We’ve returned with our signature fantasy premier league tips production – Last Minute Tinkers. All 10 Barclays Premier League fixtures chatted-up, brought home and kicked out before breakfast. Enjoy.
Arsenal v Fulham
The top defense in the Premier League will face Martin Jol’s high-powered offense in gameweek 11. Long-time readers will know how frequently we tout the cost-effective defensive options and both sides here are deep in the defensive ranks with several inexpensive selections on either side. For that reason we have split this match differently and we’re looking at the players by position.
Defensively, we’re not trusting anyone. With Arsenal having been blanked only once at home in the League and Fulham sitting on 21 goals to day, both sets of defenders are likely to concede at least one. Only 3.3% of fantasy premier league managers own Gunners’ ‘keeper Mannone and 4.9% of managers own Mark Schwarzer. We do not advocate selling either or any of the defenders on these sides but we’re not expecting much from any of them, including the potentially out-of-position Chris Baird.
More can be made of the midfield and forwards with recent success for Dimitar Berbatov – one goal and one assist in the last two BPL fixtures combined – and the string of consecutive 90′ for Giroud stretching four matches back to October 6. Both are solid options but we can not be dissuaded from our Santi-based infatuation. His late strike against United saved an otherwise poor two weeks of fantasy premier league tips in which we heavily touted the playmaker. His 35 chances created are second in the BPL. And he maintains his dedication to the faux-hawk. We’re sold.
Captains Choices: Santi (confidence 8/10) Giroud (7/10); Berbatov (7/10)
Everton v Sunderland
We’d not have thought Marouane Fellaini would have been on a hattrick for the last 20′ of last weekends match at Craven Cottage, but we’re not shy about advertising our admiration for the class quaff on the Belgian midfielder. A late Steve Sidwell goal stole back a point for the Cottagers and overshadowed a fine performance for Fellaini who hadn’t scored in the League since September 22. A look at our friends EPLIndex.com shows that Fellaini is level-fifth in the League after his GW 10 brace. He remains an excellent fantasy premier league option, but we’re holding in our position that Steve Pienaar is the better option for the price over the course of the season.
Both Nikica Jelavic and Kevin Mirallas are playing well with Mirallas assisting one of his countryman’s goals against Fulham. The duo a left in the shade by Fellaini – Top Toffees goalscorer with 5 – Leighton Baines – Top Premier League creator with 44 chances created and Steve Pienaar – 26 crosses, 25 chances created, 3 assists and 46% success from 13 dribbles.
We cover Sunderland a touch the latest Up The Tweets! and will cover the only important member of the Black Cats again now:
Sunderland are a one-man show and unfortunately that one man does not create many chances of his own. Steven Fletcher has scored five goals, still level-fifth in the Barclays Premier League, but has not found the net in four gameweeks having failed to score in October. In the Top 50 most creative players in the BPL only one Black Cat finds his name – Seb Larsson. Larsson’s 13 chances created are level-44th in the BPL with Baggies forward Peter Odemwingie and just one more than players like Leon Osman — fourth among Toffees — and Andy Carroll — who has played 443′ in the League this term. We love Fletch, but he is playing in a side that lacks the creativity to provide him with consistent opportunities in front of goal.
Captains Choices: Jelavic (8/10) Baines (7/10); Fletcher (6/10)
Reading v Norwich
Norwich have emphatically stated their newfound dedication to defense with cleansheets in two of their last three. Both of those came at home and the Canaries have recorded all three of their cleansheets at Carrow Road. Unfortunately, this is a side that is dealing with a number of injuries at the back.
At this point, we can not advocate owning any of the Canaries because of the combination of low fantasy premier league points and high cost for owning the marginal options. Even Grant Holt is an expensive luxury at £6.0m for a player who has three goals, one assist and three bonus points including a scant four points over the past two BPL fixtures combined. This is one of those fixtures where everyone gets healthy and we expect much vitriol to be spit our direction from the large segment of the World population who both own Robert Snodgrass in FPL – 0.9% selected – and read out site.
The Royals are an even worse option and the only fantasy premier league tip left is sell anyone not named Jobi McAnuff. He is the only player in the squad with more than 25 FPL points. Granted, Reading have played nine fixtures, not 10 most sides have played in the League, but his team-leading 33 points still have an average return of 3.66 points per match. A four match run of Norwich, Everton – both home – Wigan and Aston Villa – both away – still are not enough to justify ownership of Brian McDermott’s side.
