Having gorged ourselves silly on Premier League football and mince pies over the festive period, last weekend’s FA Cup action came as a much needed break from both – particularly the mince pies, that is – but this weekend sees the return of the Premier League.
With the January transfer window in full swing, fantasy managers have no doubt been busy tweaking their teams and, ahead of the weekend, here’s four players you might want to include in your team.
1) David Marshall
The Cardiff custodian – even though Vincent Tan still thinks he’s a striker – might be a surprise choice somewhat, given his side are only a point above the relegation zone and only two clubs have conceded more than the Bluebirds.
However, goal-shy West Ham travel to Cardiff this weekend and if ever there was a team in crisis, then the Hammers are that team.
Forget about the consecutive shellackings they suffered against Nottingham Forest and City, West Ham have been disgracefully poor in the league and have scored just seven times away from home in the league this season.
All of a sudden spending £4.7m on Marshall – who’s accumulated a very respectable 70 fantasy points so far – sounds like a great idea.
2) Per Mertesacker
Arsenal’s big f*****g German has been truly impressive this season, helping his side to nine clean sheets and, efficient as any of his country-men, also bagged a few goals at the other end.
At £6.5m, the Arsenal man requires a hefty investment for a defender but given that among the league’s defenders only Seamus Coleman has scored more points than Per – 112 to 97 – the German represents money well spent.
If that wasn’t enough, the Gunners, who boast the best away record in the Premier League, travel to Villa on Monday night, with Paul Lambert’s men currently sporting the league’s second-worst record at home.
3) Tom Huddlestone
The barnet might be gone – thankfully, may we add – but Huddlestone’s qualities remain. The former Spurs man is enjoying a fine season at the KC Stadium, accruing 63 points so far and delivering two assists in the last two games.
On current form, Huddlestone is the league’s second best option as far as value for money is concerned – the first, Cardiff’s Jordan Mutch, is injured – and while Hull’s game against Chelsea is likely to be a tough assignment for Steve Bruce’s men, at £4.9m Huddlestone is a tempting option.
4) Alvaro Negredo
Scoring a hat-trick against West Ham might not exactly be a benchmark of excellence these days, but the Spaniard simply can’t stop scoring.
Negredo is enjoying a debut season more successful than One Direction and with City traveling to Newcastle on Sunday, expect him to be leading the line yet again as he tries to add to his 87 fantasy league points.
At £9.8m he is far from a cheap option, but the results are almost always guaranteed.