Gameweek 36 Review – Double Gameweek Delivery


Nikica Jelavic by Steindy at Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Jelavic continued his hot streak with a brace against Fulham.

All teams have played one game of the big double Gameweek and already some of the touted double players have delivered. The double Gameweek teams play again tonight and tomorrow, so lets take a look at how the Gameweek has unfolded.

Notable Fantasy Performances

The Title Race

Manchester City took the lead in the title race with a convincing 1 – 0 win over Manchester United at home. In a game where City’s defence starred it was fitting that the Fantasy bonus points were distributed between Kompany (plus the goal), Zabaleta, and Clichy.

City are favorites to win although they face a tough game away from home against Newcastle in their next game.

The Double Gameweek Teams

Jelavic continued his hot streak with a brace against travel weary Fulham. Everton won 4 – 0 where, in addition to Jelavic, Pienaar and Fellaini were instrumental. The Everton defence kept a clean sheet much to the joy of the almost 40.000 Fantasy managers who brought him in.

Liverpool’s defence also deliver a clean sheet, their first since the start of February. However, it was the talented Suarez who stole the headlines with a sublime hattrick amassing 17 Fantasy points with a game left in the Gameweek. Johnson and Enrique stole bonus points.

Chelsea demolished QPR with another game winning performance from a maligned striker. Torres grabbed his first hattrick for Chelsea, partly thanks to the impressive Mata who provided four assists in the 6 – 1 win for the home team. Terry, Ramires, and Sturridge also picked up valuable Fantasy points with assists or goals.

Tottenham’s Van der Vaart returned to his scoring ways and Walker struck as sweet a free kick as you’ll see this season in Tottenham’s 2 – 0 win over Blackburn to keep the London team’s dream of Champions League football alive. Providing the assists for the goals were their pair of pacy wingers, Bale and Lennon.

Bolton’s Petrov registered an assist for one of two K. Davies goals in their 2 – 2 draw with Sunderland. McClean and Bendtner scored for the home team from Sessegnon and Colback assists.

Crouch scored from an Etherington assist but it was Van Persie who stole three bonus points with his equalizer for Arsenal in their 1 – 1 draw against Stoke.

Other Results

Swansea and Wolves played out an amazing 4 – 4 draw that provided seven different goalscorers and seven assisters. Considering his prowess in front of goal, Sigurdsson single assist was a surprise. Orlandi and Dyer were the star performers for Swansea, both registering BAGs (Bonus, Assist, Goal) while Jarvis bagged a brace for the relegated Wolves.

Predictably, West Brom and Aston Villa played out a scoreless draw.

Less predictable was Wigan’s destruction of Champions League chasing Newcastle. Moses scored two and both Maloney and Di Santo delivered BAGs in the Latics’ emphatic 4 – 0 win.

Gameweek 36 Captain Picks

From Gameweek 25 onwards, I’m documenting whether I’m passing the test with my captain picks. If a captain pick scores over three points in the Gameweek it is considered a success and I am also noting double digit Gameweek scores.

In the Friday Foreplay for Gameweek 36 I recommended Jelavic, Cisse, and Bale as the captain picks and all of them delivered double digit Gameweeks.

Quality of captain picks from Gameweek 25 onwards:

  • Good captain picks: 20/33
  • Double digit captains: 11/33

Comments

Any comments on the round? How did your team do? Did you choose the right captain?

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 32


Antonio Valencia by Julia Novikova at Soccer.ru. Licence: CC BY-SA 1.0.

Antonio Valencia sneaks past Rooney as number one in this Gameweek's captain picks.

In this Gameweek 32 edition of the Friday Foreplay I present the captain picks, investigate the heavy hitters, predict clean sheets, and speculate on possible punts.

Captain Picks

  1. Valencia: The Ecuadorian winger is proving to be the main source of attacking thrust for Manchester United in the latter part of this season. United play QPR at Old Trafford and should win despite Ranger´s impressive win against Arsenal last week. Most will be captaining Rooney, but I believe Valencia is marginally a better bet this Gameweek.
  2. Rooney: The only reason Rooney isn’t up top this week is the likelihood that he will be dropping back to dictate the play, as opposed to finishing off the chances others create. If you are leading in your minileague the safe play is to captain Rooney.
  3. Sigurdsson: A controversial captain´s choice and one for those seeking differentiation. The players of the month scored four goals in March and faces a Newcastle team that has conceded almost 1.5 goals per game in 2012, most of them away from home. If Swansea score, Sigurdsson is the likeliest to be involved. Factor in set pieces, an extra point for a clean sheet and you´ve got a decent captain´s pick.

Big Hitters

Wolves are in freefall and face Stoke City this Gameweek. Peter Crouch isn´t normally a strong play but against Wolves, I would bet on him.

Sessegnon showed his creativity against Manchester City and outplayed City´s midfielders. Tottenham have only kept one clean sheet since the fateful Arsenal loss and I suspect that they will concede yet again.

Mata has five goals and twelve assists in his first season in the Premier League. A fine return and one likely to be improved on versus Wigan at Stamford Bridge. One thing to keep in mind is the chance of rotation from Di Matteo, in preparation for the FA Cup and Champions League games.

