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Gameweek 28 preview: Rickie Lambert, acQuiring Points Regularly

 

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As we enter the final 10 Gameweeks of the season, form is becoming more and more important.

That old cliché about form being temporary and class being permanent is of course a correct one, but in these closing weeks it will surely pay to trust in those players who are doing well week after week.

Rickie Lambert (£7.0m) is currently one of those players, and fantasy bosses have definitely noticed.

Almost a quarter of Fantasy Premier League teams now feature Southampton’s Scouse striker, a forward who has racked up eight, nine and 11 points respectively over the last three Gameweeks as he’s scored twice and picked up three assists.

Lambert and the Saints welcome rock bottom Queens Park Rangers to St Mary’s on Saturday, and the forward will be eyeing even more goals there.

It’s an important game for the hosts, who have impressed in patches under new boss Mauricio Pochettino before suffering a 4-2 loss after making the long trip to Newcastle last time out.

Lambert scored his 100th goal for the Saints and his 12th in the Premier League this season in that game, and with the arrival of ex-Saints boss Harry Redknapp and his struggling side on Saturday, Lambert will be confident of finding the net again.

He scored against Rangers in a 3-1 win at Loftus Road in November, and with talk of an England call-up swirling around him then the forward can deliver and help move Southampton away from the relegation zone by beating a team who are firmly stuck in it.

One of the teams currently desperate to stay out of the bottom three are Wigan, and they face a tough task on Saturday evening when they welcome Liverpool to the DW Stadium.

The impact of Daniel Sturridge (£7.5m) at the Reds has been easy to see, and with the forward currently having only 7.4% ownership he could prove a strong differential choice in the closing weeks.

Liverpool’s fixture list isn’t as demanding as the one faced by several of the teams around them, and after scoring in all but one of his five Premier League appearances for the Reds so far – picking up 31 Fantasy points in the process – Sturridge could shine in those games, starting with this trip to Wigan.

Elsewhere, Sunday sees Arsenal try to become the latest team to stop the juggernaut that is Gareth Bale (£10.3m).

The Tottenham man continues to rip through the Premier League, with his latest demolition job on West Ham on Monday night seeing his ownership increase even more.

Against Arsenal he’ll of course come face-to-face with his former Southampton team-mate Theo Walcott (£9.6m), and with the frequent madcap nature of these North London derbies meaning that clean sheets are unlikely to be on the agenda, both could find themselves in the points come the end of the afternoon.

Elsewhere, both Chelsea and Manchester United face winnable looking home matches against West Brom and Norwich respectively, but both sides go into the contest with forward issues. Rafael Benitez is again faced with the dilemma over whether to choose Demba Ba (£8.0) or Fernando Torres (£9.3m), whilst there is an injury doubt over Robin van Persie (£14.0m) for United. None of the trio can be trusted confidently.

Monday night sees Manchester City travel to Aston Villa, and whilst Yaya Toure (£7.7m) and Carlos Tevez (£8.7m) regained some lost friends with goals in the 2-0 win over Chelsea last time out, it is the fact that City kept a clean sheet in that game which should perhaps be of greater importance.

Defender Pablo Zabaleta (£6.2m) was a key element of that shutout, and given that he has now started City’s last 15 Premier League games the Argentinean is again likely to be an important part of the visiting back line.

Against a Villa side who have often struggled for goals this season, Zabaleta can keep things tight at the back whilst impressing further forward too.

@Mark_Jones86

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Fantasy Premier League: DON’T BLAME DAVID DE GEA

Fantasy YIRMA : Guest Post

If you would like to submit a guest post for the FantasyYIRMA.com site please contact Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com or on twitter @FantasyYIRMA

DON’T BLAME DAVID DE GEA

by Adam Zdroik

And that’s why everyone likes double Gameweeks. Even though Liverpool put in a sub-par effort against West Brom in their first match of Gameweek 26, they helped out Fantasy owners with a 5-0 win over Swansea. While Swansea lost that match, they won 4-1 in their previous game.

Basically, all of the players that were favorites to be top captains last week did well and that’s why Fantasy squads averaged 65 points.

Luis Suarez didn’t score against WBA, but had a goal and two assists against the Swans. That’s the line for pretty much everyone on the Reds and it’s the opposite for Swansea players. Michu had two goals and an assist against QPR, but didn’t even play against Liverpool.

