It was no surprise that Papiss Cisse was banned for seven matches following his clash with Jonny Evans in gameweek 28. The Senegalese forward admitted the conduct and was summarily banned (with one extra for an earlier violent conduct charge this season). Evans, however, sought to challenge the allegation and denied the charge.
In the end, he was found guilty and will miss Manchester United's FA Cup clash with Arsenal in the 6th round as well as four or five League matches - pending the outcome of Monday's FA Cup match. It is an interesting situation now at Old Trafford where Evans has the fourth most minutes played of any acknowledged defender (1039') but is fifth once Antonio Valencia (1680') is added to the mix. The suspension leaves Louis van Gaal with a first-choice pair of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the centre of his defense. Certainly not a bad pair, though no one any FPL manager is rushing to acquire.
The suspension may have more of an impact on Valencia and Rojo, with van Gaal electing to keep four at the back given his limited options. Neither player has a goal nor an assist to their credit - in fact in salary-cap leagues like the Official game it is Chris Smalling and his three goals who is the desired United defender - but both possess the ability to attack down the wing.
Where Rojo and Valencia would have considerably more value is in fantasy premier league draft leagues like Togga. In any FPL league where you earn points for crosses, successful take-ons and chances created, Rojo and Valencia would typically be snatched-up. The Red Devils, however, face a murderous row in the coming weeks with Tottenham, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea interrupted only by a visit from Aston Villa in GW31. Each of those sides figure to attack United's weakened defensive ranks, exploiting the slower centre-backs with explosive counter attacking. It is unfortunate, but the 23.1% of FPL managers who still own David de Gea should see the writing on the wall.
Spanish Dave has played every League game for United this term and has only nine clean sheets to his credit. A certified shot-stopper of the highest order, he will be under constant pressure in the coming weeks and can not be counted on to keep a clean sheet in any of United's matches between now and gameweek 34. He must be considered a short-term sell and retains little value in daily/weekly weekly leagues against top six opponents.
The same is unfortunately true of Papiss Cisse. In fact, one could take it a step further and drop the Newcastle forward for the remainder of the season. Banned from now until 9 May, he will be eligible for only the final three fixtures this season. However, dropping Cisse and forgetting him is no wise move. Though the diminutive 29-year-old will be without match sharpness, he will have the opportunity to return at home against WBA, followed in quick succession by a trip to Loftus Road and the season finale home to West Ham. Cisse is likely without much value in traditional salary-cap leagues and should be dropped immediately but for players tracking possible under-valued commodities for daily fantasy sports leagues - Cisse is one to watch.
Finally - a bit of business. Togga, the fine purveyor of fantasy premier league games by whom I'm employed, is launching a new game this week! Perfect XI is your chance to pick your very best XI without any salary cap limits, team construction constraints or paying an entrance fee. Totally free to sign up! Equally as free to play! Build your own Galacticos. Go with your instinct. Pick on form or allow the dynamic duo of Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond to do your dirty work and select an all Hoops XI!
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