Fixture Forecast

Reading Time: 17 minutes

Alright, I’m back for more punishment! This time with Seags back to take control of the review and such, I’ve been given the task of looking at the upcoming fixtures. As everyone who reads this is an FPL pro, we all know that fixtures are really crucial in analysing our trading from week to week. So hopefully this provides a bit of food for thought which you can use when trading either for this weekend or the coming weeks.

English-Premier-League-Fixtures-2012-13

Before I start, I’ll outline key points:

  • I’ve only gone as far as the next FOUR (4) fixtures
  • The form table is based on the past SIX (6) fixtures
  • Each teams upcoming four fixtures will be classed as either HARD, MEDIUM or EASY.
  • In the upcoming fixtures, teams will appear as follows: HOME or Away

 

Man United

Season Table:   1st

Form Table:   2nd

Last 6:   D-W-W-W-W-D

Next four:   SOUTHAMPTON, Fulham, EVERTON, Queens Park Rangers

As we all know the Manchester teams are probably fixture proof anyway, but United’s next four games certainly look relatively appealing. Southampton however have been in brilliant form of late, which although I will discuss later I can tell you they are only one of four teams undefeated in their past six games (I know Nigel, I don’t understand either). Fulham although usually good at home haven’t won their past three at Craven Cottage, whilst Everton haven’t lost their past five away from home. Finally a revived QPR who have not lost their past three and conceded only one goal, rounds out United’s fixtures.

Verdict:   EASY. Expect wins against Soton, Fulham and probably QPR. The Everton one is tricky, but I’d still be backing them to win. For defenders, to me the best view of clean sheets is in the two away fixtures and attacking wise all fixtures are promising. If you don’t have RVP, now is definitely the time to ask yourself “why” and “how can I get him in?”.

 

Man City

Season Table:   2nd

Form Table:   1st

Last six:   W-L-W-W-W-W

Next four:   Queens Park Rangers, LIVERPOOL, Southampton, CHELSEA

An interesting little run coming up here for City, their two away fixtures are against sides who have been in reasonable form of late whilst they play two big guns at home. The first fixture may not be as high scoring as people hope, plus the Southampton game may not provide a clean sheet. Liverpool have not beaten a top half side yet this season, but in their past six games they have scored the most goals (17) and have the best goal difference (+12) of any side in the competition. Finally the Chelsea game will obviously be quite exciting and likely to be high scoring as well – at least no clean sheets here.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. I would be very surprised if City actually lost any of these fixtures but they could certainly give up two points more than once here. The away games are games they should win but do have their dangers, whilst the home games will be tougher than most. Still, clean sheets are possible more so than guaranteed in the away games and attacking returns are highly likely across all fixtures. After QPR, their fixtures should allow them to score more than once each game, which brings he likes of Aguero and potentially last weekend’s hero Silva to the forefront.

 

Chelsea

Season Table:   3rd

Form Table:   3rd

Last six:   W-W-L-W-D-W

Next four:   Reading, Newcastle, WIGAN, Man City

As you can see a little run away from home here, but for Chelsea at the moment that’s not necessarily a bad thing as they’ve won their last four games on the road. I would certainly expect wins in their first three fixtures, although Reading’s form of late has not been bad it’s still a game the blues should win. Their last fixture against City should be an interesting one, as mentioned above I would certainly expect it to be high scoring with the abilities of each of their midfields pitted against each other.

Verdict:   EASY. I thought hard about rating this as medium but in reality, they should get three wins here which most other teams would certainly take. In regards to clean sheets Reading and Wigan can be particularly annoying even in losses, however I would certainly tip one against Newcastle at the moment. The attacking returns however should be aplenty, particularly the last three of their fixtures – so the Chelsea midfield along with perhaps Ba up front could really do some damage.

