Once again we roll out our weekly regular, assessing the strength of schedule over the next four to six Gameweeks. Stoke, Arsenal, Newcastle and City all look potentially prosperous acquisitions over the upcoming few matches, while Chelsea and Spurs could be set for a testing time ahead:
A trip to United looks the only blot on the landscape as the Potters’ horrendous opening schedule finally begins to clear. After their Gameweek 8 Old Trafford visit, Tony Pulis’ side then square up to (SUN, nor, QPR, whm, FUL) and while some may have doubts over their goal potential, Stoke’s defensive resolve is surely set to see their main Fantasy assets picks up plenty new investment.
Despite facing Chelsea, City, Arsenal and Liverpool in their first seven Gameweeks, Stoke have the second most impressive backline in the league, with a mere five goals conceded – a clear sign of their capabilities. Asmir Begovic – coming in at 4.6 in Fantasy Premier League – looks a cut-price keeper option and affords owners of West Brom’s Ben Foster a strong rotation partner between the sticks. Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross are the other usual suspects, though Geoff Cameron has started five of the last six and can also be feature in Pulis’ midfield, now Andy Wilkinson has returned from suspension. Marc Wilson is a cut-price alternative, having played every minute of the season so far.
Michael Kightly and Jon Walters both appeal for different reasons in the Fantasy games. The former Wolves man is classified as a defender in the Sky Sports game, while Walters’ FPL classification as a midfielder, allied with spot-kick duties, should see him pick up new ownership. Peter Crouch’s contribution up top looks vital for Pulis – with four goals and an assist, the forward has had a hand in five of Stoke’s six goals over the opening seven Gameweeks.
Having shown their resilience by battling back to end West Ham’s unbeaten home record, Arsenal now find themselves with a strong run of fixtures to continue their recent good form. The Gunners travel to Norwich next and with Chris Hughton’s side shipping nine in the last two matches, there is clear armband potential amongst Arsene Wenger’s regulars at Carrow Road.
Arsenal then have three home fixtures in the following four, with plenty of Fantasy managers keen to scramble aboard. Santi Cazorla looks the main protagonist, while Wenger’s decision to play Olivier Giroud through the centre and shift Gervinho out wide may see Lukas Podolski’s appeal increase, with the German’s role on the left pretty much nailed-on.
At the back, while Thomas Vermaelen’s attacking threat is reflected in his higher cost, Kieran Gibbs looks the only guaranteed starter in the mid-price bracket over the long-term now; Bacary Sagna is edging ever-closer to a return, placing huge question marks over Carl Jenkinson’s game time at right-back.
Trips to Sunderland and Liverpool aside, the next six Gameweeks look kind to Alan Pardew’s side. After the Gameweek 8 Tyne-Wear derby, Newcastle have three home games (WBA, WHM, SWA) and a trip to Southampton in the following five matches – offering potential of Fantasy points right across the board.
At the back, Danny Simpson has now dropped to 4.8 in FPL and while doubts remain over Tim Krul’s availability, Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini could be in line to return and significantly boost the Magpies’ defensive prospects. Hatem Ben Arfa, with attacking returns in three of his four home appearances, is the only real contender in Pardew’s midfield, while Demba Ba remains the top scoring forward in FPL despite Sunday’s blank against United. Papiss Cisse now has just 4% ownership in FPL and could be a real differential if he can regain confidence and form up front.
The champions head into the international break having recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season. With a first clean sheet also accrued, Roberto Mancini’s side are starting to click as the campaign begins to settle. City now have three home games (SWA, TOT, AVL) in the next five fixtures allied with trips to West Brom and West Ham – the Baggies 100% home record looks to be in real danger as Sergio Aguero and co make their way to the Hawthorns next time round.
Yaya Toure and David Silva can expect to see investment come their way in light of City’s schedule, with the midfield duo pretty much protected from their manager’s rotational whims, though the same can hardly be applied to the defence. Micah Richards’ return against Sunderland merely confuses the situation further – Vincent Kompany remains the only defender who will play if fit, though missed out last weekend with a calf problem.
