Premier League Fixture Breakdown: Gameweek 13

Our PlayON Pro and Fantasy Premier League Champion 2014 – Tom Fenley – is back and giving his expert analysis of each fixture ahead of Premier League Gameweek 13.

After the final international break of 2015 the Premier League returns with almost a third of the season played. Now that we’ve reached twelve games it’s time to assess the upcoming fixtures in relation to the teams’ form so far – a guide for which sides to target when selecting your PlayON squad this week.

 

Sat 21 Nov 2015 – Premier League

Watford v Man Utd 12:45

The Hornets sit in 11th place, an encouraging start for a promoted team, based on a defensive resilience that has delivered five clean sheets so far. Four of those shut-outs have arrived from six matches at Vicarage Road, suggesting that their home form could keep them in the division. Keeper Huerelho Gomes has provided solidity at the back while Odion Ighalo is their stand-out attacking player with seven goals and a pair of assists

United may struggle to break Watford down here then having lacked attacking threat of late, failing to score in three of their last five matches.

Juan Mata offers hope though, his goal against West Brom was his fourth of the season, the most of any United player and the Spaniard is also their main creative force with three assists. Louis Van Gaal’s back-line have out-shone their upfield team-mates, eight shut-outs being the best record in the league. Chris Smalling in particular is having an impressive season and has played every minute so far, David De Gea is also one to consider, playing an integral role in the five clean sheets they have kept in their last six matches.

 

Chelsea v Norwich 15:00

The Blues season has not gone as expected, seven losses in a season is unheard of for a Jose Mourinho side, let alone after only 12 league matches. The 1-0 defeat at Stoke was a third defeat in a row but Chelsea now enter a run of games that could aid them in re-establishing their title winning form from the previous campaign. A home game against Norwich is eminently winnable but it’s difficult to pin-point players to select with almost no form to go on, only Willian has shown signs of slight improvement with two goals and as many assists.

Norwich meanwhile will likely believe they can score at Stamford Bridge, especially as they have only blanked twice this season. Their 1-0 victory at Swansea provided their first points in five games and it’s mainly their defence that has been letting them down, the clean sheet at the Brittania their first of the term.

 

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League

 

Everton v Aston Villa 15:00

The Toffees 1-1 draw at West Ham would have been disappointing after a thrilling 6-2 thrashing of Sunderland the previous week at Goodison. They host the only side below the Black Cats in the table and in Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu they have two talented attacking players that appear to have formed an effective understanding, while Arouna Kone’s hat-trick in that last home game adds another dimension to Roberto Martinez’s forward line.

Aston Villa however, have a new manager in Remi Garde who has indicated that sorting out the defensive duties of his squad will be the main priority to help lift them from the bottom of the league. The goalless draw against Manchester City at Villa Park gave the struggling side a fifth point of the season and is a sign at least that they are moving in the right direction.

 

Newcastle v Leicester 15:00

The Magpies 1-0 win at Bournemouth was fortunate, with only two shots on target to the Cherries twenty making it an unlikely second victory of the campaign. Ayoze Perez scored the winner and has three in six matches, making the Spaniard a possible differential to consider against the Foxes. It will be a third successive clean sheet for Steve McClaren’s side if they manage to withhold the free-scoring Leicester attack.

Claudio Ranieri has surprised many by guiding his new team to third in the table, only a single loss so far showing that the Italian has created a side that are difficult to beat and don’t give up easily. A win here would be their fourth in a row and an eighth of the season. Riyad Mahrez has been a revelation in midfield and will be a popular pick for PlayON managers, Jamie Vardy has been equally consistent but is a risky selection with doubts over the striker’s fitness.

 

Southampton v Stoke 15:00

Ronald Koeman has established a well-balanced side, the Saints are on a run of six games unbeaten and have only lost to United and Everton this season. Throughout the squad there are players that are worth considering, especially when at St Mary’s. In defence Ryan Bertrand has stood out with assists in the last two and Virgil Van Dijk is a threat at set-plays. Further forward Dusan Tadic’s form makes the Serbian a viable alternative to Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle, who are decent options themselves.

Stoke’s win against Chelsea was their fourth victory in six, the Potters have been on the up after a sluggish start to the season. They represent a confounding middle-ground for fantasy managers, the side has quality but has scored just ten goals this season, joint worst in the division. Four clean sheets in their last five matches suggests Ryan Shawcross’s return has helped while Jack Butland’s saves have been crucial to that defensive form.