Now we have to deal with the aftermath. Neither Liverpool or Swansea have a match in Gameweek 27, which means you’re going to have some high-priced players on your bench, or you’re using your wildcard if you have one.

Considering most owners already used their wildcard, I’ll focus more on what to do with what you have.

If you have Michu, Suarez and Steven Gerrard, you’ll need to get rid of at least one of them. There’s no way around it because that’s going to leave roughly 30m of the 100m (variable depending on team) on your bench.

Not including Michu, there are four players on Swansea that are owned by at least nine percent of people. Michu is owned by 49 percent, almost half of the owners at premierleague.com.

Surprisingly, Liverpool is at the same amount of ownership with Suarez, leading the way at 36 percent. That means there are 10 players not playing this weekend in the Premier League who are owned by at least nine percent of the Fantasy community. Throw in the rest of those team’s squads still owned by plenty of people and you have a good amount of transfers happening this weekend.

WHO TO GET?

GK, David de Gea, Manchester United, 5.5m
The Spaniard has two straight clean sheets in the league and is no doubt United’s number one keeper at this point. He was the main reason United didn’t lose against Real Madrid in their Champions League match.

United’s upcoming schedule is one of the best: At QPR, vs. Norwich, at West Ham, vs. Reading, at Sunderland. The Red Devils have a chance to get clean sheets in all of those matches and De Gea will benefit the most. At 5.5m, his price tag is at the cutoff of the maximum I want to spend on a goalkeeper. He’s going to be the best option for the next five weeks. That’s worth my money.

David de Gea isn’t the one to blame anymore. Photo Credit: Dudek1337

DEF, Davide Santon, Newcastle, 4.9m
He’s one of Newcastle’s cheaper defenders and plays in a very attacking role, which led to two assists for him most recently against Chelsea. With friendly fixtures and a squad that’s playing a lot better after the transfer window, now is the time to buy into Newcastle defenders.

Upcoming fixtures include road matches at Swansea and Wigan, and on home soil against Southampton and Stoke City.

MID, Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle, 6.1m
Three Premier League matches, two goals and two assists. That’s all you need to know right there. Sissoko has come into the lineup and immediately made a difference for Newcastle. His price is much cheaper than all of the top dogs, yet he could easily provide the same kind of numbers.

FOR, Wayne Rooney, Manchester United, 11.9m
Supposedly Rooney had a sinus infection and missed United’s FA Cup match against Reading last Monday, but I wouldn’t be worried about it. He’s started in three straight league matches and is a couple million less than Robin van Persie, which makes him the easier addition.

As you can see, Manchester United and Newcastle players are in the best situations to succeed for the next month and the players listed above would be the best moves for your squad to make if you want to succeed.

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal, 5.3m, vs. Aston Villa
  2. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, at QPR
  3. Tim Krul, Newcastle, 5.2m, vs. Southampton
  4. Mark Schwarzer, Fulham, 5.1m, vs. Stoke City
  5. Adam Federici, Reading, 4.4m, vs. Wigan

Defenders

  1. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, at QPR
  2. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, at Norwich
  3. Nacho Monreal, Arsenal, 4.2m, vs. Aston Villa
  4. Rafael, Man United, 6.0m, at QPR
  5. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Aston Villa
  6. Brede Hangeland, Fulham, 4.8m, vs. Stoke City
  7. Davide Santon, Newcastle, 4.9m, vs. Southampton
  8. Gareth McAuley, West Brom, 5.2m, vs. Sunderland
  9. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at West Ham
  10. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, vs. Chelsea

Midfielders

  1. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  2. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 10.0m, at West Ham
  3. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.7m, at Norwich
  4. Santi Cazorla, Arsenal, 9.3m, vs. Aston Villa
  5. Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle, 6.1m, vs. Southampton
  6. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.1m, at Man City
  7. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, vs. Chelsea
  8. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.5m, at Man City
  9. Yaya Toure, Man City, 7.7m, vs. Chelsea
  10. Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle, 6.6m, vs. Southampton

Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.0m, at QPR
  2. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Aston Villa
  3. Olivier Giroud, Arsenal, 8.0m, vs. Aston Villa
  4. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, at QPR
  5. Sergio Aguero, Man City, 10.9m, vs. Chelsea
  6. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Man City
  7. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, at Arsenal
  8. Edin Dzeko, Man City, 7.5m, vs. Chelsea
  9. Adam Le Fondre, Reading, 4.9m, at Wigan
  10. Romelu Lukaku, West Brom, 6.5m, vs. Sunderland

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  2. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  3. Robin van Persie, Man United
  4. Lukas Podolski/Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
  5. Sergio Aguero, Man City

Aston Villa is brutal on the road and Arsenal should be able to get out of their slump in this one. Walcott has three goals and three assists in his last five matches and many haven’t been better than him. Because of this, I am dethroning RVP as the top captain option for the week. Villa has allowed the most away goals and Arsenal has scored the second-most home goals this year. Walcott will be around for at least one goal.

