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Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City in a Transfer Ban Scandal!!

Spurs vs Arsenal: Confirmed Lineups and Gooner Preview

Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and the 5 FPL Players You MUST Pick For GW18

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Gameweek 18

 

DEFENDER: John Terry – £6.3m (Home v West Ham)

Mr Chelsea grabbed his first league goal of the season in the win over Stoke on Monday night, and he’ll again be leading from the back when West Ham come calling to Stamford Bridge for the Boxing Day London derby.

Both the Hammers and Andy Carroll are in fine form, but you’d be foolish to back against a home win and Terry playing a key role within it.

 

MIDFIELDER: Santi Cazorla – £8.1m (Home v QPR)

Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla has three goals and three assists this season, but five of those moments came in his last five games to make him a man in fine form.

The Spaniard has played the full 90 minutes in nine of the Gunners’ last 10 games, becoming an increasingly important part of Arsene Wenger’s side. Team selections over the Christmas period are always tough to predict, but you have to think he’ll be a starter against QPR.

DOUBLE ODDS on 1st Goalscorer bets in the Premier League

FORWARD: Olivier Giroud – £8.3m (Home v QPR)

The QPR clash is also exactly the type of game in which Olivier Giroud has been shining in for Arsenal in recent years.

The Frenchman has quickly bounced back into form following his broken leg earlier in the season, with his goal at Anfield making it three strikes in two games. More could come on Boxing Day.

 

THE OUTSIDER: Adam Lallana – £8.3m (Away v Burnley)

It’s been a while which any Liverpool player appeared in one of these previews, but there are a couple of signs that the Reds have begun to find their attacking form in recent weeks, and even more that Adam Lallana is central to that.

The midfielder grabbed an assist for Martin Skrtel’S late equaliser against Arsenal, and over a festive run of fixtures which gives them a chance to get back in touch with the top four, Liverpool are likely to be relying on him.

FY BenDinnery

THE CAPTAIN: Diego Costa – £11.2m (Home v West Ham)

Is this a week to roll the dice or to go with the tried and tested?

Logic dictates that Diego Costa will be due a goal-filled game soon, and whilst concerns over his fitness have to remain, you can see him grabbing a couple of strikes at home to West Ham.

@Mark_Jones86

GW24 Preview: Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla can shine on his date with Palace

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Before the recent FA Cup North London derby against Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium, Santi Cazorla (£9.5m) had scored just one goal this season. He’s got six now.

Terrific goalscoring form has seen the Spaniard hit the net five times in his last five matches in all competitions, and with the Gunners suffering plenty of injury setbacks as they continue their challenge at the top of the Premier League, those goals are crucial for a side missing plenty of attacking talents.

After scoring in the 2-2 draw at Southampton in midweek, Cazorla will surely start when Crystal Palace come calling to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a match that the Gunners should certainly win.

That Saints game was the only Premier League match in the last six that the Gunners haven’t won, with Cazorla starting all of those matches and completing the 90 minutes in all of them bar going off for the final five minutes at St Mary’s.

The Spanish international’s current goalscoring spurt shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise.

Until that Spurs FA Cup clash his only strike this season came in a 2-0 win over Liverpool in early November, but Cazorla scored 12 times in his first season in English football last year, and so there could well be more goals on the way if he is to keep up his average.

Against Palace he’ll be joined by the likes of Olivier Giroud (£8.7m) and Mesut Ozil (£10.0m), but injuries to the likes of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey has opened the door for young German Serge Gnabry (£4.2m), who is a more than useful cheap squad addition and has started the Gunners’ last three games.

Elsewhere this weekend, Manchester United’s newfound attacking trio will be backed by many to win at Stoke.

Juan Mata (£9.6m), Robin van Persie (£13.6m) and Wayne Rooney (£11.3m) were all available for the first time in the midweek win over Cardiff at Old Trafford, and as they go to the Britannia Stadium they’ll have plenty of Fantasy bosses cheering them on.

As showcased above though, there are plenty of reasons when Cazorla is the preferred option to his Spanish international teammate Mata right now, but with both players available at a similar price then it is certainly worth monitoring the displays of both over the next few matches.

