Our refresh of the Watchlist rankings, focussing on player selection over the next four to six Gameweeks, is rolled out this evening. The double Gameweeks continue to play a prominent part in our thinking, with Everton, City and Sunderland set to play six times in the next four rounds of fixtures – the full player listings are in the sidebar on your right:
Sunderland’s Vito Mannone and Phil Bardsley are joined by Everton pair Tim Howard and Seamus Coleman as they prepare for two doubles in the next four Gameweeks. In terms of defensive regulars, only Coleman (5.4 points per game) has exceeded Mannone’s 5.3 ppg, with the latter, still at a bargain 4.5, racking up a sixth double-figure haul in 18 appearances for the Black Cats in Saturday’s goalless draw with Palace. However, the Toffees have the better short-term schedule of the two, with fixtures against four of the bottom seven (SWA, ful, sun, CPL) in the next four Gameweeks. Having notched six times from open play, Coleman gets the nod over Leighton Baines as our Everton defender of choice – the latter’s three strikes have all been from set-pieces or spot-kicks.
City pair Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta rise in the rankings this week. Manuel Pellegrini’s side have now registered three successive clean sheets and also have two doubles in the next four Gameweeks – the downside is that they face trips to United, Arsenal and Liverpool, though home clashes with Fulham, Southampton and Sunderland bode well for their prospects. Zabaleta comes in for the suspended Vincent Kompany in today’s refresh, whilst Aleksandar Kolarov’s demotion to the bench away to Hull see him topple off the radar.
United’s battering at the hands of Liverpool somewhat lessens our faith in David De Gea and Patrice Evra. David Moyes’ beleaguered side now have a home clash against City as the second match of double Gameweek 31, and with a blank Gameweek 34 confirmed last Friday, their short-term appeal has diminished.
Hull’s budget duo Allan McGregor and James Chester also have a blank Gameweek 34 but that is somewhat offset by some favourable fixtures. An imminent double with West Brom and West Ham, in addition to a visit of Swansea in the next three, hands Steve Bruce’s side the chance to strengthen their bid for survival, with Chester’s 3.8 price-tag catching the eye.
Whilst Norwich are without a double, the next four Gameweeks are still in their favour. John Ruddy and Martin Olsson welcome Sunderland and West Brom to Carrow Road and roll up to Swansea and Fulham – potentially, these fixtures could decide their future, with Olsson, at just 4.3 to Ruddy’s 5.1, looking better-placed for investment.
Chelsea’s Petr Cech and John Terry also stay firmly in the picture despite lacking a double. Granted, a home clash with Arsenal this weekend is no easy task but, following that, Jose Mourinho’s side are handed a superb run-in, with only a Gameweek 36 trip to Anfield looking problematic. Given that they have conceded five times in the last 14 league matches, getting rid of Chelsea assets in order to accommodate double Gameweek options looks a decidedly risky tactic bearing in mind they have Palace, Stoke, Swansea, Sunderland, Norwich and Cardiff in the final seven Gameweeks of the season.
Villa pair Brad Guzan and Ron Vlaar have conceded just twice in the last four Gameweeks and have just kept Chelsea at bay. Paul Lambert’s side will have their tails up now and entertain Stoke and Fulham before travelling to Palace in the next four. Indeed, beyond that, Paul Lambert’s side have the fixtures to tempt us – matches with Southampton and Swansea precede a double Gameweek 37 which kicks off with the visit of Hull. Vlaar, at 4.3, has picked up five bonus points with his last pair of clean sheets.
Eden Hazard remains at the summit as a result of Chelsea’s above-mentioned schedule. The Belgian’s explosive potential could easily wreak havoc over the Blues’ final batch of matches as he looks to add to his 13 goals, 10 assists and eight sets of double-figures thus far.
Unsurprisingly, City duo Yaya Toure and David Silva, along with Sunderland’s Adam Johnson, all feature in the top five places in this week’s midfield refresh ahead of 11 fixtures in the final eight Gameweeks.
