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Team Talk Gameweek 22 – FPL Fantasy Premier League

IntroWelcome to GW22 and it’s a week where many fantasy managers will be licking their lips with excitement and anticipation with home bankers looking on the cards for Arsenal, Man City & Liverpool. With many more wildcards being played this week, expect a high-scoring week as managers plan to take advantage of favourable fixtures and the return of Sergio Aguero and Daniel Sturridge. The Premier League itself is developing into a fascinating season – at the top, Chelsea and City are really kicking into gear now and are looking to up the ante on Arsenal at the top, the challenge for the final Champions League place is also hotting up with Liverpool currently holding that spot but Everton and Spurs refuse to back down while United are also still lurking (ish). But the scrap at the bottom is the battle that fascinates most – just six points separate Hull in 10th to Palace at the bottom – if any of the teams in that bottom half can get on a run they can elevate themselves away from immediate danger.

The game-week starts Saturday lunchtime as Sunderland host Southampton – then we have five 3pm kick-offs as Arsenal entertain Fulham, Stoke visit Palace, City tackle Cardiff at the Etihad, Hull travel to Norwich and West Ham play Newcastle. The evening kick-off sees Liverpool host Aston Villa. On Sunday, Spurs travel to Swansea for the early kick-off before the match of the weekend takes place at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea and United meet. Finally, Monday night football sees Everton facing West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Without further ado, let’s go around the grounds and catch up on the latest team news.

Sunderland vs Southampton (Sat 18 Jan 12.45)

Southampton take the long trip north to Sunderland having suffered a turbulent week starting with the resignation of Chairman Nicola Cortese, then the speculation around the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino, followed by transfer rumours surrounding a number of their squad including Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert. The Black Cats meanwhile are in a much better place and will head into the game looking for a fourth successive win in all competitions and will look to continue a run that has seen them not lose at home to the Saints since 2003. Intersestingly, Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley has scored in his last two home appearances against the Saints.

Gus Poyet has a relatively full-strength squad to choose from and will hope Adam Johnson can continue his form of last weekend, when his hat-trick inspired Sunderland to a 4-1 triumph at Fulham. Defender Carlos Cuellar is doing well and close to a return, while keeper Keiren Westwood has undergone shoulder surgery, but is still not expected to play much this season. Striker Ji Dong-Won has left the club to join Augsburg.

Having confirmed he will stay at the club, for now at least, Pochettino has no new injuries to deal with and he’ll be hoping the players are not too affected by the week’s events. Midfielder Victor Wanyama faces a late fitness test, while Calum Chambers could again be available as he has recovered from illness. Pablo Osvaldo misses out through suspension

Arsenal vs Fulham (Sat 18Jan 15.00)

Table topping Arsenal welcome Fulham to the Emirates looking for their fifth successive win in the league, while the Cottagers could easily find themselves back in the drop zone by the end of the weekend. Fulham have never won at Arsenal and not many will be backing them to buck that trend this week – I’d say the best they could hope for is a draw, but even that looks unlikely, given the fact they have only drawn one match all season. The Gunners have kept seven clean sheets in their last eight games at the Emirates, though Dimitar Berbatov will be looking to grab the attention of Arsene Wenger in the hope of another decent pay day.

To the disappointment of many who made early transfers this week, Aaron Ramsey continues to miss out with a thigh injury, which has already seen him miss the previous three games. Defender Thomas Vermaelen and midfielder Mikel Arteta are also ruled out, but Wenger is confident all three will be available for GW23. Defender Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky are also slight doubts for the game – both will need fitness tests before the game, but the manager thinks they will be ok, while Nicklas Bendtner continues to miss out. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is nearing a start.

Fulham’s only doubt for the game is defender Fernando Amorebieta, who suffered a knee injury in training earlier this week. Striker Brian Ruiz has joined PSV on loan until the end of the season. Captain Brede Hangeland made his comeback in the midweek Cup victory over Norwich, but whether he can be risked again so soon this weekend remains to be seen.

Crystal Palace vs Stoke City (Sat 18Jan 15.00)

Tony Pulis welcomes his old employers to Selhurst Park, but it’s his former club that are the happier of the two, with Palace rooted at the foot of the league and Stoke pushing halfway, although they’re only 5pts ahead of the bottom spot. Despite a bright start, the Eagles have only won once in six matches, though the Potter’s away record will give them hope – winless in eight matches on their travels will be a cause for concern for Mark Hughes.

Hughes has confirmed that keeper Jack Butland will start in goal, despite Thomas Sorensen being fully fit, while first choice Amir Begovic will have a scan on his hand on Monday. Loanee John Guidetti will travel down with the squad, but will likely not start, while fellow loanee Oussama Assaidi is also eligible to feature again, having been ineligible for the Liverpool game. Kenwyne Jones will not play a part, however, as part of his punishment for refusing to play last week against Liverpool and with continued speculation that he may be on the way out of the club, with Everton the reported favourites to sign him. Robert Huth, Matthew Etherington and Andy Wilkinson remain sidelined. Midfielder Stephen Ireland completed a permanent signing to the Potters in midweek.

