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Arsenal vs Monaco: Confirmed Lineups and Preview

Fantasy Football GW33 Preview: Arsenal pair can offer double delight

Santi+Cazorla+Arsenal+v+Newcastle+United+Premier+0TdgyymP_xGl

The business end of the season has already both approached and made its presence felt, and as if that wasn’t ramping up the pressure enough this Gameweek has an added element of complications about it.

Whilst some teams such as Tottenham and Swansea will go through Gameweek 33 without a fixture, others – five others to be exact – are playing twice.

For Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, Fulham and West Ham a double Gameweek lies in store, and of those sides it is arguably the Champions League-chasing Gunners who offer the best chance for Fantasy points.

Home matches against Norwich and Everton over the next week will go a long way towards confirming whether or not Arsenal will finish in the top four come the end of this season, and two of Arsene Wenger’s men in particular could end up having a huge say in whether or not that becomes a reality.

Both Santi Cazorla (£10.0m) and Olivier Giroud (£7.6m) have impressed at various points over their first season in English football; the Spaniard no doubt more often that the Frenchman admittedly, although both can shine over the next few days.

Four of Cazorla’s last five Gunners league goals have come at the Emirates Stadium, whilst a staggering nine out of Giroud’s 10 Premier League goals this season have come on his home turf.

Both men clearly like their home comforts, and with these back-to-back matches in North London offering them the chance to further improve their records in front of their own fans, then the pair should really be backed to do well for both Arsene Wenger and for you too.

Elsewhere across a Gameweek which has been affected by the FA Cup semi-finals, Manchester United will be seeking to recover from their loss to rivals Manchester City with back-to-back games which could help them seal the title.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men face tough contests though, firstly at a Stoke City side who are fighting for their lives at the bottom before a trip to West Ham in midweek.

With both matches looking to be on the tight, uncompromising side then it could pay to back United’s defensive players as opposed to their more famous attackers.

Goalkeeper David de Gea (£5.8m) had kept six clean sheets in a row prior to the City loss, whilst Rafael (£6.2m) completed 90 minutes for the first time in three games in the same fixture.

It could be a former United player who enjoys his double Gameweek a little more though.

Dimitar Berbatov (£7.3m) has scored five in his last five, and with the Bulgarian facing matches against a leaky Aston Villa defence and then a tired Chelsea he could just be the man to make the difference for Martin Jol’s men.

The forward has also scored four in his last four Craven Cottage appearances, and so it might be the Chelsea game which really sees him catch fire following Fulham’s visit to Villa Park.

Of the other clubs who are playing two matches this Gameweek, the return of Andy Carroll (£8.2m) to the West Ham side and of both Marouane Fellaini (£7.4m) and Steven Pienaar (£6.6m) at Everton should be noted, although the Blues’ other Belgian Kevin Mirallas (£6.8m) has been the man to watch following three goals in his last four games. Sadly he’s listed as a forward.

Elsewhere, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (£11.2m) will be backed to cause damage to a frequently creaky Reading defence at the Madejski Stadium, whilst Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse (£8.8m) has rediscovered a scoring touch recently and will be looking to score for the fourth St James’s Park appearance running in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby against Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland.

In midweek, Manchester City will hope to keep up their momentum following the win at Old Trafford, and Sergio Aguero (£10.9m) should start against Wigan following his Manchester derby heroics.

If he does, there could be more goals in the horizon.

@Mark_Jones86

Follow @FantasyYIRMA on twitter for updates and chat during the games. Shoot us your FPL questions and queries on twitter or in the comments below. Best of luck this GW!

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Fantasy Football: Forward Buying Guide Part 2

Many thanks to @soccersaber for this great Guest Post. New on the twitter scene, take a second to follow @soccersaber and check out his #FPL site at www.soccersaber.wordpress.com well worth a visit!

If you would like to submit a guestpost contact Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com

GUEST POST: Fantasy Football:  Forward Buying Guide PART 2

to read part 1 click here!

