December
24

With the January wildcard just around the corner, we’re focusing on the short-term in this week’s fixture analysis. Looking solely at the next three Gameweeks, then, we begin with those sides whose fixtures offer plenty of festive hope:

Arsenal

A goalless draw against Chelsea means the Gunners have failed to win in the last three but Arsene Wenger has reason for festive cheer as his side travel to West Ham and Newcastle before hosting Cardiff at the Emirates. With Arsenal having shown just as much proficiency on the road as at home, Fantasy managers will be confident of points at both ends of the pitch from such fixtures.

Much of Arsenal’s defensive appeal comes down to the fitness of first choice centre-back Laurent Koscielny. If, as hoped, he is back for the Boxing Day clash with West Ham, both he and Wojciech Szczesny offer great value for money, whilst Per Mertesacker’s added goal threat and bonus point potential can be purchased for a premium. In midfield, those in search of a differential need look no further than Theo Walcott, whose return to form looks set to disrupt the Fantasy monopoly held by Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey. Up top, there seems no end to the decline of Olivier Giroud and he’s hard to recommend.

Everton

Edging past the Swans on Sunday, Roberto Martinez’s team continues to rake in the points thanks to a kind fixture schedule that won’t abate any time soon. Investment in the Toffees still looks well advised as their next three fixtures gift them two home games against Sunderland and Southampton and a trip to Stoke.

Seamus Coleman’s fourth strike of the season confirmed him as first choice defender in a backline that has kept eight clean sheets already this season. Such a figure makes Tim Howard an attractive goalkeeper and also adds sheen to the prospects of Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka, while Leighton Baines’ return in time for Boxing Day strengthens the Toffees appeal further. In midfield, Ross Barkley notched his first goal since Gameweek 6 to reignite his appeal as a cut-price option, whilst Kevin Mirallas will be looking to continue the form which has harvested three goals and a trio of assists in his last six at Goodison.

Aston Villa

A defeat at Stoke leaves Paul Lambert’s side in a precarious position but the midlands outfit have a trio of fine-looking festive fixtures to help lift their form. With back-to-back home games against Crystal Palace and Swansea, followed by a trip to Sunderland, they have every opportunity to return to Fantasy relevance.

Lambert will be desperate for the return of Ron Vlaar to steady a defence that had kept five clean sheets in nine games prior to his injury. Pickings are very slim in midfield but if Christian Benteke remains sidelined with a knee injury up top, Libor Kozak has staked a claim for a regular role and has now scored in three of his last four starts.

Fulham

Rene Meulensteen’s impact at Craven Cottage has been obvious in the positivity of his team’s play, but a record of three defeats in four highlights the task ahead. Nevertheless, scoring two goals against Man City bodes well and The Cottagers now have a splendid little run of games with trips to Norwich and Hull followed by home games against West Ham and Sunderland. They won’t get a better opportunity to turn their season around and Fantasy managers looking for serious differentials may be minded to punt here.

At the back, Sascha Riether is the most attacking option, though injuries to Brede Hangeland and Philippe Senderos appear to have handed starting berths to Aaron Hughes and Fernando Amorebieta, both kindly priced in the Fantasy Premier League game. Adel Taarabt was handed an opportunity to lead the line against City due to an injury to Dimitar Berbatov but the Bulgarian is poised for a late fitness test and could make a quick return in time for Boxing Day, scuppering the Moroccan’s claims as an out of position prospect.

ALSO CONSIDER

Tottenham
Hogging the headlines this week is Tim Sherwood’s appointment as interim head coach at the Lane. His team selection against Southampton suggests an approach akin to Kevin Keegan’s in his attempt to win games and, with back-to-back home games West Brom and Stoke – teams who are struggling for goals on the road – before a trip to Old Trafford, Spurs look an intriguing short-term prospect. Vlad Chiriches has an eye for goal in defence, while new boys Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela could be real outside punts, having started at the Saints. It’s the return of the prodigal son – Emmanuel Adebayor – that has Fantasy managers sitting up to attention, though. Two goals on his first start of the season could signal the return of a former Fantasy heavyweight.

Norwich
The Canaries’ second successive draw hardly helped their attempt to put comfortable distance between themselves and the relegation zone. They do, however, have fixtures on their side to help propel themselves to safety. Two of their next three look winnable – a home game against Fulham and trip to Crystal Palace either side of a visit from Man United. Martin Olsson is the choice in defence while Leroy Fer, Nathan Redmond and Robert Snodgrass all vie for attention in midfield. Gary Hooper has four goals in seven games and makes a strong case as the differential striker of choice.

