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London Love In with Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez Benched, Radiohead and Andy ******* Carroll

West Ham’s Andy Carroll & The 5 #FPL Players You MUST Pick For GW22

Gameweek 22

DEFENDER: Alberto Moreno – £5.0m (Away v Aston Villa)

What’s this? A Liverpool defender? Will wonders never cease?

Well the Reds are facing an Aston Villa side who seem to have the same attitude to scoring goals as the rest of us do to getting our teeth pulled at the dentist, and Alberto Moreno has started the last three and also shown a willingness to get forward on the left side of Brendan Rodgers’ midfield four, so it’s not too crazy is it?

 

MIDFIELDER: Angel Di Maria – £9.5m (Away v QPR)

Manchester United will be eager to bounce back from their Southampton disappointment when they go to struggling QPR on Saturday, and luckily for them they’ll have Angel Di Maria on their side when they do so.

The Argentinean got 71 minutes under his belt in last Sunday’s defeat, and although things didn’t quite go to plan for him and his teammates there he’ll have plenty of chances to put things right in a match United really need to win.

 

FORWARD: Andy Carroll – £6.9m (Home v Hull)

His stunning goal against Swansea earned Andy Carroll all three bonus points last weekend, and he’ll be eyeing another impact at home to a Hull City side who look ripe to be beaten by West Ham.

On his day Carroll can be very difficult to stop, and if he can get the right service on Sunday afternoon then the big man could be a huge addition to your side.

 

THE OUTSIDER: Danny Ings – £5.7m (Home v Crystal Palace)

There are signs of life at Burnley, and after his fine goal against QPR last week the main source of that life is the forward Danny Ings.

Throw in the fact that he’s out of contract in the summer and could well be playing for a move should the Clarets end up going down, and you’ve got a pretty strong mix and one which could end up with a goal against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

 

THE CAPTAIN: Diego Costa – £11.2m (Away v Swansea)

Sergio Aguero is back in action and will fancy finding the net against Arsenal, but if you’re playing the percentages then it’ll surely pay to go with Diego Costa again.

After what seemed like a mini-slump the Chelsea man has scored in his last two, and that has every chance of becoming three as the Blues go to Swansea on Saturday.

@Mark_Jones86

Manchester City vs West Ham: Confirmed Lineups and Preview

Premier League Preview: West Ham v Manchester United

Fantasy Football GW31: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Man United ALL play twice!

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You’ll have had your eye on it for a while, but Gameweek 31 looks like one to separate the men and the women from the boys and the girls.

Ten teams face two matches over the next week, and the points on offer in them could be the difference between a strong finish to your season or petering out amongst the also-rans.

In honour of the Double Gameweek, we’ve taken a look at all 10 teams and highlighted players who you should consider for your teams.

Off we go:

Arsenal (Chelsea away, Swansea home)

The opening game is obviously the tougher one here, especially given Chelsea’s strong defensive record at home. Tomas Rosicky (£5.5m) impressed in the North London derby, but if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.6m) had sharpened up his finishing skills there the win could have been more emphatic. With the Gunners’ defence and attack set for a tough game at Stamford Bridge, the England man could be the way to go.

Swansea (Everton away, Arsenal away)

Undoubtedly dealt the toughest hand in Gameweek 31, Swansea’s players don’t really appeal at all. If you had to pick one, Michu (£8.4m) returned for 28 minutes in the West Brom game and should feature again.

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Manchester United (West Ham away, Manchester City home)

After going from bad to worse against Liverpool, Manchester United face another tough couple of matches. No-one at the club is in any sort of form at all, and so with a daunting meeting with rivals City on the horizon not to mention a tough examination at West Ham, their players might be best avoided. Adnan Januzaj (£4.9m) remains the best value though.

Manchester City (Fulham home, Manchester United away)

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The Fulham game certainly offers up the potential for another City scorefest, and to be honest the trip to Old Trafford does too. David Silva (£9.2m) got an all-too-rare goal at Hull, but Samir Nasri (£8.1m) is more likely to find the net, whilst Edin Dzeko (£6.7m) did so last weekend and could be the one to profit if Sergio Aguero’s lack of fitness and Alvaro Negredo’s poor form continues.

Newcastle (Crystal Palace home, Everton home)

It’s a pity that Loic Remy is injured as these games would have been perfect for him, but instead it looks like being Luuk de Jong (£5.9m) who’ll lead the line for the Magpies. Fabricio Coloccini (£4.8m) will be important as the hosts seek to keep things tight at St James’s Park, but the value could be with Moussa Sissoko (£5.8m) as he continues in a slightly more advanced midfield position to the one he adopted in the first half of the season.

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Everton (Swansea home, Newcastle away)

Seamus Coleman (£6.7m) got his customary goal late on in the Cardiff win and the Irishman remains a must-pick for your team, even if Everton have shipped goals away lately. Kevin Mirallas (£7.5m) has gone off the boil recently and whilst Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4m) promises much he’s only completed 90 minutes once all season. All of which points emphatically to Romelu Lukaku (£8.5m).

