Gameweek 37 Review and Friday Foreplay for Gameweek 38

Robin van Persie

Who else? Robin van Persie is the Fantasy player of the season and is the top captain pick for this Gameweek.

This is it.

The final Gameweek of the season.

The Saturday that will reveal who wins the minileague and bragging rights for the summer.

It’s now or never for Fantasy managers, whether you are protecting your lead or going for the impossible with an unlikely captain’s pick.

Gameweek 37 Points Summary

The most notable Fantasy performances of Gameweek 37:

  • Yaya Toure was Mancester City’s hero with an important brace to put City one step closer to the title. Clichy grabbed an assist in addition to a clean sheet.
  • Van Persie was back on form with a brace that saved a point for Arsenal. Rosicky kept up his good run with an assist.
  • Those who brought in Petrov for the double double Gameweek have been handsomely rewarded as the Bulgarian kept up his Fantasy was with an impressive 12 point Gameweek.
  • Dembele scored from midfield and bagged three bonus points while Dempsey scored yet again for Fulham.
  • Alcaraz scored Wigan’s winning goal against relegated Blackburn and registered an unlikely 15 point Gameweek.

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 37 I recommended Rooney, Van Persie, and Jelavic as the captain picks. Van Persie delivered, Rooney got an assist, and Jelavic disapointed in a surprising scoreless draw against Wolves.

Quality of captain picks from Gameweek 25 onwards:

  • Good captain picks: 22/36
  • Double digit captains: 12/36

Captain Picks

  1. Van Persie: Arsenal have all to play for to secure the third place and Van Persie has an added incentive to break the Premier League goal record, now held by Ronaldo. Van Persie has been the standout Fantasy player of the season and is the best bet for an explosive final Gameweek.

  2. Van der Vaart: Tottenham are battling for the same third spot and face Fulham at home. Fulham have been dreadful at times on their travels and play an open game with an attacking lineup, something that should suit Tottenham’s speedy attack. Van der Vaart has returned to his clinical ways with two goals, an assist, and four bonus points in his last three games.

  3. Torres: With Drogba likely to be rested for the Champions League final, Torres will start for Chelsea and be keen to make a case for his inclusion in the final. Chelsea face Blackburn and my guess is that the relegated team will not put up a fight. This game could provide several goals.

Big Hitters

I’m expecting nervy encounters for both Manchester teams, which explains the exclusion of title chasing players in the captain picks. Nevertheless, both teams will go for wins which means that Rooney, Valencia, Aguero, Tevez, Yaya Toure, and Silva are all decent picks.

In addition to Torres for Chelsea, Ramires has enjoyed an excellent latter part of the season and has been their main threat on the right wing. Mata is a solid choice, should he play.

This season’s best January transfers battle it out in the Everton v Newcastle game. Jelavic plays at home and is the better bet. However, Cisse’s form has been extraordinary and Newcastle are playing for the valuable third Champions League spot.

Sigurdsson is another January transfer hit and could trouble Liverpool, who have only the rivalry with Everton to play for.

Petrov duly delivered in his double double Gameweeks and has averaged 12 points in his last three Gameweeks (five games, 7.2 points per game which is still impressive). With Bolton fighting for their lives they need to attack and will look to Petrov’s speed and trickery.

Adebayor has three goals in his last two games and will play up front on his own. Tottenham need the win and play at home.

Clean Sheets

  • Manchester City will keep it tight against QPR, who will come to defend anyway. Clichy is the defender in form.
  • As noted, Fulham haven’t played well away from home this season which makes a Tottenham defender a decent bet. Walker enjoys notable attacking possesion and could pop up with an assist or a goal.
  • Chelsea should dispatch Blackburn without too much trouble. However, guessing the starting lineup is trouble because of the Champions League final. Cole has been rested in the last two games so he should start.
  • Swansea will look to finish the season with a home game win. Vorm is one of the goalkeepers of the season.

Taking a Punt

  • Moses faces a strangely rejuvenated Wolves team and could be in line for a goal.
  • Holt is playing for a place in the England squad and will be raring to make a point against dreadful Aston Villa.
  • Despite his lack of goals Bale is still a vale play, based on his three assists in the last three Gameweeks.
  • Walcott is reported to be in line to start against West Brom. If you are waiting to transfer until the last minute, look out for early lineups to see if he’s a possible punt.

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 37

Wayne Rooney on fire by Gordon Flood at Flickr. Licence: CC BY 2.0.

Rooney returns to the captain picks this Gameweek with a home game against Swansea.

With only two games left in the season, it’s squeaky bum time for Fantasy managers. Whether you’re battling it out for the mini-league title or striving for the highest spot overall, the last few captain picks could make all the difference.

Captain Picks

  1. Rooney: In the slim chance the title will come down to goal difference, United must push for a goal-fest against Swansea. Ferguson is likely to go for an attacking lineup of Rooney and Hernandez upfront (Welbeck is out injured), likely flanked by Valencia and Young. Both wingers provide excellent supply and Rooney will have chances for a goal glut. Expect United to win by some margin which could mean handsome returns for Fantasy managers willing to captain Rooney.

  2. Van Persie: Norwich’s season is over and Arsenal must win to secure their third place spot. The battle for third became important when Chelsea advanced to the Champions League final because if they win they automatically qualify for next season’s competition. That means that there is a good possibility that the fourth place spot will be a ticket to the dreaded Europa League instead. This means Arsenal will be pushing and if there are goals, expect Van Persie to be involved.

  3. Jelavic: With Cisse playing against the solid Manchester City defence, I’ve picked Jelavic as the third captain’s choice of the week. Everton are away against the relegated Wolves. Despite a semblance of fightback last Gameweek, Wolves still let in four goals. Jelavic is red hot and will get chances. If his current form is anything to go by, he’ll take his chances.

