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Liverpool vs Manchester United: Confirmed Lineups

PREMIER LEAGUE RETURNS IN 40 DAYS!!

With the FantasyYIRMA team still enjoying their summer hiatus we are delighted to feature FPL superfan Walt (@EPLFanForLife) on the site again.

(NOTE: #FY admin @Pedro_Lamb was last seen heading into what he thought was a table tennis sports bar in Bangkok.. if found please provide with return directions to Burton, UK.)

If you would like to submit a guest post to feature on FantasyYIRMA.com please email Ryan on FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com.

PREMIER LEAGUE RETURNS IN 40 DAYS!!

Mid-Summer FPL Status Report

It’s agonizing, right? We’re smack dab in the middle of the off-season, the official #FPL site has gone dark, the transfer window is officially open for business, and the only certainty is that there are roughly 2.5 million people sitting on the edge of their seats with all questions and no answers.

After sitting back and thinking for a moment, there are actually some things we do know, but they too are really only things we know about the past and the present; not the future.  These things too, as they relate to the FPL season to come, also lead directly to one place; more questions.

When it all boils down to it, there are three distinct variables that connect last season’s FPL season with the season we all now anticipate. They are:

1) What happened last season
2) What has happened since the season ended
3) What is going to happen between today and August 17

What Happened Last Year

Wouldn’t it be great if last season’s performance was a direct indicator of how players would perform this year? I have no statistics to correlate one season’s performance to the next, but it’s only natural to look to the Van Persie’s and the Michu’s and the Bale’s and the Lambert’s and the Gerrard’s and the Mata’s and the Jaaskelainen’s – Jasskelainen!?!? – to pay rich dividends this time around as well. But what about the guys who came on strong at the end of last season? What about Coutinho and Sturridge and Kagawa and Lukaku? Will the strong end to the season carry forward through the long summer and into the first few fixtures of the season to come?

Although it’s easy to assume that that is the case, things have definitely changed; But just how much? Enough to make last season’s statistics a mistaken indicator of what’s to come? New managers, new players coming and going, World Cup qualifiers, Confederations Cup, pre-season tours, time off on holiday, stress surrounding potential contract extensions or transfer rumours. All of these things affect a player’s outlook, attitude, and ability to gel with a new squad or manager. Some players are affected positively and some players are affected negatively.

How much will last year’s performance influence the 15 guys you select to start your 2013-2014 FPL season with? Many FPL managers will struggle with this thought over the next 40 days, and I will be right there with you.

What’s Happened Since the Season Ended

For all intents and purposes, the 2012-2013 English Premier League season ended quietly. Manchester United had long ago wrapped up their title and the bottom of the table was all but sorted. May 19, 2013 seems like forever ago.

Since then, 5 teams have undergone managerial changes – with 4 of them being in the top 6 sides. That leaves Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas as the only two managers in the top 6 to be leading their sides into the next campaign. Everyone else – Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton – all have managerial transitions to endure and the inevitable acclimitization period that such a change inherently brings with it. Make no mistake about it, these changes will impact these clubs as the new season gets underway. Don’t forget DiCanio and Sunderland either – he has caused quite a stir both inside and outside the club with his sometimes unorthodox approach to managing professional football players.

In addition to the managerial changes and full-scale club transitions that they involve, there have been 101 confirmed transfers since the season ended on May 19. Of those 101 confirmed transfers, 43 have involved players moving into the EPL from a different league, 51 have involved players leaving the EPL, and 7 have involved players being transferred from one EPL team to another.  Keep in mind that the large majority of these 101 confirmed transfers have been confirmed during the past 6 days!