West Ham (Manchester United home, Hull home)

Andy Carroll (£7.1m) scored his first goal of the season against Stoke last time out, and the forward is a great differential choice here. The former Newcastle and Liverpool forward knows that he’s in the last chance saloon with regards to selection for the World Cup, and he’ll be desperate to impress in front of the television cameras against a dodgy Manchester United defence on Saturday night. Then on Wednesday its Hull at home.

Hull (West Brom home, West Ham away)

Curtis Davies (£4.7m) has been in the goals recently and looks a good shout as a cheap defender for your team, but all of Hull’s power lies with the attack. The club as a whole might have on eye on their upcoming FA Cup semi-final, but both Shane Long (£5.7m) and Nikica Jelavic (£6.7m) are cup-tied for that fixture, and the latter should be backed to fire against West Brom at least.

Liverpool (Cardiff away, Sunderland home)

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The team on everyone’s lips at the moment looks to be the ones to back here. Daniel Sturridge’s (£10.5m) emphatic scoring run may have stalled, but that only seems to have started another one for Luis Suarez (£13.1m). The Uruguayan should be your captain this Gameweek but also look out for useful midfield contributions from Jordan Henderson (£6.4m), Raheem Sterling (£5.9m) and of course Steven Gerrard (£9.2m).

Sunderland (Norwich away, Liverpool away)

Getting anything from Anfield will be tough, especially given that forward Fabio Borini (£6.2m) will be unable to face his parent club. The Norwich game could be a different matter though, and whilst Adam Johnson (£6.5m) excites as a potential addition, midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng (£4.3m) is surprisingly cheap and useful if you need someone to pad out the squad.

@Mark_Jones86

Update

Off the Mark: Why I’m backing Andy Carroll to lead West Ham to Premier League safety

West Ham Fan’s Perspective: Captain Carroll

West Ham: Why mid-table mediocrity is the way forward

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For most other football fans it was a day dominated by Chelsea becoming the first London club to win the European Cup, but it was easy to forget that another area of the capital had something to celebrate on May 19th 2012.

Perhaps West Ham’s Championship play-off final victory over Blackpool at Wembley was ‘easy to forget’ because the Hammers had always seemed to be a top flight club, regardless of their relegation under everyone’s favourite life of the party Avram Grant in 2011.

As opposed to the likes of Blackpool whose stopovers in the top flight have always been brief ones, West Ham have always regarded themselves as a big club who should feel at home amongst the elite and not be fearful of them.

There is nothing wrong with that of course, but at times it has seemed as though the club are fixated on running before they can walk, on aiming high only to end up disappointed.

This season they have taken back to Premier League life with a minimum of fuss, winning eight, drawing six and losing 11 of their 25 fixtures to find themselves 11th in the table. They have never really looked to be in serious relegation danger and now nine points ahead of 18th-placed Wigan following Saturday’s win over Swansea they don’t look like being in trouble any time soon.

Whereas the ‘running before you can walk’ tag can be labelled at London rivals Queens Park Rangers this season, Sam Allardyce’s West Ham have simply done enough to impress onlookers without overstretching themselves.

The signings of Jussi Jaaskelainen, Matt Jarvis and Mohamed Diame were all clever ones, whilst Allardyce pleased fans by granting Joe Cole a Hammers homecoming in January, with the former England midfielder expected to flesh out the squad and offer his guile and experience where needed.

It was another arrival from Liverpool who produced headlines in August though, and whilst injury hasn’t allowed Andy Carroll to make the kind of impact he’d have hoped for since his switch to Upton Park it is his move which has certainly been the most intriguing.

Unlike with plenty of the big money transfer deals seen throughout the Premier League, Carroll’s switch from Anfield is still a temporary one for now, and it is this move which showcases just why West Ham are fine being where they are at the moment.

Should, as now looks likely, the Hammers end the season in the middle reaches of the table then the money generated from both that position and the well-publicised new Premier League television deal will allow them to kick on and look to perhaps make Carroll’s signing a permanent one if they wish – maybe for around £15m.

Even if they don’t want to sanction such an outlay for the forward they will at least have that money there to spend on other targets, and you can be sure that Allardyce will be determined to spend that money wisely and not fritter it away as has been seen elsewhere.

West Ham just needed this season get into that position though. A season where previous ups and downs were forgotten about and consolidation in the top flight could be achieved.

They aren’t safe yet of course, and could even find themselves drawn closer to the foot of the table given that four of their next seven fixtures are against Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, but you have to believe that they’ll pick up enough points to ensure a safe distance between them and bottom three.

It might not be as glamorous as some would want, and it is likely to leave Hammers fans waiting a while to see their team on Match Of The Day, but this approach is just what their club needed in a first season back in the big time.

Next season they could really reap the benefits.

@Mark_Jones86

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