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Fantasy Premier League: DON’T BLAME DAVID DE GEA

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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

Fantasy Premier League: GameWeek26 overview from @RotoZdroik

Thanks to @RotoZdroik for his guest post looking at Gameweek26.

When playing Fantasy Soccer (ed. Football!?!?!), there are two things you have to focus on when building your team: Form and Value. If you’re grabbing players because they have a lot of total points, it doesn’t really work out most of the time.

The first example is Michu, who hasn’t scored since December, a stretch of seven games. Even with that stat, there was close to 100,000 people that added him in the month of January because he’s still near the top of the charts in total points.

Another player is Carlos Tevez, who’s owned by 23 percent of people at premierleague.com. Tevez has zero goals and three assists since Dec. 9. In Man City’s last six matches, he only has three starts. That’s telling you something right there, and even his starts have a lot to do with Sergio Aguero’s injury.

Branislav Ivanovic is one of the most expensive defenders in the game and is owned by 24 percent of players. He has a lot of points because of his four goals and one assist on the year. Can you really count on that for a defender, though? Two of those goals came in the first two games of the year. He has had more than two Fantasy points just once since Dec. 23. Chelsea’s defense has been a question mark of late, giving up eight goals in their last four matches. Why is he still owned by so many people? He’s a waste of money.

Cases like these can be found across all positions and owners aren’t doing anything about it. They just assume a player is good because of his name or that he has a lot of points and that sooner or later, he’ll come around again. You can’t play Fantasy with that kind of mentality. You need the best possible team every week, not one scattered with underperforming, expensive players.

Here are some guys that are in form and deserve your attention.

Julio Cesar, QPR, GK, 5.0m, 3.8% owned

He has four clean sheets in his last five matches which says everything you need to know. Is there a reason Ben Foster is on more teams that Cesar, yet costs the same? Foster hasn’t had a clean sheet since returning from injury, that’s eight straight games.

How about Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic, who’s owned by over 25 percent of players? A lot of people probably got him when he was cheaper, but he’s 5.8m right now and not everyone got him at the beginning of the year at 4.5m. Stoke’s defense has disappeared in the new year, giving up goals in seven straight games including a stretch of 15 goals in five games. He’s not close to being a good option even with their upcoming schedule.

Ben Davies, Swansea, DEF, 4.6m, 12.9% owned
His ownership rate has picked up a lot lately which is good to see. I say this stat often, the Swans have allowed fewer goals on the road than any other club. They were very close to another clean sheet this past weekend, but Andy Carroll finally stepped up.

Michael Dawson, Tottenham, DEF, 4.5m, 2.3% owned
Why is a starting Spurs defender only on two percent of teams? He’s been injured a lot this year, but he’s probably going to be the starter for the rest of the year as long as he stays healthy. Dawson is by far the cheapest of the bunch on the Spurs backline.

These two players lead to question why Ryan Shawcross is the most owned defender. He falls in line with Begovic. The Stoke defense is in a slump. People have been dropping Shawcross for the past month, but he’s still on close to 29 percent of squads.

Much like Ivanovic, teammate Ashley Cole is also hugely overrated. Chelsea’s defense is in a funk and Cole costs 6.5m, which no one can really justify. He’s on 15.1% of teams.

Frank Lampard, Chelsea, MID, 8.5m, 4.5% owned

Midfielders are a little harder to look at because most of them are living up to their pricing, but one of them that isn’t getting enough attention is Lampard. He is somehow being underrated right now. He and Steven Gerrard have taken a drink from the fountain of youth and are two of the hottest players in the game. Lamps has seven goals in his last eight starts.

On the other end of that is Yaya Toure, who is still on 15 percent of squads even though he’s been away in Africa for the past few weeks. Even so, he’s played in 800 more minutes than Lampard and has less Fantasy Points. Toure is a great player, but not overwhelming in Fantasy. He costs the same as Marouane Fellaini (last week’s Fantasy leader) and is only 0.8m cheaper than Lampard. Why spend good money on a player that isn’t worth it?

