Our weekly refresh of the Watchlist, taking in the next four to six Gameweeks, sees Liverpool’s assets come to the fore. Arsenal, West Brom and Spurs all feature prominently in our thinking, while Dimitar Berbatov leaps up the forward rankings ahead of four home games in the next six for Fulham…
Simon Mignolet holds firm at the top, in light of Sunderland’s impending double Gameweek 16, but with fixtures stiffening directly after that, Fantasy managers will be keen to plan an escape route.
Wojciech Szczesny looks a strong mid-term punt over the next few Gameweeks. Having recently recovered from injury, the Arsenal stopper now has four home fixtures in the next six (SWA, WBA, WHM, NEW) in addition to trips to Reading and Wigan and looks the safest route into the Gunners defence, with back-four rotation kicking in of late. West Brom’s fixtures also hold appeal but with Ben Foster ruled out for the next couple, uncertainty over his return sees him omitted from our thoughts for now.
Norwich’s John Ruddy continues his climb up the rankings; two goals conceded in his last six sums up the Canaries current resilience, while Pepe Reina and Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer are both favoured by the fixtures in the schedule ahead. The former has three home games in the next four (SOUT, wh, AVL, FUL) and with one goal conceded in their last four at Anfield, defensive returns could be on the cards for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Asmir Begovic takes a drop, with just one home game in the next four, while West Ham’s horrendous schedule keeps Jussi Jaaskelainen out of our thinking for now.
Jose Enrique crashes his way onto the top of the defender rankings after his switch to the left of Liverpool’s front three. With the aforementioned run of fixtures on the horizon, the Spaniard potential for both clean sheets and attacking returns looks particularly prosperous over the next few Gameweeks – priced at 5.9 in FPL, a move from Leighton Baines would also free up budget for those who have become disillusioned with owning the Everton man.
Liam Ridgewell takes a leap in our estimations as the schedule smiles a little kinder on West Brom. Steve Clarke’s troop have three strong home fixtures in the next four (STO, WHM, NOR) and with four clean sheets at the Hawthorns already, the Baggies could be primed for further points. Carlos Cuellar remains in our thoughts ahead of Sunderland’s double, though with less options between the sticks, he doesn’t fair quite as well as team mate Mignolet in our refresh.
Javier Garrido’s recent form, allied with Norwich’s defensive resolve, earns the on-loan left-back another climb. Garrido has now produced assists or bonus in each of his last three, in addition to a couple of clean sheets.
Leighton Baines and Rafael both suffer big drops this week. The fixtures are against the former and with no attacking returns in his last four, many are considering a move out in order to free up budget. Rafael has stuttered over the last three – United’s inability to keep out opponents, in addition to the return to fitness of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, lessens his appeal considerably.
Kieran Gibbs gets the nod as our Arsenal defender of choice ahead of the Gunners’ kind run of fixtures, while Matija Nastasic, with five back-to-back starts, seems to have ousted Joleon Lescott as Vincent Kompany’s central defensive partner at City. With a single goal conceded over those five, the 5.5 priced defender offers us a relatively cheap route into the champions’ backline.
Ryan Nelsen, Nicky Shorey and Ciaran Clark are decent budget options. Shorey’s creativity from the Reading left has impressed of late and he also has a double on the horizon, while the QPR man will be hoping to take advantage of three home games (AVL, FUL, WBA) in the next five. Andre Wisdom is the cheaper alternative to Enrique in the Liverpool defence.
Arsenal’s upcoming run of fixtures sees two of their midfield protagonists find a place in the top three. Santi Cazorla just edges it over Theo Walcott, in spite of the latter’s kinder FPL price. The return of Gervinho has brought uncertainty over Walcott’s starting berth but there’s no doubt he has the potential to outgun Cazorla if he retains a regular role; 20 points over his last two starts attest to that.
Raheem Sterling remains pivotal in our thinking. Guaranteed starts and with Liverpool in flourishing form, the 5.7 priced winger has produced double figures in two of his last three at Anfield – he’s set for plenty more investment in light of his upcoming schedule.
Gareth Bale climbed to second in the midfield rankings last weekend after producing a nine point haul in Spurs’ 3-1 win over West Ham. The Welshman will hold little fear heading into trips to Fulham and Everton – he has produced double figures on the road three times – and the following six Gameweeks (SWA, STO, avl, sun, RDG, qpr) look set to offer significant potential.
Marouane Fellaini comes back onto the radar after his one-match suspension last weekend. Granted, the fixtures are tricky for Everton but the Belgian’s role in “the hole” has wreaked havoc this term and he’ll be afforded plenty chances to add to his six goals and four assists, regardless of opponent. We feel that Fellaini is the most likely of the blossoming early season attacking midfielders to prove himself fixture proof.
City’s David Silva moves up as the champions prepare for three home games in the next four. While Roberto Mancini continues to rest and rotate his forward line, the Spaniard’s consistency of starts looks less likely to frustrate as the schedule begins to pick up pace.
Stephane Sessegnon holds steady with Sunderland’s double Gameweek edging ever-closer – he looks the most likely of Martin O’Neill’s midfielders to produce the goods. QPR’s fixtures earn Adel Taarabt a rise, while an injury to Youssouf Mulumbu prevents James Morrison from climbing higher with the Baggie’s improving fixtures – the Scot has dropped out of his regular role in “the hole” to cover in central midfield but could still take advantage of his schedule.
The likes of Juan Mata and Michu take a dive with stiffening fixtures. Mata has a blank looming in Gameweek 17 with tough opponents around that, while Michu suffers a bout of strong opponents that could restrict Swansea’s goal output in the next four Gameweeks. Like West Ham’s Kevin Nolan, he will have to prove himself fixture proof but, with strong alternatives available in Walcott, Silva and Sterling, the tide is shifting somewhat.
Robin Van Persie remains at the top of the forward rankings in spite of back-to-back blanks. The schedule continues to offer the United forward chances of attacking returns, with trips to Reading and Swansea allied with home games against Sunderland, Newcastle and West Brom in the next six.
Luis Suarez looks primed for points in light of Liverpool’s strong schedule and could vie with Van Persie for our armband attention with three home games (SOU, AVL, FUL). Despite being a yellow away from a one-match ban, Suarez’s sensational form is too good to ignore.
Four home games in the next six brings Dimitar Berbatov into the top three. Fulham look full of goals under Martin Jol and the Bulgarian has been at the hub of most of their attacking endeavours – with Spurs, Newcastle, Southampton and Swansea set to visit the Cottage before the New Year, his mid-price appeal looks set to rise further. Rotation shouldn’t be a concern either – the Bulgarian is a rarity in that respect.
The double Gameweek 16 keeps Steven Fletcher high up the list, while Shane Long’s incredible home consistency earns the Baggies forward a climb. Long has scored or assisted in all seven of his home games and has three in four at the Hawthorns up next. Arsenal’s superb run of fixtures will surely see Olivier Giroud climb further over the next few if he starts to pick up in consistency, while Roberto Mancini’s rotation habit holds back Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez from moving higher up the list.
Spurs’ upcoming fixtures sees Jermain Defoe move up, though with question marks still remaining over his starting berth, we’re lessening our expectations, with Emmanuel Adebayor set to return from suspension in Gameweek 16. Christian Benteke’s recent form boosts his mid-price appeal as the likes of Rickie Lambert and Peter Crouch take a fall.