And just like that – the latest season of the English Premier League arrives!!

The 2014-15 season comes off a truly breathtaking 2013-14 campaign and an equally brilliant World Cup

With over a 100 players arriving and switching teams in the EPL -  this season’s Fantasy Premier League promises to be unbelievably complex to master – with enough good players and combinations to cause insomnia and nightmares you won’t have cause you can’t sleep!! :D

Arsene Wenger too got in the act with *FOUR* additions to the squad! Manchester City had a “quiet” summer with 6 new players, Liverpool went extra crazy over Southampton with a cart full of players bought from Southampton, Jose Mourinho assembling a scary looking Chelsea team with 3 headline acquisitions. Manchester United, still smarting from last season’s 7th placed finish have bought in a couple of starters but threaten to buy even more in the next few days.

All this and we haven’t even spoken of all player dealings at Hull City, Southampton ( i mean the ones they bought :p), West Brom, QPR etc. Woooof!!

With the obviously eye catching imports like Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera who promise to light up the EPL (and FPL) with their goals and assists – you also have intriguing stories like Bojan Krkic joining Stoke City, Loic Remy being the focal point of the QPR attack after his failed transfer, Yaya Toure seemingly losing some edge after a magical 2013-14 season etc.

With that – and with the kick off for the season’s game a few hours away – let’s dive into my picks for Gameweek1!

Goalkeepers:

  1. Thibaut Courtois (High) – With the ever honest Jose Mourinhno declaring that the Belgian will be the man between the sticks for the first game, and his won willingness to impress on his debut against Burnley – Thibaut seems like a safe bet for a clean sheet. Expect lots of Thibaut-ing memes this season!
  2. Wojciech Szczesny (Medium) – With Crystal Palace in disarray after Tony Pulis’ departure two days before the season opener and the Pole’s personal mission to prove a point after last season’s Golden Glove award, a clean sheet at the Emirates won’t be a surprise against a Palace team not exactly known to be firing on all cylinders when it comes to attack….
  3. Vito Mannone (Low) – Sunderland’s Player Of The Season from 2013-14 will once again raring to take on the EPL head on – and what with the extra pressure heaped on him with the arrival of Costel Pantilimon from Manchester City – a fine goalkeeper on his own. Against a West Brom side not really brimming with confidence, the Italian will have to put in a shift and lay down a marker for the season to come.

Defenders:

  1. John Terry (High) – With an away trip to Burnley on Monday and Blues knowing the results over the weekend, expect Mourinho keep his troops on their toes for a professional win over the newly promoted side. Nothing less than  points will satisfy the Portuguese manager and Captain Jon Terry will be keen to nail down a spot in the starting XI with a performance that befits the armband.
  2. Dejan Lovren (Medium) – After a very public fall out with the fans and the club, Lovren finally secured a move to Liverpool. Ironically, Southampton are the very first team he will face in his first game for the Reds. With a point to prove and keen to impress, a goal scored from a set piece may be a great way to kick off his tenure at Anfield.
  3. Calum Chambers (Low) – With Per Mertesacker not quite match ready and the departure of Thomas Vermaelen not yet addressed, the young Briton will be handed a start in the centre of defense at The Emirates against Crystal Palace. With assured displays in pre season, Chambers might be a great buy for now with assured starts for a few matches at least.

Midfielders:

  1. Aaron Ramsey (High) – The Welshman seems to have started the new season like the last one never ended – with great performances in preseason and a goal vs Manchester City in the Community Shield. With the absence of Mesut Ozil, Ramsey will also have to shoulder Santi Cazorla’s task of creating chances for all of The Gunners’ forwards. A safe bet for the season, and a must buy – for now.
  2. Robert Snodgrass (Medium) – Hull snapped up Norwich’s heartbeat as soon as the Canaries were relegated. Snodgrass has always been a FPL favourite, with consistent performances even last season in the Canaries’ doomed campaign. The Englishman will be keen to repay his fee and a second coming in the EPL will be a great way to kick on.
  3. Daniel Drinkwater (Low) – Leicester City’s creative midfielder will be very crucial to the Foxes hopes of staying afloat in the EPL. Coming off a rather impressive season in the Championship, Drinkwater is a player to hold on for the season ahead.