Bale is playing amazing right now, which is why managers from all of the biggest clubs are looking to call his name, including Pep Guardiola soon to take the helm at Bayern Munich. Bale had two free kick goals in Tottenham’s Champions League match which doesn’t happen often. He has scored his club’s last six goals in all competitions. That says enough right there.

RVP is still great, don’t worry, but his numbers haven’t been as good or consistent since Rooney returned. Not to mention, Danny Welbeck is also getting a lot of time up front. Nevertheless, Van Persie scored and assisted on United’s only two goals in their last league match.

These two forwards should be in for a nice match as long as Arsenal doesn’t take the day off. As said before, Villa allows a ton of goals on the road, which means Podolski and Giroud shouldn’t have any problems. One of those five-goal games would help them right now. The Gunners have actually scored at least five goals in five matches this year. That’s a lot.

There’s going to be goals in the Man City-Chelsea match and Aguero gets the edge over the others. This is a last-ditch captain option and I would only advise it if you like to play risky, or if you need to move up about 100 spots in your league.

*Stats up-to-date as of Feb. 18

@RotoZdroik

Adam joined RotoExperts in 2008 as a member of the Scout/Player Updates Team. Throughout the years, Adam has written articles encompassing a number of sports. If you like your Fantasy advice full of numbers and straight to the point, look no further. Find him (@RotoZdroik) on Twitter, to get a daily take of what’s happening in the sports world

 

The official FantasyYIRMA Gameweek 27 Preview will be available on Thursday 21st February

The Lamb’s Wild(card)

As a Derby County fan, @pedro_lamb‘s only involvement with the Premier League is through the Fantasy Premier League game.

An avid FPL player, The Lamb’s imaginatively –titled team Lamb County have managed to claw themselves up to 32,964th in the overall game this season, as well as 149th in Yirma and an impressive third in the Yirma head-to-head league.

With the end of January approaching, The Lamb settled down to make a decision that he knew would make or break his season, his bank balance and his mood until August. It was Wildcard time.

Here are The Lamb’s thoughts – and only HIS thoughts – as he takes on every Fantasy manager’s biggest challenge.

Warning: the following is not for the faint-hearted:

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Who needs goalkeepers anyway?

Well it’s January and my head hurts, as I cut, bring in, drop, select, then re-drop, then re-select, finally drop him and then keep the same player I had to start off with……!!! Yep, it’s the pain of playing your January transfer Wildcard.

So I think I have finally decided on my team. One, because the deadline is nearly here, and most importantly two, if I spend any more time on the website I think my boss may sack me.

I have gone for a very radical move. Very radical.

Prepare yourselves…

My team doesn’t have a first choice keeper… Or in fact a second choice keeper…

I have selected two keepers who have more chance of being elected Prime Minister of Greenland than playing for their teams.

If they do play, I would be more than happy to drop them to have the current Prime Minister of Greenland Kuupik Kleist as my goalkeeper.

This bold – some would say visionary – idea has freed up enough funds to have both Mata and Bale in my team.

The more I think about it, not having a keeper, is it such a bad idea? And the answer is No, because even this season’s best scoring keeper Begovic, is averaging less than 4 points a game, both Mata and Bale are over 5 and over 38 Gameweeks, that is an additional 76 points, need I say any more? *Please don’t – Ed.*

The Lamb shoots and scores with another genius Fantasy Football idea. All hail the Lamb. The days of making Lucas Leiva captain and selecting the potentially brilliant Tom Huddlestone are behind me. This one’s a winner.

—————-

Time for a few more Wildcard thoughts.

I have waited as long as possible in case the transfer windows kicks off in a big way, sadly it hasn’t so I won’t be bringing in some of the young guns from the Championship that have been on every transfer gossip page throughout January.

