Hello fellow addicts! I hope everyone’s chomping at the bit for another glorious weekend of football. This week brings some interesting fixtures and the potential for plenty goals. The inform sides face weaker opposition and we’re treated with what should be a humdinger at Stamford Bridge. Let’s get in!
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Ward, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Campana, Jedinak, Puncheon, Chamakh, Kebe
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Flamini, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud
The Eagles haven’t exactly had it easy this week. Along with the departure of their manager, Ian Holloway, Selhurst Park welcomes the table-topping Gunners and I just don’t see anything in this for the home side. Chamakh and Dikgacoi should find themselves back in the starting XI, but this match up will be all about which Arsenal player comes to the party. There really are so many to choose from. We may see Wilshere or Ramsey warm the bench for a while with the return of Cazorla. At 9.6, the Spaniard is still on the expensive side and you’d be a brave man to get rid of Ozil. Owners of Giroud may be a little weary after comments made by the manager and player with regards to fatigue. I fancy Palace to sneak one at home and the Gunners to bang in 2 or 3.
Aston Villa v Everton
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Clark, Vlaar, Luna, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barkley, Barry, McCarthy, Pienaar, Lukaku, Mirallas
I’m hoping we’ll see plenty of goals in this one. Both sides are playing very attacking football and haven’t been providing us with many defensive points lately. Clark should slot back in after missing out last week, but he’ll do well to keep out Lukaku. Villa have a really appealing run of fixtures, so those of you who were waiting on the return of Benteke, may very well choose to jump on him straight away. Down to 8.8 and an ownership of 12%, the Belgian is one to watch over the next few weeks. The Everton midfield may see a bit of a mix-up this week following the return of South African, Steven Pienaar. Other than that, we’re likely to see the same side that ran out against Hull. Tough result to call, but I’m going to go with a draw. Goals for both sides though.
Liverpool v West Brom
Liverpool: Mignolet, Sakho, Toure, Skrtel, Johnson, Cissokho, Gerrard, Lucas, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge
West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Yacob, Mulumbo, Berahino, Sessegnon, Anichebe
After a frustrating day out against the Magpies last weekend, Liverpool will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host The Baggies. With Enrique looking likely to miss out with a knee problem, it’s now the favourably priced Glen Johnson who could be offered a place out of position on the right of midfield in a 3-4-1-2 formation. Sturridge and Suarez continue to bring home the points and have the opportunity to do so against a home crowd at Anfield. Sinclair is still out for West Brom and we may see Anichebe get the nod ahead of Anelke. The only shining light in this side at the moment is Stephane Sessegnon, but with tough few fixtures coming up, I’d hold on investing in any of the Baggies players for now. I’m going for a 2-1 victory to the home side.
Man Utd v Stoke City
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Jones, Evra, Nani, Fellaini, Carrick, Januzaj, Rooney, Van Persie
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Walters, Assaidi, N’Zonzi, Ireland, Adam, Arnautovic
Faith in the Utd backline isn’t exactly at an all time high at the moment. I’m going to stick my neck out and call a United clean sheet tough. Stoke have looked pretty dismal going forward and the former champions will be looking to stay extremely tight at the back after letting it slip really late in the game against Southampton. Vidic and Ferdinand are doubts, so Evra is going to be your safest bet. Up front, Van Persie owners will be waiting with bated breathe on the news of his toe and groin problems. Should he fail to make it, Rooney will be given a role even further up field and could give himself and his owners a very nice belated birthday gift. Januzaj should keep his spot and we may see Nani given a run on the right. There isn’t too much to get excited about in the Stoke camp. United to win 2-0.
Norwich v Cardiff City
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Pilkington, Snodgrass, Tetty, Howson, Redmond, Fer, Hooper
Cardiff: Marshall, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Gunnarsson, Medel, Mutch, Cowie, Odemwingie, Whittingham
After receiving a thorough thrashing from Arsenal last weekend, Norwich come into a fairly kind run of fixtures, starting with a home game against Cardiff. Chris Hughton’s side hasn’t offered us much this season, but the likes of Snodgrass and Pilkington have the opportunity at home to change things around. Clean sheets don’t come easily for the Canaries, but if you’re looking for a budget defender to help fund those pricier options further up the field, Michael Turner at 4.4 might not be too bad an option. Peter Odemwingie will be looking to get himself back in the Cardiff side, as well as Craig Bellamy on the right. Mutch looks likely to keep his spot, with Kim Bo-Kyung on the bench. I think we’ll either see a really boring game, or one that produces plenty goals for both sides. I’m leaning towards the more “drab” possibility and going with a 1-0 win for Norwich.