Manchester City haven´t kept a clean sheet in four consecutive games as falter in their quest for the Premier League title. Van Persie is having the season of his life and is still many Fantasy managers’ bet for captain. He isn´t likely to score big, but he is perfectly capable of claiming the sole goal that makes the difference.

Other strong plays include:

  • Walcott, who has finally found his feet in this campaign with four goals and four assists in February and March.
  • Bale, who was beck to his menacing best playing on the left against Swansea.
  • Baines who poses the triple threat of assists from open play, set piece duty, and clean sheet potential.

Clean Sheets

  • Manchester United is the obvious pick of the Gameweek. By now everyone is aware of Evans, but Rafael is also a good bet at right back.
  • Stoke City face a dire Wolves team and should be strong at home. If you have the cash, Shawcross also offers threat from set pieces.
  • Swansea have been tight at home all season long and are a decent bet for a clean sheet. Caulker is back at centre back after missing the Tottenham game and offers more protection for the Swansea rear guard.
  • Liverpool are in rotten form at the moment so take this one as a bet for the ones chasing in their minileague. Enrique is still the cheapest link of the bunch.

Taking a Punt

  • Torres is the biggest risk of all but also the one most capable of massive rewards.
  • Even though Holt is facing a rejuvenated Everton defence, both him and Norwich have played attacking football at home and will test Tim Howard in goal.
  • Should Hernandez start, he will be playing furthest forward for United and hence, is very likely to score.
  • Bendtner is on form and isn´t a bad shout at home. He should benefit from Sessegnon´s comeback and could add to his four goals in five games.

The Whiff – Gameweek 31 Reviews, interviews, player analyses, and the weekly whiffs


Stiliyan Petrov by Litexfan at Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public Domain.

Best of wishes goes out to Petrov in his fight against leukemia.

In this Whiff, we turn our attention to Gameweek 31 reviews, interviews, player analyses, and the weekly whiffs.

Fantasy Football Analysis

There are several articles of Gameweek review, in addition to my Gameweek 31 Review. Most notably The Big Numbers from Fantasy Football Scout, the Gameweek Summary from Fantasy Premier League Hints, and a Gameweek Overview from The FPL Bible, a new Fantasy blog find for me.

Chris Glover of PL Fantasy, revived his insightful Lineup Lessons with a review of Gameweek 30.

A Fantasy Football Scout’s member article analyzes the Fantasy potential of David Silva, coming to the conclusion that his form hasn’t been as bad as the number of sales would indicate.

Fantasy Football Cheat is running a fine series of interviews with successful Fantasy managers.

Football Analysis

Football Follower delivers fine analysis on Newcastle’s attacking game, focusing on Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa. A relevant article for Fantasy managers pondering Newcastle’s attacking options for the final stretch.

Michael Cox examines Walcott, Enrique, Caulker, and Sunderland’s game plan against Manchester City at Four Four Two, using the impressive Stats Zone app. He also wrote a piece on Arsenal’s weaknesses, as exploited by QPR in their 2 – 1 win at Loftus road.

Richard Jolly pinpoints “valiant Valencia” as Manchester United’s standout player in their 0 – 2 win against Blackburn.

In an excellent piece, Football Follower analyzes Adebayor’s performance against Swansea.

Nick Govier points out how lost Ba looks on the left flank for Newcastle.

Football News

Daniel Taylor ponders whether City’s game with Sunderland was the defining moment of the season, with City finally losing their perfect home record.

David De Gea has learned from his mistakes, claims Sir Alex Ferguson.

Andy Hunter heaps praise on Victor Moses, following Wigan’s win against Stoke City.

This week’s…

Discussion

Am I missing interesting analysis or articles this week? I would love to hear from you so please leave your comment and/or link in the comment section below.




Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 28


Suarez, Rooney, and Persie from http://fantasy.premierleague.com/

Gameweek 28 captain picks

Yet again, we warm up for a weekend of intense defensive tightness, midfield stroking, and attacking thrust in this edition of the Friday Foreplay.

In this Gameweek 28 edition of the Friday Foreplay I present the captain picks, investigate the heavy hitters, predict clean sheets, and speculate on possible punts.

Captain Picks

  1. Suarez: A controversial pick and one more for the Fantasy managers seeking the differential. I’m sitting at an overall rank of about 47.000, and Suarez is my punt for a big rise. I included an analysis of the hot-headed forward in my Gameweek 27 Review and concluded that he was likely for a late season upswing. The double Gameweek is the main reason for the captain pick, providing Suarez with two chances to create Fantasy points.
  2. Van Persie: The safe pick of the week and perhaps the smart move. The Dutchman is having a tremendous season and his pick doesn’t need explanation.
  3. Rooney: Has scored in his last three games and is on a total of five in three. He’s back to scoring after a barren run an I’m banking on a brace tomorrow.

