So i’m back after ANOTHER looooong break… Quite the Tomas Rosicky i am, ehh?! 😀
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. *****
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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..
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
Hello there folks!
i don’t want to brag, but a lot of my picks in Gameweek23 did perform remarkably well… Joe Hart and Leighton Baines with clean-sheets… Theo Walcott with an 18pt haul, Marouane Fellaini with a respectable 5, Luis Suarez and Romelu Lukaku among the goals and assists…
Could get my picks out for GW24, but it was a week of surprises – what with QPR keeping a clean sheet against Manchester City (!!), Wigan scoring 2 against Stoke, Ryan Shawcross with a goal (!!), Sunderland and Swansea in a stalemate 0-0, and Fulham winning 3-1 over West Ham…
Anyway, here’s a quick look at the fixtures this weekend:
QPR vs Norwich – Harry’s New Boys could claim their second home League victory of this season against a Norwich team which seems to lost some of the early season sheen…
Arsenal vs Stoke – I expected the Gunners to win the match against Liverpool, then have a 0-0/1-1 draw against Stoke. Now, with the high stakes involved, Arsenal face a must win situation, but i fully expect Stoke to put in a real fight.
Everton vs Aston Villa – i expect Everton to win, but whether they shut out Aston Villa will depend on which side of the bed Christian Benteke woke up today..
Newcastle vs Chelsea – A classic “trap game” – the Toons could spring an upset and pile on the pressure on Rafa Benitez, but i fully anticipate a Frank Lampard goal – quite possibly from the penalty spot.
Reading vs Sunderland – An upset – a rare Reading win.
West Ham vs Swansea – West Ham win; Michu to score.
Wigan vs Southampton – Tooooo close to call, but i’d go for a Saints victory. Wigan will kick start their annual “escape from relegation” ritual next week with a shock result against Chelsea.
Fulham vs Man. Utd – Can Fulham pull off a shock victory?! Unlikely.. but this will be a typical MUtd match – a nervy 3-2 win with at least one RvP goal.. A brilliant performance from Berbatov is probably another guarantee.
West Brom vs Tottenham – Striker less Spurs have recalled Harry Kane, but latest news declare Jermain Defoe fit for this clash. Spurs will look to Gareth Bale to deliver yet another sizzling performance and grab three points in their quest for Champions League qualification.
Man. City vs Liverpool – Man City for the win. Edin Dzeko with a goal or two…
So now that we’ve had a quick look at the games, here are the picks for GW25:
- Hugo Lloris (High) – The Frenchman has finally cemented his place as the No.1 at Tottenham, and today will be great opportunity to stamp his authority and silence any remaining doubters. West Brom have been struggling of late, having lost 4 of their last 5 matches. The usually solid Spurs defense could manage a shut out today.
- Tim Howard (Medium) – Everton host Aston Villa, and will look to claim all three points in their quest for a top 4 finish. With Villans looking quite lost and the Toffees defense in solid if not impressive shape, this could be their third clean sheet in the last 4 games.
- Julio Cesar (Low) – Why Cesar wasn’t awarded all 3 Bonus points after last week’s stupendous performance is beyond me. He single handedly kept David Silva from claiming a hat trick!! Against Norwich, QPR will look to build on their January enforcements with Man Mountain Christopher Samba in the heart of defense.
- Jan Vertonghen (High) – The Belgian has impressed in his first season in the EPL. He has been as important as Gareth Bale in their march towards a top4 finish. Expect him to put in a great shift today once again.
- Bacary Sagna (Medium) – The Gunners’ right back is having a torrid season – his slip in the last game led to Liverpool’s opening goal. With Stoke’s forwards rarely threatening to score, i expect Sagna to show us all (and maybe potential suitors in summer) what he is truly capable of.
- Christopher Samba (Low) – At 12.5 millions pounds and a salary of 100k, don’t expect Harry Redknapp to give the formed Blackburn Rovers man “time to settle” at QPR. Also, he won’t be caught unawares in the EPL, having left English shores only last January. He will slotted right in the centre of he action, and at the very low price of only 5.0m i fully expect the Congolese international to be a valuable asset – to QPR and to your FPL teams.
- Gareth Bale (High) – Some research today confirmed that Jermain Defoe will be available for the match against West Brom. However, Bale’s position as the focal point of Spurs’ attack is beyond doubt. This could well turn out to be one of those games where the midfielder lights up the BPL with a brilliant display.
- Marouane Fellaini (Medium) – The Belgian is having a quite run of late, having scored his last goal over 2 months ago. Aston Villa will be the perfect tonic to kick start the new month and a crucial run of games to clinch the top 4 spot for the Toffees.
