With the upcoming schedule smiling kindly on Newcastle, Stoke and City, their main Fantasy assets take a climb in our estimations ahead of a strong run of respective fixtures. Our Watchlist rankings have been refreshed this morning and, as always, are available in your sidebar. Here’s the main protagonists ahead of Gameweek 9:
Having disposed of the trip to Old Trafford that saw him concede four goals, Stoke’s Asmir Begovic now faces an enticing run of games, including three of the next four at home. That’s enough to have him retain the top spot in our keeper rankings as the clear number one contender for a place in our squads.
The returning Tim Krul is his main rival for the top spot. Like Begovic, he has strong fixtures to come, including three at home in the next four Gameweeks. Unlike Begovic, there aren’t a host of cheap, attractive options in Krul’s defence and this could well make the Dutchman the preferred route to defensive returns from Alan Pardew’s outfit.
Below this pairing, our options are sparse with clean sheets remaining unpredictable and with far more attractive options amongst the ranks of defenders to offer cover of defences from Everton, Wigan and Fulham in the coming weeks.
It’s not helped by the fact that two of our most attractive options in the weeks to come – the Reading and Arsenal keeper spots – are in flux. While Alex McCarthy is the occupant at the Madjeski right now, Adam Federici is now back to fitness and could threaten a recall. Down at the Emirates, meanwhile, Wojciech Szczesny will be expected to earn an instant recall to the Gunners’ goal but is still thought to be a fortnight from returning.
If you must look beyond Begovic and Krul, then perhaps this is time to invest in the keeper position. The City defence should enjoy a recovery in the coming weeks given their schedule – that should see Joe Hart go someway to justifying his price tag. Along with Vincent Kompany, he is now the only secure source of returns in the City backline – a factor which boosts his appeal as a keeper option.
Elsewhere you could look to the likes of Tim Howard and Ali Al Habsi, although with Leighton Baines and Emmerson Boyce looking far better options, they are hardly desirable options. Simon Mignolet, as a strong rotation option with Krul, remains highly ranked as Martin O’Neill’s side continue to struggle for goals and look to shut-out at the other end to earn points.
Leighton Baines will suffer from the suspension to his partner in crime down the left, Steven Pienaar, for the Merseyside derby, but remains a key component of our Fantasy squads. Everton’s fixtures are just too strong to ignore and Baines is amongst the most crucial captures for the next five Gameweeks.
Roberth Huth is another who enjoys a very strong run of opponents which should certainly see defensive returns and perhaps a goal or two. Marc Wilson is, without question, strong value here but Huth is the luxury item in Tony Pulis’ defence who has the stronger potential to deliver double figures.
Vincent Kompany’s appeal as the only real source of security makes him more attractive for City’s forthcoming run, while Arsenal’s Thomas Vermealen is in a similar position at Arsenal – there’s doubt about the personnel around him but the Belgian remains a constant in Arsene Wenger’s back four and he’ll be expected to deliver goals before long.
Wigan’s Emmerson Boyce and Newcastle’s Danny Simpson look to be the mid-price options of choice for the coming month. Two very different players, you’re relying on clean sheets from Simpson but with the fixtures to get them, he looks attractive. Boyce also has a decent run of home opponents, although his appeal extends to attacking areas, as we saw at the Liberty last weekend.
Reading’s Kaspars Gorkss is your budget choice – an unlikely option perhaps but the Royals’ schedule suggests they have the opportunity to get a foothold and if Brian McDermott’s side are to earn any defensive returns this season, it could well come in the next six-week spell.
Despite delivering disappointment and frustration in the 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road, Santi Cazorla demands patience given his run of three home games in four. Unless you’re willing to gamble on Gervinho’s starting role and position, the Spaniard offers the premium route to attacking returns from Wenger’s men and, given their fixtures, we have to expect an improvement in the next four Gameweeks.
That potential is enough, just, to hold off the relentless charge of compatriot Juan Mata. The Chelsea man climbs above team-mate Eden Hazard as the weapon of choice from Roberto Di Matteo’s lineup but, with the Belgian still sitting in our top five, there is a clear argument to cover both options in our squads. Despite a hellish schedule in the coming weeks, Mata and Hazard are set to be called upon to conjure the goals to steer the Blues to victories and that promises further returns for their owners. Certainly confidence and form is on their side.
Newcastle’s Ben Arfa enjoys a climb into our top five off the back of Newcastle’s favourable run. If you can’t cover Demba Ba in your attack as the first option, then Ben Arfa is a suitable replacement in midfield for what should be a profitable period for the Magpies.
Further down the ranks there are some excellent mid-price options, with Stoke’s Jon Walters and Southampton’s Adam Lallana leading the pack. Steven Pienaar slips with his suspension but will surely recover to threaten the top five once he’s eligible for Everton’s remaining run of strong fixtures.
Robin Van Persie continues to cling to top spot amongst the forwards as the preferred route into United’s substantial attacking threat. While Wayne Rooney enters the Watchlist this week as a cheaper alternative, we’re still backing Van Persie to track ahead of Rooney in the coming weeks as United embark on three away games in four.
City’s Sergio Aguero and the aforementioned Demba Ba of Newcastle complete the top three and look very strong selections for the weeks ahead. While Aguero has been kept on the bench in the last two, it seems likely that he will see starts in the weeks to come to inflict damage and begin to emerge as a true heavy-hitter consideration.
Peter Crouch is a big climber – sometimes quite literally – and presents the most intriguing mid-price option for the weeks ahead. Having notched four goals already this season, we’d expect Crouch to get close to doubling his haul in the next five to six Gameweeks given the opponents in front of him.
Reading’s Pavel Pogrebnyak is a clear contender at the bottom end of the budget scale. There could be some doubts over his starting role with Noel Hunt and Adam Le Fondre pushing for inclusion in Brian McDermott’s lieneup but, if the Russian can cement his start with a goal, his schedule suggests he could deliver exceptional value on his 4.7 FPL price tag.
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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