Forwards:

  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – Love him or hate him, the Englishman is going to stay in the EPL for long. One of the few positives of the failure that was the Moyes era – Wazza has been appointed Captain by LouisVan Gaal. With Robin Van Persie injured, Rooney will be raring to make sure everyone know that he still is the main man at Manchester. With a home game to Swansea, expect him to go ballistic!! My oick for FPL Captain this weekend too.
  2. Emmanuel Riviere (Medium) – The Frenchman arrives from AS Monaco with a reputation for impressively scored goals in Ligue 1. With Newcastle having a surprisingly calm preseason and a fit squad barring a few short term injuries, Alan Pardew will be looking to grabbing a European spot by the end of the season. Riviere and his industry will be very critical for such lofty ambitions.
  3. Bojan Krkic (Low) – Easily the most intriguing signing across the league, the ex Barcelona graduate will find himself far away from the beautiful football of Nou Camp, Ajax and Milan. But with Mark Hughes trying to improve the way the Potters play and with goals under his belt in the pre season matches, Krkic is a sure starter who will be keen to prove he is still a force to be reckoned with.

So there’s that! Hope these picks help you craft YOUR Fantasy team! Hoping for a cracking English season ahead!

Cheers!

DesiEPLFantasyManager

These massive breaks are embarrassing! Don’t reckon these will help kick-start a potential career in sports at all!!

But i – like always – hope against hope that i achieve discipline and can devote a few hours weekly to my blog… If i had a nickel for every time i said that, i could’ve bought a new Lamborghi- never mind…

So – Gameweek 22!!! Where has the time flown by i ask?!! Whhoooooooooosh!!!!

The EPL League paints a pretty picture… cause Arsenal are Top Of The Table :)

But with Manchester “99 problems but scoring goals ain’t one” City and Chelsea ” Jose Mourinho still thinks Manchester United are in the title race” FC a couple of points away – this is quite visibly the hottest EPL title race in ages… (Football Cliche #5 already)!!

This week sees the current Top 4 play home matches with all four expected to take 3 points and keep the title race alive for yet another round….

On the other end of the table, relegation battling teams have relatively easier fixtures – except for Cardiff City, they might as well sit at home on Saturday than play at The Etihad with a hope to score points – or even goals….

Biggest match this weekend is ***OBVIOUSLY*** Crystal Palace vs Stoke City… Tony Pulis goes back to – naaaah! :D

It’s Chelsea vs Manchester United!!!

Jose “mind games” Mourinho with David “never mind” Moyes! (agreed, that was lame… still – its worth it!)

Arsenal *have to* win but trust Fulham to find their inner Barcelona when playing at the Emirates (rolling eyes…)

Anyways – might as well save us a lotta time and jump into my picks!

