After the relatively short supply of goals in Tuesaday night’s fantasy fixtures managers will have been hoping that those going into action on Wednesday night would have set things right and brought home those much needed fantasy points. To a certain extent is wasn’t all that bad but with one or two fantasy favourites stuttering to a stop many fantasy managers will not have exactly been all smiles come the final whistles. As we look forward to hopefully another exciting transfer deadline day there are sure to be some new prospects for fantasy managers to toy with but for now let us concentrate on what has gone before as our coaches bring you all the talking points from last nights fixtures.
Rafa’s rotation strikes again
Chelsea’s intrim manager seems hell bent on frustrating fantasy managers this season with the persistance of his rest and rotation policy. Having opted to start with Fernando Torres in the F.A Cup in last Saturday’s game against Brentford Demba Ba looked to be odds on to make a return to the starting line up for last nights trip to the Madejski but once again Rafa fooled us all and continued to show faith in the miss-firing Torres. The Senegalese striker was only introduced to the proceedings in the 90th minute as Mata and Lampard racked up the points. So often a constant source of points at former club Newcastle, Ba’s potential under the Rafa Benitez is plunging at the speed of light by the week. Last nights “no show” looks to have been the final straw for fantasy mangers and a fire sale of Ba looks imminent.
There is good news for fantasy managers however with the Chelsea midfield continuing to produce attacking returns. Juan Mata and Frank Lampard were both on the mark for the Blue’s as the pair continue to show their fantasy potential. Mata was also on hand to grab an assist last night and has picked up five goals and six assists in his last ten games and with stats like that he is one for every fantasy manager to consider. Frank Lampard is never one to be out done as he too is finding his goalscoring touch as he takes his tally to six goals in eight games. With both payers seemingly going untouched under Rafa’s rotation policy they represent the best option for fantasy managers looking for Chelsea coverage. There is slight concern over the the fitness of Juan Mata after the Spaniard was taken off with 15 minutes left to go last night and Rafa was quick to tell us that he picked up an ankle injury but should be ok for the weekend.
Le Fondre does it again
Having spoken about his prospects over the past few weeks Adam Le Fondre has done it once again and engineered another resurrection for the Royals. The Reading striker may not be particularly pleased with his recent second-half substitute role but it’s clearly working wonders for Reading. Le Fondre came off the bench last night with 24 minutes left on the clock with is side 2-0 down to the European champions and not for the first time got the goals to secure a point that see’s his side move out of the relegation zone. Le Fondre has now scored five times in just 72 minutes over the last three matches, with his goals earning his side seven points over that trio of fixtures. The Reading manager is likely to continue his tactic of starting matches Pavel Pogrebnyak as the lone forward in a 4-4-1-1 and move to 4-4-2 late on, however, with that fantasy managers may well still be put off bringing him into their side.
Having been dropped to the bench in the last two league games Wayne Rooney was handed a start last night against Southampton and he didn’t disappoint as he netted twice for the league leaders as they continue to pull away from their city rivals at the top of the table. With Robin Van Persie so hotly fancied prior to kick off Rooney’s brace stole the show and will give fantasy managers plenty to think about going into round 25. Fulham are next up for United and as we all know Rooney is a streaky striker and genrally goes on goal scoring runs so there could be more to come from “Wazza” over the coming weeks.
While United couldn’t keep the expected clean sheet thanks to a terrible back pass from Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra was once again on hand to grab an assist to give him the rather impressive stats of attacking returns in six of his last eight games, meaning regardless of United’s defensive performances Evra can still return fantasy points week in week out.
Baines is back
Having seen his fantasy ownership plummet over recent weeks due to a lack of returns Leighton Baines was once again back in the limelight as he helped Everton to a 2-1 win over West Brom, bagging a brace in the process. The Everton rear guard looks to be getting it together with two clean sheets in their last three and with Baines now back among the goals fantasy investment in the left back may not be the worst move for managers looking to freshen up their back line. With favourable games coming up against Villa, Norwich and Reading either side of trips to Old Trafford and the Emirates now could be the time to get on top of this bandwagon that looks to be gaining pace as Everton continue a run of form that has seen them beaten only three times and only once at Goodison this season.
Bale returns improve
After a number of weeks of poor fantasy returns Gareth Bale began to show signs of a return to form last weekend in the F. A Cup and thankfully for fantasy managers is wasn’t a false alarm. Bale was on hand last night with a superb solo effort to help Spurs grab a draw at Carrow Road last night. having returned a hat-trick back in round 18 prior to last night Bale’s value looked to be waining but after his goal last night fantasy managers will be keeping a close eye on the Welsh winger. While he has failed to offer the same sort of consistency as Mata and Walcott, or even Steven Gerrard, Bale is sure to be there or there abouts in terms of points returns over the coming weeks and is certainly one that could require patience from fantasy managers but with his ability he will surely come good over the long term.
Walcott remains on the right
Having made an argument for inclusion as an out and out striker at the Emirates Theo Walcott’s time up front looks to have come to an end with Arsene Wenger opting to deploy him out wide right last night against Liverpool. Not to be put off by this the inform Walcott once again produced the goods as he grabbed an equaliser last night maintained an outstanding run of form. Since establishing himself as viable fantasy prospect, Walcott has now scored or assisted in 11 of his last 13 starts. The winger has now scored in three consecutive games and given his continued ability to deliver from out wide, it seems his calls for a central role will prove futile. Olivier Giroud’s display as the lone forward has hardly helped Walcott’s cause, either. The Frenchman had bagged a brace in each of his last two in all competitions and proved instrumental in Arsenal’s comeback, with a goal and assist contribution in the 2-2 draw. Prior to fixture week 23, Giroud had managed 90 minutes and not a single start in his previous five – suddenly, he looks a different proposition altogether and with confidence flowing, may even be snapped up as alternative Arsenal coverage to Walcott, given his comparatively cheaper price tag.
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