 

Rickie Lambert – I love Rickie Lambert.  I have owned him longer than any forward besides Luis Suarez this year.  I enjoy watching him play and am happy to finally see him at the highest level of English football.  Lambert is a safe option, with solid but unspectacular shot numbers coupled with strong assist potential.  He’s a great budget buy and a good fit for those who can’t stomach the risk of other options such as Lukaku and Giroud.  Keep in mind though he is owned by a good amount of FPL teams and is most likely not a differential for those needing to gain.  Rating: BUY for risk averse and those in solid league positions

Too much of this Olivier

Olivier Giroud – The potential here is through the roof based upon shot numbers.  Giroud gets a ton of chances from close range and one would expect better goal numbers from the Frenchmen (check out that conversion percentage).  Watching him play, it’s clear to see that he misses a bunch of clear-cut chances which must make owning him absolutely infuriating.  Still though I’d much prefer the guy who gets chances versus the one who doesn’t, especially with such low ownership.  Rating: SPECULATIVE BUY for those needing upside

Christian Benteke – That Belgian national team has some potential, eh?  Benteke is an extremely gifted athlete and should be an exceptional player in time.  However, he is very young and struggles with the nuances of the game from time-to-time (e.g., he is very prone to offsides).  More importantly though are Benteke’s teammates.  Aston Villa is not good.  I have their attack rated above only Reading and Stoke.  To put it bluntly, Villa do not generate chances and Benteke’s production is limited because of it.  Rating: HOLD although I would much prefer Lukaku and Sturridge.

Arouna Kone – A bit surprising to some I suspect, but Kone is owned by no one and represents value and upside over the remaining options.  He’s not as physically overpowering as Benteke, but he plays for a substantially more potent attack.  You could make up substantial ground with Kone especially after GW29 when the fixture list improves.  Rating: SPECULATIVE BUY if chasing

Steven Fletcher – Fletcher can score without a doubt and Sunderland’s attack has been much improved over the past ten weeks or so.  However, they are still somewhat toothless and Fletcher’s relatively high ownership numbers limit his upside.  Don’t see the logic in choosing Fletcher over Lambert as they are similar in scope but Lambert is better and cheaper.  Rating: SELL

Papiss Cisse – I have included Cisse here as he has been a popular potential speculative buy on many message boards, especially since the transfers of Sissoko and Gouffran.  As you can see, the table above should put that speculation to rest.  Cisse simply doesn’t get on the end of enough attacks, even since the transfer window.  While I think he has more upside than the numbers above suggest, his price and low assist potential make him a non-option for me.  Rating: SELL

No wonder he is so lazy

Dmitiar Berbatov – I was infatuated with Berbatov early in the season.  However, Fulham’s attack has been impotent since the holidays and shows little signs of reviving.  The numbers above, while poor, tell only half the tale; Berbatov has just four shots on target in his last six matches.  Rating: SELL

CONCLUSION

Get yourself a Liverpool man (or two).  If you are chasing the leaders grab yourself Mr. Lukaku and Mr. Giroud, or, if desperate, Mr. Kone.  Don’t expect RVP to lead the world in fantasy points the remainder of the year, but keep your eye out for alternatives elsewhere in Manchester.  If you are leading you could do a lot worse than bringing in Rickie Lambert.  Whatever you do, don’t purchase  Berbatov, Cisse, or Fletcher.

Hope you enjoyed this.  I plan on providing similar evaluations periodically, although I hope most are much more succinct!  As always, comments and criticisms are very welcomed.

Fulham: Jol’s band of brothers need to bond

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A look at any of Fulham’s recent teamsheets would leave you with inspiration for winning a game of Scrabble.

Ashkan Dejagah, Alexander Kacaniklic, Giorgos Karagounis, Urby Emanuelson and Stanislav Manolev have all made appearances for the Whites in recent weeks, and whilst we are yet to see midfielder Eyong Enoh in action, football writers can only breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that reserve goalkeeper Csaba Somogyi hasn’t got further than the bench yet.

Regardless of the names, what has been apparent is the changing nature of the Fulham team.

Now incredibly reliant on Dimitar Berbatov, Martin Jol’s side appears to be built solely to get the best out of the Bulgarian.

Gone the days of a resilient Fulham based on the consistent performances of the likes of Danny Murphy, Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora, the current side is set up solely for their forward. The results have been mixed.

Berbatov has scored just three goals in his last 14 Premier League games, and almost as a direct result Fulham have only won three of their last 18.

Currently six points above 18th-placed Reading, Jol and his 12th-placed side have work to do in order to join the teams who already appear to have done enough to secure Premier League survival – namely those from West Bromwich Albion in ninth and up.

