Teams to look out for
Spurs are an interesting prospect at the moment. Form wise, they are on a poor run, without a win in 7 matches in all competitions. In this period, they only scored 4 goals, each of the four in separate games. However, Spurs had a massive boost in recent weeks, with the return of star striker Harry Kane, whose importance was apparent in his first match back, netting the equaliser against Arsenal. Despite the return of Kane though, Spurs have a long injury list at the moment, with many players ruled out or doubtful for GW12. This includes the first team regulars Lamela, Alli, Dembele, Eriksen, Alderweireld and Wanyama, which leaves massive holes for Pochettino to fill. If these players can return to full fitness and provide service to Harry Kane and sure-up the defence, Tottenham will be a formidable force over the coming weeks. If not, their poor form may continue.
Stoke are currently is excellent form, without a loss in 6 league matches. This run has produced 10 goals as well as 2 clean sheets. This period has seen the form rise of Joe Allen, who has managed 12 shots (4 goals) and 10 shot assists (2 assists), as well as solid performances from Wilfried Bony (10 shots & 2 goals in last 3 matches), Xherdan Shaqiri (10 shots & 11 shot assists from GW6-9) and Lee Grant (20 saves) during this unbeaten run. Although injuries to Whelan & Cameron may force Allen out of his advanced role and back into his more familiar defensive midfield position, at home Stoke should have enough firepower to defeat a Bournemouth side without an away win all season. If Stoke can continue to perform well and their key players can maintain their form, both attacking and defensive options from the club are viable FPL options over the next three GWs.
After starting the season so brightly, Hull went off the boil completely from GW3-10. However, in GW11, the Tigers managed to pull off a major upset, coming from behind to defeat Southampton 2-1. A goal and an assist to Robert Snodgrass capped off a solid performance by Hull, and this win could signal better things to come. Although first team forwards Hernandez (groin), Diomande (suspension) and Keane (rupture ACL) are all out injured, Dieumerci Mbokani, who is a proven goal scorer in the PL (7 goals for Norwich last season), should get his chance up front. Robert Snodgrass, who has 4 goals and 1 assist this season, is central to Hull’s attacking play (18 shots, 12 shot assists & 46 crosses), and will be an important player over this period, as will Sam Clucas (36 tackles) and Michael Dawson, who netted the winner last GW vs the Saints. With 7 out of the Hull’s 10 next matches being favourable fixtures, it will be an excellent opportunity for them to move out of the drop zone and climb up the table. This will undoubtedly act as an incentive, and we may see some desperate and passionate performances from Hull, which may tempt managers to punt on players such as Dawson, Mason, Snodgrass and Mbokani over the coming weeks.
Games to look out for
Manchester United vs Arsenal
This match will be a fascinating one. Form wise, Arsenal seem in a stronger position to take the three points, having not lost a league game since GW1. Arsenal have also scored 24 goals this season, 8 more than Manchester United and have also conceded 2 less goals. Moreover, Arsenal have scored 12 goals in their past 4 away games (av. 3 per game). However, the past history of these matches suggests United may be victorious. United have only lost 1 of their last 10 matches against Arsenal, who have gone over 10 years without beating Untied at Old Trafford. Furthermore, Mourinho has never lost a PL game against Arsenal. The home team has won the past 2 match-ups between these sides, scoring 3 goals in to win the match. Additionally, there has only been 1 clean sheet in the past 5 encounters between United and Arsenal, suggesting that attacking players from either side should be viable options in GW12, but defensive options may be less sought after. As a result, Ozil (2 goals from 6 shots & 2 assists from 11 shot assists in past 3 vs United), Sanchez (2 goals from 12 shots & 11 shot assists in past 4 vs United) and even Ander Herrera (2 goals in past 2 games vs Arsenal) or Marcus Rashford (brace against Arsenal at Old Trafford last season) are all option worth considering this GW.
Interesting stat: From the 10 penalties taken in this fixture at Old Trafford, 6 have been missed. This is more than any other game at a single venue.
