We’re into the 2nd quarter of the season and hopefully most of you have been seeing a lot of green arrows lately! I predicted a high scoring week last week and said the captain pick would be vital (well done to those who stuck the armband on Suarez!). Unfortunately this week probably won’t be as big, so your transfer needs to be a wise one. Read on and hopefully I’ll be able to help make that decision a little easier…
Newcastle v Chelsea
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Santon, Tiote, Sissoko, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Gouffran, Remy
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Schurrle, Ramires, Lampard, Hazard, Oscar, Torres
The Magpies are struggling for any kind of form and the next few game weeks don’t help the cause. Many would have pricked up their ears at the news of Ben Arfa’s move to a central forward role, but he’s failed to convince us of giving him a spot in our side. There really isn’t too much to get excited about in the Newcastle squad and it should be the away team that returns with the points. Taylor and Coloccini look set to miss the game with the Blues and Guitierrez is unavailable do to personal reasons.
A win against City last weekend will boost the confidence of a side that hasn’t kept a clean sheet since Gameweek 5. Even though the defensive points haven’t been coming, Ivanovic and Terry still offer a threat going forward and should be able to shut out the likes of Remy and Cisse. Hazard once again has the opportunity to finally convince those that are on the fence and Schurrle should line up alongside Oscar as well. Torres is likely to keep his spot up front and is worth keeping an eye on if he shows the kind of spirit he did against The Citizens. Chelsea with a 2-0 win.
Fulham v Man Utd
Fulham: Stockdale, Reither, Amorebieta, Senderos, Richardson, Kasami, Sidwell, Parker, Duff, Ruiz, Berbatov
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Jones, Evra, Nani, Fellaini, Carrick, Kagawa, Rooney, Van Persie
Three reasons why it’s not worth investing in Fulham this week… 1) They’ve kept just 2 clean sheets, 2) Their top scorer has two measly goals and 3) Rooney loves scoring against Fulham! This could end up being a riot if Moyes’ side finally click and I can see the Old Trafford side hitting 3 or 4 past them. Hangeland is still a doubt and Darren Bent may very well find himself on the bench once again. Vidic and Ferdinand should both be back for the former champions, giving us a bit of a selection headache. With Danny Welbeck suffering from a knee problem, Shinji Kagawa will be hoping to get the call up. Fulham may just sneak a goal but I just can’t see them getting that surprise result.
Hull v Sunderland
Hull City: Harper, Figueroa, Faye, Davies, Rosenoir, Livermore, Huddlestone, Elmohamady, Brady, Koren, Sagbo
Sunderland: Westwood, Dosena, O’Shea, Cuellar, Bardsley, Johnson, Larsson, Colback, Altidore, Cattermole, Fletcher
The Tigers look set to be without Aluko and Faye but will hopefully have both Brady and Koren return to the fold. With first choice keeper, Allan McGregor still sidelined, Steve Harper may be a decent budget punt over the next few weeks with a kind run of fixtures. This may be a fairly dull game though. The 4-4-2 formation rolled out against Newcastle proved successful for Poyet and we should see Jozy Altidore partner Steven Fletcher up front. I think both sides will cancel each other out and we’ll likely see a draw.
Man City v Norwich
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Nastasic, Demichelis, Clichy, Nasri, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Aguero, Negredo
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Olsson, Snodgrass, Fer, Howson, Hoolahan, Pilkington, Hooper
Pellegrini’s side will be looking to bounce back after defeat at the hands of Chelsea. They’ll be without Kompany but you’d still back them to keep a clean sheet against the Canaries. It’s upfront that many Fantasy managers will be interested in. Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo played over 110 minutes each during the week and Jovetic has picked up a groin problem. Despite the impending Champion’s league fixtures, it would be madness not to start with Aguero and he’ll likely be the top captain choice this week. There really isn’t too much to chat about on the Norwich side. Snodgrass continues to be assessed after being knocked unconscious during his midweek game and Tetty is out with an ankle problem. City should get at least 2/3 with a clean sheet.
Stoke v Southampton:
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Walters, Palacios, N’Zonzi, Assaidi, Arnautovic, Crouch
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Rodriguez, Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Lallana, Osvaldo, Lambert
This game could be a turning point for both sides. Should Stoke pull off a win at home, it’ll give them the confidence needed going into a decent run of fixtures. Those with Southampton defenders like Shaw, Clyne and Lovren, will be hoping they can continue with their fine performance that’s seen them keep 6 clean sheets so far. I’m not sure the defensive returns will continue though. Arnautovic has recovered for Stoke and Peter Crouch has grabbed 2 in 2. The Southampton attack should see Lambert and Rodriguez keep their place while Osvaldo and Davis continue their recovery. I think Stoke may sneak this one.
