After an absolutely rubbish double game week, we are again left somehow standing amongst the wreck that is most of our FPL seasons. Can we reclaim our former glory?
Fulham v Arsenal
Since Duff has been out, it has had a big effect on Berbatov. The Bulgarian has been dropped further back to playing in the hole behind Petric as Ruiz has been covering down the wing. Fulham have no new injury worries, but unless Jol brings in another winger (Manolev perhaps), Berbatov may be relegated to playing in the hole- when we know how deadly he is up front.
Arsenal have Wilshere and Cazorla both in doubt following knocks in their rugby match vs Everton- and I wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger started without them. Be careful.
Fulham were rattled by Chelsea last week, even though the Cottagers had most of the possession. They have still not won a game in their last three so Arsenal will be going for the jugular.
Arsenal will be wanting to really make a run for 3rd place, and after stalling against Everton, they can’t afford to lose points here as both Chelsea and Tottenham have games in hand. Their away defence is actually solid- and I think they can get a result here. It won’t be pretty, but I’m tipping a 1-0 Arsenal win.
Norwich v Reading
Fantasy relevant players for Norwich are hard to come by, and as for Reading, well, they’re bottom for a reason.
Norwich will make this as scrappy as they can to try and get a point. My view is that they will try and get a draw from every game they play to keep themselves up from here.
Reading are virtually a lost cause, so I can see them just going all out attack because a failure to win here will mean they are almost mathematically relegated.
Norwich don’t concede many goals at home, with a smattering of 0-0’s throughout the season. That said, I’ve got almost no idea who will clinch this one- but I’ll stick with a 1-0 Norwich victory.
QPR v Stoke
QPR’s main fantasy asset Remy is declared fit for saturday and will start up front.
Stoke’s fantasy defensive assets remain on the available of Marc Wilson. The left back is ruled at about 75% by Tony Pulis- which is good enough for me!
QPR are in the same boat as Reading. No win here and they may as well pack their bags now. They have been scoring fairly well at home, it’s just that their defence has been letting them down and they’ve lost a lot of 3-2’s and 2-1’s.
Stoke have won one away game in about 22, so I wouldn’t expect a strong showing from them, especially as their fans get more and more discontent with their situation. I think QPR will win this, but I don’t think it’ll help their, or Stoke’s situation. 3-1 QPR.
Sunderland v Everton
Everton are set to be without Osman again, which unfortunately for us means Fellaini is relegated to a deeper CM role, with Barkley stepping in at CAM.
Sunderland have no new injury worries of any FPL magnitude- Sessegnon and perhaps Johnson are both fit and will start.
Sunderland are almost un-predictable at this stage. Their form in the last two weeks under a new manager has been promising- but is it just a flash in the pan? They have been scoring goals at least, which was their problem under MON.
Everton are still clambering for a Top 4 finish and will need 3 points here to give themselves any real hope of doing so. Their away form is much more temperamental than at Goodison, so I’m keeping my gamblin’ bucks in my pocket on this game.
I honestly don’t know what will happen, as we can’t be sure what Sunderland will serve up. I’m thinking it’ll be all out attack from them- but it will be against an Everton side who are quite happy to sit back and defend away from home (Just ask Arsenal). 2-1 Everton is my tip without any real conviction.
Swansea vs Southampton
Michu is likely to lead the line as Britton comes back from the birth of his son last week, pushing De Guzman into a more advanced midfield role.
No worries for Southampton as Rodriguez, Lambert and Ramirez all start.
Swansea are always tough to beat at home, as they maintain possession and keep moving forward, but they also have a tendency to let goals in. It’s not usually many, normally 1 or 2 a game, but enough to ruin a clean sheet bonus.
Southampton have claimed some big scalps, but all of these have been in the Southern Comfort of St. Mary’s Park. I think a win at the Liberty is beyond them, but they will definitely give Vorm a bit of work to do between the sticks. 2-1 Swansea.
West Brom vs Newcastle
Elliot will step in for Krul, who is out for the season. He offers a very cheap alternative into Newcastle’s defence.
West Brom’s only worry is whether Lukaku will start or not after dropping to the bench last week. I can’t back him with confidence, so I’d move him on to Kone or Benteke if I could.
West Brom haven’t kept a home clean sheet in 8 games, but they do have a solid home record, where they win most games against rival mid tabled opposition.
Newcastles away form is paltry, with just the 1 win all year, and after losing 3-0 at home to Sunderland last week they’re not in great form.
I think West Brom will win this, but not overly comfortably. Newcastle have enough pace to trouble them on the break, and I can see Sissoko bouncing back this week. 2-1 West Brom.
West Ham v Wigan
Carroll will start for West Ham, as should Demel, O’Brien and Reid.
Wigan’s fantasy relevant asset is Kone, and he is penned in up front.
Two contrasting styles in this game. West Ham’s ‘bomb it long’ approach will test the Wigan 3-5-2 system, but if their 3 man defence can withstand it long enough, they will cause some serious damage on the break with their stacked midfield.
West Ham are good at home though, while Wigan are poor on the road. As we always mention- this is the time of year when Wigan ALWAYS start firing up.
For me though, my head will rule my heart, and I can’t see Wigan slithering out of this one. West Ham have too much defensive nous as well as attacking punch for them. Carroll will sink them- 3-1 West Ham.
Tottenham v Man City
Gareeeeeeeth’s baaaaack! Enough said.
City will be sweating on Silva, who has missed the last 2 ties with his hip complaint. I don’t think he’ll be fit, meaning Dzeko may get a rare start. Nastasic and Clichy should be back after being rested vs Wigan midweek.
Hmmm. What a difference one man’s inclusion can make. Bale will add new life to the Spurs, who without him and Lennon have looked a little short of ideas going forward.
City looked flat against Wigan, but they did play a half strength side. Their away form has been okay, but nothing becoming of defending champions, so Tottenham will have a real chance to snare a point or three here.
I’m tipping the upset. Tottenham will be so revitalised by Bale and Lennon that they kick into gear and thump Man City. Bit too far? Yeah maybe, but I’ll call a Spur win all the same. 2-1 Tottenham.
Liverpool vs Chelsea
Liverpool have no new injury worries, with a change in formation the only possibility.
Chelsea have Cole back in training, but he’s still a doubt. Ba is locked to start after he and Torres do their 1 game, 1 rest policy. The Spaniard started vs Fulham. Mata and Hazard are fit and should start.
Liverpool have a habit of stuffing Chelsea in these fixtures. Although their home form hasn’t been great, recently, knocking up 0-0’s , they are Chelsea’s bogey side.
Chelsea’s away form, especially defensively , is getting worrying. A simple cross of a ball is enough to unstick them, so Suarez and Sturridge will have a lot of fun.
It’s hard to pick, but I think LFC will bounce back and win 2-0.
Manchester United v Aston Villa
Ferguson has confirmed the same squad that drew with the Hammers will be selected, but I’m almost 100% Rooney will be left on the bench in favour of Welbeck.
Benteke start. Benteke run. Benteke SMAAASH.
Man United should lope home with this, and end Villa’s attempt at a winning run. At home they are a different kettle of fish, and have only lost there 2 times all year. There’s a reason they’re so far in front as well!
Villa have been doing well in recent weeks, picking up points where earlier in the season they would have lost. Can they take the challenge up to United? Yeah I don’t think they can even as I’m typing this. Too young, too inexperienced. United 3-0.
Please gods. A good week for a change. Let’s hope. Good luck to one and all- I’ll 100% need it!