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Joe Hart (High) – With his start of the season wobble fully behind hi,. Hart is now finally reinstated as the No 1 City goalkeeper, having started the last 5 EPL games with the two out of the last three being clean sheets. Pellegrini would be averse to take Cardiff lightly,  but with their juggernaut showing no signs of stopping – at home, in the least – expecting City to keep a clean sheet today wouldn’t be asking for too much.
  2. Simon Mignolet (Medium) – The Belgian’s early season heroics had the world clamoring to get him in their FPL squad. Halfway into the season and his popularity has only slightly diminished, and with Brendan Rodgers looking to challenge for the title picking up clean sheets against teams like Aston Villa at home while Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge scare the living bejeezus out of Bras Guzan.
  3. Julian Speroni (Low) – Tony Pulis hosts his old team Stoke, with his team at the wrong end of the BPL table.  He still knows the Potters’ inside out – and would love to take points off Mark Hughes. Expect an ultra defensive “watching paint dry is more fun than this” EPL slugfest. Wouldn’t be surprised in the least if this ends 0-0.
  • Defenders:
  1. Seamus Coleman (High) – Everton travel to play the Baggies – who play under new coach Pepe Mel for the first time. Having recently lost Shane Long and understandably taking some time to settle under the new boss’ tactics, Roberto Martinez would love to perform a quick smash and grab for 3 points. He shall duly afford all the freedom to his marauding Irishman. Any result other than an Everton win will be considered nothing short of an upset for the European football chasing Toffees.
  2. Aleksandar Kolarov (Medium) – The Serbian has been a proper wild card at his almost 4 year spell at City. Capable of lung bursting runs, shocking defensive lapses and trademark, long range goals, erratic could well be his middle name. But having hit a marginal form of consistency over the past few weeks he now represents an interesting prospect to FPL managers. Could turn out to be a good buy.
  3. Joel Ward (Low) – This could be the under the radar buy that could pay dividends in the short run. Ward was deployed in midfield in the last match with Mariappa covering the RB slot. His versatility is a massive assest – having been deployed across multiple roles in midfield – he could chip in with a goal or an assist.
  • Midfielders:
  1. Eden Hazard (High) – Eden Hazard is a sure bet to score against United *BUT* there is a distinct fear of him being marked out by the defense – especially if Phil Jones is deployed. However,  Mourinho’s new project of turning Hazard into a Ronaldo-esque player is visibly paying rewards. Long may it continue!
  2. Adam Lallana (Medium) – With Southampton in administrative turmoil, Mauricchio Pocchetino will look to steady the ship against Sunderland to prove all is well on the football field. But the inevitable “club in trouble, player exodus” rumours starting already, stories have emerged of the So’ton captain being linked to Manchester United – who could well do with his presence in the centre of the park.
  3.  Mark Noble (Low) – With Kevin Nolan having a melt down too many, it falls to oldboy Noble to lead the Hammers out of the relegation they find themselves engaged in. With a goal in the last match and facing Newcastle at home, he ought to come handy again if Big Sam Allardyce wants to take points off the beloved Alain Pardeux.
  • Forwards:
  1. Luis Suarez (High) – To borrow a fan favourite quote “Was there ever a doubt?!”. The Uruguayan is making writers Thesaurus-es by the dozens in their quest to find new words of praise for the man who is sure to win the Golden Bite  Boot this season. With Daniel Sturridge back in action, this man is every FPL managers’ Captain from now till the end when he leaves for Real Madrid  of the season.
  2. Romelu Lukaku (Medium) – To be honest, Lukaku is definitely one of the reasons Steve Clark got sacked as the West Brom manager. Given a MASSIVE gift in the form of a season long loan of the MASSIVE Belgian, the Baggies finished higher than anyone expected them to last season. And as my penchant for storly lines go, it’s kinda inevitable, ehh?! Lukaku scores, then refuses to celebrate…. Put down a bet on it, would ya?!
  3. Marouane Chamakh (Low) – No! i am not high on sheesha smoke right now… i *have* picked the Moroccan in my FPL picks. To be fair he did go on a three match (*3*) goal scoring run and enjoys the confidence of Pulis like never before. Could nick a header off a set piece :D

So there’s that!!

Hope you find that useful! i am shedding tears of joy i actually finished this article!

Cliche count – 44.

Belgian Count – 2 (new low record i think!!!)

Please do share – would love all the support and the feedback!

Until next time – and by that i mean next week – hopefully!

Cheers!

DesiEPLFantasyManager.

Originally posted on DesiEPLFantasyManager:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand  I EXHALE!!……!!!!!

Finally, i’m back from my deep, deep slumber!!

Months and months after the last FPL Gameweek post, a bad case of fever and taking the day off is what gets me back here – hopefully for good!!

