Fantasy Football GW31: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Man United ALL play twice!
You’ll have had your eye on it for a while, but Gameweek 31 looks like one to separate the men and the women from the boys and the girls.
Ten teams face two matches over the next week, and the points on offer in them could be the difference between a strong finish to your season or petering out amongst the also-rans.
In honour of the Double Gameweek, we’ve taken a look at all 10 teams and highlighted players who you should consider for your teams.
Off we go:
Arsenal (Chelsea away, Swansea home)
The opening game is obviously the tougher one here, especially given Chelsea’s strong defensive record at home. Tomas Rosicky (£5.5m) impressed in the North London derby, but if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.6m) had sharpened up his finishing skills there the win could have been more emphatic. With the Gunners’ defence and attack set for a tough game at Stamford Bridge, the England man could be the way to go.
Swansea (Everton away, Arsenal away)
Undoubtedly dealt the toughest hand in Gameweek 31, Swansea’s players don’t really appeal at all. If you had to pick one, Michu (£8.4m) returned for 28 minutes in the West Brom game and should feature again.
Manchester United (West Ham away, Manchester City home)
After going from bad to worse against Liverpool, Manchester United face another tough couple of matches. No-one at the club is in any sort of form at all, and so with a daunting meeting with rivals City on the horizon not to mention a tough examination at West Ham, their players might be best avoided. Adnan Januzaj (£4.9m) remains the best value though.
Manchester City (Fulham home, Manchester United away)
The Fulham game certainly offers up the potential for another City scorefest, and to be honest the trip to Old Trafford does too. David Silva (£9.2m) got an all-too-rare goal at Hull, but Samir Nasri (£8.1m) is more likely to find the net, whilst Edin Dzeko (£6.7m) did so last weekend and could be the one to profit if Sergio Aguero’s lack of fitness and Alvaro Negredo’s poor form continues.
Newcastle (Crystal Palace home, Everton home)
It’s a pity that Loic Remy is injured as these games would have been perfect for him, but instead it looks like being Luuk de Jong (£5.9m) who’ll lead the line for the Magpies. Fabricio Coloccini (£4.8m) will be important as the hosts seek to keep things tight at St James’s Park, but the value could be with Moussa Sissoko (£5.8m) as he continues in a slightly more advanced midfield position to the one he adopted in the first half of the season.
Everton (Swansea home, Newcastle away)
Seamus Coleman (£6.7m) got his customary goal late on in the Cardiff win and the Irishman remains a must-pick for your team, even if Everton have shipped goals away lately. Kevin Mirallas (£7.5m) has gone off the boil recently and whilst Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4m) promises much he’s only completed 90 minutes once all season. All of which points emphatically to Romelu Lukaku (£8.5m).
West Ham (Manchester United home, Hull home)
Andy Carroll (£7.1m) scored his first goal of the season against Stoke last time out, and the forward is a great differential choice here. The former Newcastle and Liverpool forward knows that he’s in the last chance saloon with regards to selection for the World Cup, and he’ll be desperate to impress in front of the television cameras against a dodgy Manchester United defence on Saturday night. Then on Wednesday its Hull at home.
Hull (West Brom home, West Ham away)
Curtis Davies (£4.7m) has been in the goals recently and looks a good shout as a cheap defender for your team, but all of Hull’s power lies with the attack. The club as a whole might have on eye on their upcoming FA Cup semi-final, but both Shane Long (£5.7m) and Nikica Jelavic (£6.7m) are cup-tied for that fixture, and the latter should be backed to fire against West Brom at least.
Liverpool (Cardiff away, Sunderland home)
The team on everyone’s lips at the moment looks to be the ones to back here. Daniel Sturridge’s (£10.5m) emphatic scoring run may have stalled, but that only seems to have started another one for Luis Suarez (£13.1m). The Uruguayan should be your captain this Gameweek but also look out for useful midfield contributions from Jordan Henderson (£6.4m), Raheem Sterling (£5.9m) and of course Steven Gerrard (£9.2m).
