This week’s look at the upcoming fixtures comes courtesy of a new addition to the editorial team, as we bring site regular Roscola into the fold. His consistent, quality contributions in the community have led him to being invited to take on one of the site’s most established features from this point on. Welcome aboard Roscola.
Another of our 38 Gameweeks ticks past and we’re all just a little wiser. How we apply that new wisdom will depend in part on the fixture schedule. The next six weeks are looking rosy for a trio of the top teams, making our selection task that bit trickier – you can’t have ‘em all.
After hapless alumnus Jonjo Shelvey helped them to an eventful draw at Swansea, Liverpool now have calmer-looking waters to sail through. The next five fixtures have home games with Southampton, Crystal Palace and struggling West Brom peppered with away ties in the north east against Newcastle and Sunderland.
Facing such favourable fixtures in their current form may have some managers cursing the three per club selection rule. The hugely popular Simon Mignolet could well be set for handsome returns and while we’ve yet to see the defence settle down in light of injuries and new faces, Jose Enrique looks good for his spot and new boy Mamadou Sakho will be hoping to retain his starting berth at the expense of veteran Kolo Toure. At 4.4 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), Andre Wisdom got the nod at right-back at the Liberty but a shaky display perhaps raises question marks over his role in Brendan Rodgers’ XI.
Further up the field, Daniel Sturridge has scored in every game so far and just as the sun sets on Philippe Coutinho’s appeal, loanee Victor Moses has jumped into the midfield reckoning to request a share of our budget – at 6.2 with a good chance of keeping his place on the left, he’s easy on the wallet with proven Premier League pedigree and has already opened his Reds’ account. Finally, anti-hero Luis Suarez is itching for a return to the side, serving the last game of his suspension this weekend before presumably facing Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in Gameweek 6. Whilst unlikely to displace Sturridge at the head of the attack, Suarez will certainly be on the field somewhere – a role in “the hole” looks likely now that Coutinho has been ruled out with the shoulder complaint that forced him off at Swansea, though he could move wide right if Rodgers shifts to a 4-3-3. Whether Suarez steals goals from Sturridge or helps him score yet more, only time will tell.
When we first looked at the fixture list back in June, it was clear that Swansea’s opening schedule was far from pleasant. Having weathered that early storm, the Swans now enter a much kinder run, starting with a trip to Crystal Palace this weekend. Hosting Arsenal the following week may cause some to hold fire on investment until Gameweek 7 when they face Southampton, Sunderland, West Ham and Cardiff, fixtures that all offer good potential for returns at both ends.
Just as the fixture tide turns for the Swans, who should come knocking at the door to announce his services but the Fantasy legend of 2012, Miguel Pérez Cuesta or Michu to his friends. A first strike of the season against Liverpool on Monday night was a timely reminder of his talents and, while no longer a budget gem, the Spaniard could nevertheless justify his price if he hits the net with the frequency that harvested 18 goals last term. While Jonjo Shelvey won’t have enjoyed his self-inflicted lampooning at the hands of the Anfield faithful, Michael Laudrup clearly still believes in the new boy and at 5.5, he could be a budget enabler. Wilfried Bony is now down to 7.7 in FPL and could also benefit – providing he recovers from the back problem that forced him off on Monday.
In defence, Michel Vorm has the talent and fixtures to shine for those who are resisting Mignolet’s appeal. Ben Davies, another of last season’s budget gems, is 5.0 this time round and is currently nailed-on as a result of Neil Taylor’s thigh injury.
After an unexpected defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, Arsenal have recovered form quickly to beat two of their fellow Londoners and then pummelled Sunderland in their own backyard. The Gunners’ kind run of fixtures continues and in the next six they face Stoke and Norwich at home as well as travelling to Swansea, West Brom and Crystal Palace.
Here’s where it gets difficult – choosing three or fewer from the talent on offer. Olivier Giroud hasn’t broken stride from his outstanding pre-season form and with four goals, one assist and nine bonus points in his pocket already, he is the very epitome of the Fantasy goldmine that is ‘form plus fixtures’. The outrageously talented Mesut Özil looks set to justify his eye-watering price tag, while Theo Walcott was unlucky to come away from Sunderland empty-handed and his owners will be confident goals are just around the corner.
Stealing the headlines from those three, however, is Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman’s blistering season – highlighted by a well-earned brace at the Stadium of Light – has earned him over 255,000 new owners this week alone – a bandwagon of epic proportions.
