Date: 9th September 2012 at 2:01pm
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It says a lot about how far Newcastle have come over the last three seasons that drawing with Aston Villa is seen as a bad result. That will however, be cold comfort to those participants in the Nothing But Newcastle Fantasy League who had backed a flood of goals at St. James’ Park.

With the exception of a decent Papiss Cisse chance that was well saved by Brad Guzan, Newcastle’s front two lacked the swagger of last season and looked impotent in front of goal. Luckily for the Newcastle support, Hatem Ben Arfa once again came to the club’s rescue. An absolute stunner from the edge of the area gave Ben Arfa a 9-point gameweek and rewarded those fantasy managers that selected the Frenchman in their midfield.

Ben Arfa hasn’t been selected for the French national team over the international break and should be back raring to go for Monday Night Football against Everton on the 17th.

This week’s top performer in the Nothing But Newcastle Fantasy League was Rob Loaring, with his team It Aint Arfa Hot. Like thousands of other managers, Rob’s team benefited from a strong performance from Carlos Tevez, but it was faith in Lukas Podolski that saw Rob take top spot for gameweek 3.

With four new entrants going straight into the top ten this week, it was Mauno Mato’s team FC Morgula that made the biggest impact. An excellent back-to-front team performance led to a 92 point haul, with almost half of those points coming from the now essential Van Persie/Tevez partnership.

Notable mentions this week go to Robin Van Persie of Man Utd and Steven Fletcher of Sunderland. Despite Van Persie’s hefty 13.4 price tag, the Dutchman’s well taken hat-trick against the Saints has propelled him to the forefront of our thinking. Van Persie is now assured of starts and with a home tie against Wigan next to come, Van Persie’s owners will be giddy with excitement, while the rest wonder how they’ll fit him into their teams.

As much as it pains a Newcastle fan to say it, Sunderland have a proper striker on their hands, and a manger who knows how to use him. A coolly taken double on his debut showed Steven Flethcer’s class in front of goal and priced at 7.0, fantasy managers should be looking to the Scot to fill their budget position up front. And given the returns of the abovementioned Van Persie, Fletcher has gone under the radar the week, attracting only 23,000 transfers in. If he continues to do so he could prove to be an important differential over the coming weeks.

If you haven’t joined the Nothing But Newcastle Fantasy League yet, then get yourself over to http://fantasy.premierleague.com and join a private league with 637227-278464 as the code.

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