Gameweek 24 preview

February 3, 2012

This is your last chance to use your January wildcard. Transfer deadline day was hardly that exciting, but most clubs did some business of some kind. There are a few new faces, but the majority of transfers were done between Premier League clubs.

Of the deals done, there are some good new options available. Djibril Cisse already has his first QPR goal. He adds a bit of class to their Championship attack, and could score well. As could Nikica Jelavic, who moved from Rangers to Everton. Fulham have bought Pavel Pogrebnyak from Stuttgart to replace Bobby Zamora who has moved to QPR. QPR were the most active in the window, and have also acquired Nedum Onuoha and Taye Taiwo. Papiss Cisse was Newcastle’s only buy, but should go straight into their starting eleven. Liam Ridgewell has joined West Brom, and could become their regular first choice left back. The same role could be taken up by Wayne Bridge at Sunderland, presuming he can still remember how to play football. And Josh McEachran should fit neatly into Swansea’s tiny, quick, skillful midfield. Keane, Donovan, Scholes and Henry are all great players – and I’m sure will all end their short term deals having contributed something to their respective clubs.

The rest – the stopgaps – don’t look that enticing. Pienaar back to Everton after a pointless move south to Spurs. Ryan Nelson and Louis Saha to Spurs – could be as pointless. Kyrgiakos is probably only in for cover at Sunderland. The same could probably be said for David Pizarro at City, Bradley Orr at Blackburn and Ryo Miyaichi at Bolton.

Having said all that, there are more reliable options if you’re thinking of a squad overhaul. Demba Ba returns from Africa, albeit winless, goalless and pointless for Senegal. And the rejuvenated team of the moment – Sunderland – still have players at relatively cheap prices. Other than Stephane Sessegnon, whose value has increased significantly, and undertandably so, all of the other first team regulars ar pretty much the same price as they were when the season started.

Defensively, they’re solid. O’Shea and Bardsley are playing every minute, and keeping clean sheets. Simon Mingolet is the cheapest first choice keeper available, yet 6th in the current form table. James McLean has come from nowhere to be an O’Neill regular – with a goal, two assists and nine bonus points in just five games. And Frazier Campbell has played two games after being out for 15 months, and scored two goals.

If you’re overhauling the squad to finally bring in Van Persie, Bale, Aguero, Silva etc – first of all – where have you been? And secondly – look to Sunderland to balance the books.

This week they’ll probably get stuffed at Stoke. There are some big team match ups this weekend, which may play into Newcastle, Man City and Arsenal’s hands, all of whom have home matches against mid to lower league teams.  Chelsea play United and Spurs play Liverpool. 0-0 or 3-3 – you decide. Norwich may get their second clean sheet of the season. Jelavic may get on the scoresheet straight away against Wigan – and Cisse will have the legs on the Wolves defence. That’s your lot. Two posts in one day has done me in.

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