Monday, January 28, 2013

Kick-Off: Gameweek 24 Fantasy Preview

Wilfried Zaha to join Manchester United in a £15m move from Crystal Palace.
So Wilfried Zaha confirms his move to Manchester United, though the 20-year-old winger/forward will stay at Crystal Palace in a loan deal until the next summer. Meanwhile at neighbouring city Liverpool are on the verge of getting Inter Milan 20-year-old midfielder Philippe Coutinho. Not quite a silent transfer window.

The FA Cup is producing lots of surprises last weekend, including Tottenham's shock defeat to Leeds United and Oldham's even more incredible victory over Liverpool. Shocks.

  • Arsenal players flourished in this double gameweek following a 5-1 maul over West Ham in the replacement fixture. Theo Walcott (18 pts), Lukas Podolski (17 pts), Olivier Giroud (15 pts) and Santi Cazorla (12 pts) were the outstanding performers.
  • Clint Dempsey scored a last-gasp equaliser to cut down Manchester United's lead over Manchester City to five points.
  • Liverpool produced another magnificent victory over their favourite prey Norwich as Daniel Sturridge scored 3 in his first 3 appearances with the Reds.

  1. Theo Walcott (£9.4m, 18 pts): Not only that the forward is brilliant, but he is also consistent recently. Definitely my first pick from Arsenal.
  2. Lukas Podolski (£8.3m, 17 pts): Lacks the consistency despite looking brilliant. Will need to do more to impress fantasy managers.
  3. David Silva (£9.4m, 16 pts): Can the midfield maestro kick-start his season with this kind of performance? His price is definitely not bad for now.
  4. Olivier Giroud (£7.8m, 15 pts): He improves steadily and certainly looks better to own now than before, though still not that value to money when there are cheaper candidates around such as Steven Fletcher (£7.1m, 13 pts).
  5. Jonathan De Guzman (£5.8m, 15 pts): A rare striking performance from the midfielder. His price is not at the competitive range though so I do not recommend him.

FEATURED: Arsenal v Liverpool @ Emirates
Both sides are only 3 points away from each other and it's expected to be a tough match-up.

The Gunners are slowly following the footsteps of declining Liverpool, with Top 4 looking to be a not-so-easy task for them this season with Tottenham and Everton in front of the pecking order. But Liverpool are even worse as they are yet to beat any top 10 sides this season.

Theo Walcott will continue to be the greatest threat for Arsenal and is set to create havoc in Liverpool's defence which usually fails miserably against the top offensive sides. This should open up some decent chances for Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud — who scored twice against Brighton last weekend — to score as well.

Meanwhile it will be up to the S.S. partnership — Luis Suarez (£10.5m, 9 pts) and Daniel Sturridge (£7.4m, 6 pts) — to deal some wound to the Gunners' defence. Philippe Coutinho could already be a Red by then, but I don't expect him to get deployed immediately in Brendan Rodgers' system.

Certainly an interesting brawl, but Swansea are the only lesser side to have won at Emirates this season, and so I am going for a home win.

Prediction: ARS 2-1 LIV

TEAM FOCUS: Manchester United
It's too enticing to not go for Manchester United this week, with Southampton the visitors to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have only lost once this season at home, and won the rest. I have no reason to believe why they will lose points against the side who are just four points away from relegation zone.

Robin Van Persie (£14.1m, 9 pts) continues to be the most trusted fantasy forward with 45% of ownership and should definitely be your first captain choice this week. I still don't see any other good offensive fantasy assets for United anyway so I will stick to Patrice Evra (£7.2m, 1 pt) or Rafael Da Silva (£6.0m, 1 pt) as the second player to own from the Red Devils.

Should not have a hard time dealing with the Saints.

Prediction: MUN 4-0 SOU

With Yaya Toure (£7.7m, - pts) left the team for African Cup of Nations and Samir Nasri (£8.0m, 1 pt) going out of form, David Silva (£9.4m, 16 pts) is the most reliable man from City's midfield and should play a pivotal role against Queens Park Rangers.