 

Tottenham

Season Table:   4th

Form Table:   6th

Last six:   D-W-W-W-D-D

Next four:   Norwich, West Brom, NEWCASTLE, West Ham

Another one of those 4 teams who are undefeated in their past six, this set of fixtures really needs a category better than ‘easy’. All of these teams are in the bottom half of the form table, with 3 of them in the bottom five – I think that says it all really. Expect wins here and goals all round, the only time any of these four had a clean sheet in their past six games was when Norwich and Newcastle “battled to the death” to have a nil all draw.

Verdict:   EASY. Although Tottenham will be without Adebayor and play three of these four away from home, their opponents are really in poor form across the board. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than one clean sheet here and attacking returns should be in the multiples in most of the games as well. Do you have Gareth Bale? If you don’t trade him in. If you just traded him out, well… oh dear. Clint Dempsey is a little smoky option here as well with Adebayor away.

 

Everton

Season Table:   5th

Form Table:   7th

Last six:   W-W-L-W-D-W

Next four:   WEST BROM, ASTON VILLA, Man United, Norwich

Interesting run here, they have three winnable games and one very tough one against United at Old Trafford. The games against WBA, Villa and Norwich should mean goals and maybe even some more clean sheets for the toffees. Then there’s the game against United, who they have an interesting recent history against which could see them perhaps leaving Old Trafford with a point in their pocket. At this stage, I don’t think this fixture matters too much unless your invested in the toffees defense, in which case it should only be Baines.

Verdict: EASY. Although they do have the game against United, the other three games will be likely productive in terms of FPL points for your toffees players. Although personally I wouldn’t invest in the toffees defense in hope of clean sheets, they could potentially pick up a couple here. If you’re invested up front, surely the likes of Fellaini, Jelavic and the returning Mirallas will all pocket some points against their somewhat leaky opponents and perhaps even against United too.

 

Arsenal

Season Table:   6th

Form Table:   10th

Last six:   W-W-D-L-L-W

Next four:   LIVERPOOL, STOKE, Sunderland, ASTON VILLA

 

Whilst the form of the gunners doesn’t appear to be that great, the reality is the two losses above were against Man City (when Koscielny was sent off in the first 10 minutes) and Chelsea (away). Due to their recent form, Liverpool will likely be a tricky opponent, particularly given the gunners haven’t had a clean sheet in their past five games. The other fixtures look to be much more comfortable, Stoke who are in bad form and rarely beat the gunners anyway, Sunderland who are in okay form but have been playing weaker opponents and Villa who are just terrible at the moment. A run of three games out of four at home certainly does help their cause over these next four fixtures as well.

Verdict: EASY. Again, perhaps a little predictable here with the verdict, but again these are all heavily winnable games for the gunners. In particular if you saw any of the game against West Ham you can see it doesn’t take much for the gunners to click and put in a few quick goals. Defensively, the last three games are all potential for clean sheets, particularly the home games, whilst up front I would be expecting multiple goals almost each week. If you hold the likes of Walcott, Cazorla and even Podolski (you lucky..) as a result of the DGW, you may want to reconsider ditching them so quickly.

 

Liverpool

Season Table:   7th

Form Table:   5th

Last six:   W-L-W-W-L-W

Next four:   Arsenal, Man City, WEST BROM, SWANSEA**

 

Well, here we are at one of the form teams of the competition. Their two losses in the past six were away at Old Trafford and Britannia Stadium, very tough places to travel (usually), so their form stacks up. The first two fixtures are a bit of a nightmare for the ‘pool, with the gunners and City away it doesn’t get much tougher than that back-to-back. I suspect the West Brom game is a very winnable one, however Swansea are in great form and are one of those four that haven’t lost a game in their past six. As I mentioned earlier the reds have scored the most goals (17) and have the best goal difference (+12) in the league over the past six games. But based on these fixtures you can only really hope for one or maybe two wins at very best here, along with maybe a couple of draws.

**Also be very wary of bringing in Liverpool players as the Swansea game may be postponed due to their involvement in the Capital One Cup Final.

