Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 11

We’re into the second quarter of the season now. The top three have two points between them, but the Champions League will offer us more insight as to how otherwise frustrating managers pick their lineups now. While Chelsea have escaped for the time being, City are as good as out of the Champions League. From an FPL point of view, this probably means Mancini will start prioritizing the league and Aguero should start every City league game now. Meanwhile, the new FPL Gold are Manchester United, whose pre-derby fixtures read: Villa way, Norwich away, QPR home, West Ham home, Reading away.

Moving on from those early notes…

Gameweek 11 fixtures:

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

The Big Boys:

Rafael da Silva, Manchester United defender

This is the beginning of the ‘November Cakewalk’ for Manchester United. The first fixture of this run is a trip to Villa Park whose hosts are looking the most wretched they have for half a decade. A clean sheet victory against Sunderland (whose top scorer in October was Demba Ba) hardly represents substantial change to said wretchedness, and it is right to expect Man United to put them to the sword. This is a good time to pick Rafael da Silva, who will add clean sheets to his run of assists. It might not be the worst time to take a punt with Antonio Valencia, while owners must hold on to Rooney and van Persie with all their might.

Juan Mata, Chelsea midfielder

Chelsea, meanwhile, are bang in the middle of their horrid run of fixtures. They, and grateful FPL players, will welcome back Juan Mata from his hamstring-enforced absence. FYI, his record in his last five league games is 4 goals, 5 assists. Gold Gold Gold. Liverpool, meanwhile, have Luis Suarez, whose sometimes magical talents have seen him embark on quite a scoring run himself. Gold Gold Gold.

Dimitar Berbatov, Fulham forward

Arsenal looked decidedly wretched at Old Trafford. They’ve gone from decent attack, strong defence to attack as weak as defence was strong, to both ends wretched. This is their worst ever start to a Premier League season, and will be missing Ramsey for this one. This sort of 'form' should delight both the real and fantasy managers of Dimitar Berbatov, who can be unplayable on the best of days, and is unaffected by the difficulty of fixtures. I’d not buy any Arsenal player at this point, but it's still OK to sit on Cazorla if you've got him.

Carlos Tevez, Manchester City forward

Times are tough both in terms of fixtures and form for Manchester City and Tottenham. It’s not a particularly good idea to buy on retail, but it’s quite alright to hold on to Aguero, Tevez, Defoe and Bale.

The Other Guys:

Kevin Nolan, West Ham midfielder

Hold on to Ba (he’s rated 75% fit, and he’s not worth selling and then buying back just for missing one game anyway), but don’t buy him. Cabaye’s fitness is an issue, monitor it. Just as I was thinking that the Geordie defence is a good idea because everybody’s fit again, Coloccini goes and gets himself sent off (note that people. 3 match ban). Nolan (unlucky to have had a goal chalked off against City last week) is showing consistency that was absent from his Newcastle days (score one week, do nothing for the next two), he’s worth keeping/buying. Carroll’s fitting Big Sam’s system well but wait till he does something significant, points-wise, before buying him.

This is the beginning of a run of three easy games for Everton. Keep/buy any of Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar and Jelavic you can afford (the first two are the best options). Sunderland can’t buy a goal, and seem to be playing for a draw every time they go out there, so avoid/sell their players.

Reading and Norwich are both sides languishing at the bottom, but Norwich have improved recently, particularly at the back. Wes Hoolahan forced his way back into the team last month, and has a good chance of taking off in this one. He’s probably more of a cheap quick fix though, given that Norwich’s November fixtures significantly decline in terms of ease from here. Reading don’t give much in terms of consistent fantasy value, so it’s not worth buying anyone.

Michu, Swansea midfielder/forward

Nigel Adkins’ side are in dire straits. Nobody (apart from maybe Portsmouth fans) wants to see Southampton in this situation, but somebody’s gotta be down there, like it or not. Michu has been one of the snares of the season so far, he will keep performing for a while yet, and Southampton don’t seem like the kind of team who’ll be able to stop him and Swansea.

As I said before, Stoke are a side who usually reduce fantasy points for themselves and for the opposition they’re facing, particularly at the Britannia. This is the last decent fixture they have coming with clean sheet potential, so hold on to Begovic or any Stoke defenders you might have. And Crouch too. QPR are bottom and winless for a reason. Stay away.

Wigan had an excellent result against a poor Tottenham side at White Hart Lane last week, but stay away from their players. For one, they are inconsistent and second, the fixture list isn’t the best. Shane Long has been at the races, and his run of points will continue.

The Blogger’s Team

The Blogger's Team

Mancini decided to troll me last time to enable Zabaleta playing in the Champions League, so I ended up with a pretty measly return. The fixtures look far more promising for my boys this time though, and it’s a big relief that Mata is back.

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