Fantasy Premier League tips as demanded by FPL managers as we get ready for the return of Rooney, Coloccini and Tioté. Ok, maybe just Rooney. Last Minute Tinkers is here to address all of your needs and provide tips and analysis for each Barclays Premier League fixture. One post today as we’ve published late. We’ve written at length about the League Cup here and here and the injury news for the week seems set, with few impact players out – from a fantasy premier league tips standpoint – due to undergo late fitness tests.
Arsenal v Chelsea
Key Injuries: Szczesny; Sutrridge
The Gunners will be without their first-choice keeper for the next several weeks which presents fantasy premier league managers with a unique buying opportunity. Vito Mannone is selected in 1.7% of squads despite a £4.5 price. We assume this is solely due to the gameweek opponent. Following the Chelsea fixture, Arsenal will face: West Ham, Norwich and QPR in Barclays Premier League Action. We’ve invested — he is sitting in favour of Vorm this weekend — and hope to see a modest price increase ahead of gameweek 7.
Sturridge’s injury keeps Fernando Torres in the lineup by default. We’re serious when we say that a 4-6-0 would not be an unheard of lineup for Roberto Di Matteo, with Oscar, Mata and Hazard more than capable of playing in front of Mikel/Lampard/Ramires. Oscar’s price sits at £7.8m – he played the full 90′ after having scored a brace in the Champions League. He was introduced as a 59′ substitute for Ramires in the League Cup — other substitutes where Hazard and Marko Marin — and we expect to see him in the front line again on Saturday. If he is Di Matteo’s choice to pair with Hazard and Torres, the young Brazilian is well-worth the investment.
Everton v Southampton
Key Injuries: None
Both sides enter with their first-choice starting XI’s largely intact. For the Toffee’s there will be little question of who to start in the front with Nikica Jelavic and Kevin Mirallas fit while Naismith and Anichebe deal with issues. We’re not heavily invested in either Everton hitman, preferring to use our funds and squad spots on midfielder Fellaini and Pienaar. We’ve already detailed Fellaini’s positioning in the League Cup Recap, so do read that if you’re still questioning why we’ve chosen Steven over Maroune. David Moyes has one knock at the back, as Tony Hibbert will likely make way for Johnny Heitinga. Expect Everton to fire on all cylinders and post an emphatic home victory. Southampton are afraid of no man going forward and should be able to find the net as well but can not stop opposing attackers. We may not start Distin or Howard in this one, but there is never an excuse to sit Leighton Baines. The left-back leads the Premier League in chances created and is perhaps the one “must own” player in the game today.
The Saints version of “must-own” is Rickie Lambert. Lambert has created 12 chances this season, more than teen-aged sensation Raheem Sterling (9), FantasyGaffer favourite Hatem Ben Arfa (9) or Lukas Podolski (8). We’re simply not comfortable investing in many of his teammate – though Jason Puncheon’s run of three consecutive matches with an assist has us heavily weighing his addition as a low-cost make-weight (£4.4m) in a duel transfer to bring in more expensive options elsewhere. Either player is worth owning and Lambert continues to provide excellent value as a second or third striker.
Fulham v Machester City
Key Injuries: Diarra, Berbatov; Rodwell
The news today was grim for fantasy premier league managers who’ve just gotten used to seeing Dimitar Berbatov’s smiling visage peering back at them from their fantasy EPL squad sheet:
After back-to-back league wins, Jol is expected to name a familiar starting XI this weekend, but there was some disappointing news on Friday afternoon when the Manager confirmed that Dimitar Berbatov will be out of action for two weeks through injury.
Berbatov missing the City match is unfortunate. This is a hitman who can not help but score and a team that would be loathe to stop him. Roberto Mancini’s side have not kept a clean sheet in all competitions this term and Fulham’s new-look attack had the class to continue that run. In his place, we’re expecting a return to fitness for Mladen Petric who has failed to feature in the last two BPL matches. As the Cottagers were dumped from the League Cup in round 2, we did not see Martin Jol’s intentions midweek. Bryan Ruiz has also passed fit and there could be a question of starting Ruiz in Clint Dempsey’s old role and including Alex Kacaniklic in the starting XI a week after he was removed after 58′:
The Manager’s hand will, however, be strengthened by the return to full fitness of Bryan Ruiz and Mladen Petrić. Jol also hinted on Friday that Giorgos Karagounis will play some part in Saturday’s contest after completing 45 minutes during Fulham’s Under-21 victory over Manchester City on Monday.
