterday’s returns continued the form that has seen him also produce attacking returns against City and United in the last four Gameweeks – indeed, Ba has scored or assisted against eight of the current top 10, an indication of his ability to produce the goods regardless of the opponent and may be one for the watch list ove the coming weeks.
Suarez Strikes Back
Having only managed one goal in his last six previous league games fantasy managers will have been growing somewhat restless with the Uruguayans lack of fantasy points and many will I’m sure have been hovering over that transfer button but for those who opted to show him faith they were duly rewarded. Suarez looked back to his best as he notched up two goals against a struggling Rangers defence.
Liverpool welcome Sunderland to Anfield on the 2nd of January and fantasy managers will surely be eyeing this one up as another game where Suarez can excel but after that it is certainly not plain sailing for Suarez and Co as they face Man United, Norwich, Arsenal and Man City in the next four, so although Suarez looks to be a good option for this Wednesday’s game he may struggle to return points after that.
To say there was an element of disbelief on Saturday when the Manchester United team sheet was announced on Saturday is an understatement as Sir Alex decided to rest fantasy favourite Robin Van Persie against West Brom. Fantasy managers who handed the Dutch man the armband will have certainly feared for the worst but in true Van Persie fashion he came off the bench to grab a goal and ease the worries of many.
Danny Welbeck was handed the lone forward role with Shinji Kagawa returning from a knee injury to play just in behind but in truth the pair did little to impress the manager or fantasy suitors for that matter. With Hernandez firmly stuck to the bench this weekend and with Van Persie given a rest for most of the game the pairs potential of starting against Wigan on New Year’s day has been given a boost as they head to Wigan.
Dzeko Stakes Claim
With City seemingly struggling for goals over the last few weeks Saturday’s result and indeed the manner in which they got it will have undoubtedly pleased Roberto Mancini and fantasy managers too now have cause to be hopeful as the City attack sparked into life. Roberto Mancini’s decision to hand Edin Dzeko a start was justified as the Bosnian netted twice inside 4 minutes and also added an assist later on to make it a good day for the out of favour striker. Tevez’s illness meant that Dzeko was handed the start and it would seem that he has certainly staked his claim on a starting spot against Stoke next time out.Dzeko’s height could be crucial both up front and when defending set-pieces and if he does start don’t be surprised if he finds his way onto the score sheet for the second consecutive week.
There was further good news for City and fantasy managers as Sergio Aguero also seemed to be finding some form once again as he got a goal and an assist against the Canaries. Aguero has been off the boil over recent weeks and as far as fantasy potential is concerned he has shown little promise prior to last weekend’s game, but now that he is back to scoring ways fantasy investment in the City striker may represent a safer bet that that of his rotation risk strike partners Dzeko and Tevez over the next couple of weeks.
Gareth Bale’s recent hat trick will have undoubtedly enticed many fantasy managers to transfer him into their side in the hope of a repeat performance over the coming week’s but after the Tottenham midfielder picked up his fifth yellow against Sunderland he will be forced to sit out Spur’s New Year’s day clash against Reading meaning that fantasy managers who took the punt will now have to wait for any return until round 22 against QPR as Tottenham travel across London to face off against former boss Harry Redknapp.
There is hope for fantasy managers looking for Tottenham midfield cover as Aaron Lennon continued to impress from the right hand flank as his goal against Sunderland mean his has produced attacking returns in his last two games and could well be one to consider as cover for the now suspended Bale.
Mata Continues To Impress
Juan Mata has been one of the most consistant players in the game this season and he delivered once again for his owners with the assist for Lampard’s winner. Incredibly, Mata has now returned either a goal or assist in eleven of his last twelve Premier League starts – his only blank being the 0-0 draw with Man City. That kind of consistency will surely tempt investment with Gareth Bale sitting out Gameweek 21 through suspension. It’s QPR at home next, with the only real concern being Mata’s pitch time.
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