Although he received my backing, Steven Fletcher failed to pick up any significant points last weekend against Hull. Despite a committed performance, the odds were always against the Scot once Sunderland's two red cards left him toiling isolated from his team-mates for long periods. In the end he clocked in just the 2 points. However my second tip for the weekend was much more successful. Sergio Aguero was the key player in what was actually very close to being a genuine decimation of the Canaries by Manchester City. The Argentine striker, currently in form that leaves him as one of the world's best forwards, brought home three assists and a goal, plus appearance and bonus points, to win himself an impressive 18 points. Even better if Aguero was named as your captain (not bragging, but he was mine...) then he brought home a cool 36 points all by himself. As Norwich's finest would say; Jurassic Park!
As I suggested he might be, Adam Johnson found himself replaced by Fabio Borini for the game against Hull City. However, the winger was brought on at half-time into an unfamiliar wing-back role as Gus Poyet sought to achieve defensive stability and some attacking thrust despite having just nine men on the pitch. In fairness to him, Johnson performed well when he came on, and should perhaps have scored an unlikely equalising goal when he was put one-on-one with Steven Harper in the Tigers' net. However it wasn't to be, and in the end he brought back just 1 point for his 45 minutes on the pitch.
I also advised giving Yoan Gouffran a miss after his invisible performance in the derby, however regrettably the Frenchman popped up at a crucial moment in the second half against Chelsea to head in the first goal in the Mags' 2-0 win over Mourinho's side. This goal, and 2 bonus points, saw Gouffran bring home a decent total of 8 points.
Onto this week's predictions; Sunderland face a particularly tricky test against a Manchester City side who have scored 12 goals in their last two games...ouch.
Sunderland Player To Watch: Jozy Altidore
I know, I know, again. However, there is logic in the selection. Well, some at least. Sunderland have now beat Manchester City 1-0 in three consecutive home Premier League fixtures. In the last two of those wins, Sunderland's goals came from players who had had slow starts to life at the Stadium of Light - Ji Dong-won and Adam Johnson respectively. Whilst the American hasn't looked awful so far, he certainly hasn't set the world alight in a red and white shirt; will this be the week he finally, finally, finally arrives?
General Player To Watch: Luis Suarez
Although Liverpool's much vaunted striker partnership failed to score away at the Emirates last weekend, they face a much easier game against a London-side this weekend as Fulham make the trip up to Anfield. Liverpool need to bounce back quickly from the Arsenal defeat if they are to sustain a challenge on a top 4 place, and the game against Fulham could hardly be better timed for them. Martin Jol is under serious pressure at Craven Cottage and despite having several talented individuals, they lack any real cohesion; Suarez is likely to make life incredibly difficult for them.
Sunderland Player To Avoid: Carlos Cuellar
The centre-back with more lives than a cat has returned to the heart of the Sunderland defence since Gus Poyet's arrival, but hopefully last week's own goal, as well as his constant inability with the ball at his feet, will see him shipped out of the first team once more. With Wes Brown playing well in the second half against Hull, and in the League Cup against Southampton, there's certainly an obvious better option to come into the defence instead of him.
General Player To Avoid: Anyone In Norwich Vs West Ham
Since their surprising 3-0 win over Spurs at the start of October West Ham have scored just one goal, with Grande Samuele Allardici's strikerless formation failing to pay dividends. Likewise Norwich have been in wretched form, with their last win coming over Stoke way back in September. I'd avoid this game like the plague personally, if you pick a player for your team who features in it you might actually be forced to watch it.
The Roker Report League
A few changes at the top of the league this week. Ian Jones has snuck into the lead on 610 points, whilst behind him in second is Gino Bawn on 609 points. The rest of the top 6 are all very close with Robert Amess and Rosli Mohamed on 603 points, and Callum Davidson and Brian Murphy on 602. Inevitably, 5 of our top 6 this week had Sergio Aguero as their captain - just as Suarez was last week, the Argentinean was the key player in fantasy football this time around.
Amongst the Roker Report writers, I've pulled further ahead (again thanks to Aguero) to move up to 37th on 558. Behind me Luke is in 69th on 540, Craig 105th with 528 and Dave 247th on 468. Continuing his remarkable(ish) turn around, Simon extends his lead over Stephen to four points ending the week on 441 points in 301st place with Stephen on 437 in 309th.
Also, spotted two fantastic team names this week. First up Ian Randle with the puntastic Diaby Does Gallas, which nearly had me spitting tea all over the desk, and then a great reference from Peter Hamrock with CraggyIsland over 75s.