Fantasy Football Preview: Gameweek 17

Wayne Rooney Volley

As we move ever closer to the festive schedule there are a few teams with excellent fixtures to consider, and getting your team set now could mean strong returns for a month.

Fixtures Analysis: Last week’s double gameweek brought home big points for those who backed Sunderland, but you may have to shift a few of those players ahead of their trip to Manchester United this weekend. Tottenham Hotspur host Swansea in the first match of a six game run where Spurs players could be good bet. The same goes for Arsenal and Liverpool, whose enticing fixture list starts with a trip to Reading and a visit from Villa respectively. Finally, in form Norwich host Wigan, with the Canaries adding attacking returns to their strong defence over the past couple of matches.

Transfers In: Wayne Rooney (11.9) is looking an increasingly attractive alternative to Robin van Persie (13.8) having outscored the Dutchman over the last few weeks. Either are good choices ahead of the game with Sunderland, as is Rafael (6.4) with the Brazilian full back’s attacking potential backed up by a greater chance of clean sheets when Nemanja Vidic returns.

Spurs will be tricky to call for their game against Swansea, with Bale looking unlikely to start. Clint Dempsey (9.1) has been excellent in recent weeks, and is a decent substitute for Bale, as is Aaron Lennon (7.0). It’s probably best to avoid their strikers for the moment, with rotation and a switch to a one striker system likely. Swansea’s hitman Michu (8.0) is worth considering ahead of the game, with Spurs struggling to clean sheets all season, not to mention the Spaniard’s recent record in North East London.

Arsenal have great fixtures coming up, but terrible form and injuries make them hard to call. Santi Cazorla (9.5) is still the safest name on their teamsheet, however he gets the assists, they’re still worth three points.

Liverpool’s form is tallying nicely with a points-friendly set of fixtures, and there’s plenty of well priced options in there squad. Luis Suarez (10.3) is still the go to man at Anfield, but Shelvey (5.2) and Sterling (5.7) are fantastic bargains in their midfield. Jose Enrique’s (6.1) star has fallen a little with a move back into the defence and an injury in his last outing, but if he’s fit, then he’s a great defensive option.

Norwich have been defensively sound for a while, and now look to have added goals to their play with six in the last two matches. Bassong (4.9) looks a must have at his price, with his threat at corners apparent in recent weeks. Their midfield is chock full of goals, with Snodgrass (5.9) and Pilkington (5.7) perhaps the best bets ahead of Wigan’s visit.

Selection doubts: Spurs will be hard to call this week, with Bale and Parker on the brink of featuring for the side again. Arsenal are still plagued by injuries, with Walcott, Koscielny and Giroud all racing to be fit for the weekend. Vidic could return to Manchester United’s starting eleven this weekend, but Kompany looks unlikely to be fit for Manchester City’s visit to Newcastle.

Captain choice: Most teams will have one of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in your squad by now, and either is a good shout for the armband this weekend.

images: © Audrey Pilato, © nasmac

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