Big Hitters

Valencia was omitted from the starting lineup for Manchester United against Manchester City. United missed his power and I believe Ferguson will put him straight back in the starting eleven against Swansea. Expect assists for Rooney.

Pienaar has averaged 9.8 points per Gameweek for the last five Gameweeks and has been instrumental in Everton’s attacking game since his return on loan from Tottenham. Facing a defensively poor Wolves he will get chances for both goals and assists.

Wigan has defied expectations with wins against Manchester United, Arsenal, and Newcastle in three of their last four games. A big part of their revival has been the form of young winger Moses whose dribbling and speed is hard to deal with for opposing right backs. A brace and three bonus points against Newcastle last Gameweek returned the highest Fantasy points total of the season for Moses and he should be raring to go against Blackburn.

It’s do or die time for QPR. They must win against Stoke City, whose season is all but over. Djibril Cisse’s season has been eventful as witnessed by four goals and two red cards in six games for the Hoops. He scored on his return in the horrible 6 – 1 loss against Chelsea which means he has scored in all of his games that he hasn’t been sent off.

Fulham faces another team that has nothing to compete for in Sunderland. Dempsey could add to his impressive sixteen goals and seven assists this season.

Tottenham finally found their form again with two wins last Gameweek. Both Bale and Van der Vaart played a big part in the revival with goals and assists. Despite facing Aston Villa, a team playing for Premiership survival, Aston Villa’s dreadful form and the importance of the game for Tottenham points to a comfortable win for Redknapp’s team.

Despite playing the formidable Manchester City team, Cisse’s brilliant performances since joining Newcastle just can’t be ignored. He scored a brace away against Chelsea and will give Kompany and Lescott one of their toughest test this season.

Clean Sheets

  • Arsenal’s home game against Norwich looks likely to return clean sheet points. In addition to the clean sheet potential, Vermaelen also an provides and attacking threat, especially from set pieces.
  • With Liverpool’s dreadful home game form, with only five wins in the season so far, Chelsea defenders are enticing this Gameweek. Cole was rested against Newcastle and must play this Gameweek.
  • Sunderland’s season has faded out in their last games and Fulham will look to take advantage at home. Hangeland is their most expensive defender but a guarantee to play and also provides a goal threat from set-pieces.

Taking a Punt

  • Adebayor grabbed a brace against Bolton and will get his chances with Aston Villa having enough to think about in Bale, Van der Vaart, and Lennon.
  • Zamora despite not scoring in his last eight games he will be starting for QPR who must push for a win at home.
  • Maloney has added to Wigan’s attacking game since returning to the first team in March after having worked on his fitness earlier in the season. He has scored three goals and delivered two assists in eight games.

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


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

Gameweek 34 Review – Back in Blue, the Tevez Hattrick

Carlos Tévez by Alfonso Jiménez at Flickr. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0.

Carlos Tévez registered a hattrick and donated generous 19 Fantasy points to his owners in Gameweek 34.

Notable Fantasy Performances

Norwich v Manchester City

The title race is back on for City with a formidable performance away at Norwich. Norwich gave it a go and were duly destroyed by City’s potent attacking force.

Tevez was the main architect of Norwich’s downfall, with a hattrick and an assist to boot. Aguero contributed with a brace and bonus points. Yaya Toure and Silva both assisted.

City looked a spent force two games ago and many Fantasy managers had dumped their City players for greener grounds elsewhere. Now, in only two Gameweeks, the City attack has delivered 10 goals and next Gameweek’s game against Wolves looks tasty.

For the first time this season, investment in Tevez is a real option, although Aguero is the safer bet. However, Tevez is the option for those seeking differentiation as his ownership level hovers around the 1.5% mark.

Sunderland v Wolves

The drab goalless draw surprised me as I expected Sunderland to win be at least two goals. The Sunderland players looked flat and could be running out of steam after a tremendous run of results. Don’t go buying Sunderland players but hold on to Sessegnon for the Aston Villa game. However, feel free to use him and his teammates as bargaining chips to get in double Gameweek 36 players.

Swansea v Blackburn

Apart from a game against Manchester United in Gameweek 37, Swansea have excellent fixtures (BOL (A), WOL (H), LIV (H)) for their remaining four games. They showed this Gameweek that they can win the now supposed harder fixtures against relegation threatened teams.

This makes Sigurdsson, who scored and assisted, and their defence valid options. Despite not having two games in the double double Gameweek 36 they have Wolves at home which should be enough incentive to play all you Swansea players. Don’t pay points to replace Swansea players with double Gameweek players.

West Brom v QPR

A good win for West Brom which keeps QPR mired in relegation battle. Nothing much to see in both teams, despite Odemwingie’s assist. He’s playing on the left in a front three and hasn’t scored since February. Neither team has extra games to play and will therefore not have two games in Gameweek 36.

Manchester United v Aston Villa

In the least surprising result of the season, Manchester United won be a comfortable four goals at Old Trafford. Rooney’s brace will have made many Fantasy managers happy (including me) as he was heavily captained this Gameweek.

Hold on to your United players until the end of the season, unless you need differentiation.

Arsenal v Wigan

Some weeks ago I endorsed Moses but warned against Wigan’s difficult schedule. Amazingly, in games against Chelsea (A), Manchester United (H), and Arsenal (A) Wigan has collected six points, and was unlucky to lose against Chelsea.

They have won convincingly against Manchester United and Arsenal and now all bets are off. If you go Wigan, I would still get Moses ahead of this Gameweek’s goalscorers Di Santo and Gomez.

Gameweek 34 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 34 I recommended Rooney, Van Persie, and Sessegnon as the captain picks. Rooney delivered a brace while both Van Persie and Sessegnon were duds.