Palace striker Cameron Jerome won’t feature this weekend as he isn’t allowed to face his parent club as part of the loan agreement – fellow striker Glenn Murray is due to return to training next week and could be back challenging for a first team place in 2-3 weeks. Midfielder Kagisho Dikacoi is again missing with a calf injury, while winger Yannick Bolasi, who suffered a groin injury in the loss at Spurs, is a doubt. However, fellow winger Jerome Thomas has stepped up his training and could make the bench, while Adlene Guedioura will be vying for a starting place.

Man City vs Cardiff City (Sat 18Jan 15.00)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his team to face a City side in imperious form – ten wins and a draw out of their last eleven matches in the league has seen them rise to second, just a point behind Arsenal. It’s a different story for Cardiff, however, as five defeats in seven has seen them slide down the table and they now find themselves in the relegation zone. Of course, Cardiff defeated City 3-2 earlier in the season, but midfielder Pete Whittingham’s comments this week that “it’s a tough task, we know that” suggests the boss may be trying to orchestrate a damage limitation exercise – given they have won just once away from home this season, it could be a busy afternoon for Cardiff keeper David Marshall.

Manuel Pellegrini has eased many an FPL manager’s nerves by saying that midfielder’s Yaya Toure and David Silva have both had a good week’s rest and are fit to make the squad for the game, as is captain Vincent Kompany, who was also left out of the midweek FA Cup replay vs Blackburn. Sergio Aguero is back, but the manager is uncertain whether he will start the match, as he is eased back after missing the last five league matches. Samir Nasri is out for up to eight weeks, but better news of striker Stevan Jovetic, who should be back in contention from next week.

Solskjaer is hoping Craig Bellamy will improve his match fitness, but he should feature at some point against his former club, but defender Andrew Taylor and midfielder Jordon Mutch both miss the match through injury. New signings Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Mats Moller Dehli are both in contention to make their debuts.

Norwich vs Hull City (Sat 18Jan 15.00)

It’s difficult to work out which side goes into this one with less confidence. The Canaries haven’t won in eight league games and were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup at Fulham (I once got dumped in Fulham too, but that’s for another time), while Hull have won just once in the same time period. With renewed speculation over his job, Chris Hughton has been told by the Chief Executive that he has a job as long as Norwich stay out of the relegation zone – hold on a sec, you may want to check my maths but if Norwich lose and Palace, Sunderland and West Ham all win their home games, a P45 may be on Hughton’s desk come Monday morning. For what it’s worth, Roberto Di Matteo is understood to be the favoured replacement. Having written all this, just watch Norwich storm to a victory!

Steve Bruce has had a decent week in the transfer market, buying strikers Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic in an effort to make the Tigers more prolific in front of goal. The manager has no new injuries, meaning defender Paul McShane is likely to miss out again, while midfielder Robbie Brady and striker Sone Aluko are both 2-3 weeks away from a return.

Canary midfielders Alex Tettey and Anthony Pilkington will be back in the squad for this weekend, though Tettey particularly is unlikely to start after being out for so long. Michael Turner, Elliott Bennett and Jonny Howson remain sidelined. Jonas Gutierrez is in line to make his debut for Norwich.

West Ham vs Newcastle (Sat 18Jan 15.00)

I have a strong feeling that this match won’t be the first one shown on Match of the Day on Saturday night and fans attending the game may be advised to take a large flask of coffee, or indeed something stronger. Newcastle have failed to score in their last three league matches against West Ham, who themselves average just one goal a game this season, while there was just one shot on target in the whole game when the two met in the reverse fixture in GW2. Alan Pardew and Big Sam both face their former clubs knowing a loss is to be avoided for differing reasons – Newcastle so they can avoid their fourth league defeat in a row and the Hammers so they can continue to inch themselves away from the bottom of the league.

Big Sam is hoping that Andy Carroll will be able to start his first game of the season vs his old club, having made an 18 minute cameo from the bench at Cardiff last week. The manager is also crossing his fingers that defender James Collins will be fit after recovering from a slight groin injury. Ravel Morrison has trained all week and should be available, despite continued speculation he wants to leave. Guy Demel and Winston Reid are both injured and James Tomkins and Kevin Nolan are suspended.

Pardew has to do without defenders Mathieu Debuchy & Fabricio Coloccini – Debuchy misses the match as he completes his three-match suspension, while Coloccini is expected back next month as he recovers from a knee injury. There are no fresh injuries and the manager is likely to start the same side that battled valiantly against City last weekend.