Notable transfers that may affect your FPL outlook as we make our way through the summer include:

  • Carroll from Liverpool to West Ham
  • Mignolet from Sunderland to Liverpool
  • Sanogo to Arsenal
  • Ratt to West Ham
  • Figueroa to Hull City
  • van Wolfswinkel to Norwich
  • Stekelenburg to Fulham
  • Navas to Manchester City
  • Fernandinho to Manchester City
  • Schurrle to Chelsea
  • Amat to Swansea
  • Kolo Toure from Manchester City to Liverpool
  • McGregor to Hull City
  • Mannone from Arsenal to Sunderland
  • Shelvey from Liverpool to Swansea
  • Anelka to West Brom
  • Van Ginkel to Chelsea
  • Paulinho to Tottenham

 

Again we’re left with more questions than answers.

Which Carroll will show up for West Ham this season, having finally settled somewhere he feels wanted? Will Mannone start for Sunderland?  How will Schurrle and Van Ginkel fit in at Chelsea? Will Fulham’s defense improve and make Stekelenburg a viable FPL option in goal?

How will Fernandinho and Navas slot in at City and where does that leave Dzeko, who conceivably would benefit greatly from Navas’ ability to jet down the wing and lob crosses into the big man week after week? How will Shelvey’s move affect last year’s Newcomer of the Year, Mr. Michu, and his position on the pitch? What does Paulinho’s move mean for Tottenham’s midfield, specifically Sigurdsson, who was used sparingly following a pre-season full of significant hype following the arm-wrestling match between Rodgers and Villas-Boas?

How will Moyes respond to the unenviable scrutiny of following the most celebrated manager in the history of the English top division? How will the players respond? How will Martinez keep Everton’s momentum going with the 3-4-3 formation he seems intent on installing (Seamus Coleman anyone?) How will the circus act that was Chelsea fan’s relationship with their manager play out this year, now that the Chosen One has returned to the team he “has always loved”? Will Pellegrini bring stability to the clubhouse of millionaires that make up the Manchester City squad? What will happen to the poor Sunderland souls who are caught with any variation of sugar, natural form or not, pulsing through their systems following DiCanio’s institution of modernly bizarre team rules?

How will new boys Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Hull City fare? Are they worth investing in at any position?

It’s only July 8. There are 40 days left until the season begins on August 17. Given the questions raised by the moves made to date and the changes that will have each of our heads spinning, there is still so much more to come that may completely change our approach to the new FPL season.

What Will Happen Between Now and August 17

The greatest league of the most popular sport in the world is never short of excitement. With no games being played there is really only one thing to keep the thousands of journalists whose careers revolve around the Premier League in business; transfer rumors. Log onto Twitter for 30 seconds and you’re bound to run across a handful or a dozen of them.  It’s what keeps the EPL world spinning on its axis between May and August. And the rumors are flying fast and furious.

The Thiago Alcantara move to Manchester United has been “confirmed” multiple times since shortly before he led Spain to the UEFA Under-21 European Championships earlier this summer. If that move ever materializes, coupled with Moyes’ insistence that Rooney is going to stay at ManU this season, where does that leave those of us convinced that Kagawa finally seemed like he was beginning to settle in as a long-awaited and much-needed consistent midfield Manchester United FPL option as the season unfolded?

Will the John Ruddy rumored move to Chelsea materialize? Where will that leave Norwich? What in the world is going to happen with Suarez? Will the Higuain deal to Arsenal finally go through, and which Gonzalo will show up if it does?

And these are only the rumors we know about now! Many more will come, and unfortunately for those of us who are unsettled by this fact, the transfer window will stay open right up until gw3 of the coming season. I hate that!

So for now, there is a lot that we know, a lot that we don’t know, and a lot that we don’t yet know we don’t know. The next 6 weeks are going to be a roller coaster; a roller coaster that many of us secretly enjoy because it includes the final pieces of the puzzle that all stews together in mid August to give us all of the information we’ll have available to us for that all-important few days prior to August 17 when we finish fiddling, complete our tinkering, say a final good luck prayer, and click CONFIRM TEAM.

Enjoy it FPL’ers….I know I will.