Verdict:   HARD. Not only do they face two of the competitions heavyweights in the next two weeks, they have to face them both away from home. I can’t see how Liverpool are going to land any clean sheets here unless they perhaps restrict West Brom at home. In terms of attacking returns, I can’t see there being large amounts of these particularly in the first two games, however Gerrard is probably as likely to score in these games as anyone – he lives for these type of games. If you’re thinking about Sturridge as a POD in your forwards, I’d be recommending to hold off for at least these next two weeks.

  

West Brom

Season Table:   8th

Form Table:   12th

Last six:   W-W-L-L-L-D

Next four:   Everton, TOTTENHAM, Liverpool, SUNDERLAND

To state the obvious here, a fairly tricky set of fixtures for the baggies who have been in pretty ordinary form of late. They last clean sheeted in a nil all draw against West Ham in GW17 and have conceded eleven goals in their last six games, indicating their frailty in defense. All of their next four opponents are in form, with only five losses out of all their combined past six fixtures (so out of 24 games). Unfortunately for the baggies I can’t see any wins for them here, unless the form of Sunderland takes a dive.

Verdict:   HARD. As mentioned, this looks very tough for the baggies particularly given their form. I would be selling out of their defensive assets like McAuley (if you still own any) and I certainly wouldn’t be rushing any attacking assets in either. Watchlist Lukaku is about the best I’d do here, otherwise it’s a big ‘AVOID’ stamp from me.

 

Swansea

Season Table:   9th

Form Table:   9th

Last six:   D-D-W-D-D-W

Next four:   Sunderland, West Ham, QUEENS PARK RANGERS, Liverpool**

A run away from home here could pose some interesting questions, but the form of Swansea is currently superb. Defensively the swans seem to have tightened up a lot recently, meaning their consistent attacking threat from the likes of Michu generally has the chance to win games most weeks. The game against the black cats should be interesting given the form of both sides, but this should still hold attacking returns for Michu for example. West Ham and QPR are definitely winnable games as well, the West Ham game in particular could again provide another clean sheet.

**As mentioned above, the game against Liverpool may well be postponed due to Swansea’s involvement in the Capital One Cup Final.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. This was bordering on easy but with two games away from home and the third replaced by their commitment to the Capital One Cup Final, this could see Swansea maybe slip up where they otherwise wouldn’t. I would still expect attacking returns from our swans players, but defensively there is a big risk there’s only one clean sheet to be had (QPR have a tendency to score an annoying goal of late). However saying all this, I would be holding your swans players and just be wary of what happens with the Liverpool game being moved.

 

Stoke

Season Table:   10th

Form Table:   15th

Last six:   D-W-D-L-L-L

Next four:   WIGAN, Arsenal, READING, Fulham

As much as Stoke look to be in terrible form at the moment, they have played Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City and Chelsea in their past six games – so they have had a difficult run. I think what frustrates a lot of us as FPL owners though, is that even with such fixtures in the past we’ve been treated to clean sheets or at least limited damage.  At the moment from the last six games, their goal difference is -7 – and even worse if you look at their last four (-9)! This next run of fixtures though has potential to return clean sheets and maybe even attacking returns if you’re that way inclined (although I’m a stoke fan and I can tell you I don’t own any Stoke players outside of defense!).

Verdict:   MEDIUM. I say medium because the Arsenal away game is a guaranteed loss for Stoke. Fulham away (although they are in poor form) is also probably only a draw at best, so the two home games are where Stoke has to capitalise. In saying this, both Reading and Wigan have a knack for scoring – hopefully that’s not the case for our FPL defenders & Begovic!