Liverpool vs Aston Villa (Sat 18 Jan 17.30)

Goals, goals, goals has been the order of the recent few matches for Liverpool – if we take out their losses to Chelsea and City, the Reds have scored 24 goals in six matches and you wouldn’t bet against them knocking in another four on Saturday evening. The enigma that is Aston Villa means it’s hard to call what performance will materialise – they can look dreadful and superb in the same game, but with just one victory in seven league games, this is not the fixture they’d choose for this week – especially with the much anticipated return to the starting line-up of Daniel Sturridge, who wasted no time in marking his return to scoring form from the bench at Stoke last weekend. Villa, however, are unbeaten in their last two at Anfield and won this fixture 3-1 last season with Christian Benteke scoring twice – it will need a similarly dynamic performance from the Belgian striker if there is to be a repeat. For anyone looking for a tip – Steven Gerrard has scored more goals against Villa than any other opponent in the Premier League.

Villa defender Nathan Baker is ruled out with concussion, which forced his early exit against Arsenal, while Chris Herd is set to miss out again with a hamstring problem. But left back Joe Bennet has trained all week and could play. Lambert is hoping Benteke’s goal against the Gunners will give him the boost he needs to now push on and rediscover his form of last season. Grant Holt has joined the club on loan until the end of the season to give cover in the absence of injured frontman Libor Kozak, while Ryan Bertrand has joined from Chelsea on the same arrangement and could walk straight into the side.

Sturridge should return to the starting line-up to bring back the SAS partnership back to many manager’s minds. Brendan Rodgers is also pleased to welcome Joe Allen back from injury – the midfielder returned to training in the week and will be available for the game. But defender Mamadou Sakho will need to be assessed before the game, while fellow defenders Daniel Agger, Jon Flanagan and Jose Enrique remain on the treatment table

Swansea vs Tottenham (Sun 19 Jan 13.30)

Swansea welcome Spurs to the Liberty Stadium knowing that results need to change – they have won just two of their last 15 home matches in the league and are starting to slip precariously towards the relegation dogfight. Spurs, on the other hand, have lost just three of their last 21 league games on the road, winning their last four and have won four and lost none of their PL meetings with the Swans.

Spurs boss Tim Sherwood reports Andros Townsend made his comeback in midweek, playing 45mins for the U21s and is in contention for the weekend, as is fellow midfielder Sandro. Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen have also both returned to training, though they won’t play this weekend, but could be available to face City in GW23. Paulinho remains out with an ankle injury.

Roland Lamah is expected to be back in the squad for the game, while Pablo Hernandez, Nathan Dyer and Dwight Tiendalli have a chance of the game, but with the need to be assessed late on. Michel Vorm is still sidelined, but could return to training next week – in the meantime Gerhard Tremmel will continue to deputise. Michu and Jonathan De Guzman remain unavailable, as is Jose Canas, who has been ruled out for a month with an ankle injury.

Chelsea vs Man Utd (Sun 19 Jan 16.00)

United travel down to Chelsea knowing a victory would lift their confidence no end, but also in the knowledge that defeat would leave the Reds twelve points behind Jose Mourinho’s men and would destroy any remaining hopes they may have of defending their title. A defeat, let’s face it, is much more likely, especially when you bear in mind Mourinho has never lost a Premier League match at the Bridge and he is looking for his 100th win in the PL. United have now not beaten Chelsea in five matches and Jose’s mind games have started already, with him claiming that “I would prefer Rooney and RvP to play this weekend”, yeah right, of course you would Jose!!

Mourinho has said that Frank Lampard has resumed training and has a chance of playing, but defender Branislav Ivanovic is very unlikely to be fit, so expect Ashley Cole to retain the left back berth while Cesar Azpilicueta continues on the right. Ryan Bertrand has chosen to go on a loan spell until the end of the season at Aston Villa, while Michael Essien’s agent has said the player will be leaving the club.

Unfortunately, Mourinho doesn’t get his wish as Rooney and RvP have both been ruled out of the game. Moyes hopes RvP can return to training next week, while he says of Rooney, “he’s training, doing some running and looking good”. C’mon Davie Boy, two of those we can just about believe, but “looking good” ??? Moyes admits he cannot give a return date for the good-looking striker….or Rooney. Meanwhile, pizza-hunter Anderson is off to Italy after being told the takeaways were much better there – so Fiorentina it is on loan for the big chap, while in Florence, pizza restaurants are understood to be undertaking a huge recruitment drive. Unlike United, it seems. Moving on, it is reported that Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini have both returned to training, so good news and bad news there. Nani and Ashley Young are still out, while there are still doubts on Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans – when I say doubts, I mean on their fitness, not ability. Looks like Mourinho’s 100th win is only a couple of days away.

