Friday, 29 March 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 31

Oh that cursed international break. Nothing but injury worries (and if you're an England fan, disappointing results) come of it. It's a sudden scarcity for Premier League addicts, and many are know to experience withdrawal symptoms in the absence of their weekly fix.

Thankfully, that hindrance is gone now. Back to business.

Gameweek 31 fixtures

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

The Big Boys

Santi Cazorla, Arsenal midfielder

The biggest lollipop for the next 3 gameweeks are Arsenal, who play thrice at home and once away. With Wilshere and Walcott out injured, Arsenal will look to Santi Cazorla (9.4) for inspiration. With Reading being an absolute disaster, it's not exactly a gamble to take a punt on Giroud (7.5) getting among the points.

Chelsea and Manchester United have a cup quarterfinal replay on Monday, so there could be heavy rotation depending on what the teams prioritize. It would be foolhardy to second-guess which big names will start or to buy any benchwarmer for one game. Given that Sunderland have lost Fletcher and Cattermole for the season, they're no great threat to United, but Southampton are good at home and should trouble the diet Chelsea side Benitez will put out. Hold on to Lambert (7.1) or Rodriguez (5.1) if you have them. There is also a chance Benitez may put 4th place ahead of a possible cup semifinal, so don't sell Mata or Hazard, but don't buy anyone either.

Newcastle are one of the worst away teams of the season, and while City essentially have little to play for, they will try and notch up as many points as they can. This looks like a good match for owners of David Silva (9.2). Aguero is fit again but hasn't produced much this season, so I'd stick with Carlos Tevez (8.7).

Liverpool had a shock result at St. Mary's given their league form heading into the game, but owners of Suarez (11.2) and Sturridge (7.4) will not be disappointed this gameweek. Benteke (7.2) is in good nick, and is worth kepping.

Tottenham appear to be in the midst of their annual crash, and Swansea away is never an easy game even for the best sides. Nothing much you can do besides holding Bale (10.9) and hoping he delivers.

The Other Guys

Shaun Maloney, Wigan midfielder

Norwich have the league's second-worst defensive record away from home, and this is the time of the season Wigan start playing like title winners. Central to their chances of winning will be Maloney (4.9) and Kone (6.6).

Everton's spirited victory against Manchester City came at a price, with two of their best FPL scorers Fellaini and Pienaar suspended for two games. Stoke have the worst away scoring record in the league, so if you're looking for a defender on the cheap, Heitinga (5.0) is probably your man. Baines (7.6) is too costly to buy, but hold on to him if you've got him.

West Brom face the unrelishing prospect of typical Allardyce physicality at Upton Park. Carroll (8.2) has scored in his last two home games. The Hammers will be reliant on him to get them some crucial points with Noble and Nolan still out.

Berbatov (7.0) has been in good nick since returning from injury, and QPR aren't the sort of team that can stop him.

The Blogger's Team

Bench should take care of things should Cole and Rafael not start. God save me if Mata doesn't

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 30

The dearth of matches last gameweek saw many of us stuck with null players and that brought the global average to its lowest this season. There was delightful action on the pitch in the past week though, as Wigan, Chelsea and Arsenal went on to show that you can never say never. QPR's second win a row makes the relegation fight very tight.

Onwards (and hopefully for your FPL rank, upwards)

Gameweek 30 fixtures

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

The Big Boys

Eden Hazard, Chelsea midfielder

Chelsea are buoyant following their comeback at Old Trafford. They looked like the Chelsea of September against West Brom and Manchester United. Meanwhile, West Ham have scored 9 goals away from home this season, the joint worst away attack in the league. If you are the one holding the Chelsea card at the FPL table, this is where you say "All in". Chelsea defenders, Demba Ba (7.8) and Eden Hazard (9.3) will serve you well. Do this only if you have them already though, because with two games in 48 hours awaiting Chelsea next gameweek, rotation for the Southampton away game will be heavy.