Man City
Four goals at Fulham in their first game without Sergio Aguero bodes well. Manuel Pellegrini’s side are in a goalscoring mood and, with two home games – Liverpool and Crystal Palace – and a trip to Swansea in the next three, the only major question mark concerns rotation over the hectic schedule. Vincent Kompany looks safe enough in defence but few would invest in City’s rearguard after recent events. In midfield, there’s a feeling that Yaya Toure’s physicality makes him immune from rotation in a way that the slight frame of David Silva may not. Up front, Alvaro Negredo may be first choice ahead of Edin Dzeko under normal circumstances but the punishing schedule means rotation could be inevitable, even with Aguero out of the picture. Regardless, City’s free-scoring attack means the potential rewards outweigh any possible risk of reduced game time.

About The Author

roscola @rosco

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  1. Lost on the previous page,
    Thoughts on my team?

    Boruc Marshall
    Distin Debuchy Williams Ward Turner
    Silva Ramsey Hazard Barkley JWP
    Roo Suarez Lukaku

    Got 0.2 left in the bank.

    1. Cech

      Mertasacker,Coleman,Dawson
      Yaya Toure,Hazard,Ramsey,Januzaj,
      Suarez (c),Rooney,Lukaku

      Captain dilemma for this gameweek, should i trust Suarez against city or Rooney/Lukaku against lowly Hull/Sunderland???

      azhamazmi.blogspot.com

    2. rbk

      marshall
      distin debuchy turner
      silva rambo hazard barkley
      roo luis lukaku
      bench : boruc ward jwp williams
      save the FT

  2. 6/10 I would look to upgrade Lukaku and your defence midfield is fine though

    1. Really.. ? Lukaku got a good run coming up, on paper...

  3. my Team :
    howard (gazza)
    coleman s/cross moxey shaw chester
    Redmond hazard ramsey coutinho y.toure
    suarez remy rooney

    thinking of ramsey for Walcott any other ideas please give me some food for thought ; )

    1. sorry 1.7 in bank so just about afford Walcott. please help tough draw in the fantasy cup !!

      1. That 1.7 Mill might get you one Lukaku for a Remy... ? worth Mulling over

    2. Just get Coutinho out and be very happy
      Bring in Walcott

    3. downgrade howard to distin, shawcross to Krul, and you have plenty to upgrade moxey/shaw/chester while still having double everton defence.

  4. Hello all, any advice welcome:

    Ive got two FT's this week, team is:

    McGregor- Nathan Baker, Joel Ward, Coleman- Cabaye, Yaya Toure, Ramsey, Hazard- Lukaku, Rooney, Suarez

    Bench: Fonte, Clyne, Ravel M

    What do you guys think of :

    Out: Rooney, Fonte, Ramsey.

    In: Berba, Baines, Walcott

    with the 4 pt hit.

    1. Oviedo hasn't been too crap you know. If it were me I wouldn't hurry with the Baines purchase. I would stick with Rooney too.

      1. Cheers mate, good shout. Really the only reason I want to get rid of Rooney is to fund Theo and/or Baines transfer.

        I need to offload Fonte as he isnt playing much and Saints defence seems to be falling apart. Maybe Bardsley or Chester, or a Fulham defender...

        1. Also my 2nd keeper is Myhill for some reason. Might get Speroni or Marshall.

  5. Ozil or Yaya?

    1. Yaya for me.

  6. Rant Alert!!

    Thanks Flanagan for the following:

    * I shipped John Terry out to fit you in for a - 4 hit last GW.
    * John Terry played 90 and got a cleanie
    * You got subbed off too early and only got 1 pt and missed out on the cleanie
    * You are now doubtful and so far back on the bench I can't see you!

    thx.

    Pete.

    (welcome to my team Wally and Yaya)

    P.S. Merry Christmas everyone!

    1. Flanagan in for Terry with a hit is an insane transfer. Merry Christmas

  7. Okay. Looking purely at Boxing Day fixtures:

    A) Ozil > Yaya

    B) Lukaku > Adebayor

    1. Merry Christmas BTW!

      1. Ozil > Yaya looks good - not sure about Adebayor (It seems he could be the next Spurs favourite), however I am giving Luka 1 more week or he's out (to Rooney).

  8. Does anyone think Chelsea will use Eto'o as there front man

    1. Its impossible to call innit, don't risk it with any Chelsea front man.

  9. Hello again,

    :-)

    Ive got two FT's this week, team is:

    McGregor- Nathan Baker, Joel Ward, Coleman- Cabaye, Yaya Toure, Ramsey, Hazard- Lukaku, Rooney, Suarez

    Bench: Fonte, Clyne, Ravel M, Myhill

    Im thinking about going for

    Fonte out, Koscielny in

    Myhill out, Gazzaniga in

    1. Davis is fit now iirc so I'd suggest against getting Gazz in. Getting a defender in should be priority I'd suggest Mert.

      1. Hmm, thanks .. says Davis 25% chance... need the goalie swap to free up funds. Mert is a bit pricey for me...

  10. Merry chrimbo all!

  11. Merry Christmas everybody!
    Need a little advice today about who to play and who to captain.

    Krul vs McGregor in goal
    Coleman/Jagielka/Chico/Fonte/McAuley
    Walcott/Januzaj/Hazard/Ramsey/Henderson
    Suarez/Remy/Giroud

    Who to leave on bench and who to captain?

