Arsenal were quite the disappointment during their double gameweek last weekend, but one man wasn’t – Robin van Persie. He has his sights set on a second straight golden boot, and his 2 goals and 16 point return were music to fantasy manager’s ears. Can he do it again this weekend at home to Aston Villa? Let’s see…
I. Manchester City @ Tottenham: Great game for the neutral as both teams look headed for Champions League football, but Gareth Bale could miss out in this one – which would be a massive blow to Tottenham’s chances. Andre Villas-Boas is considering risking his Welsh stud but if he re-injures his ankle, then that could signal the end of Tottenham’s Champions League pursuit. For purposes of this preview, I will assume Bale will miss out.
David Silva, Manchester City’s star man, could also miss out with a hamstring problem, but he’s more likely to feature than Bale is. Former Manchester City man Emmanuel Adebayor will shoulder the scoring burden, and the Togolese man will want to pull one over on another of his former clubs.
But I don’t see it. Manchester City looked solid at Old Trafford, and also controlled the first 60 minutes against Chelsea in the FA Cup, while also earning a close 1-0 win over Wigan midweek. That’s form.
Carlos Tevez is the star man to watch in this one while Joe Hart will be confident of a clean sheet despite the away trip. American Clint Dempsey has often stepped up in big games in the past, and a score draw is a potential result in a free-flowing open game, but I think Mancini’s men win this one on the road.
Prediction: 1-2 Manchester City away win
II. Aston Villa @ Manchester United: Sir Alex and his key men have until Monday night to rest and recover from their 2-2 midweek draw at West Ham, and should have no problem entertaining us after an early season 3-2 thriller in the reverse fixture at Villa Park.
It’s RVP who is back in form now after ten matches without scoring, and the captain armband will be firmly affixed to his bicep once again by most fantasy managers. At the back it’s De Gea at 5.9m who still offers an affordable route to a clean sheet while in the midfield it’s the 8.0m man Kagawa who could end the season on a high after an injury-hit campaign.
Aston Villa, of course, have star FPL cheap stud Christian Benteke and a goalkeeper who can make some fantastic saves in Brad Guzan, but this one is all Manchester United.
Prediction: 3-1 Manchester United win
III. Studs & Duds: It’s all short term planning from here on out, as the season has just one month remaining. After RVP and Rooney, obvious studs this weekend, there are a few other potential studs to take a look at. Swansea’s Michu is very well rested and has Southampton at home. His counterpart Rickie Lambert is still a good selection, but is sitting on the stud/dud fence due to the recent emergence of cheap in-form asset Jay Rodriguez taking over some of the scoring burden.
Arsenal are at Fulham and after Chelsea dominated Martin Jol’s men for long stretches you have to assume that Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla can combine for a goal or assist. Both studs despite the away trip. Fabianski is a dud – as he’s injured with a rib problem.
Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard are home to Chelsea – so they’re just on the stud/dud fence but play them if you own them. The same goes for Mata & Hazard. They are due a rest but why would Benitez rest them against his old club? He surely wants the win at Anfield, so I expect Mata to play and perform.
Norwich are home to Reading, who surprisingly kept a clean sheet last time out against Liverpool. I can’t see it happening again. Hoolahan, Snodgrass, and to a much lesser extent Holt and Kamara are worthy of a cheap start. Goalkeeper Bunn has been a superb cheap FPL asset as the deputy for the injured Ruddy, but Ruddy could be back this weekend which would turn Bunn into an instant dud.
I like West Ham at home to Wigan – the cheap Demel and in-form Carroll will surely have confidence after the draw with Manchester United. They lean towards studs. QPR are home to a poor Stoke so Loic Remy is a stud despite the team’s poor form and impending relegation.
Baines, Pienaar, Anichebe and Fellaini – who have all had their FPL merits at some points over the course of the season – are just on the stud/dud fence with a road trip to in-form Sunderland.
IV. Gameweek 34 Best Eleven:
GK: De Gea
D: Samba – M. Turner – Sagna
M: Walcott – Michu – Snodgrass – Kagawa
F: Van Persie – Suarez – Carroll
Subs: Robles – Baines – O’Shea – Sessegnon