Everton were embarrassed by neighbours Liverpool at Anfield in midweek, and so they’ll be determined to bounce back when they host Aston Villa at home on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku was crocked by teammate Gareth Barry in that Liverpool loss and he’ll miss out here, meaning that we could see a debut for giant on-loan forward Lacina Traore (£7.5m), but a shrewder move could be to go for winger Kevin Mirallas (£7.2m), who at least put in plenty of effort at Anfield and scored in his two previous appearances before that.

Everton’s Merseyside conquerors go to West Brom on Sunday, and they’ll be going there with plenty of confidence.

Luis Suarez (£13.4m) will of course be plenty of Fantasy bosses’ pick for the captaincy following his goal and assist against the Blues, but it is Daniel Sturridge (£9.4m) who is catching the eye more for Liverpool at the moment, scoring five goals in four games since returning from injury.

Tottenham will fancy their chances as they go to Hull City, where Emmanuel Adebayor (£7.8m) could shine again and keep up the fine form he’s been displaying recently, whilst the big clash of the Gameweek obviously comes on Monday night when Manchester City host Chelsea.

Often such titanic clashes are ones to avoid from a Fantasy perspective, but you simply can’t ignore City’s stellar home form this season, and in the wake of Sergio Aguero’s injury at Tottenham, a goal for Edin Dzeko (£6.7m) wouldn’t be too surprising.

@Mark_Jones86

 

Update

Fantasy Football Preview: Santi to shine as the curtain falls?

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Mini-leagues are being furiously checked and the points difference between you and your rivals are being totted up. It’s the final day of the season.

Unlike the Premier League this one was always destined to go down to the wire, and so the key question as we enter the final weekend of Fantasy Premier League matches is whether or not you need to find a left-field pick to try and catch up with those around you.

Whilst the likes of Gareth Bale (£11.0m and surely the weekend’s safe captaincy choice), Theo Walcott (£9.2m), Juan Mata (£10.2m) and Robin van Persie (£13.7m) are sure to be the popular picks, perhaps your net needs to be cast a little wider in the search for a player who can give you that extra push over the finish line.

That player could well be Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla (£9.6m).

Fresh from providing four assists in the Gunners’ 4-1 victory over Wigan on Tuesday night, the Spaniard goes to Newcastle to face a side who conceded six goals in their previous home game against Liverpool.

With Arsene Wenger’s men needing a win to secure a top four finish ahead of rivals Tottenham, Cazorla is sure to be crucial on an afternoon when he is likely to be a creative force.

Those four assists against Wigan took the Spaniard’s tally to 13 for the season, level with the likes of Walcott, Van Persie and Steven Gerrard for the campaign, with only three players registering more.

Add that to his 12 goals and you’ve got an extremely successful first campaign in England for the former Villarreal and Malaga man, but he’d only look back on it fondly if he can help his club into the top four. He has every chance to do just that at St James’s Park.

Elsewhere, Tottenham’s attempts to secure their own European football for next season will of course be helped by Bale as they host Sunderland, but it could be a rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor (£9.0m) who proves crucial following two goals in his last two games.

Following their Europa League heroics, Chelsea host Everton seeking to make sure of their third place finish. Demba Ba (£7.8m) was cup-tied for the Benfica victory and so he could prove crucial as the Blues seek to make it an unhappy last game in charge for David Moyes.

Away from the challenge for Europe, Liverpool draw the curtains on their campaign with a home game against relegated QPR.

The Reds and retiring defender Jamie Carragher (£5.0m) will fancy their chances of keeping a clean sheet, but further forward in-form striker Daniel Sturridge (£7.3m) will be seeking to follow up last weekend’s hat-trick at Fulham with another impressive display. Against QPR’s defence he has a great opportunity.

As the campaign draws to a close, those who have impressed throughout it such as Michu (£7.8m) and Rickie Lambert (£6.9m) have chances to finish their seasons on a high as Swansea and Southampton host Fulham and Stoke respectively, whilst the champions Manchester United go to West Brom seeking a winning end to their season. Javier Hernandez (£6.5m) started and scored against Swansea last week and will be looking to do so again amidst the uncertainty surrounding the future of Wayne Rooney.

