Juan Mata helps guide Chelsea into the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, with Fernando Torres amongst the goals yet again. Gareth Bale returns to training ahead of Tottenham’s game with Stoke, Bobby Zamora’s recovery from a hip operation is ahead of schedule, Fulham’s Boxing Day clash with Southampton will go ahead, Togo are determined to persuade Emmanuel Adebayor to turn out in next month’s African Cup of Nations, while Samir Nasri’s involvement over the festive spell is in doubt…

Leeds 1 Chelsea 5
Eden Hazard was rested to the bench as Rafa Benitez rotated his midfield options for the trip to Elland Road. Marko Marin was afforded a rare start but failed to fire and made way for the Belgian on the hour mark, while Oscar was handed a deeper role, with Marin joining Juan Mata and Victor Moses in lining up behind Fernando Torres. Chelsea went in a goal behind at the break but swept their hosts aside in the second-half, with Mata, Moses and Hazard all producing a goal and assist apiece ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Villa. Fernando Torres also notched again – he has now scored six times in the last five under Benitez. As the Chelsea boss admitted after the game, though, his team have now played eight times in 24 days; Fantasy managers will be apprehensive over his penchant for rotation ahead of the upcoming packed festive schedule.

“We changed some players, we had players playing a lot of games, and I don’t know how many we changed, but we had some senior players and some young players too, as some of our senior players are quite young. We had to change players, Marko Marin hasn’t played too many games and couldn’t do 90 minutes, then we had to manage until we scored. With young players and senior players, I felt it was better to give the senior players more opportunity. The young players will have plenty of opportunities to play.”

Chelsea Starting XI: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Bertrand (Cole 74); Lampard, Oscar; Mata (Ferreira 85), Marin (Hazard 60), Moses; Torres

Gareth Bale’s chances of featuring for Spurs at home to Stoke this weekend have taken a turn for the better after Andre Villas-Boas revealed the winger returned to full training along with Michael Dawson yesterday:

“It’s good news. First, for the player because he wants to be back in the group and he’s made a tremendous recovery. He’s worked extremely hard. Michael was injured in the same game as Gareth and they’ve both returned to training. It’s great to have them back.”

As Fantasy managers scour the market for replacements for Marouane Fellaini and juggle their squads in light of Arsenal’s Boxing Day postponement with West Ham, Bale’s expected comeback will surely sway plenty to get straight back on board. Having risen to 9.9 as recently as Gameweek 15, he’s now down to 9.5 in FPL – his initial price at the start of the season. Before sustaining a hamstring injury in Gameweek 15 at the Cottage, Bale had been in his best form of the season, with goals in each of his three games heading into the showdown with Martin Jol’s men and has already notched six times – just four less than his tally for last season. The downside, of course, is his yellow card count. Bale currently sits on four cautions, meaning a booking in any of his next three would automatically trigger a one-match ban before the limit extends to 10 cautions on New Year’s Day.

Elsewhere at the Lane, Togo boss Didier Six has spoken of his determination to persuade Emmanuel Adebayor to appear in next month’s African Cup of Nations.

“I am doing everything I can to get him to come back to us. He’s a world-class player and the Togo national team captain. He is very important to the group. I will put all my strength to get him to change his mind but he has the last word. This is about more than just him sending a warning to ensure Togolese football moves forward.”

Adebayor put his international career on hold recently after a row over bonuses and was expected to be available domestically – he has only just nailed down a starting role alongside Jermain Defoe after a difficult start to his second spell at the club but with question marks still remaining over his intentions, Defoe’s potential as a Fantasy option goes from strength to strength. The 8.5 priced forward is just a single point behind Bale in the FPL rankings and, unless Villas-Boas decides to splash the cash during the winter window, looks nailed-on for the foreseeable future.

