Hey everybody! I hope everyone’s keen on another week of fantasy football. This particular game week preview is coming to you direct from London! I’ve just made the long trip over and things have been frantic, so I’m going to keep this week’s preview short, sharp and sweet. So if you feel like a bit of a ferris wheel going around in circles, read on for a bit of insight into this weekend’s games…
Norwich v Aston Villa
Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Snodgrass, Elmander, Johnson, Redmond, Fer, van Wolfswinkel
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Vlaar, Luna, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor
Our early game of the weekend sees Norwich welcome Aston Villa to Carrow Road. The Canaries have been a bit of a disappointment after being handed a fairly kind run of opening fixtures. Mid-priced options Robert Snodgrass and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel are yet to find their form and the next few gameweeks don’t exactly offer them the best of opportunities to improve. I can however see them stealing a goal against Villa. Pilkington and Hooper are both in contention for a starting spot after being on the bench last week.
Norwich will struggle to keep a clean sheet against the likes of Agbonlahor and Benteke. Not great news for the 21% of you who have invested in Steven Whittaker. Benteke is definitely an option for the armband this week. I’m predicting a tight game though and wouldn’t be surprised with a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool v Southampton
Liverpool: Mignolet, Wisdom, Toure, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Lucas, Moses, Aspas, Sturridge
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Rodriguez, Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Lallana, Osvaldo, Lambert
It’ll be scary going into this game if you don’t own Sturridge. He’s fast becoming an essential player and if your rivals have him in their squad, I’d look at getting him in too. Mignolet looks set to continue his impressive start and with Coutihno out injured, Victor Moses‘ price of 6.2 may just be too good to resist. Moses really impressed me during his spell at Wigan and could be exactly what we’ve been looking for in that cut price midfield bracket. Toure owners will be looking out for the starting XI with bated breathe. Should he fail to start, get rid of him as soon as you can. I expect to see Pool put in a few goals and I don’t think there’ll be too much in it for the Saints. Probably best to stay away from the likes of Shaw and Clyne. Liverpool with the win.
Newcastle v Hull City
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Anita, Sissoko, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Remy
Hull City: McGregor, Elmohamady, Chester, Davies, Rosenoir, Aluko, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady, Sagbo, Graham
Things are looking pretty good for Newcastle right now. Their form is picking up and they have the perfect opportunity to really get the confidence up against a depleted Hull outfit. Ben Arfa has 2 in 2 games and his price is rising sharply. Pardew is likely to continue with his 4-3-3 formation, giving Ben Arfa and Loic Remy a role on either side of Cisse. Any one of these 3 have a great chance of getting on the score sheet. The chances of a clean sheet are just as good. Taylor is set to miss out this week which gives Yanga-Mbiwa the chance to continue his impressive start. With Koren ruled out and Brady being a fitness worry, the Newcastle backline may offer some really good potential. Sagbo is available for the Tigers after serving his 3 match suspension. I’m going with a win and a clean sheet for the Magpies.
West Brom v Sunderland
West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Yacob, Mulumbo, Brunt, Sessegnon, Anelka
Sunderland: Westwood, Celustka, O’Shea, Diakite, Colback, Johnson, Gardner, Ki, Giaccherini, Fletcher, Altidore
Don’t bother yourself too much with these 2 sides right now. Yes, this weekend’s clash offers the opportunity for goals, but the fixtures for both around this tie are not great. The only shining light here may be Sessegnon. He’s set to get his debut against his former club and this will be great motivation for the 6.7m priced midfielder.
Sunderland have just been woeful and frankly, it’s best to stay clear. I’m going with a 1-1 draw here.
West Ham v Everton
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O’Brien, Morrison, Nolan, Noble, Diame, Maiga, Jarvis
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barkley, Barry, Osman, Naismith, Lukaku, Mirallas
Both of these sides have shown particular resilience at the back during the opening stages of this campaign. It’ll be Everton that is more likely to come away with another clean sheet though. West Ham are struggling upfront and with the absence of Andy Carroll, don’t really seem to have the answer. Nolan has seen 3 consecutive blanks and will find it difficult to get past the likes of Coleman and Jagielka. If you are looking at investing in the West Ham defence, Jaaskelainen looks set to gain some save points with Baines whipping in the ball for Lukaku and Mirallas. Lukaku is set for his first appearance since joining the Toffees and we’ll be watching him closely. Everton win and possibly a clean sheet for them as well.
