Photo Courtesy of Craig C R(flickr)
January is a very interesting time. The transfer market is open, teams make decisions that have huge impacts on their upcoming fortunes, and most importantly for fantasy managers, the January wildcard becomes avaible. The wildcard really can make or break your FPL campaign, especially this season where seemingly nothing is easy to predict. In this week's Digest, let's take a stab at making our way through Gameweek 21.
It's always lurking right around the corner, but this year, the injury bug has hit fantasy managers extremely hard. Right as players like Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, and Theo Walcott have seemed to find form, they have gone down injured, leaving fantasy managers with quite the headache. The aforementioned Walcott is the most recent player to create a sizeable hole in lots of FPL squads and many have engaged their wildcard to clean up the situation. Let's look at the best replacements for the injured Englishman.
Back to Oz
He's had a solid campaign in terms of performance and impact on Arsenal's play but many fantasy managers have become frustrated with Mesut Ozil at some point this season due to his unpredictable fantasy output. Many were unfortunate to ship him out before a 3-week streak of double-digit point hauls, but after that streak the German hit a barren patch that saw his fantasy ownership plummet. Before his injury, Theo Walcott had shifted some of Arsenal's goal-scoring weight onto his shoulders, but with him out, it will be up to Ozil to pick up his production and help Arsenal stay in the title race.
This weekend, Arsenal are faced with an interesting fixture at Villa Park. The Gunners lost to the Villains at the Emirates to start the EPL campaign, but that was when Christian Benteke had some semblence of form and when Piers Morgan still thought Aaron Ramsey to be "a complete and utter liability." Things have obviously changed since then. The Gunners now have Ozil, have found some resilience at the back, and are legitimate title contenders. The German will be looking to kickstart his 2014 with a strong performance and as Villa have failed to keep a clean sheet at home since Gameweek 13, he should be able to notch a goal and maybe an assist or 2. Look for the Gunners to come out swinging in what should be a goal-filled affair.
His campaign started brightly with a goal at home against this weekend's opponent, Hull City. Though the Tigers put up more of a fight than anticipated, Oscar earned man-of-the-match honors and looked fantastic throughout that game. Since then, Oscar has endured a tough season filled with injuries and competition for a starting role, but he has certainly exceeded expectations for his sophomore year. When fit, Oscar is almost always Mourinho's first-choice number 10, and he has notched 6 goals and 4 assists in 12 starts. He will be needed for Chelsea to break down a tough Hull City side that have conceded just 4 goals at home this season.
Though Hull has been a quality defensive side at home, Chelsea should be able to net a few on Saturday. Last gameweek Chelsea put 3 past a Southampton side with a strong defensive record, proving they are capable of overcoming statistics. The Guru also thinks Chelsea look like they are finally starting to gel- many must remember they have a new manager and several new moving parts this season, as well as several players like Eden Hazard and Oscar who are experiencing just their 2nd season in England's top-flight. As things have begun to settle in at Stamford Bridge the Blues have found themselves scoring more goals, so doubling up on the aforementioned Hazard and Oscar may not be such a bad idea.