December
20

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.”

About The Author

paul

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

    *Starts praying*

    • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    1. Don't be silly. RVP all the way with Suarez (VC). If Liverpool were on form I'd be tempted.

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
      1. Thing is Liverpool still always have goals in them.

        • 2 years, 6 hours ago
        1. If you captain Suarez, make sure you don't end up watching the game. It's horrible.

          • 2 years, 6 hours 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.

          • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      2. is this not an example of herd mentality? ;)

        • 2 years, 5 hours ago
        1. No, it's an example of one player being a better option.

          • 2 years, 5 hours 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.

            • 2 years, 5 hours ago
            1. Suarez isn't a bad option - I'm not saying that. I'm saying RVP is a better option.

              • 2 years, 5 hours ago
              1. Well just saying it and not giving more reasons feels silly to me. Fair enough though.

                • 2 years, 5 hours 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).

                  • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    2. If I didn't have Aguero (or Tevez), I'd go Suarez in a heartbeat.

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

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    1. Is that you Ron?

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
      1. It is indeed :)

        Fancy that bum now??

        • 2 years, 6 hours ago
        1. :lol: I bet you say that to all the people on Fantasy Football sites.

          • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    1. Definitely.

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
      • 2 years, 4 hours ago
  2. An all Spanish midfield of santi / mata / silva / michu just seems so right

    • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    1. Lacks a certain Welsh player though.

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    2. Pity there is a certain Welshmen ready to return and mess that plan up.

      Aaron Ramsey.

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
        • 2 years, 6 hours ago
        • 2 years, 5 hours ago
        • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    3. Hello :)

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    4. That's my mid and i'm lovin' it :-D

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    5. No coincidence, Spanish midfielders > Anyone else

      • 2 years, 5 hours 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

    Thanks

    • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    1. Start with gw18...

      We could all be dead tomorrow!

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
      1. rank 150k and nothing to play for season, starting monthly competitions in my money league from gw21..

        • 2 years, 5 hours ago
        1. You can easily reach top 10k end of season. Don't be a quitter.

          • 2 years, 5 hours 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.

            • 2 years, 5 hours ago
  4. Reasonable to assume Che and Sou DGW wont be until feb/mar?

    • 2 years, 6 hours 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

      • 2 years, 6 hours 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

    • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    1. D easily.

      • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    2. d)

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    3. Really tempted by A)

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
  6. Does anyone here listen to Kiss in the morning. If so have they solved the Izzit mystery sound yet?

    • 2 years, 6 hours ago
    1. Yea it was Muzzy.

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      1. Lol thanks

        • 2 years, 5 hours ago
  7. what are ba owners doing with him after qpr? I'm contemplating getting rid, possibly for defoe...

    • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    1. Got rid last week for Suarez, and that was a complete fail!

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    2. Tempted to go to Berbatov but I have 2 x Arsenal & 2 x WHU

      • 2 years, 5 hours 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...

        • 2 years, 5 hours 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.

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

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

    • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
  9. Silva (C) any one???

    • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    1. Not if you have RVP, Suarez, Aguero/Tevez

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      1. I will captain Silva despite having both RVP and Tevez...

        • 2 years, 5 hours ago
        1. Same... would love to go Tevez, but Silva will play 90... has to be

          • 2 years, 4 hours ago
    2. Yes

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

    • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    • 2 years, 5 hours 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...

    • 2 years, 5 hours 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...

      • 2 years, 5 hours 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.

    • 2 years, 5 hours 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.

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    2. Didn't play for Stoke?

      Failed the medical

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      1. A yeah, that's true. Well I suppose Stoke identified his strengths as a target man.

        • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      2. Did he fail it?

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

        • 2 years, 5 hours 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

      • 2 years, 5 hours 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...

        • 2 years, 5 hours 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.......................................

          • 2 years, 5 hours ago
          1. i think Wenger is a smaller issue than the people who are over him...

            • 2 years, 5 hours 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.

