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Fantasy Football Preview GW36: Double up on Aguero as finish line looms


Well we’re nearly there aren’t we?

As the season’s finish line looms large over the horizon each and every point becomes vital in your head-to-head, mini-leagues and of course the #FYCup, the fact that six teams are playing in a double Gameweek shouldn’t be ignored.

More important still, is that three of those teams happen to house three of this season’s Fantasy favourites.

Okay, maybe Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) doesn’t have the ownership percentage he deserves following a campaign which has been blighted by injuries, but there should be little doubt that he is Manchester City’s best forward when on form, and after a goal against West Ham last week and with an FA Cup final place to play for he is sure to be ready to impress as City go to Swansea and then face a home game against West Brom in the next week.

As usual with Roberto Mancini you have to be careful when selecting his forwards, but with the Italian likely to go with a front two of Aguero and Carlos Tevez (£9.2m) for the showpiece final against Wigan next week then he’d be wise to give them as many minutes on the pitch together as possible ahead of Wembley.

That should mean they play the vast majority of the fixtures against Swansea and the Baggies, and although the threat of Edin Dzeko (£6.8m) can’t be ruled out the Bosnian has failed to score in City’s last eight matches, of which he only featured in five.

Whilst City’s two opponents this week do possess popular players on double Gameweeks in Michu (£8.2m) and Romelu Lukaku (£6.6m), our next port of call is the Champions League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur.

Gareth Bale (£10.6m) received much Fantasy Premier League attention before, during and after Spurs’ visit to Wigan last weekend – from which he eventually emerged with a goal, an assist and two bonus points.

The PFA Player and Young Player of the Year will be looked to by many as a solid captaincy choice ahead of Tottenham’s matches against his old club Southampton and then a trip to Chelsea which is likely to go a long way towards sorting out those all-important top four places.

Bale is almost certain to be joined by Jermain Defoe (£7.9m) in both of those contests, and the form of both could well be key to just how Spurs do now the pressure is on. The good news for them is that Bale has responded well to pressure all season.

The impressive form of Wigan’s Shaun Maloney (£5.2m) is an aspect to consider ahead of the double Gameweek for the FA Cup finalists which sees them face must-win matches at West Brom and at Swansea in their battle to stay up, but it is Chelsea we focus on for our third key pick.

The sixth of the teams facing this crucial double header, the Blues have tricky fixtures away at Manchester United and at home to Spurs.

The likes of Juan Mata (£10.0m) and Eden Hazard (£9.6m) will of course be looked to to shine in both of those fixtures, but the recent goalscoring form displayed by their teammate Oscar (£7.8m) surely makes him worthy of recognition.

The Brazilian struck in the draw at Anfield and the win over Swansea in Chelsea’s last two Premier League fixtures – matches that he picked up 18 Fantasy Premier League points from.

Crucially cheaper than the rivals he battles for a Chelsea starting berth with, Oscar seems to be coming into form just as the season draws to a close and can take these good performances into Chelsea’s double Gameweek.

He could just be a handy addition as the clock ticks down on your campaign.



January Transfer Window: SLAMMED SHUT!!

Many thanks to the team from @FourFourTweet for submitting this great review of the January Transfer Window

Guest Post by @jonnywarburton

Premier League clubs contemplate future as January Transfer Window concludes.

Deadline day has been and gone with plenty of deals that will impact clubs seasons across the Premier League.


The toughest time to chop and change your squad is in January but many Premier League mangers use this window to bring in extra depth to depleted squads and to find that hidden bargain that can change a season’s fortune. Plenty of teams have been busy over the last couple of weeks and here is the summary of the key ins and outs at every Premier League side.



Current League Position 6th

Arsenal failed to bring in more than one senior player despite persistent links with Barcelona striker David Villa. Nacho Monreal was added late on in the window to provide significant quality at the LB position. Arsenal fans have been crying out for several new signings that will help lift the gunners into the champions league places. Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to spend significantly signals a very frustrating end to the January transfer window.


They needed a couple of quality players and to ship out the dead wood from years ago, Monreal is a nice pick up and should adapt to the Premier League well.


Players IN: Nacho Monreal (10m)

Players OUT: Johan Djourou (Loan), Marouane Chamakh (Loan), Chuks Aneke (Loan), Emmanuel Frimpong (Loan)

Aston Villa

Current League Position 19th

Villa failed to strengthen an inexperienced squad with only one senior signing through Ligue 2 forward Sylla. It is tough to see the Villa staying up with such little experience throughout the spine of the squad. Premier League experience was a must as other relegation candidates spend the cash in a bid to stay up


Failed to address the need for experienced players which could cost them their place in the Premier League. Defensive and Midfield quality was a must but instead an unproven Frenchman fits the bill.


Players IN: Yacouba Sylla (2m) Simon Dawkins (Loan)

Players OUT: Stephen Warnock



Current League Position 3rd

The signing of Demba Ba from Newcastle United was the main signing for the European champions who replace outgoing Daniel Sturridge. Ba proved to be a hit on Tyneside and the talented Senegalese international will be looking to compete with out of sorts Fernando Torres for a regular spot in the Chelsea line up.


With Benitez only seen as ‘Interim’ manager, there wasn’t much surprise that the blues didn’t bring in more players to complement their squad.


Players IN: Demba Ba (7m)

Players OUT: Lucas Piazon (Loan), Sam Walker (Loan)  Billy Clifford (Loan)  Todd Kane (Loan)  Daniel Sturridge 12m, Patrick Bamford (Loan)


Current League Position 5th

The toffees took the approach of if it’s not broke don’t fix it. They managed to keep hold of key players Baines and Fellaini which will be vital in their push for a European campaign next season. There only addition of the window was young Barnsley defender Stones, who they pipped Wigan Athletic for his signature – one for the future.


Quiet window for Everton, which will suit David Moyes down to the ground by keeping his core together.


