Well. What a ridiculous week we have coming up. 8 teams not playing- most of those including the most fantasy relevant of players. For the 6 games we do have I’m not holding out for any load of goals to be flying in!
Norwich v Southampton
Bunn; Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Hoolahan; Becchio, Holt.
Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Cork; Ramirez, Lallana, Puncheon; Lambert.
Norwich are still without Tettey, who has been ruled out for a few weeks- meaning Howson will continue to ply his trade in CM. A 4-4-2 looks most likely for the Canaries, while Pilkington could also been included at the expense of Becchio if Hughton opts for a 4-2-3-1.
Southampton have much of the same going on- with Puncheon and Rodriguez looking to slog it out for the last spot in the attacking midfield.
Norwich are a surprisingly strong team at Carrow Road- they have conceded as many goals there as Man United have at Old Trafford this campaign. The problem here lies in their goalscoring prowess though, with only 16 goals to their name so far at home. Their win loss record also reads quite well, having only lost 3 games at home this year- the best of any bottom 10 side.
Southampton are a basket case- they could turn up and lose to QPR as easily as they could beat Man City. They have only won the 2 away games all year though, and their away goalscoring record leaves a lot to be desired; they concede the most goals in the PL away from home. 1 win in their last 7 also makes for unpleasant reading for the Saints’ faithful.
It’ll be low scoring- as games at Carrow Road always are- and I reckon Norwich can knick the full 3 points here. Southampton have it all to play for though, having lost ground last week on their other relegation rivals.
QPR v Sunderland
Cesar; Bosingwa, Samba, Hill, Traore; Mbia, Granero, Park; Remy, Zamora, Hoilett.
Mignolet; Gardner, Bramble, O’Shea, Rose; Sessegnon, N’Diaye, Larsson, Johnson; Graham, Fletcher.
QPR will be sweating on the fitness of Zamora for the home tie this weekend. His failure to play would see Bothroyd employed as the striker after his return to the spotlight last week. Hoilett featured over Taarabt as Redknapp switched to a 4-3-3, and you’d think he is unlikely to tinker with a winning format.
Sunderland have Rose available, who will fight with Colback for the LB berth. A 4-4-2 has seen Sessegnon drop to the right flank and Graham start up top in recent weeks, and against a defensive QPR the two strikers could be the way to go. Cattermole remains unavailable for the next few weeks.
QPR’s win last week was only their third of the year. It was also the first time in the last 10 games that they have scored over 1 goal; their goals scored record is the worst in the PL.
Sunderland on the other hand also aren’t prolific scorers, having only scored 31 goals all year and being the 3rd least prolific scorers in the league. They have also gone 5 games without a win- their worst spell all year.
Two low scoring teams in a scrap at Loftus Road. That’s what we’ll get. It’ll be interesting to see how QPR’s change in formation and personnel affects their goalscoring, but for me I’ll tip a close one that Sunderland should edge- but ‘Arry will have something up his sleeve (probably a 0-0 draw).
Reading v Aston Villa
Taylor; Kelly, Mariappa, Pearce, Harte; Kebe, Akpan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, McCleary; Le Fondre.
Guzan; Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Bennett; N’Zogbia, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor; Benteke, Weimann.
Reading have a couple of injury doubts, with Federici already ruled out and Kebe a doubt to start. Robson-Kanu will be waiting in the wings should the stalwart fail to be fit.
For Villa it’s much of the same, with Vlaar expecting to be fit following a rest on Monday while Delph serves his last match of his yellow card induced suspension.
Reading v Aston Villa. Another proverbial 6 pointer (sick of hearing that yet?). Reading’s home record makes considerably better reading than their away (pun intended), with 4 of their 5 wins this season coming at the Madejski.
Villa’s last 10 matches read as follows. 1 win, 3 draws, 6 losses. Not great for the Villans. Their last away win in the PL came against Liverpool- a trend they will desperately want to buck.
