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Off the Mark: With the backing of Moyes, Cleverley can follow Henderson to acceptance

Gameweek 27 preview: Giroud to lift the Gunners’ gloom?

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Liverpool eventually delivered for Fantasy bosses on their Double Gameweek, but the absences of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge this time around will have those managers looking elsewhere.

Neither Liverpool nor Swansea are in action in Gameweek 27 following the Reds’ 5-0 win at Anfield last Sunday, and so without the Reds and the Swans to call upon then points will have to be picked up from other sources. It’s not the happiest of places right now, but maybe one of those sources will be the Emirates Stadium.

Defeats to Blackburn and Bayern Munich have left Arsenal in the grip of the usual ‘crisis’ they go through about seven times a season, but purely in Premier League terms they aren’t doing too badly.

Three wins and a draw from their last four matches have taken the Gunners to within four points of fourth-placed Tottenham, and with Spurs not playing until a tricky trip to West Ham on Monday night then Saturday’s visit of Aston Villa offers Arsene Wenger the chance to lighten both his own and the club’s mood.

Wenger should start with his compatriot Olivier Giroud (£8.0m) upfront, especially given that the French forward has scored five goals in his last five Premier League appearances at the Emirates.

The experiment of playing Theo Walcott (£9.5m) through the middle has produced good results, but Arsenal looked stronger when Giroud came on against Bayern in midweek and can make that strength tell against a notoriously weak Villa back line. If you’re a striker short given the non-appearances of Suarez and Sturridge, then he could be your man.

Elsewhere it’s top against bottom at Loftus Road, where it is simply impossible to ignore the claims of Robin van Persie (£14.0m) as your captaincy pick.

Manchester United’s mercurial Dutchman actually came down in price for the first time since October before United’s last league game against Everton, but he responded by registering a goal and an assist – a 19th and 10th of the campaign respectively – in his team’s 2-0 win. He was rested for his team’s FA Cup exertions on Monday night and so should be primed and ready to go for this visit to Queens Park Rangers.

As always with United it can be quite difficult to pick their midfield, but with an apparent injury to Phil Jones (£5.6m), then Sir Alex Ferguson could look to pair Michael Carrick (£5.8m) – who scored in this fixture last season and is United’s top points-scoring midfielder this time around – with Tom Cleverley (£5.6m, and the pair will be targeting points in what should be a routine victory.

There will be nothing routine about the big game of the weekend, as Manchester City host Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

There is an intriguing battle going on to see who will finish as City’s top points-scoring forward, and although he is bottom of the list at the moment the smart money should perhaps be on Sergio Aguero (£10.9m), who has started the last three league games whilst Carlos Tevez hasn’t played a minute of the last two.

Clean sheets might be hard to come by in that clash, but they could be seen in the opening game of the weekend at Craven Cottage.

Stoke have only scored once in their previous five away games, and against a Fulham defence marshalled by Brede Hangeland (£4.8m) they could find that record tough to improve.

The Norwegian centre-back was once a Fantasy favourite but he has seen ownership dwindle due to not yet scoring a goal this season. That could all change here.

Another player who hasn’t scored as often as he’d like this season is Papiss Cisse (£8.8m), but it might be worth keeping an eye on Newcastle’s Senegalese forward ahead of what looks a huge game against Southampton at St James’s Park.

A goal there could kick off a much-needed run of form for both him and his team, and perhaps provide you with that all important edge in the coming weeks.

@Mark_Jones86

Check out our new Club article – This week Fulham

Fantasy Yirma: Gameweek 1 preview

 

Gameweek 1 preview: The story of the Blues

By now you’ll have clocked it. There can’t really be a Fantasy player who hasn’t.

The 2012/13 season will kick-off with the European champions gracing us with a double Gameweek.

It can’t really get any better can it? You’ve got all those great Chelsea players to choose from and the chance to score double points with each and every one of them, and quadruple with your captain – be it Eden Hazard, Juan Mata or Ross Turnbull. The world is your expensive, Russian oil money-purchased oyster.

Yet is it that simple? Chelsea’s matches against first Wigan and then Reading certainly look winnable, but players should be mindful that the price for the Blues doubling up on Gameweek 1 is that they’ll miss out on Gameweek 3, when Roberto di Matteo’s side (if he’s still there by then) will have swanned off to Monaco to take on Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

So the question facing Fantasy bosses all summer has been whether or not to load up on Chelsea players for the first couple of Gameweeks or to stay away. The answer can be found in an annoying club song, because as far as this Gameweek is concerned – Blue is the colour.