Another midfielder that can be looked at is recent transfer Moussa Sissoko, who is very close to being a forward for Newcastle. While he’s only played in two Premier League matches, he’s already shown what he can do with two goals and an assist. At only 6.0m, a lot of people will be looking to add him to their squads.

Victor Anichebe, Everton, FOR, 4.4m, 2.4% owned

The fact that he’s still owned by less than three percent of people is mind boggling. Not only does he have three goals and four assists in his last eight matches, he has sort of taken over Nikica Jelavic’s spot as Everton’s starting striker. The guy is currently at 4.4m. He would be your third forward and he’s doing better than Demba Ba (26.9% owned) at Chelsea. I told everyone Ba was overrated a few weeks ago and he’s only backed up my statement with just one league goal in a Blues uniform.

Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, FOR, 6.6m, 5.1% owned

I already mentioned how there are a lot of overrated forwards in the game. Benteke is probably the most underrated of them all, mainly because no one is paying attention to Villa as they are headed for relegation. Benteke has been a great option almost all season long and he’s only getting better. He has six goals and an assist in his last five matches. Villa has not won any of those games, but he’s still fighting.

It makes you wonder what people are actually looking at when setting their lineups and making transfers. Benteke is on 17 percent less squads than Tevez, it makes absolutely no sense. The season is running to an end, don’t be stuck with overpriced, overrated players at the end of the year.

WEEKLY TIP

There are no weekly rankings because you should pick up all of the players I listed above. Also, there’s only one thing you need to know this week, Liverpool and Swansea have a double gameweek.

Liverpool gets two home games against West Brom and Swansea. Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard will be at the top of a lot of lists this week. At 5.0m, Jamie Carragher is also a good grab as he’s started in three straight matches.

Swansea gets QPR at home and then travels to Liverpool a week later. QPR has had trouble scoring and now there are rumors of Loic Remy being out for up to two months. The Swansea backline already got enough promotion from me, but Gerhard Tremmel could also be a good pick at keeper if Michel Vorm misses more time. I talked badly about Michu earlier, but with two matches this might be time for him to break out of his slump. If you go the cheaper route, the Swans have four other viable midfielders that cost less than 6.0m.

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

 

  1. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
  2. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
  3. Robin van Persie, Man United
  4. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  5. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  6. Wayne Rooney, Man United

 

Suarez didn’t get anything last week at Manchester City, but it’s almost a certainty that he will in these next two home matches. If you have Suarez, you are captaining him even if RVP is in your squad. In his last three home games, Suarez has four goals and two assists.

Gerrard, who is suddenly the No. 2 overall midfielder, is right behind Suarez for the armband. Just take a look at his goal against City and you won’t have any questions about him. Much like Suarez at home, Stevie G has three goals and four assists in his last four home matches.

Once again RVP was held without a goal or assist, however he surprisingly finished with three bonus points against Fulham. Rooney has taken the lead as of late, but it’s unlikely Van Persie will go three straight matches without hitting the score sheet, especially with a home match. Everton just gave up three goals to Aston Villa if that says anything about their defense at the moment.

Any other week, Mata might be the No. 1 captain option with the way he’s playing. He’s the top midfielder by 18 Fantasy Points and isn’t slowing down even after picking up a knock on his ankle last week. The Spaniard has a goal in three straight matches and now gets a weak Wigan defense at Stamford Bridge.

Bale is carrying Spurs on his back with two vital goals in the past two weeks. They return home to face a hot Newcastle club that just took out Chelsea. Bale’s speed is unmatched and this one could turn out to be an up-and-down, higher scoring game. Tottenham’s last four matches have resulted in just five total goals, but Newcastle’s play as of late should provide for more excitement.

Rooney had to make this list because he’s at home and has scored United’s last three goals. Although I still wouldn’t put him over RVP for captaining.

