Gameweek 28 preview

March 3, 2015

03 Mar 19:45 Aston Villa v West Brom
03 Mar 19:45 Hull v Sunderland
03 Mar 19:45 Southampton v Crystal Palace
04 Mar 19:45 Man City v Leicester
04 Mar 19:45 Newcastle v Man Utd
04 Mar 19:45 QPR v Arsenal
04 Mar 19:45 Spurs v Swansea
04 Mar 19:45 Stoke v Everton
04 Mar 19:45 West Ham v Chelsea
04 Mar 20:00 Liverpool v Burnley
07 Mar 15:00 QPR v Spurs

 

It’s the first week of March, so it’s the first week of the 2015 Buckets Cup. The preliminary round is held over this gameweek, taking in tonight, tomorrow night and the single game on Saturday. The first round proper kicks off in gameweek 29 on the following Saturday. The final is in the second gameweek in April. March is a three gameweek month, so if you find yourself in the semi final of the cup at the start of April, the likelihood is you’ll be in with a good chance of taking the March manager of the moth award.

It’s also our first double gameweek of the season. This week sees Spurs and QPR play twice – against Swansea and Arsenal respectively, as well as each other. More often than not the best captain choices in a double gameweek come from one of those teams playing twice, and the obvious choice during this gameweek is Harry Kane. Kane doesn’t have many blank weeks – just two in his last eleven – and he’s scored 12 of Spurs’ last 24 goals in that same period. Spurs fans would probably expect at least four points from the two games, and managers with Kane in their squad might expect at least an 8 point FPL return – 16 if he’s given the armband. But if everyone has the same idea, where do you gain your advantage?

Spurs’ defensive foursome doesn’t change much. Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are automatics. Eric Dier has been getting the nod over Federico Fazio of late, and there’s no indication that will change. In recent weeks Danny Rose has looked like the most favourable option from the back line, although clean sheets don’t come along too often. It’s Rose’s attacking exploits that put him ahead of his fellow defenders. Other than Christian Eriksen, their midfield is hard to predict. Pochettino has chopped and changed a lot with their fixture build up. Early season favourite Nacer Chadli has been out of the team of late, but was recalled for the League Cup final. Depending on available finances, Chadli might be the midfielder to look to if Eriksen is unaffordable. Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason fall into the £4-5 million club, but neither contribute much in the way of goals, assists or bonuses.

The obvious QPR pick would be Charlie Austin. Austin notched 10 goals in 10 appearances in the run up to Christmas. He hasn’t been as prolific since, but did score last time out against Hull. Austin owners might at least expect a goal from one of the two games, which always brings with it the possibility of some bonus points. Clean sheets don’t come along too often for QPR either. Few people would expect one against either Spurs or Arsenal, despite them being at home. However, due to various injuries, it looks certain that Suk Young Yun will get a game, who at £3.9 million is the cheapest of all the double gameweekers. In midfield, only Matthew Philips is in any kind of form. Three starts in the last three games has yielded three assists and 15 points, so could be well worth a punt, especially at £4.6 million.

Yet, there are other teams in such good form that gaining an advantage could result from ignoring the double gameweek prospects altogether. Liverpool are the form team. A Champions League place looks a reasonable prospect. They appear to have found a formula based on picking one goalkeeper, two defenders and eight midfielders – none of whom are Steven Gerrard. Philippe Coutinho is their form man. And picking Raheem Sterling is effectively picking a fourth attacker, being that he’s playing the furthest forward.

Tony Pulis has been in charge of West Brom for seven league games. They’ve kept clean sheets in five of those. They have Aston Villa tonight. Three of their defensive base come in at under £5 million, with only Joleon Lescott costing more. A team with two free transfers at their disposal could bring in Foster, McAuley and Dawson, and expect at least a 14 point gain.

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