 

Sunderland

Season Table:   11th

Form Table:   4th

Last six:   W-W-L-L-W-W

Next four:   SWANSEA, Reading, ARSENAL, West Brom

The black cats are certainly in a rich vein of form at the moment, particularly when you consider their win over Man City is included in their last six games. Their only real bad performance of late was the 3-0 loss at Anfield, in saying that though the reds are also in fine form themselves. Their next fixtures don’t appear too bad on the surface, however games against Swansea and Arsenal at home certainly won’t be easy. The road games against Reading and West Brom should both have goals in it for them as well – so their current goal scoring form (scored six in their past two games) may well continue. Clean sheets may be an issue though, I can’t see them keeping Swansea or Arsenal at bay – and Reading has a happy knack for free scoring games at the moment.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. I would suggest maybe 2 wins here and they’ll be quite happy. Their goal scoring may well continue as discussed so if you hold any of Fletcher/Johnson/Sessegnon then it may not be the silliest decision to hold onto them. Defensively though, I would be wary of a lack of clean sheets here – the best chance they have is potentially West Brom in four games time. Owners of Mignolet however may be compensated by the potential for a high amount of saves.

 

West Ham

Season Table:   12th

Form Table:   16th

Last six:   L-L-W-L-D-L

Next four:   Fulham, SWANSEA, Aston Villa, TOTTENHAM

 

A little bit of a mixed bag for the hammers, who have really been in terrible form of late. In their last six games they have won only once, whilst conceding thirteen goals and only scoring five – with no clean sheets. Personally I don’t think their fixtures have been that difficult in their last six either, which really only consolidates their poor form in my eyes.  The away games are probably their best chance for a win in my eyes, but really can only see them maybe beating Villa. Unless there is some sort of significant improvement, I’d be a little worried about my investments in the hammers at the moment.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. Whilst their fixtures could certainly be a lot worse, I think they will still prove to be quite difficult for the hammers in their current form. I see them maybe pinching a couple of draws here at best to be honest. If you have any of the hammers midfielders/forwards I would be very worried, even their defenders may struggle unless there is a lot of bus parking going on. Personally I only hold Demel (from GW23 – and yes I do regret that), but that won’t be for much longer.

 

Norwich

Season Table:   13th

Form Table:   20th

Last six:   L-L-L-L-D-L

Next four:   TOTTENHAM, Queens Park Rangers, FULHAM, EVERTON

 

Quite frankly the canaries are in a horror run of form, their only point in their last six games came in a nil all borefest against fellow strugglers Newcastle. With their next four fixtures, there could be some more pain endured as well, although they do have a welcome run of games at home now. The Tottenham and Everton fixtures will be clearly their most difficult, I think if they can tighten up at the back (they have conceded 14 goals in their past six games) they could maybe be a shout for a draws – perhaps. In their current form you wouldn’t be putting any money on that though, so their fixtures against QPR and Fulham will be critical. I expect a dour affair against QPR to be honest, whilst Fulham are also in shocking form and they won’t be much better playing away from craven cottage either. The best bets for Norwich players would be on attacking players, but even then they have only scored five goals in their past six games, worrying stuff for Chris Hughton.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. The run isn’t the prettiest due to the start and finishing games, but at least they’re at home. As I’ve mentioned above, be very careful about investing in the Norwich defense as they have been significantly ‘leaky’ of late. Up front they have struggled also with key players experiencing a dip in form and absences of others due to injury/resting. Perhaps be wary of rushing any of the canaries in at the moment.

 

Fulham

Season Table:   14th

Form Table:   14th

Last six:   L-D-L-W-D-L

Next four:   WEST HAM, MAN UNITED, Norwich, STOKE

 

A real topsy-turvy run of form for the cottagers at the moment, it’s a little difficult to predict what performance you’re going to get from them each week at the moment. Whilst they have played Man City and Liverpool in their past six, the other games were against similarly placed sides with little success. That really puts into question what they can get from these fixtures – but at least again they are playing at home for three of those, which as we know they are much more suited to. Attacking returns have been few and far between unfortunately, as owners of Berbatov and Ruiz may know. Defensively they have been relatively poor, with no clean sheets in their past six – although they haven’t conceded more than two goals since GW18 (4-0 loss to Liverpool).