Quality of captain picks from Gameweek 25 onwards:

  • Good captain picks: 14/27
  • Double digit captains: 6/27

Gameweek 34 Points Summary

NamePositionGoalsAssistsClean SheetBonusOtherScore
TevezForward3103-1 for YC19
DorransMidfielder1013-1 for YC10
HennesseyGoalkeeper0011+1 for 5 saves8
MignoletGoalkeeper0011+1 for 5 saves8
De GeaGoalkeeper0010+1 for 3 saves7
RidgewellDefender0012-1 for YC7
VermaelenDefender1000-1 for 2 GC7
Yaya ToureMidfielder0200-1 for <60 min7
Di SantoForward10006
JohnsonMidfielder1000-1 for <60 min6
SurmanMidfielder1000-1 for <60 min6
NaniMidfielder1000-1 for <60 min5
StearmanDefender0010-1 for YC5
McArthurMidfielder0100-1 for YC4

For a summary of players scoring over three points in Gameweek 34, please refer to the table above.


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

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 34

Free Kick 1 by Ronnie Macdonald at Flickr. Licence: CC BY 2.0.

Sessegnon is a surprise captain's pick this Gameweek based on Sunderland facing the surely to be relegated Wolves.

In this Gameweek 34 edition of the Friday Foreplay I present the captain picks, investigate the heavy hitters, predict clean sheets, and speculate on possible punts.

Watch out for this Gameweek. Only six games will be played which means that only 12 teams out of 20 will be playing. Try to field a full team of 11 players and. Many will be planning ahead for the double Gameweek 36 but remember that losing points by fielding less than 11 players counterweights having double Gameweek players two weeks later.

Captain Picks

  1. Rooney: After Manchester United’s surprise loss at Wigan I’m expecting a response at Old Trafford. Ferguson openly scolded his players in a bid to up their game against Aston Villa in Gameweek 34. Rooney has been in excellent form since the start of the year, scoring nine goals. He has scored six goals in his last four home games and Aston Villa should provide little hindrance to United’s star striker.

  2. Van Persie: Van Persie scored his first goal in five games from a penalty against Wolves. They play at home against Wigan who are in coming off a historic first Premier League win against Manchester United. However, Arsenal are in fine form, having dominated against Manchester City and Wolves in their last two games, and should finish off Wigan. As usual, Van Persie is their most prominent attacker and is likely to either score or assist any Arsenal goal.

  3. Sessegnon: This pick is based solely on Wolves’ horrible form. Any team facing Wolves is guaranteed goals since the departure of McCarthy. Sessegnon has been instrumental since his return from suspension, picking up a goal and two assists. Sunderland will score and most of Sunderland’s attacking moves go through Sessegnon. Hence, his inclusion.

Big Hitters

Following from the analysis of Wolves in Sessegnon’s captain’s pick, Bendtner gets the leading the line against a miserable Wolves defence.

Walcott is on fire, and has only recorded a single below four point game in his last eight games. It’s from fitting a decent captain’s pick and you could go for him for a differential.

Valencia has two double digit Gameweeks in his last five outings and has been the main attacking thrust for Manchester United. I’m expecting Rafael to return to right back and his interplay with Valencia has been excellent. United’s right wing should be a source of worry for Aston Villa on Sunday.

In annoying fashion, Sigurdsson hasn’t delivered since I bought him two Gameweeks ago. Nevertheless, he is facing a Blackburn defence that has conceded an average of 2.4 goals away from home this season. Swansea will dominate the possession and the Icelander will have chances to score.

Aguero season hit a bump with injuries and he has only played four of Manchester City’s last seven games. He had a monster Gameweek 33, with two goals, two assists, and a total of 19 Fantasy points. Manchester United’s loss has given City renewed hope and they will attack against Norwich, hoping that United will drop points in consecutive games.

Other strong plays include:

  • Taraabt, who has finally found his feet in this campaign with a goal and two assists in his last three games.
  • Larsson, who is a tremendous set piece threat.
  • Former Everton midfielder Arteta. He is having an excellent first season with Arsenal and has scored two goals in his last four games.

Clean Sheets

  • Playing the form card again I’m picking Sunderland (facing Wolves). Turner is a cheap point of entry, valued at £4.2.
  • With Paul Scholes back Manchester United will dominate and likely face little threat from Aston Villa. Evans is still the best bet, but I’m also expecting Rafael to return to right back. He’s more involved in the attacks and is a risky differential pick (I have him).
  • Arsenal face a dangerous Wigan side in a Monday night game. However, Wigan’s style suits Arsenal as they will face off in a passing game contest, where Arsenal are better equipped.
  • Swansea’s pick is more based on their displays over the season rather than their current form. I’m least confident about them not conceding.

Taking a Punt

  • Despite Manchester City’s confident 4 – 0 win last Gameweek, their away form is shaky. In their last 10 away games the record stands at two wins, two draws, and six defeats. Granted, those defeats have been with a one goal margin. Nevertheless, if Norwich scores, Holt is their most likely goal scorer.
  • Moses was unlucky to have his goal disallowed against Manchester United and has two goals and two assists in his last six 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…


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.

Gameweek 31 Review – Ben Arfa da Bomb

Ben Arfa by Antares.37 at Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public Domain.

Ben Arfa linked up beautifully with Cisse to deliver his second double digit Gameweek score.

Notable Fantasy Performances

Aston Villa v Chelsea

A game notable for the return of Fernando Torres. He scored, assisted twice, and got a bonus point for a grand total of 13 points. Ivanovic got a brace and stole three bonus points for a massive 16 point Gameweek.

Fantasy wise, both performances are a one off this season, and both Torres’s and Ivanovic’s purchases would be a punt, at best. However, Torres would be a massive differentiator for the double Gameweek 36, when Chelsea have two home games (QPR and Newcastle).