Chelsea v Fulham
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Mata, Ramires, Lampard, Hazard, Oscar, Torres
Fulham: Stockdale, Reither, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson, Duff, Sidwell, Parker, Kacaniklic, Kasami, Berbatov
I think Martin Jol’s men are going to find it particularly difficult to find a way past the Blues. With 2 defeats in a row, Mourinho looks set to shut up shop at the back and play for those 1-0 wins we’re so used to seeing from the Portugese Manager. Rotation is still a huge concern when looking at investing in the Blues, but Cech, Ivanovic and Cole seem pretty set at the back. I’m banking on Hazard to kickstart his campaign soon and would be very surprised to see Eto’o start upfront again.
Hughes, Ruiz, Stekelenburg and Briggs are all out for Fulham and the team from Craven Cottage probably won’t have too much going for them in this fixture. Their upcoming fixtures aren’t bad though, so Berbatov may not be a bad shout if you fancy a punt. I’m going with a victory and a clean sheet for the home side.
Arsenal v Stoke City
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Walcott, Ramsey, Flamini, Wilshere, Ozil, Giroud
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Walters, Wilson, N’Zonzi, Etherington, Adam, Jones
The Gunners are in sublime form and the only issue we have with them at the moment is being able to just pick 3 from their side! Giroud has recovered from a knock and will be looking at Ozil to keep providing him with the chances. Walcott should have bagged multiple goals last week, so his owners will be hoping he converts this week. Ramsey has emerged as a decent cut price option after he has been afforded a slightly more advanced role with the absence of Cazorla.
Stoke are a tough nut to crack though. Shawcross and Huth been impressive at the back, but the attacking ability of the home side should be too much. The Stoke side doesn’t offer too much going forward at the moment so it’s best to just keep an eye out on the likes of Adam and Jones. I’m going with an Arsenal win, but it won’t be as easy for them as you’d think.
Crystal Palace v Swansea
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Campana, Guedioura, Jedinak, Puncheon, Chamakh, Gayle
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies, Dyer, Britton, Shelvey, Routledge, Michu, Bony
In my opinion, Swansea will be the team to watch in the next couple of game weeks. Their fixtures ease up considerably and the likes of Michu and Bony now have the sort of fixtures that will see them licking their lips. Bony has now dropped to 7.7 and was on fire on Thursday. Michu is also down to 8.9, he midfielder reminded us earlier in the week of his potential with goals in both the Premier and Europa league. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Shelvey at 5.5 seems to have his fair share of set pieces and could continue to find himself in the attacking returns. At the back, Vorm will start working his way back into our thoughts. With Taylor’s thigh injury, Ben Davies at 5.0 looks nailed on.
I don’t see too much in this for Crystal Palace. I’m going with a 2-0 win to the visitors.
Cardiff v Tottenham
Cardiff: Marshall, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Gunnarsson, Medel, Kim, Bellamy, Campbell, Whittingham
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose, Lamela, Dembele, Paulinho, Sigurdsson, Eriksen, Soldado
The next couple of games for Cardiff are tough ones. With Spurs visiting them on Sunday, Fantasy managers won’t exactly be rushing to invest in any of their budget prospects. Spurs are still looking to gel properly, but the talent on offer is impressive. Eriksen looks set to continue his role in ‘the hole’ behind Soldado, with a 4-4-1-1 formation. Soldado is yet to score from open play but with Eriksen and Sigurdsson in the squad, he may be getting better supply. The Spurs defence is just as impressive. Clean sheets look set to continue for the White Hart Lane side. I will personally be looking at the North London side’s options in the near future and may just start this week. They look set for a win against the Welsh side and a clean sheet to go with that.
Man City v Man Utd
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Nastasic, Kompany, Kolarov, Navas, Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri, Aguero, Negredo
Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Fellaini, Carrick, Kagawa, Rooney, Van Persie
The big one. Utd may actually be favorites coming into this one after an impressive midweek showing in the Champions League. City couldn’t find a way past Stoke last weekend and David Moyes would have paid special attention to the Potter’s tactics. Rooney is showing some great form and is starting to look like a great alternative to the pricey Van Persie. Moyes’ midfield is a bit of a guess. Valencia seems to be the most nailed on option for the wingers and many will be hoping that Kagawa can work his way into the starting XI. I expect this to be a tight one and can see the Old Trafford team coming out with a win. It’s difficult to bank on a clean sheet for either of these sides with the impressive amount of attacking options on display. Aguero should start up front again for the Citizens and it’s likely we’ll see Negredo partnering him.
As you can see, I expect there to be quite a few clean sheets this week. Not exactly what I want to see to be perfectly honest, but the bigger sides look solid at the back and the impressive start by the defenders looks set to continue.