Verdict:   MEDIUM. There is certainly potential here for a couple of wins, particularly against West Ham and home and perhaps a win from one of the Stoke or Norwich games. The Man United game will be interesting to see if they’re competitive, even at home, as their form doesn’t indicate they are likely to take any points away from that. Personally I’d recommend losing any of the Fulham defenders if you’re holding them and up front I’d maybe persevere with Ruiz and Berbatov at least for their next fixture. Otherwise it’s pretty slim on the FPL relevance at the moment.

 

Southampton

Season Table:   15th

Form Table:   11th

Last six:   D-D-D-W-D-D

Next four:   Man United, Wigan, MAN CITY, Newcastle

The recent form of Soton really makes you wonder why Adkins was sacked, last six games now unbeaten and they’ve really showed improvement from the start of the season. Anyway, it happened and now they move on to some really tough fixtures facing the top two in the next four weeks. I would be deeply worried about any defensive assets you’re holding aside from maybe the Newcastle and Wigan games – although even then they could easily concede a goal away from home. In the games against the Manchester teams, it’s very difficult to see how they’ll escape without conceding more than once and that pretty much puts them down for losses straight away. They could escape with points however against Wigan and Newcastle, however their current form will need to roll into those fixtures for that to happen away from home.

Verdict:   HARD. This is really on the back of playing the two Manchester teams in the next three games, but the fact they have three away games in their next four also plays its part. Potentially points could be had against the poor Wigan and Newcastle teams at the moment – but it’s hard to justify bringing in any Soton players based on the other games. Lambert and Puncheon owners be very wary, maybe push these guys to your benches for the next little while.

 

Newcastle

Season Table:   16th

Form Table:   18th

Last six:   W-L-L-L-D-L

Next four:   Aston Villa, CHELSEA, Tottenham, SOUTHAMPTON

 

No matter who they’re playing at the moment, it’s hard to see Newcastle even being competitive. They haven’t had an easy run of fixtures though facing United, Arsenal and Everton in their past six (all losses), but their recent loss to Reading and draw with Norwich have hardly inspired. The loss of Demba Ba has obviously put a big strain on Cisse and so far he’s failed to deliver anything meaningful. Almost more importantly, the absence of HBA and Cabaye for a lot of the past few weeks has really left Newcastle totally bereft of good chances to score (scoring only twice in their past three). In any case, with the French ‘B’ team being recruited in, perhaps we may see a change to their recent form. I wouldn’t personally bank on it just yet though, especially when they have also conceded a whopping 15 goals in the past six games.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. I thought about hard here for a little bit – as in their current form playing anyone should be hard. However they do play an equally out of form Villa and also Soton at home who will be coming off a tough run themselves by that point. Still, I would be avoiding Newcastle players like they have an contagious disease until they show something.. even anything.

 

Aston Villa

Season Table:   17th

Form Table:   19th

Last six:   L-L-L-D-L-D

Next four:   NEWCASTLE, Everton, WEST HAM, Arsenal

This is really a tale of the home fixtures and the away fixtures. I can’t see Villa getting anything out of their away trips to either Everton or Arsenal, however their home fixtures are definitely very winnable – even with their current form. Paul Lambert really needs to win those home games, so expect to see much better performances from them than we have lately. This has to start defensively, they have conceded the most goals in the league in 20 (5 more goals than the second worst Newcastle). Also up front, they have struggled with Benteke being their main strike force – which if you’ve seen him play recently you’ll know that’s a very hit and miss proposition.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. The away fixtures are difficult yes, but Lambert really couldn’t have asked for two better home fixtures in their next four. West Ham and Newcastle have equally struggled in both attack and defense, meanwhile Villa have had chances even though they have been significantly beaten in most games recently. All they need is for Benteke to convert in these games and they should be well on their way to taking 3 points in each fixture. Investments in Villa though really should be avoided though, I would be waiting to see if their form will turn around before bringing anyone in at all.