Captains Choices: Holt (8/10, nearly certain to score); McAnuff (6/10)
Southampton v Swansea
Quick match recap ripped straight from Monday’s backpage – Rickie Lambert recaptures form to give Saints second Premier League victory. With Michel Vorm still out injured and Southampton having scored nine of their 14 goals in their five home fixtures we expect that Michael Laudrup’s side will extend their run without a cleansheet to nine. Lambert and Lallana are frequently mentioned as the only Saints worth owning on the strength of their Opta stats - specifically chances created. However, the promoted side have struggled to find the goal in recent weeks with only two goals in their last three BPL fixtures. This match has a modest chance of ended 0-0, but an equal chance of ending 3-2 and we’re comfortable starting Lambert over players like Demba Ba – injury concern – or Steven Fletcher – at Everton.
Michu continues to draw a record number of Twitter questions and we continue to advocate owning him if you’ve invested and not paying the current price. The £7.4m-rated midfielder is the best striking option in the Swans squad. His ownership is still at 33.6% in the Fantasy Premier League and we can not see enough potential to own him at his current price although we’re certain that any chance this side has of scoring runs directly from Wayne Routledge to Michu. And keep this in mind:
10 – Southampton are the first team in Premier League history to trail in all of the first 10 matches of the season. Unwanted.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 10, 2012
Captains Choices: Lambert (7/10) Lallana (5/10); Michu (8/10) Routledge (6/10)
Stoke City v QPR
Arsenal can lay claim to the top defense in the Premier League after 10 weeks of play. But it is Tony Pulis’ Potters who have the best home defensive form with a single goal allowed in four tries. The three clean sheets at home are a remarkable feat when one considers that they have only had four home League fixtures and that no side in the BPL has posted better than four clean sheets this term. Fantasy premier league tips can tend to over-react to small samples, runs of form and big names performance. However, it is worth noting that Shawcross, Huth, Cameron, Wilkinson and the injured Wilson have combined to post three clean sheets in their past five BPL fixtures. We raise the issue because, including the Rangers fixture, Pulis will have the benefit of managing from the home in three of the next four League fixtures as Stoke hosts QPR, Fulham and Newcastle. FFC is actually the third-highest scoring side in the League at this time. We’ve lifted a bit of news from the Premier League:
Rory Delap is out and is due to undergo a hernia operation next week and Michael Owen is unavailable with a hamstring injury. They join Marc Wilson, who is likely to be unavailable until February after fracturing his left fibula.
But we’re not focused on that – we’re focused on Peter Crouch. The lanky, lanky, lanky forward will have all angles working against a Rangers side without a win in the League and one clean sheet in 10 tries. The England man will be looking to break a scoreless streak in the League that stretches back to September. Crouch does have four goals, and has scored more than half of Stoke’s seven. Only three players have scored in the League for this side and we trust that a) there will be at least two goals scored by the Potters and a Crouch brace has kept him in our side this weekend. Crouch has only eight goals on target, with four goals, and his 18 shots are level-Top in the squad. However, there is one stat that we’re basing this play on – Crouch has seen eight clear-cut chances in 10 games. He is all but certain to see at least one clear-cut chance in this match. He has scored three and squandered five. With little luck he could see and score two clear-cut chances against a sub-par defensive side.
We flat out do not care about QPR for Fantasy Premier League. Their highest scoring FPL player, Bobby Zamora, has scored 10 points in the last five gameweeks. Their second-highest FPL scoring player is a goalkeeper with an o.g. scored and a loan cleansheet coming in his debut some seven gameweeks ago.
Captains Choices: Crouch (9/10) Walters (7/10)
Wigan v West Brom
15 goals for West Brom and 11 allowed while Wigan has scored 11 and conceded 16. We’ve run out of superlatives to describe the passion with with Steve Clarke’s side has played. We constantly tweet stats for Long, Odemwingie, Lukaku and Yacob. James Morrison, while dealing with a knock, remains a FantasyGaffer favourite for his ability to create chances – 17 this term – and we do not anticipate much changing once he is fit. Three of the next four Baggies matches are away from The Hawthorns where they have posted an 0-2-2 record with three goals for and seven against. That is scant comfort for fantasy premier league managers expecting returns from the most selected Latics — Franco di Santo with 2.8% and Maynor Figueroa with 4.6%.
Consecutive wins over West Ham and Tottenham have Roberto Martinez’s side sitting on 11 points and on pace to safely retain their Premier League status for another term. Shaun Maloney, £5.0m, and the aforementioned Figueroa, £4.5m, are inexpensive enough to round out the fifth spot in a defense or midfield most weeks and this fixture is an opportunity to start them over similar discount options facing more difficult opposition – for example Fulham midfielders playing Arsenal or the Villan’s defense attempting to contain the Red Devils potent attack.