Azpilicueta — Zabaleta — Evra
 Mata — Silva (VC) — Fellaini — Walcott
Van Persie (C) — Tevez — Fletcher
Subs: Guzan — De Guzman   Wilkinson — Clark

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eden Hazard Kicked The Ball Boy

Not a good news for Eden Hazard's (£9.4m, 127 season pts) fantasy managers. The lad kicked a ball boy in an attempt to grab the ball from him, who was trying to waste some time for Swansea, who eventually eliminated Chelsea to progress to the final of Capital One Cup.

As a result, a red was shown and the Belgian will miss the next 3 games. Fortunately though, there are ample of elite fantasy midfielders priced at similar range who you can get as a direct replacement, such as Juan Mata (£10.0m, 137 season pts), Santi Cazorla (£9.6m, 129 season pts), Steven Gerrard (£9.8m, 128 season pts), Theo Walcott (£9.4m , 120 season pts) and Gareth Bale (£9.8m, 118 season pts).

Good luck to all fantasy managers.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Kick-Off: Gameweek 23 Fantasy Preview

Theo Walcott signed a new £100,000 a week contract ahead of double gameweek.

No big transfer news so far after Demba Ba and Daniel Sturridge, but perhaps Theo Walcott's decision to stay at Emirates with a new three-and-a-half year deal is as happy as a new blockbuster signing for Arsenal fans. Let's move on to gameweek 23 with another double gameweek awaits.


  1. Eden Hazard (£9.4m, 19 pts): Scored once in each of the two games and got handsomely rewarded with 4 bonus points. Can he carry on and record another impressive streak again?
  2. Juan Mata (£10.0m, 16 pts): Completed an assist hat-trick against Stoke but somehow failed to do anything when faced Southampton at Stamford Bridge. Still a very good season holder nonetheless.
  3. Rickie Lambert (£6.4m, 14 pts): The most value-to-money fantasy forward did it again with a goal in each of the two games. Superb man to hold for the season.
  4. Jimmy Kebe (£4.6m, 13 pts): Took advantage of West Brom's dip of form and got an improbable win for the Royals.
  5. Frank Lampard (£8.4m, 13 pts): Continues to impress despite ageing and is definitely attracting the eye of many to acquire his service when summer arrives.

DOUBLE GAMEWEEK: Arsenal and West Ham
Similar to last gameweek, there will be a replacement fixtures between Arsenal and West Ham. It's less enticing compared to Chelsea's or Southampton's one, but nonetheless you could do much worse than fielding Arsenal and West Ham players in your fantasy line-up.

FEATURED: Tottenham v Manchester United @ White Hart Lane
The executioner at Old Trafford will now try to execute the Red Devils again at White Hart Lane in their attempt to secure a Champions League spot.

Manchester United's has won all but one home Premier League game this season, and will seek to offer the revenge to Tottenham this time. Robin Van Persie (£14.1m, 6 pts) has been superb all season, and is the main reason why United have only lost 2 league points in the last 10 games. The Dutch, along with the just recovered Wayne Rooney (£11.8m, - pts), will be the main threat to Tottenham's defence.

Spurs will not surrender easily nonetheless, with Gareth Bale (£9.8m, 6 pts) the biggest challenge to Rafael Da Silva (£6.0m, 2 pts) down the left flank. Interesting match-up to see. Jermaine Defoe (£8.3m, 2 pts) will also be ready to provide the finishing touch as usual this season, especially with Emmanuel Adebayor's (£9.0m, 2 pts) departure to play African Cup of Nations.

Big showdown, but I think United will win as Spurs have not been doing great against the top sides this season both home and away — the first round victory is the only exception.

Prediction: TOT 1-2 MUN

It's all about Theo Walcott (£9.2m, 2 pts) in this gameweek, with the prospect to gain a lot of points through this double gameweek. The hybrid winger/forward will definitely play a pivotal part in the Gunners attempt to topple Chelsea at Stamford Bridge — which the Blues have only won once in their last 7 Premier League games — before playing an easier fixture against West Ham at home.

Santi Cazorla (£9.6m, 2 pts) and Lukas Podolski (£8.3m, 1 pt) are the two other popular attacking options you should consider, while Kieran Gibbs (£5.7m, 1 pt) is the best bet you can think of at the back.

