Thursday, 27 September 2012

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 6

Gameweek 5 was a television blockbuster. Post-match, you could imagine Man United fans telling each other, "Go mad! Manchester United's on fire!", while the Liverpool fans would've said, "Damn! Huge ref decisions matter, no?" (FYI, the two quotes are anagrams!). The following game saw Arsenal dominate City at the Etihad and come away with a point when they looked good for three. Add to that Chelsea's unrelenting barrage of attacks finally coming good against a resolute Stoke defence, and things are shaping up very nicely indeed for this week's fixtures.

Onto this gameweek's analysis

Gameweek 6 fixtures:

Arsenal v Chelsea
Manchester United v Tottenham
Norwich v Liverpool
QPR v West Ham
Fulham v Manchester City
Everton v Southampton
Reading v Newcastle
Stoke v Swansea
Sunderland v Wigan
Aston Villa v West Brom

The Big Boys

One of the big ties of the week is Tottenham’s visit to Old Trafford. Manchester United have dominated this fixture, putting Tottenham away time and again at home. United have not been looking impressive this season, but they’ve got the results and this should be no different. Robin van Persie is a man who’s been in form nearly two years. Pick him. Kagawa ended his mini FPL drought with an assist at Anfield, and should be in his element here. As for the Lilywhites, Jermaine Defoe has had an inspired start to the season and if anyone can trouble United, it’s him.

The blockbuster fixture of the gameweek is Arsenal playing host to top-of-the-table Chelsea. The two sides boast the best defensive records of the season so far, both conceding just two goals en route to this fixture. This is a game that could hurt those records, and working with that aim in mind will be Cazorla, Podolski for the Gunners, and Hazard for Chelsea. Mata has returned and has been in good nick, and he might be worth a punt too. Same old names from both sides, I know, but they’re getting the job done.

Liverpool have put in some very catchy performances but their results have been poor, and they visit Norwich in what is a somewhat must-win game for the Reds. The worst of their fixture list is probably over and Liverpool players are FPL prospects at last. They’re overdue a win, and their stalwarts Gerrard and Suarez shoud steer them to victory. For the gamblers among you who think they’re overdue a clean sheet as well, try out Pepe Reina.

Last season, picking three City players was advisable on most weeks but this time it’s different. This is probably the best time there has been to face City in over a year. Their hosts Fulham are a strong home side and or on a good run to boot. Vital to this good run has been Dimitar Berbatov who will likely do his previous club a favour (UPDATE: Dimitar Berbatov is confirmed out for one month). City will rely on the immense Yaya Toure and the returned Sergio Aguero to end their winless run which now stands at 4 games.

The Other Guys

The London derby at Loftus Road is a clash between two now-solid sides in QPR and West Ham. The hosts can call upon the talents of the in-form Bobby Zamora to gain victory over the Hammers. As for West Ham, isn’t it about time we saw something from Mark Noble?

Wigan are an FPL dilemma. They are so painfully amazing when none of their players are in your FPL team, and so painfully awful when you bet on them. This is the time of the season where they put in good cup performances, but you just can’t tell when they’ll show up in the Premier League. If they do show up, expect good showings Maloney and Kone to be the reason for it. As for Sunderland, the matter is straightforward – Steven Fletcher. What a snare he is proving to be for the Mackems!

Stoke make work really easy for FPL managers – don’t pick players from their fixtures. Their matches are generally low-scoring affairs that are bad for FPL points for both them and the team they face. An exception to this is Peter Crouch. Feel free to try him out against a Swansea side that has shipped five and scored none in their last two league games. And there has never been a better time to try out Asmir Begovic between the sticks, or Stoke defenders at the back. The only way Swansea can prove that statement wrong is if Michu gets going again (consider this a make or break week for him. His early-season form has vanished quicker than we could say ‘Laudrup’)

Everton and Southampton are two teams heading into the game on the back of big wins, and the pretty straightforward names are: Baines, Fellaini, Pienaar and Lambert.

The midweek win would've no doubt been a boost that may well aid Villa's flailing season, but there is no argument that this is a great time for high-flying West Brom to travel to this derby. Odemwingie is still suspended, so it could be another start and another goal for Romelu Lukaku. The Villans, if they are to hit their stride, will need to talents of Bannan and Bent to aid them. West Brom defenders like McAuley have been consistent, and are worth at least keeping in your side if not buying on retail.

Reading are a side whose FPL contributions have come from different sources each week, and this could be Pavel Pogrebnyak's week. Newcastle are as easy to figure out as their neighbours Sunderland - Hatem ben Arfa and Demba Ba.

Hunch of the Gameweek:

I wrote earlier about how Liverpool might well be nailed on to take off this week, but I can't help but shake off the feeling that Robert Snodgrass will stand in their way.

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