Gameweek 21 preview

January 9, 2014

11 Jan 12:45 Hull City v Chelsea
11 Jan 15:00 Cardiff City v West Ham
11 Jan 15:00 Everton v Norwich
11 Jan 15:00 Fulham v Sunderland
11 Jan 15:00 Southampton v West Brom
11 Jan 15:00 Tottenham v Crystal Palace
11 Jan 17:30 Man Utd v Swansea
12 Jan 14:05 Newcastle v Man City
12 Jan 16:10 Stoke City v Liverpool
13 Jan 20:00 Aston Villa v Arsenal

Remember your winter wildcards. You’ve got up until the start of gameweek 24 to use them. You might want to use them sooner rather than later. Players are dropping like flies at the moment. There may not be any players left to choose from the way things are going. Particularly at Arsenal. The latest name on the long term list is Theo Walcott, who is not only out for the rest of the season, but also misses out on the World Cup. Walcott is the form midfielder in the game. Since his return from the injury that kept him out for most of the autumn, he had seen a rapid rise in his popularity among managers, with his value rising from £9.1 to £9.6 million in the last three gameweeks. The Arsenal squad are clinging on at the moment. No sooner do they get a player back from injury, than they lose another one almost immediately. I’d expect some transfer activity from Arsene Wenger at some point this month. They surely have to buy another striker.

And if you had Walcott, you need to buy another midfielder. The easy option would probably be to revert to Mesut Ozil, who is over his New Year injury. Ozil’s form had started to tail off before that, and subsequently is available at a cut prize £9.9 million. Santi Cazorla should see a little more game time in the next few weeks, with Aaron Ramsey still out, and Olivier Giroud doubtful. Cazorla’s season has also been punctuated by injury, but he has started the last three matches. His form hasn’t been anywhere near that of last season, but a run of games may be all that’s needed to fix that.

The are some familiar names in amongst the form midfielders of the moment. Eden Hazard will cost you a million more than Walcott’s selling fee if you have the spare dosh. Yaya Toure isn’t much less, and David Silva could be bought at a £0.2 million profit. Given City’s scoring power, and Hazard’s undroppable status, you can rely on all three to pick up where Walcott left off. Also at City, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho have come to the fore. Navas has gained more minutes on the pitch as a result of Aguero’s injury and the crammed fixture schedule. But, with the Argentinian forward back in training, Navas’ game time could be reduced again by the end of the month.

But to steal a march on other managers, you need to look among the less popular form players. Christian Eriksen is one who has benefited from the sacking of AVB. He has started every game since Tim Sherwood took over, and has two goals, and assist and six bonus points in four games. He’s £0.8 million less than his starting price, and offers a great differential option, being that he only appears in 3.3% of teams across the game.

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