Gameweek 22 preview

January 16, 2014

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


You’ve a couple of weeks left to use your January wildcard. The wildcard was introduced to account for the January transfer window, but given the amount of popular players who suffered injury in the run up to, and over Christmas, it’s more usefully utilised to reintroduce those players as they return to fitness.

Sergio Aguero is back and gives Manuel Pelligrini an lovely selection headache ahead of City’s home banker with Cardiff this weekend. In his absence, Alvaro Negredo has moved ahead of him in the goalscoring charts and Edin Dzeko has reached 14 for the season. Whose to say you couldn’t line up with all three, knowing that whoever loses out in the starting XI could quite easily come on and score their own double figure score.

Daniel Sturridge returned last week to great affect. It’s likely the England striker will start this week, partnering Suarez in Liverpool’s very winnable home fixture against Villa. And Arsenal could welcome back their own goal machine – Aaron Ramsey – for their home tie against Fulham. Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his last two starts. Mesut Ozil meanwhile, seems to save his most productive displays for the Emirates. With all three fit after their winter knocks, you fear for Fulham, who’ve conceded more goals than any other Premiership team.

Down the price scale, Artur Boruc made an instant point scoring return to action with Southampton last week. They come up against Sunderland this week, and after Arsenal next week, face a run of kind fixtures against bottom half teams. Before Boruc was injured he was top of the keepers league at £5.1 million, having kept seven clean sheets. His price has dropped to £4.7 million making him very affordable.

And there’s a momentum at Sunderland. They still sit in the bottom three, but have reduced the points gap, and are now only one win from being out of the relegation zone and two from mid table. Just as the race for the title appears to be the most exciting in years, the congestion at the bottom is such that teams may now start to jump and fall between relegation at the top half on a weekly basis. There are affordable form players in Gus Poyet’s squad at them moment. Not least the games cheapest first choice keeper, Vito Mannone, and last week’s two star men, Adam Johnson and Ki Sung Yeung.


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