      • 2 years, 5 hours ago
      1. newcastle cant do anythin about it.. they have to play him

        • 2 years, 5 hours 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.

    • 2 years, 5 hours 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

      • 2 years, 4 hours ago
  14. http://i.imgur.com/bq80N.png

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

    • 2 years, 5 hours ago
    1. Looks good to me... very similar and superior version of my team. C Silva??

      • 2 years, 4 hours ago
  15. What do I need to do to this team for this GW?

    Jussi
    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.

    • 2 years, 3 hours ago

Scout Picks

For Gameweek 17

  • Lloris
  • Zabaleta
  • Ivanovic
  • Cresswell
  • Sánchez
  • Eriksen
  • Y Touré
  • Downing
  • Bony
  • van Persie
  • Austin
  • Evans
  • Nasri
  • Carroll

From the Community…

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Fixture Ticker

The Watchlist

Goalkeepers

Last updated: 19 Dec, 2014 1:25pm
Player Club Factors
Up Hart MCI A, Vs
Up McGregor HUL B, Vs
Up Guzan AVL B, Vs
Up Green QPR B, Vs
Down Pantilimon SUN A
Up De Gea MUN A
No Change Fabianski SWA B
Up Adrián WHM B

Defenders

Last updated: 19 Dec, 2014 12:51am
Player Club Factors
Up Zabaleta MCI B, Vs, Rest
Down Ivanovic CHE B
Down Baines EVE C
Up Yun QPR C, Vs, £
Up Davies TOT C, Vs, Rest, £
Up Janmaat NEW B, VsX, Inj
No Change Cresswell WHM B
Down Hutton AVL B, Vs, £, Sus
No Change Taylor SWA B
Up Chester HUL C, Vs, VsX
Up Evans MUN B, Vs

Midfielders

Last updated: 17 Dec, 2014 1:40pm
Player Club Factors
Up Hazard CHE A, VsX
Down Sánchez ARS A, VsX, OoP
Up Y Touré MCI B, Vs, Sus
Up Downing WHM A
Up Eriksen TOT A, Vs
Up Nasri MCI A, Vs, Inj
Down Sigurdsson SWA B, Vs
Up Sterling LIV C, Vs
No Change Bolasie CPL A, VsX
Down Oscar CHE B, VsX
Up Fer QPR B, Vs
Up Sissoko NEW B, Vs, VsX

Forwards

Last updated: 20 Dec, 2014 10:12am
Player Club Factors
No Change Diego Costa CHE B
No Change Bony SWA A, Vs
Up Austin QPR A, Vs
Up van Persie MUN A
Up Kane TOT B, Vs, Rest, £
No Change Sakho WHM B, Rest, £
Up Giroud ARS B, VsX
Up Benteke AVL B, Vs
Down Rooney MUN B, Inj, OoP
Up Carroll WHM B
Up Cissé NEW A, Vs
No Change Pellè SOT C

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

The Suspension Tightrope

Player Team YC
Oxlade-Chamberlain ARS 4
Agbonlahor AVL 4
Boyd BRN 4
Marney BRN 4
Chamakh CPL 4
Besic EVE 4
Naismith EVE 4
Chester HUL 4
Robertson HUL 4
Moore LEI 4
Vardy LEI 4
Balotelli LIV 4
Gerrard LIV 4
Skrtel LIV 4
Kompany MCI 4
Mangala MCI 4
Y Touré MCI 4
Tioté NEW 4
Fer QPR 4
Clyne SOT 4
Mane SOT 4
Mame Biram Diouf STO 4
Shawcross STO 4
Wilson STO 4
Gómez SUN 4
Wickham SUN 4
Ki SWA 4
Williams SWA 4
Mason TOT 4
Dorrans WBA 4
Tomkins WHM 4

“Last year was quite open for me, I was in good positions, but I was quite lucky because I was getting free kicks and some penalties as well.”

Yaya Toure Manchester City midfielder