Thursday, 5 April 2012

Fantasy Football: Gameweek 32

This Fantasist’s Gameweek 31 (both in terms of blog post and team) resembled Chelsea’s match against Villa a bit. Cruising at the start, then an unbelievable rut on Sunday before a bang at the end (thanks to Manchester United). Last week saw Man United extend their lead at the top to 5 points after City slipped up against Sunderland. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s defeat to QPR and Spurs’ win sees the race for 3rd and 4th heat up.

Onto number 32, a tricky one.

Gameweek 32 fixtures:

Swansea v Newcastle (Friday)
Sunderland v Spurs
Bolton v Fulham
Chelsea v Wigan
Liverpool v Villa
Norwich v Everton
West Brom v Blackburn
Stoke v Wolves
Man United v QPR
Arsenal v Man City

Please note that Swansea-Newcastle is on Friday, so the deadline is 11:30 AM UK time (4:00 PM IST). Those of you who wait till near the deadline for the latest team news (which is, in fact, a very good practice), do take note of this.

Player picks:

The Premium Players

The blockbuster matchup this time is Arsenal hosting Manchester City. No worries about rotation here: There’s too much at stake for both teams to change their best lineups for this one. This means more points from Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott. City have been a bit of a fantasy enigma of late, nobody consistently scoring points. I suspect Mario Balotelli will be hard to drop after his brace, and he has shown up at all the big games this season. If Sergio Aguero returns, he will be key but keep your eye on the team news before you jump into this one.

Tottenham finally broke their winless Premier League run last week, but a visit to a good Sunderland side could see them come undone. Of late, Gareth Bale has got back among the assists and should continue that run. Emmanuel Adebayor also looks back in form. The best picks from Sunderland should be the trio that ran City’s defence riot last week – Sessegnon, Bendtner and Larsson.

There’s nothing ‘premium’ about Liverpool players apart from their prices (which is why they even feature in this section anymore). Aston Villa are crocked in all areas of the pitch though, and after Chelsea’s stroll last week, the stage is set for Luis Suarez to run Villa riot. Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton will be Villa’s creative machines and after Shaun Maloney’s performance at Anfield, what’s to say they can’t get anything out of this game?

Chelsea v Wigan is one of the gameweek’s plum ties, but with the best 11 having played a tough Champions League game midweek, and also with a visit to Fulham on Monday, squad rotation could be something to look out for. Raul Meireles, Daniel Sturridge and Didier Drogba can expect to start (and score points) in this one. Also, if you fancy the clean sheet, take a look at Gary Cahill, who could deputise for Terry who is said to have injured ribs. Oh, and Petr Cech too.

The other plum tie is Manchester United hosting QPR. Would another win, another clean sheet be any surprise? Big points from De Gea, Evans, Valencia, Rooney are on the cards. Tuck in.

The Ones You Don’t Think About

The Friday kick-off is an intriguing one. Swansea are strong at home, hosting joint 5th Newcastle who have a good chance of making Europe (maybe an outside chance of Champions League football?). Hatem ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse have been on fire for the Geordies. Gylfi Sigurdsson must be the best loan signing of the season by far, and his points record shows why.

Bolton got stuck into Wolves last week, but Fulham will pose much harder opposition. Clint Dempsey might find some joy, but his team might be troubled by Martin Petrov.

Norwich welcome back skipper Grant Holt for this game, and he should get right back into the points. Steven Pienaar will look to get Everton something from the game, and might get points for himself on the way.

Wolves desperately need a win at Stoke to have any hopes of staying up, and right now the only man who seems capable of doing it is Matt Jarvis. Peter Crouch’s recent form may prove too much for Wolves to handle though.

A home game to Blackburn may be just what West Brom need to get back on track. Peter Odemwingie and Chris Brunt should have a good one.

Hunch of the Gameweek:

Been a long time since my illogical hunches have worked, but is anyone up for a little bit of Ryo Miyaichi?

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