So it looks like Will Hughes won’t be the big gamble for my team, he would have been cheap and made a lot of points, he could be next years must have cheap player, the new Charlie Adam in fantasy football terms!!! You heard it here first folks. *giggles*

The biggest problem with this window has been the unknown factor. Which of the January signings will actually get decent time on the pitch?

Ba is a prime example. He’s cheap and can score, but realistically are Chelsea going to keep Torres and his £50 million price tag on the bench? I can’t see it and I think he is destined to just make weekly cameo appearances.

Then there is Sturridge, but I am sorry you can’t overlook Suarez, he just too good at the minute, and again I can’t see Sturridge playing every game.

As for City, the main problem is ‘will he won’t he?’ It’s everybody’s favourite Italian again.

If Mario Balotelli goes then maybe I will invest in Aguero, but at the moment two games could go by and he’ll only get a few minutes on the pitch.

Also the inconsistent nature of Arsenal means selecting any of their players is going to be a very irritating. Some weeks they will be brilliant and other weeks they bring a whole new meaning to the word awful.

Despite this I suggest picking Theo Walcott. Now his future has been sorted I think this may settle him and the whole squad down, so maybe that famous Arsenal consistency might just return.

———-

No goalkeepers were harmed in the giving of this advice.

Gameweek 22 preview: Cole to light up the Double Gameweek?

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To the die-hard Fantasy manager, the FA Cup is nothing but an inconvenience.

It is simply an unwanted chance for your players to get injured, to suddenly rediscover some flickering form or to play themselves out of contention for the next league game. What use were last weekend’s goals from Robin van Persie, Michu and Luis Suarez to anyone but Uruguayan Beach Volleyball Team selectors anyway?

Fear not though, for the Premier League returns this weekend, and it does so with a bang for the European champions (yes, believe it or not they still are).

Branislav Ivanovic (£7.1m) may have exhibited a worrying fondness for providing assists for the opposition during the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea, but if we’re going to stay strong and keep our disdain for the cup competitions alive then we are going to have to ignore that and instead look forward to him taking his place in a Chelsea defence which is about to embark on a Double Gameweek. Or will he?

The gradual return to fitness for John Terry (£6.5m) and the constant relocation of David Luiz (£6.6m) – sometimes inadvertently – means that the only member of Chelsea’s back four surely certain to line up against both Stoke and Southampton is Ashley Cole (£6.5m), who looks to be a fine investment for Fantasy bosses who may have activated their January wildcard ahead of this weekend, and who scored the winner and kept a clean sheet which Stoke visited Stamford Bridge in September.

Further forward, the signing of Demba Ba (£8.6m) has put the once secure place for Fernando Torres (£9.8m) under threat, whilst Rafael Benitez will surely avoid angering Fantasy bosses for a second Gameweek running and restore Juan Mata (£9.9m) to his Premier League line-up after resting him for the shock loss at home to QPR.

Harry Redknapp’s side entertain the manager’s former club Tottenham at Loftus Road in Saturday’s early match, with Gareth Bale (£9.8m) primed to score big on a weekend when many of his highly priced rivals are facing tougher fixtures. A wildcard move for the Welshman could have benefits well beyond this Gameweek.

Before the FA Cup so rudely interrupted us the name on everyone’s lips was that of Theo Walcott (£9.0m) but he and Arsenal face a tough test at home to Manchester City this weekend, with City likely to be missing the hamstrung Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) and Carlos Tevez (£8.9m) looking to start.

Suarez (£10.4m) won’t have many friends at Old Trafford and is unlikely to find many points either, with Robin van Persie (£14.0m) certain to lead the line for Manchester United against Liverpool. Those who back the Reds defence – which could include the cheap Andre Wisdom (£4.3m) after Jose Enrique (£5.9m) was ruled out for six weeks –  to keep out the Dutchman aren’t short of options to replace him, with one of those options coming at Sunderland.

The Mackems have a relatively friendly set of four fixtures coming up, and so Fantasy bosses who had lost faith in Steven Fletcher (£7.0m) could be tempted to turn back to the Scotsman ahead of his side’s home match against West Ham, whilst the departure of Ba is sure to see Papiss Cisse (£8.8m) given a central striking role for Newcastle’s visit to Norwich if he can overcome a knock.

