Fantasy Premier League tips: read LAST MINUTE TINKERS! Set lineup. We’re starting strong because we’re ending quickly. Hot out of the gate in an attempt to overcome this crushing head cold that has us bedridden heading into the weekend.
Aston Villa v Norwich
Key Injuries: Clark
Chris Hughton’s Norwich put in a top shift against Arsenal a week ago to earn three unexpected points in a 1-0 victory. However, if there is one man who should be acutely aware of the Canaries defensive frailties it is former boss Paul Lambert, now managing Aston Villa. Lambert will have to once more decide between Christian Benteke and Darren Bent. We would be more interested if either striker had shown the ability to score this term. Additionally, one time FantasyGaffer favourites Barry Bannan and Charles N’Zogbia are not receiving enough playing time to justify owning in Fantasy Premier League. Bannan (38′ in last three BPL fixtures) and N’Zogbia (105′ in last six BPL fixtures) should not be owned at this point.
A quick fantasy premier league tip from Opta stats: NO Aston Villa player has created more than 11 chances (Darren Bent). Bannan (nine), Holman and Lowton (eight each) are the only players with more than seven chances created.
Grant Holt did net the loan Canaries goal against Arsenal. The captain has been very good this season, scoring in three on the bounce to raise his FPL total to 31 points. The £6m-rated striker leads the Norwich scoring table and is third on the squad in shots attempted with 13 — Robert Snodgrass (17) and Bradley Johnson (14). Aston Villa have allowed 13 goals but only four in their three home games. It remains Snodgrass (hopefully back healthy and starting) and Holt — 14 and 10 chances created, respectively — as the first names to add to your Fantasy Premier League side from Hughton’s side. Both are squad players at best, but using them in this fixture should net modest returns.
Captains choice: Agbonlahor (4/10); Holt (5/10)
Arsenal v QPR
Key Injuries: Gibbs, Walcott; Fabio
If we write “Arsenal have the quality and tactics to put a handful past [insert GK here]” enough times, eventually it will be proved right. After a frustrating fixture against Norwich that saw the Gunners drop three points and fail to score, Fantasy Premier League managers are justifiably hesitant to trust Arsene Wenger’s side against another opponent perceived as weak. We’re not. We believe in this side, the tactics and the guaranteed playing time for Santi Cazorla (90′) and Lukas Podolski (65′ or so based on current track record) and like the Gunners to restore faith at The Emirates with a modest victory.
We are concerned about Arsenal’s defenses. We wrote about Andre Santos in our Champions League Recap, he is not up to the task and this side misses Kieran Gibbs. With Bacary Sagna perhaps back, Wenger may switch Jenkinson to the other side or could push one of Koscielny/Mertesacker out to the wing.
For QPR, they will be looking to build on a solid 1-1 draw against Everton. In that fixture Cesar had an own goal, an assist, posted two saves and earned to bonus points. An interesting day for the ‘keeper. He hasn’t kept a cleansheet in four straight, after recording a 0-0 drawn in his debut against Chelsea.
Three Rangers have created 10 or more chances and not many of them are heavily owned in Fantasy Premier League, and none deserve to be at this time: Park (14), Granero (14) and Taarabt (12). The loan goal against Everton came from Junior Hoilett, his first in the BPL this term. We’re avoiding any QPR player until GW 10 when they start a three-game run that sees fixtures against Reading, Stoke and Southampton. One additional fantasy premier league note – Ji-Sung Park will need to pass fit before he plays. Before adding any of Mark Hughes’ squad ahead of GW10, check health, particularly with Park.
Captain choices: Santi Cazorla (8/10), Gervinho (6/10)
Reading v Fulham
Key Inuries: Karacan
The Royals will be up against a difficult opponent as Martin Jol has nearly a full compliment of players at his disposal for this fixture. Reading will like their chances of scoring one, and if that is the case then Pavel Pogrebnyak has to be the man tipped to score. Six Royals have scored in the Barclays Premier League this season with Pog and Hunt the only players to hit more than one. Hunt should be able to return from the knock that kept him out against Liverpool. Of course, the best Fantasy Premier League option is Jobi McAnuff.
