While FIFA’s carousel in Brazil where men take plastic balls out of shiny pots is likely to capture world football’s attention this afternoon as England get to know which teams they’ll face this summer, the Premier League returns tomorrow after a mid-week goal bonanza.
So, if Wednesday matches scuppered your chances of glory, here’s four players you should include in your team for this weekend to make up for the ground you’ve lost.
1) Julian Speroni
Picking the goalkeeper of a team that has looked bound for relegation before the season even began might sound as sensible as waving the Union Jack at Celtic Park, but there’s more to Speroni than Palace’s struggles.
The Argentine kept a clean sheet on Tuesday and Palace host Cardiff tomorrow, the only side to have scored less than the Eagles this season – a meagre 11 goals in 14 games – which means the £4.5m-rated Speroni could prove a shrewd acquisition this weekend.
2) Steven Caulker
Exactly for the reasons mentioned above, investing on defenders involved in Palace vs Cardiff this weekend could be a smart move.
Caulker’s Cardiff will face a team that has found the net eight times in 14 games and despite his goal against West Ham, we simply can’t imagine Marouane Chamakh embarking on a goalscoring run anytime soon.
At £5.1m the former Spurs represents good value for money, as shown by the 58 points he’s already registered this season, courtesy of two goals and four clean sheets.
3) Steven Gerrard
Luis Suarez might have grabbed the headlines with the same ferociousness with which he took at Branislav Ivanovic’s arm last season, but Gerrard continues to make Liverpool tick.
The England captain has scored or assisted a goal in eight of his last nine games and has amply justified his £9.1m price tag by being the league’s fifth-highest midfielder in terms of points scored.
Liverpool host Big Sam’s Hammers as Stewart Downing and Joe Cole return to Anfield, so expect Gerrard to extend his run, given West Ham have picked the grand total of a point in their last three away games.
4) Javier Hernandez
Old Trafford hasn’t been a happy place lately, even less so for Hernandez who’s been benched with systematic regularity.
However, with RVP still out injured and Wayne Rooney suspended, the Mexican is likely to start against Newcastle and he could be an excellent signing at £7.3m, particularly given he scored the winner last season against Pardew’s “wee club”.
Should United fail to find the net, you can always get your revenge by boycotting your local Mexican restaurant tomorrow night.