More consistent returns can be had from Juan Mata, who registered his twelfth assist of the season and his fifth in eight games.

Everton v West Brom

Baines followed his 15 point Gameweek with a fine clean sheet and three bonus points. Everton are looking likely to finish the season with a bang, yet again, and Baines could be set to provide big returns. The bad news is that Everton’s schedule is hard to navigate for Fantasy managers. Two decent games against Norwich (A) and Sunderland (H) is followed by a blank Gameweek 34 and an away game versus Manchester United.

And then the epic double Gameweek 36.

Many a manager will be getting him in after Gameweek 35, and I think he’s simply too expensive to bench for two Gameweeks in a row.

Fulham v Norwich

Dempsey came through for me (as a captain pick) and delivered a BAG (Bonus, Assist, Goal). Fulham haven’t returned a clean sheet four consecutive games, making the more expensive Fulham defenders undesirable.

Ruiz assisted and grabbed bonus points. He’s an excellent player but is classified as a forward in the FPL game. He isn’t consistent enough to warrant one of the three forward places but could hold promise for next season, should he be reclassified.

Manchester City v Sunderland

Larsson reminded us why he is still a relevant Fantasy asset, with two fine goals. However, before the City game he had not scored or assisted in the league since December eleventh.

More exciting is Sessegnon, who made an instant impact with two assists.

Bendtner kept up his spectacular form, with his fourth goal in five games.

Sunderland’s fixtures are tough, but they continue to perform under Martin O’Neill. A punt on Bendtner for the third striker spot or Sessegnon in the fourth or fifth midfielder spot are solid and should provide healthy returns.

The prospects for Manchester City players are less exciting. With Aguero injured, Balotelli getting a negative review by Mancini despite his two goals, Dzeko underwhelming, Silva out of form, Nasri not playing, and Yaya Toure not delivering it’s hard to see any value in City players at the moment.

Interestingly, Kolarov has the highest points per game of all defenders but unfortunately plays to seldom to be useful.

QPR v Arsenal

Mark Hughes must have breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle in QPR’s 2 – 1 win over Arsenal. Taarabt scored and could be a punt for the desperate.

Walcott scored Arsenal’s consolation goal, and Van Persie grabbed an assist. Both players should be high on your list for the run-in.

Wigan v Stoke City

The revival of Moses continues. He has now scored over three points in four consecutive Gameweeks and could become Wigan’s hero this season.

It’s unlikely though, because of a small problem: Wigan’s schedule. They face Chelsea (A), Manchester United (H), Arsenal (A), and Fulham (A) in their next four games.

Other players in both teams aren’t exciting Fantasy options.

Wolves v Bolton

Wolves decision to sack Mick McCarthy must now be ranked as one of the major blunders of the season.

Bolton won their third game in a row. One can’t help but feel happy for them, following Muamba’s heart attack.

Bolton have two double Gameweeks, the 35th and the 36th. Their players should be hot shit because of that, but no one really stands out in Fantasy terms. Petrov could be a punt, but the sensible option is an investment in the cheap Adam Bogdan at £4.0. He isn’t likely to grab a clean sheet but will get you the regular two points in addition to save points four times in two Gameweeks.

Newcastle v Liverpool

Liverpool’s slump continues and you should be thinking hard about selling your Liverpool players.

The Fantasy focus centers around Papiss Cisse and Ben Arfa, who have exploded in the last few games. Cisse has seven goals in seven games for Newcastle for a massive 7.6 points per game. Ban Arfa has two consecutive gameweeks of double digit scores and is exciting cheap midfield option.

It should be noted that Ba should have been credited with one of Ben Arfa’s assists which is frustrating for Ba’s owners.

Tottenham v Swansea

Tottenham’s fierce four, Van der Vaart, Adebayor, Bale, and Lennon, all delivered. Tottenham have a fixture list worth looking at and a tasty double Gameweek 36.

The problem is whether to invest before or after the blank Gameweek 34. It negates the benefit of an extra game in Gameweek 36 if you don’t have the full eleven players returning points in Gameweek 34.

Sigurdsson kept up his amazing returns for Swansea and has an impressive six goals, three assists, and eight bonus points in only eleven games since joining Swansea on loan in January.

Blackburn v Manchester United

Blackburn put up one hell of a fight, but were finally defeated by persistent United pressure.

Valencia put in yet another game winning performance and the United defence delivered their fourth clean sheet in as many games.

Gameweek 31 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 31 I recommended Dempsey, Rooney, and Van Persie as the captain picks. Dempsey was the winner of the round, returning double digit returns while Van Persie delivered a modest five points, and Rooney a dissapointing blank.

Quality of captain picks from Gameweek 25 onwards:

  • Good captain picks: 12/21
  • Double digit captains: 5/21


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

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 31

Clint Dempsey by wjarrettc at Flickr. Licence: CC BY 2.0.

Dempsey is my number one captain pick for the round, edging out Rooney and RvP with home game advantage.

In this Gameweek 31 edition of the Friday Foreplay I present the captain picks, investigate the heavy hitters, predict clean sheets, and speculate on possible punts.

Double Gameweeks

Before we delve into the Gameweek preview, I want to remind you of the massive double Gameweek coming up. With rescheduling of fixtures due to cup competitions and the Muamba incident the following is a summary of teams both missing and enjoying double Gameweeks.

Teams not playing in Gameweek 34:

  • Tottenham
  • Chelsea
  • Newcastle
  • Liverpool
  • Everton
  • Stoke
  • Fulham
  • Bolton

Teams with a double Gameweek 35:

  • Aston Villa
  • Bolton

Teams with a double Gameweek 36:

  • Tottenham
  • Chelsea
  • Newcastle
  • Liverpool
  • Fulham
  • Bolton

Yet to be rescheduled: Stoke v Everton.

