Punt of the Week - Gameweek 13 - With a twist


After Marco’s couple of very successful punts, I thought that I would do something slightly different.

Here is the deal… for maybe four years this punt has been in the making. And he was doing so poorly this season it was going to be completely out of left field. But alas, he stepped up and has scored points over the past couple of weeks. So he has made me re-think. And what I have come up with is… not only will I punt Mr Adam Johnson, but I will go so far as punting his whole team, well 5 in particular.

The Potential

Sunderland, by all accounts, have fallen short of expectations so far this season, but looking at their schedule maybe it’s not totally unsurprising. Sometimes it takes just one incident to spark life into something. And a red card may well have sparked Sunderland’s season.

For 30 minutes I whole heartedly believed that my Fulham clean sheet was in the bag. I still believe this to be true. But the red card for Hangeland changed the game, and I think maybe Sunderland’s season. As soon as the first goal went in for Sunderland you could see the confidence start to come back, and it increased more and more as the game went on.

The fixtures couldn’t be much better either. West Brom may be sailing high in the league, but it’s mainly due to their home form and on the road they have been inconsistent at best. If that doesn’t whet your appetite maybe another home game will, and no one can argue it gets much better than bottom of the league QPR. Now an away trip to Norwich seems daunting right now because of recent results, but surely they will falter? Then it’s a double Gameweek, both Chelsea and Reading visit the Stadium of Light in Gameweek 16.

The Risk

Now post Gameweek 16, it’s rough going and I wouldn’t suggest you go overboard with Sunderland players as they face trips to Man Utd and Southampton which are followed by games with Man City, Spurs, Liverpool and the mighty Hammers! So you would have to ditch some pretty fast!

Of course one game against 10 men might not have convinced you, but there were signs in the Everton game for sure. And with so many other players performing week in week out it’s hard sometimes to take a punt on someone that hasn’t been setting the world alight or grabbing every newspaper headline.

The Verdict

Maybe it’s hard for people to turn to un-fancied players, but with Fellaini suspended, and Nolan’s fixtures in decline, this might be the time to take a punt on a real differential. This is especially true in the mid-range midfield bracket which is why Adam Johnson is my main punt, but he is not the only one…

Simon Mignolet – (G.K – 5.0 – 4%) – Clean sheets could well be plenty in the next few fixtures, and with Jaaskelainen’s fixtures and Vorm’s injury, a move to Mignolet might not be the worst idea you have ever had.

Carlos Cuellar – (DEF – 4.5 – 2.4%) – With his first goal for Sunderland this week, not only has he proved to be a goal threat but he is nailed on and cheap enough to free up funds elsewhere.

Craig Gardner – (MID – 4.9 – 0.4%) – Possibly my clever pick, which is under the radar of most. So far played at right-back most of the season because of the injury to Bardsley. But things have changed, and he is now free to return to the midfield and let his manager speak for me…

“I feel that Craig should have ten league goals at the end of every season – regardless of the number of games that he plays. Craig’s eye for goal really could be a tremendous asset for us. He has got a great shot, he gets into dangerous positions and he hits the ball as strongly and as truly as anyone in the Premier League.”

Steven Fletcher – (STK – 7.0 – 5.3%) – Now he just shows how quick fantasy managers are to dismiss a player. Sold by over 110,000 players in the past two weeks, he showed what they were missing with 12 points, and for any new investment all those sales saved you 0.4 million.

Now the real diamond in the pack…

Adam Johnson – (MID – 6.8 – 1.4%) – I have never owned Johnson in a fantasy team, and before this season it was for one very good reason: he wasn’t getting the time his talent deserved at Man City. Whenever I saw him in someone’s team I wondered what it would be like. Like a roller-coaster ride I would imagine. I knew that with only five minutes he could change a game, but even if he did, he wasn’t guaranteed any more game time as a result.

But things changed: he moved to Sunderland and I was on the verge of signing him that very same day, but my team had other things that needed attention. And well thank goodness! Because it seems he needed time to get used to 90 mins. I watched the whole 90 mins of the Fulham V Sunderland match and the signs were there that Johnson has finally found the form (and game time) I have been desperate to see for years now.

At 6.8 he comes in at about the same price as Michu, Nolan and Fellaini, but with 1.4% ownership he is a real game changer if he performs. So if you’re chasing or even trying to extend your lead over rivals, friends, family or enemies, then maybe Johnson could be the man for you! (Well at least for the next 4 weeks anyway.)

So for anyone that chooses Sunderland this week: may you profit and celebrate in your own glory, for in the end you have to hit “make transfers”… it’s your choice and no one else.

Go in boldness, make strong choices and if so be it, make them Red, White and Sunderland flavoured.