*Stats up-to-date as of Feb. 4

@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

GW24/GW25 Wrapped up and Delivered: Guest Post from @RotoZdroik

Guest Post from www.RotoExperts.com

Don’t forget to check out the official FantasyYIRMA preview also available now “GW25 Gareth Bale to sting the Hawthorns”

GW24/GW25 Wrapped up and Delivered

We’re in super speed this week as there are only two days between Gameweek 24 and Gameweek 25. Here is a very quick 10-game review from the midweek matches.

Villa headed toward relegation. Newcastle is alive. QPR playing tough. Man City lackluster. Stoke City lost its defense. Wigan still fighting. Sunderland needs another scorer. Swansea is better than you think. Arsenal comeback. Liverpool lose two points. Everton led by Baines. West Brom still struggling. Norwich shows some life. Tottenham saved by Bale. Fulham better at home. West Ham terrible on road. Man United likes playing from behind. Southampton not an easy win. Reading has another ridiculous come back. Chelsea has another late draw.

See? Now you know everything that happened on Tuesday and Wednesday and it only took a minute.

FORM AND FIXTURES

Here are seven clubs that I would like to highlight because you need to pay attention to them for Fantasy purposes.

The first four are known commodities and are at the top of the table for a reason. The bottom three are not talked about enough and deserve some mentioning.

Club

Last 6 Matches

Random Stat Fixtures
Manchester United

16

Last loss: Nov. 17 at FUL, vs. EVE, at QPR
Manchester City

13

4 wins last 5 matches vs. LIV, at SOT, vs. CHE
Tottenham

12

3 straight draws at WBA, vs. NEW, at WH
Everton

11

1 loss in last 12 vs. AVL, at MUN, at NOR
Reading

11

1 loss in last 6 vs. SUN, at STK, vs. WIG
Swansea

10

9 goals allowed on road at WH, vs. QPR/at LIV
QPR

6

Unbeaten in 4 straight vs. NOR, at SWA, vs. MUN

 

I’m starting with QPR first because no one is talking about them. No one gave QPR a chance against Manchester City and yet they stopped the giants from scoring. Of course if you listened to Premier League Plus last Friday, you wouldn’t have been high as on City as we predicted a draw.

 

I’ll start with their defense. Julio Cesar may be old, but he’s still a great keeper. Why else is Real Madrid trying to pick him up? QPR now has three clean sheets in their last four matches. More importantly, those three clean sheets have come against Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City. No one else in the league has had a similar stretch.

 

On the other end of that, their offense has been struggling, but still gets some looks. Adel Taarabt is their best attacker and had a few chances against City. At 5.7m he is still a great value. Loic Remy scored in his debut and also deserves a look.

 

Get a Swansea defender on your squad. In 12 road matches, they have allowed just nine goals, best in the Premier League. It wouldn’t hurt to add one of their defenders who are all under 5.0m. Ben Davies is the most desirable as he gets forward a lot. One thing to keep an eye on is Michel Vorm and his transfer status. There are reports that Man United and Barcelona are fighting for the keeper. That would mean that Gerhard Tremmel would get the permanent job in net at 4.1m. Also, they have a double in Gameweek 26 so that’s something to prepare for.

 

One of the bigger surprises in the above table is that Everton and Reading have the same amount of points in their last six matches. The overall difference is that Everton has a 12-spot lead in the main table.

 

Reading has a favorable upcoming schedule, which only helps. They have two home matches against Sunderland and Wigan and then go on the road to a struggling Stoke. Adam Le Fondre has not started in a while, but he has five goals in the last three matches. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get the start against Sunderland. Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak also deserve a look. If you need a fifth defender, there’s no reason not to go for someone on their back line as they are all 4.0m or less.

 

Tottenham still needs to be looked at even though they are coming off three straight draws. Their next three opponents (WBA, Newcastle, West Ham) have been struggling and that should open for at least one or two wins in the upcoming stretch. Michael Dawson is a great value at 4.5m and should be looked at no matter what your situation.

