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Aguero back for Manchester City – Done

Manchester City and Arsenal Smash Open the Floodgates

Manchester City vs Manchester United: Confirmed Lineups and Preview

Manchester City’s sparkling David Silva to continue golden form

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Norwich City - Etihad Stadium

As the Premier League title race enters a crucial stage, the big players are starting to make even bigger contributions for their teams.

The perceived wisdom is that the battle at the top is now going to be between Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea – despite what Jose Mourinho thinks – and all three clubs have players capable of earning them crucial points.

Take City, who go into Saturday’s game at home to Southampton off the back of picking up four points from back-to-back away games at Manchester United and Arsenal.

Key to earning those points was the Spanish international David Silva (£9.4m), who shone in the 3-0 win at Old Trafford and then gave his side the lead at the Emirates Stadium last Saturday with a close range finish.

Although clearly one of the most gifted players in the Premier League, Silva has often been overlooked by many from a Fantasy football point of view due to his comparative lack of goals when stacked up against other attacking midfielders. He’s currently in just 7.9% of teams.

His strike at Arsenal was his sixth of the season though, and with Manuel Pellegrini opting to play the World Cup winner behind front man Edin Dzeko (£6.9m) in recent weeks, Silva has found himself getting into attacking positions more and more.

At the time of writing it isn’t clear whether Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) will be fit to face Southampton at the Etihad Stadium this weekend, but even if he isn’t then City shouldn’t worry and will probably field the same team they started with in their last two games.

Silva has been a key part of those selections, and with City players likely to be crucial to your team for the rest of the season given that they face two double Gameweeks (the first of which comes next week) then he could be seen as a more than useful addition.

Samir Nasri (£8.1m) and of course Yaya Toure (£10.4m) will of course be crucial too, as City look to utilise their midfield power in their bid for glory.

 

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Elsewhere, City’s title challengers Liverpool head into the weekend on top of the table and will be looking to stay there when they go to West Ham on Sunday.

Everyone knows who the main men for the Reds are, but Jordan Henderson (£6.5m) continues to impress and grabbed a goal against Tottenham, whilst Glen Johnson (£5.7m) has picked up two assists in his last three games and registered 11 points in that 4-0 win over Spurs.

Chelsea’s Andre Schurrle (£6.9m) should start at home to Stoke, against whom he scored twice earlier in the season, whilst arguably the match of the weekend sees fifth-placed Everton host an Arsenal side they’ve got their eye on overtaking and reaching the Champions League ahead of.

A tight clash is expected, but Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4m) has now started four of Everton’s last five games in the league, and after scoring in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal in December he’ll be determined to give home fans something else to shout about before he returns to Barcelona in the summer.

One player who could also be on the move at the end of the season is Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke (£8.7m), and after he had a day to forget at Manchester United he could take out his frustrations on a Fulham side who now seem destined for the drop.

Juan Mata (£9.2m) managed his first goal for Manchester United in that 4-1 win over Villa last weekend, and he’ll be worth keeping an eye on as the Red Devils go to a Newcastle side who seem to have mentally switched off for the season already, whilst although they had that day to forget at Anfield last weekend, Tottenham should get a result at home to Sunderland on Monday when Nacer Chadli (£6.8m) may continue in his advanced midfield role.

The Belgian international would be a huge gamble for your team, with Christian Eriksen (£6.5m) perhaps a safer and cheaper option.

@Mark_Jones86

 

 

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Lineups and Preview: Manchester United v Manchester City

Manchester City vs Barcelona : Confirmed Lineups and Preview

Off the Mark: Why Manchester City could be four days away from becoming champions

samir an yaya celeb

Even the most one-sided Premier League title races were never won in December, but each and every winning team will always be able to point to the month as a key one.

Fixtures come thick and fast and there is no international break or FA Cup weekend to get in the way, and as such the momentum that you pick up now can prove to be crucial later on in the season.

But for Manchester City – who are 13/8 to win the title with Coral – it isn’t so much the next month that will be important, but more the next four days.

A real Jekyll and Hyde team, City’s home league record of played seven, won seven, scored 29 is in stark contrast to form on the road which features four defeats and just four points.

Losses at Cardiff, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Sunderland are what leaves Manuel Pellegrini’s side six points off the top of the table going into these midweek round of fixtures, but the next four days would appear to offer City the perfect chance to get their away hoodoo over with.

The 3-0 weekend win over Swansea was a fifth success in the last six games in all competitions for Pellegrini’s side, with all of those wins coming at home and featuring a grand total of 25 City goals. Now though, they head for the relative discomfort of The Hawthorns and St Mary’s.

Tonight’s fixture at West Bromwich Albion would appear to be the perfect test of City’s resolve, so much so that it might not be too over the top to bill it as one of the most important matches of the season so far.

Win it, and the Blues will have a spring in their step heading into Saturday’s meeting with Southampton, another huge test and one that passing will create elevated levels of confidence that Pellegrini’s men might not ever come down from.