West Brom v Crystal Palace
West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Yacob, Mulumbo, Anichebe, Sessegnon, Anelka
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Ward, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Guedioura, Jedinak, Bannan, Chamakh, Thomas
West Brom have the chance to really pick up their game this weekend. Welcoming Crystal Palace to The Hawthorns, the Baggies will be hoping Morgan Amalfitano recovers from the knee injury sustained last weekend against Liverpool. Should he fail to make it back in time, James Morrisson is a worthy substitute. Ben Foster and Scott Sinclair are still out but they should still have enough to hold off the bottom placed side. Palace have no new injury worries and will be banking on Chamakh to finally come good. I’m going with a home win and a clean sheet.
West Ham v Aston Villa
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Rat, Demel, Reid, Tomkins, Morrison, Nolan, Noble, Diame, Jarvis, Downing
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Clark, Vlaar, Baker, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Tonev
The West Ham side have quietly been ticking over on the defensive points. With just 1 goal conceded away from home, the likes of Tomkins, Reid and budget friendly Razan Rat, will most certainly come into our considerations. It’s The Hammers attack that is worrying fans. Andy Carroll remains sidelined and Carlton Cole is not yet fit to make his return. Ricardo Vaz Te is also sidelined with a dislocated shoulder, so we’ll likely see the 4-6-0 formation continued by Sam Allardyce. Villa will find it difficult getting past the home side’s defence. Agbonlahor looks set to miss out with an ankle problem so we may see Aleksander Tonev continue his role on the flank. In terms of fantasy assets, Benteke remains the only real option from the Midlands side. I’m going for a 1-1 draw.
Arsenal v Liverpool
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud
Liverpool: Mignolet, Sakho, Toure, Skrtel, Johnson, Cissokho, Gerrard, Lucas, Couthino, Suarez, Sturridge
With Walcott, Podolski and Oxlade–Chamberlain still sidelined, as well as the injury to Mathieu Flamini, it at least makes things a little easier when picking out Arsenals’ midfield assets. Fit again Santi Cazorla is likely to line up alongside Ramsey, Wilshere and Arteta in the middle of the park, with Giroud and Ozil leading the line. This should be enough to get past Mignolet and the Pool defence. With three at the back, Glen Johnson remains the best defensive prospect for the visitors with Jose Enrique still doubtful. Philippe Coutinho is back in contention and should he return to the side, may slot into “the hole” in a 3-4-1-2 formation. I fancy the home side, but goals are always likely with Suarez and Sturridge on the pitch. So I’m going with a 2-1 victory to Arsenal.
Everton v Tottenham
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barkley, Barry, McCarthy, Pienaar, Lukaku, Mirallas
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Chiriches, Townsend, Sandro, Paulinho, Lennon, Holtby, Soldado
Everton have a pretty shocking run of fixtures coming up, so they’ll need to get onto the right track with a big win at home. The Toffees have kept just 1 clean sheet since gameweek 4 and they’re unlikely to get too many more over the next few weeks, so it’s perhaps best to look further up the pitch if you’re wanting someone from the Merseyside team. Mirallas and Pienaar look to have secured their spots on the flank and Lukaku remains a decent pick up front. Gibson is still sidelined, so we should see Barkley retain his spot. I’m weary of the youngsters’ game time though. In the Spurs’ midfield, it’ll be a battle between Lennon and Sigurdsson for a spot on the left. Neither Lamela, nor Eriksen have produced anything worthy of retaining their place, so we could see Holtby tuck in behind Soldado. I think this will be an evenly matched game and I’m hoping for goals. 2-2, although a lower scoring game is more likely.
Cardiff v Swansea
Cardiff: Marshall, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Kim Bo-Kyung, Medel, Mutch, Campbell, Bellamy, Whittingham
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Taylor, Dyer, De Guzman, Britton, Hernandez, Michu, Bony
The first ever, top-flight South Wales derby. Let’s hope it’s a cracker! Cardiff haven’t really given us too many players to consider so far this season and it probably isn’t worth investing now either. Although it could be a tight game, the Swans should have too much for the home side. Cornelius is STILL missing and Kim should slot into the middle at the expense of Gunnarsson. Campbell will be back upfront and we could see Bellamy on the flank. It’s the Swans who are more likely to get something out of this though and their kind run of upcoming fixtures are encouraging for those managers who have held onto the stuttering Michu. At the back, Taylor is set to continue in Davies’ absence. Pablo Hernandez will be looking for a spot in the midfield and Bony should get a recall after warming the bench last time out. I’m backing the Swans for another clean sheet and they should have too much firing power for the Bluebirds.
That’s it from me. Remember to keep the next couple of weeks in mind when transferring those players in. Best of luck to all!