Relying on the enigmatic talents of Berbatov is always going to produce both good and bad days, and Fulham have had plenty of those during a season in which they’ve once again shown themselves to frequently be soft touches on the road. They’ve won just two of 13 away games.

As the season heads towards its climax Jol will be looking to his unlikely band of brothers to offer Berbatov more help, to become more than just new names on those Fulham teamsheets and to step into their own limelights.

The apparent returns of old heads such as Mahamadou Diarra and Simon Davies in the matches to come will certainly help matters, but it is those players around Berbatov who really need to step up.

Dejagah was a Bundesliga champion with Wolfsburg in 2009. Kacaniklic was highly-rated during his youth career at Liverpool. Karagounis was a European champion with Greece in 2004 and has played in a string of Champions League games for clubs of the quality of Panathinaikos, Inter Milan and Benfica. The same can be said of Emanuelson at Ajax and AC Milan, whilst Manolev has played 29 times for Bulgaria.

These are not rookies.

These are players who have the experience and the quality to step up and perform for the team, and when added to the efforts already put in by the likes of Mark Schwarzer, John Arne Riise, Brede Hangeland, Aaron Hughes, Steve Sidwell and Damien Duff then a solid platform should be assembled. Bryan Ruiz and Mladen Petric add quality, whilst Berbatov is their matchwinner.

Results need to be picked up sooner rather than later though, as Fulham strive to avoid becoming that one team who everyone waits to see get sucked into the relegation mire in the coming weeks.

On paper they have names to ensure that doesn’t happen, but games aren’t played on paper, they’ll be played against Stoke and Sunderland in the coming week and a half; two matches which look crucial to Fulham’s hopes of pulling away from any danger.

To do that plenty of Jol’s players will have to become more than just multinational names on a teamsheet, and instead become names that the Fulham fans can remember and trust that they can lead their team to safety.

They should do just that, although football does have a habit of making fools of us all – just like Scrabble.

@Mark_Jones86

The Gameweek27 Preview is now available:

Gameweek 17 preview: No Chelsea, no problem?

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The Hazard lights are flashing as Fantasy bosses come to terms with the Mata at hand. Chelsea aren’t playing this Gameweek.

Sorry, that was an awful pun-related start to a weekend which looks as though it could offer up quite a lot of points if you stay away from the west Londoners and focus your attention on the red halves of Manchester and Merseyside.

Having come through last Sunday’s fixtures clutching 3-2 away wins and in some cases a few scars, Manchester United and Liverpool return to action in home matches that they should take three points from.

United host Sunderland at Old Trafford, and although the Black Cats saw their form dramatically improve in midweek thanks to a 3-0 win over Reading which mercifully featured goals from Steven Fletcher (£7.2m) and Stephane Sessegnon (£7.6m) for those managers who trusted the Black Cats pair during their double Gameweek, this contest looks like being one that the home side will have the upper hand in.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have hit ominous form and with a relatively kind fixture list over the Christmas period their players could be ones to follow as they seek to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Robin van Persie (£13.8m) grabbed the late glory at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, but it was the two goals from Wayne Rooney (£11.9m) which really attracted the attention and has seen his price begin to slowly rise back towards its original £12m.

Rooney tends to score in bursts, and with braces in his last two games he is certainly experiencing one of those now. He has apparently complained of illness in midweek, but he is unlikely to let a little thing like that affect him as he bids to shoot down the Mackems on a Saturday afternoon when his inclusion in your team could prove crucial.

Not far away on Merseyside, Liverpool will be bidding to build on their run of back-to-back league victories as they welcome Aston Villa to Anfield.

Like United they have a somewhat welcoming set of fixtures to negotiate over the Christmas period – albeit without the certainty that Ferguson’s men bring to the table – and whilst most might be looking at selecting Luis Suarez (£10.3m) now that he has returned from the one-match suspension he served at West Ham last weekend, it might pay to look elsewhere especially if Chelsea’s lack of action has left you short in defence and midfield.

Glen Johnson (£6.3m) was on the mark last weekend and Raheem Sterling (up to £5.7m now) has showed terrific promise all season, but if you need a one-week replacement for a Mata or a Hazard then perhaps a move for Steven Gerrard (£9.3m) could pay off.