For Manchester City is was a 120′ of frustration as they were dumped from the League Cup in Round 3 after a 2-4 loss to Aston Villa. The problem could have been the lack of fitness of one Carlos Tevez, ESPN has RM discussing:
The former City captain was a surprise omission from the starting line-up for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal and, after scoring in his first four matches of the campaign, he has failed to find the net in the last four. ”Carlos was better in the first month,” said Mancini. “After the international break, he has slowed down. He worked hard in pre-season and did well. He was fantastic for three or four games and he played always. After he went to Argentina for one week, and maybe he lost his condition. After the international break, his condition was so-so.”
Well, 120′ on a Wednesday should fix that, then. Mancini also notes that David Silvais rightly knackered after playing
something around 100 games in the last 300 days for club and country. Seriously, it’s gotten so bad he can’t get a proper haircut, but he did record a full 90′ last time out and, despite the limited minutes, leads the Citizens with 14 chances created. His price is down to £9.6m which is great news for fantasy premier league managers looking to capitalize on a buying opportunity as Manchester City is moving into one of the easiest stretches of the Premier League fixture list. We refuse to own any of their defenders and are left confused by Mancini’s flagellation of Tevez in the League Cup. It has to be Aguero and Dzeko this weekend and we still advocate owning Yaya and a fit-again Nasri:
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has recovered from a hamstring injury but Jack Rodwell is missing with a groin injury. Right-back Micah Richards is back in training after an ankle injury but is a couple of weeks short of fitness.
One more quick note from The Guardian:
The Italian would not be drawn regarding whether Tevez will be in his XI at Craven Cottage. “Probably, but we have four [strikers]. We play tomorrow, Wednesday [in Champions League] and Saturday,” City’s manager said.
Roberto Mancini, master Fantasy Premier League tip troll. At this point we still do not think Tevez can possibly play the full 90′ and we’re comfortable selling him for a better option. If you have Tevez and Berbatov, replacing the later should get precedent as he is 100% ruled out.
Norwich v Liverpool
Key Injuries: Pilkington; Agger, Kelly, Borini
Norwich City, the Canaries if you will, are certainly facing Liverpool at the right time. The Reds have allowed 10 goals in their opening five Premier League matches and have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of them. Add to that the injuries to Martin Kelly, Daniel Agger and Fabio Borini and the suspension of Jonjo Shelvey and Brendan Rodgers will be reaching into his youth and reserve sides again to field a successful XI at Carrow Road. Steven Gerrard will need to restore faith in his leadership after seeing Liverpool slump out of the gate, collecting two points from 15. The skipper scored against Manchester United and leads the squad with 13 chances created (level with Luis Suarez). We feel Gerrard is slightly over-priced in the Fantasy Premier League at £9.4m and would prefer to own Suarez for the same price or one of Joe Allen (£5.2m) or Raheem Sterling (£4.6) though we do not expect high fantasy returns from the former or guarantee minutes for the later.
Norwich have not fared much better this season. They have conceded eight goals, keeping one clean sheet in five tries and recording three straight draws in gameweeks 2-5, with loses at the book-ends. As with Liverpool, Norwich have not scored many goals. The Canaries have recorded only two League goals this term, one apiece for Robert Snodgrass and Simeon Jackson. Until this side shows something, we’re not owning or starting any of Chris Hughton’s men. If we were to invest it would be in the usual suspects with the trio of Grant Holt (10), Snodgrass (9) and Anthony Pilkington (8) leading the side in chances created – Opta stats via EPLIndex.com, of course.
