Gameweek 12 preview

November 21, 2013

23 Nov 12:45 Everton   v   Liverpool
23 Nov 15:00 Arsenal   v   Southampton
23 Nov 15:00 Fulham   v   Swansea
23 Nov 15:00 Hull City   v   Crystal Palace
23 Nov 15:00 Newcastle   v   Norwich
23 Nov 15:00 Stoke City   v   Sunderland
23 Nov 17:30 West Ham   v   Chelsea
24 Nov 13:30 Man City   v   Tottenham
24 Nov 16:00 Cardiff City   v   Man Utd
25 Nov 20:00 West Brom   v   Aston Villa

They’re gone. No more international breaks till March. It’s all out week after week Premiershit action for the next 4 months, with a couple of midweek bonuses thrown in, and that crazy Christmas schedule to look forward to. When the Buckets wheat is most definitely separated from the Buckets chaff. When Sportiongoffensivewig finally take their place where they belong – in lower to mid table.

Man City are back at home. This could mean back to dynamic attacking football and goals galore for Pellegrini’s men. They average four goals a game at home, and are the only unbeaten side on their own patch, but they do come up against one of the Premiership’s stingiest defences. Spurs actually have the toughest away defence in the league, so picking Aguero as your captain is a risky decision. However those with the likes of Vertonghen and Walker in their defences should note that Tottenham face United, Liverpool and Southampton in the coming weeks, and a defensive change could work now, ahead of this City game, rather than later. Although Spurs are finding it so tough to score goals, they need to keep the defence as watertight as possible. I predict that if City score one, they’ll go on to keep up their average. If Spurs keep them out, expect it to end 0-0.

Roberto Martinez will preside over his first Merseyside derby. Luis Suarez played in Uruguay last night in their World Cup qualifier. Is there a chance that the long flight back and the early kick off could see the Liverpool striker benched? Given his form and the importance of the game, I doubt it. But a point worth considering when choosing a captain. Danny Sturridge appears to have handed goalscoring duties over to Suarez, and his popularity seems to be on the wane. Sturridge’s value peaked at £10 million three gameweeks ago, but has since dropped back down to £9.8 million. The onus could be back on Sturridge for this weekend’s match if Suarez can only manage a bit part performance.

Olivier Giroud’s value has also dropped. And quite drastically. From £9.6 to 9.1 in three gameweeks, having scored only one goal in his last seven league appearances. The problem with Giroud’s dip in form is that there’s not really anyone to replace him. The form strikers in the league are Aguero, Van Persie and Rooney – all of whom come in at higher prices. Although Ricky Lambert and Loic Remy at £2 million less could be worth a punt. A few more weeks of faith in Giroud could pay off. Home games against Southampton and Hull and an away tie to Cardiff should produce goals for the Gunners.

I can’t believe I’m about to suggest investing in some Newcastle defenders, so just bear with me. Fabricio Coloccini looks likely to step back into the Newcastle defence this weekend. Mathieu Debuchy is suspended, so Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa could move to fill that vacant right back position, with Mike Williamson and Davide Santon completing the line up. All four are priced below £5 million. Newcastle, whose last two games have seen them keep two clean sheets against Chelsea and Spurs, have two home games coming up against Norwich and West Brom. Cheap clean sheets are a possibility. Just make sure you boot them back out before the Manchester United game on December 7th.

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