GW15 Preview: Liverpool’s Luis Suarez simply has to be backed to nail Hammers
We’ll make no apologies for failing to be very original, but after urging you all to make Luis Suarez (£12.4m) your main man for Gameweek 14, we’re going to do so again.
Suarez’s stunning display and four goals – three of which will surely be contenders for Goal of the Month – in Liverpool’s 5-1 victory over Norwich City on Wednesday will live long in the memories of all who were fortunate enough to witness it, and ahead of the visit of West Ham United to Anfield on Saturday there simply isn’t a better captain choice than the Uruguayan.
There were plenty of astonishing statistics doing the rounds on Wednesday night – Suarez has now scored 11 goals in his last four games against Norwich, something that could only bring a rueful smile and a shake of the head from John Ruddy when he embraced him at full-time – but there are others to consider ahead of the weekend too.
After missing Liverpool’s first three home league games of the season through suspension, Suarez has now scored an incredible 10 goals in his four Anfield appearances during this campaign.
Having only scored twice as a team in those three home games their star forward was absent for at the start of the campaign, Liverpool have now hit 16 goals in their last four games on their own turf, something that is sure to worry a West Ham side who lost at Crystal Palace last time out and have only won once away all season.
Another huge blow to the Hammers will be the absence of midfielder Ravel Morrison (£5.1m) through suspension.
The former Manchester United man would have been looking forward to taking on the Reds, but without him and with Suarez in this kind of other-worldly form, there only looks to be one result on the horizon at the weekend. And one man whose goals will provide it.
Elsewhere, there is a former Liverpool player who might just help to fill the Morrison-sized hole in your team.
Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey (£5.3m) was terrific in racking up 14 points in the 3-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday, and with three goals and three assists this season he is certainly a player to be keeping an eye on.
The Swans face a home game with Hull on Monday night and then go to a Norwich side who will potentially still be dazed from the Suarez show, and Shelvey can take advantage as his team try and break into the top half.
That Swansea-Hull game at the Liberty Stadium is the last of the weekend, but you could argue that the most important will be the first.
Manchester United have slipped to ninth following three winless games, and after the defeat to Everton the bad news keeps coming for David Moyes, who’ll be without the suspended Wayne Rooney (£11.2m) for the home clash with Newcastle.
The Scot will be desperate for Robin van Persie (£13.8m) to return to fitness for that game, which could see Danny Welbeck (£7.0m) make a third start in a row.
There will be plenty of people who fancy Everton to get a result at Arsenal following their win at United, and unlikely Old Trafford hero Bryan Oviedo (£4.3m) will surely keep his place for the trip to the Emirates.
However, the final say there is more likely to come from Mesut Ozil (£10.3m), who scored his first goal in six in the Hull win. Nicklas Bendtner (£6.5m and selected by a huge 0.0% of teams) will drop back to the bench.
Chelsea and Manchester City will be seeking to keep pace with the Gunners at the top as they face two more tricky away games having come through Wednesday night unscathed.
City go to a Southampton side who are suddenly falling away a little, and Alvaro Negredo (£9.3m) will surely return to the visitors’ team in place of Edin Dzeko (£6.8m), whilst Yaya Toure (£9.6m) will be as crucial as ever.
Chelsea are at Stoke, and although that will bring familiar challenges they are likely to be overcome if Eden Hazard (£9.6m) demonstrates the brilliant form he showed in the win at Sunderland.
He didn’t quite reach the levels set by Suarez on Wednesday, but frankly who can?
Gameweek 15 preview: The case for the defence – Volume II
After our Gameweek 8 focus on some of the men who ply their trade at the back, the case for the defence has been reopened ahead of a weekend which is likely to see defenders prove as important as ever.
Scrappy Gameweeks 13 and 14 saw clean sheets and defensive bonus points become vital, and if you can get your hands on a player who will provide both as well as offering an attacking threat then it’s wise to hold onto him. Fortunately there is one currently stationed on Liverpool’s left wing.
Just how long Brendan Rodgers continues with his efforts to transform Jose Enrique (£5.9m) into the new Gareth Bale remains to be seen, but the Liverpool manager’s selection of the Spaniard ahead of converted left-back Stewart Downing in his side’s last two games shows that this is an experiment which is set to last.
Ever since taking up the left midfield role in the second half of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea in Gameweek 11, Enrique has carried a greater goal threat than any other Reds player bar Luis Suarez. He almost scored in that Chelsea game, provided a goal and an assist in the win over Wigan, had an effort controversially disallowed at Swansea and came close numerous times in Wednesday’s loss at Tottenham.
With Southampton visiting Anfield on Saturday the home crowd will be expecting their underachieving team to both create plenty of chances and keep it tight at the back, two elements of their game that could see Enrique pick up plenty of points. He could even be a left-field left-sided captaincy choice for the brave and the bold amongst you.
Whilst the former Newcastle man is a familiar face to Fantasy players thanks to his five-and-a-half years in the English game, there is also a relative newcomer who could also be worth considering this weekend.
Manchester City’s Matija Nastasic (£5.5m) will need no introduction to Joleon Lescott after the young Serbian took the England defender’s place in the City team, and after starting City’s last six league games the 19-year-old looks here to stay.
The champions have kept five clean sheets in those six matches, and whilst Nastasic’s team-mate Pablo Zabaleta (£5.8m) is another name to consider as an alternative to the expensive Vincent Kompany (£7.2m), the Serb’s price only looks like rising throughout the campaign as City’s title challenge seemingly grows stronger. City’s defenders do come with a warning of a fixture list which sees them face Everton and Manchester United in their next two matches, but Nastasic might just be worth the risk.
Elsewhere as we continue our look at the men at the back, perhaps the weekend’s best chance of a stalemate – Gold-dust when we conduct these cases for the defence – comes at Loftus Road where QPR face Aston Villa in a contest which will see Ryan Nelsen (£4.0m) marshal the home defence and Villa’s Matthew Lowton (£4.5m), Ciaran Clark and Eric Lichaj (both £4.4m) all feature for the visitors.
Manchester United left out Rio Ferdinand (£5.9m) for the midweek win over West Ham at Old Trafford, with full-backs Patrice Evra (£6.8m) and Rafael (£6.5m) perhaps the only two certain starters for their Saturday evening trip to Reading, whilst Chelsea seem to have no problem keeping clean sheets under Rafael Benitez, with Ashley Cole (£6.5) certain to be a key part of the attempt to keep a third in a row as they go to West Ham.
If you need a cheaper option though then it might pay to head to North London, where Per Mertesacker (£5.3m) has started Arsenal’s last eight matches and popped up with a goal in the Gameweek 12 win over Tottenham.
The Gunners have only kept two clean sheets in those eight matches, but they’ll expect to be on the front foot as Swansea visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, whilst the return from suspension of Fabricio Coloccini (£5.0m) should shore up Newcastle’s back-line for Monday night’s visit of Wigan.