Reading v Newcastle
Key Injuries: Federici; Krul, Coloccini, Cabaye
Papiss Cisse was one of a handful of players breaking their duck in mid-week League Cup action. The Senegalese forward got on the scoresheet in the Magpies 2-1 loss to Manchester United, scoring one minute after his 61′ introduction for Haris Vuckic. Cisse had missed a 45′ penalty in Newcastle’s 1-0 victory over Norwich in gameweek 5. We’ve been touting his club and country teammate Demba Ba since the summer and will not stop now. Ba is £1.3m less expensive than the £9.2m-rated Cisse and has a scoring record that is every bit as prolific. Alan Pardew was set to welcome back Cheik Tioté and Fabricio Coloccini, but the captain has had a set-back and looks set to miss out along with Cabaye:
Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini has been ruled out after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye may miss out as he has a mouth infection, while Tim Krul and Danny Simpson are definitely absent.
The addition of two cornerstone defensive players could have provided more creative space for midfielders Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye – pushing the attack and relieving some of the pressure on Steve Harper’s goal. The stand-in GK kept a cleansheet last time out and is available for £4.5m. He should continue to get starts with Tim Krul sidelined with his arm injury. Now, without Cabaye or Coloccini, we continue to lean heavily on HBA and have handed the captains armband to Demba Ba as we expect Pardew to focus on outscoring the opposition in Kevin Keagan-like fashion.
We can not sort out the Royals this season. They’ve scored in three of four, but have only taken one point and have scored a total of four goals in their four Premier League fixtures. No one player has scored two with Robson-Kanu, Guthrie, Le Fondre and Pogrebnyak each netting one. For the cost, we have a difficult time parting with £4.4m Danny Guthrie or £4.8m Pavel Pobrebnyak.
This is a side which has created 21 total chances, one more than Santi Cazorla (20) has created himself this term. It’s not the only stat we look at, but chances created are a good barometer for future fantasy premier league success. We’ve used it to predict solid returns from Berbatov and Lambert in recent weeks while also pointing out that both Eden Hazard and Michu were scoring an unsustainable level of FPL points. Danny Guthrie leads the Royals with five chances created. He is also second on the club in total passes attempted and completed (126/159 – 79%) and has the best passing accuracy of any Royal with at least 50 passes attempted this season.
Stoke City v Swansea
Key Injuries: Taylor, Pablo
Stoke are getting Swansea at the right time. Michael Laudrup’s side have not kept a cleansheet since gameweek 2, allowing two, two and three goals in their last three BPL fixtures. Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters should be able to exploit the weaknesses in the Swans defenses and the height disparity for Crouch. Swansea did take the game to Everton at times in gameweek 5 and were unlucky to be held without a goal, but they did not show much class in their defensive end. Stoke will likely need to score if they’re expecting to take any points from this match. They will be without Andy Wilkinson, suspension, and have allowed goals in four of their opening five BPL matches.
Swansea have not scored in either of their last two Premier League matches, being held without a goal by Aston Villa and Everton. Michu has not recorded a goal or an assist since gameweek 3 and could see his first week with negative net transfers after having 9530 net transfers in last gameweek. We’ve covered this at length, but Michu is not getting enough opportunities and would need to be receiving a disproportionate amount of his side’s clear-cut chances — and continuing to convert nearly 100% of those chances — in order to retain significant value in fantasy premier league.
We have not given up on the Swans defenders or GK Michel Vorm. Their next three fixtures runs Stoke, Reading, Wigan, after which we are selling all of our Swans as they enter the most difficult stretch of their schedule. Holding one defender and Vorm for use in rotation is possible, but ensure you have replacements for gameweek 9-10 when they face Man City and Chelsea.
Sunderland v Wigan
Key Injuries: Cuellar, Johnson; Alcaraz, Di Santo
The que to join the Steven Fletcher appreciation society forms behinds us. That said, some of his statistics are simply unsustainable. The Scottish striker has taken six shots, four on-target, and scored four goals. That is an 80% shooting accuracy. In 2011-12 the top shooting accuracy for any player with at least 30 shots was Darren Bent who put 67% of his shots on-target and scored nine goals from 39 total shots. Obviously, fantasy premier league managers would be unhappy with a nine-goal haul from Fletcher this season and he should far surpass that total. However, he will have a few two point outings. If that is something you can not live with, sell him now. That said, we tweeted earlier:
— FantasyGaffer (@FantasyGaffer) September 28, 2012
The fact is we’ve touted Nando to hit 14-18 goals this season. He has created eight chances this season, but frequently is the target and not the creator. In that regard, we would greatly prefer to have the £7.3m Fletcher than the £10m Torres. Sort of a bit of Fletcher and not much else but once Adam Johnson is back that will certainly change.
