The #FY Top 5 for GW8, including Santiago Vergini and, hang on, Marouane Fellaini does play for Man Utd?!
What was it Martin Tyler said when another Argentinean, Sergio Aguero, scored another pretty famous Premier League goal?
“Just watch it, drink it in! You’ll never seen anything like this ever again!” Quite.
Tweet of the Week
This cannot possibly backfire.
Nope. Not going to backfire at all.
Three minutes later… By the way, seeing the words ‘Fellaini Blind’ next to each other on a scoresheet might explain a few things since he’s joined United.
Balotelli isn’t even bothered here. It’s Lallana who I feel sorry for.
Who needs Diego Costa? Well, all of us, clearly, but still. This was nice.
With next season already promising to be hugely different given the dramatic developments at Old Trafford this week, cherishing this campaign suddenly looks to be even more important.
For Wigan Athletic, that seems to ring true more than loudly than for others.
The Latics will be FA Cup finalists at the weekend, but come Tuesday they could find that their eight-year stint in the Premier League is over. Should results go against them at the weekend, then nothing less than three points from their next match will do if they are to stay in the top flight. Unfortunately for them, that next match is at Champions League-chasing Arsenal.
The Gunners may have lost this fixture last season, but they simply can’t afford to do that now.
With Theo Walcott (£8.9m) returning to fitness and form then they certainly don’t look like doing that, and the England man could play a large part in confirming the Latics’ relegation.
Walcott scored and completed 90 minutes in both of his last two matches for the Gunners, taking his tally to 13 strikes and 13 assists during a hugely productive season.
As Arsene Wenger’s men close in on a top four place Walcott looks to be a hugely important figure, and he’ll enter the Wigan game high on confidence, which could end up spelling trouble for Roberto Martinez and his boys.
Any discussion about the battle for the top four – and of course your ongoing battles in Fantasy Premier League – isn’t complete without a mention of Gareth Bale(£10.9m), who takes his considerable talents to Stoke City this weekend.
Bale and Spurs might find it tough going there, but they should eventually come out on top in a match which is sure to see defender Jan Vertonghen (£6.8m) come under threat from Stoke’s attack.
Elsewhere, Everton’s Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) is sure to find support ahead of their Blues’ match against mid-table West Ham at Goodison Park.
The Belgian has been in fine form throughout the campaign and he’ll be determined to impress in his side’s final game in front of their own fans this season. Following the Blues’ goalless draw at Liverpool last week he could be one to back as they look to find the net again.
As for Liverpool, they go to a Fulham side still not safe from relegation just yet, and with both Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez unavailable then the onus is sure to fall on Philippe Coutinho (£6.7m) and Daniel Sturridge (£7.0m). Dimitar Berbatov (£7.1m) will of course be vital for the hosts.
At Berbatov’s former club, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last home match in charge of Manchester United brings selection issues with it, but he is likely to once again start with Robin van Persie (£13.7m) upfront for the visit of Swansea. Those prone to a little bit of nostalgia might like to back a few Fantasy points for Ryan Giggs (£6.0m) and Paul Scholes (£5.0m) too.
Back in the cold hard world of chasing the Champions League, Chelsea will be happy that Aston Villa are now all but safe as they prepare for a trip to Villa Park early on Saturday.
Rafael Benitez’s side will be in no mood to let up now as they look to finish as high as possible, and with the battle between Fernando Torres (£9.3m) and Demba Ba (£7.8m) sure to be dominating many thoughts, it is Juan Mata (£10.1m) who continues to make his team tick.
Somewhat bizarrely denied the winning goal at Old Trafford last weekend, Mata will be doubly determined to impress at Villa Park.
He could be a vital addition for your side.
Many thanks to Inside FPL for this great post which looks at why Santi Cazorla should be considered for your FPL team. Check out Inside FPL on twitter @insidefantasyPL . You can also sign up for their free FPL weekly newsletter delivered directly into your email address. Click their logo at the bottom of this article for more information.
