Double (Week) Vision: Gunners & Hammers

Posted by John Culea

David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty ImagesTheo Walcott's fantasy owners are hoping to see celebrations by him in Arsenal's next two games

We have another week with 11 Premier League matches, when Arsenal and West Ham play a makeup game at the Emirates Jan. 23 to make up their match suspended because of a Boxing Day transit strike.

Arsenal will be coming off a road trip to Chelsea Jan. 20, while West Ham will have been at home to QPR Jan. 19.

As we saw in Round 22, double game weeks are vital to fantasy success. Chelsea's Eden Hazard (19), Juan Mata (10), Demba Ba (10), and Petr Cech (9) brought rewards, as did Southampton’s Jason Puncheon (13), Rickie Lambert (12), and the entire Saints defense, especially Luke Shaw (8 after an assist was correctly removed) and keeper Artur Boruc (8). Any of those players as captain brought double points. Sir John managed 93 points for the week on the strength of Captain Mata, Branislav Ivanovic, Ba, Shaw, Puncheon, and Lambert.

Arsenal has a number of players worthy of transfer consideration, including Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud, Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny. Wilshere got the game-winning goal in the FA Cup result over Swansea on Wednesday, but is a poor fantasy point producer. Arsenal’s last Premier League game was their stinker against Manchester City last Sunday. Mikel Arteta is out injured and Laurent Koscielny is suspended.

West Ham offers several options: Kevin Nolan is probably the most attractive. Others include Winston Reid, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Ricardo Vaz Te. Joe Cole could be a choice even though he wasn’t even on the team sheet for the FA Cup match against Manchester United. Big Sam apparently wants him rested to go against QPR, who bidded for Cole’s services. Another player supposedly fit but not on the team sheet was the forlorn Andy Carroll. Pony Tail is not recommended for your fantasy team. Mark Noble, James Collins and Mohamed Diame are injury concerns.

An advantage to fantasy managers this week is that there is no early game and five of the six matches on the first day kick off at the same time. This will give managers a chance to see the announced lineups of Liverpool, Norwich City, Manchester City, Fulham, Newcastle United, Reading, Swansea City, Stoke City, QPR, Wigan, Sunderland, WBA, Aston Villa and most importantly West Ham United thirty minutes before kickoff for possible changes before the week is locked. So don’t make your transfers until you see who Big Sam has starting. Go to ESPNFC Gamecast to see the announced lineups for the five early matches beginning about 0930 ET.

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