This weekend’s fixtures see us focusing our attention to Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby and Chelsea hosting Manchester City will take center stage, but in terms of real fantasy value and where the potential points lie, Saturday’s fixtures will likely prove the difference. Top of the table meet near bottom as Arsenal look to continue their early season form against lowly Crystal Palace who have accumulated only three points thus far. After conceding two wonder strikes Monday at Craven Cottage Ian Holloway then stepped down as Palace manager claiming he had lost the dressing room. Fantasy managers will undoubtedly look to invest in Arsenal’s attacking trio of Giroud, Ozil and Ramsey, but as is always the case, whoever gets the armband will likely be the difference in this week’s league scoring.
In Birmingham it should prove a tough and interesting encounter as Belgian teammates Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke will go head-to-head in what should be a tight affair. Liverpool then host West Brom in Merseyside with the hopes of their young playmaker Coutinho returning from a shoulder injury which has kept him sidelined for over a month. I expect Liverpool to grab all three points with the strong potential of a clean sheet here, so many owners should look to invest in their back line for this one. Up front it seems to be a toss up between Sturridge and Suarez and likely your team’s finances will dictate which striker you’ll opt for.
Manchester United will welcome back former club hero and opposing manager Mark Hughes to Old Trafford as his refreshed Stoke side look to test the resolve of the currently fragile champions. After last weekend’s disappointing last minute draw at home and midweek’s narrow win over Real Sociedad, they will look to get back to winning ways before they completely drift out of title contention already eight points behind leaders Arsenal. We shall see if young Januzaj retains his starting role on the left flank or if his manager will shake things up and mix in some experience. Wayne Rooney looks like the only definitive attacking player sure of a starting role for the Red Devils and will likely captain many fantasy teams this weekend.
The next three favorable fixtures that managers will look to focus in on are Southampton v. Fulham, Swansea v. West Ham and Tottenham v. Hull City. All home teams have a good chance of a clean sheet, but in terms of attacking potential there are more than several options to explore. Southampton are currently riding high up the table largely in part to the form of midfielder Adam Lallana, which is why he’s deservedly made my team of the week. Some fantasy owners have sold the likes of Michu, who could return to haunt them this weekend as he picked up a goal yesterday during Europa League competition and is at home to a West Ham side that aren’t know for their away efforts, despite their recent surprise victory at White Hart Lane. Lastly, Spurs host a struggling Hull City team and have new youngster already making headlines with his recent performances for both club and country. If the promising England international can cement his place in AVB’s side then we could eventually see a Bale-type replacement for great value, priced at only 5.6M. Paulinho still remains a safe Spurs cover option at 7M and seems firmly in the plans of his manager avoiding rotation risk with the likes of Holtby, Eriksen, Lamela and Sigurdsson.
Peyman’s Score Predictions
26 Oct 12:45 Crystal Palace (1) v Arsenal (3)
26 Oct 15:00 Aston Villa (1) v Everton (1)
26 Oct 15:00 Liverpool (2) v West Brom (0)
26 Oct 15:00 Man Utd (2) v Stoke City (0)
26 Oct 15:00 Norwich (2) v Cardiff City (1)
26 Oct 17:30 Southampton (2) v Fulham (1)
27 Oct 13:30 Sunderland (2) v Newcastle (2)
27 Oct 16:00 Chelsea (2) v Man City (1)
27 Oct 16:00 Swansea (2) v West Ham (0)
27 Oct 16:00 Tottenham (3) v Hull City (1)
Peyman’s picks of the week
DEF: Vertonghen, Johnson, Evra
MF: Michu, Lallana, Ozil (C), Townsend
ST: Rooney, Giroud (VC), Sturridge
Bench/Alt. options: Mignolet, Lovren, Walker, Snodgrass, Benteke,
Other recommended FPL resource sites:
www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – Official partner of the Barclay’s Premier League for a good reason; the game’s best resource for everything fantasy football related with weekly in depth articles, team news, squad selection projections, captain polls, fixture difficulty, forum discussion and even a weekly podcast!
www.totalfpl.com – Great for getting ahead of the price changes and also an alternative perspective on weekly team selections.
Good luck and until next week, ‘Live, Breathe’ fantasy Premier League!
Follow me on Twitter @RedOranjePey