McAnuff leads Reading with nine shots, one more than either Le Fondre or Pogrebnyak. He has created six chances and leads Reading with three assists. Danny Guthrie leads the squad with eight chances created but does not have a credited assist. Guthrie did earn 80′ after not playing in either of the two previous BPL fixtures. We expect this to end with goals on both sides an the four Reading players mentioned here are the only members of Brian McDermott’s squad we’re comfortable owning. This side has been allocated a scant six bonus points this term: Hunt (3), Pog (2) and Kebe (1) are the only players to have earned any.
Of course, the Cottagers will have a number of better fantasy premier league options, chief among them Dimitar Berbatov. Berba has scored two goals this term, a brace in gameweek four against WBA. Sidelined with an injury, the striker posted 90′ against Aston Villa in Fulham’s 1-0 win but failed to find the score sheet. We still like Berba the most of any mid-tier striker and the best of Jol’s options. Mladen Petric and Bryan Ruiz returning to health strengthens Berba’s fantasy premier league potential and, while we like the other two players a bit, we would own Berba as a second or third striker and not bother with any other Cottagers attacker at this time.
There is one other Cottager we’re buying and he is a surprise Captains choice below. J.A. Riise has assists in three on the bounce, four on the season with three cleansheets and five bonus points. The £5.6m-rated defender is 11.3% selected and his 39 FPL points have him fourth amoung all defenders.
Captains choices: Berbatov (7/10), Riise (7/10)
Stoke City v Sunderland
Key Injuries: Whelan; Brown
Glenn Whelan may be back after recovering from his hamstring injury. The £5m-rated midfielder hasn’t featured since the Liverpool match and has just two matches with more than three FPL points. We do not like him overly much and would prefer to use our funds of other Potters – namely Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters. The £5.5m-rated Michael Kightly is another potential option, always popping up at the odd interval to record decent points. However, Kightly’s five consecutive returns of three or fewer FPL points should be enough warning that he is a fifth midfielder and no more.
10 – Stoke are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League matches at the Britannia Stadium since losing to Sunderland in February. Revenge.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 26, 2012
We do like Stoke to earn a draw or better with Sunderland 0-3-1 this term away from the Stadium of Light and having allowed six goals in those four matches.
Sunderland did get a goal from a striker not named Steve Fletcher in their 1-1 draw with Newcastle in gameweek eight. Unfortunately for Demba Ba, Newcastle and Martin O’Neill’s thin strikeforce, it was an own-goal from the Magpies hitman that did the deed. Fletcher remains the only legitimate goal threat on a week-to-week basis for the Black Cats and the 10.4% selection for the £7.4m-rated forward is not unexpected.
Opta tells a dire tale about Sunderland’s offense this season. No player has created better than nine chances, with Seb Larsson (9), Jack Colback (7), Sessegnon (6) and McClean (6) the only members of the squad to create more than three chances. That means only Larsson has created more than one chance per BPL fixture this term. We’ve already covered that Fletcher is the only Black Cat to score a BPL goal and McClean, Gardner and Larsson are the only players with an Opta-credited assist — Fantasy Premier League tip: O’Shea (1) and Larsson’s 2nd assist are also credited in FPL.
Fletcher is a virtual certainty to earn the bonus points if he does score, and in this match we expect returns for the
marquee players on each side with Crouch, Walters and Fletch leading the way. We are also completely off of last seasons breakout star, Stephane Sessegnon.
Captains choices: Walters (6/10), Crouch (6/10); Fletcher (8/10)
Wigan v West Ham
Key Injuries: Alcaraz, Miyaichi; Demel, Taylor, Vaz Te
Every week we write the same thing for Wigan, so feel free to read that in last Friday’s Tinkers. What we’re going to instead is a statistical recap of their season to date with Opta stats taken from EPLIndex.com. Ali Al-Habsi leads the team with 29 saves, no surprise there. In FPL the £5m-rated GK has one clean sheet and 31 saves. Emerson Boyce leads the defenders with eight chances created, Maynor Figueroa is second with six. Shaun Maloney (12) and Jean Beausejour (11) have taken 32 of Wigan’s 35 corners.