Big Hitters

Trying to learn from last week’s fiasco of captaining Aguero and appointing Silva as my vice-captain I wouldn’t recommend doing the same with Rooney and Ashley Young. However, play Young if you have him and consider buying him if you don’t. United have excellent fixtures coming up so this should be the time you invest their attacking threats.

Mata, playing in behind Torres in a new look Chelsea side, is my pick for Chelsea Fantasy points. He will be influential in the hole, and likely the fulcrum of Chelsea’s attacks. Lampard is also a strong play, sitting on ten goals already.

Holt seems to be safe from Norwich’s rotation policy and leads the attack against a Wigan team that hasn’t defended all year. Play him if you have him.

Other strong plays include:

  • I’m a little hesitant on Aguero and Silva playing away at Swansea. I have the feeling that the game will be a drawn out battle of possession with little penetration. Still, the talent on display from the Argentinian and Spaniard can’t be denied and they should play after being rested the last time out.
  • Ba should be able to do some damage to the Arsenal defence and has been unlucky not to score in his last two games. The crossbar has been his worst enemy. Well, that and missing a penalty.

Clean Sheets

  • Liverpool with double fixtures and strong defensive record have the highest ceiling for the Gameweek. Both Sunderland and Everton are struggling for creativity and offer the chance of two clean sheets. Skrtel offers threat from set pieces and Enrique a cheaper entry at £0.5 less.
  • Chelsea’s spirit seemed much improved against Birmingham and they should be able to handle Stoke’s aerial threat. Luiz offers an added attacking threat, with two goals in his last four games.
  • Aston Villa are facing Fulham who are dreadful on the road. This one is a risk so please don’t go buying any Villa players.

Taking a Punt

  • Pogrebnyak is hardly a punt taking only in account last Gameweek’s heroics. However, looking at their home and away record the issue becomes a bit more cloudy. They have only scored eight goals away from home (versus 28 at home) and hence the big Russion becomes a punt.
  • Oxlade-Chamberlain showed his talent against Milan and should get the starting place against Newcastle, especially if Arteta is still unfit.
  • Nani is United’s forgotten threat and despite uneventful games has two assists and 13 points in his last two games. The focus is on Young, following his brace against Tottenham, which could give Nani room to manoeuvre.

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 27


DSC04059 by xBasti1102 at Flickr. Licence: CC BY 2.0.

Pogrebnyak has impressed since his loan move to Fulham; hence, the inclusion in this Gameweek's "Taking a Punt"

In this Gameweek 27 edition of the Friday Foreplay I present the captain picks, investigate the heavy hitters, predict clean sheets, and speculate on possible punts.

Manchester City and Fulham provide the player pool for this Gameweeks’s source of big hitters, with a little bit of Manchester United, Newcastle, and West Brom sprinkled in.

Captain Picks

  1. Aguero: You can’t look past Manchester City’s excellent fixture this Gameweek. Playing at home against a miserable Bolton team Aguero will be looking to extend his exemplary attacking statistics at the Etihad Stadium this season. He has delivered Fantasy points in ten of his twelve home games this season and is the best bet for a double-digit Gameweek 27.
  2. Silva: Also benefitting from the fixture, Silva is likely to notch a couple of assists and will get plenty of space to weave his magic against the Wanderers. If you don’t have Aguero, Silva is the next best choice.
  3. Dempsey: The American is a valuable home game bet, as this season he has delivered eight of his eleven good games (scoring over three points) at the Cottage. Wolves are defensively awful, having kept only one clean sheet away from home this season, in the 0 – 0 draw against Aston Villa in August 2011. A goal or two wouldn’t come as a surprise.

Big Hitters

Restating the absurd statistic from last week’s Friday Foreplay, Manchester City have scored a massive 40 goals at home this season, an average of almost 3.1 goals per game. That means that any player that starts for City in midfield or the forward line is a consideration. The problem lies with being able to guess Mancini’s team sheet. The Guardian has Milner, Y. Toure, and Balotelli starting.

Rooney missed the last two games with a throat infection. Ferguson has confirmed that the striker is fit to face Tottenham. Rooney has a brace in his last two games and looked to be starting a goal-scoring run before the illness. Tottenham are shell-shocked, having conceded five goals against Arsenal, and could be in for more punishment from the newly hairplugged one. Tottenham will be missing Parker, who would have sat back and covered the space between the midfield and defence that Rooney so often exploits.

It will be interesting to see how Sunderland react to being spanked by West Brom. Derby day will ensure that the game will be played with intensity which should suit the athletic Demba Ba. Despite Sunderland’s resilience, I predict a comfortable Newcastle victory as the positive effects of the new manager starts to wear off.

Other strong plays include:

  • Odemwingie, who is facing the much maligned Chelsea defence. Odemwingie has five goals in his last two games and has finally looked like the finisher we saw last season.
  • Pogrebnyak has started his Fulham career with two goals and five bonus points in two games. With the same argument against the Wolves’ defence as in Dempsey’s case above, the Pog should find get the opportunities to make it three goals in three games.

