Luis Suarez ends West Brom’s unbeaten run in sensational style with a three-goal haul at Anfield. Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie grab a goal and assist apiece as United squeeze past Stoke, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are in the points again at Selhurst Park, Romelu Lukaku makes it five in five for Everton, while Southampton’s defence chalks up a sixth clean sheet in the opening nine Gameweeks.
Suarez Runs Riot against the Baggies
The Luis Suarez-Daniel Sturridge debate swung firmly in the Uruguayan’s favour as he racked up a hat-trick against West Brom. Since his return from suspension, Suarez had just edged his strike-partner by 29 points to 28 heading into Saturday’s match – while Sturridge kept up his incredible consistency by scoring for the eighth time in nine, he was no match for his team-mate as Suarez’ three strikes helped him to 17 points, with the former Chelsea man lagging someway behind with eight points. That’s 82 points between them in four matches and with Fulham, Hull, Norwich and West Ham in the next six, there seems no stopping the Merseyside duo, with Suarez looking the most irresistible armband option on offer of any player in the top-flight right now.
Johnson and Amalfitano Concerns
Fantasy owners of Glen Johnson and Morgan Amalfitano will be keenly awaiting updates after both were both withdrawn early in the Anfield clash. Johnson has only just returned from a knee problem but was subbed off just after the hour mark after picking up a knock – starting on the right of midfield once again, he registered a clean sheet and bonus in the 4-1 win, with the Reds conceding just one minute after he was replaced by Martin Kelly.
Amalfitano has made an instant impact since arriving at West Brom, with two goals and a pair of assists crucial to the Baggies’ recent unbeaten run. Subbed off on 44 minutes, the Frenchman will be assessed after Steve Clarke admitted he “had a problem with his knee”.
Lukaku Edges Battle of the Belgians
Villa’s home clash with Everton had an intriguing sub-plot as Belgium forwards Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku went head-to-head. After drawing a rare blank against Hull last week, the Toffees forward returned to form, grabbing his fifth goal in five appearances since joining up on Merseyside – his compatriot, on the other hand, had an afternoon to forget, after missing an eighth-minute spot-kick as Villa failed to find the net for the third game running. Fortunately for Paul Lambert’s side, the fixtures remain firmly in their favour – it’s West Ham, Cardiff, West Brom and Sunderland in the next four.
Barkley’s Game Time Curtailed?
Steven Pienaar’s return to the Everton XI saw Leon Osman drop to the bench for the first time this season. The latter proved decisive, however, after replacing Ross Barkley on the hour mark – he produced a goal and assist in the 2-0 win to stake a claim for his immediate return to the starting line-up. Barkley’s owners will be slightly concerned if the situation continues – he had played all but three minutes of the first seven Gameweeks but, as Everton’s alternatives increase, he has now been subbed off on 79 minutes and 60 minutes in the last two. Osman would seem likely to get the nod against Spurs in Gameweek 10, giving Roberto Martinez a selection headache.
Rooney and Van Persie in the Points
The Dutchman shrugged off toe and groin injuries to take his place up top as United returned to winning ways against valiant Stoke. The 3-2 victory saw David Moyes’ side score more than one goal at Old Trafford for only the second time this term, with the front two turning in vital contributions. Despite his patchy form, Van Persie has now scored in each of his last three home starts for United but with Rooney continuing an impressive run which has now harvested four goals and a pair of assists in the last six Gameweeks, Van Persie’s price tag remain hard to justify.
Giroud Ends League Drought
The rest and rotation many had feared failed to transpire as Arsene Wenger rolled out what was arguably his strongest available XI for the Selhurst Park trip. Despite admitting he was somewhat fatigued in midweek, Olivier Giroud retained his starting berth up top and, having failed to score in the previous four, treated his owner to a first goal since Gameweek 4. While both Ramsey and Mesut Ozil have hogged the headlines in recent weeks, Giroud has proven Arsenal’s most consistent performer thus far – he has scored or assisted in eight of 10 appearances compared to Ramsey’s seven, whilst Ozil has produced just one assist in three away trips since arriving in the summer.
The Saints Stand Firm
Southampton’s incredible defensive record continued as they benefited from another inept Fulham display in Saturday’s late kick-off. The 2-0 win means that Southampton have now conceded just one goal in the last six – a total of six clean sheets in nine, with Artur Boruc beaten just three times, highlights the quite astonishing displays of Mauricio Pochettino’s backline. Southampton presently have the second best defense in Europe, bettered only by AS Roma in Serie A. Boruc sits atop the FPL keeper standings, whilst Dejan Lovren and Jose Fonte are first and second for defenders and with Stoke and Hull next, the points looks set to continue. From Gameweek 12, though, the schedule is set to turn dramatically – showdowns with Arsenal, Chelsea, City And Spurs in the subsequent six from that point on look particularly troublesome.