Defensively, Arsenal’s only clean sheet has come in their hardest fixture (Tottenham) but if ever there was a time to back their traditionally resilient defence, it is surely now. Despite starting three of the first four, many feel that Carl Jenkinson’s days are numbered, with Bacary Sagna perhaps favourite to return to the right-back berth following a stint in the centre. The return of Thomas Vermaelen offers alternatives to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at centre-half but the Belgian faces a battle to earn starts.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side have inched their way to three victories in four and their new-look team is showing unmistakeable signs of gelling. That progress will be given every chance to continue with a kind run of fixtures including home games against West Ham and Hull as well as away days at Cardiff (this weekend) and Aston Villa. A home encounter against Chelsea in Gameweek 6 is the only imminent fly in the ointment.
Spanish hitman Roberto Soldado has yet to score from open play in the Premier League. Penalty duties have kept his owners “satisfied” so far but it’s clear that this is far from his own failing, a lack of supply being the chief cause. Many will be hopeful that that is set to change. Few can have missed Christian Eriksen’s livewire debut performance against Norwich and with Erik Lamela waiting in the wings, the writing is on the wall for an upturn in Spurs’ goal output.
Just one strike conceded in four games and the fewest shots against by any team tells a remarkable success story for the Spurs defence. Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen look assured of their places, though while Michael Dawson has so far offered a budget route into this lucrative defence, acclaimed new signing Vlad Chiriches will be pushing him hard once he has sorted the work permit red tape and established match fitness.
Many had earmarked this run of fixtures for investment in United and aside from a short trip to their Manchester rivals, it’s easy to see why. Home games against West Brom, Southampton and Stoke with trips to Sunderland and Fulham look profitable for a certain under the radar Dutch striker. But, inevitably, it’s not as simple as that; Wayne Rooney appears to be on the verge of a renaissance under his old mentor and these fixtures can only facilitate that upturn in form. Antonio Valencia, apparently in favour under the David Moyes regime, looks to be the joker in the pack – he’s on offer as an intriguing midfield option for 7.5 in the FPL.
Defensive returns look all but assured, too: Rio Ferdinand seems to be in favour but extra funds buys the added security of starts from captain Nemanja Vidic. Shell out a further 0.5 in the FPL and you can own Patrice Evra, who is showing a great deal of attacking intent and is perhaps the most secure member of the United backline.
Fulham – Martin Jol’s boys aren’t exactly off to a flyer but the short term fixtures still smile on them. After a tricky derby at Stamford Bridge, the Cottagers benefit from home games against Cardiff and Stoke, followed by away ties with Crystal Palace and Southampton. The ever-mercurial Dimitar Berbatov will be hoping to get off the mark while the likes of Sascha Riether and Brede Hangeland may also prosper.
Another London team whose gears aren’t quite meshing right now, Chelsea’s absurd wealth of talent need either a shot in the arm or a kick up the proverbial. Home games against Fulham and Cardiff either side of a showdown with Spurs and a trip to Norwich may give them the opportunity to find some form. The profusion of options at Jose Mourinho’s disposal, combined with Champions League duties, will inevitably result in rotation and Fantasy managers need to stay wary. At the back, Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole and John Terry have started all four games but further up the field, only Eden Hazard and Ramires can make the same boast. The latter looks nailed-on for the start against Fulham as he misses out in tonight’s European tie through suspension.
Fans of Paolo Di Canio’s entertaining displays of raw emotion could be in for a treat as Sunderland face a stern test in the coming weeks. Traditionally a side that are best banked on for their home games, the Wearsiders host Liverpool and Man United in the next four, in between away games at West Brom and Swansea. Investment there isn’t helped by the fact that not one of their players has so far stood out as a Fantasy asset, though Adam Johnson’s displays have shown promise, as highlighted by his members area statistics. Fantasy managers have largely ignored the Black Cats and that’s not likely to change given their schedule.
The Canaries’ start to the season has been a mixed bag, despite being handed relatively favourable fixtures to open their campaign. Their next six look less enticing; after hosting Aston Villa and travelling to Stoke, they then face three of last year’s top four – hardly a favourable prospect for right-back Steven Whittaker’s 21% of FPL owners. With mid-price assets such as Robert Snodgrass and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel yet to find form and struggling to hold their FPL value, such a run will give Fantasy managers time to assess their potential, before three tasty home games in five, starting with Cardiff’s visit to Carrow Road in Gameweek 9.