It was painful to stay away – but i reckon one has to simply make time for ones’ passion, ehh?!

So with further nostalgic mush-mush; let me dive right in the Predictions for Gameweek 3!

Straight off – the match to look out for is the first game this weekend – Manchester City welcome newcomers Hull City at the Etihad..

The Sky Blues will be smarting from their shock defeat to new boys Cardiff City – and will look to hammer in a few goals and target a clean sheet – especially after Manuel Pelligrini’s comments that Joe Hart can’t take his place as City #1 goal keeper for granted.

View original 976 more words

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand  I EXHALE!!……!!!!!

Finally, i’m back from my deep, deep slumber!!

Months and months after the last FPL Gameweek post, a bad case of fever and taking the day off is what gets me back here – hopefully for good!!

It was painful to stay away – but i reckon one has to simply make time for ones’ passion, ehh?!

So with further nostalgic mush-mush; let me dive right in the Predictions for Gameweek 3!

Straight off – the match to look out for is the first game this weekend – Manchester City welcome newcomers Hull City at the Etihad..

The Sky Blues will be smarting from their shock defeat to new boys Cardiff City – and will look to hammer in a few goals and target a clean sheet – especially after Manuel Pelligrini’s comments that Joe Hart can’t take his place as City #1 goal keeper for granted.

Everton would be looking for their first win under new boss Roberto Martinez after 2 draws – but will be wary of a Cardiff team high on confidence.

FPL wise – West Ham vs Stoke City should be one to look out for as well – Sam Allardyce’s men will consider anything less than a win a missed opportunity against the usually ineffective Stoke attack – who did miraculously score *two* goals last week!! :O

And finally he two big matches on Super Sunday! And it doesn’t get bigger than Liverpool vs Manchester United at Anfield AND the North London Derby – Arsenal vs a Gareth Bale-less Tottenham at the Emirates.

Expect no clean sheets in the above two matches and plenty to attackers to try their best to get on the score sheet!

Now that the round up’s done – here are my picks!!