Captain Picks

  1. Dempsey: A surprise first pick of the captain bunch, based on the fact that Dempsey is the only one to have a home game. Looking only at Fulham’s home games, Dempsey has scored six goals, registered an assist, and stolen seven bonus points in his last five games at Craven Cottage. Fulham face Norwich who haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home all season, conceding an average of almost 1.9 goals per game.
  2. Rooney: Manchester United play Blackburn away, looking to revenge for the shock defeat at Old Trafford earlier in the season. Two thirds of Blackburn’s games end with more than 2.5 goals scored, so it’s safe to say that all signs point to Rooney as a decent bet for captain. He’s enjoying an excellent run of form with eight goals, an assist, and ten bonus points in his last six league games for United.
  3. Van Persie: The Dutch maestro faces QPR away from home. QPR have been beleaguered from all sides since Mark Hughes’s appointment, culminating in a second sending off for Cisse and a 3 – 1 loss to Sunderland. Arsenal, on the other hand, are playing their best football of the season, with several key players hitting form. The only caution I have is that Arsenal have seemed less reliant on RvP than earlier in the season.

Big Hitters

Walcott has received bonus points in five of his last seven games, having only had one bad game in that run. He scored a slick goal against Aston Villa and is a threat to any fullback. Arteta is a cheaper option but less likely to enjoy an explosive Gameweek.

Nani is still out for Manchester United resulting in a likely starting place for both Young and Valencia. Both are goal threats, deliver decent crosses, and are likely to be involved in United’s goals. Valencia is probably a safer bet to start and is cheaper to boot.

Now is the time to invest in Tottenham and Gareth Bale. Despite suffering a miserable bout of form in their last five games, Tottenham are likely to finish the season with a bang. The dip in form coincided with tough games (Chelsea (A), Stoke (H), Everton (A), Manchester United (H), Arsenal (A)) and from Gameweek 31 until the end of the season the fixtures are more Fantasy friendly. The improved fixtures start with a home game against Swansea. The Wales team concedes twice as many goals away from home (1.6 v 0.8) and Tottenham have scored in all their home games. This bodes well for the Tottenham attack and Bale, who has looked most dangerous in their tough games.

Other strong plays include:

  • Baines, who last week scored his first goal since Gameweek 18 and has a home game to boost his clean sheet chances. He’s on spot kicks and set pieces and is therefore always involved. His price is the biggest barrier to entry, but if you have the cash he is an intriguing option.
  • A home game against Sunderland should give Aguero several chances to score. He’s currently only 75% to play according to the Fantasy Premier League game, so look out for news about his fitness.
  • Pogrebnyak has a phenomenal strike rate since joining Fulham and has every chance to continue striking gold against Norwich.

Clean Sheets

Clean sheets are hard to predict this Gameweek because most of the best defences (by goals conceded) are playing away from home. Looking at choosing the home teams with the least goals conceded three surprising choices pop up (and one obvious):

  • The obvious choice is Manchester City with newly returned Kompany marshalling the defence.
  • Everton are enjoying their traditional end of season good form. Hibbert is cheap at £4.7 but could be susceptible to rotation.
  • Tottenham have conceded 35 goals and play at home against Swansea. Gallas is back from injury and represents the cheapest link in the Tottenham defence, priced at £4.6.
  • Aston Villa is an outside bet and have to contain a revived Chelsea team. Warnock is their highest scoring defender. Be warned that this play would be a risky one and a likely path only for those playing catch up to their mini-league leader.

Taking a Punt

  • With David Silva’s form dropping, Nasri has stepped up and looked dangerous in the last games. He scored the winning goal against Chelsea, as well as hitting the bar.
  • Despite Liverpool’s faltering form I’m not willing to elevate P. Cisse and Ben Arfa above the punt level. Liverpool’s defence has been solid this season and will be looking to keep it tight following the bad results against QPR and Wigan.
  • Martinez looks to be playing out his end of season magic tricks for Wigan. Moses has assisted or scored in each of his last three games and has a home game against Stoke to keep his form high. He went off injured against Liverpool but should be fit to face Stoke. However, have a replacement ready on the bench, should he fail to recover in time.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yakubu trouble Evans, despite the Manchester United defender enjoying his best spell in heart of the champions’ defence. The Yak is a risky bet, but a decent one to differentiate.

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 29

Gareth Bale by Jan S0L0 at Flickr. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0.

Gareth Bale is the surprise inclusion in this Gameweek's captain picks.

In this Gameweek 29 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. Rooney: Despite playing away from home, Rooney is the obvious pick this Gameweek facing a Wolves team looking increasingly lost under the stewardship of Terry Connor. Rooney has scored in his last four Premier League games and should add at a few against a safe pack of domesticated wolf pups.
  2. Dempsey: Fulham march on with their yo-yo season, playing like champions at home and rolling over for teams on the road. Being at home this Gameweek Demspey is an exciting pick, with six goals in his last four home games.
  3. Bale: Tottenham have been run ragged in their last three games and are bound to bounce back sooner rather than later. Stoke should have big problems coping with Bale’s pace and I’m banking on goals for the North-London team.

Big Hitters

Despite Arsenal having a tough away game at Everton this season has taught us never to write Van Persie’s chances off. I’m expecting a low scoring draw, but Van Persie is the one capable of delivering goals, should they decide to visit Goodison Park. Walcott is a decent punt at his price, especially considering Arsenal’s next two games.

Young is Manchester United’s winger on fire at the moment with assists in three consecutive games as well as a smattering of goals and bonus points. Wolves’ defence has conceded 14 goals in their last four games and their pain shows no sign of being relieved against the champions.

