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

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