After the unwanted fortnight’s interruption for international fixtures, we’re now in the home straight and edging ever closer to Gameweek 4. As always, this affords us the opportunity to give the fixtures a thorough frisking, assessing the upcoming schedules over the next few Gameweeks or so:
David Moyes’ side will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the Hawthorns last time round and, with a strong run of fixtures to come, the foreseeable future looks positive. The Toffees welcome (NEW, SOT, LIV) to Goodison in the next six and bearing in mind they returned a clean sheet in their only home game thus far against United, Moyes will be far from apprehensive.
With trips to Wigan, QPR and Swansea also on the agenda, faith in Everton’s assets is likely to take a turn for the good. Leighton Baines is the obvious candidate – priced at 7.1 in both FPL and the Sky Sports game, his set-pieces and spot-kicks, allied with the possibility of clean sheet returns, will see him earmarked by many. Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini offer the threat from midfield, while Nikica Jelavic is likely to be afforded plenty of chances as the lone forward in the 4-5-1 formation.
It’s not been the easiest of starts under Andre Villas-Boas but Spurs still have reasons to be optimistic. Despite harvesting just two points and no clean sheets from their first three Gameweeks, the London outfit continue to be handed opportunities to get their season up and running, with (rdg, QPR, AVL) in the next four.
Gareth Bale has already suffered a drop in price in FPL and is down to 14% ownership – a clear indication of his current form, with the Welshman sitting on a mere five points right now. Gylfi Sigurdsson has also suffered – a couple of starts have lasted around the hour mark, while his other appearance came from the bench, with Villas-Boas struggling to get the best out of the Icelandic international. Emmanuel Adebayor could be set to start at Reading and could be a real differential if he comes good, with less than 4% ownership in FPL. At the back, Jan Vertonghen highlighted his attacking capabilities with a stunning free-kick for Belgium against Wales last Friday – the summer signing from Ajax has now settled at the Lane after being left out of the opener at Newcastle and has the offensive edge over his fellow defenders.
Top scorers in the Premier League with 10 goals in their opening three, Michael Laudrup’s men are handed further opportunity to plunder points and goals over the next few Gameweeks. Swansea have three home games in the next five, with (EVE, RDG, WIG) all rolling up to the Liberty, while trips to Villa and Stoke hold little fear, with neither side producing a clean sheet so far.
Michu is now up to 7.3 in FPL, having netted in each of his first three matches – those latter two home clashes will tempt plenty to hand the Spaniard the armband. While Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge have both returned attacking points in their first trio of fixtures, the arrival of Pablo Hernandez raises doubts over their game time, with Routledge perhaps the most at threat. With Chico suspended for the next two league matches and Neil Taylor out for the season, Michel Vorm offers the comfort of save points if clean sheets go amiss, while Angel Rangel’s threat from right-back has already provided a goal for his Fantasy owners. Ben Davies is the real gamble here – a bargain bucket option, but with the Swan’s moving to seal the signature of Dwight Tiendalli today, the candidate for vacant left-back role now appears to be uncertain. Back up front, Danny Graham’s price across the Fantasy games still makes the lone forward a viable option, despite a single goal to date.
Steve Clarke’s side go from strength to strength, with a strong start defying the doubters. Wins and clean sheets over Liverpool and Everton and a draw at Spurs have instilled a real confidence at the Hawthorns right now and the Baggies’ next four matches all look favourable, with home clashes against Reading and QPR supplemented by trips to Fulham and Villa.
Gareth McAuley and Liam Ridgewell have picked up the most suitors since the start of the season, though the arrival of Goran Popov is something of a worry. Popov is set to challenge Ridgewell for the left-back role, though the former Birmingham man could also move to centre-half (and vie with McAuley for game time) if ousted by the new boy. Ben Foster’s save points will be crucial to his cause, while further up the field, James Morrison has already returned a goal and assist from his role in “the hole”. Up top, only Shane Long looks to have established himself as a regular – when selected, Peter Odemwingie has been fielded out wide, while Romelu Lukaku has been reduced to the role of impact sub to this point.