Santi Cazorla – Differential Potential?
A lot has been made of midfielders through this season’s fantasy football campaign, with 5 players in particular dominating manager’s selection thoughts – Bale, Mata, Michu, Fellaini and Walcott. But there is a 6th player who, whilst not exactly under the radar, has not grabbed the imagination as much as the others, is actually the 3rd highest scoring midfielder in the game, and 5th overall. He’s also as nailed on as anyone in Arsenal’s starting lineup, In this article we take a look at the Arsene Wegner’s £16m summer signing from Malaga, Santiago “Santi” Cazorla González, review his fantasy form, and prospects for your team through to the end of the season.
Cazorla was immediately handed the advanced role in the midfield three, ahead of the double-pivot typical now in the modern 4-2-3-1. He made a big impact as soon as GW3, with 2 goals away at Liverpool and 13 FPL points. At the time Arsenal were receiving plaudits for a new found defensive resolve and his Anfield brace came on top of him topping the key pass and shooting charts. A real prospect then, and with a home clash against promoted Southampton ahead the transfers soon flowed in. Almost 100,000 managers brought in the Spaniard for GW4 but despite a 6-1 thrashing of Southampton Santi registered just a single assist. He bounced straight back though with an assist and 2 bonus points away against Man City and followed that up with 3 goals in his next 7 games, including goals in games against Man Utd and Tottenham.
Cazorla really garnered full-on fantasy attention though with a hat-trick and assist in a 5-2 away win at Reading, scoring a whopping 23 points, the second highest single GW score this season, behind Walcott’s 26. This did come in the middle of an a lean spell though, just the one, albeit a big one, goal-scoring performance in 10 games. With his hat-trick haul still fresh in the mind though and a double gameweek on the horizon Cazorla’s ownership peaked up at 21% but despite a fairly decent return during this time 5% of managers have since got rid, driven mainly due to some scintillating performances by team-mate Walcott, plus the form and opportunities of alternatives in Gerrard and Bale.
The infographic below shows Cazorla’s form, which we measure by comparing the number of shots he takes from inside the penalty box with how many shots in the box Arsenal have. We can see that Cazorla’s form basically tracks Arsenal’s. If his team do well, so does he, if the team are struggling, so does he. He doesn’t carry the team and dominate, like Bale does, or Ba did for Newcastle. He doesn’t produce something out of nothing a la Van Persie.. He’s had a real slump through January too, scoring just once and averaging only 3 pts/game in that time, but as can be seen he’s got himself back involved in Arsenal’s attack now, and the goals and points have returned.
So, what are the prospects for Santi from now through to the end of the season? Well, we imagine it’ll be business as usual, but without the winter slump, averaging about 6-7 points per game through to the end of the season. This places him behind Bale, and indeed behind Walcott, but level with the likes of Mata and Michu. He’s significantly less owned though than all these other players, who are all 25-30% except for Michu who is almost at a staggering 50% now. Arsenal also have a tempting set of fixtures to come after their GW29, playing Reading, Norwich and Wigan at home, and Fulham and QPR away, plus another double gameweek, making Cazorla a massive differential captain option through that stretch. Keep an eye on his price, he could be just the player to make the kind of difference that counts.
InsideFPL are dedicated to bringing you expert analysis and unique services to help you dominate your mini league. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and price change notifications at www.insidefpl.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter for more FPL news and goodies @insidefantasyPL.
There has only been one star in Manchester United’s and in 44.8% of Fantasy Premier League teams’ seasons.
Robin van Persie (£14.1m) has been the main man, the top goalscorer, the top points scorer, the man outshining all the others. He has looked indestructible. He even survived that attack from Ashley Williams at Swansea before Christmas.
The man eclipsed by the rise and rise of Van Persie’s star has been Wayne Rooney (£11.8m), as frequent injuries and frustrations have left him looking enviously at his team’s Dutch master and wondering just how he let a top billing that he used to own slip so easily into the former Arsenal man’s grasp. Just recently though, he’s been making hay whilst Van Persie was away.
