The countdown to Gameweek ten is underway, beginning with our regular rinse through the fixture list and Next Six Tickers to establish a view on the “Strength of Schedule” for the coming weeks.
Harry Redknapp’s side rightly have top four ambitions and, with five wins in six, are showing the form to realise them. The fixture list suggests that Spurs can go on earning positive results and cement a top four position going into the Christmas programme. QPR visit the Lane next, with Villa and Bolton also rolling up in the next five Gameweeks.
While the Spurs defence remains ravaged by injuries to Ledley King, Michael Dawson and William Gallas, Redknapp’s attacking assets will surely come good against such opponents. Equally, trips to Fulham and West Brom could also offer profits.
If you’re struggling to squeeze in either Rafael Van der Vaart or Emmanuel Adebayor, there could be some merit in Tottenham’s lesser assets – Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and full-back Kyle Walker. Going into the month ahead without Spurs coverage looks risky.
Tony Pulis’ side are hugely effective at the Britannia and, with three home matches in the next four, their prospects look strong for returns at both ends of the field.
Newcastle will provide the sternest of tests this coming weekend and this will be a good barometer for Fantasy managers to judge the potential on offer. If the Stoke back four can keep a confident Newcastle at bay, we will surely see stronger investment in the likes of Ryan Shawcross and even budget full-back Andy Wilkinson.
A trip to Bolton follows the Magpies test, with favourable home clashes against QPR and Blackburn in Gameweeks 12 and 13. Following that, things toughen up once again for the Potters. Short-term investment in the Stoke defence, particularly when the bigger sides are scrapping around for clean sheets, looks a wise option.
The three points at Bolton will surely inject confidence into the Sunderland camp and with Nicklas Bendtner firing goals and Stephane Sessegnon back in a more effective wide role, Steve Bruce may well have a combination which can help sustain a run of form.
Certainly the fixture list is kind to them. Three home games in four serve up matches against Villa, Fulham and Wigan – all of which Bruce will surely be looking to win. The trip to Old Trafford will clearly be a major test and potential Fantasy blank but, around that, there’s little doubt that the Black Cats deserve our attention. A cheeky punt on Bendtner or Sessegnon could provide a handy differential.
An encouraging display at St James’ Park at the weekend leads the Latics into a four gameweek spell which has them face Fulham and Blackburn at home, with trips to Wolves and Sunderland. If Wigan are to drag themselves out of the relegation mire, these matches will surely be vital in turning their season around.
Roberto Martinez has called for optimism, insisting that better results are just around the corner; when you look at the next four opponents, the potential for goals is clearly strong. However, Fantasy managers will be hugely skeptical as to whether these will be delivered and whether low-to-mid price assests like Victor Moses, Ben Watson and Hugo Rodallega can offer returns.
Arsenal – Disregard the trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend and Arsene Wenger’s men continue a favourable run of opponents from Gameweeks 11 through to 15, including three more encouraging Emirates encounters.
Man United – A backlash from the 6-1 hammering to City will be expected at Goodison this weekend and, following that, United embark on a run which should see the goals flow and even clean sheets restored.
Alan Pardew’s side are about to provide a rigid test of the form vs fixtures argument. There’s little doubt that Newcastle will go into the next five Gamekweeks with confidence flowing through the squad – whether than can continue to translate into points and Fantasy returns remains to be seen. Aside from a home clash with Everton, it’s difficult to see where Newcastle’s next points will come from, right up until the trip to Norwich in Gameweek 15.
The visit to the Britannia comes next, to face a Stoke side notoriously resolute and determined in front of their own fans. This gives way to the Gameweek 11 encounter with Everton, a vital interlude that precedes trips to both City and United, before Chelsea visit St James’ Park. Clean sheets look very unlikely during that spell, while the likes of Demba Ba, Leon Best and Yohan Cabaye will surely struggle to add to their goal tallies.
Neil Warnock’s side stumbled over the line against 9-man Chelsea on Sunday but will take heart from claiming a precious three points from their local rivals. However, trips to Spurs and Stoke, with a home clash with City sandwiched in between, offers an evil run of three gameweeks to take Rangers into December.
Those Fantasy managers clinging to Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton or even Adel Taarabt, should consider their options. Warnock’s back four, while cheap, also look unlikely to be returning points for a few weeks.
Be wary of…
Wolves – A battling second-half comeback will give Mick McCarthy something to work with, having suffered five straight defeats prior to Saturday’s 2-2 with Swansea. The fixture list is staked against him however, with a trip to City this weekend just the first of four away games in six which also take Wolves to Everton, Chelsea and United. Points and Fantasy returns look scarce.
Chelsea –If you’re looking to clear some funds to make way for Tottenham acquisitions, your Chelsea assets could be leading candidates for sacrifice. The fixture list is against them, with Arsenal, Liverpool, City and a trip to Newcastle all coming up in the next six Gameweeks.
Liverpool – While a trip to the Hawthorns may offer promise in the short term, once the Anfield clash with Swansea has passed, Kenny Dalglish’s side faces a run of three gameweeks that see them take on Chelsea, City and a trip to Fulham – Luis Suarez will need goals before Gameweek 12, otherwise heavy sales will surely be on the cards.