Prediction: CHE 1-1 ARS, ARS 3-0 WHU

Luis Suarez (£10.4m, 2 pts) has some special affection for Norwich — he definitely loves to score against the Canaries and should bang in one or two again this time.

Demel — Zabaleta — Gibbs
 Joe Cole — Cazorla — Gerrard — Michu — Walcott (C)
Suarez (VC) — Tevez
Subs: Federici — Lukaku   Ben Davies — Bramble

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kick-Off: Gameweek 22 Fantasy Preview

Demba Ba made an immediate impact at Chelsea with 2 debut goals.

The transfer window reopens with a few blockbuster signings, including:


  1. Luis Suarez (£10.4m, 16 pts): Scored 4 goals in the last 2 games. The upcoming fixtures look tough but with such form he should be able to score again. And again.
  2. Robin Van Persie (£14.1m, 16 pts): He will break 150-point-mark soon — a very impressive record for a forward when Premier League still has 17 games to go.
  3. Javier Hernandez (£7.0m, 15 pts): His talent is just so wasted to warm the bench so much at Old Trafford — I wonder where does he stand if Wilfried Zaha joins the family of United's forwards.
  4. Pablo Zabaleta (£5.9m, 15 pts): Playing with a great degree of consistency recently.
  5. Joey O'Brien (£4.5m, 15 pts): His injury somehow was rewarded with 4 clean sheet points. Not likely to feature this week.

DOUBLE GAMEWEEK: Chelsea and Southampton
In case you still haven't noticed, there is a replacement fixtures between Chelsea and Southampton. You should know who to get (answers can be found in the next sections).

FEATURED: Manchester United v Liverpool @ Old Trafford
The stronger one-man team against the lesser one-man team. The lethal feet against the tricky feet. If you know what I mean.

Despite the gap between them continues to get wider and wider, Manchester United versus Liverpool is still by far one of the most exciting fixtures in the Premier League — the Reds always play at one level higher against their arch-rivals.

Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez of course will be the diamonds of the battle — the latter has 15 goals in his bag already, yet still trails the even better former by one. Both deserve a place in your fantasy team with their outstanding performance and form.

The first leg of the season between them certainly looked encouraging for Liverpool despite losing, so let's assume that the addition of Daniel Sturridge (£7.3m, - pts) gives them a better conversion rate to prevent a defeat... That's the best they can do I think.

Prediction: MUN 2-2 LIV

Well, this is a no-brainer. The Blues are playing two games, and they are playing against two lesser oppositions.

Stoke City are the only undefeated team at home and could pose serious problems to Rafa Benitez's squad. But we all know that Chelsea have a lot of technically gifted players like Juan Mata (£9.9m, 1 pt) and Eden Hazard (£9.4m, 1 pt) are capable of doing, and they might just be able to end Stoke City's home undefeated streak.

Against Southampton it will be a much better prospect in terms of offence, but who will lead the line in the two games? The £50m Fernando Torres (£9.7m, 2pts) or the much cheaper but more lethal Demba Ba (£8.8m, - pts)? A tough question to answer, though owners of both should start them in your fantasy team without hesitation.

As for Southampton, Rickie Lambert (£6.3m, 2 pts) has proven his worth and should be the first man in your consideration should you want their exposure for this double gameweek — provided if your line-up if not the trio of Ba-Suarez-Van Persie. Jason Puncheon (£4.9m, 5 pts) deserves a mention too with his entry level price.

Prediction: STO 1-1 CHE, CHE 4-2 SOU

Gareth Bale (£9.8m, - pts) returns from suspension... Ka-boom! And sends QPR from the joy of defeating Chelsea back into misery. Full stop.

Russell Martin — Baines — Ivanovic
 Bale (VC) — Michu — Mata (C)  — Puncheon
Lambert — Van Persie — Ba
Subs: Federici — Joe Cole   Harte  Wilkinson

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kick-Off: Gameweek 21 Fantasy Preview

Theo Walcott claimed the match ball after such a heroic hat-trick against Newcastle.
It's fast and furious as the players have only two days of rest as they continue the hectic Christmas and New Year fixtures! Happy New Year to all fantasy managers!

