After reviewing a number of options with which to replace Wayne Rooney we now turn to the next high profile fantasy player to go down – Aaron Ramsey.
Ramsey’s injury is much less clear-cut than with Rooney. Rooney is suspended for 3 games; you know which games he’ll be out, and when exactly he’ll be back. There is no official word from Arsenal yet on the full extent of Ramsey’s injury. It is confirmed he’ll miss the Galatasaray game midweek and then Chelsea at the weekend (GW7). We then move into the international break and he has been withdrawn from the Wales squad. Initial reports put Ramsey ‘out for up to a month’ which would take us to GW9 on 25th October, meaning Ramsey would miss 2 Premier League games against Chelsea (A) and Hull (H), but would be back in time for Sunderland (away) in GW9. Latest unofficial reports however sideline Ramsey for around six weeks and rule out him out until November and perhaps a return to action at home against Burnley in GW10.
Have a Buy-Back Clause
Arsenal have very attractive for several weeks after the Chelsea game and Ramsey is still their most potent goal threat from midfield. Some fantasy sites sensationalised a ‘goal drought’ for Ramsey last week after the Welshman had gone 3 games without a goal. This is normal – midfielders don’t score every game, he’s scored 2 from 5 full games plus an assist this season. We stress this as Ramsey is still, to us, one of the best players you can have in your FPL squad this season. All players will miss a few games here and there, and the first point we want to make in this article about selling Ramsey this week is be very prepared to buy him back around GW10, if not earlier.
So let’s move onto the possible replacements for Ramsey in your team. Expecting Ramsey to only miss 2-4 games we are going to focus mostly on a short-term replacement. Who are the main options? First port of call,t, if you don’t own him already, is Raheem Sterling, but you own him already, right? Next up and at roughly the same price would be Ángel Di Maria, David Silva or Steven Gerrard, whilst Nacer Chadli is a player who could improve your team a great deal overall for the season ahead.
Angel Di Maria
With the Argentine’s ownership now over 30% and still rising Di Maria is a player who will hurt your position in your minileague whenever he scores and you don’t own him. Long-term we remain very much convinced that Di Maria is not an essential player in Fantasy Premier League. United’s next 3 fixtures are not great either. Home to Everton and Chelsea either side of a trip to a resilient West Brom. Not a great three – then away to City. If you believe Angel Di Maria long-term can be better than Sterling, Ramsey and Fabregas, and at an increased price to them all, go ahead and sign him, but we don’t think he makes a good replacement for Ramsey in the short-term.
Silva is not normally a player we’d promote too much as his game is assist based, much like Di Maria and Fabregas. Assists are good, for sure, but at the end of the season it will be the goal-scoring midfielders who are top of the FPL points table. However, as with the other elite creative players in the game, a lot of assists do keep the points ticking over and with City’s firepower up-front David Silva can score a lot of assists. City’s fixtures in the short term are a mixed bunch and could go either way - AVL (A), TOT (H), WHM (A), MAN (H) - but the team are building some momentum and have just put four past one of last season's best home defences.
Gerrard’s free-kick and penalty duties at Liverpool are what keep him in the frame for fantasy points and why he’s only 6 points off Sigurdsson at the top of the midfielder's point charts so far. The good thing about penalties and free-kicks is they just keep on coming, especially for a free-scoring team like Liverpool. Brendan Rodger’s much-vaunted intensity is the reason Liverpool can expect so many penalties. They attack teams with so much pace and verve that defences are always put under pressure. Against Everton this intensity was back, with even Mario Balotelli harassing defenders and winning possession high up the pitch. Daniel Sturrige is pushing for inclusion too which will only help. Liverpool’s next few fixtures are excellent and certainly offer more opportunity to crank up this intensity; WBA(H), QPR(A), HUL(H), NEW(A).
Whisper it quietly, but Nacer Chadli might be the stand-out breakout midfielder this season, even trumping one of fantasy manager’s most treasured players in Gylfi Sigurdsson. Chadli is the top scoring midfielder so far this season with 4 goals and as Pre-Season Member’s can see in our updated Player Stats section he certainly holds his own when compared his more expensive midfield peers. It’s no fluke. This article by Zonal Marking’s Michael Cox highlights Chadli’s tactical positioning as a second forward for Spurs against Arsenal, whilst this article from Spurs Fanatic highlights Chadli’s new role this season getting into the box from wide areas. He’s an out of position prospect at a top club with outside hopes of making a Champion’s League place this season. At £6.2M he’s not a straight swap for Ramsey, and will leave you with almost £3M burning a hole in your pocket which may involve some restructuring of your team set-up. Doing this and spending this extra dosh wisely will be just as important as how Chadli does for your team. Also, Spur’s short-term fixtures whilst Ramsey is out are not the best either, and thus he's not a straight swap for Ramsey. Nonetheless, if you’re in the market longer-term for a good fantasy midfielder we think Chadli is a going to be a fine acquisition for the 2014/15 season.