Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney lead the way in our newly-updated rankings as United prepare for a superb run of fixtures which offers both plenty opportunity to continue their goalscoring form. Liverpool and Tottenham continue to play a significant part in our thoughts as we roll out our regular refresh of the next four to six Gameweeks…
Wojciech Szczesny retains his lofty position, with the Pole perhaps offering the most secure mid-price route into Arsenal’s backline. With two clean sheets in his last four, Szczesny now faces trips to Wigan, Reading and Southampton in the next five, with West Ham and West Brom both making their way to the Emirates.
Mark Schwarzer remains very much in our thinking as Fulham prepare for three strong home fixtures (SOT, SWA, WIG) and a trip to QPR in the next six. While there are perhaps better options in the Cottagers back-four, Schwarzer has chalked up more FPL points than any of Martin Jol’s defenders, with save points boosting his cause.
Hugo Lloris takes a climb in our estimations in light of Tottenham’s upcoming schedule. The Frenchman now has three strong home games (SWA, STO, REA) in addition to trips to Villa, Sunderland and QPR in the next six – he has now started each of the last five and seems to have nudged Brad Friedel out of the first-team reckoning at the Lane.
Pepe Reina also climbs, with Liverpool set for an enticing run of matches. The Spaniard will likely see less suitors than defensive team mates such as Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique, though, with the full-back pair offering the chance of attacking returns. Rest and rotation at United prevents us from being able to nail down a keeper option, while Ben Foster would also feature if he overcomes his groin injury ahead of an enticing schedule for the Baggies.
Joe Hart offers a secure route into a City defence that had conceded three goals in nine prior to the Manchester derby. With Vincent Kompany expected to shake off the groin problem that forced him off against United, City’s chances of keeping out opponents looks strong over the next few, with Hart an enticing option for those who are prepared to splash the cash on a pricey keeper.
Asmir Begovic slips in our rankings due to a tricky run of fixtures for Stoke, though the Potters are more than capable of freezing out their opponents and adding to their eight clean sheets, while Villa’s Brad Guzan, with one goal conceded in his last four, edges his way into our thinking.
With three enticing home fixtures (AVL, FUL, SUN) and trips to Stoke and QPR in the next five, Liverpool’s backline looks primed for investment. Glen Johnson staked a claim for inclusion after his strike at West Ham last weekend – with four clean sheets in the last five at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers’ side have been particularly tight at home. Jose Enrique also remains in our thoughts – he was subbed off at Upton Park purely as a precautionary measure, according to his manager.
Staying on Merseyside, Leighton Baines continues to feature highly in our refresh. The Everton left-back sits just two points off the top of the FPL defender rankings, despite failing to keep a clean sheet since Gameweek 5. Jan Vertonghen is our Spurs defender of choice for the afore-mentioned run of fixtures. With Benoit Assou-Ekotto now back in first-team training, doubts hang over Andre Villas-Boas’ first-choice backline, raising concerns over cheaper options such as Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker.
Rafael climbs once again ahead of United’s upcoming run of games. Confidence in the Brazilian rose after he maintained his starting berth for the Manchester derby – despite being subbed off early against Reading, he still looks to be first-choice at right-back, then. While concerns remain over United’s ability to produce clean sheets, Rafael’s attacking potential keeps him high in the Watchlist – only Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie have bettered his four assists for the league leaders so far.
Kieran Gibbs offers a mid-price route into the Arsenal back-four, though there may still be a chance of rotation when Laurent Koscielny returns, with Thomas Vermaelen’s versatility at left-back keeping Gibbs from being nailed-on. Matija Nastasic has now started eight of City’s last nine and continues to look well ahead of Joleon Lescott in the pecking order – at 5.6 in FPL, the teenager offers a far less expensive option than Vincent Kompany and looks a more secure starter than most under Roberto Mancini. Seb Bassong’s recent eye for goal – three strikes in his last four – keep him in our thoughts, in spite of a tough looking run of fixtures ahead for Norwich, while Gareth McAuley ousts Liam Ridgewell as West Brom defender of choice after the latter lasted just five minutes in the weekend defeat at Arsenal before sustaining an ankle injury.