While Arsenal’s decision to postpone their Boxing Day home clash with West Ham threw many a Fantasy plan into the air yesterday, Fulham confirmed that their home game against Southampton, scheduled for the same day, will go ahead as planned. The news is reassuring for Dimitar Berbatov’s Fantasy owners – despite a recent dry spell, the Bulgarian’s upcoming schedule has persuaded many to hold him in their squads, while the 26,000+ who have transferred in Jason Puncheon can breathe a sigh of relief, with the cut-price Saints winger likely to continue to earn new investment in light of a series of displays which have seen him average just short of seven points per game over his last five outings.

Bobby Zamora has handed QPR an injury boost after announcing his comeback from a hip injury was ahead of schedule.

“I’d like to think I’ll be back available in the next four or five weeks. I had an operation three weeks ago and am now working on getting fit. My fingers are crossed for a smooth recover”

While Zamora may be optimistic of a return, it remains to see quite where he stands in the Loftus Road pecking order. He had been Mark Hughes’ favoured frontman and notched three times in eight consecutive starts between Gameweek 2-9 before sustaining the injury – a couple of brief sub appearances followed but the problem failed to shift. With Hughes now gone, Harry Redknapp has trialled both Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie as the lone frontman but with the January transfer window beckoning, the manager’s penchant for a deal or two is likely to see him replenish his up front options in his bid to avoid the drop.

An “exclusive report” in the Daily Mail this morning cast doubt over Samir Nasri’s involvement for City over the Christmas programme. The report states that Nasri’s groin problem, sustained in the win at Newcastle last weekend, will rule him out for at least two weeks – including this weekend’s potential points bonanza against Reading. We can only wait on the latest cryptic update from Roberto Mancini tomorrow but, right now, Nasri is clearly a doubt.

Wigan have officially announced their first signing of the January transfer window with Honduras midfielder Roger Espinoza joining from Major League Soccer outfit, Sporting Kansas City. A standout performer in the Summer Olympics, Roberto Martinez was delighted to get his man, underlining Espinoza’s versatility as key. The Honduran can play in a central midfield role or out on the left and is known for his tireless industry…

“He [Espinoza] is someone who physically is really capable and has a gifted left foot…Having someone with such a good left foot gives a balance to the squad because most players are primarily right-footed. He’s developed his tactical awareness and has learned how to play in different systems. Roger can play in any position in the midfield and can even play out in a wide left position, so we are delighted to capture a player with such versatility and stature.”

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  1. Think i'm going to captain Suarez this week.

    *Starts praying*

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Don't be silly. RVP all the way with Suarez (VC). If Liverpool were on form I'd be tempted.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. Thing is Liverpool still always have goals in them.

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        1. If you captain Suarez, make sure you don't end up watching the game. It's horrible.

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
        2. Hmm, do they? Last week, home to Villa, they scored a very late goal. They've hardly been prolific. I think Utd have something like twice as many goals as them. Utd probably have more away goals than Liverpool have home goals.

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
      2. is this not an example of herd mentality? 😉

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        1. No, it's an example of one player being a better option.

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
          1. a better option, how? Suarez is at home after all to average enough opposition. Of course you can say RVP is a better option on any given week but why is Suarez (c) 'silly'? A few weeks ago he was top scorer and a world class striker...not to mention a must have for people on here.

            • 3 years, 1 month ago
            1. Suarez isn't a bad option - I'm not saying that. I'm saying RVP is a better option.

              • 3 years, 1 month ago
              1. Well just saying it and not giving more reasons feels silly to me. Fair enough though.

                • 3 years, 1 month ago
                1. Reasons:

                  1. Suarez is in really poor form
                  2. RVP is in great form
                  3. Utd are scoring goals for fun
                  4. Utd have a serious history of picking up their game around Christmas time
                  5. Liverpool are crap, and just lost at home to Villa

                  So, while Suarez may well go and score, I think there are enough reasons to go RVP instead.

                  For me, captaining someone in poor form is a recipe for disaster (I would know, since I do it repeatedly).