Another battling injury is Southampton’s Gaston Ramirez (£5.6m), but the Uruguyan is certainly worth keeping an eye on ahead of the Saints’ Double Gameweek trips to Aston Villa and Chelsea, whilst teenage full-back Luke Shaw (£4.0m) could find himself becoming an inexpensive addition to plenty of teams once that wildcard kicks in.

Whilst his price hasn’t yet risen, Marouane Fellaini’s (£7.4m) has been falling ever since his three-match ban, but with the Belgian back and ready to play a part in what look to be a winnable next four games for Everton, starting with this weekend against Swansea, then his addition could be crucial.

@Mark_Jones86

Chelsea: Three is the magic number

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For Chelsea fans, the good things are coming in threes.

The club have won three of the last eight Premier league titles, there’s only been once this season when they didn’t take three points from a league game, and they’ve only conceded three goals at home and three goals away during their unbeaten first eight league fixtures.

Key to that success has been the terrific trio of attacking midfielders who appear to have the fate of their side at their feet.

In Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar the Blues possess the kind of talents that the rest of the Premier League can only dream of owning.

They don’t come cheap of course – with the trio costing around £80million to unite – but with Mata the oldest at 24 and Hazard and Oscar both just 21 it’s not inconceivable to believe that they’ll all be strutting their stuff at Stamford Bridge for the best part of the next decade. If you’re a Chelsea fan and that didn’t get you licking your lips then I suggest you might like to try another sport.

All three stars have taken the spotlight at some stage already this season, with Hazard shining in his first weeks in English football, Oscar delivering a scintillating Champions League debut at home to Juventus and Mata currently enjoying the limelight thanks to a series of impressive displays and goals over the past few weeks.

The Spaniard had a restricted beginning to 2012/13 following a 12 months which saw him complete his debut Premier League campaign, become an FA Cup and Champions League winner, score in and win the Euro 2012 final and then compete for his country at the Olympic Games, but now his true quality is shining through and Chelsea are reaping the benefits.

The manner in which his two goals transformed last weekend’s 2-1 deficit at Tottenham into a 3-2 lead had a kind of quality about it that you often only associate with championship winning teams, and if Chelsea carry on like this for much longer then it surely can’t be long before they are installed as favourites to win the league ahead of the Manchester clubs.

The chance to get one over on one of them comes on Sunday when Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge for probably the biggest game of Hazard and Oscar’s fledgling Chelsea careers so far.

The Belgian and the Brazilian might have been playing second and third fiddle to Mata’s leading man in recent weeks, but all three have the quality to decide a game which, given United’s recent defensive problems, looks to be Chelsea’s for the taking regardless of their Champions League loss in Donetsk on Tuesday night.

The attacking nature of his trio might have led Roberto di Matteo to occasionally rein them in, but the platform provided by the solidity of John Obi Mikel and the energy of Ramires behind them allows Chelsea’s fab three to be let off their leashes. It is a setup which means that the pressure to score goals isn’t suffocating Fernando Torres the way it used to do, whilst it’s also made Frank Lampard realise that he might as well start getting comfortable on the substitute’s bench.

Di Matteo has fielded the three stars in matches at Arsenal and Tottenham this season, and so a home game against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side isn’t likely to see him abandon the approach.

Beat United and Chelsea suddenly go seven points clear of them, whilst increasing their opponents’ league defeats this season to three.

There’s that number again. Chelsea fans won’t tire of seeing it throughout the season.

By the end of it though, if their star trio can keep on performing there is every chance that they’ll see their team at number one.   

@Mark_Jones86

Bouncing back?

Don’t forget…

To join the free Fantasy Yirma mini league on the official premier league game follow this link. Remember Free to Play … £50 to the winner!! What’s to lose?? http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/15005/join/?autojoin-code=44397-15005

Injuries, terrible form and appointments with Argentinean golf courses were all reasons why these five didn’t shine in Yirma in 2011/12, but could things be different this time around?

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Fernando Torres, Chelsea, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £10.0m

Just the FA Cup, Champions League, European Championships and Euro Golden Boot award made last term an unforgettable season to forget for Torres, who still comes across as one of the bigger enigmas in the division.

Bit part roles in all of those successes will have created a hunger though, and a desire to prove that the £50m Chelsea invested in him a year-and-a-half ago could still prove to be money well spent. There is a sense that if it’s ever going to happen, it’ll have to happen now.

