What a week of fantasy action it has been so far and of course it is not over yet with one more game of round 23 still to go as Southampton take on Everton later tonight. Southampton of course go into this one with their new managers in place after the Saints parted company with Nigel Adkins last week and it will be very interesting to see how they line up, given that most new managers have their own ideas about the best starting eleven, which could see some of the nailed on fantasy players relegated to the bench but like I said we will have to wait and see how it plays out.
Looking back at what we have seen over the course of round 23 to date their were some big talking points and as always our coaches are here with their usual review of the weekends action with their managers notes.
Suarez swaps with Sturridge
With plenty being made about where Liverpool new boy Daniel Sturridge will fit into the Liverpool starting line up it would seem that we finally have an answer. With both Suarez and Sturridge starting for the first time in the league together against Norwich on Saturday, it was Luiz Suarez who made way for Sturridge to play up top with the Uruguayan dropping into “the hole” just behind Sturridge. Brendan Rodgers rolled out a 4-2-3-1 formation to accommodate his new signing from Chelsea and watched on as both forwards found the net against the Canaries. So it would seem that the Liverpool gaffer prefers Sturridge as his out and out striker, yet the deeper role for Suarez doesn’t seem to be effecting his fantasy potential, Suarez has now delivered attacking returns in five of his last six games and despite a tough games coming up against Arsenal next time round it is hard to see him falling off too much.
Daniel Sturridge now also give fantasy managers something to think about as he returns his third goal in three games for the Reds and of course there is that price difference which could entice fantasy managers to make the switch to the former Chelsea man. Trips to Arsenal and City now follow and will perhaps deter many but the schedule from fixture week 26 onwards looks good which should see the Liverpool attack prosper regardless of which of the two you select.
Gerrard’s return continues
The Liverpool captain’s return to form look to be showing not sign of slowing down as he once again produced a goal to add to the other 3 goals and eight assists his has picked up in his last ten games. Gerrard is having one of his best fantasy seasons in a long time and has probably gone under the radar of most fantasy managers with many opting to bring in Suarez as Liverpool coverage for their fantasy side. Of course as we have stated Liverpool’s fixtures are less than desirable with Arsenal and City to come, but the Red’s fixtures easing up from fixture week 26 on, Gerrard could be a good differential option for managers looking to make up ground in their fantasy leagues.
Chelsea midfield dominance continues
Once again this week the Chelsea midfield continued to impress as they won out 2-1 at Stamford Bridge against London rivals Arsenal. Juan Mata was particularly impressive as he got Chelsea underway with a sublime piece of control and a super finish to give the Spanish international his eighth goal of the campaign. Mata’s consistency of returns is frightening and presents a compelling argument to sit tight, despite concerns on the occasional rest especially given he has now returned a goal or assist in seven of his last eight league starts.
Frank Lampard is another who is flying high on the radar as he continues to build a case for a new contract at Chelsea, the 34 year old notched up his 195 goal in blue as he put the pensioners two to the good from the spot after Ramires was brought down in the area by Wojciech Szczesny. Lampard’s spot kick duties have given cause to the rise in his fantasy popularity, the England international has now scored 8 goals this season with five of those coming in his last seven games. Although like most of the Chelsea squad Lampard is subject to Rafa’s rest and rotation policy his prospects are still enticing with Reading, Newcastle and Wigan to come in the next three.
Silva springs to life
The City playmaker had scored just once in the league prior to yesterday’s win over Fulham, and despite racking up nine assists, had fallen off the radar of many fantasy managers with better, cheaper midfield options offering better returns over the last number of weeks, but it would seem that that may all be about to change with the little Spaniard netting twice in City’s 2-0 win over Fulham. Silva’s return to goal scoring form couldn’t have come at a better time for fantasy managers as City go into a run of games that see’s them face off against four of the current bottom six in the next six weeks. His consistency of starts in Roberto Mancini’s line-up is another clear selling point, he has now been named in the starting line up in every match since week 11, which will ease the rotation worries of fantasy managers.
Sure fire RVP
It would seem that the script was already written before Sunday’s game at White Hart Lane that the former Arsenal man would grab a goal and indeed he did. Van Persie’s opener once again illustrated his worth as a fantasy powerhouse. The Dutch man has now scored in each of his last five outings and given the fact that he has only failed to score on one solitary occasion in his last ten, he is undoubtedly a fantasy must have regardless of the impending fixtures.
Elsewhere there were a few surprises when the United team sheet was announced as fit again Wayne Rooney was only afforded a place on the bench on Sunday with Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa slotting in either side of RVP. Phil Jones also made his return to the starting line up in the league for the first time this season as he was deployed on the right side of a three man midfield and was hugely impressive as he kept Gareth Bale under wraps for most of the game, Jones start in midfield will have caught the eye of many fantasy managers looking for a differential but the truth of the matter is that he is unlikely to continue in that role over the coming weeks and his spot in the side less than assured .
Royals rise again
For the second time in succession Reading have come from behind in the last quarter of a game to claim all three points, this time it was the Toon who suffered at the hands of Brian McDermott’s late substitutions. It was Adam Le Fondre who came to the Royals rescue as he came off the bench on 70 minutes to score twice. Reading are putting a bit of a run together with their third win in four and as a result fantasy managers could be tempted to invest in the newly promoted club. There is a worry for fantasy managers however with Brian McDermott clearly preferring a 4-4-1-1 with Pavel Pogrebnyak starting up front alone, with a 4-4-2 tending to be rolled out only when Reading are chasing games.This means while Le Fondre’s recent run that has seem him score three times in his last two games will undoubtedly attract fantasy attention a starting spot in the side could be less that assured over the coming weeks.
Remy announces his arrival
After our recent look at the prospects of QPR’s new signing Loic Remy he was quick to announce his arrival to the premier league as he scored with his first attempt on goal in a R’s shirt, he strike came courtesy of an Adel Taarabt assist which is a promising sign of their new emerging partnership in the pair’s first game together. The 1-1 draw at Upton Park see’s Harry Redknapp’s side extend their unbeaten run to three. Remy’s goal will undoubtedly tempt investment from fantasy managers, but with QPR set to face United and City in the next four, attacking returns for the Frenchman could be hard to come by.
Sunderland solider on
Steven Fletcher’s brace against Wigan over the weekend was the difference as the Black Cat’s ran out 3-2 winners at the DW Stadium. Back amongst the goals for the first time in five weeks Flectcher’s have earned Sunderland a fourth win in six which will somewhat ease the worries around the Stadium of Light. Fantasy wise managers will be looking at the former Wolves man as an intriguing prospect over the coming weeks, Fletcher has now scored or assisted in five of the last eight matches for the Black Cats with a run of games coming up that see the northern club face Swansea, Reading, West Brom, Fulham and QPR in the next six , Martin O’Neil’s in-form outfit look to continue their climb up the table.
Adam Johnson is another Black Cat that is rising to the top, an assist against Wigan last time out see’s the former City winger go to 2 goals and 2 assists in his last five games and with the favourable games coming up that we mentioned above Johnson could well find himself in contention for many a fantasy side over the coming weeks.
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