- Yohan Cabaye (Low) – Among the Frenchman who have arrived this year at Newcastle, let us not forget the “dreamboat” who came ashore last season.. Cabaye is already a vital cog in the Toons’ mechanism. With 2 goals in his last two outings, expect Cabaye – NUFC’s set-piece specialist to boot – to lift Alan Pardew’s men away from the relegation battle.
- Robin Van Persie (High) – If he isn’t in your FPL teams already, then you need to sell off 3 midfielders and get him in already! Agreed.. he costs more than any other player in the league, but bloody hell does he deliver! And now, Wayne Rooney has declared he will be relinquishing his penalty taking responsibilities to the Dutchman. [http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Football-News/2013/Feb/wayne-rooney-decision-not-to-take-penalties.aspx] So that means RvP – who is a Manchester United player now – will get at least 10 penalties from now till the end of… February. 45.2% of FPL Managers already own him…. Will i be surprised to find out the number’s doubled by next week?
- Olivier Giroud (Medium) – 3 goals, 1 assist – a maximum 6 Bonus Points in the past two weeks – yeah, the Frenchman’s a flop alright. i hope my wife’s like Oliver – wait, that doesn’t sound right.. Surely, he will muscle (or charm) his way into the starting XI against the Rugby team tonight, and chip with a goal or an assist.
- Rickie Lambert (Low) – The Saints are looking for their first win under new manager Mauricio Pochettino. Wigan gives them a great opportunity to claim three points. Rickie Lambert will the best man to score goals, set up team mates and take set pieces as well. And with a record as fabulous as “Career Penalties Taken: 33; Career Penalties Missed: 0” and with 10 goals and 4 assists this season alone, who wouldn’t want Super Rickie Lambert in their team?! Or am i confusing him with some other penalty scoring Englishman?!
So, what do you think? Do my picks pass muster?!
in 48 hours we shall know for sure!
i’m no saint – it’s hard to be a blogger, especially with a limited audience… It’s never about the money (take my word, i’m a Gooner) but a little love goes a long way in such endeavours… the loooooong break was a result of a lot of things, but at the heart of it was disappointment.. Hope writing makes me fall back in line…
Speaking of saints – former Saint Theo Walcott has FINALLY ended his transfer saga by extending his contract, and he will stay at Arsenal and be at the very front of “The British Core”, while Saints Manager Nigel Adkins has been unceremoniously dumped by Southampton after a run of 5 undefeated matches…
No round up this week, i’ll dive straight into the selections:
- Joe Hart (High) – Manchester City host notoriously unimpressive travelers Fulham, one week after they managed to keep Arsenal at Bay. With Vincent Kompany’s Red Card overruled, he will be back to help the Citizen’s cause of retaining the League Championship. And it helps that Hart is easily one of the best ‘keepers in the world, let alone the EPL.
- Wojciech Szczesny (Medium) – This pick is slightly risky, but if all goes as per script it’ll pay off. The Pole saved a penalty last weekend which proved he’s no mug in between the sticks.. And with 2 matches to be played by Arsenal this Gameweek, with a clean sheet seemingly achievable in the home match against West Ham, i reckon this a gamble worth taking.
- Adam Federici (Low) – Reading travel to Newcastle United at a time when the North East club is free falling into a vortex of relegation battle. With Demba Ba’s departure, and key players like Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheick Tiote missing, the Toons are desperately lacking firepower upfront. Can Brian McDermott’s men add to Alan Pardew’s misery?!
- Leighton Baines (High) – Somethings never change.. the number of times i’ve had Baines in my picks and yet i can’t buy him in my squad! Everton take on Southampton mere days after Nigel Adkins was given the boot. David Moyes would want the Toffees to take advantage of their instability. Set piece specialist Baines will look to have a bumper game with assists and goals there for the taking. But can they keep a clean sheet, not if their life depends on it i’m afraid!
- Kieran Gibbs (Medium) – Again, a Gunner selected purely because Arsenal play twice this Gameweek. Easily the most impressive of the Arsenal backline, the Englishman is having a terrific season. A goal last week, with assists flowing with some regularity, Gibbs is integral to starting attacks deep in the opposition half. His overlapping runs with Podolski are already impressive and with some practice, his dangerous crosses should regularly find Giroud and Walcott more often.
- Billy Jones (Low) – The Englishman has established himself as a near constant presence in the Baggies defence. While not a goalscorer like team mate Thomas McAuley, his ability to read the game and put in crucial tackles and interceptions are essential to the Baggies impressive home defensive record. Against a highly suspect Aston Villa side, Steve Clarke’s men would look for a clinical victory over Paul Lambert’s charges.