Last season he scored exactly a quarter of the goals and picked up over 100 less Fantasy points than he managed in his electric debut season at Liverpool in 2007/08, and whilst he is unlikely to hit those heights again he might at least find himself approaching them.

The departure of Didier Drogba and the decision to loan Romelu Lukaku to West Brom has seen Roberto di Matteo place a huge vote of confidence in Torres, and with Chelsea recruiting creative players from all over the world to help him out this summer he won’t exactly be short of goalscoring chances.

He’s likely to take more than a few of them too.

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Stewart Downing, Liverpool, Midfielder – Fantasy Price Tag £6.5m

By now everyone knows the stats, so much so that it doesn’t even matter that they weren’t true.

As endless tweets, Facebook jokes and message board posts will tell you, Downing’s first season as Liverpool’s £20m winger produced zero goals and zero assists – even though the Fantasy stats point out that he set up two goals in a match at QPR, whilst he managed a couple of strikes during the Reds’ run to the finals of both domestic cup competitions.

Regardless of that, his performances were still nowhere near what Liverpool supporters demanded, and the England man will know that he’ll have to step up his displays if his future at the club is to last much longer. Fortunately for him, he might just have the chance to.

With Brendan Rodgers ready to switch Liverpool’s approach to a 4-3-3 formation, Downing would appear set to occupy the wide right position in the front trio alongside Luis Suárez and Fabio Borini, at least until the Reds dip back into the transfer market – although the emergence of youngster Raheem Sterling (£4.5m) is worth keeping an eye on.

It was from a similar position that Downing bagged 163 Fantasy points in his final season at Aston Villa, more than double he got at Liverpool last season and including seven goals and nine assists for those who like to keep a track of such things.

He might not manage the same tally again, but an improvement looks almost certain.

He could scarcely have got any worse.

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Carlos Tevez, Manchester City, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £9.0m

He’s back – for now – and he looks ready to make up for lost time.

Manchester City fans may have forgotten all about Tevez’s indiscretions last season the moment he started banging the goals in, and Fantasy bosses might be ready to do just the same.

The forward’s fine goal in the Community Shield on Sunday could have been taken from the impressive back catalogue he built up in scoring first 210 and then 185 Fantasy points in each of his first two seasons at City, and now seemingly back on board and back in Roberto Mancini’s plans, it might not be the last such wonderful strike.

The prospect of building a partnership with Sergio Agüero should have City fans drooling and opposition defenders dreading, and if Tevez quickly settles down and – more importantly – is kept happy, then his £9.0m Fantasy price tag could suddenly start looking incredibly cheap.

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Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United, Defender – Fantasy Price Tag £7.0m

Would Manchester United have won the league last season if Vidic had been around all campaign?

It’s impossible to predict of course, but the presence of a player who scored well over 100 points in four out of his five other seasons in Fantasy Premier League, and 94 in the other one, certainly would have aided a United side who chopped and changed things at the back after the Serb picked up the knee injury in November which ruled him out of the rest of the campaign.

Now fit, the club captain will slot straight back into Sir Alex Ferguson’s side as if he has never been away, and his club are likely to benefit from both his defensive organisational abilities and his goalscoring threat in the opposition penalty area.

A real leader, Vidic’s return isn’t just a welcome one for United fans but also for Fantasy bosses who were frequently left scratching their heads at just which players would line-up for Ferguson’s side last season.

When fit Vidic walks in to United’s team, and could well walk into yours too.

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Lucas, Liverpool, Midfielder – Fantasy Price Tag £5.0m

Like Vidic at United, Lucas’s absence from over half of Liverpool’s season can’t be underestimated, but was certainly vital.

The Brazilian isn’t the kind of player who’ll win man of the match awards every week or even get you a lot of Fantasy points, but it was clear to see how Liverpool struggled as soon as he picked up the problem in November which ruled him out of the rest of the campaign, with youthful, often raw players pressed into service in his absence.

Now back and taking his place in the centre of a Liverpool team who are likely to dominate possession in the vast majority of their games, Lucas will be looking to get back to the form which has made him one of the top defensive midfielders in world football, and he could well be regarded as an excellent cheap option for your team at just £5.0m.

Consistency is key for the Brazilian, and if you’re prepared to play a squad game then his valuable input and steady accumulation of points could be just what you need.

*M

@Mark_Jones86

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