    1. Bench: Januzaj, Fonte, McAuley, McGregor

      Captain of those has to be Suarez

  12. Suarez (c) tomorrow and here's why .....panto with the kids starts at 2.00 and if Rooney blanks I won't be happy .....panto on while Lukaku plays so no need to hide behind the sofa ......home for 5.30 to watch the Liverpool game.

    Simples

    Oh yes it is .........

  13. Wiz

    Ravel > Barkley or Mirallas ?
    also is it worth a hit ?

  14. Dawson or Chiriches? And why?

    1. I would go Chiriches as he is a bigger goal threat and costs less but I think Dawson is more certain of starting when Vertonghen is back.

  15. Suarez captain tomorrow?

  16. The best captain: Suarez, Rooney or Lukaku?

  17. Bummer. This is the problem with your club's game being brought forward to a 12.30pm kick off on Boxing Day. Didn't get the chance to do Nasri to Walcott, and now look what happens...

  18. How does this look?

    Krul(Kelvin Davis)

    Coleman Jagielka Mertesacker (Debuchy, Walker)

    Hazard Walcott Sterling Ramsey (Johnson-from Aston)

    Suarez Rooney(c) Lukaku

    No FTs

    1.1 in the Bank

    I was thinking of doing Krul-->Szczesny or Sterling--->Cabaye for a 4pt hit

    Leave as is? Any other options?

  19. Hi All - Looking for help for the next week or two.

    I have 2 FT and 0.4 in the bank.

    Mignolet, Daniels
    Jagielka, Shaw, Baker, Coleman, Terry
    Sessegnon, Henderson, Hazard, Ramsey. Januzaj
    Suarez, Lambert, Giroud

    Looking to pickup Rooney, Lukaku or Walcott. What do you think? Any suggestions welcome. I'm also willing to take additional point hits if the trade off is worth it.

    Thanks!

    1. Ramsey+Giroud > Rodriguez + Wally

      1. Thanks. Assume by Wally you mean Walcott. :-)

  20. Best budget midfielder for £4.6 Million? Was looking at Mutch and Kasami? Obviously looking at a nailed on starter with decent points potential. Any others I might be missing?

    1. For 4.7 you can get Assaidi who's putting on a bit of a scoring streak.

Scout Picks

For Gameweek 35

  • Adrián
  • Zabaleta
  • Ivanovic
  • Skrtel
  • Salah
  • Gerrard
  • Mata
  • Eriksen
  • Suárez
  • Adebayor
  • Aguero
  • Caulker
  • Ramsey
  • Lambert

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Next Six Ticker

Watchlist

Goalkeepers

Last updated: 15 Apr, 2014 5:24pm
Player Club Factors
No Change Hart MCI B, Vs
Up De Gea MUN C
No Change Cech CHE A, Vs
No Change Szczesny ARS B
No Change Mannone SUN B, £
Up Foster WBA B
No Change Guzan AVL B
Up Stockdale FUL B, £

Defenders

Last updated: 15 Apr, 2014 7:35pm
Player Club Factors
Up Terry CHE A
No Change Zabaleta MCI B, Vs
Up Koscielny ARS B, Vs, Inj
Up Skrtel LIV A
Up Evra MUN B
Up Kaboul TOT B, Vs
No Change Alonso SUN C, OoP, £
Down Coleman EVE B, VsX
No Change Vlaar AVL C, Vs, £
Up Ridgewell WBA C, OoP, £
Up Caulker CAR A
Up Heitinga FUL B, £

Midfielders

Last updated: 19 Apr, 2014 9:44am
Player Club Factors
Up Eriksen TOT A, Vs
Up Mata MUN A
Up Gerrard LIV A
Down Silva MCI B, Vs, Inj
Up Lallana SOT B
Up Sterling LIV A, £
Up Ramsey ARS B, Vs
Down Hazard CHE C, Vs, Inj
No Change Johnson SUN C
Up Amalfitano WBA A, £

Forwards

Last updated: 14 Apr, 2014 1:03pm
Player Club Factors
No Change Suárez LIV A
Up Aguero MCI C, Vs, Inj
Up Adebayor TOT B, Vs
No Change Dzeko MCI B, Vs, Rest, £
Down Lukaku EVE B, VsX
Up Giroud ARS C, Vs
No Change Lambert SOT B
Down Sturridge LIV B, Inj
No Change Rooney MUN A, Inj
Up Rodallega FUL A, £

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

“A hit a week every week and finish in the top 50k is just fine and dandy for me. I play the game for the fun and how it improves watching Stoke vs Cardiff on a Monday night in November.”

Wakey on his fantasy management style