- Theo Walcott (High) – No, this isn’t Gunner bias, not in the least!! If i haven’t told you already, Arsenal play twice this Gameweek, so there! And Theo’s just signed a contract extension. And he is deployed as a striker these days. So his chances of scoring are higher, and he’s still classified as a Midfielder. “Days after signing a new contract, Theo gives back to his fans by scoring against familiar opponents, Chelsea” – You tell me that headline seems far fetched!!
- Marouane Fellaini (Medium) – The Belgian has it a plateau after his blistering start to the season.. A three match ban didn’t help either. Southampton – who’re seemingly in disarray – should provide a great platform for Fellaini to get back in the limelight.
- Kevin Nolan (Low) – See?! No bias. West Ham are the other team that play twice this Gameweek, and who else to buy other than their Captain Nolan?!! With The Other Kevin (Noble, for those who came late) suspect, Nolan becomes the focal point in attack AND will take over the set piece duties, if they do arrive. An obvious buy.
- Luis Suarez (High) – Last week’s battle of the top strikers saw Robin Van Persie emerge the obvious victor. This week the Uruguayan will be keen to set the record straight. Last time he faced the Canaries in the league, he scored a hat-trick, and provided an assist. While hitting those numbers seem unlikely, expect him to put in a match-winning performance nonetheless.
- Demba Ba (Medium) – In my books, Ba is now an Undroppable. Every Fantasy team simply MUST have him!! With he boatload of chances that Chelsea create, Ba is a seamless fit at the very top – waiting to poach on every available opportunity. Arsenal failed to mark him the last time they met, and he scored 2. While he was still at Newcastle. i fear for Arsenal.
- Romelu Lukaku (Low) – Chelsea seem to have most of their strategies plain wrong. Lukaku is living proof of it. They bought the Belgian (surprise surprise!!), wasted him and then loaned him off to West Brom – where’s he’s been outstanding! He takes on Aston Villa at home, after scoring 2 past Reading last week. Once again, a highly logical buy.
So that’s it! Hope i’m back on Thursday to assess my picks!
***Note: Had Kevin Noble and Lukas Podolski been available, i’d have SURELY picked them! 🙂
Also, maybe Ben Forster (WBA vs AVFC) instead of Federici as the goalkeeper in the Low department – that’s a close call though.
After a spectacularly fruitful return in the last outing, comes GW17…
Top story for the week – as reported by Captain Obvious – is that Chelsea and Southampton are not playing, so that will create quite the selection dilemma for scores for Fantasy Managers, as the likes of Juan Mata, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic and recently Fernando Torres – will leave a gaping hole in the team sheet, and will lead to major reshuffling to earn a decent score this GW to keep pace with teams who do not feature them…
Also, Southampton have some impressive FF picks – Jose Fonte, Nathaniel Clyne, Jason Puncheon, Rickie Lambert – who will be unavailable this week as well.
In terms of Fantasy scoring, Liverpool vs Aston Villa and Manchester United vs Sunderland should be the games FF Managers must keep an eye on. Expecting clean sheets for both home teams and a heavy return from Liverpool/United forwards’ shouldn’t be surprise most Managers.
Manchester City are still smarting from last week’s stoppage time loss to United, and will look to make amends at the ground which bolstered their late title challenge last season – Newcastle United. Couple that with the Toons’ woeful form this season, and any dropped points at the Sports Direct Arena will prove to be nothing short of an upset for Mancini’s men.
Norwich have quietly emerged as one of the in-form teams in the EPL, notching up 4 cleans in the last 8 matches that they have gone undefeated, with upset wins over Arsenal, Manchester United (and Stoke City, if i may add..).
Yet another week, yet ANOTHER London Derby as QPR will host Fulham. Will ‘Arry FINALLY lead the Rangers to their first League win this season??!
Stoke City host Everton in match that should threaten Stoke’s 6 match unbeaten run – they have 4 wins and 2 draws – a record matched by only Manchester United. While facing the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic, expect the Potters to concede goals at the “fortress” that is the Britannia Stadium, but don’t be surprised if they score some of their own via Jonathan Walters, Michael Kightly, Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch.
Tottenham vs Swansea should a match with goals being scored freely at both ends. Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor, Aaron Lennon and Clint Dempsey will all to get their names on the score-sheet while surreally impressive Michu, along with Jonathan de Guzman, Nathan Dyer will look to cause yet another upset in North London.
Arsenal travel to Reading, a few weeks after the miraculous 5-7 Capital One Cup match… That euphoria has settled now that the Gunners have been dumped out of the same by Bradford City and the under pressure squad will take the opportunity to get back to winning ways at Madjeski against the woeful hosts who look destined for relegation. While there may not be a goal fest like the last time these sides met, an Arsenal win is the least that is expected tonight.