Manchester United are seething following the Real Madrid game, though their "vengeance" was nipped in the bud by a sprightly Blue midfield. There is no danger of that happening again though, as Reading are managerless and have lost 11 out of 14 away games. The time is right for Robin van Persie (13.7) to end his scoring drought, although there is little reason to hang on to him if he fails again.

Defeat in the North London derby was Arsenal's last result in the Premier League, but following a long rest and a fantastic result in Munich, they should net at a ground which isn't exactly a defensive fortress. Theo Walcott (9.0) has been raking in the assists of late, don't put it past him to do exactly that or better against Swansea. Cazorla (9.3) is in good Premier League form, and will be able to pull more strings with the injured Wilshere's central role vacant.

Spurs self-destructed at Anfield last week but there are no real signs yet of their annual implosion, so do yourself a favour and keep trusting Gareth Bale (10.8).

Southampton have let in 51 goals this season and face Luis Suarez (11.1). You know what to do.

The Other Guys

Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle midfielder

Wigan have had the week off after thrashing Everton at Goodison Park, and host Newcastle who are leaky at the back. Shaun Maloney (4.9) has been the one pulling the strings this season, and will be instrumental to unlocking Newcastle's porous defence. The Geordies will, as always, rely on Sissoko (6.7) and Cisse (8.9) for attacking impetus against the league's worst home defence.

It's a second must-win game in a row for Villa and QPR. Expect a gung-ho match where defending is told to take a hike. Good days for owners of Benteke (7.1) and Remy (5.9)

A missed penalty dampened the weekend for Lukaku (6.5), but he'll get his chances against the no-longer-tight Stoke.

An away defeat to QPR isn't a result Sunderland will have relished and a travelling Norwich team, who have the second worst defensive record on the road, provide the perfect chance to bounce back. Make good use of Fletcher (7.1) and Sessegnon (7.1).

The Blogger's Team

The Blogger's Team
Considering benching Michu for Lukaku

Meme of the Week

Football meme of the week

Friday, 8 March 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 29

I've been busy, lots of assignments and other work to do. Keeping late hours, waking up early, what would we all do without engineering eh? This diet post was pretty much the best I could do (To be honest, postponement of 4 fixtures gives me a good excuse for the diet nature)

Off we go then.

Gameweek 29 fixtures

Newcastle vs Stoke
Norwich vs Southampton
QPR vs Sunderland
Reading vs Aston Villa
West Brom vs Swansea
Liverpool vs Tottenham

The Big Boys

Luis Suarez, Liverpool forward

I wonder if it's even worth having a separate section for this for this gameweek, but anyway, the standout league clash of the weekend is Tottenham's trip to Anfield. It's bound to be a sad day for defenders of both teams given how these two teams have been going recently. There are fantastic points on offer for owners of the bright Coutinho (6.6), Suarez (10.9) and Bale (10.6).

The Other Guys

Norwich vs Southampton. This is Lambert's (7.2) season, and Norwich don't have the defence to stop him right now. Snodgrass (6.2) has by far the highest points-to-price ratio among midfielders of his price range who play this gameweek, and is a good option if you're looking for a cheap replacement for a player with a null gameweek.

Stoke have been leaking goals by the bucketfuls since January, and Newcastle are free-scoring at home. Sissoko (6.6) and Gouffran (7.0), yes. Stoke defenders and keeper, ouch.

Stephane Sessegnon (7.0) is loving the right wing, and he's facing QPR. Get in. Meanwhile, Remy (5.8) has 2 goals in 3 starts for QPR and Sunderland's backline isn't exactly filled with Maldinis.

Aston Villa have a relegation six-point battle to contest at Reading. N'Zogbia (5.8) is a good differential pick who has been performing well of late. Both strikers Benteke (7.0) and Le Fondre (5.0) will be vital to their team's fortunes, and yours.

West Brom vs Swansea. Lukaku (6.5) vs Michu (8.4). Bye.

The Blogger's Team

The Blogger's Team
Newcastle-heavy. I'm willing to risk it. Still enough time to put it off with wildcard active.