Ba hasn’t scored for four consecutive Gameweeks, for the first time since the first four games of the season. With Newcastle playing at home against Norwich, who have only kept one clean sheet all season, this is the perfect time for the Senegalese to add to his impressive tally of 16 goals.

Other strong plays include:

  • With Kompany and Lescott likely missing, Mata and Drogba become much stronger plays. Drogba has 22 Fantasy points in his last three games as well as scoring and assisting against Napoli.
  • Going against my gut feeling, I have to mention Aguero, Silva, and Balotelli as the likeliest attackers to start the game against Chelsea. I’m not expecting fireworks, with Chelsea on a high following the Champions League win but City still have scored a ridiculous three goals per game at the Etihad Stadium this season.
  • Although Pogrebnyak is never going to maintain an over a goal per game ratio, a home game against a Swansea team that have conceded a goal more per game away than at home is still likely to return Fantasy points. I still rate him as a punt, but his start has just been so powerful that he gets promoted to a strong play category.

Clean Sheets

  • Liverpool have only conceded 16 goals away from home and have kept it tight at back all season long. Kelly is currently the cheapest option of the Liverpool defence, priced at £5.2.
  • Tottenham are at home against Stoke, who have only scored nine goals on the road this season, with an average of 0.64 goals per game. Assou-Ekotto is a mainstay of the back four and has an impressive two goals, five assists, and eight bonus points this season.
  • Aston Villa defended valiantly last Gameweek and have a decent chance to deliver back-to-back clean sheets when they welcome dreadful Bolton to Villa Park. Warnock is cheap at £4.9 and has a goal and two assists this season.

Taking a Punt

  • Moses is given licence to attack for Wigan and scored the equalizer last Gameweek. If Wigan are to stay up yet again, Moses has to start delivering more frequently. I think he is capable.
  • Ben Arfa’s goal against Arsenal showed what he is capable of. He has impressive technique and a powerful shot. With Norwich’s defender having to deal with at least one strong Senegalese striker, Ben Arfa could find space to attack.

Gameweek 28 Review – Gerrard the Derby Hero

Gerrard by destinyuk* at Flickr. Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Steven Gerrard got a hattrick against Everton.

Gerrard was Liverpool’s hero, yet again, in the Merseyside derby with a hattrick in their three goal win. The win will rejuvenate Liverpool fans who had suffered through a drab 1 – 0 loss at Sunderland three days earlier.

There was a shift in the battle for the title with Swansea denting Manchester City’s hopes with convincing 1 – 0 home victory while Manchester United rode Rooney’s brace to a comfortable win at Old Trafford.

In the battle for fourth, Arsenal and Chelsea gained ground on Tottenham. Arsenal won in injury time thanks to a Vermaelen strike after goals from Ben Arfa and Van Persie while Chelsea secured three points via a single goal from Drogba. Tottenham lost away at Everton.

Down at the bottom Bolton got an important three points with a 2 – 1 win over QPR while Blackburn won Wolves at the Molinaux.

Finally, Aston Villa saw Fulham off with a single goal while Norwich and Wigan saw out a 1 – 1 draw.

Other notable performances:

  • Suarez clinched two assists in the win over Everton and was a menace throughout.
  • Vorm (8), Caulker(9), and Williams (9) registered clean sheets against City. Vorm got extra points for saves while Caulker and Williams got three bonus points each.
  • Moses grabbed Wigan’s goal and three bonus points for a 10 point Gameweek.
  • Young continued his good run with an assist and two bonus points against West Brom.
  • Hoilett’s brace finished off Wolves for 13 points in the Gameweek.
  • New Bolton defender Ream assisted and got three bonus points for an eight point Gameweek.

Gameweek 28 Points Summary

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 28 I recommended Suarez, Rooney, and Van Persie as the captain picks. An excellent round with all three delivering and both Suarez and Rooney providing returns of a double digit Gameweek.

Quality of captain picks from Gameweek 25 onwards:

  • Good captain picks: 8/12
  • Double digit captains: 4/12

In addition, all the clean sheet prediction came off, with Liverpool, Chelsea, and Aston Villa all delivering.

NamePositionGoalsAssistsClean SheetBonusOtherScore
GerrardMidfielder3013-1 for <60 min & +2 for DG22
SuarezForward0212+2 for DG12
JelavicForward1013+2 for DG & -1 for <60 min10
VormGoalkeeper0011+2 for 8 saves9
HowardGoalkeeper0010+2 for DG & +3 for 10 saves & -1 for YC & -1 for 3 GC9
OsmanMidfielder0112+2 for DG & -1 for <60 min9
MosesMidfielder1003-1 for YC9
PratleyMidfielder1002-1 for YC8
DistinDefender0011+2 for DG & -1 for 3 GC8
HoolahanMidfielder1002-1 for YC8
Ben ArfaMidfielder10007
EnriqueDefender0010-1 for YC & +2 for DG7
De GeaGoalkeeper0010+1 for 3 saves7
SkrtelDefender0010-1 for YC & +2 for DG7
MignoletGoalkeeper0010+1 for 3 saves7
HartGoalkeeper0000+5 for PS7
WeimannForward1001-1 for <60 min6
D. CisseForward10006
BainesDefender0010+2 for DG & -1 for YC & -1 for 3 GC6
Gamst PedersenMidfielder0110-1 for YC5
MooreForward1000-1 for <60 min5
ColemanMidfielder0000+2 for DG5
SpearingMidfielder0010+2 for DG5
FellainiMidfielder0010+2 for DG5
HanleyDefender0010-1 for YC5
HendersonMidfielder0010+2 for DG5
HeitingaDefender0010-1 for YC5
Van PersieForward1000-1 for YC5
KlasnicForward1000-1 for <60 min5
DowningMidfielder0010+2 for DG4
MaloneyMidfielder0100-1 for <60 min4
Martin OlssonMidfielder00114
RamseyMidfielder0100-1 for <60 min4
RuddyGoalkeeper0012+2 for 6 saves4
MataMidfielder0100-1 for <60 min4
BegovicGoalkeeper0002+2 for 7 saves4

For a summary of players scoring over three points in Gameweek 28, please refer to the table above.