Everyone knows about the future of Roberto Mancini by now, and in his absence Manchester City will be looking to round things off with a victory at home to Norwich.

Their forwards have impressed at various stages throughout the campaign, but with two goals in his last two league appearances perhaps it’ll be Edin Dzeko (£6.8m) who steps up to the plate again this time.

His addition could prove vital as the campaign draws to a close and we all look forward to the next one.

Roll on August.

We’ll see you then.

@Mark_Jones86

Fantasy Football GW33 Preview: Arsenal pair can offer double delight

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The business end of the season has already both approached and made its presence felt, and as if that wasn’t ramping up the pressure enough this Gameweek has an added element of complications about it.

Whilst some teams such as Tottenham and Swansea will go through Gameweek 33 without a fixture, others – five others to be exact – are playing twice.

For Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, Fulham and West Ham a double Gameweek lies in store, and of those sides it is arguably the Champions League-chasing Gunners who offer the best chance for Fantasy points.

Home matches against Norwich and Everton over the next week will go a long way towards confirming whether or not Arsenal will finish in the top four come the end of this season, and two of Arsene Wenger’s men in particular could end up having a huge say in whether or not that becomes a reality.

Both Santi Cazorla (£10.0m) and Olivier Giroud (£7.6m) have impressed at various points over their first season in English football; the Spaniard no doubt more often that the Frenchman admittedly, although both can shine over the next few days.

Four of Cazorla’s last five Gunners league goals have come at the Emirates Stadium, whilst a staggering nine out of Giroud’s 10 Premier League goals this season have come on his home turf.

Both men clearly like their home comforts, and with these back-to-back matches in North London offering them the chance to further improve their records in front of their own fans, then the pair should really be backed to do well for both Arsene Wenger and for you too.

Elsewhere across a Gameweek which has been affected by the FA Cup semi-finals, Manchester United will be seeking to recover from their loss to rivals Manchester City with back-to-back games which could help them seal the title.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men face tough contests though, firstly at a Stoke City side who are fighting for their lives at the bottom before a trip to West Ham in midweek.

With both matches looking to be on the tight, uncompromising side then it could pay to back United’s defensive players as opposed to their more famous attackers.

Goalkeeper David de Gea (£5.8m) had kept six clean sheets in a row prior to the City loss, whilst Rafael (£6.2m) completed 90 minutes for the first time in three games in the same fixture.

It could be a former United player who enjoys his double Gameweek a little more though.

Dimitar Berbatov (£7.3m) has scored five in his last five, and with the Bulgarian facing matches against a leaky Aston Villa defence and then a tired Chelsea he could just be the man to make the difference for Martin Jol’s men.

The forward has also scored four in his last four Craven Cottage appearances, and so it might be the Chelsea game which really sees him catch fire following Fulham’s visit to Villa Park.

Of the other clubs who are playing two matches this Gameweek, the return of Andy Carroll (£8.2m) to the West Ham side and of both Marouane Fellaini (£7.4m) and Steven Pienaar (£6.6m) at Everton should be noted, although the Blues’ other Belgian Kevin Mirallas (£6.8m) has been the man to watch following three goals in his last four games. Sadly he’s listed as a forward.

Elsewhere, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (£11.2m) will be backed to cause damage to a frequently creaky Reading defence at the Madejski Stadium, whilst Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse (£8.8m) has rediscovered a scoring touch recently and will be looking to score for the fourth St James’s Park appearance running in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby against Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland.

In midweek, Manchester City will hope to keep up their momentum following the win at Old Trafford, and Sergio Aguero (£10.9m) should start against Wigan following his Manchester derby heroics.

If he does, there could be more goals in the horizon.

@Mark_Jones86

Follow @FantasyYIRMA on twitter for updates and chat during the games. Shoot us your FPL questions and queries on twitter or in the comments below. Best of luck this GW!

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Gameweek 18 preview: Santi presents Wigan with a problem

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Santi is coming to Wigan, and perhaps he should be coming into your team too.

We all know that this is a special time of year, a time to look forward to and dread in equal measure.

That’s right, the Fantasy Cup starts on Saturday, and including Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla (£9.7m) in your Fantasy team could see you gain the edge over your opponent and secure a spot in the next round quicker than reindeers move on Christmas Eve.