West Brom vs Everton (Mon 20 Jan 20.00)

West Brom and new manager Pepe Mel welcome Everton to the Hawthorns having won just once in eleven league matches, a run that has seen them edge closer to the relegation zone. The Toffees are unbeaten in three and won four of their last six and retain hopes of a Champions League place. Romelu Lukaku returns to the club where he spent last season on loan and of course the last time he played at West Brom, he notched a second half hat-trick for them vs United on the final day of last season – though the striker is on a bit of a goal drought, having only scored once in eight games.

New signing Aiden McGreedy is in the squad for the trip but unlikely to start as he needs to regain match fitness, having not played for six weeks. Sylvain Distin has returned to training and is available for the game, but Antolin Alcaraz is still a week away from full fitness. Ross Barkley is also out with fractured toe, though, according to Martinez, he is recovering well, while Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone remain long term absentees.

Baggies boss Mel will have to do without defenders Billy Jones and Goran Popov for the match, so will likely name the same back four that lost at Southampton last week. Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon are both doubts for the game, while Shane Long has left the club to join Hull.

Good luck to you all for GW22.

This article was written by Cookie.

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  1. 97
    med86ff says:

    Hearing talk of Lallana to Man Utd….thoughts?

    In fantasy football land…any help please:

    Mignolet, Gazza
    Chester, Azpilicueta, Ward, Zabaleta, Baker
    Lallana, Hazard, Januzaj, Silva, Delph
    Giroud, Suarez, Lukaku

    • 97.1
      Odd1 says:

      Nice selection med86ff. Do you have any cash?
      No idea about Lallana. Mutd probably need someone better than him for the midfield.

      • med86ff says:

        I’ve got 4.6m in the bank, 1 FT, both wildcards available. Trying to hold out on Jan wildcard for next week, not sure best time to play it!

  2. 98
    Albertini says:

    Morning everyone!

    After Aguero’s rise of yesterday I got 0.1 short of my planned 2 FT’s for next GW (Ozil+Adebayor to Ramsey+Aguero).
    Need suggestions for a short term (maybe 2 or 3 games) mid up to 7.0.
    Wilshere (not much convinced but would give me Arsenal cover), Sterling (game time risk), Henderson, Sissoko, Nolan?…

    Right now my team is:

    Boruc, Mannone
    Ozil, Eriksen, Oscar, Silva, Pozuelo
    Suarez, JRod, Adebayor

    Any thoughts much appreciated.

    • 98.1
      Odd1 says:

      Tricky values close to 7.0m. I would go Stirling but how about Shelvey or Ki? Either would give you funds for elsewhere if you need it.

      • Albertini says:

        Cheers Odd1. Ki might be an option, nice fixtures ahead. Sterling if he starts today also. Not Shelvey, already have Pozuelo. The idea is a short term replacement until I have funds to bring in Ramsey, if he falls to 7.0 I’d be able to make the move next week.

    • 98.2
      B-Bash says:

      ok, dont laugh at me, but………Charlie Adam! 😉 Great differential too at 5.6
      No joke though he has good potential to score points
      Check his stats mate

    • 98.3
      ememeh says:

      Sidwell has great stats, albeit tough immediate fixtures; Januzaj is the brightest spark in the Utd midfield; Wilshere is actually a good call; unfortunately Mutch is injured, maybe Whittingham – although it’s unknown whether Eikrem will eventually challenge him for starts and set pieces; Ki is a good call.

      • Albertini says:

        Cheers ememeh.
        Today’s lineups will be crucial to my decision, Aguero’s price might rise again tonight so I have to make the moves today.

    • 98.4
      The B says:

      I am currently thinking about Nolan/Januzaj myself to replace Ozil and get Aguero next week in place of Adebayor.

      Nolan is a great fantasy pick, he got 2 double digit points in the 2 GWs he played and got banned in the 3rd. My guess is, with Carrol back and WH’s easy fixtures, Nolan would replicate those performances again.

      Januzaj could also turn out to be a bargain if you think he will go more forward. ManUtd has pretty good fixtures too.

  3. 99
    ememeh says:

    Morning all! Unsure who to start in my back line. Should I pay Tezza at home to Utd? I think I’m letting my team support interfere with FPL decision making! Here’s the team:

    Any and all advice appreciated!

  4. 100
    James101 says:


    Confident of a big score this GW?

    • 100.1
      The B says:

      I guess. 3 Arsenal players in my team make a good case for that, but kind of scared that Negro will go mad on Cardiff.

    • 100.2
      Shadow says:

      Even though I haven’t played my WC I am actually, big players have good fixtures and also 9 out if my 11 are at home.. If that is much of an advantage.

  5. 101
    Shadow says:

    A couple of last minute decisions..

    Migs or Boruc?

    Bardsley or Clyne?

  6. 102
    racko says:

    Sturridge or Ozil C ?

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