 

Reading

Season Table:   18th

Form Table:   8th

Last six:   L-D-W-L-W-W

Next four:   CHELSEA, SUNDERLAND, Stoke, WIGAN

 

The royals have been in hot form over the past few weeks, losing only to Tottenham and Man City – however that is probably also a reflection on their opponents (wins against West Ham, Newcastle and West brom). Even still, I am sure the confidence will be relatively high down there so hopefully for their sakes they can carry that into their next run of fixtures – three of which are at home. The Chelsea game will obviously be the most difficult of these, but games against Sunderland and Stoke (away) could also challenge them. Their past three games have seen 12 goals scored, so the play is certainly opening up for them as their form improves – but this obviously does mean they have been a bit ‘leaky’ at the back at the same time.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. Their run here is by no means easy but at least they are at home mostly. Still, I struggle to see them keeping any clean sheets here unless they perhaps restrict Wigan at home. If you’re thinking about investing in Le Fondre or Pogrebnyak as a cheap forward option, I would at least be holding off for a week. In defense – you have to question what you’re thinking holding any of these guys unless it’s a Harte or Federici for example who never leaves your bench.

 

Wigan

Season Table:   19th

Form Table:   17th

Last six:   L-L-W-L-D-L

Next four:   Stoke, SOUTHAMPTON, Chelsea, Reading

Is this the year that Wigan will finally go down? You have to wonder when it’s going to happen don’t you, as it’s hard to see who’s going to rescue them this year. In saying that, they seem to always find a way – and maybe that ‘way’ could be found in their next run of fixtures. Although they play largely away from home, Wigan are at their best when they’re backs are against the wall and they’re least expected to do anything. I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see them walk away with at least a point against Stoke next weekend (bogey side seemingly) and games against Soton and Reading aren’t write-off’s by any measure. The game against Chelsea could hold a surprise even, given Chelsea haven’t exactly set the world alight recently at Stamford Bridge.

Verdict:   MEDIUM. Again, just the one really tough fixture here for Wigan, the others could well see them taking home points. If you’re invested here, it’s really only going to be up front (you certainly don’t want to own any of their defenders anyway) and that could provide fruitful in the next couple. The only guys I would look at would be maybe Kone or perhaps Di Santo, but even still I would be waiting at least a week to see if they show any spark. My ultimate recommendation here though? Avoid…

 

Queens Park Rangers

Season Table:   20th

Form Table:   13th

Last six:   L-L-L-W-D-D

Next four:   MAN CITY, NORWICH, Swansea, MAN UNITED

 

Well, three home games in their next four for ‘Arry’s men.. but just have a look at it. Playing the top two in the next four is not what they would like to see. Their form of late has been much improved, they’ve even taken four points from Chelsea and Tottenham – so it’s not totally out of the question they could be better than what you’d initially expect. I have to say though, their best chance in those games is if they park the bus – they cannot and will not take anything away if these are open games. The Norwich game is easily their best chance for a win here, which they’ll desperately need to be honest. A little word of warning, be wary of your Manchester assets for those two games – I just have a feeling they won’t be as prolific as we’d hope.

Verdict:   HARD. As mentioned they really don’t have more than one decent chance for a win here, so taking 4-5 points from this run would be huge for rangers. Defensively they may do okay, maybe even some surprise clean sheets but the reality is they’ll probably concede in all their games apart from maybe against Norwich. If you’re thinking about investing in Remy or Taarabt, I would definitely be holding off at least this week – but in reality it’s tough to see them excelling at all for at least a few fixtures just yet.

 

OVERALL

Best upcoming fixtures:   Tottenham, Man United, Arsenal

Do not hesitate to bring in options from these teams – expect the likes of Bale, RVP and Walcott to excel in the coming weeks.