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Joe Hart (High) – With new manager Pelligrini challenging Hart to justify his automatic selection between the sticks, the English shot stopper will have to be at his best to nail down his spot. Hull failed to score past Chelsea, and their lone goal against Norwich was a penalty. Can Hart notch up another cleans sheet?!
  2. Jussi Jääskeläinen (Medium) – West Ham are a team on the ascendancy. Only 4 points from their first 2 matches will surely have Big Sam huffing and puffing at Boleyn ground. They will look forward to earn their third successive clean sheet – and Mark Hughes’ Stoke City should provide little threat to the target.
  3. Artur Boruc (Low) – Despite having an impressive squad, Norwich City still seem like a which hasn’t found it’s groove yet to accommodate the new summer recruits. Southampton on the other hand, have quietly gone about integrating theirs. A clean-sheet against the Canaries doesn’t seem too far fetched…
  • Defenders:
  1. Pablo Zabaleta (High) – Unless Angel Di Maria joins Arsenal – Pablo will remain everyone’s favourite Argentine in the EPL. To make up for losing his man and conceding three goals against Cardiff – Zabaleta went to the other end of the pitch to make amends – almost scoring and almost setting up a goal in the dying minutes. Not only will he working his hardest to ensure City do not concede at home, his positional awareness might just see him waltz past the Hull back four to score,
  2. Seamus Coleman (Medium) – The Irishman is on a roll! Excellent performances for Club and Country have marked Coleman for glory in 2013. Being a right-back hasn’t stopped him from pumping goals and assists for his team mates. A player with long term prospects this season – a worthy investment.
  3. James Collins (Low) – Yet another FPL prospect who is seemingly flying the radar – with only 6.4% FPL managers having picked the Welsh International – quite frankly an embarrassment! A vital cog in Big Sam’s defense – yet another low priced player to select ASAP!
  • Midfielders:
  1. Theo Walcott (High) – If it’s the North London Derby – AT the Emirates – one person who never fails to tun up is the speedy Englishman. Terrorizing full backs with his frightening pace, Theo has elevated his game to a new level and ensured that he remains an indispensable component of Arsene Wenger’s team.
  2. Kevin Nolan (Medium) - The talismanic Englishman is unquestionably the Hammers’ leader – wearing the Captain’s armband AND leading the players by example. All round action man – Nolan is a natural pick from the Irons’ squad.
  3. Aaron Ramsey (Low) – Yet another Welshman in today’s picks – and yet another Gunner. The 22 year old is seemingly coming back into the form of his life – with 3 goals in as many matches across all competitions. He should be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the arrival of Mathieu Flamini – as he will now have the license to roam in central midfield. Is it borderline blasphemy to suggest Ramsey on form is better than Jack Wilshere?! This season – we shall surely find out!.
  • Forwards:
  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – One thing is for sure – Liverpool will concede finally this weekend and the highest possibility is that the score will be – That Dutch Snake (Jersey #20). But despite that – it will be highly possible that the Man of the Match will be the troubled Wazza. A man who unfailingly turns up at all the right occasions – this game will be now different with the troubled striker having endured a tumultuous summer with never ending transfer speculation. Expect him to to turn it up and take another step at silencing his doubters.
  2. Olivier Giroud (Medium) – Third Gunner in the list!? So what!!? He’s scored 3 goals in the last 4 matches already – and the Emirates is his favourite hunting ground. Being the lone point of attack – now even more after Lukas Podolski’s unfortunate long term injury – expect the burly Frenchman to receive a LOT of service – and he may surely convert a chance or two!
  3. Edin Dzeko (Low) – Oddly, the Bosnian hit-man is almost never given the credit he deserves, despite his habit to score vital goals and vital matches. Priced lower than most FPL forwards, he is embarrassingly the most economical City forward – even behind new signings Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic! Surely an injustice!! But with nwe Pelligrini seemingly having immense faith in Dzeko – he has promised to he will turn back the clock and make the Bosnian the striker who was *expected* to arrive at the Etihad three seasons ago.

So that’s the list of my picks!! How many will deliver and how many will fail!? We won’t be waiting to long to find out!!!

Till the next time – hopefully, next Gameweek itself! May my second innings carry on uninterrupted… :)

- DesiEPLFantasyManager

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So i’m back after ANOTHER looooong break… Quite the Tomas Rosicky i am, ehh?! :D

And what a time to comeback as well, with a MASSIVE fixture pile up over the next 5 days!! Unless you don’t know already 4 teams play twice over the Gameweek – and what a list of teams to boot: Arsenal, Everton, Fulham and Manchester United.

***Correction – 5 teams, i forgot dear old West Ham!! Sorry Big Sam!!!

MU will look to bury last week’s defeat under an avalanche of goals and 6 points… Arsenal and Everton will both be desperate to earn 6 points and stake their claim for a spot in the Top 4… And Fulham… will keep passing the ball to Berbatov.

The Tyne Wear Derby is perhaps the star billed match of the week, but with both teams hovering very uncomfortably above relegation spots a win will become even more crucial to both teams.

For multiple reasons – Arsenal vs Everton will be the match to look out for. It might just be a “six-pointer” though not in the strictest of senses.

A Toffees win wil inch them close to Europe, put a massive gap between them and Liverpool & boost their confidence massively for the rest of the campaign.

Arsenal – if they win – will overtake Chelsea and Tottenham and the psychological  ramifications of 6 points this week will be **MASSIVE**.

Elsewhere, Wigan will potentially take a break from their Annual Avoid Relegation party and they visit Manchester City – who seem earnest in winning maximum points from the remaining matches.

