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Gameweek 12 preview: Big points for the Little Pea?


Did you all enjoy that international break as much as Zlatan Ibrahimovic did? Thought not. Do you want us to get on with the real stuff again then? Thought so.

When we left the Premier League it had just been lit up by a second half showing from Javier Hernandez (£7.6m) at Villa Park, where his two goals and well angled volley off Ron Vlaar’s backside turned Manchester United’s 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win in the manner which seems to be in United’s DNA.

Sir Alex Ferguson responded to the goals by promising Hernandez a start in Saturday evening’s clash with Norwich City at Carrow Road, and then almost immediately withdrew both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie from their international squads with the kind of injuries that only midweek national service can bring out.

Key to Ferguson’s thinking may have been that of his four recognised forwards only Hernandez wasn’t scheduled to play in an international this week, and so with the ‘Little Pea’ not shooting off to Mexico he’s had a full week of training and setting his sights on Norwich’s less than convincing defence.

One or both of Rooney (£11.8m) and Van Persie (£13.7m and still rising) are almost certain to play on Saturday, but perhaps not from the start as Ferguson entrusts his frequent super-sub with what would be only a second Premier League start of the season. Hernandez might not be a long term option for your team but if you need a forward for this weekend alone then there aren’t many better choices, although there is Luis Suarez (£10.0m).

Now elevated to the status of one of only five players in Fantasy Premier League who’ll cost you a double-figured amount of millions to purchase – Rooney, Van Persie, Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard before you ask – there is a compelling argument for Suarez being the most watchable player in the English game right now.

Another goal at Chelsea last weekend made it three in his last three and eight league strikes this season for the Uruguayan, who shares top spot the Premier League’s scorers’ chart alongside Van Persie but will be looking to go out on his own when Wigan come to Anfield on Saturday.

You’ll have read elsewhere and witnessed for yourselves just how much Suarez carries the Liverpool attack – although Raheem Sterling (£5.3m) continues to prove popular after our early nod in his direction – but the forward does come with a cautionary tale, with his four bookings so far this season leaving him just one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. He’ll be fit and available for Wigan though and looks a good bet to find the net.

He’s wanted in Manchester if you believe certain stories, but for now Roberto Mancini will have to make do with just selecting from Aguero (£11.0m), Carlos Tevez (£9.5m), Edin Dzeko (£7.5m) and Mario Balotelli (£8.6m) – it’s a tough life – and once again internationals are likely to play their part for the visit of Aston Villa to the Etihad Stadium.

Aguero played for Argentina in Riyadh on Wednesday whilst Tevez didn’t, and with Dzeko and Balotelli also in midweek action then it could pay to bank on Tevez to be the hero against the Villains.

Elsewhere on a Gameweek which could generate a lot of points, the North London derby promises goals and a battle between Santi Cazorla (£9.4m) and Gareth Bale (£9.7m). Spurs defender Steven Caulker (£4.8m) has also shown that he’s got an eye for the net in the past week and could be a good long-term option.

Chelsea’s trip to West Brom is far from simple and with Hazard (£10.2m), Juan Mata (£9.5m) and Oscar (£7.8m) all looking somewhat sluggish against Liverpool last week they could struggle, whilst Everton’s Marouane Fellaini (£7.6m) and Nikica Jelavic (£8.5m) will hope to team up again at Reading.

The meeting of the division’s bottom two at Loftus Road might not look to have many points on offer, but QPR’s Junior Hoilett (£5.8m) is likely to be central to everything the home side do against leaky Southampton, and the presence of our third key player to watch this Gameweek could benefit both Rangers and you.



Fantasy Yirma: Gameweek 2 preview

Gameweek 2 preview: Forwards to earn their Spurs?


Maybe earning his Spurs is a bit less important to Emmanuel Adebayor than earning AT Spurs, but after completing his move to White Hart Lane from Manchester City at least he’s added another quality striking option for Fantasy managers.

The Togoloese forward (£9.5m) is likely to go straight into the squad for Saturday’s clash at home to West Brom after eventually turning his loan switch into a permanent one, with ‘Ade’ adding much needed strength in depth to Andre Villas-Boas’s striking department after the Portuguese was left with just Jermain Defoe (£7.5m) as a solitary senior forward for last weekend’s loss at Newcastle.

Defoe scored there of course, and he’ll be looking to take that form into the meeting with the Baggies, where he could still start despite the arrival of his new/old team-mate.

The England man continues to be linked with moves away, but it is unlikely that you’ll see Defoe depart North London at least until Villas-Boas is able to bring in yet another forward, and even then all talk of a transfer seems premature.

Now nearly 30, Defoe has seemingly spent a career on the fringes despite consistently finding the net.

There always seems to have been the feeling that managers can do better than him – either at club or international level – but with Adebayor likely to take a while to settle in after having no pre-season to speak of, Spurs are sure to have to turn to him over the coming weeks. Their next four matches see them face West Brom (h), Norwich (h), Reading (a) and QPR (h). The potential for goals is there for all to see.

That should draw you towards Tottenham’s forwards – perhaps with your Sergio Aguero money – and also to the men playing behind them. If Villas-Boas is to persevere with just the one attacker, then Gareth Bale (£9.5m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£9.0m) and Rafael van der Vaart (£9.0m) will all be looking to get into scoring and assisting positions behind him.

Elsewhere this Fantasy weekend, the lack of a double Gameweek, the advice to avoid Chelsea players who’ll be inactive next weekend and some very intriguing fixtures make it somewhat of a tough one to predict.

After losing so heavily at West Brom, it would be just like Liverpool to bounce back and get a positive result against Manchester City, but it would take the most confident of Fantasy bosses to turn to the likes of the £9.5m pairing of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez against the champions, despite City’s concession of goals against Southampton and the Liverpool pair’s rest from the trip to Hearts in midweek.

City will miss Aguero of course and so a stalemate could ensue, which is probably what Arsenal would settle for from their tough trip to Stoke where Gunners forwards should probably be avoided.

Manchester United will be determined to bounce back from their loss to Everton on Monday, and with many put off by Robin van Persie’s price tag (£13.0m) it could well be the other home debutant Shinji Kagawa (£8.5m) who impresses against Fulham at Old Trafford, where it goes without saying that the Whites’ players who impressed on the opening day against Norwich – Mladen Petric (£6.0m), Damien Duff (£6.0m) and Alex Kacaniklic (£4.5m) – will find it tougher to shine again.

Other opening day stars Michu (bumped up to £6.7m) and Marouane Fellaini (£6.5m) could have it a little easier at home to West Ham and away to Aston Villa respectively, whilst in the battle of the two teams beaten 5-0 last week, it could pay to focus on QPR’s players ahead of those from Norwich.

Junior Hoilett (£6.5m) – a scorer home and away against Norwich for Blackburn last season – might well shine the brightest. 

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