Captains Choices: Maloney (5/10); Long (6/10) Odemwingie (5/10)
Aston Villa v Manchester United
A number of players have homecomings of sorts with none more poignant than Ashley Young’s return to Villa Part. Following the high-profile defections of Young to Old Trafford and Stewart Downing to Anfield, Villa has been left to struggle to stay up at the end of the season. While Newcastle has thrived following the departures of Carroll and Nolan, the arrival of Paul Lambert has only now begun to pay dividends and the emergence of Christian Benteke is likely going to intermission while Man United visit.
Young has 90′ in consecutive BPL matches for the first time this season and will want to see his name on Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad sheet this weekend. The £8.2m-rated midfielder is priced well and has been selected in 1.2% of fantasy premier league sides. While we can not advocate owning him over players like Steven Gerrard – 27 chances created – or Gareth Bale – 23 chances created – his price makes him an attractive option for FPL managers who’ve freed up capital with low-priced options like Wayne Routledge, Raheem Sterling and Mark Noble.
Captains Choices: van Persie (10/10) Rooney (9/10) Young (6/10); Benteke (5/10)
Manchester City v Tottenham
City had their European Cup aspirations dashed by two quick Ajax goals in a match that featured everything we love and hate about Roberto Mancini’s side:
Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero struck as City fought back from 2-0 down but the Barclays Premier League champions were forced to settle for a draw.
Neither club has any shortage of attacking players and we’re starting them all. David Silva and Benoit Assou-Ekotto remain out with injury and we expect that Aguero, Tevez and Defoe are the chosen strikers but it is the collection of midfielders we expect to lead the line for fantasy premier league managers. Yaya, Nasri, Bale, Dempsey and Lennon have the ability to dominate their defensive counterparts. We have it 3-3. There isn’t much to discuss, we all know the top players and their expectations. Unfortunately, the underlying numbers paint a picture exactly in line with what our eyes already know – leaving precious little analysis necessary. Stay tuned to our Twitter feed for Opta stats from this match following the final whistle.
Captains choices: Nasri (7/10) Tevez (7/10); Bale (8/10) Lennon (7/10)
Newcastle v West Ham
The Shola/Sammi line-up put in a yeoman’s shift midweek in the Europa League but are unlikely to earn the nod this weekend. There is the possibility with injuries possibly keeping Demba Ba on the training table. Ba continues to struggle with a knock that threatens to derail a massive season as the Senegalese striker is level-second in the scoring table with Luis Suarez (7) and just one off the pace set by Robin van Persie. After scoring in his 71′ outing against WBA, the forward was unable to continue long after the half and was withdrawn after 48′. West Ham have conceded only six in five away fixtures, showing a defensive fortitude that could keep them in the top half of the table come Boxing Day. The remainder of the usual suspects in the Magpies squad have their FPL value mitigated by the emotional anchoring we have to the returning Hammers duo.
Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll return to St. James’ Gate and will have the chance to once more thrill the fans, though we rather expect that their scoring exploits will be met with less enthusiasm on this occasion We’re not enamored with either teams defenses this gameweek. Understanding that we’ve written that many time this weekend and that fantasy premier league tips can not ignore the dearth of possible clean sheets this weekend
Captains Choices: Ben Arfa (7/10); Carroll (7/10) Nolan (5/10)
Chelsea v Liverpool
Fernando Torres will look to break his three match League drought against his old club with many Chelsea fans believing the Spaniard must lead the line if the club is to maintain a title challenge. Certainly, goals for El Nino are a key part of Roberto di Matteo’s tactics, but a cadre of young, explosive attacking-midfielders leaves less burden on Nando’s shoulders. The lighter burden may be what he needs and the added motivation of playing against a Liverpool side he left with considerable acrimony.
Juan Mata returned in the 3-2 win over Shakthar Donetsk and we expect he will lineup in the midfield once again. He, Oscar and Eden Hazard should retain their places despite the late heroics from Victor Moses who’s 90′ ensure the three points in the Blue’s Champions League match. Ashley Cole is a doubt while the side welcome back John Terry who was suspended for some reason. Sure he’s just lovely in person though.
For Brendan Rodgers LFC it will be another test to determine if they’re indeed a Top 4 side, or simply a once-great club at the start of another rebuilding cycle. While the side struggles to maintain their Premier League relevance, there are a number of exceptional FPL options. Luis Suarez remains one of the most dynamic attacking players in the Prem while captain Gerrard is fourth in the BPL with 27 chances created, three fewer than Suarez.
For some reason that escapes us, the £5.3m-rated Raheem Sterling is owned by only 15.9% of fantasy premier league managers. Fantasy premier league tip: buy him.
Captains Choices: Mata (7/10) Torres (6/10); Suarez (7/10) Gerrard (7/10)
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