Clean Sheets

  • Manchester City is the obvious clean sheet choice this week. They’ve kept eight cleanies already while Bolton have failed to score away from home six times. Play your city defenders as well as Joe Hart, if you have him.
  • Despite Wolves’ impressive comeback last Gameweek I’m predicting Fulham’s home advantage to seal a clean sheet. Kelly is the cheapest part of the playing defenders.
  • Newcastle welcome Sunderland, who despite excellent results only had 28 attempts on goal before their 4 – 0 loss against West Brom. Expect Newcastle to concede few, and perhaps keep a clean sheet. R. Taylor is popular because he is playing out of position and is on set-piece duties.

Taking a Punt

  • Morrison is in great form for West Brom, with two goals, four assists, and two bonus points in his last five games. West Brom are showing promising attacking numbers in their last four games so Morrison’s profligacy isn’t a fluke.
  • Huth is always a threat for Stoke, especially when the opposing team hasn’t kept an away clean sheet all season. He has chances for points via attack and defence and is therefore a viable punt.
  • Take the following with a grain of salt. I predict Liverpool to ride the high of their cup winning wave helping Arsenal to plummet quickly to the ground after their rise to ecstacy after the North-London derby. I would play Liverpool defenders, such as Enrique and Skrtel.

Gameweek 19 Review and Gameweek 20 Preview

In surprising fashion, both Manchester teams lost. United at home against a spirited Blackburn side and City away at plucky Sunderland enjoying a revival under Martin O’Neill.

With Chelsea losing at home against Aston Villa, Tottenham managing only a draw at Swansea, this Gameweek was thoroughly enjoyed by both Liverpool and Arsenal. Both won at home.

Next Gameweek is all about the double fixtures for Tottenham and Everton.

Captain Picks

  1. Adebayor: Has only had four blank Gameweeks since joining Tottenham. Likeliest of the double fixture players to get you double digits this Gameweek.
  2. Bale: Was subdued against Swansea bot has been in top form for the last two months.
  3. Van der Vaart: Got back to scoring ways against Swansea and could do damage if he starts in both games.
  4. Differential: Baines who despite not hitting top form this season has 6, 11, and 5 points from the last three Gameweeks.

Gameweek 19

For the first (and perhaps the last) time this season, both Manchester teams lost. Rooney was dropped from the team because of disciplinary action from Ferguson and United limped to a 2-3 loss at Blackburn. Despite their loss, Valencia picked up another assist and Berbatov bagged a brace. Should he continue to start, he is again an option up front. I wouldn’t bet on it, but he would be a strong differential.

Yakubu was the difference from Blackburn and bagged a brace of his own along his two bonus points. He has 12 goals for the season and is proving the pick of the budget strikers.

Normality ensued with Van Persie scoring the winning goal against QPR and picking up maximum bonus points. Watch out for Vermaelen who picked up a knock and is a doubt for Fulham.

Bellamy and Gerrard were the architects of Newcastle’s downfall as they scored Liverpool’s goals in their 3-1 victory. Both players demand Fantasy consideration, should they become part of the first 11. That seems certain with Gerrard, less so with Bellamy.

Sunderland were solid at the back as they kept out Manchester City and smuggled a winning goal in the final minutes to secure an unlikely victory. Sessegnon notched the assist while Mignolet became the rare keeper to pick up maximum bonus points alongside his six saves.

S. Ireland notched a BAG (Bonus, Assist, Goal) to lead Aston Villa to a 1 – 3 away victory at Chelsea. The scoreline reinforces my view of staying away from the Chelsea defence. Aston Villa are somewhat of a mystery this season, looking drab one game and spirited the next. Should Ireland continue playing at that level he would be a steal at 5.6 but it would be wise to wait a couple of games and see if he can lay a serious claim to that first team spot.

Walters and Jermoe hit their own BAGs in Stoke’s 2 – 2 draw with Wigan. Moses scored for Wigan and Rodallega got both assists.

Other notable performances included S. Fletcher (goal and bonus), Jarvis (assist and bonus), Dembele (assist and bonus), Jackson (goal and bonus), Van der Vaart (goal and bonus), Assou-Ekotto (assist), Sinclair (goal), and Hibbert (clean sheet, bonus, assist).

Double Gameweek – Tottenham

As I alluded to earlier in the post, this Gameweek it’s all about the double games for Tottenham and Everton. With Manchester City playing Liverpool, Manchester United away at Newcastle and Arsenal away at Fulham the potential of big Gameweeks is limited for other team in the top four is limited.

Tottenham, on the other hand, play two games at home: West Brom and Everton. You should have three Tottenham players in your team, and preferably at least two of Adebayor, Bale, and Van der Vaart.

Other considerations are Friedel in goal, Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Gallas and Kaboul (if you believe they will play both games), Modric, and Sandro (could be rotated).

I wouldn’t invest in other players from Tottenham.

Double Gameweek – Everton

Everton’s double Gameweek upside is more limited, but they still should enjoy the visit of struggling Bolton to Goodison Park. The away game at Tottenham will be tough and you shouldn’t expect more than two points from your Everton players from that game.