Walt

 

Please check out Walt’s new FPL blog.. A must read and well recommended from the FY team http://whatiwantmykidstoknowaboutfootball.blogspot.co.uk/

Fantasy Premier League: DON’T BLAME DAVID DE GEA

Fantasy YIRMA : Guest Post

If you would like to submit a guest post for the FantasyYIRMA.com site please contact Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com or on twitter @FantasyYIRMA

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.

Fantasy Premier League: GW24 Insight from @RotoZdroik

The guest posts have been coming through thick and fast of late and here at FantasyYIRMA we always welcome good content!

Adam is a staff writer from www.RotoExperts.com – an extremely well respected Fantasy sports site based in the USA. Delighted to feature his thoughts on the upcoming fixtures in GW24.

As always if you have an article you would like to feature on FantasyYIRMA email Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com or contact us via twitter @FantasyYIRMA to discuss.

The Return of Steven Gerrard

FIVE FOR FIGHTING

Maybe Demba Ba isn’t worth it.

Wait, what?! Am I saying that the 500,000 people that grabbed Ba last week made a mistake? Yes, sort of.

Ba basically started in every match at Newcastle because he was their best chance at scoring. Chelsea plays more games (FA Cup, Capital One Cup, Europa League) and has a deeper roster. Ba will not be starting every match, which is what we saw this past weekend. Fernando Torres was rested for a few games, but got the start against Arsenal. Ba will definitely get his chances to score, but at 8.9m do 37 percent of owners need him on their roster? No. Forwards like Rickie Lambert, Christian Benteke and Dimitar Berbatov will get more playing time and score plenty at a cheaper value.

Don’t spend on defence.

This wasn’t really something we just found out, but it’s still important and something you need to know. Look at these numbers at each position.

No. 5 Goalkeeper: Jussi Jaaskelainen, 83 Fantasy Points
No. 15 Goalkeeper: Ben Foster, 54 FP (29-point difference)

No. 5 Defender: Daniel Agger, 84 FP
No. 30 Defender: Ashley Williams, 62 FP (22-point difference)

No. 5 Midfielder: Eden Hazard, 122 FP
No. 30 Midfielder: Damien Duff, 72 FP (50-point difference)

No. 5 Forward: Steven Fletcher, 112 FP
No. 20 Forward: Peter Crouch, 74 FP (38-point difference)

I used different numbers at GK and FOR because obviously, there are fewer players at those positions. It’s pretty evident where you want to spend your money and it’s not either defensive position. Going even further for goalkeepers, Joe Hart costs between 1-2m more than every other GK in the game and he’s still only the third best.

Why is Leighton Baines the third most owned defender when he’s also the most expensive? He’s not RVP. Everton actually had a streak of 16 straight games without a clean sheet which makes that even more questionable. Save a couple million and buy someone like Joey O’Brien who only has 16 less FP. That price is the difference between having Suarez or Nikica Jelavic on your squad. That’s a big difference.

 steven_Gerrard

Steven Gerrard looks to be back to his golden days. Photo Credit: Ruaraidh Gillies

Midfield is the way to go.
Van Persie and Luis Suarez are the top strikers in the Fantasy game, far and away. Those two have a chance at scoring in every single match no matter where or who they play.

I mentioned Ba earlier, who’s the second most owned forward. Carlos Tevez, Jermaine Defoe and Fernando Torres are next in line in ownership percentages. Tevez has fallen off lately and is getting outscored by Edin Dzeko as of late, not to mention Sergio Aguero just returned from injury. Defoe has one goal in his last eight starts, which isn’t going to cut it. Torres is Torres.

Why not focus on the top echelon of midfielders who have been dominant this season? Mata leads the way along with teammate Eden Hazard. Gareth Bale is always a threat and Theo Walcott is playing in a new role and is scoring for fun. The latest Spaniards to have taken the Premier League by storm are Michu and Santi Cazorla.

I can keep going with this list too. David Silva. Marouane Fellaini has been great this year. Aaron Lennon is having one of his best years in the BPL. Adel Taarabt has bonus points in five of his last seven matches.