Gerrard has scored more goals against Villa than any other team, and although he blotted his copybook with an own goal last weekend he’d already chalked up an assist for Johnson’s strike. He has created more chances than any other player in this season’s Premier League bar Leighton Baines, and he’s likely to have opportunities for more against Villa.

Speaking of Baines, his Everton side go to Stoke in what looks to be an uncompromising encounter which could see defenders on top, whilst the opposite is likely to be true of Tottenham’s clash with Swansea on Sunday. Jermain Defoe (£8.4m), Aaron Lennon (£7.0m) and Michu (£8.0m) could all be in the points in a match which should produce goals.

Norwich are finding goals easy to come by at the moment, with defender Sebastien Bassong (£4.9m) proving a recent hit thanks to his three strikes in four games. As they entertain Wigan he’ll be hoping for defensive points too, with Javier Garrido (£4.8m) and Steven Whittaker (£4.3m) other cheap choices who have impressed.

Manchester City go to struggling Newcastle as they bid to get over last weekend’s derby loss, and with Carlos Tevez (£9.4m) failing to complete 90 minutes since his 19 point haul against Aston Villa in Gameweek 12, Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) again looks likely to lead the line.

The Argentine hasn’t scored in four games, and although Dimitar Berbatov (£7.2m) hasn’t netted in five he looked sharp against Newcastle on Monday night and could be worth backing as Fulham go to bottom club QPR.

@Mark_Jones86

To Infinity and Beyond- or at least GW5-GW9 (By @shots_on_target)

If you would like to get involved and write your own guest post for @FantasyYirma feel free to contact us via email, twitter or directly on the site

Many thanks to our guest post from @shots_on_target . This week he looks at some selection choices with the next 5 or 6 gameweeks in mind.

Here is my appraisal of transfer target’s that should serve you will for the next several gameweeks and beyond.   The players featured are those that have the right mixture of good form and good fixtures, regardless of price.  Obviously I am trying to aim slightly off the beaten path as there is no need to highlight the likes of Van Persie and Tevez .  These are all picks that aim to strengthen your squad on a mid to long term basis, rather than one week punts or trying to pick up a cheap or temporary option, with a particular focus on the next 6 game weeks.   All should be guaranteed game time, high points potential and value for money.

 

Up Front

 

Demba Ba (Newcastle) £7.7m 18% owned   FIXTURES: NOR (H) RDG (A) MUN (H)  SUN (A)  WBA (H) LIV (A)

Already bagged three this season from 5 shots on target and 15 shots in total.  This kind of production is perfectly reasonable return from a high quality striker, and his overall record in the Premiership is enviable (26 goals in 50 games with Newcastle and West Ham).  Reports that Cisse is suffering from illness eases concerns over his gametime in the near term.  Obviously is a slight risk having been named a sub recently but I think he’s too good not to start.

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) £7.1m       7.2% owned   FIXTURES: WIG (A) MCI (H) SOT (A) AVL (H) RDG (A) EVE (H)

Fulham showed Top 4 attacking form last year at home but struggled away.  This year they top the charts for total shots on target with 33, 10 more than next placed Tottenham.  But they top the charts for shots on target away from home too, with 14, 3 more than next best Spurs, so they are able to create chances away from home, and with the audacious Berbatov leading line, he, and they, are going to score goals.  I would even consider Berbs as a captain option for Fulham’s home fixtures.

 Also consider:   Luis Suarez (£9.4m)

 

Middle of the Park

 

Kevin Nolan (West Ham) £6.1m 8.7% owned   FIXTURES:  NOR (A) SUN (H) QPR (A) ARS (H) SOT (H) WIG (A)

Featured in my Midprice Midfielders article last week Nolan’s attacking intent, fixtures and goal-scoring record at this level get him into my best picks for the coming 6 weeks regardless of price, which is very, very generous considering West ham’s impressive start.

Also consider:  Hatem Ben Arfa (£7.7m), James Morrison (£6.0m)

 See also last week’s post on Midfield options here… https://fantasyyirma.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/guest-post-midfield-selection-advice-by-shots_on_target/

At the Back

 

Leighton Baines (Everton) £7.1m 14.6% FIXTURES:  SWA (A) SOT (H) WIG (A) QPR (A) LIV (H) FUL (A)

Not the best immediate run of fixtures but Baines is a season long pick in my opinion with games against Sunderland, Reading and Norwich to come after the next 6.  Baines looks to be on track to recapture his FPL form on the 2010/11 season that saw him return a 178 point season.  Last year he suffered but with Pienaar back in the team and Fellaini moved up front they are creating plenty of space and opportunity for the England man to join in the attack.