Villa are low scoring- Reading score with consummate ease at home. I like to think I could back Reading confidently but their horrow show against Wigan two weeks back at home has left me doubting them. They should get the three points, but Villa could just as easily throw a spanner in the works. A no bet game for me!
West Brom v Swansea
Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Yacob, Mulumbu; Morrison, Dorrans, Brunt; Lukaku.
Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Monk, Davies; Ki, Britton, De Guzman; Routledge, Michu, Hernandez.
Brunt is set to return for the Baggies, while Lukaku will be a welcome addition following missing the game v Chelsea due to his loan agreement.
Swansea will play Monk as a CB as Chico is still injured, while Ki is also an option for the hosts.
West Brom are tricky customers at the Hawthorns- they have won 8 of their 14 games played there. They have also drawn only 4 games all year, a feat only bettered by United.
Swansea have a better away defensive record than United, only conceding 15 goals in their travels this campaign. Their problem remains up front though, where they have only knocked in 12 goals all year.
This is another game that looks like being low scoring unfortunately. West Brom should score at home, but I have my doubts over whether Swansea can. The Baggies’ knack for hanging on in games where they shouldn’t could see them squirm over the line in this one.
Newcastle v Stoke City
Elliot; Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, S Taylor, Santon; Gouffran, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez; Sissoko; Cisse.
Begovic; Wilkinson, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson; Walters, N’Zonzi, Whelan, Etherington; Adam; Crouch.
Coloccini has been ruled out for months after breaking bones in his back last outing, so Yanga-Mbiwa is the likely replacement. Elsewhere it’s as expected from the Toon.
Stoke can either start Wilson at centre half as they did last week, or play Cameron their with Shotton deputising at RB. Etherington was also a no show last week and is touch and go- his failure to be fit will see either Shea or Kightly play down the wing.
I could analyse Newcastle’s goal scoring record or their wins in their last 5 matches at home, but it would be pointless because they’re playing Stoke- the blokes that have conceded 18 goals in away matches whilst only scoring 8. It’ll be low scoring and Newcastle will be suffering a Europa sized hangover- but should have enough to topple them.
Liverpool v Tottenham
Reina; Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique; Lucas, Gerrard, Coutinho; Sturridge, Downing, Suarez.
Lloris; Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Dembele; Lennon, Bale, Dempsey; Adebayor.
Liverpool will roll out as expected, with Sturridge expected to be fit.
Tottenham have doubts over Adebayor, with Defoe ready to feature should be unavailable.
Ahhh we finally get to the only game worth watching this weekend. Liverpool have an awesome home record- having kept the most clean sheets and home and conceding the second least goals in the PL. Their last two home games have seen them slam in 10 goals too…impressive stuff.
Tottenham on the other hand are experiencing on of their best runs in their history in the PL. Having not lost a game in months, they will arrive at Anfield full of confidence. Bale is in the form of his life and AVB has them playing attractive football. They have won 4 of their last 5 away games, with the only draw coming against United at Old Trafford.
It’s hard to pick this one- but goals should fly in. Liverpool are a handful up front with their dynamic duo, but Tottenham are equally potent with their Welshman. I’d wager a bet of over 2.5 or even 3.5 to be very fruitful.
A shorter edition this week, due largely to the 6 games being played. It looks like being a terrible week for FPL managers, and my advice is to just sit it out and ride the wave. If you have 2 FT, use one to cover a donut as you’ll get the 2 FT back the next week. If you don’t, I wouldn’t bother trading (as I’m not), because you’ll likely trade yourself into a place you’ll regret in the coming weeks with DGW’s aplenty.
Norwich v Soton 1-0 1-1
QPR v Sunderland 0-1 2-1
Reading v Villa 2-1 2-2
West Brom v Swansea 1-0 1-0
Newcastle v Stoke 2-0 2-0
Liverpool v Tottenham 2-2 2-2
Cheers guys, try not to get raped too hard this week!