Players IN: John Stones (£3m)

Players OUT:  Ross Barkley (Loan) Anton Forrester, Magaye Gueye (Loan)


Current League Position 12th

The oldest average aged squad in the league have added younger talents to their side through Frimpong and Emanuelson both on loan. The former Ajax prodigy adds significant experience alongside the midfield powerhouse that is Frimpong. Emanuelson had a OK time in Milan and will be hoping this loan move reignites his career with Fulham. Manolev will offer international experience and is a solid pick up from Holland.


Like there two midfield signings in particular and will help bolster the ageing midfield.


Players IN: Chris David , Emmanuel Frimpong (Loan)  , Urby Emanuelson (Loan) , Stanislav Manolev (Loan)  , Eyong Enoh [loan from Ajax]

Players OUT: David Stockdale (Loan) Stephen Kelly (Loan), Richard Peniket [loan to AFC Telford]


Current League Position 7th

Liverpool splashed the cash for another transfer window with a double swoop of Sturridge and Coutinho. Two quality signings with real technical skill that will be on show for years to come at Anfield. The two young players are the only real business the Reds side have completed despite reported links that Tom Ince was due a return to the club.


Spent a lot of money again so it will be interesting to see if it is money well spent, face value looks good.


Players IN: Daniel Sturridge (£12m), Philippe Coutinho (£8m)

Players OUT: Danny Wilson (Loan), Nuri Sahin , Joe Cole , Adam Morgan (Loan)  , Alexander Doni, Michael Ngoo (Loan)

Manchester City

Current League Position 2nd


With no real additions to the Man City squad it is difficult to see City really giving Man Utd something to think about in the final few months of the season. The sale of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan has been met with split views as the hot headed Italian has undeniable talent but an attitude that offers anything from bizarre to crazy just wouldn’t cut it any longer.


Relatively quiet month for the club, splashing the cash on a new striker should have been the main focus for the champions to provide significant competition for Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko.



Players IN: Godsway Donyoh

Players OUT: Mario Balotelli (19m) Alex Nimely (Loan)  Godsway Donyoh (Loan) Jeremy Helan (Loan)  Reece Wabara (Loan)

Manchester United

Current League Position 1st


The Red Devils sign and loan back Wilfried Zaha to Crystal Palace after beating many top flight clubs for the England internationals signature. The technical winger will become an instant hit at Old Trafford next season with the basis to learn from one of the best managers in the game, the potential is there for Zaha to become a real hit in the North West.


Would of liked to of seen a centre midfielder come in to strengthen the squad however the signing of Zaha will prove to be a gamble worth taking.


Players IN: Wilfried Zaha (£15m)

Players OUT: Davide Petrucci (Loan)  Scott Wootton (Loan)  Robbie Brady, Angelo Henriquez (Loan)  Josh King , Luke McCullough (Loan)  Wilfried Zaha (Loan) Federico Macheda (Loan)



Current League Position 15th

Alan Pardew brought in five senior signings from Ligue 1 which has prompted the call of a French revolution. The signings of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko will be key as both have international pedigree that will emulate the North East club in the coming months. The first French signing of the window was Debuchy from Lille who is well known to be good friends with Yohan Cabaye. A successful window for the magpies as they conclude their business early on.


Strengthened squad with real quality players in key areas of the pitch. The bargain of Moussa Sissoko will be the January signing of the window for the Toon – great signing.


Players IN: Mathieu Debuchy (5m) Kevin Mbabu,  Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara,  Yoan Gouffran , Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (6.7m)

Players OUT: Demba Ba (7m) Conor Newton (Loan)  Xisco, Mehdi Abeid (Loan) Bradden Inman (Loan)


Current League Position 14th

Norwich head back to Leeds for another signing with Luciano Becchio the latest export from Elland Road. The Argentine scored a lot of goals in the championship and will prove to be a steady signing for the canaries in an effort to avoid the drop zone.


Like the Becchio signing and will be interesting to see how he fairs against top class defenders. Steady Window


Players IN: Luciano Becchio, Kei Kamara (Loan)

Players OUT: Jacob Butterfield (Loan) Elliott Ward (Loan), Steve Morison, Declan Rudd (Loan), Tom Adeyemi (Loan)


Current League Position 20th

Rangers add defensive steel through the signing of Chris Samba from money bags Anzhi Makhachkala. The powerful Congo international will prove to be a fantastic purchase in QPR’s bid to avoid relegation. The signing of Samba was prompted due to the retirement of Ryan Nelsen who takes up management with MLS side Toronto FC. Loic Remy swapped the south of France for West London in an £8m move that will provide a genuine goal threat in firing the hoops to safety.


Added much needed defensive help which was key to QPR’s transfer window and the experienced Samba will prove to be vital in both penalty areas as the London club attempt to stay up


Players IN: Loic Remy (8m) Tal Ben Haim, Christopher Samba (12.5) Yun Suk-young, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend (Loan)

Players OUT: Djibril Cisse (Loan)  Frankie Sutherland (Loan)  Michael Harriman (Loan)  Alejandro Faurlin [loan to Palermo], Michael Doughty (Loan)  Anton Ferdinand (Loan)  Jordan Gibbons (Loan)  Rob Hulse (Loan)


Current League Position 17th

The Royals lie in a delicate position in the table and this has led the club to bring in four players to their first team squad. Reading looked to the lower leagues for the majority of their signings by securing Akpan and Blackman from Crawley and Sheff United respectively. Kelly will add great depth and experience throughout the Reading ranks.


Some decent business in this window for the club, still remain to see whether it is will be enough come May.


Players IN: Daniel Carrico , Stephen Kelly . Hope Akpan , Nick Blackman

Players OUT: Gozie Ugwu (Loan)  Dominic Samuel (Loan)  Jordan Obita (Loan) Michael Hector (Loan)


Current League Position 16th

The Saints brought in only one player to help strengthen the defence during the window. Vegard Forren was a man in high demand with Liverpool closely watching the former Molde man. After the departure of Nigel Adkins earlier in the window, it was expected that Pochettino would bring in some of his own players.