 

Looking at the two Manchester’s, the safe route will be to go for United players. They get Everton, Fulham and QPR while City has to face Liverpool, Chelsea and then Southampton on the road.

 

The conversation between Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie has never been stronger after Rooney nabbed a brace against Southampton. As he is a little cheaper, there is a good reason for people to get Rooney over RVP. Here’s some more reasoning behind that decision.

 

Take a look at my rankings below and some of the points I just made are reflected into them. Cesar and Tremmel are at the top of the goalkeepers list for a reason. Those are just two examples, but there are plenty more players to get on clubs you normally don’t think about.

 

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. Julio Cesar, QPR, 4.9m, vs. Norwich
  2. Gerhard Tremmel, Swansea, 4.1m, at West Ham
  3. Tim Howard, Everton, 5.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  4. Joe Hart, Man City, 6.9m, vs. Liverpool
  5. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, at Fulham


Defenders

  1. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  2. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, at Fulham
  3. Ben Davies, Swansea, 4.3m, at West Ham
  4. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, vs. Liverpool
  5. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea, 7.1m, at Newcastle
  6. Fabio, QPR, 4.2m, vs. Norwich
  7. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Stoke City
  8. Phil Jagielka, Everton, 6.0m, vs. Aston Villa
  9. Phil Jones, Man United, 5.6m, at Fulham
  10. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at West Brom


Midfielders

  1. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.1m, at Newcastle
  2. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.4m, vs. Stoke City
  3. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 9.8m, at West Brom
  4. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.6m, vs. Aston Villa
  5. Adel Taarabt, QPR, 5.7m, vs. Norwich
  6. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, vs. Liverpool
  7. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool, 9.4m, at Man City
  8. Michu, Swansea, 8.3m, at West Ham
  9. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.5m, at Newcastle
  10. Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle, 6.6m, vs. Chelsea


Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.1m, at Fulham
  2. Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 10.5m, at Man City
  3. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Newcastle
  4. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, at Fulham
  5. Carlos Tevez, Man City, 8.9m, vs. Liverpool
  6. Sergio Aguero, Man City, 10.9m, vs. Liverpool
  7. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Stoke City
  8. Jermaine Defoe, Tottenham, 8.2m, at West Brom
  9. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, at Everton
  10. Adam Le Fondre, Reading, 4.7m, vs. Sunderland
  11. Rickie Lambert, Southampton, 6.4m, at Wigan
  12. Steven Fletcher, Sunderland, 7.1m, at Reading

 

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United
  2. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  3. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  4. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  5. Luis Suarez, Liverpool

 

My captain rankings look very similar to last week’s. This is mainly because we are more than halfway through the campaign and we know who the best players are. In addition to that, the big name players are all performing up to their potential ,which never seems to happen. Of course after saying this, one of these guys will get hurt or go on a cold streak.

 

Surprisingly, the only player that didn’t back up my rankings last week was RVP. He had a few chances, but was denied by keeper Artur Boruc. While his 10-game scoring streak was snapped, you don’t have to worry about him because of that. No one else in the league has had a 10-game scoring stretch. Van Persie had to be stopped at some point. Fulham plays solid defense at home, but that shouldn’t matter against the Red Devils.

 

Mata had a slow start to the season, which saw his value dip as low as 8.9m. Hopefully, you picked him up then because his value has only gone up since. The Spaniard now costs 10.1m and for good reason. He has at least two bonus points in six of his last nine matches. That usually means good things. Chelsea is on the road, but I wouldn’t put money on Newcastle holding them to a clean sheet.

 

Walcott deserves the next spot in my rankings for two reasons: He’s on fire and Stoke’s defense has been non-existent as of late. Walcott has now scored in three straight matches and has seven goals and five assists in the past eight games. Once a solid defense, Stoke City has allowed 15 goals in their last five matches.