Fulham – Martin Jol’s side welcome West Brom and Villa to the Cottage over the next six and travel to (wig, sot, rdg) affording them a chance to remedy their poor away form under the Dutchman last term. While Mark Schwarzer, Brede Hangeland and John Arne-Riise offer potential at the back, much depends on how Jol utilises his front line. Dimitar Berbatov looks nailed on and with spot-kicks likely to be in the bag, the Bulgarian is being lined up by many, while Mladen Petric’s owners will be keeping an eye on the Cottagers’ teamsheet over these next few games – a drop to the bench would see many sell him on.
West Ham – the Hammers roll up to Norwich this weekend on the back of a resounding win over Fulham and will be looking to replicate their home form on the road. Trips to QPR and Wigan also offer Sam Allardyce the chance to engineer a win or two, while home clashes with Sunderland and Southampton will see their assets pick up investment due to their back-to-back wins and clean sheets at Upton Park. Jussi Jaaskelainen has the luxury of save points to boost his tally and Guy Demel offers a real cut-price route into their back-four. Kevin Nolan is the obvious candidate in midfield, while we’re still awaiting news of Andy Carroll’s hamstring strain ahead of the visit to Carrow Road.
Chelsea – back after a blank Gameweek 3, the Blues have a trio of strong fixtures in the next four. Roberto Di Matteo’s side travel to QPR before hosting Stoke and Norwich – Eden Hazard will be handed the armband by many for those two games at the Bridge, while Fernando Torres offers a tempting, if somewhat riskier, alternative. With doubt over John Terry and Ashley Cole ahead of the Loftus Road match, Branislav Ivanovic may have to rely on his attacking threat to continue bringing home the points, while Juan Mata has already dropped to 9.0 in FPL due to the interest in Hazard; with less than 5% ownership, the Spaniard has the potential to be a decent differential here.
Aston Villa – a gritty point at Newcastle last time round will have Paul Lambert hoping the tide has turned. The fixture list now smiles kindly on the Midlands outfit, with (SWA, WBA, NOR) all arriving at Villa Park in the next six, with a trip to Southampton also thrown in. Ciaran Clark offers a cheap route at the back and has already grabbed a goal this season, while Barry Bannan has perhaps been their most impressive midfielder to date. Darren Bent now needs to step up after a poor start, while new boy Christian Benteke could be a real punt up front, should Lambert maintain his recent 4-4-2.
The fixture list continues to be cruel and unrelenting towards the Potters. Tony Pulis’ side are still without a clean sheet this term and now face a schedule that sees them square up to City, Chelsea, Swansea, Liverpool and United over the next five Gameweeks. Ryan Shawcross’ 20% of FPL ownership may find defensive returns hard to come by, though Peter Crouch as picked up a respectable six points per game over the first three and is still in under 5% of teams.
Having picked themselves up after the Gameweek 1 mauling at Fulham, Norwich have registered a couple of draws but the next six fixtures look a real test for the Canaries. While the visit of West Ham may offer a little respite, Chris Hughton’s side then face (new, LIV, che, ARS) from Gameweeks 5-8; it’s fair to say that little investment is likely here until the schedule takes a turn for the better. With only two goals and no clean sheets under Hughton yet, it’s an easy decision for many.
A point from their first three matches is indicative of a team in transition right now. Mark Hughes’ influx of summer signings have clearly yet to gel and will need to get their act together quickly if they’re to climb up the table. Chelsea, West Ham and Everton all make their way to Loftus Road in the next six, while trips to Spurs, West Brom and Arsenal will offer real tests to the out-of-sorts side – Julio Cesar looks set for a busy introduction between the posts over the new few matches.
Also Be Wary Of…
Man United – While this weekend’s home clash with Wigan looks enticing, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side then face three difficult away trips over the following five Gameweeks. United make their way to (liv, new, che) and may need to rely on Robin Van Persie to fire them to victory once again, bearing in mind they have conceded in both their matches on the road thus far. With Spurs also making their way to Old Trafford during their upcoming run of games, United’s next few matches look likely to test a backline that has yet to register a single clean sheet.
Wigan – the next four Gameweeks look tricky for Roberto Martinez to engineer. Trips to United and Sunderland are unlikely to persuade many to take a punt on the post-Victor Moses Latics, while Fulham and Everton should both give Wigan a real battle at the DW.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
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|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
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|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
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|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
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