But with the Bolton game, that could be two extra points on a clean sheet or goal for Baines, Everton’s main attacking threat throughout the years. He hasn’t hit top form but still has 6, 11, and 5 points from the last three games and is your best bet for Everton, should you afford him at 7.7.

Hibbert is the cheapest entry point into the defence and provides the rare assist and bonus as he demonstrated in Gameweek 19. Jagielka and Distin are solid choices and Heitinga won’t get you more than 4 points over the two games.

In the midfield your safest bet is Osman, who has been playing behind the striker in the last couple of games. Drenthe is a risk (wasn’t in the squad against West Brom), Cahill didn’t score in 2012, and Rodwell is unlikely two play the full game time in both games.

The arrival of Donovan muddies the water even further for the midfield options.

I wouldn’t invest in Everton’s forward line.

Big Hitters

I don’t think I need to mention him, but of course you play Robin van Persie. With the form he is in, you could even captain him if you don’t have any of Tottenham’s big hitters.

I really don’t know what to make of Manchester United, but a scrappy 1 – 2 victory isn’t unlikely with some help from Nani and Valencia. Following Rooney’s drop I’m not confident predicting the forward line as he could even drop Berbatov despite his 6 goals in 3 games.

Other interesting options this Gameweek:

  • Silva and Aguero will return for City but could be thwarted by a solid Liverpool defence. I would play them, but not captain them.
  • S. Fletcher has an excellent goals-to-games ratio for Wolves and faces a Chelsea defence that’s leaking goals.
  • Yakubu will be in high spirits after his brace and is on penalties for Blackburn.

Clean Sheets

  • Tottenham and Everton have two chances this Gameweek and are both likely to pick one up in their home games. If you have to choose between players, choose Tottenham defenders (see above for a list of players).
  • I would put a bet on Aston Villa keeping Swansea out, who have been terrible at scoring away from home. Warnock is the pick of the Aston Villa defence.
  • Manchester City v Liverpool has 0 – 0 written all over it, with Livepool likely to drop back and rely on counter-attacks. Enrique and Kompany are my pick of the defences.

Double Gameweek

Don’t get caught out by the short time between Gameweeks and do your transfers and team setup right now.

Good luck and may your captain hit the hattrick.

Gameweek 17 Review and Gameweek 18 Preview

Man Utd V Everton-22 by gordonflood.com at Flickr. Licence: CC-BY-2.0.

Giggs scored in Manchester United's game against Fulham and has now scored in every season of the Premier League

Gameweek 18 sees the first round of the Fantasy cup start. Remember that extra transfers will be deducted from your cup scores so try to avoid paying the required four points for extra transfers.

Again, because of the hectic holiday period, I’m combining a review and preview in one post. Normally, the Gameweek reviews are intended to give you a heads up on possible transfer targets for the long run while the previews focus more on optimizing your team for the upcoming Gameweek.

Thus we both prepare for Gameweek 18 and analyze the Fantasy impact of Gameweek 17 by producing captain picks, looking at notable performances, investigating heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.

Captain Picks

  1. Rooney: A free-scoring Rooney at home against a Wigan defence is too tasty to ignore.
  2. Van Persie: There is little to choose between RvP and Rooney this Gameweek so feel free to captain RvP instead of Rooney if you have both.
  3. Nani: Again, a great shout for captain and you could captain him above Rooney if you feel like it. I think, over the season, Rooney will be more consistent but Nani often destroys opponents with 18 and 16 points Gameweeks. Like last week.
  4. Differential: Aguero and Adebayor aren’t exactly outside bets to score this Gameweek but with Manchester United and Arsenal playing at home far fewer will be picking them.

Notable Performances and Heavy Hitters

Giggs and Nani tore the Fulham defence to shreds with Rooney contributing with a belter from outside the area. While Giggs is unlikely to offer the same threat every Gameweek both Nani and Rooney are captain material this Gameweek at home against Wigan. Welbeck offers a cheap way into the United attack and Valencia got an assist for the third consecutive game.

Van Persie got a BAG (Bonus, Assist, Goal) against Aston Villa and should be a popular captain’s pick at home against Wolves. Walcott is showing consistency, mainly by providing assists for RvP.

Aguero’s devastating pace, trickery, and finishing was on display as Manchester City dispatched Stoke with ease. Considering that the other Fantasy scorers, Johnson (goal and two assists) and Nasri (assist), have been in and out of the team, Silva is still City’s most attractive midfield option. Kompany notched an assist, in addition to his clean sheet points. He is the most consistent of City’s defensive options.

Ba continues to score and would he not be departing for the African Cup of Nations, he would be an automatic purchased at this point. If you have him, play him until he has gone. In spite of Ba’s two goals Newcastle lost 2 – 3 to West Brom, with Odemwingie registering a BAG. He was the main budget striker last season and worth to have on your watchlist, should he start banging them in again.

However, there is no shortage of cheap strikers getting Fantasy points this season. In addition to the aforementioned Ba, both Sturridge and Adebayor (from a Bale assist) scored in Tottenham’s and Chelsea’s one all draw. Play both this Gameweek if you have them.