Southampton v Fulham
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Rodriguez, Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Lallana, Osvaldo, Lambert
Fulham: Stockdale, Reither, Amorebieta, Senderos, Richardson, Kasami, Sidwell, Parker, Duff, Ruiz, Berbatov
Southampton continue to impress and did just that after taking a point off United at Old Trafford. With 5 clean sheets this season, Boruc, Clyne and Lovren have given us a fantastic return on investment and may continue to do so against a stuttering Fulham side. Lallana continues to pick up the points in midfield and Lambert may very well have to battle for a place in the starting XI, giving us an indication of how well the Saints are doing right now. Fulham, however, will be coming into this game full of confidence, after smashing 4 past Palace. Kasami has the chance to come back into our thinking and Darren Bent will likely find himself warming the bench. Should Hangeland not be back to full fitness in time, Amorebieta will fill in at the back. I’m going with a 2-1 victory to The Saints, but wouldn’t be surprised if Fulham match them for goals.
Sunderland v Newcastle
Sunderland: Westwood, Gardner, O’Shea, Roberge, Bardsley, Johnson, Larsson, Ki, Giaccherini, Cattermole, Fletcher
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Tiote, Sissoko, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Gouffran, Remy
The Tyne-Wear derby is always a fierce battle, but you simply can’t invest in Sunderland at the moment. With a brand new manager, we can’t be sure what formation or what side he is going to put out. Last time out, we saw Poyet go with a 4-4-1-1, without any success. A move to a 4-4-2 with Altidore slotting in alongside Fletcher may be an option, but I still can’t see too much promise for the Black Cats. Newcastle will be without their skipper, Fabio Coloccini, due to a groin injury and Yanga-Mbiwa is suspended after seeing red against Pool last weekend. Ben Arfa may find himself in the striker’s role at the expense of Cisse, but it’s Yohan Cabaye that’s caught my eye of the past few weeks. The Frenchman has shown some real class and could prove to be a great differential should Newcastle find some kind of form. I don’t think this will be the most exciting game, but we should see goals, for Newcastle at least. I’ll be kind to the home side and go with a 1-1 draw, but if I was putting money on it, I may lean towards a Newcastle victory.
Chelsea v Man City
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Bertrand, Mata, Ramires, Lampard, Hazard, Oscar, Torres
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Nastasic, Kompany, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Aguero, Negredo
The big one for the weekend! Tough to call a winner here. Cole is set to miss out and we should see Bertrand fill in at left-back, although Azpilicueta is another option for Mourinho. It’s a toss up in the midfield with options aplenty, but I reckon we’ll see Mata, Oscar and Hazard on the pitch for sure. Eto’o will battle it out with Torres for a spot up front. With 8 goals in his last 6, Sergio Aguero is starting to come back into many a manager’s planning. It won’t be easy finding his way past the likes of Terry and Ivanovic, but with Silva hitting his straps and Yaya Toure continuing to rack up the points, he’s sure to be given ample opportunity to add to his tally. Unfortunately for City, Pellegrini has confirmed that Kompany will miss the trip to Stamford Bridge. I’m going for a 2-2 draw.
Swansea v West Ham
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Amat, Chico, Taylor, Dyer, De Guzman, Britton, Routledge, Michu, Bony
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Rat, Demel, Reid, Tomkins, Morrison, Nolan, Noble, Diame, Vaz Te, Downing
The Swans kicked off their great run of fixtures by giving Sunderland a thumping. Astonishingly, Michu never made it onto the scoresheet, but he should have ample opportunity against the Hammers this weekend. Investment in the Welsh side looks prosperous at the back. Vorm at 5.0 could show real value over the next month and with Ben Davies out for 4-5 weeks, Taylor looks set to come in at 4.4. Williams would be my first choice, but still looks injured, so Chico is the alternative at 5.0. Things have changed up a little at the back for the Hammers over the past few weeks. Rat seems to have secured a spot at the back and Demel will be looking at returning after picking up a knock against City. I’m not sure there’ll be much in this for West Ham though. Ravel Morrison continues to impress with returns in three of his last four and would be the only Hammers player worth real consideration at the moment. I think it’ll be tight, but the Swans should come out victors with a possible clean sheet.
Tottenham v Hull City
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Chiriches, Townsend, Sandro, Paulinho, Sigurdsson, Eriksen, Soldado
Hull City: Harper, Figueroa, Faye, Davies, Rosenoir, Quinn, Huddlestone, Elmohamady, Brady, Aluko, Sagbo
Spurs have a really tasty fixture against Hull at home. Soldado owners will be hoping that he can add to his first goal from open play that he scored last weekend. They do, however, have a tricky set of fixtures following the game at White Hart Lane, so be careful in investing too much. Andros Townsend at 5.7 has made a real claim at gaining a spot in our midfields whilst the rest of the Spurs attackers haven’t exactly been on fire. Sigurdsson would be my differential for this game and could end up with some nice returns. Don’t worry yourself with Hull’s defense. Keeper, Allan McGregor has been ruled out for up to 6 weeks and they don’t have a kind run of fixtures. With penalties and set pieces in his locker, Brady would be the only one worth looking out for in the Hull side over the next few weeks. But even the Hull talisman is doubtful for the trip to White Hart Lane. Sagbo look set to fill in for the injured Graham up front. Spurs should be able to come out of this one with another clean sheet. 2-0 to the home side.
Well there you have it. Your captain choice could be an all-important one this week with plenty of points on offer. Be sure to check out Matt’s post on the Captain contenders. Good luck to all!