Gameweek 15 Fantasy preview

Posted by John Culea

Three days after the end of Gameweek 14, the crunch of December matches continues with games over three days. Fantasy managers wonder what players will get on the pitch, given such decisions as Roberto Scarfcini not starting Carlos Tevez against Chelsea and Wigan and then not playing him at all against the Latics and Rafa Benitez leaving Juan Mata on the bench for the first 63 minutes against Fulham.

Saturday, December 1

West Ham United-Chelsea
The London derby features Chelsea (7-5-2, 3rd) with two 0-0 matches in a row. Man of La Mancha (the Impossible Nightmare?) Rafa has put the brakes on the Blues. The only rewards for fantasy managers are defensive points. Sturridge is injured. Luiz is out with a one-game ban.

West Ham (5-5-5, 10th) only took one shot on target at Old Trafford. Kevin Nolan has had three games without a goal; Andy Carroll has a new goalless streak.

Arsenal-Swansea City
The Gunners (5-6-2, 7th) managed only three shots on goal at Everton. Walcott scored, but the attack looked lame. Podolski was out ill and the team lost Koscielny to injury.

Michu is a fantasy bargain and showed he can score against the top teams with a goal against WBA. Routledge delivered a brace. The Swans (5-5-4, 8th) are a relaxed, good team.

Fulham-Tottenham
Fulham (4-5-5, 11th) is without suspended Hangeland for his third game, but the defense was solid in shutting out Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Berbatov seems poised to break his three-game scoring drought and Riise looked dangerous.

Gareth Bale has scored goals in three straight games (plus an own goal) while Lloris looks comfortable as the new #1. Adebayor will serve his second game ban.

Liverpool-Southampton
Luis Suarez, now without a goal in two straight games will get back on track against the Saints who have surrendered an astounding 31 goals in 14 matches. Liverpool (3-7-4, 12th) continues to underachieve. Southampton (3-3-8, 18th) has good fantasy offensive players in Lambert and Lallana.

Manchester City-Everton
This is probably the most attractive encounter of the week. City (9-5-0, 2nd) drives fantasy managers nuts. Will The Scarf not start Tevez for a third game in a row? Who knows? Balotelli scored his first goal of the season at Wigan. Aguero is overdue to score. Milner left with an injury.

Everton (5-7-2 6th) got Fellaini back and he dominated Arsenal. Mirallas is needed. Baines is out with a hammy issue.

QPR-Aston Villa
There will be great emotion in London for ‘Arry's first home match. QPR (0-5-9, 20th) must win this after only getting a point Tuesday. Cesar is out with an injury. ‘Arry is running everything through Taarabt.

Villa (3-4-7, 17th) got Benteke's goal on Tuesday. AV and QPR have scored only 21 goals total in 28 matches. Darren Bent never even made Paul Lambert's team sheet.

WBA-Stoke City
The Baggies (8-2-4, 4th) were handled easily by Swansea City. The only suggestion WBA supporters may have about Steve Clarke is that he always start Lukaku who nailed his second goal in a row Wednesday.

Stoke (4-7-3, 9th) was impressive against fading Newcastle. Walters and Jerome scored late to grab three points. Crouch left with a facial injury. The Potters have only given up 12 goals.

Reading-Manchester United
Reading (1-6-6, 19th) can read the relegation handwriting on the wall.

You expected more than one goal at Old Trafford from MU on Wednesday. RvP broke his three-game goalless streak. Rooney has not found the net since October 20. Even so, MU (11-0-3) leads the league with 33 goals. Valencia could return.

Sunday, December 2

Norwich City-Sunderland
The Canaries (3-7-4, 13th) are a lousy fantasy team for offensive point-producers (11 goals in 14 matches) and their defense (20 conceded goals) is leaky.

Sunderland also rarely scores (12 goals in 13 matches). The Black Cats (2-7-4, 16th) are only a point out of relegation. On-loan defender Danny Rose looks better every match.

Monday, December 3

Newcastle-Wigan
Alan Pardew's team (3-5-6, 14th) is in serious rot having lost its last four games. Taylor is injured and Ben Afra is still out hurt. Cisse finally scored.

Wigan (4-2-8, 15th) has had two straight games with uncharacteristic gaffes by fantasy favorite Al Habsi in goal.

ESPN Conversations