Other interesting options this Gameweek:

  • Drenthe (assist) is Everton’s most dangerous player this season, despite having only started four games. He sports two goals and six assists and could prove a bargain buy at £5.9.
  • Walters has been fairly consistent for Stoke and faces an Aston Villa team down in the dumps.
  • Morison (assist and bonus point) is proving the bargain striker of the season, with five goals, two assists, and a bonus point in the last eight Gameweeks.
  • Helguson (goal), although he is playing against the mean Swansea defence this Gameweek. He is more a possible pickup for Gameweek 21 and onwards.

Clean Sheets

This season’s clean sheet surprise favorites, Swansea and Newcastle, both kept clean sheets in Gameweek 16. The Gameweek saw six clean sheets, with Fulham, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Manchester City also registering a cleany.

  • Manchester United top the clean sheet list this Gameweek. Jones is likely back earlier than expected from his facial injury against Fulham and provides a possible out of position option. Evans is an uncommonly cheap access to an elite defence, now at £4.5.
  • Liverpool have the meanest defence in the Premier League, having only conceded 13 goals this season. Enrique is no longer the cheap option, having risen from £5.0 to £6.0 in 17 Gameweeks. He is still the best bet from the Liverpool defence, bringing an added attacking threat.
  • Swansea are strong at home, having only conceded two opposed to their 18 away from home. Caulker is back from injury and is priced at only £4.0.
  • Other possible clean sheets are Chelsea at home against Fulham and Stoke City hosting Aston Villa.

Double Gameweek

A viable strategy for the looming double Gameweek 20 is to stock up on Tottenham and Everton players and use your wildcard for the following Gameweek. This would enable you to maxmize for the benefit without sacrificing the long-term setup of your Fantasy squad. The following players are worth considering:

Long term:

  • Adebayor
  • Bale
  • Van der Vaart
  • Gallas
  • Drenthe
  • Rodwell

Short term:

  • Baines
  • Osman
  • Hibbert
  • Saha (a risky bet)
  • Cahill
  • Howard
  • Sandro
  • Friedel
  • Assou-Ekotto
  • Modric

Gameweek 15 Review – Nani On the Left

Fred The Red by Paolo Camera at Flickr. Licence: CC-BY-2.0.

Manchester United has the easiest fixture list for the next six games; should you be captaining Rooney or Nani?

The Gameweek 15 Friday Foreplay proved successful with all the captain picks getting on the Fantasy score sheet and most of the big hitters delivering. In addition, Swansea, Arsenal, and Liverpool kept clean sheets as predicted while my punt on Adam paid dividends.

Analyzing the Fantasy impact of the gameweek, we look at notable performances and possible diamonds in the rough.

Notable Performances

Nani, Rooney, and Valencia led a Manchester United mauling of Wolves at Old Trafford. Ferguson moved Nani to the left wing and started with Valencia on the right, demoting Ashley Young to the bench.

It was an emphatic answer to the naysayers after dropping out of the Champions League with a limp display in Basel. The next six games include Blackburn, Wigan, and Bolton at home while United travel to QPR, Fulham and Newcastle. With this favorable run of fixtures you should invest in at least one United attacking cover.

In the game of the week, Sturridge assisted both Chelsea goals in their 2 – 1 win over Manchester City. He is proving to be a value purchase and a cheap access to Chelsea Fantasy points. Meireles scored a Lampard-esque goal, arriving late into the penalty box while Lampard himself buried the winning penalty after having replaced Meireles. Terry, surprisingly, stole bonus points again.

Van Persie scored again for Arsenal with probably the strike of the season. The quality of the finish prompted a worshipping kiss of the boot from goalkeeper SzczesnyArteta stole bonus points for the fourth time in five games. Arsenal have kept four clean sheets out of seven games with Vermaelen playing. He’s a triple threat defender, offering the promise of goals and bonus points in addition to clean sheets.

Ba got both goals for Newcastle and is looking scrumptious as a third striker pick. He is priced at only £7.2 and has home games against Swansea and West Brom coming up.

Swansea registered another clean sheet at home, in no small part because of Vorm’s heroics. He saved Dempsey’s penalty around the 80 minute mark in addition to making several quality saves throughout the match. Surprisingly, he did not get bonus points but scored 12 Fantasy points nonetheless. Sinclair scored and stole bonus points and former punt Gower got an assist for Graham’s goal.

Stepping up to take Tottenham’s penalty versus Stoke, was Adebayor. With Tottenham’s regular penalty taker, Van der Vaart, on the pitch, it was surprising to see. This bumps Adebayors Fantasy potential even higher while removing an important piece of what made Van der Vaart a must-own last season.

Also producing this gameweek:

  • Larsson scored Sunderland’s late winner in dramatic fashion. With only seconds left on the clock, he buried a free kick on the edge of the area to remind us of why he is an attractive mid-range option for your Fantasy midfield.
  • Suarez capped of a brilliant display to score Liverpool’s only goal of the game against QPR. Enrique got a clean sheet.
  • Etherington reminded us that there is more than one goal scoring midfielder at Stoke with his brace seeing off Tottenham. The other goal scoring midfielder, Walters, popped up with an assist following a long throw in.
  • Morison scored again for Norwich, Fletcher got Wolves’ only goal, and Klasnic got Bolton’s consolation strike before limping off with a knee injury.

