Who to back this week: Manchester United, Newcastle United, Chelsea and Tottenham
The strategem for Gameweek 16 has to be to back Chelsea and Manchester United’s players to the hilt. We’d also recommend players from Tottenham and Newcastle, although don’t put your house on them both winning. Andre Villas-Boas proved that Manchester City are not as invincible as everybody thought on Monday night and both Chelsea and Manchester United will rightly be thinking they are back in the title race, with Roberto Mancini’s side just two points clear now. United and Chelsea also have a pretty favourable run of fixtures over the festive period, so free up some cash for the big hitters!
After disposing of the only team that has any chance of winning the Premier League, Chelsea travel to the DW to take on a Wigan side that has only registered one home win this season. AVB will be fairly confident of coming away from the north west with all three points and enjoying a few goals in the process, provided Fernando Torres remains on the bench. It’s difficult to look far from Chelsea form players Juan Mata (£9.7m) and Daniel Sturridge (£6.9m), although Didier Drogba (£10.1m) is also well worth considering. Defensive midfielders aren’t exactly the most prolific fantasy footy point scorers, but his price makes Oriol Romeu (£4.6m) a tempting option.
As for Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side could return to the top of the table with a win at QPR on Sunday. They travel to Loftus Road unbeaten away, with Neil Warnock probably just glad to be hosting the likes of Sir Alex and Wayne Rooney. The Rs have only won once at home this season and won’t be expecting any favours from United. Phil Jones (£6.6m) has been playing out of position in midfield recently which means he has to be considered. With Nemanja Vidic on the long-term injury list, Rio Ferdinand (£6.5m) is back to being first choice, although at £4.4m, Jonny Evans could be the way to go. Luis Nani’s (£10.1m) form cannot be ignored at the minute, while Antonio Valencia (£7.8m) could also be a valuable addition to your squad. Wayne Rooney (£11.9m) bagged himself a brace against Wolves last week and although he is expensive, his value has dropped considerably since his goal against Chelsea back in September and it could be the right time to get back on the Rooney bandwagon. If you’re wary of splashing the cash, Danny Wellbeck (£6.6m) could be less of a gamble.
Newcastle face Swansea at St James’ Park on Saturday and will be hoping to avoid three successive defeats. The good news for Alan Pardew is that Swansea are yet to register an away win and have only recorded one clean sheet on the road. With that in mind, Demba Ba (£7.2m) is certainly a player who ought to be in your team. Equally, Spurs will be favourites against Sunderland at White Hart Lane despite losing at Stoke last weekend. They’re quite pricey but bringing in Emmanuel Adebayor (£9m) and Gareth Bale (£8.9m) should prove to be money well spent.
Others worth considering
The other fixtures this weekend look pretty tough games to call but there are still some bargains to be had. Thomas Sorensen (£4.3m) appears to have re-established himself as Stoke’s no.1 keeper and looks a decent bet. Equally, his team-mates Robert Huth (£5.6m) and Ryan Shawcross (£5.1m) can offer value for money to your defensive options. If you’ve blown most of your budget on the likes of Rooney, Nani or Mata and you find yourself in need of a midfielder to balance the books, you could look to Glenn Whelan (£5m) or Matthew Etherington (£6.4m). There’s also Victor Moses (£4.6m), who finally got himself on the scoresheet last weekend, netting Wigan’s equaliser at the Hawthorns. If you need a striker for under £6m, we’d recommend Ayegbeni Yakubu (£5.8m), Shane Long (£5.7m) or Steve Morison (£5m). It’s got to be better than wasting your money on Torres or Andy Carroll.