Alright, they were in the FA Cup. And okay, he did hopelessly miss a penalty in the West Ham game, but Rooney has found the net in each of United’s last two matches at Old Trafford – matches that Van Persie was rested for – and so should be in a confident mood ahead of the visit of Southampton on Wednesday night.
The forward is itching to impress after scoring just seven Premier League goals this season, and he could just be the key to a strong ending to the season for both United and for your Fantasy team.
As the pressure cranks up, each and every win for United looks more and more important as they seek yet another title. Sir Alex Ferguson could find himself turning to the man who has been there and done it before in a bid to get over the line.
That bid could start on Wednesday.
Elsewhere during this midweek Gameweek – everyone loves a midweek Gameweek don’t they? – there will be tales of cup woe to be shared at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal meet Liverpool.
Supporters of Bradford City and Oldham Athletic can watch that one with smug smiles on their faces, and one man that Liverpool will need to watch closely will be the Gunners forward Olivier Giroud (£7.8m), who could just shunt Theo Walcott (£9.4m) out to the right of midfield again following his excellent recent form.
There were also cup woes for Norwich and QPR at the weekend, and they don’t look like disappearing in the league as the duo host Tottenham and Manchester City respectively. Gareth Bale (£9.8m) and David Silva (£9.4m) look to be the men to watch.
Rafael Benitez takes his Chelsea team to Reading, and in amongst the usual suspects in his Blues side – although there’s no Eden Hazard here of course – it could also be worth looking at the visitors’ defence, particularly the Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.7m) who has racked up four assists since becoming more of a regular in the Blues’ team in November. Against a Reading outfit who have been known to leak goals at home, he’ll be looking to get forward.
Everton should also be on the front foot in their match against a stuttering West Brom, and many bosses will be hoping that Marouane Fellaini (£7.7m) can return to scoring ways after failing to find the net since December 1st. Meanwhile, Nikica Jelavic (£8.0m) has lost support following just one goal in 12 games.
One man who is more used to hitting the back of the net recently is Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke (£6.5m), and with the Belgian forward providing one of very few rays of light amidst the doom and gloom surrounding his club this season, Villa will be looking to him to fire against a similarly out of form Newcastle United at Villa Park.
He can do just that, and ensure that whilst his star still isn’t as high as Van Persie’s or even Rooney’s, it will at least stay on the rise.
To the die-hard Fantasy manager, the FA Cup is nothing but an inconvenience.
It is simply an unwanted chance for your players to get injured, to suddenly rediscover some flickering form or to play themselves out of contention for the next league game. What use were last weekend’s goals from Robin van Persie, Michu and Luis Suarez to anyone but Uruguayan Beach Volleyball Team selectors anyway?
Fear not though, for the Premier League returns this weekend, and it does so with a bang for the European champions (yes, believe it or not they still are).
Branislav Ivanovic (£7.1m) may have exhibited a worrying fondness for providing assists for the opposition during the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea, but if we’re going to stay strong and keep our disdain for the cup competitions alive then we are going to have to ignore that and instead look forward to him taking his place in a Chelsea defence which is about to embark on a Double Gameweek. Or will he?
The gradual return to fitness for John Terry (£6.5m) and the constant relocation of David Luiz (£6.6m) – sometimes inadvertently – means that the only member of Chelsea’s back four surely certain to line up against both Stoke and Southampton is Ashley Cole (£6.5m), who looks to be a fine investment for Fantasy bosses who may have activated their January wildcard ahead of this weekend, and who scored the winner and kept a clean sheet which Stoke visited Stamford Bridge in September.
Further forward, the signing of Demba Ba (£8.6m) has put the once secure place for Fernando Torres (£9.8m) under threat, whilst Rafael Benitez will surely avoid angering Fantasy bosses for a second Gameweek running and restore Juan Mata (£9.9m) to his Premier League line-up after resting him for the shock loss at home to QPR.
