Thursday, 19 April 2012

Fantasy Football: Gameweek 35

We're at a most interesting point in the Premier League. The run-in might still heavily favour the Red Devils but City's newfound form has certainly maintained interest in the title race. The race for the Champions League places remains as hot as ever with Wigan's win at the Emirates ensuring there are still 4 teams fighting for 2 places. And staying on topic, Wigan are another team that have found form out of nowhere to pull away from the bottom three.

Enough of that, on to business now:

Gameweek 35 fixtures:

Blackburn v Norwich
Bolton v Swansea
Fulham v Wigan
Aston Villa v Sunderland
QPR v Tottenham
Newcastle v Stoke
Arsenal v Chelsea
Man Utd v Everton
Wolves v Man City
Liverpool v West Brom
Aston Villa v Bolton

NOTE: Aston Villa and Bolton have a double gameweek. What’s more, Bolton have a double gameweek next week too, so getting in their players may be wise.

Player picks:

The Premium Players

The standout fixture this gameweek is the early kickoff on Saturday – Arsenal hosting Chelsea. Arsenal are coming off a shock home loss to Wigan, while Chelsea are buoyed after their big wins against Spurs and Barcelona. You sense, though, that it is adrenaline that has dragged Chelsea through the last two games and this game might be where the fatigue starts getting to the players.

Robin van Persie hasn’t been himself for about a month or so, but he could get back to form here. Theo Walcott is another player in good nick for the Gunners. Didier Drogba has been Arsenal’s tormentor since he set foot in England, and given his recent form, he could carry on with that role. Juan Mata will likely thrive in the space this open game will surely provide.

The plum tie of the gameweek is rejuvenated Man City’s trip to flailing Wolves. The names in form are easy to list: Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and David Silva.

Liverpool’s win against Everton in the FA Cup was a bit of an anomaly given the form that was before. They have won just two league games at Anfield this season, and West Brom are no pushovers. There are points in store for the in-form Luis Suarez. Liverpool’s defence is more porous than a sieve, and there should be some joy for Peter Odemwingie and Chris Brunt.

Manchester United are the league’s form side. They’ve been imperious of late, and I can see another win + clean sheet on the cards for them. Get in your choice among de Gea, Jonny Evans, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney.

Spurs travel to QPR in what is sure to be a tough game not only because QPR will be scrapping for every point they can get, but also because Spurs have been rather despondent since the trip to Arsenal in March. Zamora and returning bad boy Djibril Cisse will fancy their chances against Spurs who were beaten at home by Norwich last gameweek before their mauling at the hands of Chelsea. Spurs will, as usual, rely on Bale and Adebayor to get them out of this inexplicable rut.
Newcastle are the league’s hottest team in form after Manchester United, and their home game against Stoke should be another win. Again, the form players are easy to name: Hatem ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse

The Ones You Don’t Think About

Aston Villa play two home games, against Sunderland (probably a loss) and Bolton (probably a win). Either way, you should take a good, hard look at Barry Bannan and Gabriel Agbonlahor for this gameweek. Sunderland offer a good investment in Stephane Sessegnon.

Bolton are double gamers too (double double-gamers, given that next gameweek holds a similar schedule for them). It’s hard to pinpoint good value from teams fighting relegation as they will scrap and points can come from anyone. I will, however, plump for Miyaichi and Petrov. They host Swansea in their first game, and they will no doubt be tormented by Sigurdsson, who has to be the best winter signing of the season.

Rejuvenated Wigan travel to Craven Cottage to face a sturdy Fulham who’ve been steadily racking up the points. Clint Dempsey is in form for the Cottagers. Wigan’s points have come from everywhere (as pointed out earlier about relegation strugglers), but the most in-form players have been Victor Moses and Shaun Maloney.

Blackburn desperately need a win against Norwich to keep their survival hopes alive, and Yakubu and Hoilett are both 50-50 to make the game. They will look to David Dunn for inspiration. Norwich have their own form player in Grant Holt.

Hunch of the Gameweek:

This edition’s illogical pricking feeling comes from Kevin Davies.

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