Manchester United was set to give a super Gameweek to all those involved. Just 34 minutes into their match at Reading, the Red Devils took a 4-3 lead. Yes, there was already seven goals scored before the first half even ended. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, Sir Alex Ferguson decided he didn’t want to play in a shootout and beefed up his defense by substituting in Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
With those changes, there were no more goals. So those hoping for a Wayne Rooney hat trick or more than one goal from Robin van Persie were disappointed.
Even with the disappointment, Rooney tied for the lead in Fantasy Points with 16 (according to premierleague.com) from two goals and an assist. Unfortunately, no one really benefitted from Reading’s three goals, as none of the players on their score sheet are owned by more than two percent of gamers. On a positive note, even with the three goals, not one of their players had more than seven points.
Two giants fell on the weekend and things aren’t looking up for either of them. Chelsea let an early lead slip away at West Ham, as Rafa Benitez’s reign has not been supreme. The Blues have not won in seven straight league matches and their potent attackers have done nothing during that stretch, with no more than one goal in a game.
As for the Gunners, they fell at home to Swansea, of all clubs. Yes, the Swans are playing well, but playing uninspired soccer will not get you many wins. Arsenal has been so unpredictable this year. After thrashing Tottenham 5-2, they have only scored one goal in their past three games. Unsurprisingly, Michu was the man of the match, netting both goals for Swansea.
Spurs got a boost from the return of Moussa Dembele, and picked up a nice 3-0 win at Craven Cottage behind two goals from Jermaine Defoe. However, Gareth Bale sustained a hamstring injury and could miss a match or two.
Liverpool got a win at home, even though it wasn’t anything special. Luis Suarez didn’t score and he picked up a yellow card, which means he’s suspended for their next match. Everton continues to play the big boys tough, as they drew 1-1 at Man City. Marouane Fellaini grabbed his eighth goal of the campaign, and it came off his thigh. Carlos Tevez started and found the back of the net after two straight non-starts.
Brett Holman scored for Aston Villa in a 1-1 draw at QPR. He’s playing well lately, and deserves a look as a cheap midfielder. West Brom still sits at fifth in the table, but have now lost two straight matches, this time getting shut out at home vs. Stoke City.
In the Sunday and Monday night matches, Norwich held on to a 2-1 win over Sunderland and has not lost in eight straight league matches. Things haven’t been as pretty for Newcastle, but they took out a 10-man Wigan squad with a convincing 3-0 win after losing their last four.
Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa
When was the last time a Villa goalkeeper was one of the best options? It’s been a couple years, and this is probably the first time Guzan has been in this position. The numbers are simple. Villa has not allowed more than one goal to any club other than those from the Top Six. Stoke City is at No. 9, but they are scoring less than a goal per game as it is.
Nicky Shorey, DEF, Reading
This isn’t to say that Reading will grab a clean sheet; it’s more the benefit of having two matches in Gameweek 16. While they are both on the road, neither team is a huge threat offensively. Not to mention, Shorey has four assists in his last four games.
John Arne Riise, DEF, Fulham
Fulham is struggling a bit defensively right now, but a home match against Newcastle might solve that. They still have the pieces of their usually stout back line, so that’s something to look at. Riise pushes forward a ton, which is why he’s the best option.
Angel Rangel, DEF, Swansea
The Swans are playing really well right now from top to bottom. Last weekend’s 2-0 road win at the Emirates proves that. They are allowing less than one goal per game in their last eight matches. Norwich is playing well too, but Swansea will be tough to break at home.
Miguel Michu, MID, Swansea
Why not go back-to-back with Swansea players? It’s Michu’s first year in the Premier League and he’s tied for the lead in goals with 10. That doesn’t happen often. He has four goals in his last four games and not many can stop him.
Marouane Fellaini, MID, Everton
Right behind Michu in Fantasy Points, is Fellaini. The Belgian has actually missed two matches, so he’s scoring more per game than Michu. Fellaini has scored or assisted in six straight EPL matches, with five goals and three assists.
Stephane Sessegnon, MID, Sunderland
With Theo Walcot set to miss this week’s game, I’m going for a double gameweeker. You could really interchange Sessegnon for Adam Johnson or Craig Gardner in this spot. With two matches at home, one of them will surely get something, right? Sessegnon has more of a forward role so that’s why I’m going with him.
Kevin Nolan, MID, West Ham
West Ham just got done playing three of the best clubs in the league, so don’t worry about Nolan’s lack of points lately. Liverpool has three clean sheets in their last four matches, but I’m not buying it. The Hammers are coming off a confidence boosting 3-1 win over Chelsea, as well.
Jermaine Defoe, FOR, Tottenham
It’s been about three years since Defoe was relevant in the Fantasy World, but the time has come once again for the 30-year-old. He has two braces in his last three games, and while Everton is tough, they don’t have a clean sheet since Sept. 22.
Rickie Lambert, FOR, Southampton
Give the little guys some respect. Lambert continues to be his usual goal-poaching self for Southampton. At only 6.0m, he has good value and gets a home match against a bad road team.
Wayne Rooney, FOR, Man United
Rooney tends to excel in bigger games and this is one of them. He’s coming off a two-goal, one-assist performance so his confidence should be booming. Even on the road, I’ll take a United player over a Silva-less Man City.
Don’t forget that Reading and Sunderland both have a double Gameweek. Sunderland gets two home matches against Chelsea and Reading while the Buscuitmen are on the road at Southampton in their first game.
Don’t go all out on these clubs, as neither is all that great. Maybe one or two additions from players like Mark Schwarzer, Stephane Sessegnon or even a Reading defender can be good choices, but don’t over do it.
YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN
- Marouane Fellaini, Everton
- Michu, Swansea
- Robin van Persie/Wayne Rooney, Man United
- Rickie Lambert, Southampton
- Jermaine Defoe, Tottenham
Without Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez in action, the captain choices may be a little different than usual this weekend.
This was a tough choice, but I’m going with Fellaini, who’s been a problem for defenders in all phases of the game. He’s playing forward, has the skill and size to overpower defenders on balls in play or on corners.
Michu has been scoring against everyone; so even in a matchup of the two hottest clubs in the league, it shouldn’t matter for him. You know Swansea will score and he will be closest to the net.
As I said earlier, I like Rooney more than RVP in this game, but you can’t ever really exclude Van Persie from the captain rankings. This could be a 1-0 type of a game or one with five goals. It’s 50/50, which is why I didn’t place either forward higher on my captains list.
Lambert at home against Reading? This game has all the signs of a Lambert goal. Reading has five losses in seven road games and will most likely give up a goal or two in this one.
Everton is playing well right now, but they won’t be able to keep Spurs out of the net completely. The one worry I have is that Bale won’t be available in this match, which could easily hurt his chances up front.
*Stats up-to-date as of Dec. 3
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