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

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 13 Review – Captaining Adebayor

Van Persie’s quiet Gameweek meant that many a manager experienced their first low-scoring Gameweek in a while. However, owners of Adebayor, Mata, Kompany, and the Swansea defence had something to smile about.

Adebayor by Alfonso Jiménez at Flickr. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

Adebayor's two goals and assist propelled Tottenham to their fifth Premier League win in a row

Analyzing the Fantasy impact of the Gameweek, we look at consistent performers, what players are looking good, who are off the mark, who look out of sorts, and players that have not convinced yet.

Notable Performances

Adebayor was man of the match for Tottenham in their 1 – 3 win over West Brom. After missing an early penalty he pounced on the rebound and went on to add BAG (Bonus, Assist, Goal) to his tally. Stealing three bonus points, he ended the round with an impressive 14 points. He now has 33 points in the last three games and is an exciting option at front with Bolton (H), Stoke (A), and Sunderland (H) the next three games. Bale kept up his good form with an assist to one of Adebayor’s goal.

Mata registered an impressive 17 Fantasy points with with a BAG of his own. Sturridge got a goal and stole bonus points. Also high scoring in Chelsea’s much needed home win over Wolves were Terry (clean sheet, goal, and bonus) and Cole (clean sheet and assist).

In the big game of the Gameweek, a headed goal from Kompany and an unfortunate Lescott own goal meant that Liverpool’s encounter with Manchester City ended with a one-all draw. Maintaining their Fantasy form, Silva provided the City assist from a corner and Adam took the shot that rebounded off Lescott.

Van Pesie had his first quiet Gameweek for a while, while Vermaelen scored from a Walcott assist. Both also stole bonus points.

Hernandez scored Manchester United’s only goal from a Rooney assist in Manchester United’s 1 – 1 home draw against Newcastle. Ba scored from a Ben Arfa created penalty, putting his record at 9 goals, 2 assists, and 12 bonus points in 9 games. After their home game against Chelsea, Newcastle have a run of Norwich (A), Swansea (H), West Brom (H), and Bolton (A). Ba is an attractive investment for that four game run.

Walters added his fifth Fantasy productive games in six with an assist in Stoke’s 3 – 1 home win over Blackburn. Scorers Whelan, Delap, and Crouch stole all the bonus points.

Everton kept their second clean sheet of the season with an 0 – 2 away victory at Bolton. Baines added to the clean sheet points with two bonus points and Fellaini got a goal and three bonus points. Everton have an inviting run of fixtures until the new year. Despite being overpriced, an investment in Baines could be a fruitful short term investment.

The much maligned Moses finally returned a productve Fantasy Gameweek with an assist in Wigan’s important away victory at Sunderland. Di Santo scored while Larson got Sunderland’s goal.

Vorm kept another clean sheet for Swansea in a rather drab 0 – 0 draw against Aston Villa.

R. Martin scored and stole three bonus points in Norwich’s 2 – 1 win over QPR. Target man Holt scored and stole a single bonus point.

Out of Sorts

Balotelli showed his naivety by picking up two bookings in 18 minutes against Liverpool. Although fun to watch, he is too unpredictable to own in the Fantasy game.

Nani had yet another quiet game. I’m keeping him for one more week, but my patience is wearing thin.

Captain Choices

Adebayor is nearing the elite category of viable captain options. Van Persie has dominated this season, Rooney was undroppable in the early season, and Aguero has looked sharp in his first Premier League season. Adding to the captain list we have Van der Vaart, Silva, and perhaps Ba and Bale in their current form.

With his consistent Fantasy form and goals now flowing, Adebayor is an excellent option for the armband in Tottenham’s enticing fixtures until the new year.

Would you remove or add any to the list? Please start the discussion below.

Gameweek 8 Review – Van Persie shines

This Gameweek Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini decided to throw a spanner in the works of many a Fantasy manager’s well thought out plan. Four out of the five most popular captain candidates were rested: Rooney, Silva, Nani, and Dzeko.

And Robin van Persie owners rejoiced.

Analyzing the Fantasy impact of the Gameweek, we look at consistent performers, what players are looking good, who are off the mark, who look out of sorts, and players that have not convinced yet.

Notable Performances

Robin van Persie is back. In a class of his own, he won the Arsenal v Sunderland game with two outstanding goals, taking his tally for Arsenal in 2011 to 28 in 34 games. That is Fantasy League winning form. At the other end, curling in a peach of a free-kick at the Emirates, Larsson is delivering for Sunderland this season. Watch out though, because he is suspended for Sunderland’s trip to Bolton next Gameweek.

Although the Red Devils were below par in what Sir Alex Ferguson calls “the biggest club game in the world”, Liverpool v Manchester United, David De Gea was outstanding. With Vidic and Ferdinand back, United could start keeping clean sheets. If one of the young guns claims the right back spot, it could provide a bargain. Adam claimed an assist from Gerrard’s goal but all-in-all the game was a disappointing, due to Ferguson’s strange team selection, and finished in a 1 – 1 draw.

Welbeck again proved his value, both in real-life and in Fantasy terms. He led the United attack, providing and assist for Hernandez and stealing two bonus points.

Surprisingly, Manchester City did not keep a clean sheet in their 4 – 1 romping of Aston Villa. However, Kompany scored a fine headed goal from a Johnson corner and stole a bonus point.

