Gameweek 27 review
It’s rare enough that a Wigan player finishes as the top scorer in a gameweek, rarer still that they have two players on the Dream Team, but nothing about what Wigan do at this stage of the season should surprise given what they’ve achieved in recent years.
With a goal, an assist and a clean sheet bonus, Maynor Figueroa was the leading scorer this week with 17 points and he was accompanied on the Dream Team by Latics teammate Arouna Kone, whose brace in the 3-0 win over Reading earned him a cool 13 points.
You’ll have noticed that we have already gone two paragraphs without mentioning man of the moment Gareth Bale, who earned 15 points thanks to his one-man show against West Ham on Monday night, a total matched by Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Manchester United defender Rafael.
Manchester City had two representatives in the Dream Team in Yaya Toure (12 points) and David Silva (11), while Romelu Lukaku (12) and Rickie Lambert (11) joined Kone up front.
Elsewhere, another missed penalty by Jonathan Walters contributed to Mark Schwarzer’s 12-point haul after victory for Fulham at Craven Cottage, with Schwarzer’s team-mate Sascha Riether also delivering an impressive 11 points.
After the chaos of recent weeks, normality was restored to the J-League this week, with only one change in the order of the top five as Neill McNicholas’ solid score of 66 points was enough to catapult his charges, 123, into third place.
No-one else in the top five managed to breach 60 points, meaning that Darren McCann’s Dazzleros remain comfortably in first place ahead of Martin Hanway’s Marty’s Muppets in second and the aforementioned 123 in third.
Behind them, Andy Twomey’s Athtrasna and Mickey Hanrahan’s Shawn Michaels’ Babes make up the top five, which means that Barry McCabe’s Breffni Blues, who have dominated the J-League for most of the season, have dropped out of the top five for the first time we can remember.
We’re sure Barry will tell us that he’s deliberately taking a breather before making a late charge for the title, but he’s running out of time and the other contenders show no signs of slipping up so there’s no time like the present.
J-League Top 5:
- Dazzleros – Darren McCann: 1,706 points
- Marty’s Muppets – Martin Hanway: 1,682 points
- 123 – Neill McNicholas: 1,679 points
- Athtrasna – Andy Twomey: 1,675 points
- Shawn Michaels’ Babes – Mickey Hanrahan: 1,673 points
Although Manchester United don’t have the title absolutely sewn up and the Champions League places are still very much up for grabs, what’s happening at the bottom of the league is arguably just as if not more interesting than what’s going on at the top at the moment.
While 12 points separate the top two, for example, there is only 13 points between the team at the bottom of the league (QPR) and the team in 13th place (Newcastle) and three points for any side stuck in the relegation mire could see them jump quite a few places in the league if results go their way on any given weekend.
Shoots of a revival have already been evident from Newcastle, Wigan and Southampton, but none of the teams involved – well maybe QPR, they look screwed – are going to go down without a fight and you can be pretty sure that a number of individual performers are going to stand up and be counted between now and the end of the season.
We elaborated on some of Newcastle’s form players of late last week, so here are a few suggestions of players from the other strugglers, who could provide value in the coming weeks.
Two goals from Wigan’s Arouna Kone pushed him up to eight league goals for the season and when you consider that he has registered five assists, he’s not a bad option for £6.5 million. Shaun Maloney (£4.9 million), meanwhile, scored a lot of important goals for Roberto Martinez’s side this time last season and two in his last three games suggests that he might repeat the trick this time around.
Aston Villa’s Andreas Weimann has scored goals against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal already this season and is a snip at £5.0 million but the fact that he’s classed as a striker rather than a midfielder might put some managers off.
We’ve mentioned Jason Puncheon (£5.1 million) in these dispatches before, but his Southampton colleague Morgan Schneiderlin has two goals in his last three games and can be snapped up for £4.5 million, while only three strikers have scored more than the 12 goals Rickie Lambert has managed this season and at £7.0 million, he won’t cost you a packet either.
JOE’s Fantasy Football Picks:
Top Dollar: Gareth Bale (£10.3 million). Arsene Wenger will no doubt have special plans in place to curb his influence, but it’s likely that there will be goals at White Hart Lane on Sunday and we’d be surprised if Bale isn’t involved.
Mid-Range: Yaya Toure (£7.7 million). Roberto Mancini played Toure in an advanced midfield role at the weekend and he flourished. If he repeats that performance, a leaky Villa defence will struggle to keep him out on Monday night.
Bargain Basement: Morgan Schneiderlin (£4.5 million). The Frenchman has scored two goals in his last three games and is one of the standout players in a side playing pretty good stuff at the moment. Offers great value for under five million quid.
Irish Pick: Joey O’Brien (£4.6 million). O’Brien’s assist against Spurs was his third of the season and he is one of the few Irish players playing regularly in the top flight at the moment.
Captain’s Pick: Wayne Rooney (£11.9 million). RVP is likely to be given the day off to keep him fresh for Real Madrid, so the scoring responsibility against Norwich will fall to Rooney, who has eight goals in his last seven league starts.