Fantasy Football Scout: Gameweek 15

Michael Regan

A look forward to the games this weekend, as well as a review of the action in the midweek round of fixtures

My man in red and white to watch for last weekend's Aston Villa game was Steven Fletcher, unfortunately the Scotsman continued his recent barren run in front of goal and picked up just the 2 points in our 0-0 at Villa Park. Likewise my second tip didn't work out too well either, despite having several chances and playing well in Manchester City's 3-0 win over Swansea, Sergio Aguero failed to pick up anything other than a yellow card, and so scored just 1 point.

The predictions on who to avoid didn't fare much better as Andrea Dossena, who I'd predicted would struggle to find his way back into the side, started instead of Ondrej Celustka and ended up with 6 points following his clean sheet against the Villains. Andros Townsend, however, did turn out to be a correctly predicted miss. Against Manchester United the winger was left on the bench, and in his place Aaron Lennon was a constant thorn in Patrice Evra's side. Townsend did come on later in the match, but was unable to influence the final score and grabbed just 1 point.

Midweek Action

There were goals galore in the midweek fixtures, even at the Stadium of Light, as everyone got a bit giddy at the prospect of Wednesday evening football. In the Sunderland game, Jozy Altidore was a notable performer with the American notching his first league goal for Sunderland whilst turning in an excellent performance that earned him 5 points. Not so notably Phil Bardsley's points sheet read like a maths problem with additions and subtractions everywhere as the full back was awarded points for his time on the pitch and his goal, but lost points for a yellow card, own goal and for conceding four goals. The right back eventually ended up with 3 points.

Also in the same game, Eden Hazard was utterly fantastic with the Belgian scoring two, setting up one and creating countless other chances for his team with his deadly runs at defenders. His eventual total was a very handy 17 points.

Elsewhere, Luis Suarez proved that he really, really likes playing against Norwich with a stupendous collection of four goals containing a half-volley from 40 yards out, and a Bergkamp-esque flick around a defender before a powered finish. The Uruguayan received 24 points in the end for his performance, crowning the match off with an assist for Raheem Sterling's goal.

Sunderland Player To Watch: Jozy Altidore

It wasn't just his goal, the American's entire performance against Chelsea was fantastic. He held the ball up brilliantly to bring team mates into play, and absolutely battered John Terry all game. Considering how effective he looked here, it would not be at all surprising for Gus Poyet to continue with him against Spurs. Despite a revived performance against Manchester United at the weekend and a win over Fulham on Wednesday, their humiliation at the Etihad won't be buried deep and Altidore's power and nuisance value could be compared to that of Alvaro Negredo, who ran the Spurs defence ragged in that 6-0 defeat.

General Player To Watch: Luis Suarez

Suarez was absolutely sensational against Norwich, scoring four goals and managing to set up another. Along with Sergio Aguero, Suarez is one of the players in the Premier League with a genuine claim to be amongst the true elite in world football right now. After a subdued performance away at Hull, I had thought Liverpool's progress could start to stall without Daniel Sturridge, however their emphatic defeat of Norwich points to at least their home form continuing to impress. Next side to rock up, West Ham, are certainly no great shakes and I wouldn't be surprised to see Suarez hogging the limelight once again.

Sunderland Player To Avoid: Adam Johnson

The winger has not been the untouchable starter he has been with previous regimes under Gus Poyet, and unfortunately this doesn't seem to be spurring him into action any more than his assured place did previously. Although he impressed as an auxiliary wing back in the second half against Hull a little while back, he failed to seize his chance when he came on against Chelsea in midweek. With just minutes to go Ki fed Johnson in space in Chelsea's penalty area, but instead of hammering a shot home the winger dithered and eventually lost the ball with a cut-back. With Fabio Borini at least looking enthusiastic and energetic in his place, it may be a while before he can force his way back into the team. His only hope could be the mooted moving of Emmanuele Giaccherini inside, with Johnson coming into the team for the ever disappointing Craig Gardner.

General Player To Avoid: Kevin Nolan

The Gob Bluth of the Premier League has been having a poor season so far, with the West Ham captain failing to score of late in stark contrast to his usual contributions. Against Crystal Palace Sam Allardyce chose to operate the ex-Newcastle man in a slightly deeper midfield role, but that change failed to work out as the East Londoners lost 1-0 to a Chamakh header. This week the Hammers have the daunting task of traveling to Anfield where Liverpool have just managed to smash Norwich all the way back to Norfolk with a 5-1 hammering. I can't see Nolan's form picking up in this game with Allardyce likely to adopt a park-the-bus approach in the hope of getting out of Merseyside with any kind of positive result.

No update from the Roker Report League this week I'm afraid as the tables are still being updated from the games last night, so it could be all change at the top after this weekend following three rounds of action.

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