Expected the new Saints manager to bring in a couple of players but failed dramatically. Will be interesting to see if they have enough in the second part of the season.


Players IN: Vegard Forren

Players OUT: Dan Seaborne (Loan)  Ryan Dickson (Loan), Sam Hoskins (Loan)  Jonathan Forte (Loan), Steve de Ridder (Loan) Ben Reeves (Loan)


Current League Position 10th

The Potters didn’t have too much business to do during January, however the deadline day signing of Birmingham City’s goalkeeper Jack Butland will be a shrewd move. The England international has been in hot demand from the majority of Premier League sides and it was confirmed that he turned down Chelsea. USA international Shea will provide competition down the left hand side of the pitch as the MLS product will look to make his mark.


Solid bit of business as Butland will become an International regular for years to come.


Players IN: Jack Butland (3.5m)  Brek Shea (2.5m)

Players OUT: Michael Tonge, Danny Higginbotham, Rory Delap (Loan) Ryan Brunt, Jack Butland (Loan)  Matthew Upson (Loan)


Current League Position 11th

The Black Cats had a three in three out policy this window with Danny Graham headlining the Sunderland imports. The goal scorer was desperate for a move back to the north east and the signing may highlight a need to help Steven Fletcher out in the goal scoring department.


Graham will be a good signing and N’Diaye will provide a dominace in midfield that is much needed for the club.


Players IN: Kader Mangane (Loan) Alfred N’Diaye, Danny Graham (5m)

Players OUT: Blair Adams, David Meyler (1.5) Ahmed Elmohamady (Loan) Jonny Maddison (Loan) Fraizer Campbell (600k)


Current League Position 8th

Swansea City did not bring any players in during the January window however they decided to sell Danny Graham to Sunderland for £5m. Michu still leads the line for the Swans and this was important for Swansea to keep hold of their talisman going into the final months of the season.


They have allowed fringe players, to leave, so no major cause for concern.  The Swans just need to keep Michu, injury free, however, the Home fans I am sure would have been hopeful to see an attacking addition to replace Graham and keep Michu company.


Players IN: N/A

Players OUT: Jamie Proctor,  Danny Graham (5m) Curtis Obeng (Loan) Leroy Lita (Loan), Ashley Richards (Loan), Gwion Edwards (Loan)





 Current League Position 4th

AVB beat off competition from many top clubs across the continent by signing German international Lewis Holtby from Schalke 04. English speaking Holtby will offer craft and guile which will provide an added dimension for a loaded squad of attacking talent. A quiet month for Spurs despite their persistent approach for Leandro Damiao that inevitably proved inconclusive in a bizarre transfer saga.


Love the Holtby signing but another striker to keep Defoe and Adebayor on their toes would have made it a fantastic window.


Players IN: Lewis Holtby (1.5m) Zeki Fryers (3m)

Players OUT: Heurelho Gomes (Loan)  Alex Pritchard (Loan)   Jermaine Jenas , Andros Townsend (Loan)  , Tomislav Gomelt (Loan) Simon Dawkins (Loan) , Ryan Mason (Loan)

 West Brom

Current League Position 9th

Very quiet window for West Brom as they held off late interest for want away striker Peter Odemwingie. Sitting steady in mid table, the baggies will look to bolster their squad in the summer.


Sold Chris Wood to Leicester but there wasn’t much need to buy after a good start to the season.


Players IN: Roland Lamah (Loan)

Players OUT: Sam Mantom, Gonzalo Jara, Chris Wood (1m) Dawson (Loan)

West Ham

Current League Position 13th

The Hammers made a couple of signings throughout January and took to the loan market to bolster their squad. West Ham brought Joe Cole back to the club where he made his name. Cole has had a stellar career and the chance to return back to Upton Park proved too much to turn down. Big tackler Pogatetz on loan from Hannover will be a welcome addition to an injury hit defence.


Steady if unspectacular business from West Ham, shouldn’t add too much quality to their squad. Cole will be a welcomed signing amongst fans.


Players IN: Wellington Paulista (Loan) Marouane Chamakh (Loan) Joe Cole, Sean Maguire

Players OUT: Alou Diarra (Loan)  , Stephen Henderson (Loan)

Wigan Athletic

Current League Position 18th

A busy month for Wigan who brought back Paul Scharner on loan from German side Hamburg. The second spell at the DW stadium will prove to be an astute piece of business as they bring in defensive cover for an injury prone defence. The signing of Honduran winger Roger Espinoza from MLS side Sporting Kansas will be a very clever move as a need as he will provide an immediate impact for Roberto Martinez’s side.


Small but important business for Wigan who only tinker with their squad over January, add defensive depth which is essential for staying in the division


Players IN: Angelo Henriquez (Loan), Roger Espinoza (Free), Joel Robles (Loan), Paul Scharner (Loan)

Players OUT: Mauro Boselli (Loan) Rob Kiernan (Loan)

Don’t forget to check out the official FantasyYIRMA preview also available now “GW25 Gareth Bale to sting the Hawthorns”

GW10 – THE REVIEW… by @shots_on_target


GW10 Match Review

Man United’s goal threat overall is almost entirely through Rooney and Van Persie.  Asa you’d expect of course.  Rooney’s missed penalty would have cost those who showed the faith in him but there should be know reason to panic with him getting as many opportunities to score as his Dutch colleague.  Van Persie just has that extra cutting edge which is what the extra £2m buys you.   Once again for Arsenal it’s all about Cazorla and Giroud.  I own both these and really, really am hoping they can do something at home against Fulham.



