Thursday, 1 November 2012

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 10

With nearly a quarter of the season gone, we’re getting an idea of who’s going to be up there and who’s going to be down there. Southampton and QPR have played the right way and played with heart, but the possibility of a relegation fight looms larger every passing week. West Brom, Everton and West Ham have started the season in expectation-defying manner, and Swansea have turned on the style too. As for the title race, it looks like Chelsea will attempt to crash the Manchester party this season. Arsenal have played with uncharacteristic defensive grit and top 4 seems pretty much a certainty, while Liverpool are far too inconsistent (and perhaps unlucky) to hope for a Champions League spot.

Hopefully your teams (both real and fantasy) achieve what they hope to this season.

Gameweek 10 fixtures:

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

The Big Boys:

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United forward

The blockbuster tie of the gameweek is Arsenal’s visit to Manchester United. This is the first time Robin van Persie will be facing his old club since his transfer. The Gunners would like to forget their last trip to Old Trafford, but look much better equipped to avoid such a result this time round. Their FPL value is still a grey area – given United’s defensive record so far, you can hold on to Cazorla or Podolski if you have them, but it’s not worth buying an Arsenal player on retail this week. As far as purchases go, this is the optimal time to buy Wayne Rooney – a player who has tormented Arsenal in recent seasons, and whose club will embark on a string of plum fixtures all the way to mid-December following this one, making him the best premium combination of price and fixtures.

Juan Manuel Mata Garcia, Chelsea midfielder

After facing a couple of last season’s top four sides in the last two games, table-toppers Chelsea travel to Wales this week. But given the way the Swans have been playing, this hardly counts as a reprieve as far as Chelsea’s fixture list goes. There’s never a bad time to have one (or both) of Juan Mata (The Mata Meter now stands at 7 goals and 8 assists in his last 8 Chelsea games) (NEWSFLASH: JUAN MATA IS OUT. HAMSTRING) and Eden Hazard in your team though, while it’s worth holding on to Michu – his points return given his price has been fantastic.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool FC forward

Liverpool, a side whose form has indifferent, welcome a side who are also yet to really kickstart their season. As with any tight game, it’s a bad time to buy players from either side on retail, but buyers can fill their teams with Raheem Sterling, who is next to Michu in terms of points-per-pound. Hold on to the usual suspect - Suarez. Note that Demba Ba is an injury doubt. Also, there’s never really been a good time to have Liverpool defenders or keepers, but this month’s fixtures are particularly unfavourable. Get rid.

Jermaine Defoe, Tottenham Hotspur forward

Spurs are a side very much on the up, and their visitors this week are a Wigan side who’ve been their usual “win one week, lose the next two” selves. This would be a good time to dump Spurs defenders and keeper though, given the tough fixture list, but hold on to Gareth Bale and Jermaine Defoe for dear life. Even though the team gets a result once in a while, no Wigan player is consistent enough to be worth buying at any point.

Carlos Tevez, Manchester City forward

Carlos Tevez has led the Manchester City attack ably this season. His league season has seen 4 goals and 6 assists, and there’s no reason this should not go on for a while yet. While he’s been the best value for money in the City attack so far, there’s no reason for you to drop Sergio Aguero if you have him (then again, given the way Big Sam’s teams defend, this isn’t the best time to buy on retail).

The Other Guys:

Dimitar Berbatov, Fulham FC forward

A trip to Craven Cottage presents the last challenging game before Everton embark on a 3-week run of easy fixtures, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t buy Pienaar or Jelavic before they embark on said run. Go easy on the Toffees’ defence though – Dimitar Berbatov is showing everyone just what a genius he is.

QPR have strung together some promising performances lately, but there are noises about Mark Hughes’ job being in danger given that the side are still bottom and winless after all the players they’ve invested in. They face a Reading side who aren’t exactly out of the relegation zone themselves. This is a fixture between two sides who can’t buy a win, and you should stay away from them as far as fantasy purposes go.

When I look at Sunderland v Aston Villa, it is tempting to write ‘as above’. Sunderland can’t score without Steven Fletcher (who’s out of form himself) scoring, and Aston Villa look many times worse than when they were under Sunderland’s current manager. Stay away.

Southampton have put in some good performances, but they’ve not been able to get the points. West Brom have been imperious at the Hawthorns this season, and will see this as a great chance to avoid a hat trick of league defeats. Southampton have the league’s worst defensive record (conceded 12), and there’ll certainly be more of the same even if Shane Long does miss the game – WBA have James Morrison

Peter Crouch, Stoke City forward

A trip to Carrow Road is the beginning of some comparatively mellow fixtures for Stoke after an early run of games against the top sides. Crouch, Kightly, Begovic, Shawcross. Take your pick. Wait till Gameweek 14 till you think of investing on any Canary, but given his penchant for scoring in big games, the gambler in you you could pick Grant Holt right now and see a goal or two against Man United and Everton in the weeks to come.

The Blogger’s Team

Much better looking team than the last one now that Pienaar’s back from suspension and Berbatov’s fit. In order to keep scoring above the average, my team has almost entirely depended on the form of Carlos Tevez – that busybody either scores or assists or does both, and boy am I glad for that. One thing that's made all my plans go awry is Juan Mata's unexpected injury.

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