Fantasy Football Scout: Gameweek 9

Mike Hewitt

Fantasy Football tips for this weekend, including the first derby of the season...

Well, I can only apologise if anyone actually did follow my tip and pick Craig Gardner for their team last week. The central midfield turned in a dreadful performance, aptly summed up by giving away an utterly pointless penalty which was duly dispatched by Wilfried Bony to make triply certain that Sunderland would not even have a sniff of a come-back. He received 2 points in the end, but frankly he probably deserved to have them confiscated from him. My second tip brought back an equally meagre return, with Alvaro Negredo bringing back just 2 points despite playing for an hour in Manchester City's convincing victory over West Ham.

As predicted, Modibo Diakite picked up no points last week as he yet again failed to even make Sunderland's match-day squad. The other player I advised people to avoid, Loic Remy, also failed to bring home the bacon - bagging just 2 points. However, the Mags did manage to score 2 goals despite my prediction that Liverpool would manage to keep them shut out.

Onto this week's predictions, I doubt anyone will need reminding of Sunderland's fixture this week as Sunday sees the battered, bruised and basically rubbish Black Cats face them up the road in the Tyne-Wear derby. The weekend's other big fixture sees Chelsea host Manchester City, whilst Arsenal look to get back to winning ways with what should be an easy away fixture against newly managerless Crystal Palace.

Sunderland Player To Watch: Ummm... Pass? Oh If I Must, Jozy Altidore

The American has arguably been unlucky not to score for Sunderland this season, and what better time to score his first goal for the club in a crucial derby? OK, this is more given in hope than in expectation, but that's pretty much all we're running off at the moment, and even then just the fumes of hope.

General Player To Watch: Aaron Ramsey

Ramsey has arguably been the player of the season so far in the Premier League, however he didn't produce his best performance on Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund - giving away the ball at the edge of his penalty box in the build up to Henrikh Mkhitaryan's opener. This weekend the Gunners face the only side in the league currently giving Sunderland a run for their money in the "utter shambles" stakes, at least on the pitch. Palace's only points this season came courtesy of Di Canio's mad selection of David Vaughan and Seb Larsson in central midfield, and John O'Shea's atrocious mistake at the back. With Ian Holloway having announced his departure from the club, I'd be surprised if Palace managed to turn their season around against a side looking to regain their momentum on a potential title push.

Sunderland Player To Avoid: Phil Bardsley

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

Hopefully if everyone pretends he doesn't exist this mass mental block will prevent Gus Poyet from selecting him again. Hmm? Grasping at straws? Why not at all...

General Player To Avoid: Any Mag

Come on, it's the derby. Surely no self-respecting Sunderland fan could select a Newcastle player for this fixture. I wouldn't be surprised, considering his form and general twattishness, if Yohan Cabaye managed to pop up with yet a goal. However, I'm telling you this under the strict expectations that no-one actually goes out and selects him...

The Roker Report League

Not much change at the top of our league with the top 4 remaining the same. Brian Murphy remains in first on 489 points, then there's a gap down to Gino Bawn in second on 477, John Downing third on 474, and Daniel Parker fourth on 472.

In terms of our Roker Report writers, there's another new leader amongst us as Luke skips up to top of our mini-leaderboard ending up in 55th place on 428 points. Just a small way behind him I sit in 75th on 422 points, with Craig third in 108th on 410. The second half of the group is lead off by Dave on 351 in 280th place, Stephen in 299th with 339 points and just behind him Simon in 305th just three points off on 336 points.

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