As the fantasy premier league winds down for a weekend full of F.A Cup action this weekend fantasy managers will be keeping a close eye on the transfer window as clubs begin to bring in new acquisitions. But as for what as has gone before the midweek saw another action packed fixture list full of goals and of course fantasy points. As per usual our coaches here in the Managers Office have disseminated the information and compiled it all into an “all you need to know” about round 21.
Suarez Shines Again
After a few games of drawing a blank many managers were teetering dangerously over the transfer button on Luis Suarez’s head but after picking up two goals against QPR in round 20 many managers opted to give the Uruguayan a stay of execution and they were duly rewarded as the Liverpool striker grabbed another brace against Sunderland at Anfield on Wednesday night. These goals move Suarez to 15 goals for the season and with Liverpool’s star man in fine form he seems to be an obvious fantasy acquisition for those looking for a striker.
There is however a word of warning for those considering taking the plunge, Liverpool’s run of games over the next four are far from pretty as they head into three away games in the next four against Man United, Arsenal and Man City with a home game against Norwich in fixture week 23. These games will surely prove to be a stern test for Liverpool and Suarez and fantasy managers who are getting excited about Suarez’s point return may well need to taper their expectations over the coming weeks. There is of course the arrival of Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea which will also have fantasy managers worried about rotation as the new boy looks to find a place in Brendan Roger’s starting eleven.
Gerrard Back To Best?
Steven Gerrard has lone since been a fantasy favourite and up until recently the notion of bringing in the Liverpool skipper was a laughable one, but it seems that may all be all about to change. “Stevie G” as he is affectionately known around Anfield has now either scored or assisted in his last six games with three goals and six assists to his credit in that time and on the balance will have probably gone under the radar of many but when you consider that only Theo Walcott has returned better points during the last six games Gerrard returns look all the more impressive.
Again much like his team mate Luis Suarez the fixture list will put his potential to the test but if there is one thing we do know about Gerrard is that his is a big game player and the games don’t come much bigger that the ones Liverpool are about to embark on.
Cisse Or Bust
With the news coming before last Wednesday night’s game against Everton the Newcastle we losing Demba Ba to Chelsea many Magpie’s supporters will have been fearful that they may suffer even further problems resurrecting their season with the hopes of goals lying on the shoulders of their struggling striker Papiss Cisse. Cisse had managed a mere three goals going into the game in comparison to Demba Ba’s thirteen and if ever he needed to get a goal Wednesday night’s game was it and he didn’t disappoint as he netted his second goal in three games to help boost the confidence of the fans.
Cisse had an incredible second half to the season last term after he made his debut in February and managed thirteen goals and two assists in thirteen games. Alan Pardew and fantasy managers will be hoping for a repeat showing from the big center forward and with Ba departing for Chelsea Pardew has indicated that Cisse will revert into his favoured central attacking role as apposed to the wide right position we have seen him play in the past.
Newcastle go into a mixed bag of games over the next few weeks with home games against Reading, Chelsea and Southampton on the cards while the away days are also mixed with trips to Norwich, Aston Villa and Tottenham. There is little doubt that Cisse has the ability to light up the score boards and bring in the fantasy points and managers would be well advised to watch this situation very closely, because if Cisse explodes the points will follow.
Rafa’s Rotation Strikes
It has long since been known that Rafa Benitez is the master of the rotation policy and he has once again shown us why as he opted to rest Mata and Ramirez heading into last night’s shock 1-0 defeat to QPR. The decision to rest Mata interrupted a run of returns which had seen the Spaniard provide either a goal or an assist in his last five league starts but it would seem that Rafa is not prepared to let his players play five or six games in a row if he can prevent it.
Another who could now find themselves a rotation risk is Fernando Torres, the Spaniard has found his goal scoring touch once again under Benitez but with the news that Demba Ba is on his way to the Bridge Torres may well be forced to take a back seat and allow the new boy some room. It is unclear as of yet how if indeed at all the two could play along side each other in the current Chelsea system so there may very well me more rotation heart ache for fantasy mangers with a vested interest.
After finding himself sitting on the bench for the start of last week’s game there is little doubt that his goal from the bench did even more to enhance his already glowing reputation among fantasy managers. It was business as usual for Van Persie on Tuesday night as returned to the starting line up to face Wigan and do the business is exactly what he did as he continued his goal scoring rampage with two on the night not to mention an assist.
It seems to make no difference whether he’s partnered by either Wayne Rooney or Javier Hernandez up top for the Red Devils; the points simply keep coming. Van Persie has now produced attacking returns in each of his last eight and has scored or assisted in 16 of his 18 starts since moving to Old Trafford last summer.
Hernandez was also on form for United as he too picked up two goals and an assist. “Chicharito” now has three goals and two assists in his last two starts for United and although there is little doubt that he will make way upon Rooney’s return for the moment he could well prove to be a differential with a difference as United head into a decent run of games from round 24 on.
Aguero Out, Dzeko In?
Despite finding their goal scoring touch over recent games City will be disappointed to have lost Sergio Aguero after he accumulated a goal and an assist against Norwich in City’s 4-3 win at Carrow Road, Aguero seemed to be struggling towards the end of the game and came off on 76 minutes and it would seem that the Argentine has picked up a hamstring injury although the extent of the damage is unknown as of yet.
The injury to Aguero will certainly come as a blow to City and to fantasy managers but there is light at the end of the tunnel with Edin Dzeko now certain to start in Aguero’s absence. Dzeko has now scored three in his last two starts and he has also chipped in with an assist to help bolster the City attack. Roberto Mancini’s men go into a third round cup tie at the weekend with Arsenal waiting in the wings in round 22. If Dzeko is rested for the F.A Cup then it may be safe to assume that he will start against the Gunners, but again this is all based on the premise that Aguero’s hamstring injury is one that will keep him out for a number of weeks.
Berbatov Bounces Back
After six weeks without a return Dimitar Berbatov fell of the radar and was simply one that could but didn’t. There has been much talk about his body language and his effort but it would seem that December has cast it’s magic over the former United striker as he urges his fellow team mates to “Keep Calm And Pass Me The Ball” according to his t-shirt worn during hid goal celebration in round 19 and it would seem that his team mates listened as Berbatov netted his second goal in three games to add to his assist in round 20 meaning that he is once again a viable fantasy option. The Cottagers have some tricky games coming up over the coming weeks but there is still hope that the Bulgarian can continue to produce when the fixtures suit.
Walcott Delivers Again
Theo Walcott once again continued to provide attacking returns for fantasy managers although they were not to the scale perhaps that many expected the England international is still consistently gaining attacking returns meaning he has now either scored or assisted in five of his last six games notching up 5 goals and four assist and if we go back further he has managed 7 goals and 7 assists in eleven games.
Walcott is turning into a must have player for fantasy managers and one that can score at home or on the road, but with some tough games coming up for the Gunners don’t be surprised to see his points return diminish over the next four week’s with games against Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool on the cards during that time.