Gameweek 23: Fantasy Preview

Posted by John Culea

There are four lineups to check before kickoff, including Manchester United where many fantasy managers are wondering about Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. There are also questions about what players will be in Arsenal's starting XI. All will be revealed before kickoff.


Manchester United (11-4-7) vs. Cardiff (4-6-12)

Juan Mata is expected to debut and Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Marouane Fellaini and Rio Ferdinand could all be available. Michael Carrick is doubtful. Cardiff have one draw and five losses in their six-game rot.

Norwich (6-5-11) vs. Newcastle (11-3-8)

Gary Hooper has been a good fantasy player recently for the Canaries. No one else is worth a peep.

Yohan Cabaye is in good fantasy form and will be concentrating on the job at hand despite transfer talk about a move to Paris Saint-Germain. Mathieu Debuchy is back from suspension for the Magpies.

Southampton (8-7-7) vs. Arsenal (16-3-3)

Fantasy find Dejan Lovren is out with ligament damage and Pablo Osvaldo is under club discipline. Adam Lallana is a threat as is Jay Rodriguez, but Rickie Lambert is doubtful. Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, and Thomas Vermaelen could all return, but a start is not likely. Lukas Podolski had a brace and Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla scored in FA Cup play. Arsene Wenger has a selection dilemma.

Swansea (5-6-11) vs. Fulham (6-1-15)

Michu is still 10 days from returning, but Jonjo Shelvey has recovered from an injury. Wilfried Bony had an FA Cup brace and this is a must win for the Swans, who have lost five and drawn one in their six-game skid. Fulham has had Clint Dempsey fizzle while losing four of six.

Crystal Palace (6-2-14) vs. Hull (6-5-11)

The Eagles are playing pretty good football while Hull have lost three straight and might give Shane Long his debut in a start with Nikica Jelavic. Tom Huddlestone is back from suspension. Matty Fryatt had an FA Cup brace.

Liverpool (13-4-5) vs. Everton (11-9-2)

Daniel Sturridge scored in FA Cup play, Luis Suarez had two assists and defender Jon Flanagan is set to start. Bryan Oviedo broke his leg in FA Cup play, and Steven Naismith had a brace against the worst team in League One. Seamus Coleman is out until Feb. 1. Gerard Deulofeu and Steven Pienaar could return. Leighton Baines has himself a new four-year contract. The Merseyside derby promises plenty of goals, but Everton has nine draws and might settle for the point.


Aston Villa (6-6-10) vs. WBA (4-10-8)

Gabriel Agbonlahor is an injury doubt and Matthew Lowton messed up and was late for training, but Christian Benteke looks to have regained his confidence and scoring form. WBA are without Nicolas Anelka, suspended by the FA, and Stephane Sessegnon is out with an injury.

Chelsea (15-4-3) vs. West Ham (4-6-12)

Fernando Torres is out injured, but even if the Spaniard were fit, Samuel Eto’o would likely keep his place in the first XI. Eden Hazard is putting up big fantasy numbers and Oscar scored a marvelous free kick in the FA Cup. Chelsea have won five Premier League games in a row. A clean sheet could be in the making. Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins return from suspension and Andy Carroll will try to show fewer cobwebs.

Sunderland (4-6-12) vs. Stoke (5-7-10)

Sunderland advanced to the final in the League Cup and have lost just twice in 12 matches in all competitions. Stoke have had only five points on the road this season, the worst in the Premier League and have lost four and drawn one in their past five league games. Robert Huth is out and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is back fit.

Tottenham (13-4-5) vs. Manchester City (16-2-4)

Paulinho, Jan Vertonghen and several others could be ready to play again. Fantasy questions remain over clueless Roberto Soldado. Spurs look better without him. Sergio Aguero had a hat trick in the FA Cup victory. Excellent fantasy forward Alvaro Negredo could miss the game with a shoulder injury, but Edin Dzeko is ready and willing. David Silva is expected back for City, which have won six straight Premier League games.

Fantasy captain recommendations:

Wayne Rooney, Eden Hazard, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.


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