Two Barclays Premier League sides took the pitch in Champions League action on Tuesday with some important fantasy EPL news coming from those fixtures.
CFR Cluj-Napoca 1-2 Manchester United
Manchester United sXI: de Gea; Evra Evans Ferdinand Rafael; Anderson Fletcher Cleverley; van Persie Rooney Chicharito (4-3-3)
Substitutes: Wootton (Evans 79′); Welbeck (Chicharito 83′)
Injury news for Manchester United. Unsurprisingly it is a member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s defense that has come up lame:
Jonny Evans faces a race against time to be fit for Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Newcastle after failing to shake off a dead leg against CFR Cluj. The centre-back was hurt in the closing stages of the defeat to Tottenham but kept his place in the line-up for the trip to Romania, partnering Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the defence. Unfortunately, Evans was troubled again by the problem during the course of the 2-1 victory in the Champions League, and replaced by Scott Wotton, but Sir Alex has stressed the stopper has time to recover before the journey to the North East this weekend.
Evans’ replacement Wootton is priced £4m. It seems unlikely that he’ll be the starter this weekend, but Alexander Buttner (£5.5m) could be in line for a second start. In his only Premier League appearance this season, Buttner scored a goal and assisted another in United’s 4-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford.
The match itself went mostly be the script with United securing a 1-2 away victory. SAF did elect to start a 4-3-3 with Anderson, Cleverley and Fletcher playing in the center of the pitch while Chicharito, Rooney and van Persie all started the match in attack. RVP netted a brace on four shots while the returning Rooney took five shots, with two finding the target (stats via WhoScored). There is a chance that Sir Alex elects to field a similar starting XI this weekend when Man Utd travel to Newcastle. The Magpies defense has been weakened by a number of injuries and captain Fabricio Coloccini may miss out yet again.
For fantasy EPL purposes, Van Persie remains ahead of Rooney on form, but the England man is available for £1.8m less than RVP’s game-high £13.5m. Selling van Persie is a difficult decision, but that one sale can fund two or three upgrades at other positions and should be strongly considered by fantasy EPL managers who are looking to make up ground in their mini-league.
FC Nordsjælland 0-4 Chelsea
Chelsea sXI: Cech; Cole Luiz Cahill Ivanovic; Lampard Ramires; Moses Oscar Mata; Torres (4-2-3-1)
Substitutes: Hazard (Moses 65′); Mikel (Mata 83′)
Juan Mata was remarkable in this match. The Spanish international netted a brace and is on-form at the moment. In his last two Barclays Premier League outings Mata has recorded an assist (September 22 vs. Stoke) and a goal and assist (September 29 vs. Arsenal) – playing a part in all three Chelsea goals scored in those two fixtures. We’ve recently written in Most Creative Midfielders that:
Fantasy EPL managers should recall, last season two players created better than 100 chances for their Premier League sides. One was David Silva, the other was Hazard’s teammate Juan Mata. Mata is now back in the fold and took Frank Lampard’s position in the middle of the field against the Gunners. We have faith in Mata’s track-record and would not hesitate to own both Hazard and Mata. Based on the Belgium international’s role in the front line for Chelsea and involvement in the final third we would not currently sell him for his club-mate. We are only willing to sell in fantasy EPL for players who’ve created substantially more chances for their side and Mata does not yet fit that description.
That sentiment is much more difficult to endorse after watching Mata embrace Roberto Di Matteo’s squad rotation – he has lined-up in several positions over the past three fixtures. Mata’s first goal was more a product of good play from Torres (who won the ball in the attacking third with an excellent challenge) and Lampard (who’s well-weighted ball put Mata clear through on goal), but Mata still took his chances well and was involved in the build-up and the scoring. At £8.8m, Mata is deeply discounted from Hazard (£10.3m) and is worth owning. For more on the Chelsea midfield please read Most Creative Midfielders.
It was nice to see Gary Cahill get a match when Chelsea kept a cleansheet. John Terry is facing a four-match ban once he determines the extent, if any, of his appeal:
The Commission found a charge of misconduct against the 31-year-old defender proven and has also given Terry a fine of £220,000, pending an appeal. Terry has the right to appeal against the ruling, which must be lodged within 14 days from receipt of the written reasons for the decision. The statement added: “The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Terry decide not to appeal.”
Terry is priced £6.8m in the Fantasy Premier League while Cahill is priced £6.4m. That may not seem like much difference, but we have not advocated owning Terry while we would likely pick up Cahill for the cleansheet, offensive and price-increase potential. Part of that is based on the anticipated match-ups for Cahill and we’ll update our projections for last Winter’s arrival once Terry’s ban has been finalized.
As always, for more instant EPL fantasy tips and analysis please follow us @FantasyGaffer, email Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org and check back to the site for updates every week day, most weekends and