Up front, Arouna Kone and Franco Di Santo have taken 19 and 16 shots, respectively. Kone leads the squad with nine shots on target. Shaun Maloney is the only other player in the squad with at least 10 shots on target — he’s taken 11 with five on-target. Jordi Gomez has taken exactly 10. The side has had 13 clear-cut chances and scored four goals from those chances, squandering nine. Kone is most prolific for both, scoring two chances and missing a further four.
We’re investing in Kone, Maloney and Boyce and ignoring the rest.
West Ham have looked a solid side fit to retain their place in the Barclays Premier League. Their 4-1 win over Southampton was the largest margin for any BPL club in gameweek eight and goals from Noble (2), Nolan and Maiga show they are not reliant on Andy Carroll up-front to provide the firepower. With Guy Demel set to miss another match,
we’re not too keen on their ability to keep the Latics from scoring, but believe the Hammers could well outscore the home side. While a 0-0 scoreline may be the final result, we’re of the belief that a 2-3 away victory for West Ham is on the cards. We continue to push for greater ownership of the £4.8m-rated Mark Noble who sits at 3.3% selection. Fantasy Premier League tips: when a player is priced below £5m and leads his team with an impressive 17 chances created (that’s more than Juan Mata has this season) he should be EVERY FPL players fifth midfielder. His 15 point outpouring, including a penalty goal that should secure he remains in line for future spot-kicks, has not seen his price rise a drop.
We touted Matt Jarvis last time, on the premise that someone would have to push the attack and we believe he did do that. The goals weren’t there, but he played a yeoman’s 90′. We continue to advocate owning the less expensive teammate (Ba over Cisse, Mata over Hazard, Rooney over van Persie) and it is no different here. Kevin Nolan may keep popping up at the right place, but it is Noble we would prefer to own for the long haul.
Call if a hunch — you should, it is — but we believe this is the match when the floodgates open for Andy Carroll. He got his first assist of the campaign in gameweek eight and over the last two matches he created four chances (all against Arsenal actually) and has taken five shots (though just one on target). So, very little statistical evidence that he is due, but if this match ends on 65′ and 83′ headed goals from the tall target-man, we would not be the least bit surprised.
Captains choices: Kone (7/10); (Andy Carroll (8/10)
Man City v Swansea
Key Injuries: Zabaleta, Maicon, Garcia, Rodwell, David Silva; Taylor
If you’ve the patience to sit through it, Roberto Mancini’s presser is available here. If not, the relevant information is that David Silva is still injured. The Spanish playmaker has not recovered from the injury that forced him off against France. Pablo Zabaleta is out with a hamstring injury and Maicon, Garcia and Rodwell remain unavailable. James Milner will miss through suspension.
Given the volume of players injured, we expect to see more attacking players used with the potential of Aguero, Tevez and Dzeko all being drafted into the starting XI. We expect that Barry and Yaya will make up the defensive portion of the midfield and Samir Nasri is a mortal lock to earn playing time here. It certainly could be a start for Scott Sinclair, and if not now when? With key injuries and against his former club, the youngster will be looking to get the start, but that would still leave two — or possibly three attacking spots should Mancini use three defenders — and we could easily see Carlos Tevez moved into a wide attacking role in the 4-2-3-1 or alongside Dzeko and Aguero in a 4-3-3.
Swansea will also be playing in this match. We’re selling all of our Swans defenders and goalkeeper Vorm. We’re still
listing Neil Taylor as a key injury as it is six on the bounce without a cleansheet in BPL play for Swansea. We have said this since the start of the season – this is the week to sell your Swans. With City followed by Chelsea, Southampton, Newcastle, Liverpool, high-flying West Brom and Arsenal there is no reason to trust Vorm, Rangel, Williams or any of the rest of Michael Laudrup’s defense. Swans best hope will be to score early and keep the pressure on their opposition. Michu has scored in consecutive matches and seen his price rise to £7.3m after briefly dipping to £7.2m and he remains the best scoring option in this side.
We will continue to love Wayne Routledge. The £5.3m-rated midfielder is up to 13.0% selection and has three matches this season in which he’s scored nine or more FPL points. The downside, Routledge has two matches with one FPL point and a further two with two FPL points. He leads Swans with 21 chances created and is level sixth in the Premier League. He is hit or miss week-to-week but he has exceptional value and high potential as a fourth or fifth midfielder. His price and guaranteed playing time makes him an excellent choice in sides that invest heavily in forwards or defenders like Leighton Baines or Vincent Kompany.