  • Theo Walcott (£8.7m, 26 pts) made his intention to play as centre forward clear after such a sublime hat-trick against Newcastle. His third goal was particularly exquisite, as he dribbled past several defenders and woke up despite being knocked down before tricking the keeper to the other way as he chipped the ball into the back of the net.
  • Carrow Road was as happening as Emirates as Manchester City battled out a close game with Norwich before winning them 4-3. Edin Dzeko (£7.3m, 16 pts) almost got a hat-trick but the third goal turned out to be deflected by Mark Bunn (£4.1m, -1 pt) and was counted as an own goal instead.
  • Meanwhile, it was pretty flat at Old Trafford as Manchester United maintained their lead by 7 points with a 2-0 victory over West Brom. Robin Van Persie (£14.0m, 6 pts) continued to fire despite only 26 minutes of action coming on from bench.
  • Luis Suarez (£10.2m, 13 pts) fired twice as Queens Park Rangers ended 2012 deep down on the table with a comprehensive 0-3 defeat.
  • It's now 0-15 for Aston Villa in the last 3 games as Paul Lambert draws himself nearer to job termination.

  1. Theo Walcott (£8.7m, 26 pts): Incredible form. Hopefully he can repeat such feat again against Southampton.
  2. Edin Dzeko (£7.3m, 16 pts): Superbly effective as always but always has such limited playing time.
  3. Frank Lampard (£8.4m, 15 pts): It's sickening to know that Roman Abramovich doesn't plan to allow him to retire at Stamford Bridge after such a great performance by the lad.
  4. Rickie Lambert (£6.1m, 15 pts): Did all he can up front despite failing to win it for Southampton. Looking good.
  5. Ivan Ramis (£4.4m, 15 pts): The traditional goal plus clean sheet game for a defender. Great return from the injury.

FEATURED: Newcastle v Everton @ Sports Direct Arena
Frustrated Magpies will want to end their unlucky defeat streak as they await the challenge of Everton at home.

Newcastle have undergone a terrible week, having squandered a three-time lead to lose against Manchester United before seeing their three-time comeback a wasted effort, conceding 7 goals from Arsenal.

I don't know whether Demba Ba (£8.3m, 10 pts) is too tired to go on after playing 3 games in 8 days or is he busy on a negotiation with Chelsea, but if he does start again he should be the primary threat in offence as usual. Sylvain Marveaux (£4.2m, 11 pts) is doing his supportive role very well, and could earn a start again if he does not suffer from stamina issue.

As for the Toffees, Marouane Fellaini (£7.4m, - pts) has finally ended his suspension and will be full of energy to crush Newcastle's defence. A big, big threat for the Magpies along with Steven Pienaar (£6.8m, 7 pts), who has now delivered 37 points in the last 5 games.

A close one, but I think Newcastle will start 2013 in frustration just like how they ended 2012.

Prediction: NEW 2-2 EVE

The Blues are on fire, and against Queens Park Rangers, it's a no-brainer.

The Rangers now sat rock bottom of the table with only 10 points so far, and would have no chance of survival at all by any logic if it is not a manager of the calibre of Harry Redknapp who is on the seat currently.

But with 3 consecutive defeats it's hard to not go for Chelsea who have already won each and every of their last 4 Premier League games. Juan Mata (£9.8m, 7 pts) could be rested but nevertheless those who own him should play him with confidence — he had scored 39 points in his last 5 games. Eden Hazard (£9.5m, 2 pts) was quiet in the last game but should at least do some damage to the fragile defence of QPR this time along with the erratic Fernando Torres (£9.8m, 2 pts) who struggles to find some degree of consistency.

The defence could be able to keep it tight as well so you should consider to go for their defenders with Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.6m, 2 pts) a mouth-watering acquisition due to his low price.

Prediction: CHE 4-0 QPR

Theo Walcott has been performing exceptionally well in the role of striker, so one would expect him to continue to fire in front of fragile Southampton's defence.

Vidic — Zabaleta — Azpilicueta
 Gerrard — Walcott (C) — Mata  — Lennon
Suarez (VC) — Van Persie — Torres
Subs: Foster — Dyer   Naughton  Monk

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