                  • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. If I didn't have Aguero (or Tevez), I'd go Suarez in a heartbeat.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    3. Trend on FPL says he scores double digits every 6th GW, GW18 is coming up...

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Is that you Ron?

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. It is indeed :)

        Fancy that bum now??

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        1. 😆 I bet you say that to all the people on Fantasy Football sites.

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Definitely.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  2. An all Spanish midfield of santi / mata / silva / michu just seems so right

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Lacks a certain Welsh player though.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. Pity there is a certain Welshmen ready to return and mess that plan up.

      Aaron Ramsey.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        • 3 years, 1 month ago
    3. Hello :)

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    4. SS

      That's my mid and i'm lovin' it 😀

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    5. No coincidence, Spanish midfielders > Anyone else

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  3. Posted this morning and then again just when cl draw started - once more!
    Give me some ideas...

    Now that dgw is confirmed I looked what to do for my team before that and if (when..) you have looked about january fixtures also, give me some opinnion on this lot.

    Team for gw21
    Jussi (Bego)
    Ridgewell(?), Demel, Sagna (Shorey, Cuellar)
    Mata, Bale, Nolan, Michu (Punch)
    Rvp, Ba, Suarez

    Gw22 -
    Gw23 Mata + Bale => Walcott + Santi
    Gw24 wild card


    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Start with gw18...

      We could all be dead tomorrow!

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. rank 150k and nothing to play for season, starting monthly competitions in my money league from gw21..

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        1. You can easily reach top 10k end of season. Don't be a quitter.

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
          1. yeah but our ml is very very good (my rank 29 atm) so not much chance to get money prices on season mode, so why not start playing for fun + money?
            100 euros for winner every month

            I know it destroys my season rank history tough.

            • 3 years, 1 month ago
  4. Reasonable to assume Che and Sou DGW wont be until feb/mar?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Not sure about that, they can often be rearranged at relatively short notice - I don't know why it's not being touted for the same day as Ars/Whu

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  5. Best option from the following:-

    A) Suarez>Aguero(c) for a 4 point hit
    B) Rafael>Zabaleta for a 4 point hit
    C) Both A & B for a 8 point hit
    D) Do none play Suarez and Rafael

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. D easily.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. d)

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    3. Really tempted by A)

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  6. Does anyone here listen to Kiss in the morning. If so have they solved the Izzit mystery sound yet?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Yea it was Muzzy.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. Lol thanks

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
  7. what are ba owners doing with him after qpr? I'm contemplating getting rid, possibly for defoe...

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Got rid last week for Suarez, and that was a complete fail!

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. Tempted to go to Berbatov but I have 2 x Arsenal & 2 x WHU

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. I've got RVP, Ba, Berb at the moment - looking at short term options to replace ba until WC when I will probably bring in another big hitter to accompany rvp and berb, benteke another option I'm considering...

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
  8. Which would you rather have yo? The players in the brackets are the ones I'd play/bring in for GW19 so you have a better idea of a longer term plan.

    Silva(Bale) Puncheon Michu Sessegnon(Young)
    RVP Suarez Aguero

    Silva(Bale) Yaya Walcott(Taarabt) Michu Sterling(Berba)
    RVP Suarez

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. A for me.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  9. Silva (C) any one???

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Not if you have RVP, Suarez, Aguero/Tevez

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. I will captain Silva despite having both RVP and Tevez...

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        1. Same... would love to go Tevez, but Silva will play 90... has to be

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. Yes

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  10. Amazing to think that if QPR were to beat Newcastle, unlikely I know, they would only be 4pts behind them.

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  11. Getting rid of Fellaini but for whom?

    A. Bale
    B. Mata
    C. Hazard

    Already have the likes of Silva, Defoe, Michu, RvP, Suarez...

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Bale would definitely be my first choice, but with your forward line Mata would be the logical pick unless you plan to lose Defoe...

