Week 12 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Bolton
Blackburn v Portsmouth
Man City v Burnley
Tottenham v Sunderland
Wolves v Arsenal
Hull City v Stoke City
West Ham v Everton
Wigan v Fulham
Chelsea v Man Utd
Liverpool v Birmingham
It seems like forever since I last posted a review, which is worrying seeing as it was less than two weeks ago! Last week saw a bit of order restored to the top of the league with the best three sides right now dishing out beatings to lesser opposition. Liverpool continue to struggle and are pretty much a fantasy minefield, especially in light of Torres' continued injured woes. Six teams face green light defensive fixtures this week, which considering last week's season high seven clean sheets suggests defenses could be back in the money.
The rich keep getting richer at the moment and though I can't help but expect this production to stop, the trends are still strong so I'm going to keep pushing these guys while the fixtures are hot.
1. Cesc Fabregas
2. Emmanuel Adebayor
3. Frank Lampard
4. Didier Drogba
5. Robin Van Persie
Not a great matchup for Cesc this week but he's averaging an insane 10.35 PPG which not even the great Ronaldo managed in his time in England. He is absolutely a must own right now and is probably close to every week captain status unless the matchup is terrible.
I'm a bit sceptical to tip Adebayor at the second spot with his status uncertain due to injury and the fact that he hasn't scored since Sep 12. However, Burnley are conceding 3.4 GPG on the road this year while City have scored 10 in 4 games at Eastlands. City's games are up and down over the next 5 but I rate Adebayor as a solid buy right now and at 10.1m and with 7.1% ownership he is a potential differentiator now everyone seems to be on the Drogba / Bent / Van Persie bandwagon.
I've been critical of Lampard this season but the last two games have given fantasy owners hope and it could be perfect timing with Arsenal's tough run of games coming on the horizon. Chelsea's fixtures are much better and if you can afford it, Lampard might be a great replacement for Fabregas from week 14 onwards. This week Lampard faces United which isn't great on paper but United's defense is thread bare and looked terrible midweek against Moscow. I can't see a rout but Chelsea might get a couple of goals with Lampard and Drogba involved as always.
Like Lampard, Drogba's matchup isn't the best but I like Chelsea to win and score a couple in the process. The Ivorian is in great form and the likes of Wes Brown and Jonny Evans will struggle to contain him.
Van Persie is in scintilating form with 6 goals in the last 5 league games. As with Fabregas above I don't love the trip to Wolves (1.2 GPG conceded) but the form of Arsenal is too strong to back against right now. I actually like Van Persie to score more than Fabregas but the little Spaniard has 12 bonus points in the last 4 games and I see no reason why that kind of production won't continue this week.
This is a new feature in which I suggest 5 players who aren't widely held that I like for this week only.
I keep expecting Cahill to rediscover his goalscoring form but he really seems to be missing Arteta and has only managed a single goal this year. Everton have the second best opposition on paper (2.0 GPG conceded) though the fact that Cahill played through pain tonight in the loss to Benfica suggests caution should be exercised before bringing him in.
Picking against Hull is a pretty good strategy this season and I like Beattie to get a goal this week having played well on his return from injury. In his 4 games since returning he has 2 goals and 4 bonus points and is gaining fitness every week. Hull aren't terrible at home but I like Beattie's presence to unsettle them and cause them problems all day.
With Clichy sidelined for a couple of weeks Gibbs should get a chance to shine at left back and he looked good midweek against AZ. At 4.5m he is great value and could even provide an attacking option for Wenger's side (3 goals for England U-21s already). Wolves have managed just 4 goals at home this year and Arsenal look like a great play.
1. Man City
2. Aston Villa
City have the ultimate matchup for the week as the welcome Burnley who have really struggled away from Turf Moor. I'm not totally sold on City's back line but I think they are solid enough for a clean sheet here and I like Bridge most to capitalise here.
Villa defenders are widely held after last weeks (failed) double gameweek but worth holding for this one. Bolton have actually been decent away from home (1.50 GPG) but are pretty inconsistent and I think Dunne and Collins should be able to deal with the threats Megson's side brings.
I was encouraged by Wenger's tactics to drop Diaby and Song back at 3-0 at the weekend though this hope for a run of Arsenal clean sheets was dashed slightly by the needless goal conceded in midweek. However, Wolves have really struggled for goals (especially at home) and with Gibbs and Song available at budget prices I really like the value you can get from Arsenal this week.
Liverpool's defense has been terrible of late and for much of the season so far but Birmingham just cannot score goals (8 in 11 games this year) and Liverpool really need this one. I'm not really high on this pick but I do like them if you already have players on your team.
Chelsea will seem like a strange pick to many but the fact is that Chelsea have conceded just one goal in 5 home games while United has been less than convincing of late. Again, I don't love this pick but I certainly wouldn't be benching your Chelsea player's if you already have them.