Gameweek 22 preview

January 16, 2015

17 Jan 15:00 Aston Villa v Liverpool
17 Jan 15:00 Burnley v Crystal Palace
17 Jan 15:00 Leicester v Stoke
17 Jan 15:00 QPR v Man Utd
17 Jan 15:00 Spurs v Sunderland
17 Jan 15:00 Swansea v Chelsea
17 Jan 17:30 Newcastle v Southampton
18 Jan 13:30 West Ham v Hull
18 Jan 16:00 Man City v Arsenal
19 Jan 20:00 Everton v West Brom


You’ve got three gameweeks left in which to use that January wildcard. When to use it?

It appears Sergio Aguero is clear of injury, so can we rely on him starting this weekend? Well, City play Arsenal, which would suggest that he will get minutes on the pitch. A lesser team may have convinced Pellegrini to give him another week off. And then you’ve got to second guess whether his spell out injured means he is more or less likely to turn out in the FA Cup next weekend. A run out on Sunday, followed by a rest for the Cup seems the most likely scenario. Possibly.

You’ve got to be convinced he’s going to pick up from where he left off as well. And who gets the boot? City have performed well enough without him to close the gap at the top. David Silva is the one player that has come to the fore in Aguero’s absence. Chelsea’s big hitters have maintained their relentless scoring streaks and Alexis Sanchez hit 19 points last week. Only United’s front three are the similarly priced players that have dipped in form, but can you ignore the fact that three of their next four are against QPR, Leicester and Burnley? The longer you wait the more likely it is his value will increase, as other managers will buy him. By the time it gets to the Hull fixture – the last game before the wildcard runs out – he might be too expensive again.

That said, by this point in the season you’re forward line and midfield big hitters are generally settled. It’s as hard to get rid of those £4 million defenders that don’t even make the bench anymore – the ones you bought way back in August – than it is to bring in the 20 goal a season strikers. Your January wildcard may be better utilised tinkering with your cheaper players to make sure you’ve always got playing back up on your bench.

If you’re looking for a kind run of fixtures, Stoke City may be the team to turn to. Their form has been OK, and it’d be a risk, but Leicester, QPR, Newcastle, Villa then Hull could tempt managers towards their defenders in particular. The Pulis factor did work for West Brom last week. A clean sheet was registered with Chris Baird in the back four – a player who’ll only set you back £3.9 million – so a definite alternative to teams struggling to shift none playing ultra cheap defenders.




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