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Fantasy Football Preview GW37: Walcott to worsen Wigan’s woes?

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With next season already promising to be hugely different given the dramatic developments at Old Trafford this week, cherishing this campaign suddenly looks to be even more important.

For Wigan Athletic, that seems to ring true more than loudly than for others.

The Latics will be FA Cup finalists at the weekend, but come Tuesday they could find that their eight-year stint in the Premier League is over. Should results go against them at the weekend, then nothing less than three points from their next match will do if they are to stay in the top flight. Unfortunately for them, that next match is at Champions League-chasing Arsenal.

The Gunners may have lost this fixture last season, but they simply can’t afford to do that now.

With Theo Walcott (£8.9m) returning to fitness and form then they certainly don’t look like doing that, and the England man could play a large part in confirming the Latics’ relegation.

Walcott scored and completed 90 minutes in both of his last two matches for the Gunners, taking his tally to 13 strikes and 13 assists during a hugely productive season.

As Arsene Wenger’s men close in on a top four place Walcott looks to be a hugely important figure, and he’ll enter the Wigan game high on confidence, which could end up spelling trouble for Roberto Martinez and his boys.

Any discussion about the battle for the top four – and of course your ongoing battles in Fantasy Premier League – isn’t complete without a mention of Gareth Bale(£10.9m), who takes his considerable talents to Stoke City this weekend.

Bale and Spurs might find it tough going there, but they should eventually come out on top in a match which is sure to see defender Jan Vertonghen (£6.8m) come under threat from Stoke’s attack.

Elsewhere, Everton’s Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) is sure to find support ahead of their Blues’ match against mid-table West Ham at Goodison Park.

The Belgian has been in fine form throughout the campaign and he’ll be determined to impress in his side’s final game in front of their own fans this season. Following the Blues’ goalless draw at Liverpool last week he could be one to back as they look to find the net again.

As for Liverpool, they go to a Fulham side still not safe from relegation just yet, and with both Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez unavailable then the onus is sure to fall on Philippe Coutinho (£6.7m) and Daniel Sturridge (£7.0m). Dimitar Berbatov (£7.1m) will of course be vital for the hosts.

At Berbatov’s former club, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last home match in charge of Manchester United brings selection issues with it, but he is likely to once again start with Robin van Persie (£13.7m) upfront for the visit of Swansea. Those prone to a little bit of nostalgia might like to back a few Fantasy points for Ryan Giggs (£6.0m) and Paul Scholes (£5.0m) too.

Back in the cold hard world of chasing the Champions League, Chelsea will be happy that Aston Villa are now all but safe as they prepare for a trip to Villa Park early on Saturday.

Rafael Benitez’s side will be in no mood to let up now as they look to finish as high as possible, and with the battle between Fernando Torres (£9.3m) and Demba Ba (£7.8m) sure to be dominating many thoughts, it is Juan Mata (£10.1m) who continues to make his team tick.

Somewhat bizarrely denied the winning goal at Old Trafford last weekend, Mata will be doubly determined to impress at Villa Park.

He could be a vital addition for your side.

@Mark_Jones86

Gameweek 23 preview: Suarez to clip Canaries’ wings again?

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Norwich City must hate it that Luis Suarez (£10.4m) is never out of the headlines. It only brings back bad memories.

Liverpool’s Uruguayan forward may have found himself back in the news yet again, but he is unlikely to let that distract him from his goal this weekend, which is namely to improve upon the six goals he’s scored against Norwich the last two times he’s faced them.

Back-to-back hat-tricks at Carrow Road at the back end of last season and the beginning of this one make Suarez a player to watch when the Reds meet the Canaries at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, and with Liverpool coming into the match off the back of scoring 12 goals in their last five home games then they are sure to be confident.

Daniel Sturridge (£7.3m) is certain to make a first Premier League start for the Reds as he bids to follow up on last weekend’s goal in the defeat at Old Trafford, but it is Suarez’s form in this fixture that simply can’t be ignored, and the Uruguayan looks to be a man to follow following six goals in his last six Anfield appearances.

Elsewhere it is Arsenal who are attracting all of the attention ahead of their Double Gameweek, and rightly so.

Jack Wilshere (£6.4m) impressed in the FA Cup in midweek and could be a decent squad addition for those who have the cash, but the attention simply has to be drawn to Theo Walcott (£9.1m) once again.

One of the big hits of the Christmas period, Walcott should start in his preferred striking role as Arsenal go to Chelsea and then host West Ham in back-to-back matches which look to be vital for their hopes of a top four place.

The away game at Chelsea is of course the more difficult of the two, but Rafael Benitez’s team have struggled at home recently, and Walcott will back himself to impress against a defence who don’t look the quickest. They could become even slower should John Terry (£6.5m) return to the team at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Other Arsenal players to keep an eye on ahead of the Double Gameweek include Kieran Gibbs (£5.6m), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£7.2m) and Lukas Podolski (£8.2m), whilst the Gunners’ capability to concede a goal or two should also draw the eye to West Ham’s players this week, particularly given that the first leg of their double comes at home to bottom club Queens Park Rangers.

Kevin Nolan (£6.5m) features in 12.8% of teams already and that number only looks like going up ahead of those two tests, whilst the return from injury of Mohamed Diame (£4.7m) is also a boost to Sam Allardyce and his squad.

Elsewhere, the Manchester City defence looks likely to keep a clean sheet at home to a powderpuff Fulham attack, and with Vincent Kompany (£7.1m) now available after his red card at Arsenal was overturned he’s likely to take his place at the back alongside the likes of Matija Nastasic (£5.6m) and Gael Clichy (£5.6m).

Tottenham’s clash with Manchester United on Sunday looks to be one in which attacking players will shine in, and with Wayne Rooney (£11.8m) now back to fitness he’ll offer an interesting alternative for managers who can’t quite afford Robin van Persie (£14.1m).

Twenty-four hours earlier, Michu (£8.3m) will go in search of a first Premier League goal since before Christmas – a drought by his standards – as Swansea host Stoke in a clash of styles, whilst Southampton’s recent improvement will be tested by Everton when the two sides meet at St Mary’s on Monday night. Saints defender Luke Shaw (£4.0m) is proving to be a valuable wildcard addition to several teams.

Romelu Lukaku (£6.5m) could be one too, and on Saturday night the West Brom forward lines up against an Aston Villa outfit who have shipped goals recently.

Like Norwich, Villa might want to avoid the headlines on Sunday morning.

@Mark_Jones86

 

What are your thoughts on GW23?? Leave a comment below. You can also follow us on Twitter @FantasyYirma

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