Of course it’s easy to react to a player’s stellar performance in a previous game – such as Cazorla’s hat-trick at Reading – and immediately put him in to your team in the hope that he will repeat such a world-beating display, but there is a genuine reason behind putting your money on Arsenal’s Spanish star succeeding at Wigan in Saturday’s early kick-off.

It’s called the Marouane Fellaini problem.

Everton’s Belgian ace was fortunate to only receive a three game ban for his headbutt on Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross last weekend, but nonetheless he has still presented the many Fantasy bosses who own him with a dilemma. Those who have the luxury of some extra money stashed away – and we all need that at this time of year – will probably be thinking that they could go one of five ways.

But Gareth Bale (£9.5m) still isn’t back from injury, Eden Hazard (£9.5m) has gone off the boil somewhat and David Silva (£9.4m) hasn’t found the net regularly enough. There is of course Juan Mata (£9.5m), but Chelsea face an Aston Villa side who have just brilliantly beaten Liverpool, whilst the ex-Valencia man played the vast majority of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup match against Leeds in midweek.

Bringing in Cazorla should of course come with the warning that Arsenal’s Boxing Day game against West Ham has been called off due to Tube strikes, but the club are reportedly looking to play that match in early January, raising the prospect of a double Gameweek in the near future for their Spanish star.  Santi’s gifts should be well received.

Elsewhere this weekend the match between Newcastle and QPR brings together one team who have been on a steady decline in recent weeks and another one who have just experienced their campaign’s only high point.

Harry Redknapp’s Rangers will head for St James’s Park following the Adel Taarabt (£5.6m) inspired 2-1 win over Fulham last weekend, but Newcastle know that they simply have to win this match following their recent struggles, and they showed enough promise in last weekend’s loss to Manchester City to show that they will give their visitors problems.

Demba Ba (£8.2m) scored his 11th league goal of the season in that match, and he could be turned to again as Alan Pardew’s side look to puncture any QPR optimism immediately.

On Sunday Robin van Persie (£13.8m) and Wayne Rooney (£12.0m) will again team up as Manchester United face a tricky trip to Swansea, which they should be going in to only three points clear at the top of the table given that Manchester City face a home match with Reading on Saturday. Sergio Agüero (£11.0m) and Yaya Touré (£7.9m) look to be the players who’ll impress there, although Javi Garcia (£5.0m) is an intriguing cheap choice following his goal last weekend.

The Fellaini-less Everton go to West Ham where Nikica Jelavić (£8.2m) will be looked to for goals, whilst Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has hinted that he could be ready to rest Raheem Sterling (£5.7m) for the home match against Fulham, meaning that even more onus could be put on Luis Suarez (£10.3m) – although the Uruguayan hasn’t scored in his last four games.

The popular Stoke duo of Asmir Begovic (£5.6m) and Shawcross (£5.8m) will face a tough task as they go to Tottenham, whilst Southampton’s Rickie Lambert (£6.1m) and Jason Puncheon (£4.8m) will be looked to to impress against struggling Sunderland.

West Brom’s fine form may have stuttered somewhat, but they can pick it up against Norwich at The Hawthorns, where James Morrison(£6.3m) can be counted on to provide a threat to the visitors.

@Mark_Jones86

Gameweek 13 preview: Biting the hand that used to feed him?

Running into an ex is never the most comfortable of experiences, but it usually makes you want to prove that you’re doing well for yourself.

Take Jermain Defoe (£7.8m) this weekend, as the Spurs forward faces up to a West Ham outfit he once represented.

The faces, names and replica shirts will have changed, but the frosty reception that Defoe will get from the away fans at White Hart Lane will make him determined to get one over on his former employers, and provided that he comes through Thursday evening’s Europa League tie with Lazio in one piece then he is certain to start on Sunday afternoon and beyond given that Emmanuel Adebayor’s brain explosion at the Emirates Stadium last Saturday leaves Tottenham a little thin up top for their next three fixtures (West Ham H, Liverpool H, Fulham A).

