Fantasy Focus

Aguero hot in the market

August 19, 2011
By Dale Johnson
(Archive)

The opening weekend of the Premier League season was hardly vintage for fantasy managers, with the top stars struggling to get amongst the goals - until Monday.

Sergio Aguero beats Michel Vorm
GettyImagesSergio Aguero celebrates after bagging his first goal in English football against Swansea

It all changed with a 30-minute cameo from new Manchester City signing Sergio Aguero, who not only scored twice and bagged an assist but also provided the kind of spark which should lead to a large haul of fantasy points.

His performance in the 4-0 win over Swansea City at Eastlands has already seen a huge rise in popularity. Ownership is up 11.4% which now means 22% of managers have the Argentine in their squad and he is the most bought player this week.

Aguero spent July on international duty at the Copa America, but had a month off after Argentina lost to eventual champions Uruguay. That break could help to avoid burnout come the second half of the Premier League season. Does that make the Swansea game a pre-season friendly for Aguero?

His goalscoring record was up there with the best in Spain. He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2006 and in five years only four players - David Villa, Lionel Messi, Frederic Kanoute and Diego Forlan - scored more goals than him (74).

Last season, Aguero scored 20 goals in La Liga, which would have been enough in the Premier League to earn him a share of the Golden Boot alongside Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov. But in Spain the outrageous level of scoring from the front players at Real Madrid at Barcelona saw Lionel Messi net 31 and Cristiano Ronaldo somehow net twice as many as Aguero.

It's difficult to judge Augero's ability to get among the assists. He only registered two last season, but in 2007-08 and 2008-09 he had a combined total of 16. Already halfway towards last season's total with his contribution against Swansea, Aguero can surely be expected to pass it in 2011-12.

There's always the danger of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted in these cases, but we're not talking about Tamir Cohen here, we're talking about a player who has cost a fee in the region of £40 million - and is not yet 100% fit.

Man City have a favourable run of fixtures coming up - aside from the trip to Tottenham Hotspur in Gameweek Three - with Roberto Mancini's side travelling to Bolton, Fulham and Blackburn facing Wigan and Everton at home.

With that fixture list, failure to have three City players in your squad at this time - at least one of them being a defender, could prove fantasy suicide.

Cech out

News of Peter Cech's injury lay-off has yet to have an effect on his popularity in the game, as at present he has a net rise in ownership since the last gamelock.

Now that Cech has been ruled out for up to four weeks, any manager who has bought recently will feel a little cheated. The question is whether not to use up a transfer replacing the Chelsea goalkeeper.

It is important to take into account that there is a two-week international break coming up, so if Cech's recovery goes to plan he should only miss the home games against West Bromwich Albion and Norwich - but they are two prime clean sheet matches.

Much depends on who you have as your second goalkeeper. If you've gone for Chelsea's reserve goalkeeper, most likely to be Henrique Hilario, then he will of course automatically play in your side and there is little point making a transfer. And if you have a first choice goalkeeper from another team, say for instance Mark Schwarzer of Fulham, then making a change for the sake of two gameweeks is wasteful.

However, if Cech's injury is going to leave you without a playable goalkeeper a move into the market will be necessary. We can't say with 100% confidence that Hilario and not Ross Turnbull will play these next two Premier League games, and with Chelsea's team not announced until well after the next gamelock it could be a gamble to transfer one in.

The best option seems to be Tim Howard of Everton, who will face Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park before a visit to Blackburn Rovers.

Cahill could prove bargain material

Gary Cahill is mobbed after scoring at QPR, but Bolton's fixtures are a horror show
GettyImagesGary Cahill scored a cracking goal in Bolton's opening match of the new season against QPR

Our tip to target goalscoring defenders this season has already proved sage advice, with Bolton Wanderers centre-back Gary Cahill the top-scoring player from the first gameweek.

There was a lot of doom and gloom around Bolton at the start of the season, though it is important to remember they were playing QPR last weekend, and a glance at Bolton's next two games does not suggest he should be an immediate transfer target.

Cahill is the second most bought player this week, but with the Trotters hosting Manchester City before then travelling to Liverpool there is little to suggest his high-scoring start can continue.

That said, it remains highly likely that Cahill will join one of the Premier League's big clubs before the end of the transfer window - when he will become a bargain signing at £6.0m.

Bolton's fixtures directly after the closure of the transfer window are: Manchester United (H), Norwich (H), Arsenal (A), Chelsea (H).

Safe to say, don't bother bringing in Gary Cahill unless he moves clubs. That ship has already sailed.

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