 

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) £6.4m  2%   FIXTURES: MAN (H) NOR (A) STO (H) RDG (H) EVE (A) NEW (H)

Liverpool are well off the fantasy radar right now and Glen Johnson has suffered a price drop since the start of the season.  You probably won’t want to pick him up for the forthcoming fixture against United but after that things start to brighten up with plenty of clean sheet potential in games versus Norwich, Stoke and Reading in particular.  Johnson has been involved plenty in Liverpool’s attacking play with an impressive 6 key passes and 7 shots.  Liverpool were dealt a harsh opening schedule but Johnson has shown promise that the forthcoming fixtures could reward some investment.

Guest Blogger Profile: @shots_on_target

Football and stats fan who finds nirvana within the game of fantasy football!!

Visit his blog for  #FPL key stats, rankings, analysis and point forecasts  http://shotsontarget.blogspot.co.uk/

Gameweek 4 preview: Tevez to rule Britannia

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Just under half of you reading this can skip the next few paragraphs.

It’s not the traditional approach to the start of a piece that I’m usually hoping that you’ll read all the way through, I’ll give you that, but there isn’t much point in telling a lot of you what you already know.

Carlos Tevez (now £9.8m after a rapid price rise since the start of the season) can currently be seen in 48.9% of Fantasy Premier League teams, a staggering amount and testament to both the Argentinean’s low price at the start of the game and the form which has seen him score a goal in each of Manchester City’s three matches so far whilst racking up three assists too.

These may be famous last words, but Tevez looks focused, fully fit and prepared to stay away from South American golf courses.

His ‘lost’ campaign of last season is now forgotten about, and he now – admittedly aided by the injury to Sergio Aguero – has re-established himself as the focal point of City’s attack at the beginning of his side’s defence of their Premier League crown. He simply cannot be ignored by Fantasy bosses.

He can, however, be overlooked by his national manager Alejandro Sabella, who left Tevez out of his Argentina squad for the World Cup qualifiers at home to Paraguay and in Peru in the past week. Such words should be music to your ears.

Tevez will be fresh for Manchester City’s trip to Stoke on Saturday afternoon, a match that always carries its own levels of difficulty but one that Roberto Mancini’s side should emerge victorious from.

If they take the points from the Britannia, then expect Tevez to be picking up more than a few points of his own.

Elsewhere – 48.9% of you can come back now – it looks to be a big scoring Gameweek for players from Arsenal and Manchester United given their respective fixtures.

Unlike United, Arsenal have been solid at the back in their opening three games and there looks to be nothing to suggest that that solidity will stop when they entertain Southampton at the Emirates. However, before considering bringing in the likes of Thomas Vermaelen (£7.0m) and even cheap option Carl Jenkinson (£4.8m), Fantasy bosses should bear in mind that the Gunners’ next two fixtures after they play the Saints see them head for Manchester City before hosting Chelsea.

Perhaps it will pay to be more forward-thinking then, with the addition of Santi Cazorla (£9.1m) sure to increase the creativity within your team, and Lukas Podolski (£8.4m and still cheaper than Olivier Giroud) no doubt ready to impress after scoring his first goal for the club at Anfield last time out.

At Old Trafford the usual suspects will be eyeing goals with the visit of Wigan Athletic, but with selling the family silver now required if you want to afford Robin van Persie (£13.4m), perhaps a gamble on Danny Welbeck (£8.4m) could prove fruitful. Midfield options are also plentiful, and with Shinji Kagawa (£8.6m) reportedly suffering a knock on international duty with Japan, Tom Cleverley (£6.0m) could be thrust into the more forward role we saw him occupy for England over the past week.

It is a man who left United behind who could prove the most astute addition for this Gameweek though, with Dimitar Berbatov (£6.9m) looking terrific value ahead of what is sure to be his first Fulham start against West Brom at Craven Cottage.

The forward – whose retirement from international duty leaves him fresh for the weekend – will only see his value rise, and so it might pay to get in early.

Just as it did with Tevez a month ago.

@Mark_Jones86

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