Whilst ‘biting the hand that used to feed you’ is an expression that Defoe may have taken a little too literally when he has faced up to West Ham in the past, with the help of the likes of Gareth Bale (£9.7m) and Aaron Lennon (£7.0m) around him this time he could cause some damage to a West Ham side who admittedly start the weekend ahead of Spurs in the table.

A home win at White Hart Lane would change all that though, and Defoe looks to be central to Tottenham’s hopes of achieving that as the England forward hopes to leave his former love pining for him.

Mark Hughes is another who’ll be taking on a former club this weekend, although the QPR boss will probably wish that he was anywhere other than Old Trafford.

With pressure mounting on the Welshman following the dismal 3-1 loss at home to Southampton last weekend, Hughes heads to Manchester still in the hottest of Rangers hotseats despite a week which brought about rumours of his demise.

Having not won in 12 league matches this season then Old Trafford would be a fine place for QPR to strike a lucky thirteenth, but that is incredibly unlikely and the home side should be backed to leave their ex-forward with more than a few regrets.

That should of course mean more points for Robin van Persie (£13.7m), but if you can’t afford the Dutchman then it is well worth keeping an eye on the fitness of Wayne Rooney (£11.7m), who should return to the Manchester United starting XI against opponents that he scored home and away against last season.

Others bumping into old friends include Brendan Rodgers, who takes Liverpool to Swansea in a match which could prove to be a shootout between Luis Suarez (£10.3m) and Michu (£7.3m), and Rafael Benitez, who returns to the Premier League and is reunited with Fernando Torres (£9.6m) at Chelsea.

There will be those who feel that Benitez will instantly restore Torres to the player of old, but putting him back in your team does come with the warning that Chelsea will miss out on Gameweek 17 due to World Club Championship commitments, whilst they also face the tough test posed by champions Manchester City this weekend.

Elsewhere, there will be those wondering what to do with the absence of Marouane Fellaini through suspension for Everton’s game with Norwich – not least David Moyes – and whilst Steven Naismith (£5.9m) might be worth a gamble were he listed as a midfielder, perhaps the absence of the big Belgian will see former Everton goalkeeper John Ruddy (£4.7m) – another visiting old friends – keep a fourth straight clean sheet and a fifth in six games.

Further forward, Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla (£9.4m) might not have any connection to Aston Villa, but after three goals and two assists in the Gunners’ six away games this season then he’ll be worth keeping an eye on at Villa Park, whilst Stoke’s Jonathan Walters (£6.3m) and Charlie Adam (£6.6m) could exploit Fulham’s frequent away struggles at the Britannia Stadium, and having broken his goalscoring duck last weekend then Stephane Sessegnon (£7.3m) will look to shine as Sunderland host West Brom.

@Mark_Jones86

Lamby’s bandwagon

It’s time to jump on the bandwagon, throw away the magic 8 ball, stop asking Siri and join the consistency train.

In other words it’s time to settle down make the safe transfers, especially with the Fantasy Cup and the FY Shield only a few weeks away. It’s time to build a team to allow you break the magical 50 points barrier each Gameweek. No longer do you need that one off great Gameweek, but it is all about being consistent.

So it’s time to jump on that bandwagon, for some of you that that may mean swallowing your pride by picking a player who you have avoided because he was wearing your team’s shirt last year. Or that player, where you pick up the paper and think “He’s a D***”, or that young kid who you still don’t want to believe the hype over. It’s time to be smart.

So, with that in mind, here are the three players who your team can’t afford to be without in weeks and months to come (Remember these are my own views and generally* not shared with the rest of the Admin team.) *never.

 

Robin van Persie – Yes his price tag is high, I hear some of you cry, but he is averaging 6.5 points a game, and as a special treat for stat fans that works out to a stunning one point every 11.8 minutes that he has been on the turf. Despite Carlos Tevez being cheaper and scoring more points, come January and with Mario Balotelli’s bags pretty much packed for the EuroStar, someone else will almost certainly be posing with the number 45 City shirt and Roberto Mancini – giving Tevez more competition. Even with Tom Glick as their COO – his tight ways may have worked out at Derby but he’s in a different league now – the Al Mubarak family will certainly look to allow Mancini to go on January spending spree, meaning that Tevez could suffer as Van Persie racks up the points.