The return of Leiva Lucas has given Steven Gerrard a more attacking role and he’s relishing it, looking like the Gerrard from his 2008-09 days. This current scoring version of Gerrard, we have not seen in a long, long time. All of a sudden, Stevie G has four goals and eight assists in his last 10 games. He had just two goals and three assists in the first 13 games. In the two previous campaigns, he had combined for only nine goals and seven assists. We are now in the days of Gerrard.

There are so many midfielder options right now that you should be starting four or five every week and if you aren’t, you’ll be left in the dust.

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, vs. Southampton
  2. Joe Hart, Man City, 6.9m, at QPR
  3. Asmir Begovic, Stoke City, 5.8m, vs. Wigan
  4. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham, 5.9m, at Norwich
  5. Petr Cech, Chelsea, 6.4m, at Reading

Defenders

  1. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, vs. Southampton
  2. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, at QPR
  3. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea, 7.1m, at Reading
  4. Phil Jones, Man United, 5.6m, vs. Southampton
  5. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, vs. West Brom
  6. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at Norwich
  7. Glen Johnson, Liverpool, 6.4m, at Arsenal
  8. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Liverpool
  9. Sascha Riether, Fulham, 5.0m, vs. West Ham
  10. Ben Davies, Swansea, 4.3m, at Sunderland

Midfielders

  1. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.0m, at Reading
  2. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.4m, vs. Liverpool
  3. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, at QPR
  4. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 9.8m, at Norwich
  5. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool, 9.4m, at Arsenal
  6. Michu, Swansea, 8.3m, at Sunderland
  7. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.6m, vs. West Brom
  8. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.4m, at Reading
  9. Aaron Lennon, Tottenham, 7.2m, at Norwich
  10. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.4m, at Reading

Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.1m, vs. Southampton
  2. Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 10.5m, at Arsenal
  3. Edin Dzeko, Man City, 7.5m, at QPR
  4. Carlos Tevez, Man City, 8.9m, at QPR
  5. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, vs. Newcastle
  6. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, vs. Southampton
  7. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Reading
  8. Fernando Torres, Chelsea, 9.5m, at Reading
  9. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Liverpool
  10. Nikica Jelavic, Everton, 8.0m, vs. West Brom

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United
  2. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  3. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
  4. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  5. David Silva, Man City

Robin van Persie will be playing at home against a club that has allowed the second most goals on the road this season. It doesn’t get any better than that. RVP has 10 goals in his last 10 league matches to go with four assists. He leads the Premier League in goals and has the second most assists for a forward.

While there are some nice matchups this week, it might be harder than you’d think for choosing your captain outside of RVP. Man City has a tricky road battle against a QPR side that has been playing well. Arsenal and Liverpool face each other at the Emirates. Tottenham travel to Norwich, a team that’s struggling, but has also only allowed 13 goals in 11 home matches. Chelsea have what looks to be an easy match at Reading, but the Royals have been playing well as of late, winning three straight matches in all competitions.

Reading may be playing better, but I’m still going with Mata as the second best captain this week. He’s been extremely consistent as of late with four goals and five assists in his past nine matches. That includes a goal or assist in five straight road games.

This next choice is the toughest. I’m going with Luis Suarez because I think there will be goals in that game and he and Daniel Sturridge will cause problems all day for the Gunners back line. Not to mention Suarez is on fire with six goals and two assists in his last six games.

Walcott is in that same conversation with Suarez. He’s playing a more central role which has opened up opportunities for him. He’s scored at least six Fantasy Points in six of his last seven matches and one of those was a 26-point outburst. Liverpool has been better defensively in recent weeks, but this road test could bring trouble.

My last choice goes to David Silva. He deserves it after last week’s two-goal performance against Fulham. The absence of Yaya Toure allowed him more range in front of the net. Even though QPR will be a tough task, City should be able to score at least once and Silva will be around it.