Chelsea’s best players are all expensive enough for you to easily be able to find replacements once they miss out on playing in that third Gameweek, and so at least two and perhaps three of Di Matteo’s boys should be in your starting XI come the big kick-off on Saturday.

As for who those players are, well the Blues’ midfield can now be considered a minefield due to all the players that they have at their disposal in there, and whilst it’s tempting to go with the £9.5m pair of Hazard and Mata, perhaps the old stager Frank Lampard (£9.0m) could come up trumps at the start of yet another campaign.

The usual suspects at the back for Chelsea will feature heavily on plenty of Fantasy teamsheets, as will Fernando Torres (£10.0m), a strong captaincy choice at the start of a huge season personally.

As is the nature of the game, when one team has a double Gameweek then another must too, and its newly-promoted Reading who take the honours as 2012/13 kicks off.

They won’t be expected to take anything from Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, but their Saturday fixture at home to Stoke does offer the potential of a clean sheet for goalkeeper Adam Federici (£4.5m, and a useful substitute in your team) and the defenders. They are likely to start with a back four of Ian Harte, Alex Pearce (both £4.5m), Kaspars Gorkss and Chris Gunter (both £4.0m).

Further forward, the Russian Pavel Pogrebnyak (£5.0m) has proved popular due to his success at Fulham last season, whilst midfielder Danny Guthrie (£4.5m) is a good signing for the Royals and has a goal or two in him.

Elsewhere across the division as the big kick-off approaches, the potential for a stalemate between Newcastle and Tottenham should have you looking at nobody but goalkeepers and defenders from the pair, whilst wins are predicted for Arsenal and Liverpool as they start the season at home to Sunderland and away at West Brom respectively. Reds new boy Joe Allen (£5.5m) has proved a popular buy with one in four of Fantasy players selecting him.

Manchester City start the defence of their crown with what could be a goal-filled success at home to Southampton – Carlos Tevez, at £9.0m, looks even more of a steal after that Community Shield goal – whilst Manchester United can take advantage of Everton’s often slow start to the season when they go to Goodison Park on Monday night.

All eyes might be on Robin van Persie (£13.0m) there, but it is the return of Nemanja Vidic (£7.0m) which should have Fantasy bosses cheering.

Follow me on twitter @Mark_Jones86

See more of Mark’s posts at @FantasyYirma and https://fantasyyirma.wordpress.com/

To join the free Fantasy Yirma mini league on the official Premier League game follow this link. Remember Free to Play … £50 to the winner!! What’s to lose?? http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/15005/join/?autojoin-code=44397-15005

The Lamb has Spoken…

Disclaimer: All posts from @pedro_lamb represent only a 1/3 of Yirma Management. Typically the other 2/3 disagree

by @pedro_lamb.

So here goes. Today’s thoughts on a few players set to return from injury who you might want to consider as a differential.

Three players, who spent much of last season lying on the physio table, are fit and ready to make an impact! It is time for them to get off the physio table, put down the Xbox controller and make us some fantasy points.  Keep a look out for:

1.   Tom Cleverley –

He burst onto the scene at the start of last season and then, injury ended his campaign, now he is back and after a great performance so far at the Olympics, he is back and raring to go and his return maybe just what United need, to stabilize their midfield and allow Rooney more freedom.

Rooney at £12m will blow a big hole the purse, however Tom is just £6m if you are set on having a Utd presence in your starting 11=Bargain.  He is most certainly going to start most games, this season.

2. Tom Huddlestone –

After a nearly a year out, it is time for him to return and with Modric almost certainly moving to the Spanish capital, it is Tom’s time to step up and show the form he had back in 2010, where he very nearly made it into England’s Euro 2010 squad, and at just £5m he is a steal.

3. My personal cheeky punt is Danny Higginbotham, who is set to return to Stoke’s back line.

At £4.5m he is a great man to add to your squad.  Also with Higginbottam’s contract up at the end of the year, he is likely to want to prove he is worth an extension to allow him to play out his career at Stoke.

Right, I have convinced myself… I am off to make some changes to my team.

Lamby

 

To join the free Fantasy Yirma mini league on the official premier league game follow this link. Remember Free to Play … £50 to the winner!! What’s to lose?? http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/15005/join/?autojoin-code=44397-15005

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