GW35 Preview: Liverpool’s Luis Suarez is facing Norwich. You know what to do.
After the drama of last weekend, Liverpool’s title challenge rolls on to Norfolk this time around, and there’ll be at least one man who’ll be pleased it does.
Luis Suarez (£13.3m) has scored a staggering 11 goals in his last four matches against the Canaries, including hat-tricks on his only previous two visits to Carrow Road and four goals against the same opposition at Anfield in December.
The Uruguayan’s often jaw-dropping goalscoring rate might not be at the same level it has often been at the moment, with just one strike in his last four games, but as the Reds chase what would be a remarkable title success he is certain to be determined to fire them there.
You could argue that Suarez is fortunate to be facing Norwich at all after narrowly escaping a red card against Manchester City, but he could be coming up against them without his strike partner Daniel Sturridge (£10.4m) in tow after the forward limped off in the same game.
At the time of writing the extent of Sturridge’s injury isn’t known, but if he doesn’t play then that will only add extra attacking responsibility to the shoulders of Philippe Coutinho (£8.5m) and Raheem Sterling (£5.7m), but as both have shown in recent weeks they are more than capable of handling the pressure.
One man who definitely won’t be playing for Liverpool is the suspended Jordan Henderson (£6.5m), with his three-game ban for the red card picked up against City now ruling him out for until the final game of the season.
Speaking of City, they can’t be counted out of the title race at all just yet, especially now they’ve got Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) back from injury, a return which has soften the blow of losing the injured Yaya Toure (£10.5m) for a couple of games.
As they showed at Anfield though, the inspiration behind all of their good work at the moment is the brilliant David Silva (£9.9m), a player who has really found his form in the closing weeks of the season and one who should really have a higher Fantasy ownership percentage than 14%.
He’ll be vital as City host West Brom on Monday night in a match they simply have to win to stay in the title race, whilst Chelsea also face a similar must-win (and probably will win) match at home to Sunderland on Saturday.
As usual, the attention is on Chelsea’s forwards ahead of the contest, with that baton now passed to Demba Ba (£7.4m) following his crucial goals against Paris-Saint Germain and Swansea.
Elsewhere, perhaps the game of the weekend sees David Moyes return to Goodison Park with Manchester United, a match which Everton will fancy their chances in as they continue to chase the Champions League.
Young defender John Stones (£4.2m) has kept his place in the team despite the return to fitness of Phil Jagielka, whilst Steven Naismith (£4.7m) continues to make his presence felt upfront. United remain largely friendless in the Fantasy game, although at least Juan Mata (£9.1m) has started to shine.
Cardiff’s latest attempt at climbing out of trouble sees them host Stoke in what is simply a must-win game, and whilst Peter Odemwingie (£5.5m) will fancy getting one over the club he started the season at, the hosts will be looking to Jordon Mutch (£5.0m) to inspire them to a much-needed three points.
Fulham, another club in relegation trouble, may have picked up important points lately through the goals of Hugo Rodallega (£5.0m), but they face a tough visit to a Tottenham side who will be inspired by the recent performances of Christian Eriksen (£6.8m).
Fantasy Football GW35 preview: Defoe to take a bite out of Wigan?
Well he was never going to exit quietly was he?
Sunday saw the last action of one of the Fantasy Premier League stars of 2012/13, with Liverpool’s Luis Suarez leaving the game for the season with a goal in the 97th minute of what was an 11-point performance against Chelsea – not that everyone was talking about that come full-time.
In his absence, forward options are being scoured and teams are being altered, but perhaps his direct replacement was seen earlier on Sunday afternoon.
After failing to start since the 3-2 loss at Liverpool last month, Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe (£7.9m) – another with a history which includes biting opponents – came off the bench to score in Spurs’ fantastic comeback to beat Manchester City at White Hart Lane last weekend.
With Emmanuel Adebayor (£9.0m) struggling having scored just three league goals all season, Defoe’s return to fitness could be perfectly timed for Andre Villas-Boas’ side as they chase the Champions League.
As far as the Fantasy game goes, Spurs head for Wigan at the weekend before a double Gameweek next week when the north Londoners face Southampton and Chelsea, meaning that Defoe is likely to get plenty of playing time as the campaign draws to a close.
The England forward could prove to be a key man for both Tottenham and for your team as the scramble for league positions becomes more intense, and he could just be the forward to trust in Suarez’s absence.
Those fixtures for Spurs and the return to fitness of Gareth Bale (£10.5m) mean that the Welshman is sure to find himself thrown back into plenty of teams following his recovery from injury, whilst defensively the likes of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (£5.8m) and defender Jan Vertonghen (£6.6m) could also offer much.
Elsewhere, the battle for the Champions League places will go up a notch at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea entertain a Swansea side who seem to have been on a downward spiral ever since they won the Capital One Cup.
Juan Mata (£9.8m) took his tally to 16 assists for the season after being credited with laying on both goals in the draw at Anfield, and with the Spaniard so key to everything his side do then Rafael Benitez surely won’t risk leaving him out for the clash with the Swans.
The form of both Eden Hazard (£9.6m) and Oscar (£7.8m) has been encouraging in recent weeks, but it is still Mata who makes Chelsea tick and who they’ll be looking to in a contest that the hosts will really need to win in their challenge for the top four, especially given that Suarez took a bite out of their hopes on Sunday.
Arsenal are the other one of three clubs that cannot go into the two still available top four places, and they’ll be hoping that champions Manchester United will have taken their eye off the ball as they visit The Emirates.
The absence of Olivier Giroud through suspension means that Lukas Podolski (£8.1m) is likely to come in from the start for the Gunners, whilst Theo Walcott (£8.8m) could also be restored to the central forward role that he so enjoyed earlier in the campaign.
A little higher up the table than Arsenal, Manchester City host West Ham in a contest in which Carlos Tevez (£9.1m) will be looking to keep up recent form against his former club. Having kept six clean sheets in their last seven home games, the likes of Joe Hart (£6.8m), Pablo Zabaleta (£6.2m) and Vincent Kompany (£7.0m) will be confident of keeping West Ham out.
Having scored only a second goal in 26 games at QPR last weekend, Stoke’s Peter Crouch (£6.0m) could be fancied for another strike at home to Norwich, whilst Christian Benteke (£7.3m) will be confident going into Aston Villa’s clash at home to Sunderland.
At Goodison Park, Everton will be going for a sixth home win in seven games as they host Fulham.
Marouane Fellaini (£7.4m), Kevin Mirallas (£6.9m) and Leighton Baines (£7.8m) are likely to garner the most attention, although for a cheap choice it could pay to go with Victor Anichebe (£4.4m), who has started the last six Blues games and is sure to have chances against a Fulham side who have kept just three clean sheets on the road this season.