Gameweek 15 preview

November 30, 2012

01 Dec 12:45 West Ham West Ham v Chelsea Chelsea
01 Dec 15:00 Arsenal Arsenal v Swansea Swansea
01 Dec 15:00 Fulham Fulham v Tottenham Tottenham
01 Dec 15:00 Liverpool Liverpool v Southampton Southampton
01 Dec 15:00 Man City Man City v Everton Everton
01 Dec 15:00 QPR QPR v Aston Villa Aston Villa
01 Dec 15:00 West Brom West Brom v Stoke City Stoke City
01 Dec 17:30 Reading Reading v Man Utd Man Utd
02 Dec 16:00 Norwich Norwich v Sunderland Sunderland
03 Dec 20:00 Newcastle Newcastle v Wigan Wigan

And so December begins. Silly season. In which we have 6 gameweeks, with the last 3 played out over the 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 29th and 30th. Gameweek 16 sees Sunderland and Reading play their rescheduled fixture from earlier in the season, and therefore play twice. Wildcards at the ready perhaps? Gameweek 17 sees a reduced fixture list as Chelsea travel to Japan to fail in the World Club Championship. Their fixture with Southampton is postponed. It’s not yet been rescheduled. And in the midst of it all, we’ve got the first Manc derby of the season. Or you might want to refer to it as the title decider.

City go into their fixture with Everton having kept 5 clean sheets in the last 6 weeks. This is easily the best run of defensive form amongst any team so far this season. It’s coincided with Matija Nastasic becoming Vincent Kompany’s regular defensive partner. Only no-one seems to have realised. Nastasic has only been picked by 0.7% of teams across the whole game. It’ll be tough to keep a clean sheet against Everton, and in particular Marouane Fellaini, but whereas there’s a renewed steadfastness about the City defence, Everton, at the moment, look like they will always concede at least one. It’s 9 games without a shut-out now, and Leighton Baines is an injury doubt. The only fantasy quandary as far as City are concerned is whether Carlos Tevez will start, having been benched for the last two. This after scoring twice in the win over Villa. One more game of non-activity and I might have to drop him again. (This guarantees him being picked and scoring a hat trick in the next game).

Banker of the week is probably United’s trip to Reading. Mind you, I think I said that about United’s visit to Norwich. A team with one clean sheet against Robin Van Persie must surely only result in one outcome.

And so it’s likely that the gap will remain the same by next week. And probably by the time that derby rolls round. It may even have widened given the inconsistency of all the also-rans. Two clean sheets on the bounce for Chelsea puts the likes of Ivanovic and Cole back on FPL radar, but the attacking flair of the early weeks seems to have vanished. Is it time we even thought of dropping Hazard and Mata? You’ve already dropped Torres, of course. Arsenal Might find it tough to keep out Swansea, who always look like they have a goal in them. Michu is a midfielder playing centre forward, and the 8th highest scorer in the game. Pablo Hernandez is now a regular starter and sitting in the top 10 on current form. And eternal loanee Wayne Routledge,   can probably stop renting and buy a house for the first time in his career. He’s 8th best midfielder in the game, outscoring the likes of Gerrard, Toure, Walcott and Silva.

Gareth Bale (remember I shipped him out a few weeks back?!) is now top scoring midfielder, and looking like he could go on a run of contributing in every game….to Jermain Defoe. With Adebayor suspended, and unlikely to make an instant return anyway, Defoe looks the best value striker in the game – at still only 7.9 million. This price for someone who has scored or assisted in all but 5 of Spurs’ 14 games. Don’t buy into their defence though. Like Everton, Arsenal, United – all those teams you want to trust in – they ALWAYS concede.



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