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  12. Mark tells me he jumping on Ba straight away if he moves to Arsenal. I disagree.

    I'm fully aware of the theory that Arsenal will create more chances but uprooting him from a team where he knows the players, the style etc..comes with a new set of issues.
    He's a played for West Ham, Stoke, Newcastle, generally long ball teams, so I'm not sure he will be able to pick up the baton for Arsenal and instantly fit in.

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. I agree with you Granville... it's about being the focal point of a teams' attack for me which I'm not sure he would be at Arsenal, immediately at least.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. Didn't play for Stoke?

      Failed the medical

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. A yeah, that's true. Well I suppose Stoke identified his strengths as a target man.

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
      2. Did he fail it?

        I thought Stoke wanted some security included in the deal, Ba said no.

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
    3. allow me to disagree but with the chances that Arsenal midfield creates, having a guy like Ba leading their frontline i believe could do wonders... give him a couple of weeks to settle down and he will start getting the returns

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. As a Gooner - I'd rather Arsenal concentrated on getting Theo to sign a new contract and spend that money on strengthening other areas of the team...

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        1. There's plenty there to do both and if there isn't then we have two billionaire shareholders, so if Kroenke doesn't want to invest then stepaside and let the Russian in who has £12 billion. Meanwhile we have the highest matchday revenue in the world and have recorded profits on numerous occasions through selling our best players, so as a Gooner surely you want more than just to concentrate on getting Theo to sign a new contract who for the majority of the past six years has been a big disappointment. Only recently has he upped his game and let's be honest he is now only a big player for us due to the regression in the quality of our squad year on year. Just look at the big five who just signed a new contract. None of them would have got in the team between 1998 and 2004 and why on earth Ramsey has been given a new contract is beyond me. As for Oxlade-Chamberlain, we only bought him last year so why is that one being renewed. For the money he cost he should have been signed on a long-term deal otherwise we should have bought a more established player ready to improve the team not be eased in over many months eating into a contract that you then feel compelled to extend (and no doubt give a pay rise). Still the change in policy of now investing in young british players buys Wenger more time providing a further smokescreen, papering over the cracks. It really is a joke and yep we'll finish 4th and every one will praise Wenger on his achievement and so the cycle continues.......................................

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
          1. i think Wenger is a smaller issue than the people who are over him...

            • 3 years, 1 month ago
    4. It's funny though Granville, Ba is in the news the week for supposedly openly criticising Newcastle's long ball tactics...rumours that he's been fined 😐

      Bit worrying as an owner to hear about this.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. newcastle cant do anythin about it.. they have to play him

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
  13. Considering a 4 point hit to get rid of Suarez and bring in Tevez. Consensus seems to be that this is a bad idea as Tevez may not start. But I think the stats say otherwise. What t=do you think...

    Total points:
    Suarez - 86
    Tevez - 102

    Points per minute:
    Suarez - 0.06
    Tevez - 0.09

    Points over last 5 games:
    Suarez - 6
    Tevez - 15

    The simple fact is that Tevez usually starts (only 4 games when he hasnt) and when he plays he outscores Suarez with ease. Also Suarez has stalled over the past few weeks considerably. If he was a mid price player we would all be ditching him to bring in a similar option. Why not now?

    Also, the above doesnt even consider the fact that Tevez is 0.8 cheaper (which frees up some cash) and that Man City are likely to run up a cricket score in the next match whereas Liverpool have Fulham and were terrible at home and got pumped by Villa in the last match.

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Tevez gets a knocking on here because people are not comfortable with the risk that he won't start. But I think the stats don't lie.... I have had him in for day one, i constantly think about moving him on.... and he keeps delivering. Considering him and Aguero look like forming a good partnership and the media heavily criticise when Mancini deviates.... I think he will get more time... and continue to deliver (during some tasty fixtures)

      Suarez can jog on

      • 3 years, 1 month ago

    yo ho any obvious changes to be made other than change Tevez (C)

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Looks good to me... very similar and superior version of my team. C Silva??