Worst upcoming fixtures:   QPR, Liverpool, West Brom

Be very careful about bringing any of these guys in Remy, Sturridge/Suarez and Lukaku types should really just be put on your watchlists for now. Try and avoid these guys in defense as well as their prospects of clean sheets are going to be slim – hold perhaps if you rate them as having some sort of attacking chances (Johnson for example).

So there you have it, a pretty detailed run-down of each sides upcoming fixtures. I hope that helps you when you’re looking at your trades over the next week or so. If you’ve got any comments then fire away below or hit me up on the twittersphere (see below). Cheers!

@grinpowderdiah

@FPLaddicts

27 comments on “Fixture Forecast

    • grinpowderdiah

      I hope so mate, if anyone finds value out of it then it’s worth the effort!

      Arsenal fixtures not bad at all, maybe not guaranteed clean sheets (who is right?), but definitely shouldn’t concede too many…

      • Dan

        aaahh, those last min changes will always kill ya!!

        Not much we can do other than look for options to replace I spose.

        Depending on the weekend’s football and injuries etc….I’m thinking Zabaleta looking the best for me. VERY tempted by Evra or Baines though….. (both great fixtures too)

        I have 1.4 in the bank so any defender an option, with the cash I’d make on the Zab trade I’d have a handy 2.0m leftover for upgrades elsewhere next week.

        Other option I’m considering is a fellow Chelsea def obviously.

        • grinpowderdiah Post Author

          Zabaleta certainly tempting, not sure about their clean sheet hopes now with Kompany potentially missing some games with injury. This means a Lescott/Nastasic combination is far and away their best option – that doesn’t really sell me with huge confidence for clean sheets with their fixtures to be honest.

          Still, United are still a leaking sieve most of the time and I think Everton’s defensive form is merely a flash in the pan tbh. So given that, by paying extra for Baines/Evra you’re really banking on their attacking form continuing and Zabaleta not scoring either. On the surface that seems rational enough yes, but in regards to the rest of your team structure that cash saved on Zab could be invested wisely elsewhere.

  1. kingcolesy

    Im thinking Im going to get in a Man Utd defender next week, but which one. They seem to have an easy run for 8 weeks straight!

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      That’s tough. Vidic is probably the most ‘locked in’ but he’s fairly pricey. Evra the same but at least he has been providing attacking returns as well. Rafael quite a bit cheaper but there is an issue with job security now..

      To be honest it’s not for me as I’m going cheap down back & loading up mid & forward.. but i’d go Evra if I had to choose one.

  2. MattyZee

    Nice article! Probably one of the most well written all season. haha
    West Ham’s run confirms to me how bad a decision it was to get Demel last week. There’s not too many options around his price either.

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      Thanks for the kind words mate, I’m not sure about the ‘most well written’ part though – I am merely an amateur compared to the other guys…quality should always win over quantity!

      I am in the Demel regret bandwagon as well. He’s not even an option as cheap bench cover long term either (unless West Ham turn things around quickly), as he doesn’t pose any threat at the other end. Options probably appear a little thin at the moment but it depends if Demel is a starter for you or not – to be perfectly honest I don’t think it would be too difficult to find a replacement for Demel under 4.5 anyway. But as I mentioned that does depend on the makeup of the rest of your defense though…

  3. The Plagiarist

    Genuinely excellent article! RVP causing me a headache. With him my team looks unbalanced as he’s taking up so much of the cap. Without him…..well, I dont have him! and those fixtures are just too good to ignore. Rooney anyone?

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      Thanks mate, really appreciate the feedback! Personally, I didn’t have him until GW16 – but it took me a number of weeks (through free transfers) to balance my side to get him in. I went cheap in defense in order to balance my books a little, but that was purely through preference as I really needed a solid captain option each week as opposed to high priced defenders from top four teams.