 

Norwich City v Swansea City - Premier League

 

Swansea v Bournemouth 15:00

After some promising early results, Gary Monk’s side have now lost five in eight with the 1-0 defeat to promoted Norwich a clear sign that performances have dropped off. A home game against a Bournemouth side that have conceded thirteen in four matches is a great opportunity for the Swans to get back on track. Andre Ayew is top goalscorer, netting five so far, and is the go-to selection, more is needed from team-mates Gylfi Siggurdsson and Batefimbi Gomis, who have shown they can deliver points in the past.

Eddie Howe has been unfortunate with long-term injuries to main striker Callum Wilson and captain Tommy Elphick creating issues at both ends of the pitch. Five losses in their last six matches does not bode well for the Cherries. They may take advantage of an out-of-sorts Swansea side but on current form it’s risky to go with players like Matt Ritchie and Simon Francis even though they did well earlier in the campaign.

 

West Brom v Arsenal 15:00

Uncharacteristically, West Brom’s home form has been the worst in the league with twelve goals conceded, they have been breached three times on four occasions at the Hawthorns. They have the same amount of clean sheets overall as their opponents Arsenal, of those six clean sheets, only two have been at home suggesting they can be less disciplined defensively in front of their own fans while they push for a goal.

It’s difficult to see Tony Pulis’ side holding out again here against the team that have scored the most away goals (14). The Gunners offer several enticing options for our PlayON teams even with a host of injuries – the consistent Mesut Ozil, who has eight assists and a goal in six matches, the explosive Alexis Sanchez who has already registered a hat-trick away from the Emirates and Olivier Giroud who has scored in their last three on the road.

 

Man City v Liverpool 17:30

The 0-0 at Villa was the second time City have been held in three weeks but at the Etihad they have been a different proposition this term, averaging over three goals a game so it’s difficult to see Liverpool holding out. City could be without Wilfried Bony while Sergio Aguero may make an appearance after returning to training, Manuel Pellegrini’s tactics will hinge on their inclusion as they attempt to deal with the high-pressing of Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace at Anfield was the new manager’s first defeat and shows there’s still work to be done by the German. A draw would be a good result here while the squad get used to the recent change in system, it should be a good match to analyse Reds assets such as Phillipe Coutinho ahead of a kinder run of fixtures.

 

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Sun 22 Nov 2015 – Premier League

Tottenham v West Ham 16:00

Spurs have not lost a match since the opening day defeat to Manchester United, Mauricio Pochettino instilling a new-found defensive resilience, especially at White Hart Lane, where they’ve kept three clean sheets and conceded just twice in their last five. Hugo Lloris and Danny Rose look to be sound picks then, the latter has assisted a goal in each of their last three games. Harry Kane also appears to be back in form with five goals in three matches.  

The Hammers have stumbled of late, after six wins in the opening ten Gameweeks, a loss to Watford and the 1-1 draw with Everton at the Boleyn Ground marks a downturn of fortunes. Dimitri Payet’s injury is also a blow, the Frenchman has been their top goalscorer and main playmaker. Manuel Lanzini may take up some of the strain but it looks like a week to avoid backing Slaven Bilic’s side.

 

Mon 23 Nov 2015 – Premier League

Crystal Palace v Sunderland 20:00

Palace sit in eighth and have won half of their matches so far, a respectable record when not a single player classified as a striker has scored for them. Alan Pardew does however have plenty of options that are capable of delivering from midfield with Yohann Cabaye and Yannick Bolasie the stand-out options against a Sunderland side second from bottom. Their defence is also worth considering with the Black Cats failing to score in three of their last four away trips.

Sam Allardyce managed to lead Sunderland to a first win of the season in the 3-0 win over Newcastle but the 6-2 defeat at Everton shows that it’s going to be a long season for the Black Cats. It took a second-half Dusan Tadic penalty for the Saints to beat them at the Stadium of Light in their last outing, giving some hope that they are firming up at the back. In PlayOn terms, it’s likely they will need to become much more organised before they come into our thinking, they have currently conceded the most goals in the division (26).

 

Challenge me to a one-on-one this week with PlayON and follow me on twitter @tomfenley.

 

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