Sunderland (Norwich away, Liverpool away)
Getting anything from Anfield will be tough, especially given that forward Fabio Borini (£6.2m) will be unable to face his parent club. The Norwich game could be a different matter though, and whilst Adam Johnson (£6.5m) excites as a potential addition, midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng (£4.3m) is surprisingly cheap and useful if you need someone to pad out the squad.
Gameweek 31 preview: Has Robin van Persie rediscovered Dutch courage?
How long was that international break? About three years?
It certainly seemed that way anyway, but as Fantasy Premier League finally returns those internationals might well have helped one of its star men to rediscover his form.
A run of just one goal in his last six league matches has seen Manchester United’s Robin van Persie (£13.7m) lose plenty of support from Fantasy bosses, with his once seemingly unbeatable ownership percentage dwindling and now surpassed by Luis Suarez (£11.2m), who has also taken over as the Premier League’s top scorer.
Sir Alex Ferguson has notoriously been loathe to lose his players to international football over the years, but on this occasion he might just have welcomed Van Persie joining up with the Dutch team for two World Cup qualifiers in the past week, a week that saw the forward return to form.
Van Persie scored in the Netherlands’ 3-0 win over Estonia last Friday before following that up with two goals in the 4-0 win over Romania, and with those two matches both played at home the lack of travel time will mean that he’ll return fresh for the champions-elect in their early game at Sunderland on Saturday.
With Martin O’Neill’s side struggling and no doubt looking over their shoulders at the teams down below them – and now doing so without the injured Steven Fletcher, an early season Fantasy favourite who is now out for the rest of the campaign through injury – then the visit of Manchester United to Wearside isn’t likely to go down well with the locals.
The selection of Manchester United and Chelsea players should come with a warning this weekend given that the pair will meet in the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Stamford Bridge early on Monday afternoon, but Van Persie’s timely return to goalscoring form could come in handy here, and he’s likely to lead the line as United go for another win.
As for Chelsea, they make a tricky trip to Southampton from which it could be difficult to emerge with a victory.
The Saints have impressively beaten Manchester City and Liverpool at St Mary’s recently, and so Chelsea will know that a tough contest awaits them on the south coast. Having said that Demba Ba (£7.8m) has happy memories of the venue given that he scored there twice on his Chelsea debut in the FA Cup, and the Senegalese forward could be the man to back.
Arsenal could have things a little easier at home to Nigel Adkins’ Reading side, even without the injured Theo Walcott (£9.0m).
The absence of the Englishman could open the door for Olivier Giroud (£7.5m) to shine, but with Arsene Wenger confirming the fitness of Lukas Podolski (£8.1m) before the game then it could well be the German who impresses for the hosts in a game they’ll expect to win easily.
Elsewhere, Wigan’s usual end of season renaissance may have kickstarted with their late victory over Newcastle two weeks ago, and Roberto Martinez’s side offer some useful midfield options in Shaun Maloney (£4.9m), Jean Beausejour (£5.3m) and James McCarthy (£4.8m) ahead of their home match against Norwich.
Everton and Fulham will expect home wins against Stoke and QPR respectively, and that could spell more points for Fantasy favourites Leighton Baines (£7.6m) and Dimitar Berbatov (£7.0m). It is however worth noting that the Blues will be without the suspended Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar for the next two games due to suspension.
Pienaar’s old club Tottenham go to Swansea, where defender Jan Vertonghen (£6.3m) stands on the verge of surpassing 100 points this season, whilst Sunday’s game will see the usual interest in Suarez as Liverpool go to Aston Villa.
It could be a South American teammate of his who shines though, as after scoring twice and assisting two more in his brief career in England so far, the Brazilian Philippe Coutinho (£6.8m) has found plenty of admirers.
Against a Villa side who haven’t kept a clean sheet in 14 games he could make even more friends.
The #FYCUP starts on GW31 follow @FantasyYIRMA on twitter for updates and fixture announcements on Saturday Morning!