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Nov 4, 2008

Squad of the month

He's back with a vengeance. The midfielder who was the Most Valuable Player in the game by a country mile last season has begun to blaze a trail. Those that doubted he'd produce the same form are now cursing their transfer policy. Of course, we're talking about Cristiano Ronaldo. The Manchester United star was clear as the top scoring player for October with 31 points, five points ahead of his nearest rival, and now looks irresistible. With three goals and one assist the points were flooding in.

The problem now is that his value has been soaring and at £12.9million he's a big outlay. The only way you can get away with not having Ronaldo is if you've used the money wisely on other players. Even taking that into account, with him scoring points left, right and centre any manager who has opted not to pay the fee must feel a dagger in their side.

Ronaldo has already got off to a flyer in November with two goals against Hull City which means he is a near certainty to be in the next Squad of the Month. And his value is only going to rise in line with that.

The Portuguese is the only United player to make it though it's different for one of their title rivals, Chelsea, who can boast a third of the squad.

Whilst there can be few surprises about the number of Chelsea players, the same cannot be said about the continuing impact of Hull City's players in the fantasy game.

Expected to be whipping boys and a fantasy no-no, they've proved there are bargains out there by almost matching Chelsea for the number of representatives in the 15-man line-up for October.

Tigers goalkeeper Boaz Myhill is the top performing stopper for the month with 17 points, picking up three clean sheets and only having his copy book blotted by the 3-0 reversal at home to Chelsea. And Hull also provide the best defender of the month. With two goals and three clean sheets Michael Turner has been a revelation, notching 22 points. That's seen his value rise by £0.8million, but as previously explained in this column there is a danger of missing the boat if Hull's form does not hold out.

Midfielder Geovanni is again in the squad, though only on the bench, following on from his appearance in August. And after starting the new month with a goal he, like Ronaldo, is in a good position to again make another appearance. The final Hull player to make it is Marlon King. Though some way behind the other two strikers in the squad he still made it onto the bench.

Chelsea provided the second and third highest points scoring players for the month, both midfielders. The appearance of Frenchman Florent Malouda in second place will come as a shock. Given a new lease of life under Luiz Felipe Scolari, he scored two goals and registered two assists in October. At £7.4million he looks to be a great price for a top four player. Malouda was a point ahead of team-mate Frank Lampard.

If you're looking for defensive strength then Chelsea clearly are the team to invest in. They take up three of the five defensive slots after recording three clean sheets for the month and letting in just the one goal. Jose Bosingwa, Juliano Belletti and John Terry fit in behind Turner as the best defenders for the month.

The final defensive slot goes to Gary Cahill of Bolton Wanderers, his goal against West Ham at the start of the month forcing him onto the substitutes' bench. And sitting on the side in the goalkeeper's position is Mark Schwarzer of Fulham after a good month at the back for the Cottagers, with two clean sheets.

The best two strikers for the month were Robinho of Manchester City and Robin van Persie of Arsenal. Robinho's hat-trick against Stoke City made him a certainty. He added to that with a goal and an assist against Newcastle.

Van Persie may have made it this month but he's no chance for November after a red card against Stoke which will rule him out of most of the month. He got 22 points in October, notching two goals and three assists.

The final member of the squad is Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini who at £7million has turned out to be a good option for a mid-ranger midfielder. He scored three goals in October to bag 24 points which is an excellent return.

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