Wit most of the big matches covered, let me head straight for my picks for this week:

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Joe Hart (High): With a severely over worked Chelsea playing the last match on this week, Hart playing against Wigan seems like a safe bet for a clean sheet. Hart is at the foremost in putting in a shift that’ll make the City supporters and in one of the few players who is still fighting for the City cause.
  2. David De Gea (Medium): After 6 clean sheets in a row, City finally breached the Red Devils defence twice last week. Expect SAF to demand that they embark on a new spree with two easily winnable games against teams who arn’t the most prolific of scores: Stoke and West Ham. With two games to be played, potentially penalty saves might just be a welcome bonus.
  3. Lukasz Fabianski (Low): Hey! i am just as surprised as you are to see Lukasz “Flappyhandski” here – but the Polish keeper has really put in impressive performances to snatch the starting spot away from Wojciech Szczensny. Once again – 2 games, maybe a clean sheet and a potential penalty save. A gamble, but the low price means it might just pay off handsomely.
  • Defenders:
  1. Patrice Evra (High):  The only stumble in this pick – and i do have my doubts – is that Evra might just be rested for one of the two matches that MU play. With the title wrapped up, SAF might just let Buttner have a run of two away games against the physically imposing sides. That said, if he does play the Red Devils VC might just contribute to the attack – adding to his tally of 4 goals and 8 assists.
  2. Thomas Vermaelen (Medium): The Gunners skipper has now got the opportunity to play two games in a week – albeit only due to Per Merstesacker’s suspension. He will be keen to impress & with 2 games, he will get many chances to earn a starting spot. i reckon he will be eager to leave his mark.
  3. Sascha Reither (Low): Imported from FC Koln, Sascha has quickly established himself as a crowd favourite at Craven Cottage. With Fulham playing twice (yeah, it’s a recurring theme in my picks) and the second match to be played at home, he might just turn out to be a smart buy.

***** Note:  Why did i leave out my perennial favourite Leighton Baines you ask, even though Everton play twice and Baines is generally awesome sauce this season?! Answer: He is on 4 Yellow cards – so a booking at QPR who are a scrappy lot – will result in him being suspended for the second match against Arsenal. *****

  • Midfielders:
  1. Santi Cazorla (High): Regular readers (Bless You :) ) will be aware that i’m a sucker for footballers who have special reasons to perform – seminal matches, overtaking/equaling club records, playing against former clubs, personal joy etc. etc…. And also, players who play twice a week are easy shoo ins in my team. Without further ado – i present to you Santi Cazorla – who plays twice *at home* this week AND welcomed his daughter India (Reason No. 1588 to love him) last week after his wife/partner (?!) delivered the healthy baby girl. Soooo – he’ll either score and kiss both his wrists – or score twice for his two kids. My bet for fantasy Captain to boot.
  2. Marouane Fellaini (Medium): Regular readers (Bless You :)) will know that rarely a Gameweek goes where i don’t have multiple Belgians in my Fantasy picks. So Belgian # 2 makes the cut again – Marouane “plays twice this Gameweek” Fellaini; who is back from his suspension and will be raring to contribute to the Toffees cause as they seek to sneak into Europe. Fantasy Captain Choice – Rank 2.
  3.  Damien Duff (Low): It has been ages, but there was once a time when Damien Duff was a high flying winger for played for Chelsea. Therefore Duff ticks two boxes – playing twice and playing against a former club. i persist in my belief that Chelsea will be thoroughly exhausted after their lengthy season – and quite possibly slip up at the later stages when they are least expected to. Fulham are gasping for air and would want to pick up as many points they can at this stage, to stave a potential relegation battle.
  • Forwards:
  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – With That Dutch Snake on a mini drought (i fully expect him to end it over the next 2 games) i would still nominate Wazza for the pick. He’s hungrier to prove himself, well rested and more adept at playing physical sides like Stoke and West Ham. His efforts *for* the team are highly under-appreciated and i wouldn’t be surprised if he sets up team mates more than he scores from now till the end of the season. At least, that’s my take. Also, he’s a bit more economical than He Who Must Not Be Named.
  2. Olivier Giroud (Medium): He’s an Arsenal player… looks like a dream… has the body of a Greek God… Is French.. Smiles like a angel… i’m sorry, whaaatt?!! Oh – and he plays twice this week at home. Yup – THAT is why you should have him in your Fantasy…. Squad.
  3. Victor Anichebe (Low): Anichebe is a Fantasy Manager’s delight.. Costing only 4.3M £. And he plays with consistent regularity, now that Nikica Jelavic isn’t on the scincillating form that he displayed towards the end last season. Anichebe wasn’t given many chances at the start of the season, and missed out on a lot of games towards the middle. A run now has seen him contribute with 5 goals and assists. Dirt cheap, play twice – Great buy!