Captains choices: Tevez (8/10), Nasri (8/10), Aguero (7/10), Dzeko (7/10)
Everton v Liverpool
Key Injuries: Fellaini; Reina
The Merseyside Derby will have the potential to jump-start Liverpool’s season as David Moyes’ side have to play without Steven Pienaar. Pienaar’s sending-off in the last match sees him miss, unfortunately, that may mean that no fewer than three first-choice players are absent at kickoff:
David Moyes: “Fellaini not definite, but has a good chance of being fit”. The manager is also hopeful on Hibbert but ruled Gibson out. #COYB
— Official Everton (@Everton) October 26, 2012
Liverpool put forward a good performance in their Europa League fixture on Thursday. They handed Anzhi Makhachkala a 1-0 on their trip to Anfield. That side features Yuri Zhirkov, Samuel Eto’o and Chris Samba and should not be discounted as an automatic victory. With Steven Gerrard getting the nod, Brendan Rodgers is obviously attempting to play his side into form. Brad Jones was in the Reds’ goal and youngster Raheem Sterling was rested for the first half.
Liverpool won this fixture 0-2 last season with late goals from Andy Carroll (71′) and Luis Suarez (82′). We have the feeling there is an unsung hero awaiting their emergence in this fixture, perhaps Leon Osman for the Toffees or another performance from Nuri Sahin like the 1 goal, 2 assists he posted in Liverpool’s 2-5 victory over Norwich.
Pepe Reina is back in training:
Pepe Reina is back in training at Melwood ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Everton on Sunday and manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed he will assess the ‘keeper’s fitness levels over the coming days to see if he can feature in the game. Reina sat out last Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Reading after sustaining a hamstring injury while on international duty with Spain.
It’s good news for Liverpool but Fantasy Premier League managers should wait to see how Pep is playing being considering adding the Spanish internaitonal to their squad sheet. One final fantasy premier league tip – bookings could well come into play here and players like Jonjo Shelvey and Marouane Fellaini may lose FPL points as a result:
20 – There have been more red cards in the Everton v Liverpool fixture than any other in Premier League history. Rivalry.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 26, 2012
No way to predict it accurately, of course, but something to consider before handing the armband to Luis Suarez (3 yellows this season).
Captain choices: Gerrard (7/10), Suarez (7/10), Jelavic (6/10), Osman (4/10)
Newcastle v West Brom
Key Injuries: Jones, Reid, Thomas
Demba BA! We genuinely like sound of that name. It should be sung out in gameweek nine and we believe that the Senegalese striker will be on-target with one. Steve Clarke’s side should not be underestimated, however they have not kept an away clean sheet, posting a 0-2-1 away record with five goals conceded. After scoring 29 in 19 home fixtures last season, Alan Pardew’s side have four in four and have actually been outscored 4-5 in home League fixtures.
One thing to note, Cheick Tiote is suspended for the next three fixtures. We used Tiote as a cautionary tale when we wrote:
The Magpies midfielder was injured earlier this season and has completed the full 90′ twice. In his 274′ he has one assist and two yellow cards, leaving him with eight (8!) FPL points. Only 14 BPL players have received more yellow cards this season than Tiote’s two and most have played significantly more minutes.
He is now suspended and that could open the door for additional minutes for Gabriel Obertan who scored in the Europa League on Thursday.
Steve Clarke was busy on Twitter this Friday, letting all of @WBAFofficial‘s followers know that “Chris Brunt trained today and looked pretty sharp but it’s difficult to say whether he will be fit for Sunday”, “Steven Reid is much better this week than last but his hamstring injury has taken longer than we expected to heal”, and “Yacob trained today after struggling with a hamstring injury he picked up against Manchester City.”
Clarke did mention that “Jerome Thomas has trained well for the last ten days after a long absence” and Clarke could do with that bit of good news but Thomas has not featured in the BPL yet this term and we’re not looking to add him even if 100% healthy. For us, it’s still James Morrison, Shane Long and goalkeeper Ben Foster. Gareth McAuley has scored a goal and an assist this term and leads the Baggies defenders with 38 FPL points. He does not have much upside with his price already sitting at £5.5m in Fantasy Premier League. He has also recorded only 1 point in each of the last two BPL fixtures.
