Gameweek 5: Fantasy Preview

Posted by John Culea

Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty ImagesWayne Rooney: Making United sweat over a new contract?

There are six Saturday matches and four on Sunday. Fantasy managers have only one game to see announced lineups; the early match between Norwich and Aston Villa.

Saturday, September 21
Norwich (1-1-2) vs. Aston Villa (1-0-3)
So far Ricky van Wolfswinkel is not the goal-scoring phenom he was in Portugal. He has just one for the Canaries who offer fantasy value on defense but virtually nothing on offense.
Aston Villa gets a break from their killer schedule. Red-hot Christian Benteke has four goals; however, the rest of the team has only one goal and the supposed improved Villa defense has leaked six goals.

Liverpool (3-1-0) vs. Southampton (1-2-1)
Four-goal striker Daniel Sturridge is in form, but the rest of the team has scored just one goal. Steven Gerrard has been a fantasy disappointment. Even worse is Philippe Coutinho who is out until late October. This makes it more likely that Victor Moses, who got a goal in his start should be in the first XI. Daniel Agger has a late fitness test.
Rickie Lambert has one of only two goals scored by the Saints.

Newcastle (2-1-1) vs. Hull (1-1-2)
Hatem Ben Arfa has two goals for the surprising Magpies.
Hull has scored just two goals in four games and is a bad road team.

WBA (0-2-2) vs. Sunderland (0-1-3)
The Baggies, with just one goal scored and that from defender Gareth McAuley are next to last and face bottom-feeder Sunderland that has conceded a league high eight goals. This is a match of fantasy have-nots.

West Ham (1-2-1) vs. Everton (1-3-0)
Big Sam's Shammers have had a pathetic one shot on goal in their last two PL games. Their strength is fantasy wonder Jussi Jaaskelainen who has only conceded one goal in four matches.
Everton is a team on the rise. Gareth Barry had a sparkling debut and Seamus Coleman has more fantasy points than any PL player. Tim Howard has three straight clean sheets but we wait for Leighton Baines to get his first goal.

Chelsea (2-1-1) vs. Fulham (1-1-2)
Chelsea played at home on Wednesday and suffered a 1-2 UCL shock. Oscar got the lone Blues goal. Jose saw his defense blow a 1-0 lead in the final 20 minutes.
The Blues looked weak in their loss at Everton with limp performances from Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle. Juan Mata got the PL start, as did Samuel Eto'o, but the Cameroon international has failed to impress and may be on the bench Sunday.
Fulham's Dimitar Berbatov, usually fantasy points in the bank, is in a swoon and faces a late fitness test. Darren Bent may return.

Sunday, September 22
Arsenal (3-0-1) vs. Stoke (2-1-1)
Arsenal played UCL in France on Wednesday and won 1-2. Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey scored. Four-goal guy Olivier Giroud played 90 minutes. Santi Cazorla is out injured.
Stoke's strength is its defense and fantasy managers have thrived with Asmir Begovic, Robert Huth, and Ryan Shawcross.

Crystal Palace (1-0-3) vs. Swansea (1-1-2)
Drop zone resident Crystal Palace faces thrill-a-minute Jonjo Shelvey and his improved Swans. Michu got his first goal of the PL season and then Swansea did Europa Thursday in Spain by wiping out Valencia. Wilfried Bony, Michu, and Jonathan De Guzman scored.

Cardiff (1-2-1) vs. Tottenham (3-0-1)
Cardiff is doing the best of the three promoted teams but offers little for fantasy managers.
Spurs, with three games in six days, were home for a Europa match and were impressive. Jermain "Don't forget me" Defoe had a brace and Christian Eriksen also scored. Eriksen, Erik Lamela, and Roberto Soldado are all solid new fantasy assets and Gylfi Sigurdsson comes off a PL brace. Danny Rose is out injured.

Manchester City (2-1-1) vs. Manchester United (2-1-1)
City had a Tuesday UCL away game while United was home and each had comfortable results.
City has a PL high, eight goals but getting clean-sheeted against Stoke was a stinking performance.
Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, and Yaya Toure got UCL goals. Vincent Kompany is a key returnee and David Silva may be available.
Fantasy managers wonder what starting XI will be fielded by David Moyes; however, Wayne Rooney is in top form and a potent partner with Robin van Persie. Marouane Fellaini looks at home in red. Danny Welbeck is an injury doubt.

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