Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 12

The first third of the season is drawing to a close. The story at top and bottom has been pretty much constant, but the warming stories of the season have been West Brom and West Ham. Being the second-ranked London team in the table, even with just 11 games gone, is something of a dream come true for Hammers fans, especially given their condition two seasons ago (And it does speak volumes about the condition of North London). West Brom were promoted under Roberto di Matteo (time flies, eh?) just a couple of years ago, and are now flying under Steve Clarke (also an ex-Chelsea player. The plot thickens). Clarke has made some subtle yet excellent alterations, James Morrison and Shane Long in particular looking more inspired versions of themselves. They are well-placed to ensure that di Matteo is given an uncomfortable time on his first return to the Hawthorns as a manager.

There ends the pointless weekly jibber-jabber. Off to work.

Gameweek 12 fixtures:

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

The Big Boys:

Santiago Cazorla, Arsenal midfielder

The blockbuster fixture of the gameweek is the North London derby. Both sides had short good phases, but neither has impressed. Don’t be fooled by that Giroud brace or the Podolski just yet. Reign in your urge to buy anybody from Arsenal for now (again), but hold on to Cazorla if you have him (again). Tottenham's approach to recent games, particularly the big ones, has been disappointing. They have aimed to sit and defend leads after going ahead, mostly without success. Add to that the slight striker uncertainty that AVB caused by starting Adebayor last week, and holding on to Bale is probably the best Spurs FPL advice.

Sergio Aguero, Manchester City forward

The plum tie of the gameweek is Aston Villa’s trip to the Etihad. As I said last week, Sergio Aguero should start City’s league games now that their European adventure is as good as over, and is a good stable pick if you have him, but Carlos Tevez will probably continue to be the value-for-money pick. Also, buying David Silva at this moment could be a very smart move - his price, like Mata's in early September, was probably as low as it will ever be.

Juan Manuel Mata, Chelsea midfielder

A visit to West Brom isn’t going to be any easier than the trip to Swansea, and much of their excellent early form is down to the contributions of Shane Long. Visitors Chelsea are now at the tail-end of their horrid fixture set, and them surrendering top spot during this run was probably to be expected. The FPL choice from the Chelsea section of this blog, meanwhile, is as predictable as the sun rising in the east – Juan Mata.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool forward

Wigan won the last time they came to Anfield, and the hero that day was Shaun Maloney. He’s embarked on a nice bit of form and has been getting decent attacking points, and wouldn’t be the worst pick given that Liverpool have kept two league clean sheets all season. The FPL choice from the Liverpool section of this blog, meanwhile, is as predictable as the sun setting in the west – Luiz Suarez.

Robin van Persie, Manchester United forward

The second fixture of the Manchester United November Cakewalk (MUNC) is a trip to Carrow Road, and most of us know that Robin van Persie will recover from his thigh injury. And score. More than once. Till mid-December. If you can afford him, get him. Rooney isn’t quite the same in FPL terms as he was in previous seasons, so stay off for now. A good midfield pick that could differentiate you from others is Antonio Valencia.

The Other Guys:

Dimitar Berbatov, Fulham forward

Fulham are strong at home, and Sunderland can’t buy a goal. The Cottagers have a couple of decent fixtures coming, so picking a Fulham defender or keeper might not be the worst choice. As with Chelsea and Liverpool, there is one guy who jumps at you when the club’s name is mentioned, and that is Dimitar Berbatov.

Demba Ba has dried up a little, but Swansea’s defenders aren’t the Maldinis of the Premier League and nor are any of Newcastle’s next few opponents, so it’s worth holding on to him. The same pretty much goes for Michu.

QPR and Southampton are placed where they are in the table for a reason. Stay away.

Kevin Nolan, West Ham United midfielder

West Ham and Stoke are both very tough, disciplined sides, and this could well end 0-0. Not a good time to buy any of their attackers, though you’re free to hold on any defenders or keepers involved in this game. And Nolan.

The closest to MUNC is ENC (E for Everton, you know the rest). This month is a great chance for the Toffees to pull away from the other 16 teams in the league. Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic? Hold. And latter two, buy if you don’t have.

The Blogger’s Team

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