For fantasy premier league tips on the Latics, we’re still pushing Shaun Maloney, Arouna Kone and Emerson Boyce. The midfielder, Maloney £5.0m, and the defender, Boyce £5.0m, are solid value propositions and can provide points from your bench and are solid rotation plays in weeks like this.
Manchester United v Tottenham
Key Injuries: Vidic, Smalling, Jones, Valencia, Young; Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul, Adebayor
Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed back Wayne Rooney but lost Nemanja Vidic for two months after knee surgery. The United back line should be set to include Evra, Evans, Rafael and Ferdinand. Alexander Buttner was substituted in the League Cup match, perhaps to save his legs with Champions League on the horizon. The injury to Ashley Young and Valencia should leave open the door for Nani. We’re starting all of our Red Devils midfielders (Nani, Kagawa, Cleverley) and forwards (Van Persie) while we wait on Rooney’s role in the side moving forward. We expect that the rotation issues that plagued the plump England forward could still be in play and until he sees a run of fixtures and form we’re not investing.
Across the pitch are a Spurs side that have found new life with Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe leading the attack. We still like Gareth Bale the most of any of the Spurs midfielders but he and Lennon have each created 15 chances and Lennon costs £7.0m to Bale’s £9.3m. Moussa Dembélé remains a solid option in the mid-tier but his role in the offensive will be limited in matches like this where he is required to hold the midfield against United’s dynamic attacking threats. Assou-Ekotto’s continued absence provides playing time for the inexpensive Caulker, Naughton or Dawson – but we’re not starting any of them in this match.
Aston Villa v West Brom
Key Injuries: Reid
Aston Villa have a number of injuries, but do not seem to have much impact on the game. This is the side that beat Manchester City 2-4 after extra time and we are expecting a massive let-down in this match. It may not happen, but in fantasy premier league we tend to limit our exposure whenever possible and the Baggies have the offensive potency to score a brace away. Six of Steve Clarke’s men have scored in the Premier League this season with Lukaku’s two goals setting the bar. The Baggies are still missing Steven Reid and may be without James Morrison but the key absence is Peter Odemwingie – out with a suspension. Romelu Lukaku got on the scoreboard last weekend, with Shane Long providing the assist. Long did not get the start in the League Cup and we’re not sure if he’ll start this weekend but we’re still using Lukaku and counting on him to impose himself on the Villans back line.
There is plenty of other time for Villa analysis. Despite, or rather because of, the win against Manchester City we’re not putting much stock in Darren Bent, Charles N’Zogbia or Gabby Agbonlahor – though the later two scored on Tuesday with Gabby getting a brace. Bent was an unused sub in the game and we would feel comfortable starting him in gameweek 6. Benteke, Agbonlahor, N’Zogbia, Vlaar, Clark and Lowton all played 120”.
QPR v West Ham
Key Injuries: Ferdinand, Traore, Fabio, Bosingwa, Taarabt; Carroll
QPR are without four starting defenders and new ‘keeper Julio Cesar will have to be in top form to prevent the Hammers from scoring in this one. Ji-Sung Park had interesting comments following Rangers dismissal from the League Cup and has vowed more concentration once a lead is in-hand. We love Park for his chances created but this side is a difficult one to handicap for FPL purposes. At this point, we’re leaving them alone until there is a clearer picture available.
Andy Carroll still isn’t back fit. Ricardo Vaz Te (13) and Mark Noble (11) have led the squad in chances created and should be the first Hammers in your fantasy side. It’s not a slight West Ham’s to defense — they’ve kept three clean sheets – but we’re not counting on many in the coming weeks with Arsenal and Southampton in gameweeks 7 and 8.
For up to date Fantasy Premier League tips and analysis please follow us @FantasyGaffer, email firstname.lastname@example.org and check back to the site for updates every weekday.