Without further delay, here are my picks for Gameweek 17:
- Jose Reina (High) – Liverpool, having finally managed to field an injury free back-line, have chalked up a couple of impressive defensive displays at home. Aston Villa are still looking a like a team bound for relegation, and the Reds should look to notch yet another win in their ascent up the table. Will Pepe finally stop with his erratic goalkeeping habits and add another regulation clean sheet under his belt?
- David De Gea (Medium) – The Manchester United goal keeping dilemma seems to have been settled – for now. The Spanish shot stopper has earned his starting spot and should have one of best seats in the house as he surveys the one way traffic that is expected at the other end.
- Mark Bunn (Low) – John Ruddy’s absence has led to an abrupt defensive imbalance at Carrow Road, just when they’d chalked up 4 cleans sheets in 5 matches. Mark Bunn faces a Wigan side who are terrible on the road. Can Chris Houghton’s men eke out another 1-0 win over the Latics? i fancy – yes!
- Leighton Baines (High) – Stoke City have arguably the best defensive record (at home) in the EPL, but also one of the worst goal-scoring records (at home) as well. For Everton to win the match, scoring a lone goal might just put the result beyond the Potters. Add to that the possibility that a penalty might just be conceded by the Jolly Green Giants, and Baines’ inclusion makes a lot of sense. Will the man with this page created for him – http://www.facebook.com/pages/And-on-the-8th-day-God-created-Leighton-Baines-left-foot/155901457798052?ref=ts&fref=ts – strike this weekend?!
- Glen Johnson (Medium) – After a lengthy spell of indifferent performances, Englishman Johnson has put ins some of his best performances in the Reds shirt over the last two matches. Before a home match against Aston Villa, now would be a great time to jump on the Johnson bandwagon!!
- Sebastien Bassong (Low) – Speaking of bandwagons, Bassong is another player who seems to have stuck a purple patch. 3 goals in the last 5 matches along with a clean sheet, and the returns have been impressive for any Managers who picked up the Cameroonian. His transfer price too has spiked by 0.5M. Seems like a sound investment in my books.
- Santi Cazorla (High) – The Gunners are officially in crisis – for the umpteenth time this season. The diminutive Spaniard has been one of the few bright spots for the Gooners this season. As Wenger’s men look to dig themselves out of yet another hole, expect Santi to take the lead and pave the way for a much needed win for Arsenal.
- Yaya Toure (Medium) – The Ivorian returns to Newcastle, 7 months after he won them the match against the Toons and effectively, the EPL title. With a host of forwards lacking form and City playing catch up to United’s 6 point gap at the top of the table, expect Toure to put in an imperious performance once again.
- Anthony Pilkington (Low) – The former Manchester United youth player is one of the key factors behind Norwich’s dominant run in the past few matches. An attacking midfielder with an eye for flair, his goal scoring threat and a low price tag make him a great investment.
- Wayne Rooney (High) – First off, read this – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/9746388/Manchester-Uniteds-Wayne-Rooney-targets-revenge-mission-against-Sunderland.html – Then take into account that Rooney has scored 4 goals and assisted another in the last 2 matches. THEN you tell me it’s not a good idea to appoint him Captain in my Fantasy team. Go on, i’ll be patient……
- Jermain Defoe (Medium) – In a season where the headlines are dominated by the likes of Michu, Robin van Persie (ugh!), Carlos Tevez among others, Jermaine Defoe is quietly notching up impressive performances in EPL and the Europa League. Against Swansea, expect the nimble Englishman to break the 10 goal mark this season.
- Jamie Mackie (Low) – Owing to injuries to most of the forwards at Loftus road, Mackie – who seemingly enjoys the patronage of new boss Harry Redknapp – will look to make the most of the chances coming his way. Fulham are hardly threatening when away, and with the Rangers desperately waiting for a win, expect the Scottish international to help the cause.
That’s my take on the Gameweek 17.
Here’s to a bumper return (i need a punch line.. badly!!)
Yet another brilliant pozt from the ever classy P.I.M.P…
Today I launch my “Agony Aunt Day”: As part of a new series I created because I have been deluged by questions that I receive from Twitter followers and comments on my blog, I have decided to use these questions as “teachable moments” for the rest of my followers.
So, as the first in this 0n-going series, here is a letter I received from “Perplexed of Islington:”
Dear Poznan In My Pants,
I have admired you for many, many years. Your wisdom inspires me every day. You are a visionary, a man before your time.
It is for these and many other reasons that I came to you with my perplexing dilemma which is tearing me apart:
The Black Scarf Movement is having a march. I am very conflicted. I don’t know if I should march with them. Should I march with them?
If I march, then people will think I fully…
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