Marouane Fellaini – The man with the crazy hair has been the heart of anything pretty good that Everton have done this season, and although that hair could be worse it’s not on scale of Tom Huddlestone’s as the ex-Derby man continues to try and score a goal before he can shave it off. Keep with Fellaini while Everton’s great run continues. EDIT: (Fellaini is suspended this weekend)

Jose Enrique – My third is pick is a player that all old school fantasy football players have been waiting for since a young Gareth Bale burst onto the scene and was listed as a defender, however spent the season out on the wing. Once again there is a player that ticks all of those boxes.

Jose Enrique last year was a great buy, he was cheap at less than 5 million and playing in the back line of one of the tightest defenses in the league, but the arrival of Brendan Rogers from across the Brecon Beacons National Park along with his Barcelona-esque free flowing football has unleashed some of Liverpool’s brightest Academy stars such as Andre Wisdom, who has slotted into the defence nicely, meaning Enrique’s pitch time was limited to coming off the bench or covering for injures.

Some even started to think that maybe Jose was one of the chosen three in Brendan’s now infamous envelopes, however against Wigan he was let loose on the wing and with his pace along with Raheem Sterling and the brilliance of Luis Suarez, Liverpool may be starting find an answer to the lack of goals that have caused their fans so much heartache over the past 18 months.

If your money – like the current economy – is tight then I suggest buying Sterling as the front three for Liverpool are going be in the points every week, but for the sake of 0.6 million I would swing in favour of the Spaniard Enrique, as those clean sheet bonuses could be the difference between you and your mate come May.

@pedro_lamb

To Know The Game: The Story So Far (Part 1)

With Yirma off on an international break, we thought it was a good time to let our friends over at To Know The Game take over for a few days and present you with their review of the Premier League season so far.

Over the weekend we’ll see what the guys rate as the three biggest surprises we’ve seen in the 2012/13 season, whilst they’ll also rate the title contenders and the runners and riders in the battle for fourth place.

First up though, here’s a look at who TKTG regard as the three most impressive summer signings in the opening months of the season. Enjoy!

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With 7 weeks gone is it too early to make a judgment on players and teams? Well, it may be too soon but that’s not stopping us at TKTG from using this international break to take stock of what we’ve seen in the EPL thus far. The next few months are going to be quite hectic for English clubs, which will see the fortunes of some change while others have probably set their tone for the rest of the season. In this piece, we look at the 3 signings that we feel have made the most impact, followed by our take on the big surprises of the season so far  and we wrap things up with an analysis of the race for 4th place and the battle for the Premiership title.

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TOP 3 SIGNINGS

Robin van Persie: He scores when he wants!! He scores when he wants!! – RvP at Arsenal or RvP at Man United – the chant remains the same. Look away Arsenal fans but van Persie has been a success at United. 7 goals and 2 assists so far (EPL and UEFA CL) backs up his impressive start to the season. Things will only get better once United learn to play to his strengths and he gels with his teammates – and make no mistake, RvP WILL gel with Kagawa and Rooney. Their only issue might be if Rooney is OK with RvP as the main striker. However, as we have already covered – Rooney is quite liking his midfield role. RVP for the Golden Boot? You bet.

Santi Cazorla: The best import of the season! Hazard who? While Hazard has certainly been impressive; Santi brings a whole new dimension to the game – he can attack; he tracks back; he has great positional play; shoots with his left; shoots with his right – and all that with a smile on his face. Arsenal fans are already calling him their favourite Spanish player ever….move over Arteta and Cesc – Santi is awesome!

Michu: while there was a case for both Kone (Wigan) and Fletcher (Sunderland); we at TKTG felt Michu is more deserving of this spot. Not only does he have the skill but his reading of the game is excellent – he is an “intelligent” footballer. The new Tim Cahill? Even most supporters of the top 4 clubs would want him in their team and that is a testament to his immense talent and massive potential.

Honorable mention: While not a  new signing; Raheem Sterling at Liverpool looks like an exciting youngster. Quick, fast, direct he will hopefully continue to do better. He already has 6 starts in the league and could form an exciting partnership with Suarez and Borini.

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For more great articles like this one visit the guys at toknowthegame.com, whilst you can follow them on Twitter at @toknowthegame.

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