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GW14 PREVIEW: Arsenal, Everton and XFactor references this week

Gameweek 32 preview: Time to switch the Hazard lights back on?

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As Fantasy Premier League introductions go, it will be hard for anyone to ever beat the one made by Eden Hazard (£9.5m).

A staggering six assists and one goal in his first three games saw the Belgian explode onto the English football scene, but it also meant that the seven goals and seven assists he registered over Chelsea’s next 27 league games were made to look a little disappointing.

The Blues face a busy end of season schedule featuring matches in both the FA Cup and Europa League, and although that means that Rafael Benitez is sure to rotate his squad across those competitions surely he can trust Hazard to deliver when he needs him too.

Four goals in his last seven appearances for club and country show that the Belgian might just be finishing his first season in England on a high note, and ahead of Chelsea’s game with Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Sunday he could be just the man to trust.

Staying with Chelsea, an injury to Ashley Cole in the FA Cup win over Manchester United also means that Ryan Bertrand (£3.9m) could be a useful cheap addition to your squad ahead of the meeting with Sunderland, who have struggled to score goals all season and are now without the injured Steven Fletcher.

Elsewhere, another full-back could be worth keeping an eye on.

Glen Johnson (£6.5m) has scored three of his last four Premier League goals against his old club West Ham, and with the Hammers making the trip to Anfield on Sunday without the ineligible Andy Carroll then the right back will be confident that he can play a part in what would be a seventh home clean sheet in the last 10 for Liverpool, as well as getting forward and looking to improve on hitting the post against Aston Villa last week.

Speaking of Villa, they go to Stoke in a huge game for their hopes of avoiding relegation, and after Christian Benteke (£7.2m) scored again last weekend then he could be the man to back there.

Gareth Bale (£10.9m) and Robin van Persie (£13.6m) have been men to back for the majority of the season, and after both became the first men to pass 200 points for the season last weekend they both have big games in which they’ll be hoping to increase their tally this time around.

Bale and Tottenham face Everton at White Hart Lane, and given that the visitors will be without Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar for a second successive week then they could find goals hard to come by. There aren’t many better in the division than Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen (£6.5m) at keeping out the opposition at one end whilst providing a goal threat at the other.

For van Persie, Monday night brings a Manchester derby which has been spoiled slightly by Manchester United’s dominance at the top of the table – but should still be watchable nonetheless.

The Dutchman didn’t get credited with the goal at Sunderland last weekend after we’d given him our big build-up, but perhaps he can make up for that at Old Trafford as United seek to take yet another step towards the title.

At the other end, QPR and Reading face must-win home games in their battles against the drop, and with Southampton and Wigan both capable of capitalising on the nervousness that is likely to be all around Loftus Road and Madejski Stadium respectively, then Rickie Lambert (£7.1m) and Arouna Kone (£6.6m) could take advantage. Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez (£5.1m) has also scored in his last two games.

Santi Cazorla (£9.6m) has only scored in his last one, but he could be the man to watch ahead of Arsenal’s trip to West Brom, where the Gunners will be looking for a seventh win in nine.

@Mark_Jones86

What do you think? Who is in your team and who is your captain choice?? Drop a comment below or tweet us at @FantasyYIRMA

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Gameweek 26 preview: Time for some Stevie Glee?

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It may have snuck up on you somewhat, but Steven Gerrard (£9.7m) is currently the fourth top points scorer in Fantasy Premier League.

Only Robin van Persie (£14.1m), Juan Mata (£10.1m) and his Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez (£10.7m) have picked up more points than the Reds captain, who has benefitted from a new fitness regime brought in by Brendan Rodgers as he’s played every single minute of Liverpool’s 25 league games this season.

The likes of Gareth Bale (£9.8m), Theo Walcott (£9.6m) and Michu (£8.4m) have all been passed by Gerrard in recent weeks, as the frequent niggling injuries which have dogged his last few campaigns and seen his team struggle along without him have become a thing of the past.

Seven goals and 12 assists tell their own story of a player who is arguably in his best form for five years, and the England captain could be a man to trust ahead of Liverpool’s double Gameweek.

Points look on offer for the men from Anfield in home matches against a West Brom outfit who have lost five of their last six in the league and then a Swansea team which will be playing just a week before their appearance in the Capital One Cup final. It must be noted that Liverpool travel to Zenit St Petersburg for a Europa League tie in between those matches, but Rodgers is likely to chop and change things for that one. It’ll be the league that he’ll be focusing on.

Gerrard – having picked up bonus points in six of his last nine matches – won’t be in a hurry to let go of that 100% league record, and off the back of his trademark goal against Manchester City last weekend he’ll be vital in his team’s hunt for points, and maybe yours too.

Despite the Englishman’s form, Suarez is still likely to be captaincy choice of the majority – and six goals in his last six games tells you just why – whilst the impact of Daniel Sturridge (£7.7m) at Anfield also makes him worth considering despite a niggling injury.

However with Liverpool now boasting the Premier League’s best home defensive record having conceded just 10 goals, a move for Glen Johnson (£6.4m) could prove wise given the right-back’s qualities going forward. The Reds are likely to be on the front foot in both of their matches, and Johnson could prove to be a key part of that.

Elsewhere the first of Swansea’s pair of matches is at home to bottom of the table QPR, and so there will be support for Michu and the increasingly popular Ben Davies (£4.6m).

Chelsea will be backed to beat Wigan at Stamford Bridge in a match which could see Fernando Torres (£9.4m) fire given the facial injury suffered by Demba Ba (£8.2m) – well, it could ― whilst Eden Hazard (£9.3m) will return from his ban. Wayne Rooney’s (£11.9m) renaissance might continue at home to former club Everton at Old Trafford, where Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea (£5.5m) will be looking to follow up what was only a fourth clean sheet of the season at Fulham last time out with another shutout.

Sergio Aguero’s (£10.9m) stunning goal against Liverpool last weekend might finally convince many that he is the Manchester City forward to bank on ahead of his side’s trip to Southampton, whilst Emmanuel Adebayor (£9.0m) is set for a return to the Tottenham squad for the home clash with Newcastle.

Whilst the Togolese was away at the African Nations Cup, Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke (£6.7m) picked up support from Fantasy bosses as the key man in his struggling team, and with the Belgian hitting five goals in his last five games to become one of the 26 players have reached over 100 points by Gameweek 26 he is sure to keep that support onside.

Villa face West Ham at Villa Park on Saturday, and with the visitors losing eight of their 12 away games this season, Benteke can improve on his tally even more.

@Mark_Jones86

Still time to join the FantasyYirma mini-league!!

You can still join the #FantasyYirma mini-league – be warned the competition is tough! The FantasyYirma mini-league is one of the TOP RANKED  in the overall game! Click the link below to Join.

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To take £50 off your mate in a bet is fun- to make him sponsor the league for an entire season …is funnier.

Gameweek 6 preview: Hair today, goals tomorrow?

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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.

@Mark_Jones86

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