Thursday, 6 December 2012

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 16

As far as the Premier League is concerned, the Champions League adventure is over for last season’s trophy winners, with Chelsea exiting on away goals in head to head against Shakhtar, and City bowing out with 3 points and no wins from the group of death. The Blues from London will contest in Europe’s second tier from February, while City are out of Europe altogether. What implications this has for FPL is clear – Sergio Aguero will probably start most of the league matches from now till the end of the season, and if Torres performs well till Christmas, he becomes a real possibility too.

Let’s talk about the present though.

Gameweek 16 fixtures:

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

The Big Boys

Sergio Aguero and Robin van Persie

He didn’t start against Everton or in Europe, so chances are strong that last season’s title hero Sergio Aguero will start the derby, and is of particular interest given United’s defensive frailties this season . And given that Carlos Tevez started both of City’s last two games, chances are high that he will be given the chop, but he’ll likely start most of the time and his gold production makes it worthwhile to take a non-starting hit here and there. Rooney scores a brace and then does next to nothing to justify his price for weeks, so the one worth holding is, as always, van Persie.

The first of Sunderland’s two fixtures (I’ve written about them below) is welcoming Chelsea, who registered their first win of the Benitez era midweek. Mata, Hazard and Torres combined superbly last night, but Sunderland’s defence at home is a different story. Also bear in mind that due to the Club World Cup, Chelsea have a null Gameweek 17, so you might want to get rid of anyone not named Juan Mata.

Most of Arsenal’s first team were rested midweek (although why they would risk finishing second in their group is a mystery), so theoretically, they should perform better than they have recently, though such a theory has no guarantee of bearing fruition against opposition like West Brom. Shane Long could prove to be Arsenal’s undoing, and I’d say you wait and observe Arsenal players a bit before buying any.

Spurs have had a fine run of form during Adebayor’s ban, but he started two games before his moment of madness at the Emirates, so you might wish to hold your horses if you’re thinking of buying Defoe on retail. His fine recent form makes him undroppable if you already have him though. Gareth Bale will miss this one due to a hamstring injury, so the value for money in midfield lies with Aaron Lennon.

Liverpool travel to West Ham without Luis Suarez who is suspended for yellow card accumulation, and given how dependent they have been on the Uruguayan added with the fact that Borini is injured, this will make this match unbelievably difficult. Kevin Nolan is due some good points (and would’ve got some against Chelsea if not for some soft fouls given), and it wouldn’t be too much of a push to suggest that keeping Jaaskaleinen and his defenders is wise.

The Other Guys

The tie at Villa Park sees the second worst attack in the league (Villa have scored 12) take on the second best defence (Stoke have conceded 12) in the league. It wouldn’t be too much of a risk to suggest that this could be Stoke’s 8th clean sheet of the season. You know what to do.

As I have been pointing out for a couple of weeks now, Sunderland and Reading have a double gameweek. Now, given that players from these teams are often at the lower end of the points ladder, stacking up may not be the wisest thing. Please keep an eye on Steven Fletcher’s fitness (75% people usually end up playing, but confirmed news would make us all more comfortable). If the doubt on fitness doesn’t sit well with you, you might wish to spend on Adam Johnson (for lower budgets) or Sessegnon (if you can afford him and/or have a similarly priced player lying wasted). Reading’s best picks in the respective outfield positions are Shorey, Le Fondre and McAnuff. Don’t pick either team’s keepers.

Fulham welcome back Kacaniklic to the fold, while Newcastle’s chief creators are still missing. That didn’t matter much as the Geordies put away Wigan without much ado on Monday, and keeping Demba Ba isn’t a bad idea. Dimitar Berbatov is playing at home, and Steven Taylor is still injured, so he wouldn’t be the worst idea either.

Don’t think I have forgotten Southampton. It’s just they aren’t brimming with FPL gold, and they were supposed to be Chelsea’s opponents in Gameweek 17, which Chelsea and therefore Southampton will not play, so there isn’t any worthy purchase you can make here at this point.

Wigan and QPR. Nobody from either side has really taken their club’s season by the scruff of the neck and said “Hey, I’m gonna do things consistently”. Nobody worth buying. Yet.

Michu, Swansea midfielder

Swansea City host Norwich. Michu is joint leader of the golden boot race. Bye.

The Blogger’s Team

Tevez may not start, Fletcher and Riether are doubts and Rafael is my only fit sub. Oh joy.

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