The General profiles two players – Joshua King and Jermain Defoe – who are at the opposite end of the Fantasy spectrum at the moment. He has a look at why and if there is any potential change in the near future.
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HOT – Joshua King
Form: 8 goals in 8 matches
GW30 fixture: Southampton (away)
Josh King has been a shining light for the Cherries in recent weeks, scoring 8 goals in his last 8 league appearances, including a hat trick in the 3-2 win over West Ham (he also missed a penalty in that fixture). Bournemouth’s fixtures take a turn for the worse in the coming weeks but I fancy King to continue his hot streak against Southampton this weekend. The Saints have been struggling defensively without Virgil van Dijk, having conceded 8 goals in their last 3 matches. King will fancy his chances against the makeshift defensive pairing of Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens.
Since Callum Wilson suffered a season-ending knee injury, King has enjoyed a more advanced role in the Bournemouth attack, often deployed as a striker by Eddie Howe. The Norwegian, who began his career in English football at Manchester United, has never been prolific but Bournemouth’s attacking style of play suits his game and he’s having his most productive season to date. There has been talk that he’s suffering from a back injury (presumably as a result of carrying Bournemouth in recent weeks) but he played 90 minutes for Norway in their 2-0 defeat to Northern Ireland on Sunday, so he should be fine for the trip to St. Mary’s.
NOT – Jermain Defoe
Form: No goals/assists in his last 4 league matches
GW30 fixture: Watford (away)
Defoe has virtually been Sunderland’s only outlet in front of goal this season, scoring 14 league goals for the Black Cats but he’s failed to hit the back of the net in his last 4 league appearances. However, he made his first start for England in over three years and scored the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Lithuania. Sunderland’s Premier League survival hopes rest on his shoulders. But as we enter the final quarter of the season, it’s not all doom and gloom for Defoe. It’s important for fantasy managers to focus on players from teams who have something left to play for and Defoe/Sunderland fit that bill.
When you look at the players available to David Moyes it’s no surprise to see Sunderland rooted at the bottom of the table. Aside from Defoe and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, they lack real Premier League quality and they’ve relied heavily on these two to carry them this season. Defoe has had a hand in a higher share of his team’s league goals this term (67%) than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues according to Opta. This shows just how important he is to the Sunderland cause. A bonus in owning Defoe is that he’s Sunderland’s penalty taker and he’s scored every spot kick he’s taken this season.
Sunderland need to get their season going before it’s too late and a trip to play a Watford side who haven’t won a game for two months is the perfect opportunity for Defoe to kick-start their fight for survival.
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