Aguero Cuts Through Spurs
After two weeks of debate on whether he was able to keep pace with Diego Costa in the “scoring” stakes, Sergio Aguero served up a timely 19-point haul to cement his position as the top-scoring player in the FPL. The Argentinian grabbed four goals and, unsurprisingly, maximum bonus points, in City’s 4-1 drubbing of Spurs: his first-half penalty miss all but forgotten in light of an electric display.
Costa Sits out Palace Win
Diego Costa failed to make the squad for Chelsea’s victory over Burnley – his first non-appearance of the season after weeks of uncertainty surrounding his fitness. To make matters worse Jose Mourinho confirmed post-match that Costa would remain sidelined for the Blues’ midweek Champions League clash with NK Maribor, immediately putting him in doubt for their next league trip to Old Trafford.
Oscar Stands Out in Chelsea Win
In Costa’s absence, Oscar stepped in to inspire Mourinho’s outfit with a goal, an assist and maximum bonus points at Palace. The haul takes him to two strikes and two assists in his last four appearances – a record that equals Eden Hazard across the entire season. Elsewhere, Filipe Luis is another Chelsea option who may come into consideration. The 5.4 defender came off the bench following Cesar Azpilicueta’s dismissal for dangerous foul play and he will surely replace the Spaniard in Chelsea’s next two league outings.
Eriksen Heightens His Appeal
It’s now three goals in five for Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, who is beginning to rival teammate Nacer Chadli for our affections in Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield. Eriksen now sits seventh in the FPL midfield standings, above Raheem Sterling. Tottenham have an excellent schedule ahead of them (NEW, avl, STK, hul) and Eriksen’s displays, raiding forward from the centre to support the lone striker, continue to look pivotal for them. Significantly, there could now be some uncertainty up front for Spurs with Roberto Soldado starting over the benched Emmanuel Adebayor. Soldado saw a spot-kick saved in the 4-1 defeat, a factor which may, later down the line, potentially benefit Eriksen should Pochettino search our a new taker.
Sanchez Lights Up the Emirates
Alexis Sanchez continued to deliver, returning a goal and an assist in the 2-2 draw with Hull in just his second start in the Gunner’s last four league encounters. The former Barcelona attacker has proved to be a formidable force when handed the opportunity to impress: it’s now three goals and an assist in his last four league starts, with 31 points accrued across those performances. Sanchez has struck six goals in all competitions for the Gunners.
While Mesut Ozil remains on the sidelines, Aaron Ramsey returned to contention with an appearance from the bench on the hour-mark. With Theo Walcott taking place in an U21 outing on Friday, it’s clear that Sanchez will have to maintain his scintillating form to cement regular starts as competion for places in the Arsenal midfield remains fierce.
Diame’s Goals Keep Flowing
Hull’s Mo Diame notched his fourth goal in his last five appearances as the Tigers held on for a point at the Emirates. The deadline day capture from West Ham has undoubtedly emerged as a viable option for our midfields at 5.4 in the FPL. However, Fantasy managers will likely be perturbed by Hull’s fixtures which appear to be decidedly testing over the next six Gameweeks (liv, SOU, bur, TOT, mun, eve). Given that run, Diame may struggle to maintain his current form and with so many mid-price options available, it seems unlikely that his recent returns will be enough to trigger a significant increase in ownership.
Elsewhere, Steve Bruce gave a first league start to Hatem Ben Arfa on the left of midfield, initially dropping fellow new signing, Abel Hernadez, to the bench. Nikica Jelavic’s knee injury in the warm-up brought Hernandez back into the starting lineup, although it’s clear that Bruce may now consider a tactical option involving a lone striker as a way of introducing Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez to his teamsheet.
Everton’s Assets Deliver
Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku, were all in the points yesterday as the Toffees disposed of Aston Villa by a three-goal margin. Their pair of raiding full-backs also added a clean sheet to their haul – only their second shut-out of the campaign.
Everton’s assets across the board are surely set to earn investment after yesterday’s convincing showing. The fixture schedule ends (bur, SWA, sun, WHM) would suggest that Baines and company have the platform to go on delivering points at both ends.
Southampton Maul Black Cats
The remarkable eight-goal dismantling of Sunderland saw Southampton’s options prosper all over the park. Graziano Pelle registered his second brace of the season and the Saint’s defence held out for fourth clean sheet, with Ryan Bertrand moving into third place for defenders in FPL with an additional bonus point.
Dusan Tadic was arguably the headline act, however. Tadic finally exploded with a devastating 23 points. That haul lifted him to second in the FPL midfield rankings, as the Serb drew level with Cesc Fabregas on seven assists. Notably, Sadio Mane also notched his first league goal for the club after emerging from the bench. To compound matters, Ronald Koeman’s side have an excellent next four fixtures to build on their form (STK, hul, LEI, avl).
Balotelli Fails to Convince
Brendan Rodgers recalled Mario Balotelli to the starting XI in the lone striker role for the QPR clash, but witnessed another wasteful display as his side needed two own goals to beat the basement-dwellers. With frustration amongst the Reds’ faithful now palpable, the situation up front is a far cry from Liverpool’s fluid and threatening forward line of 12 months ago. To compound matters, Rodgers confirmed post-match that Daniel Sturridge is set be sidelined for the next two to four weeks with a calf injury, putting the onus on Balotelli to produce if the Reds are to take full advantage of a kind schedule which see them face Hull, Newcastle, Palace, Stoke and Leicester in the next six.
Sterling’s Still Ticking Over
Despite a multitude of concerns surrounding Raheem Sterling’s fitness after his recent international duties, Liverpool’s starlet played the full 90 minutes at Loftus Road and earned an assist and two bonus points. Whilst the Reds’ forwards may be toiling, the winger has now scored or assisted in five of his last seven starts and sits just two points off the top of the FPL midfield standings. Though Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard threw their hats into the ring with attacking returns yesterday, Sterling still looks the likeliest source of points across those aforementioned fixtures.
Super Sub Vargas Bags A Brace
The Chilean climbed off the bench to score twice for Harry Redknapp’s side in a 12-minute cameo that should see him press for a starting role for QPR’s home encounter with Aston Villa in Gameweek 9. Vargas has now produced two goals, an assist and three bonus points across his last couple of appearances, though at 6.4 still looks too big a punt in a side who have lost four of their last five league outings. The Hoops have five strong fixtures in their next seven (AVL, new, LEI, swa, BUR) that could help turnaround their fortunes, though despite making changes at the back and between the posts, Harry Redknapp’s defence continues to look there for the taking– yesterday’s loss means they have now conceded two or more goals in six of their last seven league matches.