Fellaini overshadows everyone here on a team full of goal chances, and therefore goals.  Everton should have had 4 or 5 here, and Fuylham were very luck to get draw level.  On another day Jelavic should have scored at least one and Baines or Pienaar an assist.  If Everton can keep the Fellaini fit then everyone in this team will profit.  Fulham were outclassed but Berbatov is still their main man.  They will live to fight another day,

A game of limited chances as you would expect, with Norwich having the most chances overall but Stoke getting into the penalty box more.  Pilkington had the stand out game from Norwich reminding us of his brief flurry of goals last season, although it was Johnson who grabbed the goal from one of two efforts.  Stoke are never going to create many chances away from home so this is as expected really.

Swansea did a really good job here of limiting the number of good chances from Chelsea whilst almost matching them for threat going forward.   Hazard had a good game in Mata’s absence with the lion’s share of the visitor’s shooting opportunities but with 3 out fo 4 of these coming from outside the box it’s not really a great surprise he did not score.  Michu’s advanced role for Swansea has allowed De Guzman to get forward more he is a good alternative to the Spaniard.

No doubt many FPL managers, myself included, would have captained Gareth Bale in this game in what looked a “plum fixture” for the London outfit.  Wigan are starting to recapture the kind of performance that kept them in this league at the end of last season.  This is the second game in a row in which Spurs have failed to create the league average number of SoT and Sin and that does not bode well.  Bale was, as usual, the number one attacking threat for Tottenham but it is starting to look like AVB’s tactical approach struggles without key players in the Spurs engine room, such as Dembele and Sandro.  Wigan did not create a great deal of chances with Kone and Maloney and goalscorer Watson their top fantasy performers.



Zero shots on target here from West Ham is my highlight here, and only 6 shots in total, 4 in the box.   This from a team who very much like to get the ball in the box under Sam Alladaryce.  This really shows that the Manchester City defence is good.  I hesitate to say improving as their early season defensive form has been great, it was just the all important clean sheet that was missing.  It’s obviously worth a mention that Kevin Nolan had a legit goal ruled out for offside.  Hardly any attacking threat from the City fullbacks is perhaps a sign of an increased defensive focus from Mancini. Going forward for City, Balotelli and Dzeko were wasteful, with their opportunities with Tevez playing a deeper, more creative role in comparison.  Nasri, given the attacking role he should play in this team, has been very quiet all season.

I’d love to have the time to study Sunderland in more detail this season, and watch videos of all their matches.  Just why it is they can’t hit the target I do not know, despite 10 attempts in the box against Villa here, with the whole team guilty of wayward shooting, except for Fletcher, who didn’t really get a sniff.  Benteke and Agbonlahor are a decent enough pairing and if Weimann and Bannan can keep their place they look a real prospect for FPL managers at £5.2m and £4.9m respectively..  No sign of Darren Bent.

My selection of Junior Hoilett in my GW10 Select XI didn’t bear fruit here, although he was fairly well involved.  Tarrabt and Cisse clearly hogged the shooting chances for Rangers though, with the Moroccan having an hugely impressive 8 shots in total but a really not so impressive 2 in the box.  Someone (perhaps the manager) should tell him how well correlated goals are to shots in the box and how badly they are with shots from outside.    Reading create plenty of chances but not so many on target.

Liverpool, as a team, are struggling a bit, mainly due to the fact they aren’t really a team.  They are Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan pretty much single handed creates and takes all of everything Liverpool do up front.  Gerrard looked busy but shooting from range so much.  Shelvey was an early season tip from me, until his red card in the United game and 3 match ban.  If he gets his place back ahead of Sahin he could be worth a look.   Demba Ba did not do much before limping off with just one long range effort that was never going in.  Newcastle’s main fantasy interest came from Ben Arfa and Cabaye, but overall their wasn’t much threat from the visitors who really rely on goals from their centre forward to win the games.

Apologies to anyone who took a punt on Lukaku here.  Didn’t start. Sorry!  Odemwingie served a reminder of his ability with a very prominent display and two goals.  In the absence of much favoured James Morrison who had a knock Mulumbu dominated the midfield.  Adkin’s inclusion of Lambert provided the chief threat for the visitors but the Baggies defence is deserving of this clean sheet.




To read more from @shots_on_target head over to

Manchester United – #FPL Selection Advice

Many thanks to @shots_on_target for providing this Fantasy Yirma exclusive post! You can check out his top content at .

The burning question on many Fantasy Managers lips right now is which Manchester United players to own ahead of the a delightful  fixture list.   Sir Alex’s Ferguson’s men are already the top scoring team in the league this season with 24 goals, 3 ahead of next best Chelsea.  This was despite some tricky fixtures against the defensive set up of Stoke and away at Stamford Bridge.  What can they achieve over the next set of games?

GW 10 (H) ARS GW 16 (A) MCI
GW 11 (A) AVL GW 17 (H) SUN
GW 12 (A) NOR GW 18 (A) SWA
GW 13 (H) QPR GW 19 (H) NEW
GW 14 (H) WHM GW 20 (H) WBA
GW 15 (A) RDG GW 21 (A) WIG

As can be seen, aside from the trip to the Etihad in GW16 there’s hardly a game where United won’t be expected to score, and there could be a few drubbings along the way.   So who to own?  I’m going to take a look through each of the three outfield positions in fantasy football – Defence, Midfield, and Attack.


Rafael £6.0 20%
Evra £6.8 7%
Ferdinand £5.9 3%
Vidic £6.7 3%
Jones £5.6 1%

First up there have been questions raised about United’s defence this season.  An early injury to Vidic has left United without their defensive rock again this season, and it’s telling, although the finger has been pointed at the lack of a proper hard man to boss the midfield, a la Roy Keane and Patrick Viera.  These are players of the last decade though, and today’s football is evolving, spearheaded by Barcelona and Spain.  These days you don’t need necessarily need a hard man in midfield, particularly at the top level, rather 11 good football players, who can pass the ball and use the available space on the field as a team in both the attacking and defensive play.