Harry Redknapp’s side entertain the manager’s former club Tottenham at Loftus Road in Saturday’s early match, with Gareth Bale (£9.8m) primed to score big on a weekend when many of his highly priced rivals are facing tougher fixtures. A wildcard move for the Welshman could have benefits well beyond this Gameweek.
Before the FA Cup so rudely interrupted us the name on everyone’s lips was that of Theo Walcott (£9.0m) but he and Arsenal face a tough test at home to Manchester City this weekend, with City likely to be missing the hamstrung Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) and Carlos Tevez (£8.9m) looking to start.
Suarez (£10.4m) won’t have many friends at Old Trafford and is unlikely to find many points either, with Robin van Persie (£14.0m) certain to lead the line for Manchester United against Liverpool. Those who back the Reds defence – which could include the cheap Andre Wisdom (£4.3m) after Jose Enrique (£5.9m) was ruled out for six weeks – to keep out the Dutchman aren’t short of options to replace him, with one of those options coming at Sunderland.
The Mackems have a relatively friendly set of four fixtures coming up, and so Fantasy bosses who had lost faith in Steven Fletcher (£7.0m) could be tempted to turn back to the Scotsman ahead of his side’s home match against West Ham, whilst the departure of Ba is sure to see Papiss Cisse (£8.8m) given a central striking role for Newcastle’s visit to Norwich if he can overcome a knock.
Another battling injury is Southampton’s Gaston Ramirez (£5.6m), but the Uruguyan is certainly worth keeping an eye on ahead of the Saints’ Double Gameweek trips to Aston Villa and Chelsea, whilst teenage full-back Luke Shaw (£4.0m) could find himself becoming an inexpensive addition to plenty of teams once that wildcard kicks in.
Whilst his price hasn’t yet risen, Marouane Fellaini’s (£7.4m) has been falling ever since his three-match ban, but with the Belgian back and ready to play a part in what look to be a winnable next four games for Everton, starting with this weekend against Swansea, then his addition could be crucial.
There’s a curious phenomenon which involves not thinking about something, because if you do then you automatically lose.
I won’t go any further into it for fear that you’ll all join me amongst the ranks of the defeated, but the frankly quite annoying craze does raise the question of just how far you could go if you managed to keep the negatives and their consequences out of sight and out of mind.
Death, taxes and the continued popularity of Justin Bieber can’t be avoided whatever you do of course, but sometimes it is better just to not think about where your actions are taking you because of the added pressure that they create. Success breeds success, but it also breeds expectation.
Everton’s fine start to the season has got some of their supporters thinking about a Champions League place already, just weeks after those same fans were facing the prospect of potentially losing manager David Moyes to Tottenham – one of at least half of the clubs in the Premier League who are better financially equipped for a top four place than the Blues.
That’s not to say that there are at least 10 better teams than Everton in the league at the moment, because clearly there are a lot less.
Second at the start of October is a superb and deserved position for Moyes’ side to be in, with the club’s success a testament to the fine signings made by the manager in the last two transfer windows and his ability to keep hold of his key players.
Outsiders may have seen the summer sale of Jack Rodwell to Manchester City as a severe weakening of Everton’s playing resources, but offer any Goodison Park regular the choice of selling him, Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines or Nikica Jelavic and they’d have driven Rodwell down the East Lancs Road to Manchester themselves.
That one of those players probably needed to be sold is due to the still curiously unreported financial situation at a club which, despite the progress on the pitch, is standing still off it under the ownership of Bill Kenwright.
The theatre impresario made a cameo appearance on Coronation Street earlier this year, and the majority of Everton supporters have long since come to view his insistence that there isn’t a suitable party out there to buy the club and invest in it as a tired old act.
It is for this reason and not for anything that they are doing on the pitch that Everton should just try to keep things ticking over at the moment. Getting up to the higher reaches of the table has been one thing, but staying there will be another once the might of the usual suspects kicks in.