Keep an eye out for…

  • Valencia. Getting three assists and a bonus point he is only priced at £7.8 and could be a cheap option for the midfield. It’s hard to see Ferguson dropping him after this display which could mean a bench role for Young in the coming gameweeks.
  • … Suarez, who could start a goal scoring run following his winner against QPR. If his finishing improves he has the quality to punish defenses.

Out of Sorts

  • Ashley Young is in danger of starting on the bench after Valencia’s and Nani’s excellent performance against Wolves. For £9.8 you would be better served getting the aforementioned United wingers or perhaps Mata or Silva.
  • The Newcastle defence could be facing its demise as a Fantasy force with S. Taylor’s injury. Now is a good time to sell with Evans of Manchester United or another Swansea defender cheap options.

Question

With Nani’s and Rooney’s displays this week, is it time to purchasing United attackers and captaining them? Will the fixtures help Rooney get goals consistently over the festive period or is Van Persie still the default captain’s choice for his owners?

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 15

United V Celtic-6 by Gordon Flood at Flickr. Licence: CC-BY-2.0.

Nani is a captain's pick for the gameweek

We prepare for Gameweek 15 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.

Captain Picks

Basing the captain picks on the thoughts below we arrive at:

  1. Van Persie: He is just too hot not to tip for the captain’s armband.
  2. Rooney: A home game against Wolves is statistically one of the best games for United to get on the score sheet.
  3. Nani: Has the quality to be involved in goals, both by providing assists and scoring.
  4. Differential: Aguero’s speed could be the undoing of Chelsea should they play a high defensive line.

Big Hitters

Robin van Persie’s didn’t blank two games in a row and delivered handsomely last gameweek. He was rested for Arsenal’s Champions League game so he should be raring to go against Everton. He has an incredible 14 goals, 5 assists, and 20 bonus points in 14 games and will define the Fantasy League season if his current form holds up.

A home game against Wolves is a perfect game for Rooney and Nani to reap attacking rewards. With Hernandez’s injury Ferguson pushed Rooney upfront with Nani in support; a setup likely to benefit both players’ Fantasy totals. Both have been inconsistent of late but have the quality to start delivering again in an attractive December fixture list. Manchester United often come back strong from setback and Wolves could bear the brunt of the Champions League disappointment.

Manchester City are just too good at the moment to bet against. They have scored in all of their away games to date and have failed only once to score two or more goals (vs Liverpool in gameweek 12). Aguero is their most dangerous striker and Silva is their most consistent player. Chelsea have kept two clean sheets in a row, but can they withstand the might of the most expensive team in the world?

Adebayor, Bale, and Van der Vaart are playing a tough game away at Stoke. I wouldn’t captain any of them this week but Tottenham are in such a hot streak that I would play them and be sufficiently disappointed if they come up short. Please note that according to most sources, Bale is an injury doubt for the game.

Clean Sheets

In addition to the shock of not qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Manchester United was rocked with the news that Vidic’s injury rules him out for the season. This has a massive effect on United’s chance of grabbing clean sheets, as Vidic has been at the heart of a five game streak where they have only conceded one goal.

  • Swansea is a yo-yo team being defensively excellent at home and certain to concede away. The host Fulham, who have scored an average of a goal per game since their destruction of QPR in gameweek 7. If you have Vorm in goal, you play him.
  • Arsenal have looked stronger at the back since Vermaelen returned from injury. He’s an obvious play this week, both for his clean sheet potential and attacking prowess.
  • Liverpool are a stronger team at the back when Agger is playing. However, in Fantasy terms Enrique is the more logical choice because of this attacking involvement.
  • Despite the loss of Vidic, Manchester United are likely to concede few at home. Jones is the most popular choice at the moment, but Evans could be a shrewd budget pickup. He attracts heavy criticism from media and fans but seems to enjoy Ferguson’s confidence.
  • Other possible clean sheets are West Brom at home against Wigan and Fulham away at Swansea.

Taking a Punt

  • Long has two goals and five bonus points in his three games since he returned from injury. The Irish international is preferred to Odemwingie at the moment and faces possibly the worst defence in the Premier League.
  • And finally I’m taking a punt on Baines out of pure feeling. Apart from his obvious qualities there is no real argument for Everton away at Arsenal. But I’m predicting at least an assist and perhaps, just perhaps, a clean sheet. Just don’t remind me when this punt comes back to haunt me.
  • Adam has been a consistent source of assists this season and should be in the thick of things when Liverpool host QPR.

Final Note

PL Fantasy had an interesting piece on the budget forwards where the analysis produced a shortlist of Yakubu, Helguson, Klasnic, S. Fletcher, and Morison.

Of those, Klasnic has the easiest fixtures which was the reason I bought him three gameweeks ago. Yakubu is of course the hot property at the moment, following his haul last gameweek.

