October Squad of the Month
The big names are starting to dominate in the fantasy game, something which is underlined in our Squad of the Month for October.
Players from Arsenal and Chelsea lead the way in the attacking positions, with the usually reliable mid-range midfielders, such as Everton's Tim Cahill and Bolton Wanderers' Matty Taylor, conspicuous by their absence.
However, Portsmouth provide the surprise of the month as they amazingly have three players in the squad despite sitting at the bottom of the Premier League table.
England's David James is the only goalkeeper in the 15, with three clean sheets from four games played. Pompey's defensive record also means Tal Ben Haim makes it into the squad. And Ben Haim is the only player from outside the top four to make this squad without scoring a goal.
The final Pompey player is hat-trick hero Aruna Dindane, who scored 22 points for the month. Of those 22 points, 16 of them came in the one match as Portsmouth beat Wigan 4-0. Dindane certainly looks a more promising fantasy prospect, as he also got an assist in the first gameweek of November, and at £6 million is very affordable.
Defensively, it's hard to back Ben Haim and James especially after they conceded three goals against Blackburn. And with a trip to Stoke and a home game against Manchester United to come this month don't expect to see any Pompey players make the next squad.
It will come as no surprise that Chelsea, as leaders of the Premier League, also contribute three players. In fact, they could have four players in the squad but that would, of course, break the game rules. Added to that, striker Didier Drogba had to be removed from the squad to balance the £100 million budget.
Ricardo Carvalho shares the accolade of Defender of the Month with two other players, scoring 20 points. Carvalho had three clean sheets for October and is joined in the squad by team-mate Branislav Ivanovic, who scored one point fewer partly due to Carvalho getting an assist against Blackburn Rovers.
Whereas in the past Ivanovic may have been seen as something of a risky purchase, the injury to Jose Bosingwa, which rules him out of action until February, makes the Serbian a certain starter and at £6 million he is a steal for a top-four defender. He has started the last seven matches, picking up five clean sheets, and is sure to be one of the most popular purchases of the coming weeks.
Joint with Carvalho as Defender of the Month are two goalscoring defenders. Aston Villa's Richard Dunne and Graham Alexander of Burnley both scored three times. Whereas Dunne is unlikely to keep on scoring, Alexander takes Burnley's penalties and has a cracking record from the spot too.
The final defender in the squad is Jody Craddock of Wolves who scored twice in the last match of the month. And after also scoring against Arsenal in the last gameweek he's started November well. But, and despite that goal I'll say it again, Craddock is not a goalscoring defender.
Taking the accolade as Player of the Month in fantasy is the Lazarus figure of Frank Lampard. Almost written off after a barren start to the season in front of goal, Lampard has stormed back with a 33-point haul in October. With three goals and two assists in October he is once again a hot property in Premier League fantasy and is on the trail of the game's number one player, Francesc Fabregas, moving up to second in the overall standings.
Fabregas himself is keeping up his form, and scored only two fewer points than Lampard in October with two goals and a remarkable five assists - four of them coming in one game. Team-mate Andrei Arshavin was one of the top 15 scoring players but had to be omitted from the squad as he is too expensive.
There is a second Arsenal player, though, as Robin van Persie is crowned Striker of the Month after also notching 31 points. He scored in all four games, with five goals in total, and also grabbed two assists.
Budget players complete the midfield for October. Clint Dempsey of Fulham, Blackburn Rovers' David Dunn and Matthew Etherington of Stoke City have all found goalscoring form, though surely only Dunn could be relied upon for a long-term return.
There's just one place left in the squad to confirm, and that place goes to West Ham United striker Carlton Cole who scored 20 points. Despite his consistent form, however, Cole is one to avoid for the moment as he was forced off injured in the final match of the October game month.
So expensive players take all four accolades for October. That means they are only going to get more expensive so if you are thinking about transferring in these players its best not to hang around.