      Rooney is tempting to an extent, however although he has been injury affected – he just hasn’t shown the same consistency this year as RVP, which is probably just down to a positional thing. Either way, if you can find a way to fit him in I think you’re set to reap some rewards over the coming weeks that’s for sure!

  4. Yolo

    Ok, manutds fixtures are good, but what about RVP’s involvement in the CL? No way will he play every one of the next four – most likely two – three at max. Is he then worth 14 mill?

    • Joe

      I’d say with how close City are behind Man U RVP will be playing most if not all the Premier League matches. SAF won’t want to give the title to their noisy neighbours again.

      • grinpowderdiah Post Author

        110% agree with that comment! RVP will be rested in FA cup for sure, maybe even some CL matches over the EPL anyway.

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      Understand your point here, but there is no way in the world that RVP will be benched for 2/4 prem games. At the end of the day, the prem will mean more to SAF and the fans than the champions league or FA cup – particularly when City are the only other real chance from here.

      Worst case scenario, he starts three of them and perhaps has 20-30 minutes off the bench in the other. If the benching is against anyone aside from Everton, i’d still expect him to hit the scoreboard in that small amount of time anyway.

      This is where City have a huge advantage over United, their schedule means they will have much fresher lineups for the epl games (after being eliminated at UCL group stage). However both sides will no doubt be fielding their strongest lineups for most remaining epl games (with FA cup lineups the likely place for squad rotation).

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      If you’re holding any defensive assets of theirs from their DGW, would definitely recommend looking at potential replacements!

  5. Louie K

    Thinking of moving Lambert on, short term anyway. Anyone of Berba, Fletcher or Benteke. Leaning towards Fletcher?

    Also with Hazard out, will we see Rafa start with Ba and Torres? Tonight will tell us a lot.

    • Louie K

      No Ba tonight. Torres leading the line alone. Ba is now certain starter vs Reading! Looks like Rafa won’t be playing them together anytime soon.

      • grinpowderdiah Post Author

        It’ll be very interesting to see if they change their minds and bring in another midfielder/attacking player in this transfer window now. If they don’t, you really cannot see Torres and Ba playing together anyway – based on what we’ve seen so far. It looks as though Torres is being preferred in the matches with less overall importance – which is great for those of us that are Ba owners.

        With regards to trading Lambert – i’d be wary of trading for Fletcher to be honest. If Sunderland do get Danny Graham as their rumoured to be interested in – I cannot see these two playing together, which surely will mean rotation for Fletcher. Plus the fact he is a poacher of the highest order means that his chances are significantly boosted by the teams form (% of chances increases anyway), I personally wouldn’t like to be banking on that form continuing for much longer!

        Berba looks tired and sluggish even still (his honeymoon phase at craven cottage appears to be well and truly over) and Benteke in my opinion cannot be considered with how many shots/chances he misses.

        If you have decent bench cover in your forwards, i’d be keeping him at least for the Wigan/Newcastle games.. would almost be locked in to score! Also Lallana is on the verge of return – that only adds to his potential in my opinion (even though he won’t be taking any more free kicks).

        • Louie K

          I have decided to keep Lambert, especially after Fletcher went up in value (out of reach now). Will take a punt with Lambert vs Utd this week. Hopefully he can sneak one in for me. Also have RVP and Ba. Ba is a concern as well with Rafa’s rotations, but Tevez (another option) will also be in the same predicament now that Aguero is about to return.

  6. Tim

    Great post.

    Have you heard anything on the Liverpool Swansea game being moved forward so there is a Double Game Week for both in GW 26?

    If so that makes Liverpool players a bit more enticing (just make sure you can trade them out or cover them on the bench fotr GW 27 when they have no game).

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      I haven’t heard anything no, but in saying that I would be surprised if they shifted the game earlier. In my opinion this fixture could be pushed back a fair bit, plus the Liverpool fixtures (even with a DGW if they were to have one), still aren’t hugely appetising until at least GW28!

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