Up front, Aguero served his managers a timely reminder of his cutting edge against the Black Cats. Unexpectedly moved to the bench at the weekend, the Argentine took a matter of minutes to find the net – something Carlos Tevez hasn’t done since the end of Gameweek 3.
Everton – the fixture list continues to smile kindly on David Moyes’ men. The Toffees have three prosperous looking Goodison games in the next six (LIV, SUN, NOR) and with trips to struggling QPR and Reading also on their agenda, owners of Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic will be anticipating plenty more points.
Southampton – although they’ve yet to pick up a point on the road, Nigel Adkins’ side have offered a strong source of attacking returns at St Mary’s. The Saints have now scored eight times in their last three home games and with (TOT, SWA, NEW) paying visit in the next six Gameweeks, the promoted club will need to continue their recent goal returns, with clean sheets proving impossible to come by. Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana are the obvious choices here – Gaston Ramirez’s owners will be hoping the Uruguayan can quickly recover from a leg problem.
Fulham – the Cottagers are afforded a decent run of fixtures over the next five as Martin Jol looks to improve on their recent displays. The return to fitness of Dimitar Berbatov is obviously vital – Fulham have taken a point from the last two in the Bulgarian’s absence – and with (AVL, EVE, SUN) and a trip to Reading in the next five, the former United man looks armband material for that Gameweek 8 clash with Villa in particular. John Arne Riise offers a source of creativity from the back, with three assists already, while Damien Duff’s guaranteed game time makes him a more secure punt than Alex Kacaniklic, in spite of the latter’s budget-friendly price tag.
One point from the last three games, a single clean sheet all season and Darren Bent dropped to the bench – Paul Lambert’s arrival hasn’t quite worked out for the midlanders yet. Unfortunately for Villa, the upcoming schedule is showing no mercy. Trips to Fulham and Sunderland hardly appeal, while games against United, City and Arsenal are also set to severely test Lambert’s squad over the next six Gameweeks. With a mere 2.5% ownership, Ciaran Clark is the most popular Villa player in FPL – a sure sign of how little Fantasy faith we have in the midlanders right now.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side steel themselves for a tricky upcoming run of fixtures which could test their winning run. Spurs have now triumphed in their last four, with a victory at United indicative of their flourishing form, but now entertain Chelsea at the Lane and travel to City and Arsenal in the next five. While clashes against Southampton and Wigan hold huge appeal for Gareth Bale owners, Jermain Defoe will be looking over his shoulder with Emmanuel Adebayor now approaching full fitness, while the likes of Jan Vertonghen may struggle for new investment at the back – Steven Caulker’s cut-price appeal offers a slightly less risky route into the back-four.
With just two points dropped and four goals conceded in their opening seven matches, the Champions League winners have been quick out the blocks but now embark on a run of games which will test their potential to the full. Roberto Di Matteo’s side square up to Spurs, United, Liverpool and City in the next six Gameweeks and with trips to Swansea and West Brom also on the cards, there seems little opportunity for armband potential here. Branislav Ivanovic and Eden Hazard could face a battle to hold onto top spot in the FPL defender and midfielder rankings respectively, while Spanish duo Juan Mata and Fernando Torres will need to replicate their recent impressive showings for the Blues to prosper.
Also Be Wary Of…
Swansea – With two or more goals conceded in each of their last five matches and just two points accrued from Gameweek 3 onwards, Michael Laudrup’s side have quickly went off the boil. While the upcoming home clash against Wigan will afford Michu a temporary reprieve, Swansea’s assets could be on the verge of substantial sales. The Welsh club then face City, Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool in the following five, with only a trip to Southampton offering any sort of solace from an unrelenting schedule. Michel Vorm, Ashley Williams and Angel Rangel also look on shaky ground.
West Brom – Steve Clarke’s side square up to three of last season’s top six in the next five Gameweeks, with their winning streak at the Hawthorns set to be fully tested. City and Chelsea both pay visit, while a trip to Newcastle also looks a tricky proposition. With games against Southampton and Wigan also on the horizon, however, owners of James Morrison, Ben Foster and Gareth McAuley will be happy to hold.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|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|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas