Premier League Gameweek 19 Fantasy Preview

Berbatov Premier League Gameweek 19 Fantasy Preview

I fancy Dimitar to put some pressure on Sunderland

Happy Holidays to all. Let’s preview the big Boxing Day weekend from a fantasy footie perspective. But first, one last note on last weekend’s snowed out fixtures:

As we have said for almost 2 years, the emergency captain rule is a joke of a rule – no one in their right mind would captain Tim Cahill at Manchester City – in fact he was most players’ sixth or seventh option (on form / value) for the captain armband but of course – with the snow – those managers with Cahill picked up a whopping 26 points this past week – netting a remarkable 13 x 2. Let’s hope the Fantasy Premier League does something about this next season as some of us (clears throat) take this game a bit more seriously than others… What a shame. But now – let’s look forward not backwards!

I. Chelsea @ Arsenal: Carlo Ancelotti says that Didier Drogba is still the man to fear, despite the Ivorian’s loss of form over the last two months. Since he came down with malaria, Drogba has been a fantasy bust, but Chelsea have won their last five meetings against Arsenal with Drogba scoring six times.

Lukasz Fabianski, Cesc Fabregas, and Robin van Persie should all start against Chelsea – something we haven’t seen much of this season – all three first choice players fit and ready to go in a pivotal game. Will that make a difference?

Frank Lampard and Michael Essien will look to be the difference makers for Chelsea on the road. No clean sheets in this one – but still play Ashley Cole if you own him as he’ll do his best to bomb forward against his old club.

Drogba and Anelka, of course are your likeliest scorers. I don’t think Chelsea has the disciplined 5-man midfield approach to suck Arsenal’s passing game out like Manchester United did in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford just weeks ago, but I do think Chelsea has the physical presence to score at Arsenal. A score draw is a likely scenario, but I’ll go for a shock road win by the out of form Blues.

Prediction: 1 – 2 Chelsea

II. Sunderland @ Manchester United: There are some tricky ‘fantasy friendly’ matches by a few road teams – as Liverpool should beat Blackpool through Torres and the returning Gerrard and Tottenham could upset their former Europa League rivals Aston Villa at Villa Park, but let’s go with a home banker – Manchester United.

It’s Christmas time, which means it’s form time for Sir Alex’s men. Up and down the park, you should have some United exposure in your fantasy lineup. Vidic is your expensive defensive option and Captain. Rafael da Silva is the cheapest way into the defense – though Neville, O’Shea, and Brown – three Champions League winners – will do their best to steal starts from the young Brazilian right back here and there. In midfield, it’s all Nani all the time. Up front, of course, it’s Rooney- still on penalties despite the miss against Arsenal, and Dimitar Berbatov – who leads the league in scoring.

Sunderland have excellent speed through Gyan and Bent (Welbeck is unavailable as he’s on loan from United to Sunderland) and they also have some strength with Henderson but Cattermole is suspended. Zenden or Malbranque will fill in but they can’t cope with the likes of Anderson, Park, and Nani. United will win the midfield battle, and ultimately, the game. Sunderland’s only chance to take points comes in the form of their amazing goalkeeper Gordon – who has looked great after returning from injury.

Prediction: 2 – 0 Manchester United

III. Studs & Duds: Baines and Cahill – who stuck a dagger into many fantasy managers’ hearts last weekend at Manchester City, continue as studs as Everton have a home game against Birmingham. Studs. Rafael van der Vaart scored twice the last time Tottenham played Aston Villa – in October – so the Dutch master is a stud. On free kicks and penalties for a Spurs side that is confident home or away. Bale, Modric or Defoe are the other options – better in ‘real life’ than they are in fantasy footie though…

West Ham have only 2 wins this season – the same amount as their London rivals Fulham do – who have been draw specialists this year. The teams square off in a relegation six-pointer at Craven Cottage with the losing manager surely fearing for their jobs. I expect a goal or two and an open game from each side, as both clubs will need / want to win this. 0-0 doesn’t really help anyone here. Dempsey, then, and Scott Parker, are your studs. Pantsil has been an under the radar bonus magnet as of late – and he’s very cheap (4.5M), if you want to bank on a Mark Hughes clean sheet. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Ghanaian.

I like Blackburn home to Stoke – play Gamst and his buddies as studs. Bolton home to West Brom seems like a good match for Davies / Elmander but I think West Brom will have some firepower on the counter-attack as long as studs Brunt and Odemwingie are fit. If they are, expect goals for both sides. Attacking studs.

Duds this week are the usually reliable Sunderland and Birmingham defenders – both on the road, both should concede. I also don’t put much faith in Newcastle keeping a cheap clean sheet at home to Tevez and company, but then again – that game is up in the air as Newcastle have put in some amazing performances at home this year. Play Andy Carroll in case he breaches Joe Hart’s net. Stud / dud fence for both Hart and Carroll then.

I like Liverpool players to score at Blackpool if that game is on – Torres is a stud then. The game could be in doubt due to freezing conditions and the lack of undersoil heating at Blackpool. 50-50 at the moment which is bad news for Torres owners (including myself) who were expecting an easy game last week (home to Fulham!) and this weekend (at Blackpool) for 2 or 3 Torres goals and 180 minutes played but may end up with zero minutes played. Big time bummer.

IV. Gameweek 19 Best Eleven:

GK: Reina

D: Vidic – Baines – Pantsil

M: Dempsey – Cahill – Gamst – Nani – Fabregas

F: Torres – Rooney

Subs: Hennessey – Drogba – G. Cahill – Ferreira

This entry was posted in Chelsea, fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog, Frank Lampard, Manchester United and tagged boxing day premier league predictions, boxing day preview, epl fantasy blog, premier league fantasy preview, premier league gameweek 19. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Premier League Gameweek 19 Fantasy Preview

  1. Mell says:

    Nice review again Ibra, I feel the same with you. I’m betting on Chelsea win at Emirates. Even though their form proved otherwise but I feel there are a lot hungrier than Arsenal in terms of title challenge. For sure they will not lose this one, fingers crossed ;D

    • Ibracadabra says:

      I think this will be the defining match of Wenger and Fabregas’ career at Arsenal. If they win – they will have the confidence to challenge for the title. If they lose, they’ll lose the hope…

  2. Jimbo says:

    I don’t quite understand your aversion to the emergency captain option. Is this simply because you didn’t have Cahill in your team? I personally find it very fair. It is not very often that this actually comes in to play, but when it does it is great. What if your captain pulls up with a strain in the pre match warm up, this could easily result in a double digit points hit for players, with no opportunity to rectify the situation. The emergency captain gives a reprieve in these cases. You say that no one in their right mind would captain Cahill against City, I wouldn’t go that far – City are not as good as people make them out to be, particularly against a big physical and skilful team like Everton. Also, based on Form, Cahil would be 3rd choice captain in my team, 2nd based on value, so a captaincy choice is nowhere near as outrageous as you make out.

  3. adi says:

    LOL Ibra, while I love your blog and I voted for it as the best niche football website, your GK pick this week is just insane :) Liverpool have been horrible away from home all season, Blackpool have scored in every single home match. Kingson has been doing wonders lately and even he will outscore Reina – I’m almost certain of that – unless the match is off. Looking at the fixtures Reina is probably one of the worst options this week and a single worst GK choice if we combine the price in.

    Can’t really argue your defence and midfield, while forwards are just poor, both horribly out of form and unlikely to do anything.

    BTW since I’m trying to be smart here, let’s add my team as well and see which will score more points this week (I’ll add Kingson there on purpose):

    GK: Kingson

    D: Foley – Cahill – Baines

    M: Hunt – Dempsey – Cahill – VDV – MGP

    F: Elmander – Tevez

    Subs: Foster – Davies – Nelsen – Salcido

    BTW happy holidays and good luck in the congestion GWs. Your blog still rocks! :)

    • Ibracadabra says:

      The 2 reasons I chose Pepe Reina – despite Blackpool’s good attacking home form, is that Liverpool’s worst loss of the season was a shock 2-1 home defeat to Blackpool. They will go into this one looking for revenge and have fully fit players now (other than Carragher – who has been poor anyway in my opinion). # 2 reason is that Blackpool don’t have undersoil heating so it will be tough for them to play the ball on the ground on a frozen surface. This will take fluidity out of the game and the game will favor physical CBs (Kyrgiakos and Agger) versus faster ones who want to defend on the ground – because of the poor surface. So there you go.

      As for the forwards being ‘out of form,’ again I slightly disagree. Yes Torres has been poor this season but has had a few weeks of rest and Blackpool have been very leaky at the back – home and away. Gerrard is back now and that gives Torres even more of a chance to score. (I didn’t select Gerrard in the picks as he may not be fully match fit and play 90 mins). Lastly – Rooney looked hungry against Arsenal despite the penalty miss. If he had scored that penalty instead of skying it over the bar everyone would be singing his praises and saying “he’s back.” He, along with Drogba and Tevez, are good striking options week in and week out and all potential 20 goal a season scorers, regardless of form and fixtures. Cream rises to the top!

      • adi says:

        Thanks for your reply! Speaking of Rooney he looked hungry in most matches since March but still failed to score. Pen ruined his confidence further and now he’s facing the team with 9 CSs already this season, including away 0-3 win to Chelsea and there’s no doubt that Sunderland have nothing to lose, so the pressure is off.

        And speaking of Torres it’s not just his lack of form, but also total disinterest, he even failed to score that easy 1 on 1 against average Krul. but really, he’s not even trying. The bad news here is that I have him in my team :D

        Oh and another thing about Reina, it’s not just that Blackpool will very likely score and that his fantasy value is very bad, he also hasn’t been up there this season, making numerous untypical mistakes. However matches are always hard to predict and especially this season, so we’ll see what happens!

    • adi says:

      So my team is done at 50 points, while yours is on 21 with Drogba, Fabregas and Ferreira to go :) I think you can still catch me actually, but it’s going to take some work from these three!

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