Sir Alex’s men have been conceding goals and giving up clean sheets, and perhaps not really caring, relying on sheer goal threat to win games.  The £24M signing of Robin Van Persie a clear indicator of their intent this season it seems.

Despite this though, they aren’t defending terribly, and are still within the top 5 or 6 teams defensively, which makes the likes of Jonny Evans and Rafael arguably ownable at £6m or less on clean sheet potential alone.  It’s the attacking potential though were United’s players will be hoping to earn their corn.  Below is a graphic showing Man Utd’s current back four.  The image shows the relative statistics for each of the defender’s key attacking stats.  As shown, Evra and Rafael lead the way in all categories, which is expected of full-backs in a side like United.  Jonny Evans has been a threat from set pieces too, whilst Rio Ferdinand is left to watch the halfway line it seems.

Of these four, Rafael at £6m now compared to Evra’s £6.8m is clearly the man to own.  The Brazilian’s current ownership of 20% means 1 in 5 FPL managers will have him in their line-ups.  Despite his high ownership I’d still recommended buying him, he’s the kind of player who could score really big and represents little risk for his value.


Kagawa £8.2 7%
Valencia £8.6 3%
Cleverley £5.7 3%
Nani £8.4 2%
Scholes £5.3 2%
Carrick £5.8 2%
Young £8.2 1%

Carrick is the only player in the United midfield that has played every game so far.  Alex Ferguson has really chopped and changed his midfield, bringing in the likes of Giggs and Scholes for certain games, Cleverly has been in and out, Young was injured, Kagawa still is.  It’s really been a minefield.

The chief contenders for FPL points are currently Valencia and Young, with Nani and Kagawa behind these two fighting for inclusion.  The graphic below has been done on a per minute basis and Ashley Young has had little game time compared to the others.  It seems Kagawa and Nani fit into a similar pattern, heavily involved in the attacking build-up (Final 3rd Passes) and creating a medium number of chances and shooting opportunities for themselves.  Valencia is much more direct; he does not feature much in the attacking build-up, or get in many shots. He’s out wide providing the ammo.  With doubts over the starting roles still for Nani, Young, and indeed Kagawa, Antonio Valencia is my pick of United’s midfield.


Van Persie £13.4 32%
Rooney £11.8 8%
Welbeck £8.0 1%
Hernandez £7.5 1%

The big question.  Rooney or Van Persie.  Both?  What about neither.  Welbeck and Hernandez are intriguing options and you should act fast if either Rooney or RVP were to suffer an injury, for now they will have to remain on the sidelines.

It has to be said it is still very early in the Rooney-Van Persie partnership.  They only started 3 games together in the league so far.  In these though, Rooney has tended to drop very deep, playing as a midfield playmaker, as can be seen by his final 3rd passes in the image below.  , which represents both players stats in these last 3 games only.  Rooney surprisingly, despite his less advanced position, has edged out Van Persie in all four key stats.  In the 3 games they’ve played together both have scored 2 goals, Rooney has 2 assists, Van Persie 3.  They have also shared set pieces, with Van Persie having most of the corners and Rooney the free kicks.  It really is a close call, but with Rooney coming in at £1.6M cheaper and much less owned he gets my vote out of the two.

#FPL Insight: Mata vs. Hazard by @shots_on_target

#FPL Insight Mata vs. Hazard by @shots_on_target

Big thanks to Yirma regular @shots_on_target for a great insight piece – to view more of his articles check his site at
There’s been a fair bit of discussion lately about Chelsea’s midfield  pair of  Juan Mata and Eden Hazard and this article reviews their form and fantasy impact to date.
Eden Hazard exploded into life as an FPL fantasy asset, with 6 assists and a penalty goal in his first 2 games against Wigan and Reading. Subsequently he saw his ownership increase to 32% and a price rise from the standard elite midfielder price tag of £9.5m up to an on-form Van Der Vaart-esque £10.3m.  He was the leading pick in Fantasy Football Scout’s Captain Poll for GW7 and returned this faith with a goal against Norwich.
Juan Mata, on the other hand saw a drop in ownership and price due to a withdrawn role, playing in the ‘double-pivot’ position in the opening games.  In this position he pulls the strings from deep, orchestrating play, but is much less involved in the finishing off of attacking moves.

This is clearly represented by a comparison of both players attacking stats from the first two gameweeks with Hazard earning an average F.SCORE of 46 compared to Mata’s 26.

                                                                                                                  Fig1.  Mata vs Hazard (GW1-2)
It was well documented that following a summer at the the Euros and the Olympics with Spain that Mata was in need of a rest, and he missed out in GW4.  On his return to the Chelsea line-up though, Mata was returned to one of the 3 attacking midfield roles and his performances have again caught the attention of fantasy managers with a goal and 4 assists in three premiership appearances on top of 2 Champion’s League goals.
For gameweek 5 through 7 Mata and Hazard have returned near identical performances in terms of their underlying data., with both registering an average  F.SCORE of 44, Mata slightly edging it by 1 key pass.
Fig.2.     Mata vs Hazard (GW5-7)
Although both players have performed equally overall It’s worth taking a closer look however at each player’s consistency through this period. Here’s a look at their F.SCORE for each of their fixtures to date.
It’s quite a limited sample size, particularly since Mata’s change in position, but there are a few patterns to pick out here.  Firstly Mata’s form and involvement are increasing game on game, whereas Hazard’s is not .  Mata looks to be the more consistent of the two.

Hazard on the other hand appears more capable of a higher score in any given gameweek, and you can regard him as the more “explosive” of the two.  However, it’s possible he could be a bit of a flat-track bully, or even a home ground player, only really excelling in the two fixtures so far  It’s notable he had pretty quiet games in gtougher fixtures against Stoke and Arsenal.
Both players are capable of returning FPL seasons in the 175 point region.  Mata is the more consistent of the pair and the one more likely to return points through a tougher spell of fixtures, especially with his share of free-kicks and corners.  Hazard is the better pick for easier fixtures and a better captain option in these circumstances.It depends on what you are looking for from your elite midfielder.  For me, I would expect consistent returns week on week despite the opponent, rather than an occasional big returns against weaker opponents.  In this respect Juan Mata would be my pick of the two, especially ahead of the Chelsea’s upcoming  fixtures, and at a considerable £1.4m discount.

