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EPL Barometer: Welbeck Falls Again

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

Jay Rodriguez, F, Southampton


Often overlooked for bigger-named strikers, Rodriguez should no longer be ignored. The Englishman is one of seven players in the Premier League who has reached double-digit goals, eclipsing the total from the likes of Olivier Giroud, Wayne Rooney, Alvaro Negredo, Robin van Persie, and Romelu Lukaku. While some of these players have missed time due to injuries, that doesnít diminish Rodriguezís totals, especially since heís been able to stay on the pitch. Heís been solid of late too, scoring two goals and recording one assist in his last three league matches, while averaging 4.7 shots per game in that span. He should also have decent scoring opportunities in his next five matches: home against Stoke, at Hull City, at West Ham, home against Liverpool, and at Crystal Palace.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, M, Arsenal

With injuries to Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Jack Wilshere (ankle), plus a red card ban for Mathieu Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain got his first Premier League start for the Gunners on Sunday since the opener back on August 17 against Aston Villa. With fresh legs following a long injury spell and a month to ease his way back to fitness, Oxlade-Chamberlain roared back and bagged a brace for Arsenal, leading them to a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace. While Wilshere may be back soon, Ramsey will likely be out for at least another four weeks, which should keep Ox in the starting XI for a few more games.

Kevin Mirallas, M, Everton

With Romelu Lukaku still a few weeks away from returning from an ankle injury, Everton manager Roberto Martinez looked to Mirallas for an offensive charge in last weekendís match against Aston Villa. He responded by scoring the game-winner in the 85th minute, his third goal in the last four Premier League matches. The Belgian now has five goals and five assists this season, and will look to keep it going next weekend against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Vito Mannone, G, Sunderland

Like Adam Johnson a few weeks ago, it just wouldnít be right to not mentioned Mannone here. After a terribly tough start to the season, new manager Gus Poyet seems to have gotten the best out of Sunderland and Mannone, as they inch their way out of the relegation zone. Theyíve been especially impressive lately, with back-to-back clean sheets, with Mannone making 15 saves over that span. The good times could keep rolling this weekend, with a match against Hull City at the Stadium of Light. However, fantasy owners need to be aware that three of Sunderlandís four matches after Hull come against Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Itís tough to find a tougher gauntlet than that.

FALLING

Danny Welbeck, F, Manchester United


Welbeck has already fallen and risen in the Barometer this season, mostly because of his movement in-and-out of the starting XI. He has been in fine form, scoring eight goals in only 17 appearances this season. However, with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney back from their respective injuries, itís tough to see Welbeck getting much time up front for the Red Devils. Van Persie and Rooney havenít exactly been durable this year, but if theyíre both healthy (which they are right now), there isnít a ton of room left on the pitch for the 24-year old.

Jonjo Shelvey, M, Swansea City

Shelvey is a dangerous player when heís fit, but thatís been a problem with him of late. He was reportedly suffering from a hamstring injury in mid-January, but continued to play on it. Unfortunately, it looks like that came back to bite him, as he was forced out of last weekendís against Aston Villa because of that same hamstring. He hasnít officially been ruled out of this weekend's match against Cardiff City, but it could certainly hamper him if he continues to play through it. While he has four goals and three assists this season, Shelvey has scored only once in his last 10 Premier League matches, and 12 matches in all competitions.

Andy Carroll, F, West Ham United

Carrollís long layoff for a foot injury finally ended last month, and the English striker has been a solid contributor since his return. He recorded an assist in his first appearance back on January 11 against Cardiff City, and then he notched two more during last weekendís win over Swansea. It all seemed to be coming back for Carroll, until the 59th minute when he was assessed a red card for hitting Chico Flores in the head. Chico is now up for an Academy Award for his reaction to the bump, which promptly got Carroll tossed from the match. The red card appeal was denied, and now Carroll will sit the next three matches, with the hope that he can quickly get back in the grove when he returns.