Fantasy Football Scout: Gameweek 12

Clive Rose

Proper football returns after the international break, but who'll impress on a wet, windy Saturday in the Potteries?

Last week I once more backed Jozy Altidore to finally get his first league goal for Sunderland, and although he failed to do that the American did impress during his brief cameo where he proved extremely effective at holding the ball up and giving his defenders some respite. However, this brought him no additional fantasy football points and so Jozy returned a slightly measly 1 point. I also backed Luis Suarez to bite back (ahem) from a score-less game against his summer suitors Arsenal against a Fulham side that fall somewhere between "rubbish" and "genuinely offensively bad". He succeeded with aplomb, tearing a massive chunk out of Fulham's defence and returning a grand total of 16 points in recognition of his two goals, assist, game-time and three bonus points.

Carlos Cuellar was the man in red and white I suggested should be avoided last week, and this proved to be a decent tip as the Spaniard failed to even make Sunderland's bench for the visit of Manchester City. Inevitably the game I identified as a total write-off, Norwich vs West Ham, turned out to be a thriller as the Canaries bounced back from a goal down to win 3-1. Maybe the visit of gravy's Sam Allardyce reminded the Norwich players that they could be a lot worse off than having lovely Chris Hughton in charge.

This week Sunderland travel away to Stoke, a fixture that is usually so hideously awful that I'm actively trying not to remember last year's game. Elsewhere, Goodison Park hosts the first Merseyside derby of the season.

Sunderland Player To Watch: Emmanuele Giaccherini

A scorer for Italy during the international break, little Giacc is a player that is yet to scale the heights for Sunderland so far this season. That goal against Italy showed his awareness of space and coolness under pressure and could be a model for improved performances under Poyet. As the Italians played nice passes on the right to drag the Nigerian defence across, Giaccherini arrived from the left to finish sweetly with his right foot. Hopefully Sunderland's new Possession Philosophy™ will see crisp moves of this style created against Stoke.

General Player To Watch: Wilfried Bony

The big Ivorian has not particularly impressed so far this season for Swansea, but with Michu out injured for a while he should have a chance to shine by himself at the sharp end of Michael Laudrup's attack. He seized this chance last week scoring two against Stoke City, and this weekend a trip against the really startlingly rubbish Fulham could maybe be the game where Bony starts to really repay Swansea's investment in him.

Sunderland Player To Avoid: Craig Gardner

The Brummie midfielder has been a mainstay of the Sunderland side since his signing in 2011, but nothing really points to him fitting the profile of central midfielder desired by Gus Poyet. After their impressive display against Manchester City it's hard to see Ki, Colback or Larsson dropping out of the side, and there are already rumours circulating that Gardner could be sold off to fund new signings in January.

General Player To Avoid: Martin Demichelis

City have been very good at home so far this season, whilst Spurs have generally not quite lived up to their pre-season hype. However, there is a lot of attacking talent in their line up and they've been much better away from the tense atmosphere at White Hart Lane this season. With City's back four changing regularly this season, could they be the team that finally suffers a kicking from Spurs' expensively assembled frontline? If the Citizens do have a poor defensive performance, you can be confident that Demichelis will be at the heart of their troubles. Signed as cover for the recently injury-prone Vincent Kompany the Argentine has failed to impress, with his positional sense looking especially shoddy.

Roker Report League

Over in our league, the lead is held by Naz Yie with a whopping 681 points. Well done Naz, and almost all your players play in red and white, although none from Sunderland... actually that's probably why your top of the league!

None of us lot sit in the Top 50 that I can see, and as I write this it's getting quite late so I'll spare everyone the embarrassment of telling the world where they are in the league, especially a so-called expert as myself.

Interesting team name shout out's this week go to Puyol Pants Down, Tom's Tit Experiment and Hearder Bremen.

More of this nonsense next week!

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