Four teams provide us with a pair of fixtures this week, though Sunderland’s dismal form has hardly been convincing. Our starting XI contains just seven double Gameweek options, with in-form Everton and City both supplying us with the full quota of three players apiece, as a certain Argentine makes his long-waited return up top:
Palace’s Julian Speroni welcomes Villa to Selhurst Park before Wednesday’s trip to Goodison. The Eagles approach their double Gameweek in impressive defensive form, with a single goal conceded in the last four and, although the Everton match perhaps looks unlikely to harvest a shut-out, Speroni’s save points could come to the rescue – his average of 3.7 points per game is greater than any Palace defender this term.
Seamus Coleman is drafted in ahead of Leighton Baines as our Everton defender of choice. The reasoning behind this is that all six of the Republic of Ireland international’s goals have arrived from open play, whereas Baines’s four goals have come from free-kicks or penalties. The Toffees’ chances of defensive points look good, too. First up, they travel to Sunderland, who have scored once in their last three home games, before hosting Palace in midweek – prior to their win at whipping boys Cardiff last Saturday, Tony Pulis’ side had scored twice in their previous six matches.
Two goals conceded in the last seven bodes well for Pablo Zabaleta’s prospects. Whilst we’re not expecting too much from Sunday’s trip to Liverpool, City’s home encounter with Sunderland looks a likely source of points at both ends of the pitch, as the Argentine looks to add to his five assists thus far. With so much uncertainty over the left-back berth, Zabaleta’s security of starts on the opposite side of Manuel Pellegrini’s back-four earns our faith.
We turn to Ryan Shawcross for Stoke’s home game against Newcastle. The Potters have conceded once in their last three home fixtures and entertain a struggling Newcastle side with a single goal in their previous five matches – Shawcross has earned a couple of bonus points in each of the last two occasions his side have registered a shut-out.
Roberto Martinez’ midfield rotation has been a real frustration for Fantasy managers in recent weeks but we’re willing to stick our necks out and hand Kevin Mirallas a place in our line-up. Having started just two of the last four, the Belgian’s acquisition doesn’t come without a degree of risk attached but, as he showed in a 23-minute sub appearance against Fulham recently, Mirallas can still deliver the points off the bench. Weekend opponents Sunderland have a single clean sheet in seven, whilst Wednesday’s visitors Palace will do well to contain a Toffees attack that has now scored three times in their last four fixtures.
Yaya Toure is impossible to ignore for City’s two matches against Liverpool and Sunderland. The Ivorian continues to deliver the returns at a relentless rate – having served up 31 points in double Gameweek 31, many will be looking to hand the 46%-owned midfielder the armband this time around, with the home clash against the Black Cats, in particular, looking profitable as he attempts to add to his 18-goal haul.
A trip to West Brom hands Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen the chance to pick up where he left off from last Monday’s sensational display against Sunderland. The Dane has delivered three goals, a trio of assists and five bonus points in three appearances since returning to the starting line-up and looks key to his side’s chances of breaching a Baggies backline with just a single clean sheet to their name since Pepe Mel took charge.
Southampton’s Adam Lallana is welcomed into our four-man midfield for the home clash against Cardiff. The Saints skipper has already served up six double-figure hauls at St Mary’s and, up against a defence that have shipped 12 goals in the previous three Gameweeks, could well be on course for another bumper return.
Back in contention for the first time in three months, we’re opting for Sergio Aguero as our City forward of choice. Given his lengthy period of absence, it’s by no means guaranteed he’ll even start both of the games against Liverpool and Sunderland but the Argentine has proven on many occasions that he needs little time to produce the points. Aguero has managed 90 minutes just four times this term yet has still plundered 15 goals from just 17 appearances – his return looks vital as Manuel Pellegrini searches for a pair of wins that would place his side firmly on course for the title.
Romelu Lukaku is a nailed-on option for Everton’s two fixtures. The big Belgian seems immune to his manager’s rotational whims and has delivered four goals and a pair of assists in six appearances since returning from injury – with some uncertainty surrounding the City strikers’ game time, Lukaku leads the way in this week’s Captain Poll, having racked up two sets of double-figures in the last three matches.
Typically, we’d look to fill our three forward spaces with double Gameweek options but Palace and Sunderland’s strikers hardly instill any degree of confidence. Instead, we opt for Luis Suarez as Liverpool go head-to-head with City at Anfield – the Uruguayan has either scored or assisted in every one of his 13 home appearances this term, and with a win set to take the Reds seven points clear of their visitors, Brendan Rodgers’ side will be relying on Suarez to deliver yet again.
Jose Fonte warms the bench for Southampton’s home game against Cardiff. The big centre-half has already notched three times this term and his threat in the opposition box looks likely to cause the Bluebirds concern – given that the visitors have failed to score in two of their five road trips under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Saints will be optimistic of racking up their thirteenth clean sheet of the season tomorrow.
Jason Puncheon makes the bench for Palace’s two games against Villa and Everton. The 5.0-priced Eagles wide man bagged a brace in last week’s vital win over Cardiff and is likely to be first in line for spot-kicks if Glen Murray is not on the pitch – with Tony Pulis’ side desperate to clinch survival before their remaining two home games against City and Liverpool, Palace – and Fantasy managers – will be looking to the Villa game in particular as a source of points.
A home game with out-of-sorts Cardiff affords Rickie Lambert the chance to maintain his current form. The Saints may be missing top scorer Jay Rodriguez but Lambert – with three goals and a trio of assists in the last four – looks likely to plunder the points against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dire defence.