*Stats up-to-date as of Jan. 28

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.

 

#FPL Insight: Mata vs. Hazard by @shots_on_target

#FPL Insight Mata vs. Hazard by @shots_on_target

Big thanks to Yirma regular @shots_on_target for a great insight piece – to view more of his articles check his site at www.shotsontarget.co.uk
There’s been a fair bit of discussion lately about Chelsea’s midfield  pair of  Juan Mata and Eden Hazard and this article reviews their form and fantasy impact to date.
Eden Hazard exploded into life as an FPL fantasy asset, with 6 assists and a penalty goal in his first 2 games against Wigan and Reading. Subsequently he saw his ownership increase to 32% and a price rise from the standard elite midfielder price tag of £9.5m up to an on-form Van Der Vaart-esque £10.3m.  He was the leading pick in Fantasy Football Scout’s Captain Poll for GW7 and returned this faith with a goal against Norwich.
Juan Mata, on the other hand saw a drop in ownership and price due to a withdrawn role, playing in the ‘double-pivot’ position in the opening games.  In this position he pulls the strings from deep, orchestrating play, but is much less involved in the finishing off of attacking moves.

This is clearly represented by a comparison of both players attacking stats from the first two gameweeks with Hazard earning an average F.SCORE of 46 compared to Mata’s 26.

                                                                                                                  Fig1.  Mata vs Hazard (GW1-2)
It was well documented that following a summer at the the Euros and the Olympics with Spain that Mata was in need of a rest, and he missed out in GW4.  On his return to the Chelsea line-up though, Mata was returned to one of the 3 attacking midfield roles and his performances have again caught the attention of fantasy managers with a goal and 4 assists in three premiership appearances on top of 2 Champion’s League goals.
For gameweek 5 through 7 Mata and Hazard have returned near identical performances in terms of their underlying data., with both registering an average  F.SCORE of 44, Mata slightly edging it by 1 key pass.
Fig.2.     Mata vs Hazard (GW5-7)
Although both players have performed equally overall It’s worth taking a closer look however at each player’s consistency through this period. Here’s a look at their F.SCORE for each of their fixtures to date.
It’s quite a limited sample size, particularly since Mata’s change in position, but there are a few patterns to pick out here.  Firstly Mata’s form and involvement are increasing game on game, whereas Hazard’s is not .  Mata looks to be the more consistent of the two.

Hazard on the other hand appears more capable of a higher score in any given gameweek, and you can regard him as the more “explosive” of the two.  However, it’s possible he could be a bit of a flat-track bully, or even a home ground player, only really excelling in the two fixtures so far  It’s notable he had pretty quiet games in gtougher fixtures against Stoke and Arsenal.
SUMMARY
Both players are capable of returning FPL seasons in the 175 point region.  Mata is the more consistent of the pair and the one more likely to return points through a tougher spell of fixtures, especially with his share of free-kicks and corners.  Hazard is the better pick for easier fixtures and a better captain option in these circumstances.It depends on what you are looking for from your elite midfielder.  For me, I would expect consistent returns week on week despite the opponent, rather than an occasional big returns against weaker opponents.  In this respect Juan Mata would be my pick of the two, especially ahead of the Chelsea’s upcoming  fixtures, and at a considerable £1.4m discount.

Some words of caution though, Mata’s skill-set may see him pulled back into the deeper playmaker’s role in the absence of either Lampard or Ramires , whereas Hazard is clearly suited to the advanced role, plus looks to be on penalties after Lampard.   Also, Hazard is obviously new to this division since a step up from the French League and he may still be finding his feet.
CONCLUSION
Own Mata through a trickier spell of fixtures or for the longer term but pick up Hazard when the league’s minnows pay visit to Stamford Bridge.

To see @shots_on_target follow this article up with some further analysis with Cazorla and Bale visit his website at http://www.shotsontarget.co.uk/2012/10/matahazard-vs-95m.html

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