In the final burst of Premier League action before the international break, Wilfried Bony showed signs of coming good for patient managers but Arsenal's stars disappointed
It was a good week for those in red. Liverpool were always going to be favourites at home to Fulham and they showed no mercy, with Luis Suarez (10) bagging yet another two goals to take his points tally to 48 already, having played only six matches.
Even better than the Uruguayan, however, was Martin Skrtel (5). With the Slovakian in and out of the Reds team so far this season, those who stuck by him in their sides were rewarded on Saturday with a clean sheet and a goal – it made for 12 points, joint-top of the gameweek's individual points table.
The only man standing alongside him is Rickie Lambert (7). We told you in our Friday preview to follow Roy Hodgson's lead and pick a couple of Southampton players – hopefully you listened. The Saints striker was excellent, racking up the points with a goal and two assists, and his captain, Adam Lallana (6) was in similarly fine form. Scoring one magnificent goal and earning Lambert's penalty, the recalled England man took home a tidy eight points.
Perhaps the biggest success story of the gameweek, however, was Sunderland's victory at Manchester City. A backs-to-the-wall defensive performance secured the clean sheet for a 1-0 win – adding even more points for goalscorer Phil Bardsley (4).
Many fantasy managers have been waiting and waiting for Wilfried Bony (7.5) to finally hit form for Swansea City. If you'd already given up by now, you'll be wishing you hadn't – though the Swans were thwarted late on, their record signing snagged a double for 10 points. With Michu injured, Bony is stepping up to the plate.
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The luck had to run out sooner or later for two of the fantasy season's biggest revelations. Both Olivier Giroud (7.5) and Aaron Ramsey (5.5) struggled to break down Manchester United as Arsenal had their lead at the top of the table cut and managers everywhere despaired. Neither man could muster more than two points for minutes played.
If you had seen that frustration coming and opted for the experience of Frank Lampard (7.5) instead against West Brom: Bad luck. It was a poor day at the office for the veteran Chelsea midfielder as he was dragged off after an hour. With a booking factored in, he scraped just one point.
There were bad times, too, for other stalwart fantasy football options. Asmir Begovic (5) went so far as to score from goal last time out but it was a different story against Swansea, his three goals conceded leaving him with no points whatsoever.
West Brom defender Gareth McAuley (5) has been a solid choice at the back in recent seasons but, even though he performed admirably, two goals let in with no headed strike to make up for it amounted to another flat zero.
Fellow centre-back Curtis Davies (4) had it worse, however. So impressive before now, the 28-year-old came unstuck against Southampton and dropped into negative points as a result of a nightmare match. Those banking on his fine form for a cheap defensive option saw their gamble backfire horribly.
Since making his debut for Tottenham, Vlad Chiriches (5.5) has been a steady points-earner and an impressive presence at the back but his withdrawal with a suspected broken nose may concern fantasy managers. Official confirmation on his injury is yet to come but it may be time to consider alternative centre-back options.
Nemanja Vidic (5.5) may not be available to replace him. The Manchester United star withdrew at half-time following a blow to the head and was sent to hospital but the international break could offer sufficient recovery time.
Those in the hunt for a bargain assist or two were frustrated, meanwhile, by the substitution of Anthony Pilkington (5). The Norwich City winger was unable to run off a hamstring injury and looks likely to miss the Republic of Ireland's first friendlies under their new management.
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