 

Gareth Bale is fast and he has a great left foot. That was all on display in his equalizer scored at Norwich on Wednesday. Spurs are on the road again and against a very questionable defense in West Brom. While the Baggies are in the top half of the table, they have allowed more goals than any other club also in that position.

 

I pondered leaving Suarez off this list mainly because Man City has four straight clean sheets. The problem with that is they haven’t played Luis Suarez in those games. Suarez is on fire with six goals in his last five matches. City has to give up a goal at some point.

*Stats up-to-date as of Jan. 30

(ed. Since time of article, it now looks as if Mata may miss the GW25 fixture)

By @RotoZdroik

About the Author

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.

QPR: The 2005 club

Image

If this was 2005 then Queens Park Rangers would have one of the best squads in the Premier League, and surely wouldn’t be bottom of it.

Cast your minds back to the middle part of the last decade, and Djibril Cisse had just recovered from the first of his broken legs to help Liverpool clinch Champions League glory in Istanbul by scoring a penalty in the shootout.

Park Ji-Sung’s livewire performances had helped steer PSV Eindhoven to the semi-finals of that competition and earned him a move to Manchester United in that same year, whilst Andy Johnson had just finished as the second top scorer in the Premier League and the top scoring Englishman thanks to 21 goals for Crystal Palace.

It was in the summer of 2005 that Shaun Wright-Phillips – that bright young hope of the England team – made his staggering £21million move to Chelsea, whilst in Italy the goalkeeper Julio Cesar transferred to Inter Milan and would go on to claim five Serie A titles and the 2009/10 Champions League.

Back in England, Kieron Dyer’s on field spat with Newcastle team-mate Lee Bowyer wasn’t keeping him out of the England squad, whilst Ryan Nelsen was just about to begin his seven-year stint of solidity at Blackburn Rovers and Bobby Zamora was scoring the goals which helped earn West Ham promotion from the Championship. In Portugal, Jose Bosingwa had established himself as Porto’s and eventually his country’s first choice right-back, with the thoughts which crossed his mind ones which would have been as far away from Loftus Road as possible. QPR fans might say they still are.

Mark Hughes – establishing himself as a solid, respected manager at Blackburn in 2005 – wouldn’t have been thinking about QPR too much back then either, with his managerial destiny no doubt better suited for one of his former clubs like Chelsea, Everton or even Manchester United. His early experiences as Wales boss had set him up for a shot at the big time at club level. It simply wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Yet laying all of QPR’s present problems – no wins from 12 league games, bottom of the table with the worst goal difference in the Premier League, a set of increasingly angry and disillusioned fans to name but three – at the door of the manager is simply wrong, with more than a few of 2005’s men needing to take a long hard look at themselves in 2012/13.

There’s no doubt Hughes will eventually be sacked if QPR’s form doesn’t improve dramatically and quickly – and an away game at Old Trafford this weekend following on from the miserable loss to Southampton last Saturday doesn’t suggest that that is coming soon – but whilst the Welshman has made mistakes during what is likely to be less than a full year in charge, he has been let down by his players too.

Admittedly signing men whose CV highlights all come a long way down the Employment History section wasn’t a wise move from Hughes and owner Tony Fernandes in the first place, but you’d have thought that these same players wouldn’t want ‘Premier League relegation’ listed on that same document. It seems some don’t care.

Others such as Adel Taarabt and Jamie Mackie – an Exeter City player in 2005 – still appear willing to give their skills and effort respectively to what is appearing to be an increasingly desperate cause, but QPR need everyone on board as they do exactly what Hughes said that they’d never need to do again after narrowly staying up last season, and battle relegation.

The club are undoubtedly in much better financial health than they were seven years ago when they were staving off demotion from the Championship, but ask a QPR fan if he preferred those days of watching the efforts of the likes of Marc Bircham, Kevin Gallen and Paul Furlong compared to today’s team and there is only likely to be one answer.

Those same fans would scarcely have believed that those star players of 2005 would one day represent their club.

They should have been careful what they wished for.

@Mark_Jones86

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