Some words of caution though, Mata’s skill-set may see him pulled back into the deeper playmaker’s role in the absence of either Lampard or Ramires , whereas Hazard is clearly suited to the advanced role, plus looks to be on penalties after Lampard.   Also, Hazard is obviously new to this division since a step up from the French League and he may still be finding his feet.
Own Mata through a trickier spell of fixtures or for the longer term but pick up Hazard when the league’s minnows pay visit to Stamford Bridge.

To see @shots_on_target follow this article up with some further analysis with Cazorla and Bale visit his website at

Gameweek 7 preview: Can Suarez repeat the trick?

Gameweek 7 preview: Can Suarez repeat the trick?

Luis Suarez likes Norwich. Norwich doesn’t like Luis Suarez.

In fact, quite a few people don’t like Luis Suárez (£9.4m), but Fantasy managers shouldn’t be amongst them in the next few weeks as the Uruguayan ace looks to provide the goals which shoot Brendan Rodgers’ Reds up the Premier League.

Being Liverpool hasn’t always been too easy whilst they’ve had Suarez around, but Rodgers’ new philosophy is designed to get the best out of the Reds’ No. 7, with last Saturday’s hat-trick at Norwich proving that it is a philosophy which is beginning to click into gear.

Saturday’s treble was Suarez’s second successive hat-trick at Carrow Road, and if you’d backed him to repeat the trick against previously wounded opponents then you might like to see who Liverpool are welcoming to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Suarez scored twice against Stoke in the League Cup last season and then once more against the Potters in the FA Cup, helping the Reds towards the finals of both competitions and no doubt leaving Stoke sick of the sight of him.

They’ll be coming up against him on Sunday though, and even though Tony Pulis will no doubt be drumming plans of how to stop him into his defenders’ heads as we speak, Suarez will fancy his chances against an outfit he has shone against before.

Steven Gerrard (£9.4m) managed to get on the scoresheet alongside Suarez last Saturday, but perhaps better value can be found in his fellow midfielder Nuri Sahin (£6.7m), another who found the net at Carrow Road and a gifted playmaker who is only likely to see his influence on this Liverpool team grow the longer the season goes on. The Turk is good enough to warrant Real Madrid spending big money on him last summer, whilst Arsene Wenger was desperate to bring him to Arsenal before he chose Anfield. Three goals and two assists in his last two games hint at a lot more points to come.

Away from Liverpool, Chelsea are still likely to be most Fantasy manager’s focus groups for another weekend, with the re-emergence of one player in particular surely not going unnoticed.

Juan Mata (£8.8m) might be considered old news by some following the arrivals of Eden Hazard (£10.3m) and Oscar (£7.8m) in the summer, but the Spanish magician has started to work his magic in the past week, scoring four goals in his last three games and providing the assist for Fernando Torres (£9.9m) to find the net against Arsenal.

The Euro 2012 winner sparkled during his first season in England, but a gruelling summer both in Poland and the Ukraine and then at the Olympics affected his stock amongst Fantasy bosses at the beginning of this season. Currently only 4.3% of teams have him on their books, but that will only grow in the coming weeks.

The game of the weekend is surely Newcastle against Manchester United, which threatens to become a shootout between Demba Ba (£8.1m) and Robin van Persie (£13.5m) but could be settled by the skills of Hatem Ben Arfa (£7.9m). The Frenchman has either scored or assisted in each of Newcastle’s three games at St James’s Park (sorry Mike Ashley) this season.

Manchester City, Everton and Tottenham all have fixtures which will make their players popular with Fantasy bosses, but for our third player selection of the week we turn to an old Fantasy favourite – the player in the wrong position.

Arsenal’s Gervinho (£7.4m) may be listed as a midfielder but he certainly doesn’t play like one, and the in-form Ivorian will be looking to improve his record of five goals in his last five games when the Gunners go to West Ham.

It’s a short journey for them, but it could be a profitable one for you.




Due to the fact that Carlos Tevez is still in my team, I’m not going to even try and work out how he got two bonus points this week… but he did and this pleases me – as it will please a large percentage of #FPL players!

Anyway.. here are the Bonus points in Full.


Gameweek 6
29 Sep 12:45 Arsenal Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea Chelsea
Mata (3)
Torres (2)
29 Sep 15:00 Everton Everton 3 – 1 Southampton Southampton
29 Sep 15:00 Fulham Fulham 1 – 2 Man City Man City
29 Sep 15:00 Norwich Norwich 2 – 5 Liverpool Liverpool
29 Sep 15:00 Reading Reading 2 – 2 Newcastle Newcastle
Hunt (2)
Ba (3)
29 Sep 15:00 Stoke City Stoke City 2 – 0 Swansea Swansea
29 Sep 15:00 Sunderland Sunderland 1 – 0 Wigan Wigan
29 Sep 17:30 Man Utd Man Utd 2 – 3 Tottenham Tottenham
Vertonghen (2)
Bale (3)
30 Sep 16:00 Aston Villa Aston Villa 1 – 1 West Brom West Brom
Olsson (3)
Long (3)
01 Oct 20:00TBC QPR QPR v West Ham West Ham

Gameweek 6 preview: Hair today, goals tomorrow?


The trouble with pesky competitions like the Capital One Cup – which still sounds like an employee of the month award – is that they can easily get in the way of your Fantasy Premier League team’s progress.

They can affect the mood of teams in the real thing too, and as such Everton’s week suddenly doesn’t look as rosy as it did when Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) headed in the third of their three goals in the convincing win at Swansea last Saturday.