Captains choices: Ba (8/10); Morrison (6/10), Odemwingie (6/10)
Southampton v Tottenham
Key Injuries: Fox, Richardson, Ramirez, Cork; Assou-Ekotto, Dembele
Adkins says Gastón Ramírez, Frazer Richardson and Jack Cork still out injured. Luke Shaw and Danny Fox resumed training today. #saintsfc
— Southampton FC (@officialsaints) October 26, 2012
Southampton have not been kind to their best player. Rickie Lambert had four goals and an assist through five Premier League fixtures, making us look very smart in the process. He now has four goals and an assist through eight Premier League fixtures and experienced his first net transfers out since gameweek three. Spurs certainly are not impervious at the back and Lambert (14 chances created) and Adam Lallana (16 chances created) remain our favourites to produce for a side that has been held without a goal only once in eight BPL fixtures. However, the Saints four in three games since putting four past Aston Villa in gameweek five and it was defender Fonte scoing a brace in gameweek seven that accounted for both tallies in that one. While we love Lambert, and will start him here, it takes a braver sort than we to hand him the armband.
For Spurs, Defoe played the full 90′ in Europa League which would have us concerned if there was another option. Emmanuel Adebayor did not travel with the side and is dealing with a back injury leaving the England man alone in the chance for a starting spot. We expect to see Dempsey, Lennon and Gareth Bale lined-up behind Defoe.
While many are calling for Bale to run rampant after missing the last two matches, we’re hardly certain that the first week with one’s newborn is ‘rest’. Seems a good deal of the pundits are childless or left the care to another because one child in hand and we’ve not played a single match of professional football since. Granted, we’re not young, fit or Welsh and, given Ryan Giggs prolific career, we’re certain that last bit is the one which matters most.
Captains choices: Defoe (8/10), Dempsey (7/10), Bale (7/10); Lambert (6/10), Lallana (5/10)
Chelsea v Manchester United
Key Injuries: Lampard; Lindegaard, Vidic, Kagawa
The English core of Chelsea are set to miss out with John Terry suspended and Frank Lampard suffering a recurrence of a calf injury. Lampard was withdrawn after 18′ in the Champions League, replaced by Eden Hazard. Di Matteo appears to have settled on a small squad and Hazard, Mata and Oscar should all feature in this fixture. We still prefer Mata over Hazard based on price, though the Spainish midfielder is unlikely to score another brace this season, let alone in consecutive fixtures. Keep in mind, Mata had 16 assists last season and his true value lies in his ability to create chances for the rest of the Blues potent attack.
Not much to add to Chelsea – you can read the full post here:
With Frank Lampard departing early with a re-aggravation of his calf injury there is a strong case to be made that Ramires/Mikel/Mata will make-up the middle “3″ with Hazard and Oscar pairing Torres at the front.
Manchester United had Shinji Kagawa pick up a knock that will rule him out for the next month. The Japan international was withdrawn after 45′ in the Red Devils’ Champions League encounter, a move which Sir Alex Ferguson has touted as opening the door for United to come back and win the match. Kagawa’s injury:
Ferguson confirmed the news at his press conference on Friday morning. ”Kagawa is out for three to four weeks with a knee injury. Playing on Tuesday (against Braga in the Champions League) didn’t help. It is disappointing,” the Scot said of the Japanese midfielder.
Chris Smalling is back in training, which could mean that Michael Carrick’s tenure as a center back is drawing to a close. With Ashley Young back, Wayne Rooney may be moved out of the midfield and into the front line. SAF could have a question of selection, not only for personnel but for tactics to accommodate his best XI. Rooney and van Persie may be paired with Chichirito in a front “3″. It is unlikely that Ferguson would elect to leave Carrick in defense with Rooney in the midfield as cover for the injured Kagawa as a rested Rio should return to the starting XI.
Captains choices: Mata (7/10), Torres (6/10), Hazard (6/10); van Persie (8/10), Nani (7/10), Rooney (7/10), Rafael (5/10)
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