Watford vs Leicester
Both teams come into this clash off the back of a shocking loss in GW11. For Watford, the 6-1 loss to Liverpool was a shocking team performance, and Leicester’s 2-1 home loss to West Brom was a shock loss at home for the reigning PL champions. Historically, Watford have never won a PL game against Leicester. However, when including Championship games, Leicester have only won 2 out of their last 8 matches against Watford at Vicarage Road. This season, Leicester have only gained 1 point away from home, and have conceded 14 goals. This is in contrast to Watford’s home form, where they haven’t lost since GW3. However, Watford currently have a long injury list, with key defensive players Gomes (knee), Prodl (groin), Cathcart (groin) and Holebas (suspended) all under injury clouds or ruled out. This may play into the hands of Leicester, who have a full complement of attacking players fit and raring to go, which means that Musa (2 goals in past 3 matches), Mahrez (11 shots & 6 shot assists in last 5 PL where he has played 60min+) and Slimani (1 goal from 7 shots & 1 assist from 3 shot assists in last three starts) should all be noteworthy options for FPL managers. It must be noted however that Leicester do have a Champions League match midweek, so we may see some rotation from Ranieri. Also, the injury to Kasper Schmeichel somewhat diminishes the appeal of Leicester defenders in this clash, especially considering Troy Deeney will be trying to net his 100th goal and Capoue is in relatively good form stats wise, registering 3 shots on target last GW and managing 2+ shots in each of Watford’s last three matches. Therefore, it is clear that this should be a game to look out for this GW.
Interesting stat: Watford have conceded the most headed goals (8) this season. All four of Slimani’s goals for Leicester in all competitions have been headers.
Middlesbrough vs Chelsea
Many expect an in form Chelsea side to have a field day against Middlesbrough, especially given past history where Chelsea have only lost twice in their past 17 vs Boro, and are undefeated in their last 5 matchups, conceding zero goals. However, this may not necessarily be the case. Although Chelsea have been blitzing teams recently, in particular Leicester, Manchester United and Everton winning 5-0, 4-0 and 3-0, all these wins have come at home. Also, 6 of Eden Hazard’s 7 goals this season have come at Stamford Bridge, and he has blanked in 4 of his past 5 away matches. In addition, although Hazard is currently under an injury cloud which is suspected to clear before the match, leading goal scorer Costa (groin) is doubtful for the trip to Riverside Stadium. As a result, the safest options from the Chelsea side for this clash are Marcos Alonso (1 goal from 2 shots & also 3 shot assists last GW), Pedro (2 goals & 4 assists in past 4 matches), and even Matic (6 assists this season). Just as Chelsea are in great form themselves, so are Boro. In the past three GWs, Middlesbrough have faced tough opponents Manchester City and Arsenal away from home, and only conceded 1 goal in these matches, as well as keeping a CS against Bournemouth at home in between. This could bring Boro defenders such as Friend (3 bonus in past two) or Gibson into play.
Interesting stat: 5 of Middlesbrough’s last 7 goals have come from crosses. Chelsea have conceded 9 goals this season, and 5 of them have come from crosses.
Potential Stand out Players
Sergio Aguero vs Crystal Palace (away) - £13.1 (TSB 46.5%)
From his 4 away matches this season, Aguero has scored 6 goals (20 shots) and registered 1 assist (5 shot assists). As a result, he is averaging 11 points away from home this season. Historically, City have scored 9 goals in their past 2 matches against Palace, who are currently in poor form, having conceded 10 goals in their last 3 league matches. Finally, Aguero is also well rested, having been benched for both on Argentina’s matches during the international break, so he should be raring to go this GW.
Romelu Lukaku vs Swansea (home) - £9.8 (TSB 34.2%)
Lukaku is in great goal scoring touch at the moment, scoring 7 goals and registering 3 assists in his last 9 PL starts and also netting 5 goals in his last 3 starts for Belgium. In his last three home games this season, Lukaku has scored in each match and also managed 2 assists, averaging 10.7 points at home during this period. This GW, he will face a Swansea side who have conceded 21 goals this season, which is joint second most in the PL. Swansea have also conceded 3 goals per match in three of their past four games.