The cup loss to Leeds in midweek saw the chances of David Moyes making this the season that he picks up a first trophy at Everton effectively reduced by 50%, and the question now has to be whether or not that’ll affect the Blues’ fine league form which has taken them to third in the table after five games.

All eyes will be on Goodison Park on Saturday then, as Everton seek to bounce back at the first time of asking by welcoming Southampton.

As fixtures go it is a pretty decent one to make your recovery from midweek misery, and if you can see them getting over the Elland Road loss quickly then expect the Blues to be flying come Saturday afternoon. With fixtures against Wigan and QPR to come in the immediate future too, it could be a good time to put your faith in Moyes’s boys to earn you points, with Fellaini the man most likely.

That said, Nikica Jelavic (£8.4m) is also primed to return here after missing the Swansea game and only appearing as a substitute against Leeds, whilst those who can afford Leighton Baines (£7.2m) will be getting a severely underrated defender who has already contributed a goal, two assists and two clean sheets this season. He could well be set to add to that tally at the weekend.

Across Stanley Park at Liverpool, things could just be about to change for the better.

Last weekend’s unfortunate loss to Manchester United brought an end to a tricky run of fixtures for Brendan Rodgers’ side, and although the midweek Capital One Cup win at West Bromwich Albion was achieved with a smattering of youngsters, it might just have restored somewhat of a feelgood factor amongst those at the club.

Norwich await in the Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday, and with the Canaries having only found the net twice in their five league games this season – plus with winnable home games against Stoke and Reading on the horizon – it might just be the time to put your faith in Rodgers’ rearguard.

Injury and rotation issues mean that the only two defenders certain to start for Liverpool at the weekend are Glen Johnson (£6.4m) and Martin Skrtel (£6.0m), and with the pair offering the potential for assist and goal points respectively then either could be good additions. It is further forward where Liverpool could make their mark this weekend though, with Raheem Sterling (£4.6m) still an astute cheap choice and Luis Suarez (£9.4m) ready to fire back at a ground where he scored a hat-trick last season. Those now debating whether or not to stick with Carlos Tevez (£9.9m) could decide to switch to the Uruguayan.

Tevez and his Manchester City team-mates go to Fulham on Saturday, and with City far from certain to get a result there and clashes between Arsenal and Chelsea and Manchester United and Tottenham proving somewhat unpredictable, it might pay to look elsewhere for some points.

With apologies to Steven Fletcher (£7.2m) his goalscoring run has become impossible to ignore, and whilst climbing on board the Fletcher bandwagon has to come with the warning that Sunderland face City away next, this weekend’s fixture at home to Wigan could be the perfect one to see the Scot continue his scoring run.


The Gameweek 5 review, by @shots_on_target

After advising that you should take a look at Leighton Baines (11 points this Gameweek), Demba Ba (nine), Dimitar Berbatov, Kevin Nolan (both eight) and Glen Johnson (five) on Friday, Yirma’s favourite stats man @shots_on_target is back, not to gloat, but instead to provide a thorough review of Gameweek 5.


Swansea 0 – 3 Everton

Although the Swans had their moments in this game, Everton bossed throughout with an incredible 22 shots with 11 on target, a figure more reminiscent of City at home to Wolves last year than a team away at the Liberty. The star fantasy performers from Everton’s point of view were the goal scorers Mirallas, Anichebe, and The Great Fellaini TM, with a combined 23 shots between them, 11 on target.  Good value for their 3 goals, in fact they should have scored more.  Anichebe is a great one week punt for the Toffees next home game against Southampton but you will have to fancy Jelavic’s chance of regaining the striker role on return from injury (1-2 weeks).  Fellaini, Mirallas are established in the side, as are Pienaar and Leighton ‘9 Points’ Baines.  All are strongly expected to pick up point further points and Mirallas would be an excellent differential choice.

Swansea to their credit almost scored – with 18 shots in total but just 4 on target.  Their failure to score is perhaps due to Everton’s well-drilled defence rather than Swansea’s poor attack and I wouldn’t give up on Swansea’s offensive or defensive options given their immediate fixtures – STO (A) RDG (H) WIG (H) – except for Nathan Dyer.

Fantasy Force:  Everton’s Attack and Defence.

Fantasy Flops:  No-one.

West Ham 1 – 1 Sunderland

West Ham peppered Sunderland’s goal here with 24 shots, 4 on target, compared the visitors 5 with just 1 on target.  Sunderland as is their style, scored from their only shot on target.  These stats are actually similar to Sunderland’s goalless draw at the Emirates on the opening day (ARS 23 shots, 3 on target, SUN 5 shots, 2 on target) indicating that Sunderland have the ability to weather a storm quite nicely and West Ham should not feel too disappointed, getting more out of this fixture than Arsenal did.  Steven Fletcher provided more evidence of his finishing ability with 1 goal from only shot on target (3 shots in total).  This kind of form cannot continue however and Sunderland really do not create enough chances for to warrant buying their forwards at the moment.  They have two fixtures in the next 8 that attract attention (Home games against Wigan and Villa) but other than those it’s not so good and I can’t really see Fletcher get more than 2-3 goals over the month or two.  Kevin Nolan’s goal for Wet Ham was just reward for his display, he really is a good prospect and West Ham’s main source of fantasy points.

Fantasy Force:  West Ham’s Attack (Nolan), Sunderland’s Defence.

Fantasy Flops:  Sunderland’s Attack (despite Fletcher)

Southampton 4 – 1 Aston Villa

Villa are in trouble.  They can’t defend and it’s going to take a while for Paul Lambert to get this team playing the way he wants, and by then it could be too late.  Stephen Ireland looks like he’s broken his arm and could be out for a while and has been one of their most creative players so far, albeit not creating that much.  Southampton on the other hand seem to have no problem finding the back of the net with Rickie Lambert the chief threat,  They managed 6 shots on target so 4 goals is slightly flattering scoreline, but if you want a £6.1m forward then you could not do much better and with upcoming fixtures home against Fulham and Tottenham and away at Everton and West Ham you’d be disappointed if he didn’t get 2-3 goals over this period.

