Gameweek 25 preview

February 1, 2013

02 Feb 12:45 QPR QPR v Norwich Norwich
02 Feb 15:00 Arsenal Arsenal v Stoke City Stoke City
02 Feb 15:00 Everton Everton v Aston Villa Aston Villa
02 Feb 15:00 Newcastle Newcastle v Chelsea Chelsea
02 Feb 15:00 Reading Reading v Sunderland Sunderland
02 Feb 15:00 West Ham West Ham v Swansea Swansea
02 Feb 15:00 Wigan Wigan v Southampton Southampton
02 Feb 17:30 Fulham Fulham v Man Utd Man Utd
03 Feb 13:30 West Brom West Brom v Tottenham Tottenham
03 Feb 16:00 Man City Man City v Liverpool Liverpool

It’s February. A short month – only 3 gameweeks. The last of which – gameweek 27 – sees the start of the Buckets Cup. This week is the last chance to use your January transfer window wildcard. When doing so, if you haven’t played it already, it might be worth bearing in mind that next week we have another double gameweek. Liverpool and Swansea play twice.

So the real reason behind this wildcard is to bring in new players. That’s NEW players.

Although, really, you’d be brave to completely revamp your squad with any of the big name buys that came into the league. Even those that changed one Premier club for another may not get straight into the starting XI of their new team. Although, if it’s going to happen anywhere, it’s going to be QPR.

Tony Fernandes found a spare 12.5 million down the back of his couch to splash out on Chris Samba. QPR’s defence, and overall performance, have improved in recent weeks. The addition of Samba will only add to that. It’ll save having to play Tal Ben Haim anyway. Loic Remy scored on his debut, and will be hopeful of more goals when they come up against Norwich this weekend. For the first time all season, QPR players may be viable fantasy options. Peter Odemwingie didn’t make it. He was last seen sat on the steps outside the Springbok pub on South Africa Road waiting for the doors to open. I suspect he won’t be playing much football for the next 5 months.

Norwich’s major buy, Luciano Becchio, follows Bradley Johnson, Johnny Howson and Robert Snodgrass out of Leeds. Can he hack it at Premiership level? Who’s to say. He’d long outgrown the stagnant Leeds team he’s been carrying for the last 3 or 4 seasons. He may not be an instant first choice, but will provide good competition for Holt and Jackson up front.

With Kieron Gibbs injured, and Andre Santos a liability, Arsenal felt the need to buy another left back. Nacho Monreal is likely to go straight in against Stoke. One thing that can be guaranteed in that game is goals. Neither side look capable of keeping a clean sheet, after periods during the early season when they were the teams most likely too. If you must buy Arsenal defence, maybe stick with the safe bet of the established Sagna – who at 5.1 million is 0.4 million cheaper than the new man.

Fulham splashed out on a Bulgarian called Manlove. Aswell as, from Milan, a loan deal for Urby Emanuelson, who may be worth a look – but only in a few weeks once settled. Most of the new French players at Newcastle played last week, with Moussa Sissoko contributing extra points by assisting Cisse’s goal. As it stands he and Yoan Gouffran look the most likely first starters. Although, 7 million for Gouffran would be a risk, particularly when you can still pick up the likes of Lambert, Lukaku and Le Fondre for cheaper.

And will Danny Graham oust Steven Fletcher from the Sunderland line up? Or can they play together? Again, only time will tell. Demba Ba is battling it out with Fernando Torres for the lone starting berth at Chelsea. Rafa doesn’t seem to fancy playing them both together from the start. Interesting to note that, across the game as a whole, both Ba and Torres are being moved out of fantasy teams, rather than in to them.

So in other words, don’t invest in any of them. Yet.

Stick with what you know.

For the moment consider them all Andy Carrolls – maybe a Papiss Cisse will emerge.

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