Nacer Chadli vs Burnley (home) - £6.4 (TSB 3.0%)
Despite a knee injury which ruled him out of last GW’s win against Leicester and still facing a late fitness test this weekend, Chadli is expected to return to the starting XI for West Brom this week at home to Burnely. The West Brom squad should be full of confidence this GW after the big win, and will be hoping to carry this form into GW12. Having conceded 127 shots in the past 5 GWs, it is fair to say that Burnley have not been defending very well. In particular, their away defending has been woeful, with 72 shots conceded in their past two away games. This definitely bodes well for Chadli and FPL managers, as Chadli is a player who has delivered 3 goals and 2 assists in three home games this season, with an average of 11 points each time he plays at The Hawthorns. Furthermore, West Brom have scored 6 goals in their past 2 matches against Burnley, and even more impressively 15 their past 5 agaisnt Burnely at The Hawthorns. As a result, it is clear that Nacer Chadli definitely has the potential to be a standout player this GW.
Mesut Ozil vs Manchester United (away) - £9.6 (TSB 9.2%)
Ozil has been in great form for Arsenal this season, scoring 7 goals and registering 4 assists in 13 matches in all competitions. Recently, his away form has been quite impressive stats wise. In Ozil’s last three away games, he has managed 11 shots and 8 shot assists. These statistics are promising for FPL managers, especially considering his past form vs Manchester United (2 goals from 6 shots & 2 assists from 11 shot assists in past 3).
Robert Snodgrass vs Sunderland (away) - £5.5 (TSB 3.7%)
This is a big game for Hull, and they will no doubt come out firing at the Stadium of Light. Snodgrass is Hull’s main attacking player with 4 goals and 1 assist this season as well as 18 shots, 12 shot assists & 46 crosses. He is also on free kick and corner duty in a team which has scored the most goals from set pieces this season, which heightens his appeal. Also, in 4 games away from home this season, Snodgrass has managed 6 shots and 8 shot assists, which is reasonable given his side is sitting 18th on the ladder. Furthermore, in the past 5 matches between these sides, Hull are unbeaten, with 10 goals scored, including 5 away from home in two matches.
David Silva vs Crystal Palace (away) - £8.7 (TSB 2.3%)
Despite a lack of returns for City this season (2 assists in 10 starts), Silva’s underlying stats have been quite impressive, especially on the creative side. He has created a chance every 27.97 minutes with 31 shot assists, which ranks equal 2nd among all players. Also, he is also ranked 3rd for final third passes, which highlights how Silva is clearly central to City’s attacking play. He has also managed 14 shots this season. Looking back at Silva’s past matches against Crystal Palace, he has scored 3 goals (13 shots) and provided 1 assist (9 shot assists) in his last three matches up against The Eagles, who themselves have conceded 10 goals in their past 3 league matches. Also, his recent form for his country has been superb, with 4 goals and 3 assist in his last 6 matches for Spain, indicating his potential to both score goals and provide assists for teammates. Therefore, although Silva is not a near essential FPL asset like he used to be, his underlying statistics this season for City, as well as his form for Spain (5 goals and 3 assists in past 6 matches), suggest that he may be able to provide large hauls to FPL managers ready to punt on him.
MUN 1 (Mata) | ARS 3 (Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud)
CRY 0 | MCI 4 (Aguero x2, Silva, Sterling)
EVE 3 (Lukaku x2, Barkley) | SWA 1 (Sigurdsson)
SOU 1 (Austin) | LIV 3 (Firmino, Milner, Wijnaldum)
STK 2 (Shaqiri, Bony) | BOU 0
SUN 1 (Watmore) | HUL 2 (Snodgrass, Mbokani)
WAT 2 (Deeney, Capoue) | LEI 2 (Vardy, Musa)
TOT 1 (Kane) | WHU 0
MID 0 | CHE 1 (Pedro)
WBA 1 (Chadli) | BUR 1 (Vokes)
"Star Picks XI" for GW12:
If you have any questions about GW12 or need some advice on your team, please don’t hesitate to contact me on twitter – I’m happy to help.
For all the latest injury news, visit http://premierinjuries.com/
For all the latest team news, visit http://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/team-news/
Enjoy this week’s Premier League action and good luck to all FPL managers for GW12.
By Sebastian Candido