Are you sporting a budget striker in your setup? If yes, who? If no, why not?

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 11

We prepare for Gameweek 11 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.

Remember that the game previews are in most cases short-term recommendations based on the next Gameweek. You should pick most of your squad for the long-term results, with a few players up for rotation since you only get one free substitution each week. The following recommendations should always be in consideration when picking your team for the Gameweek:

  • Regurgitated recommendation 1: Captain one of your best attacking players because the bonus point system favors goal scorers.
  • Regurgitated recommendation 2: Play the fixtures. The PL Fantasy blog offers helpful analysis. But don’t forget players in form.
  • Regurgitated recommendation 3: Avoid silly mistakes in picking injured players by using injury information from the Physio Room and the suspension list from the official FA site.

Captain Picks

Basing the captain picks on the above regurgitation and the analysis below we arrive at:

  1. Robin van Persie, the goal scoring machine.
  2. Suarez, because of the home game, opponents, and his overall play.
  3. Van der Vaart, for his incredible form.
  4. Aguero, because of City’s frightening attacking potential.
  5. Differential: Nani, should you believe in a United backlash and be willing to gamble.

Big Hitters

Robin van Persie is the obvious captain choice this week with a home game against West Brom. West Brom have conceded 1.6 goals on average away from home while Arsenal have score on average 1.8. I expect a comfortable Arsenal victory with Van Persie involved in the goals. Gervinho has produced goals and assists in Arsenal’s last three games in is likely to score Fantasy points in this fixture.

With Young out and Sunderland offering Manchester United little resistance in the past, Nani is set to take advantage. He has been in and out of the team due to rotation but is likely to start in a United attacking formation. He will be eager to cement his place in the team and United will be keen to provide goals for the Old Trafford crowd that witnessed their disaster performance against Manchester City. Hernandez seems to always score when given chances and a bet for a goal or two is reasonable.

face a trickier test, away at Goodison Park, where they face an Everton side that caused United problems last season. I wouldn’t back any United player with the captain’s armband before we see how they respond last week’s result. I expect some backlash, but perhaps not until next week’s home game against Sunderland. Avoid defenders and focus on United’s attack in Rooney and Nani.

Despite three goalless games, Suarez has been the heart of the Liverpool attack. Setting up both goals in their 2 – 0 win over WBA, he was yet again Liverpool’s man of the match. Swansea at home is exactly the type of game that could see him finally score more than one goal in a match for Liverpool.

Although an away game at Fulham is nothing to sneeze at, one must mention Van der Vaart. He has scored and stolen 14 bonus points in five consecutive games. He should be rested after Tottenham fielded a second string team in the Europa League, while Fulham could suffer from their midweek game.

Silva is likely to be rested and we could see less fluency to Manchester City’s play away at Loftus Road. However, Aguero and Dzeko will test QPR’s resolve. In light of City’s 27 goals in their last seven games, captaining either of them could reap rewards.

Clean Sheets

Probable clean sheets are getting harder to predict by the week. Basing your strategy around defenders is risky prospect this season and more gains are to be found in goal-scoring midfielders and strikers.

The clean sheet picks are:

  • Newcastle is proving resolute this season and is the clean sheet pick of the Gameweek. Everton are lacking bite in the final third, and Newcastle are conceding less than a goal per game at home. Play your Newcastle players if you have them but beware of investing in them. Their next three games are Manchester City (A), Manchester United (A), and Chelsea (H).
  • Aston Villa are conceding less than a goal per game at home while Norwich are noticeably less dangerous away from home. Aston Villa have frustrated Fantasy managers this season by conceding a single goal three times where they were likely to deliver clean sheet points. McLeish’s teams have been setup defensively and I believe Villa will start to rack up more clean sheets as the season progresses.
  • Swansea is scoring few goals away from home. That should benefit Liverpool, who look much more solid with a fit Agger in defence.

You should generally gamble on defenders playing at home. Thus, if you don’t have defenders from the above teams, other possible options are Manchester United at home against Sunderland. The quality of Manchester City’s defence also makes playing City defenders away at QPR a reasonable bet.

Taking a Punt

  • Walcott will test the West Brom defence with his direct running. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a goal from the speedy winger.
  • Brunt has one of the sweetest left foot in the Premier League and will try to make it count against a wobbly Arsenal defence. An assist seems likely and a goal isn’t out the question.
  • As strange as it sounds, I’m classifying Rooney as a punt this week. He has been playing in midfield for the last few games and has spent more time supplying wingers and forwards in attacking positions than trying to create goals and spending time in the opponent’s penalty box. Should he start up front, he could cause havoc in the Sunderland defence.
  • Enrique is supplying a hefty attacking threat down the left flank for Liverpool. He could have a splendid Gameweek, registering an assist and a cleans sheet. A clean sheet only would suffice.
  • Following his second hattrick of the season, Ba will be full of confidence he can puncture the Everton back line.
  • Richards is taking up attacking positions and providing support down the right flank. He could be in line for an assist and a clean sheet. Either would do for a successful Gameweek.

Good luck, use your free transfer wisely, and please comment below.