So that’s that…

How many of these will deliver, only time shall tell!!

Till next week..

Cheers,

DesiEPLFantasyManager.

This week will be a crucial one in determining the end of the season standings… For Fantasy Managers and the EPL table alike!

With some potentially high scoring games like The North London Derby, Manchester City’s trip to Aston Villa, Everton hosting Reading it will be of SUPREME importance that you select the right players to get a slice of the action…

Manchester United are expected win their home game over Norwich City, i expect a regulation 1-0/2-0 win for the home side.

Chelsea take on West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge and with Romelu Lukaku unable to play all signs point to a thumping home win – unless the “Curse of West Brom” strikes again… i have the slightest of hunches that it might just be an upset, but i reckon it’ll be a Blues win. Frank Lampard will be keen to make up for last week’s penalty miss and i see no reason why he shouldn’t score his 200th Blues’ goal at home today. Some headlines are just waiting to be written in tomorrow’s newspapers i tell you…

Southampton host QPR with new Saints’s boss Mauricio Pochettino hoping to pick up valuable points and steer the team away from the relegation fight. Harry Redknapp will make an uncomfortable return to St Mary’s. He was at the help when the Saints were relegated in 2004/05. Expect the Soton fans to make the day miserable for the Rangers.. that too on the occasion of ‘Arry’s birthday!! My bet’s on Rickie Lambert to win it for Mauricio’s second home win.

Swansea host Newcastle a week after their historic win in the Capital One Cup and i expect Alan Pardew’s men to notch up three points in what could be an interesting match for the neutrals to watch.

Wigan host Liverpool – and here’s the thing – i expect Wigan to win this one. Wigan’s annual “end of the season relegation staving battle” usually claims a few high profile scalps and i fancy L’pool to be on the hit list this season.

All bets are off for the North London Derby – just make sure you have no defenders of goalkeepers from this game. With Gareth Bale and Santi Cazorla in inspired form in the EPL and the likes of Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Adebayor, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele just waiting to grab the limelight, expect this to be a totally mental goal fest!!

The only problem with Aston Villa vs Manchester City is that NOBODY knows what team Roberto Mancini will start with!! Only Yaya Toure and David Silva are (near)confirmed starters – how the front line of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko is started off is beyond anyone’s guess!! Still the City defense has a great chance to notch up another clean sheet, if they keep Christian Benteke under control.

Now that the round up’s wrapped up, here’s the main agenda – my picks!

