1. Gareth Bale- It’s easy to jump on the Gareth Bale bandwagon. We all did it after his fabulous hat trick at the San Siro. We all did it after his Player of the Year Award. I’m doing it again now. Bale scored twice to down a mediocre Norwich City side on Tuesday night, but it was the nature of his second goal that really caught the eye; the speed, composure and confidence. Moreover, his price is a manageable £8.9 million. It will rise over the coming weeks. All the more reason to buy him tonight.
2. West Brom’s unsung heroes- On a more pragmatic note, West Brom have learned to defend. Led by the inspirational Gareth McAuley, the Baggies managed to grind out a 0-0 draw at home to Manchester City – the highest scoring team in the league. McAuley and Jonas Ollson were arguably West Brom’s top two performers, but both are available at under £5 million. Decent bets for the New Year. Or sooner.
3. Fernando Torres- Torres’ surprise start didn’t yield the goal he sorely needs, but it did provide as clear an indication as any that Andre Villas-Boas plans to deploy him more often over the coming weeks. Both Didier Drogba and Saloman Kalou will depart for the African Cup of Nations in January, leaving Torres as Chelsea’s sole out-and-out front man. The Spaniard is priced at £10 million (which is a lot for a player who has scored fewer than five times in the last year) but that figure is likely to rise over the coming week as he (hopefully!) accumulates more points. Maybe, just maybe, the New Year will herald a new Torres.
If it doesn’t, though, there is always Steve Morison.
4. Blackburn’s new star has a funny sounding name (but don’t get too carried away!)- Bunn. Buunnn. Say it to yourself two, maybe three, times. Bunn. Bunn Bunn Bunn. Then watch his incredible save two, maybe three, times. Gordon Banks-esque, right? Buuuunnnnn. It’s a shame that the more mundanely named Paul Robinson is likely to be fit for Blackburn’s trip to Old Trafford. Perhaps some of you have already gone and signed Blackburn’s second string goalkeeper as a back-up for your number one. Bunn. United have scored five in both of their last two games and could very well reach double digits on Saturday. Especially as Mark Bunn (price: £4 million) will take his normal place on the bench. Bunn.
5. The return of Yossi Benayoun- Following his unlikely winner at Villa Park, Yossi Benayoun finally got his chance. A start. A Premier League start. The former Chelsea and Liverpool creator had waited patiently all season for a proper opportunity. Against Wolves on Tuesday he was majestic for the first forty-five, invisible for the next fifteen and probably very cold for the last thirty. But anyway, his assist (and remember, it must have been good if Gervinho scored…) completed a productive seven days for the fans with a vested interest in Benny’s performances.
During his Anfield days the Israeli had a reputation for being a ten-ish a season sort of goalscorer, so his header at Villa Park could be the start of something sensational. He is priced at exactly £6.9 million pounds. Go for it.