Fantasy Force:  Southampton Attack

Fantasy Flops:  Aston Villa – attack and defence.

Wigan 1 – 2 Fulham

A pretty even game this one with both team’s creating plenty of chances, Wigan with 19 shots , 5 on target, and Fulham doing better with 12 shots and 7 on target )on target is best!).  Dimitar Berbatov was again at the sharp end and this results, as well as the 2 goals at Old Trafford, demonstrates Fulham’s new found capacity to score goals away from home.   Wigan failed to turn majority of both possession and scoring chances into anything more than 1 goal which need not be a major worry to fantasy managers given the budget price tags attached to their forward players.  Defensively, this was a good result for Fulham and a bad one for Wigan.  Allowing 7 shots on target from 12 attempts is not indicative a tight defence.

Fantasy Force:  Fulham Attack & Defence

Fantasy Flops:  Wigan’s Defence.

Chelsea 1 – 0 Stoke

Despite the pressure Chelsea heaped on the Stoke defence the Potters held firm and gave a good account of themselves, creating a few chances too with 13 shots, 3 shots on target compared to Chelsea’s 19 shots and 4 on target..  Big players such as Hazard and Torres failed to impress (zero shots on target between them) and with just one promising fixture on the horizon (Nor (H) GW7) it’s perhaps time to re-evaluate their place in your teams.  Stoke are doing well.  Despite a torrid run of fixtures so far they have defended resolutely and have only conceded 2 goals in games vs. City, Arsenal and now the European Champions Chelsea. Their fixtures don’t let up for a little while but take a look in GW9 after their game with Manchester United.

Fantasy Force: Stoke Defence

Fantasy Flops:  Chelsea Attack

West Brom 1 – 0 Reading

A fair result from two teams who are not going to be atop of the scoring charts at the end of the season.  Albion’s 4 shots on target from 11 attempts yielding the game’s only goal.  With Reading managing just the solitary shot on target all game there’s no wonder they didn’t score, and bearing in mind they only hit the target against Tottenham in their last home game the prospects do not look good for Reading’s attacking players like Pogrebnyak and Guthrie.  Lukaku grabbed the game’s only game and the immediate fixture list offers  hope of a few more – AVL (A) QPR (H) – but I would not hold out too much hope on them ripping it up.

Fantasy Force:  No-one
Fantasy Flops:  Reading’s attack.

Liverpool 1 – 2 Man Utd

Many people’s highlight match-up of the weekend, Liverpool managed to dominate the scoring chances in this game despite Shelvey dismissal late in the first half, almost doubling United’s  chances created (14 attempts, 6 on target to 8 attempts, 3 on target).  I think Liverpool can take some optimism from this game and their fixture list should offer hope –  (Nor (A) Sto (H) Rdg (H) – however long-term injuries to Agger and Kelly, a niggle for Borini,  plus Shelvey suspension throw this into doubt somewhat.  United looked poor but, as always,  put away the chances they got  to win the game.  The team is yet to gel though and with Rooney’s return imminent and rotation around Champions Leagues games a concern it’s going to be a risk owning their attacking players this season methinks.

Fantasy Force:  Liverpool’s Defence

Fantasy Flops:  No-one

Man City 1 – 1 Arsenal

Arsenal controlled the game in large spells and their customary possession game melded with a new-found defensive resolution means their defensive players are arguably the best of all fantasy assets right now, particularly with Gibbs and Metesacker coming in at £5.6m and £5.1m respectively.    The omission of Carlos Tevez would have caused heartache to over 1 million FPL managers this weekend and, with City’s available attacking options plus probable rotation for Champion’s League games, owning elite options from the blue half of Manchester could prove a tad frustrating at times.  Santi Cazorla and David Silva were the stand out players from an attacking point of view, and Aguero showed what he’s about too.

Fantasy Force:  Arsenal’s Defence

Fantasy Flops:  No-one

Tottenham 2  – 1 QPR

Tottenham have been very creative in all their matches so far this season, with this one proving no different, with 20 attempts on goal, yielding 8 shots on target and two goals not a bad result at the end of the day.  However, they don’t fill you with confidence.   Does anyone else think AVB does not know what he’s doing?  Does he think he is still playing Championship Manager in his bedroom?   QPR did really well and are staring to play for Hughes now after the opening day calamity against Swansea.  They mustered  4 shots on target from 9 attempts which is not bad going for a team away at one of last season’s Top 4.  Whilst home games against West Ham and Reading in the next 6 offer potential it’s probably too early to get excited about anyone.  As for Spurs, Gareth Bale and Jermaine Defoe (as long as he’s in the team) maintain their promising form.

Fantasy Force:  Tottenham and QPR attack – maybe

Fantasy Flops:  None.

Newcastle 1 – 0 Norwich

Newcastle have been a very “efficient” team under Pardew, not requiring a lot of the ball or many chances to score their goals. That they managed good but not great  6 shots on target  against Norwich from 18 chances created.  There should have been more goals but the best chances, including a penalty, fell to Cisse and he’s clearly struggling at the moment, perhaps feeling a bit poorly!   Demba Ba took his chance well and continues to be a good option up front, as does Ben Arfa,  with game away against Reading the next fixture.  Following this though games at home against United, and a solid West Brom plus an away match at local rivals Sunderland aren’t the best in the short term.  As for Norwich, it’s hard to call as to whether Newcastle just misfired up front or Norwich defended well.  I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and opt for the latter but they aren’t a strong defensive option yet.

Fantasy Force:  No-one

Fantasy Flops:  No-one

Gameweek 4 preview: Tevez to rule Britannia


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.


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