Toure’s move to the role in “the hole” was cut short as a result of Vincent Kompany’s weekend dismissal, but with set-pieces and spot-kick duties in the absence of Sergio Aguero, the Ivorian sits above team-mate Silva. The Spaniard’s differential appeal (5% ownership) was highlighted perfectly at the KC after he served up a goal, assist and maximum bonus points, though his propensity for picking up injuries is always a factor – he’s managed just 18 starts as a result of hamstring problems to date. Johnson’s attacking contribution will be vital to the Black Cats’ survival bid – at 6.5, his six goals and two assists in his last seven are indicative of the value on offer.
Steven Gerrard also sits in the top five. The Liverpool skipper has now served up a goal or assist in 16 of his last 19 starts – a staggering level of consistency which, as last Sunday’s rout of United showed, continues to be supplemented by his spot-kick duties as Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge tear backlines apart. At 9.2, Gerrard is still owned by under 12% of Fantasy Premier League managers, but with a double Gameweek against Cardiff and Sunderland followed by clashes with Spurs and West Ham, there’s more than enough evidence to suggest that loading up on Brendan Rodgers’ free-scoring side will pay off handsomely. Fellow Red Raheem Sterling, at just 5.8, offers an alternative, but a change in tactics perhaps suggests he’s no longer guaranteed starts to quite the same extent, though as his sub appearance at St Mary’s showed, he can still produce off the bench.
The upcoming double offers a number of mid-price options the chance to dazzle. Kevin Nolan and Moussa Sissoko both have two home games apiece – the Hammers skipper welcomes United and Hull to Upton Park and also squares up to Sunderland, Palace and West Brom in the next six Gameweeks. At 7.1, Nolan has five goals and an assist in the last six and has Andy Carroll leading the line to supply flick-ons in and around the box. Sissoko entertains Palace and Everton but his appeal looks somewhat limited thereafter, with games against Southampton and United preceding a trip to Stoke.
Kevin Mirallas remains in our thinking but Roberto Martinez’ recent hint at rotation is a worry. The aforementioned schedule may persuade owners to hold, though, and with three strikes in his last seven, the 7.5-priced Belgian has still shown some decent form and was even handed the role in “the hole” against Cardiff last Saturday. Juan Mata also drops in spite of an upcoming double. Coming in at 9.5, many are shipping out for the similarly-priced Toure, Silva and Gerrard in light of the United man’s four consecutive blanks.
Robert Snodgrass remains on our radar after his weekend strike at Southampton. The Norwich playmaker now has three goals and an assist in his last six and has the form and above-mentioned fixtures to flourish over the next four – perhaps forcing some owners to think twice over selling. Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman is another mid-price option to consider. Granted, the upcoming trips to Everton and Arsenal may offer little in the way of double Gameweek returns but, beyond that, Garry Monk’s side have six favourable fixtures in the final seven Gameweeks (NOR, hul, new, AVL, SOU, sun) to help ensure their survival.
Up front, there is minimal movement in our assessment following a major refresh last week. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge remain our top two options, with the Uruguayan outscoring his Liverpool team-mate by 26 points to six since Brendan Rodgers moved to a front two over the last couple of league matches.
As mentioned above, Everton have two double Gameweeks in the next four, ensuring Romelu Lukaku retains his lofty position. Available for 8.5, the big Belgian has scored just twice since Gameweek 13, though, suggesting we may need to rein in our expectations after last week’s captaincy fail.
A goal against Hull took Edin Dzeko’s run to four strikes in his last seven. Given that Alvaro Negredo has notched once over the same period, the Bosnian looks in the driving seat to benefit from Sergio Aguero’s current injury absence and is priced at a mere 6.7 as double Gameweek 31 approaches.
Wayne Rooney remains our United forward of choice for the double and beyond, with Robin van Persie looking out of sorts. Beneath him there’s a host of options with a pair of fixtures this week, whilst Midlands-based duo Christian Benteke and Victor Anichebe also figure in this week’s refresh despite the fact that both play just once this week. Benteke has yet to find a real consistency to his game and has notched in one of Villa’s last six, though as we’ve pointed out above, the schedule still bodes well for a strong finish to the season for Paul Lambert’s improving side. Anichebe has scored or assisted in four of his last six and, at just 5.1, has Hull, Cardiff and Norwich in the next three as the Baggies look to build momentum after winning for the first time under Pepe Mel last weekend.