Gameweek 22 Fantasy Preview

Posted by John Culea

Julian Finney/Getty ImagesComing off an FA Cup brace for Chelsea, Demba Ba is set to make his PL debut for the Blues Saturday against Stoke

The first round of matches in Segment 2 involves two games for Chelsea and Southampton, who will make up the match postponed for Chelsea's Japan trip. They play Wednesday, Jan. 16. This of course means two bites at the fantasy apple for managers who have Blues or Saints in their lineups.

Saturday, January 12

QPR (2-7-12)-Tottenham (12-3-6): Despite the Rangers' shock road result at Chelsea, they are still tied for last place and slim pickings in quality fantasy players. Adel Taarbt is it. Spurs will hope for a road result and solidify their third-place position. Gareth Bale had an FA Cup brace. Emmanuel Adebayor is in Africa.

Aston Villa (4-7-10)-Southampton (4-6-10): Ready, aim, fire. Aston Villa has had 41 bombs go off in their net, highest in the league. Christian Benteke and Andreas Wiemann have 10 of only 17 goals by Villa, who were humiliated in midweek by League Two FA Cup-killer Bradford City. Rickie Lambert has eight goals and three assists for the Saints, who have two PL games in the week.

Everton (9-9-3)-Swansea City (7-8-6): This match could be a high-scoring affair with Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic on the prowl. However, it appears Fellaini is Chelsea-bound, which means big problems for fantasy managers already holding three Chelsea players. Tim Howard has had just two clean sheets. Leighton Baines was subbed off with an ankle injury in the FA Cup. Michu mans Swansea’s goal assembly line with 13 along with Wayne Routledge’s five and an offense loaded with assists. The Swans knocked Chelsea out of the League Cup Wednesday. Michel Vorm is back in goal and had 12 saves his last PL game.

Fulham (6-6-9)-Wigan (5-3-13): Fulham finally got a goal from Dimitar Berbatov. Keeper Mark Schwarzer could return along with Damien Duff. Wigan’s only recommended fantasy goal guy, Arouna Kone, is in Africa for several weeks.

Norwich City (6-7-8)-Newcastle (5-5-11): The Canaries were in a funk before their FA Cup result and hope Grant Holt is ready to play. Newcastle’s medical staff needs Papiss Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini fit. Shola Ameobi is out suspended. Long-term absentee Hatem Ben Arfa, Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye are key losses as the Magpies, only two points from the drop zone, must now do it without 13-goal star Ba.

Reading (2-7-12)-WBA (10-3-8): Reading is only a sniff above QPR for worst in the league. Adam Le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebynyak are trying to keep the Royals from decomposing. The Baggies are a solid 7th in the PL and Romelu Lukaku is finding the net more, now with seven goals after being checked out of the Chelsea library and with WBA for the rest of the season.

Stoke (6-11-4)-Chelsea (11-5-4): It's the first PL match with the Blues for Demba Ba, who comes off a brace against Southampton in the FA Cup. Will Rafa Benitez pair Ba with Fernando Torres, who was awful in midweek? Stoke has only given up 20 goals in 21 matches. Petr Cech and John Terry are out injured.

Sunderland (5-7-9)-West Ham (7-5-8): Big scorer Steven Fletcher is joined by a cast of can’t-shoot-straight mates at Sunderland, who meet 11th-position West Ham. Kevin Nolan and James Collins return from suspension. Black Cats defender Danny Rose is injured.

Sunday, January 13

Manchester United (17-1-3)-Liverpool (8-7-6): The early match on Sunday has 54-goal United preparing for the debut of Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge. The Reds are a season-best 8th place. Wayne Rooney is still out. Chicharito and Robin van Persie are ready to do their thing at Old Trafford.

Arsenal (9-7-4)-Manchester City (13-6-2): The Gunners have scored 40 goals in 20 matches while City has only surrendered 19 in 21 PL outings. Theo Walcott will be signed to a new contract. For City, Samir Nasri is suspended and Yaya and Kolo Toure are in Africa. Sergio Aguero and Aleksandar Kolarov are injured. Mario Balotelli tuned up with the U-21’s and scored a brace. Edin Dzeko looked poor in his last outing. Carlos Tevez has had little playing time.

Wednesday, January 16

Chelsea-Southampton: The Blues and Saints make up their postponed December match. Fantasy managers holding Demba Ba wonder if he will play in both games.

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