If they can pick up six points out of six over these next four days then it is not difficult to imagine City never looking back, and springing into their next fixtures with the swagger of potential champions. And following hot on the heels of those West Brom and Southampton games is the small matter of the visit of table-topping Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium.

The prospect of shooting down the Gunners will already have excited Pellegrini’s players, but if those players can come through this week with a couple of wins then they’ll enter that game in even higher spirits.

For Arsenal – who face home matches with Hull and Everton over this period that City will be on the road – the sight of a revved up and fully-charged Manchester City in their rear view mirror is sure to see the nerves kick in, and they more than anybody will have one eye on events at The Hawthorns and St Mary’s over the next few days.

Neither are easy fixtures of course – West Brom drew at home to Arsenal and won at Old Trafford this season, whilst Southampton’s quality has been there for all to see throughout the campaign, and they stuck a knife into City’s title ambitions with a 3-1 home win over them last February – but there is little doubt that a team with the quality Pellegrini has at his disposal can collect maximum points.

With Sergio Aguero as dangerous as ever, Alvaro Negredo looking as though he was born to score goals in England, Jesus Navas having got over a difficult opening few months, Samir Nasri repeating the form that made him such a hit at Arsenal and Yaya Toure still a dominant force, City have plenty to be proud of this season.

But the fact remains that all of their best moments have come in Manchester.

If that can change over the next four days, then we could be looking at the 2013/14 Premier League champions.

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City 1 Tigers 0

A month isn’t allowed to pass by without someone in a position of power at a football club doing something which makes the rest of us wonder if they actually understand the game at all.

Assem Allam, the Hull CITY owner, is the latest to take the prize after he slammed the club’s fans for their protest over Hull CITY’s potential rebranding.

Those Hull CITY fans were as terrific as their team Hull CITY were in their deserved 3-1 victory over Liverpool, and seeing as those Hull CITY supporters will still be there whatever happens to the club in the future – whether they are beating Liverpool or Lincoln – then they should be the ones consulted on any potential name change, not that there’s anything wrong with Hull CITY in the first place.

***

Backing the Mackems

Sunderland have only picked up one point and haven’t even scored a goal on the road under Gus Poyet, but at home it’s been a different matter.

A win in the derby against Newcastle and against Manchester City set them up nicely for a tough home double header against Chelsea and then Tottenham, and although the Blues might prove to be too strong they could heap the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas with a win on Saturday.

@Mark_Jones86

GW12 Preview: Manchester City’s Negredo to outshine his partner in Spurs clash

The Mark Jones Column: Roberto Mancini deserves another year

Soccer - Pre-season Package

Whatever happened it could never be as exciting as the end to last season, but the closure of this campaign looks to be somewhat quieter for Manchester City.

Of course they have an FA Cup semi-final against either Manchester United or Chelsea to prepare for, but as much as fans will enjoy that day and acknowledge that it was winning this trophy in 2011 which really kickstarted City’s time amongst the big boys, it’s not quite the ending to the season they envisaged.

This was supposed to be the year when City – fresh from that remarkable ending to last season and buoyed by their title of champions – made a big impact both home and abroad; starting an era of dominance in the Premier League and establishing themselves as a big hitter in the Champions League.

That hasn’t happened.

With neighbours United running away with the league title in England, and having fallen foul of a devilishly tricky Champions League group for the second season running, this has so far been a year of standing still for City.

Of course they could still rescue it by winning the FA Cup back at Wembley in May though, and that prospect alone should be enough to convince City’s infamous owners that manager Roberto Mancini should be allowed another crack at the job next season. Whether or not he will is another matter of course.

As we discussed on these pages back in October, City’s summer signings didn’t look as though they were going to significantly improve the squad. Maybe this year it will be different.

With Mario Balotelli having packed his no doubt eccentrically coloured bags for Italy and Edin Dzeko an apparent target for Borussia Dortmund, Mancini will almost certainly be in the market for another forward to complement Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez in the summer. He simply must be allowed to spend big this time.

Missing out on Robin van Persie last year was one thing, but Mancini then had to watch the Dutchman slot into Manchester United’s winning machine and only add to their ruthless nature. That simply can’t be allowed to happen again.

Providing the Italian with a top class forward in the summer – in other words a Radamel Falcao, or maybe even a Luis Suarez – is simply essential if City want to be challenging for the type of honours they want to be in the mix for at the end of next season. A statement needs to be made.

Sadly, a much more likely statement could be made with the removal of Mancini, a man who has been in his position at City since December 2009 but has frequently made enemies during that time.

Just like Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez before him – and right now come to think of it – Mancini has frequently paid the price for being a bit different, and for saying things that we don’t normally hear from the mouths of managers in the Premier League.

He shouldn’t be shunned just for simply having a personality though, and if he can spend the summer finding the personality that his team produced in their epic Premier League victory last season then there is nothing to suggest that they won’t be celebrating success again next year.

It’s safe to assume that if this were Chelsea then Mancini would have lost his job already, but this is Manchester City and they have admirably stuck by their man so far.

Stick by him a little more, give him some better players and they might find out that they won’t regret their decision come 2014.

@Mark_Jones86

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

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