Back-to-back home games (WHU, NOR) and a trip to QPR look prosperous for the Baggies, while John Arne Riise offers the best chance of points at both ends of the pitch in Fulham’s defence. The Norwegian will be looking to add to his four assists, with a share of corner kicks boosting his appeal, though Aaron Hughes affords a cheaper rout into Martin Jol’s defence. Branislav Ivanovic has played every minute under Rafa Benitez so far – his ranking is affected by this weekend’s blank, while a trio of cut-price protagonists further down are also worth considering.
Ryan Nelsen has averaged six points per game since Harry Redknapp’s installation at QPR, Ciaran Clark’s threat in the opposition box boosts his appeal as the fixtures soon begin to ease for Villa, while Nicky Shorey stays in the picture, with his corner kick duties and left flank delivery still creating chances for his Reading team mates.
Marouane Fellaini remains a non-mover at the top of the midfield refresh, with his superb recent form simply too good to ignore. Michu is tucked in behind the Belgian after back-to-back doubles took his season;s tally to 12 goals – his owners will be delighted to hear he failed to earn the caution in this evening’s Capital One Cup match which would have earned him a one-match suspension at the weekend. He lives to fight another day, then.
Raheem Sterling’s mid-price appeal keeps him in the top three ahead of Liverpool’s run of fine fixtures, with the youngster still offering strong value amongst Brendan Rodgers’ midfield regulars. Arsenal pair Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott still have strong fixtures to produce – although the latter will be hoping to shake off a calf injury before next Monday’s trip to Reading, it’s fair to say confidence is hardly high in the Arsenal camp right now. Elsewhere in north London, Gareth Bale could come back from a hamstring injury this weekend against Swansea, according to his manager – a return to action would see the Welshman climb further in our estimations.
Manchester duo David Silva and Antonio Valencia will both be keen to take advantage of their upcoming schedules. Silva offers guaranteed game time – something that can’t quite be said of City’s frontmen – and Valencia may appeal to those Fantasy managers looking for cheaper alternatives to Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney. He’ll need to pick up in performance if he’s to climb further, though, with only four assists to his name to date.
Lower down the rankings, a raft of mid-price alternatives may be set to prosper. Jon Walters has two goals in his last five, while James Morrison will be hoping the injury situation eases at West Brom, allowing him a return to his role in “the hole”. Adel Taarabt may yet be the key to QPR’s first win and we’re keeping faith with the Moroccan for the time being, with some kind short-term fixtures offering him a chance to prosper.
Juan Mata’s form and the cut-price appeal of Jason Puncheon keep both players in our refresh – no doubt they’d be further up the rankings if either had a fixture this weekend.
United pair Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney take the top two spots ahead of a run of five games that looks hugely appealing. With back-to-back doubles, Rooney looks a real rival for our Fantasy affections, though the Dutchman’s consistency helps him hold onto pole position.
Back after a one-match suspension last weekend, Luis Suarez re-enters the top three. Home clashes against Villa and Fulham afford the Liverpool forward the chance to pick up the points after three successive blanks. Jermain Defoe remains out Spurs forward of choice, though Andre Villas-Boas’ decision to move to 4-4-2 could prove beneficial to Emmanuel Adebayor’s chances as the north London outfit look to recover from their Goodison defeat.
We keep faith in Dimitar Berbatov ahead of Fulham’s festive schedule, though there’s no doubt the loss of Bryan Ruiz has proved detrimental to the Bulgarian’s potential. While Roberto Mancini’s continual tinkering lessens the appeal of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, they have the fixtures to produce, should they be afforded an extended first-team opportunity.
Arsenal’s schedule keeps Olivier Giroud in our thoughts – he’ll be hoping to shake off the back problem that ruled him out of the Gunners’ midweek cup defeat at Bradford. Demba Ba and Steven Fletcher both take a tumble as the fixture list stiffens dramatically for Newcastle and Sunderland, while a return to scoring ways last weekend earns Grant Holt a spot in the lower echelons.: he is our current budget striker of choice with Rickie Lambert missing his Gameweek 17 fixture.