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Joe Hart (High) – Last week Hart produced a brilliant save to deny Lampard a penalty and earned a massive 5 points as well for the effort. A clean sheet as well saw him earn 11 points – but Frankly (geddit?!!) nobody in their right minds must’ve seen THAT coming. This week however, a clean sheet will hardly surprise Fantasy Managers. i expect the City attack to have lots of possession and with traffic due to the other end of the pitch, i reckon Hart will have one of his more leisurely days in goal.
  2. David De Gea (Medium) – i re-iterate - this match should be a regulation 1-0 win for the Red Devils, who will field a young side who will be content with keeping possession and more interested in not conceding goals. And if the likes of Wes Hoolahan, Robert Snodgrass do manage to find a way past Vidic and Co. expect the Spaniard to keep the Canaries at bay.
  3. Artur Boruc (Low) – i expect a Soton win today. And with an increasing assured look and disciplined team – barring last week’s 6 goal mad cap thriller – it shouldn’t be a surprise if Boruc notches up his third clean sheet of the year.
  • Defenders: 
  1. Branislav Ivanovic (High) – With Lukaku illegible to play against parent club, Peter Odenwhingie still not completely winning over the Baggies after that bizarre transfer saga and Shane Long a suspect owing to injury, Chelsea have a great chance to stamp their authority over a West Brom side who will be extra cautious in defence. Ivanovic will be allowed venture forward today and might score off a set piece as well.
  2. Pablo Zabaleta (Medium) – The Argentine is right lauded as “Mr Dependable” at the Etihad, and for good reason too. Deputizing as Captain till Vincent Kompany comes back from injury, the armband had further boosted Zabaleta’s credence at City, with a few writers even claiming he should be awrded PFA Player of the year. Lofty praise indeed. A great asset in attack and in defense, Pablo’s a Fantasy buy that stays in the team all season long.
  3. Joey O’Brien (Low) – If all goes as per script, West Ham away to Stoke City should be the dullest match of the weekend, and quite possibly the season. With both the Kevins – Noble and Nolan doubtful to start, Stoke should be looking forward to add yet another clean sheet to their already impressive season tally, hopefully with a goal scored at the opposite end.
  • Midfielders:
  1. David Silva (High) – Along with Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure, quite possibly the only name assuredto be in the starting XI when the city team sheet rolls out. The Spaniard will be aware of the looming 15 gap that could open up after United’s early match against Norwich. Supplying assists and scoring the odd goal or two from the heart of midfield, he will have to be on top of his game if City are to thump Aston Villa and reduce the points deficit between themselves and United.
  2. Frank Lampard (Medium) – Fat Frank is hellbent on over taking Bobby Tambling’s 203 goal tally and forever etch his names in the annals of Chelsea’s err… history. He missed the chance last week to go to 200 and will be looking to make up for it at home against the Baggies. It’ll be quite the story, ehh?!
  3. Stephane Sessegnon (Low) – Last week, Martin O’Neill seemingly realized how boring Sunderland were and decided to go “radical” with a 4-4-2. :| So Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher were paired up front but most importantly, Sessegnon was sent wide to the right. And although they lost, Sessgnon has quite possibly his best game this season with a goal to show for his efforts. A home game with the same line up might boost his troops and surely, they need it. And so O’Niell will need and encore from the prodigal Beninese international.
  • Forwards:
  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – With an eye on the UEFA CL match against Madrid next Tuesday, Sir Alex Ferguson might rest some key players like Robin van Persie (ugh!), Patrice Evra and Danny Welbeck. But resting Wayne Rooney will be borderline scandalous – ask any United fan and you’ll hear the same. With Wazza not among the goals for a while now, a home match against Norwich provides a great opportunity to reclaim form and build up momentum for the showdown on Tuesday.
  2. Rickie Lambert (Medium) – i admit, i am a HUGE Lambert fan. The Englishman has had a brilliant season in the top flight & i feel terrible he can’t make it to the English National team. Ironic, considering they might need his services during the inevitable penalty shoot outs. Lambert will be raring to win 3 points for Saints in their relegation scrap against QPR. Through goals or assists, he shall deliver.
  3. Danny Graham (Low) – Last week, Graham showed a hint of a blossoming partnership with Steven Fletcher when paired together. He will be desperately hoping to score in front of the home fans, who still haven’t accepted him due to his not so flattering comments about Sunderland years ago.

Note: Of course i haven’t picked any players from the North London Derby because… come on! You’d be spoilt for choice too!!

How will these picks perform this week!? We shall know soon…

Cheers,

DesiEPLFantasyManager.

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