Of course this would be the perfect time for investment to arrive at a club with a talented playing squad, passionate fans and a committed manager determined to succeed for both, but those supporters have long since grown tired of Kenwright’s caution and aren’t expecting radical changes any time soon. In the meantime they can just enjoy the fine football their team are playing.
And they could well go on playing it.
Visits to Wigan and QPR in their next two matches either side of the international break are unlikely to faze this Everton side, and neither will the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park at the end of the month – although the Blues do seem to have a knack of coming up short against Liverpool when many consider them favourites.
That is a negative thought though, and such things should be banned from entering Everton heads. Right now they are one of the big boys of the Premier League and they should go on thinking like that.
‘Taking each game as it comes’ is one of the oldest and most useless phrases in the football handbook, but as long as those games are approached positively then there’s no reason why good runs can’t be extended to be become good seasons.
Just try not to think about what’ll happen to Moyes, the players and the club if it doesn’t though.
The trouble with pesky competitions like the Capital One Cup – which still sounds like an employee of the month award – is that they can easily get in the way of your Fantasy Premier League team’s progress.
They can affect the mood of teams in the real thing too, and as such Everton’s week suddenly doesn’t look as rosy as it did when Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) headed in the third of their three goals in the convincing win at Swansea last Saturday.
The cup loss to Leeds in midweek saw the chances of David Moyes making this the season that he picks up a first trophy at Everton effectively reduced by 50%, and the question now has to be whether or not that’ll affect the Blues’ fine league form which has taken them to third in the table after five games.
All eyes will be on Goodison Park on Saturday then, as Everton seek to bounce back at the first time of asking by welcoming Southampton.
As fixtures go it is a pretty decent one to make your recovery from midweek misery, and if you can see them getting over the Elland Road loss quickly then expect the Blues to be flying come Saturday afternoon. With fixtures against Wigan and QPR to come in the immediate future too, it could be a good time to put your faith in Moyes’s boys to earn you points, with Fellaini the man most likely.
That said, Nikica Jelavic (£8.4m) is also primed to return here after missing the Swansea game and only appearing as a substitute against Leeds, whilst those who can afford Leighton Baines (£7.2m) will be getting a severely underrated defender who has already contributed a goal, two assists and two clean sheets this season. He could well be set to add to that tally at the weekend.
Across Stanley Park at Liverpool, things could just be about to change for the better.
Last weekend’s unfortunate loss to Manchester United brought an end to a tricky run of fixtures for Brendan Rodgers’ side, and although the midweek Capital One Cup win at West Bromwich Albion was achieved with a smattering of youngsters, it might just have restored somewhat of a feelgood factor amongst those at the club.
Norwich await in the Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday, and with the Canaries having only found the net twice in their five league games this season – plus with winnable home games against Stoke and Reading on the horizon – it might just be the time to put your faith in Rodgers’ rearguard.
Injury and rotation issues mean that the only two defenders certain to start for Liverpool at the weekend are Glen Johnson (£6.4m) and Martin Skrtel (£6.0m), and with the pair offering the potential for assist and goal points respectively then either could be good additions. It is further forward where Liverpool could make their mark this weekend though, with Raheem Sterling (£4.6m) still an astute cheap choice and Luis Suarez (£9.4m) ready to fire back at a ground where he scored a hat-trick last season. Those now debating whether or not to stick with Carlos Tevez (£9.9m) could decide to switch to the Uruguayan.
Tevez and his Manchester City team-mates go to Fulham on Saturday, and with City far from certain to get a result there and clashes between Arsenal and Chelsea and Manchester United and Tottenham proving somewhat unpredictable, it might pay to look elsewhere for some points.
With apologies to Steven Fletcher (£7.2m) his goalscoring run has become impossible to ignore, and whilst climbing on board the Fletcher bandwagon has to come with the warning that Sunderland face City away next, this weekend’s fixture at home to Wigan could be the perfect one to see the Scot continue his scoring run.