Swansea’s Graham scored his second goal in two games and is one to watch out for. However, he could not prevent Norwich winning 3 – 1 in a probable relegation six pointer. Priced at 4.8, Pilkington could be a value purchase, should he fulfill the promise so many predicted in the start of the season.

Stoke City are looking mean at home, and secured a 2 – 0 victory over Fulham. Their defence is looking strong, as pointed out by John Smith in a comment to Gameweek 8 Preview, and should be relied upon when playing at the Britannica. Just watch out for the Europa League games. After every midweek game in Europe, Stoke play away from home which provides a good rule of thumb: Play Stoke players at home and avoid them away from home. Apart from Walters, who seems to be enjoying life as a Stoke striker. He is classified as a midfielder, thus qualifying him for a point more per goal and a point for clean sheets.

The Chelsea team was impressive in their 3 – 1 dismantling of Everton. Of particular note were Mata and Sturridge, both displaying maturity in their performances in spite of their young age. I tipped Sturridge as a captain differentiator in the preview to Gameweek 8, so I was happy to see him deliver. Terry scored a fine defender’s goal, heading from a Lampard free-kick.

Brunt stole all three bonus points and scored a fine goal in West Brom’s 2 – 0 win over the hapless Wolves. He has an impressive Fantasy record throughout the years and is not too expensive at 5.8.

In the 2 – 2 draw between Newcastle and Tottenham, we had the usual suspects picking up Fantasy points. Adebayor, Van der Vaart, Ba, and Gutierrez all contributed. Incredibly R. Taylor, Ba, and Van der Vaart all tied for three bonus points each.

Off the Mark

In his second “Off the Mark”, Odemwingie scored the goal to secure the victory for West Brom. He came of the bench and should be avoided until we can be sure he starts. West Brom’s next three fixtures read Aston Villa away, Liverpool at home, and Arsenal away. Hence, he should be avoided until their home game against Bolton on November 19th.

Samba scored and stole three bonus points in Blackburn’s 1 – 1 away draw against QPR. At 5.5., he should not be considered because of Blackburn’s poor defensive record.

Gerrard scored in his comeback and stole three bonus points. He is expensive at 11.0 but a possible differentiator if you are willing to take the chance. I still think his price is too high for his upside.

Out of Sorts

The Stoke team again looked shell-shocked after a midweek Europa League game. They are impressive at home but beware of their away form, especially after the midweek games.

In the last two reviews I was not convinced by QPR. At home they failed to capitalize on Blackburn’s bad form. For the moment, I can not see value in their players, apart from perhaps dirt-cheap defenders.

Moses has failed to live up to his pre-season Fantasy hype and should be sold. Apart from Di Santo and Al-Habsi, there is little to excite, Fantasy wise.

Although a good player, Baines’s price tag is too high to justify.

Following his goal against Everton, Carroll was dropped to the bench for the United game. If you still own, sell him now.

Also dropped (or rested) was Dzeko. He is nowhere near Carroll territory, but I would be hesitant splurging my money on him. He has effectively now missed three games and also been substituted twice.

Blackburn players should be avoided.

Not Convinced

Etherington reminded us of his prowess, delivering two assists and stealing a bonus points against Fulham. I am wary about suggesting him, since Stoke are having problems scoring away from home. He is one to watch.

Pilkington atoned for his miss against Manchester United earlier this month by scoring two against Swansea and stealing three bonus points. He previously has a goal and three bonus points. At 5.0, he could be used as a rotation midfielder but I would be hesitant to purchase him without further proof. He has 7 goals in 45 league appearances for Huddersfield last season and also scored 5 in the cups so he is one to keep an eye out for.

Last week, Balotelli was widely praised for his brilliant display. Again this Gameweek, he showed why Mancini has faith in him. However, he isn’t an attractive option because of both his volatility and the uncertainty over Manchester City’s strikers. Will Aguero be fit for next Gameweek? Will Dzeko get a start? One would think Balotelli would keep a place in the starting lineup given his form, but if Mancini is willing to drop Dzeko after a four goal haul, dropping Balotelli away at Manchester United will be easy.

Diame scored his second goal in three matches for Wigan with a delish strike. I don’t think he will return consistent Fantasy points but at 4.8 he could be considered as a rotation option, mainly because there aren’t many attractive midfield options around the 5.0 mark.

After their tough fixtures at the start of the season, Bolton will look to improve in the coming games. Reo-Coker, N’Gog, and Eagles all scored but are not particularly attractive options.

Although he supplied an assist to RvP, Gervinho was far from impressive. Apart from the assist, he only had 17/21 successful passes, 2 shots and 0 crosses and was substituted on 68 minutes.

Clean Sheets and Cheap Defenders

There were only two clean sheets this Gameweek, demonstrating once again how hard it is to base your Fantasy team around the clean sheets. Should this trend continue we need to look into the strategy of minimizing the defence cost to stock up on expensive attackers and midfielders. The idea is to own 5 cheap defenders and rotate in your team so that you have the home team defenders playing each week, similar to the goalkeeper rotation strategy.

However, I’m still sporting a City and Chelsea defender in my team (Kompany and Bosingwa) and think it likely that the clean sheets will start rolling in for the elite defenses when the teams have settled in. City and Chelsea look strong at the back and Manchester United could start to keep clean sheets with De Gea settled and first team defenders back from injury.

Newcastle has only conceded six goals and could be this season’s value defence. However, Gameweeks 12 – 14 are looming with Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea in successive games which should put a few ripples in the currently still Newcastle waters.

A tier below, we have Liverpool, Stoke City, Aston Villa, and Fulham who should all be reasonable home game bets, if nothing else.

Do you have expensive defenders? Or do you pick cheap defenders, playing them at home? What is your ideal Fantasy defensive strategy?