Back after the two-week international break, we roll out our regular once again. The fixture list continues to smile kindly upon City and Everton, while Newcastle and Stoke look primed for investment. At the other end of the scale, Liverpool, Swansea and West Ham are facing a potentially tricky run of matches over the next four to six Gameweeks:
The injuries are beginning to ease for Alan Pardew ahead of a strong run of fixtures. The Magpies now have three home fixtures in the next five (WBA, WHM, SWA) in addition to a trip to Southampton and with Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Danny Simpson back on board, and Steven Taylor edging towards full fitness by coming off the bench at Sunderland, investment in the Newcastle backline looks an intriguing proposition.
Hatem Ben Arfa has scored or assisted three of his side’s four home goals thus far and is the stand-out midfield option, while Demba Ba’s prospects up top will see many clamber on board his bandwagon. The Senegal striker has played a part in seven of Newcastle’s nine goals to date and is clearly integral to their chances of success; Papiss Cisse and Shola Ameobi look set to vie for the other attacking slot in the 4-4-2.
The champions showed their mettle at the Hawthorns last time round, coming back from a goal down to end West Brom’s 100% home record despite being reduced to 10 men. City now have three home games in the next four (SWA, TOT, AVL), though the threat of rest and rotation throughout the squad is a real concern.
Carlos Tevez has producing attacking returns in six of the first eight Gameweeks, though he’s failed to find the net since Gameweek 3; Edin Dzeko, on the other hand, has scored three times in just 17 minutes of action over the last three matches and must be pushing for a starting berth. Sergio Aguero owners will surely hold firm; despite the fact he has been benched for the last two games, he has still scored or assisted in the last three, while David Silva is rumoured to be in contention for a return for this week’s Champions League clash with Ajax. At the back, Vincent Kompany seems the only reliable contender as Mancini looks to build on a run of three back-to-back victories.
After a horrendous run of fixtures, Tony Pulis’ side have finally turned the corner and look set for plenty Fantasy investment over the next few Gameweeks. The Potters have four home matches in the next six (SUN, QPR, FUL, NEW) in addition to trips to Norwich and West Ham – affording them the perfect opportunity to bounce back from last week’s Old Trafford defeat.
With just one goal conceded in their first three home games, Stoke’s defence offers strong options at the back. Asmir Begovic and Marc Wilson, at 4.6 and 4.5 respectively in Fantasy Premier League, are cheaper alternatives to 5.5 Robert Huth, while in midfield, Michael Kightly has now joined Jon Walters on 34 FPL points and is 0.9 cheaper. Peter Crouch has scored all three of Stoke’s goals at the Britannia this term and has had a hand in five of their eight strikes so far – a clear indication of his importance to their attacking potential.
The fixture list continues to smile kindly on the blue half of Merseyside, offering David Moyes a chance to consolidate Everton’s fourth place in the Premier League. The Toffees have three home matches in the next five (LIV, SUN, NOR) and also face trip to Fulham and Reading, suggesting Steven Pienaar’s owners will stick with the South African in spite of his one-match suspension for the Liverpool game. Marouane Fellaini could return this weekend; the club were optimistic of his chances in an injury update last week, while Leighton Baines and Nikica Jelavic are the other two obvious candidates. Kevin Mirallas, with a goal and two assists in his last four, has also been a key performer of late and seems to have nailed down the role on the right flank; his FPL classification as a forward is the main drawback, however.
Arsenal – Three home games in the next four (QPR, FUL, TOT) look enticing for Arsene Wenger’s side, though the Gunners also have a trip to United amongst that trio of London derbies. After a strong defensive start, Arsenal have now conceded in each of their last five matches – investment in their backline looks a little risky, though Thomas Vermaelen is always capable of producing the goods in attack. Santi Cazorla continues to look the most obvious candidate for returns – Gervinho appears to be consigned to a right wing role once again, with Olivier Giroud likely to continue in the lone forward role, with Lukas Podolski out on the left.
Southampton – Nigel Adkins’ side have four home games in the next six (TOT, SWA, NEW, NOR) as they look to recover from their Upton Park mauling. With 24 goals conceded already – seven more than any other side – investment at the back looks decidedly dodgy, though Rickie Lambert’s owners will be hoping he returns to the first XI; he has averaged 6.5 FPL points per home game thus far. Adam Lallana has now produced attacking returns in each of the last four Gameweeks.
Reading – Similar to Southampton, Brian McDermott’s side have the fixtures but have been far from convincing in terms of form. Still without a win this term, the Royals brace themselves for three home games in the next five (FUL, NOR, EVE), with trips to QPR and Wigan also thrown into the equation. Jobi McAnuff looks a strong cut-price option in midfield; coming in at 4.8 in FPL, he has provided assists for four of his side’s eight goals so far. Up front, an injury to Noel Hunt saw McDermott move back to 4-4-1-1, with Danny Guthrie returning at Liverpool but bearing in mind Reading scored twice in Gameweeks 6 and 7 with a 4-4-2, an attack-minded formation looks essential for the Royals to prosper. Hunt has scored twice this term – the same number as Pavel Pogrebnyak – despite featuring for 215 minutes in comparison to the Russian’s 530.
With just one fit senior forward available for selection, Brendan Rodgers’ side now embark on a run of games which sees them hit the road in four (eve, che, swa, tot) of the next six Gameweeks. Liverpool also face home clashes with Newcastle and Wigan but, aside from the 5-2 win at Norwich, they have struggled for goals, with just five strikes in the other seven games hardly enticing to investors. The likes of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling could suffer, though the latter’s minimal price tag is likely to persuade his owners to hold, particularly on the back of his winner against Reading last weekend.
After a superb run of opening fixtures, the schedule now starts to stiffen for Michael Laudrup’s men. Swansea square up to City, Chelsea and Newcastle in the next four, though a trip to Southampton in Gameweek 11 offers the prospect of points. The likes of Angel Rangel, Michel Vorm and Ashley Williams could well struggle for returns, bearing in mind that the Welsh club have now conceded in their last six, though Michu’s owners may decide to help after the Spaniard was handed the lone forward role against Wigan last weekend, with Danny Graham dropping to the bench.
The Hammers will be buoyed by a fourth win of the season last weekend which lifted them into the top six but Sam Allardyce’s side could well have their work cut out to stay there. While a trip to Wigan this weekend should hold little fear for the Londoners, they then face four of last season’s top five in the following five Gameweeks (MCI, new, tot, mun), with a home clash against Stoke offering some respite in what looks a tough run of fixtures. Kevin Nolan has produced the goods at home but has returned just a single assist on the road thus far, while West Ham have found just one clean sheet in their three away games to date.
Also Be Wary Of…
QPR – Bottom of the table and still without a win, Mark Hughes’ side are faced with a run of four tricky looking trips in the next six Gameweeks. QPR travel to (ars, sto, mun, sun), with a definite possibility of leaving empty-handed in all those visits. Home clashes against Reading and Southampton will be targeted as must-win games for the Loftus Road outfit, with the likes of Adel Taarabt and Bobby Zamora key to their side’s home prospects if Hughes is to engineer a climb up the table.
Aston Villa – Paul Lambert will be desperate for a home win against former club Norwich this weekend before the schedule turns nasty for the midlanders. Villa will then travel to Sunderland before facing (MUN, mci, ARS) but with a single goal in their last three and one clean sheet accrued all season, it’s difficult to justify investment in any area of their squad at present.
Commenting is now closed for this post.
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 am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby