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EPL Barometer: The Return of SAS

Andrew M. Laird

Andrew M. Laird

Andrew M. Laird is the Senior Soccer Editor for RotoWire, as well as a fantasy football and college basketball contributor.

RISING

Daniel Sturridge, F, Liverpool

After missing seven weeks with an ankle injury, it wouldn’t have been surprising if Sturridge took his time to shake off the rust before making an impact for Liverpool again. Consider him rust-free. The striker came on in the 66th minute of Liverpool’s match against Stoke City on Sunday and proceeded to assist on Luis Suarez’s 71st minute goal, before finding the back of the net himself in the 87th minute with a terrific effort near the end line and a punishing finish. Sturridge now has 10 goals and three assists in 13 Premier League appearances, the former of which trails only Suarez and Sergio Aguero for the most in England, a remarkable figure given how much time has missed.

Christian Eriksen, M, Tottenham
It’s taken a little time, but Eriksen is finally coming into his own under new manager Tim Sherwood. 12 games into his Premier League tenure, the Danish midfielder has recorded three goals and two assists. More importantly, he’s got three goals and one assist in his last four league matches. Tottenham have really opened up offensively since moving on from Andre Villas-Boas, which has benefited Eriksen quite nicely.

Fernando Torres, F, Chelsea
Part of me can’t believe I am writing about Torres here. But if he were named anything other than “Fernando Torres,” I’d probably be writing about that player, so it only seems fair to include him. The oft-maligned striker has scored in back-to-back Premier League games, and has found the back of the net in three of his last four starts in league play. He’s not likely making anyone’s Best XI list anytime soon, but Torres is certainly trending in the right direction these days.

Adam Johnson, M, Sunderland
I’d be remiss not to mention Johnson here, after he banged home a hat trick against Fulham on Saturday. The midfielder now has four goals in his last two starts, although his non-hat trick goal came against Carlisle in the FA Cup. The offensive explosion was quite surprising, as Johnson came into the match with only one league goal this season. He's a player to watch out for, but one more goal may be needed before fantasy owners can take him seriously.

FALLING

Samir Nasri, M, Manchester City

There are some big names in the Manchester City midfield, such as Yaya Toure and David Silva, but Nasri remains a very important piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, Nasri suffered a knee ligament injury during Saturday’s match against Newcastle, and he’ll now miss up to eight weeks of action. It’s a tough blow for the Citizens, although they have plenty of firepower to make up for it, at least in the short-term.

Jussi Jaaskelainen, G, West Ham
Jaaskelainen was benched for last weekend’s match against Cardiff City, ceding the starting job to Adrian. While losing one start isn’t the end of the world, the situation is a little worse for Jaaskelainen, who has now seen Adrian take three starts in West Ham’s last five matches. Neither keeper has effectively “won” the job over the other, although Adrian did notch a clean sheet against Cardiff, which likely keeps him in goal for Saturday’s upcoming tilt with Newcastle.

Patrice Evra, M, Manchester United
Evra was credited with an assist during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Swansea this past weekend, but had to leave in the 78th minute because his knee was bothering him. Manager David Moyes said that Evra has had an "ongoing knee issue" and that he was “feeling it” toward the end of the match. Evra may be forced to stay on the pitch for United with all their injuries, but an ongoing issue with his knee certainly doesn’t bode well for his fantasy production.