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  15. What do I need to do to this team for this GW?

    Simpson Cameron Ridgewell(inj)
    MIchu Sess Walcott Silva(c)
    Holt RVP Suarez

    Subs; Beg, Sterling, Baines, Nelsen

    I already used my FT for Walcott to replace Fellaini

    I want to take an 8-point hit just to bring in Mata (Baines >> Clark, Sess >> Mata).

    Not decided on my final captain pick yet, but its a straight fight between Silva and RVP.

    • 3 years, 1 month ago

Scout Picks

Gameweek 25

  • Forster
  • Janmaat
  • Williams
  • Alderweireld
  • Wijnaldum
  • André Ayew
  • Dele Alli
  • Roberto Firmino
  • Sánchez
  • Aguero
  • Kane
  • Moreno
  • Arnautovic
  • Giroud

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Last updated: 26 Jan, 2016 10:34pm
Player Club Factors
Up Hennessey CPL C, Vs, £
Down Butland STO C, Vs
Up Schmeichel LEI A
Up Forster SOT A
Up Courtois CHE B, Vs
Up Fabianski SWA A
No Change Boruc BOU B
No Change De Gea MUN B
No Change Cech ARS B, VsX
Up Foster WBA C, VsX


Last updated: 3 Feb, 2016 9:04am
Player Club Factors
Up Ivanovic CHE A, Vs
Up van Dijk SOT A
Down Baines EVE B, Vs
Up Dann CPL C, Vs
Up Cresswell WHM B, Vs
Up Williams SWA A
No Change Dawson WBA C
Down Alderweireld TOT B
No Change Daniels BOU A, £
No Change Fuchs LEI A
No Change Van Aanholt SUN A, VsX
Down Bellerín ARS C, VsX
Down Smalling MUN C
Down Moreno LIV C, Vs
Down Johnson STO B
Down Kolarov MCI B, Rest, Inj


Last updated: 3 Feb, 2016 11:14pm
Player Club Factors
No Change Payet WHM B, Vs
Up Roberto Firmino LIV A, Vs, OoP
Up Dele Alli TOT A, Inj
Up Barkley EVE C, Vs
Up André Ayew SWA A, OoP
Up Eriksen TOT A
Down Ozil ARS C, VsX
No Change Mahrez LEI C, VsX
Up Sánchez ARS C, VsX, Inj
Up Antonio WHM A, Vs, Rest, £
No Change Willian CHE B, Vs, Inj
No Change Wijnaldum NEW B
Down Arnautovic STO C, Vs, Inj
Up Silva MCI C
No Change Johnson SUN B, VsX


Last updated: 3 Feb, 2016 11:14pm
Player Club Factors
No Change Aguero MCI A
No Change Kane TOT B
Up Vardy LEI C
Up Diego Costa CHE A, Vs, Inj
No Change Ighalo WAT C, VsX
Up Rooney MUN A
Down Lukaku EVE C, Vs
No Change Giroud ARS B, VsX, Rest
Up Afobe BOU A, £
Down Austin SOT B, Inj

Selection Factors

A, B, C Current Form
Vs Favourable Fixtures
VsX Unfavourable Fixtures
Rest Rotation Risk
Inj Injured/Returning from Injury
OoP Out of Position
£ Potential Bargain
Sus Suspended/Near Suspension
Player Team YC
Colback NEW 9
Byram WHM 9
Lucas LIV 8
Jones SUN 8
Yacob WBA 8
Westwood AVL 7
Diego Costa CHE 7
Huth LEI 7
Can LIV 7
Mangala MCI 7
Shelvey NEW 7
Pieters STO 7
Dele Alli TOT 7
Dier TOT 7
Noble WHM 7

“All players will blank a few times during the season. When almost all do it in the same Gameweek, it is tough to take, but that's just the dark side of probability.”

Abreu 42 Community regular