They may have finally scored a goal to earn a vital point but the Baggies look to be in trouble already. Home games against Sunderland and Palace bookend an evil-looking four fixtures (mun, ARS, sto, liv) that will give Steve Clarke nightmares and surely deter investment until the schedule finally eases for them around the start of November. Nicolas Anelka has yet to make an impression and much relies on the impact of Stephane Sessegnon. He’s set for his debut against former club Sunderland this weekend and, if he can settle quickly, he could yet emerge as a midfield prospect to offer potential through a turbulent period.
Also Be Wary Of…
Manuel Pellegrini’s outfit have their work cut out to stay competitive at the top of the table. After this weekend’s Manchester derby, City travel to Villa but then have a trio of meetings against teams who are currently showing strong defensive form (EVE, whm, che). The return of Vincent Kompany boosts a defence with three clean sheets in four but with rotation starting to impact on attacking areas, a reliable asset remains elusive.
With three clean sheets from four, Sam Allardyce’s defence has started this season as well as they did the last. Defensive form has been essential; with just six shots on target in all games, the Hammers’ are toiling up front. That doesn’t bode well for their next four fixtures, which have them face in-form Everton, Tottenham and Man City, with a trip to Hull perhaps a potential banana skin in waiting. With Andy Carroll still sidelined, Kevin Nolan owners will be a little worried after three consecutive blanks, while Jussi Jaaskelainen can be expected to remain busy between the sticks.
After famously putting three past Man City, Malky Mackay’s side went on to grab a point apiece from ties with Everton and Hull. Their budget assets have so far shown promise and offered decent value – Peter Whittingham looks particularly appealing as a cheap fifth midfielder – but with (TOT, ful, NEW, che) to come, Fantasy managers may want to wait for their rosier stretch of fixtures that kicks in around Gameweek 9.
Hws this team for gw5
Zabaleta - Coleman - Collins (Shaw - Ward)
Ozil - Eriksen - Coutinho - Brady (Parker)
Benteke(c) - Soldado - Giroud (v)
Have already used up FT to get Ozil
should i take a hit to swap Cout for any other mids
any suggestions ??
- 2 months, 25 days ago
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The frisking the fixtures members tables have been updated
- 2 months, 25 days ago
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lease help out! My defense and midfield are in trouble this week…
1 FT and 0.2 in the bank…
Zabs Ferdinand Coleman (Chester, Chambers)
YaYa Lampard Paulinho Hernandez (JWP)
RvP Giroud Benteke
I am thinking about just doing Hernandez to Moses for this week, but I’m also worried about my defense and that Chambers and JWP did not get much playing time last week.
Any help is MUCH appreciated and I am willing to take a -4 this week for any awesome suggestions. Thanks
- 2 months, 25 days ago
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For Gameweek 15
Next Six Ticker
|Up||Howard||EVE||A, Vs, Sus|
|Down||De Gea||MUN||C, Vs|
|Up||McGregor||HUL||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Speroni||CPL||A, VsX|
|Up||Pantilimon||MCI||B, Rest, £|
|Up||Williamson||NEW||B, Vs, £|
|Up||Olsson||NOR||B, Vs, £|
|Up||Turner||CAR||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||McAuley||WBA||C, Vs|
|Up||Ward||CPL||A, VsX, £|
|Up||Bannan||CPL||B, VsX, £|
|Up||Whittingham||CAR||C, Vs, £|
|Up||Michu||SWA||C, Inj, OoP|
|No Change||Lallana||SOT||C, VsX|
|Up||Morrison||WHM||B, Rest, £|
|Up||Brady||HUL||C, Rest, £|
|Up||Barkley||EVE||C, Vs, Rest, Sus|
|No Change||Suárez||LIV||A, VsX|
|No Change||Lukaku||EVE||A, Vs|
|No Change||Rooney||MUN||A, Vs|
|No Change||Giroud||ARS||B, VsX|
|No Change||Rodriguez||SOT||A, £|
|Up||Deulofeu||EVE||A, Vs, Rest, £|
|Up||Hooper||NOR||A, Vs, £|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the Club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go.”Paul Lambert revels in convincing Christian Benteke to revoke his transfer request