The early game on Saturday pits Norwich City against Liverpool, and the visitors have a great record in the Premier League in this fixture. They’re unbeaten in their last 11 games against Norwich and have won on each of their last 5 trips to Carrow Road. In those 5 wins they’ve scored 15 goals, so the home defence will be expecting a tough afternoon. Roberto Firmino (£7.8m) should start, whether this is as Liverpool’s ‘false nine’ or just behind a front man in the absence of Philippe Coutinho. He has scored 28 Fantasy Football points from his last 5 matches, and could add to that total on Saturday.
Leicester have the chance to go back to the top of the table when they entertain Stoke at the King Power Stadium. Neither Arsenal nor Man City are in action until later in the weekend, so the Foxes know that even a point will assure them of top spot by 5pm, even if it’s just temporarily. This incentive is in stark contrast to the visitors; Stoke may well have one eye on their Capital One Cup Semi Final against Liverpool on Tuesday, a game they go into knowing that only a win will give them a chance of booking their place at Wembley. With the away side potentially distracted Leicester could turn around their shaky form (it’s now 1 win in 7 in all competitions) and secure the 3 points. It’s the defenders who have impressed recently, with Leicester recording 3 clean sheets from their last 4 games. They can potentially add to that at the weekend, and with both centre backs a threat at set pieces Robert Huth (£4.3m) and Wes Morgan (£4.3m) are well worth consideration.
Meanwhile, there’s a relegation six-pointer at the Stadium of Light where Sunderland host Bournemouth knowing that a win could put them to within one point of safety but a defeat could leave them 7 points adrift of that coveted 17th position. Patrick van Aanholt (£4.6m) has 3 goals and an assist from his last 3 league games and scored 26 Fantasy Football points from those, not bad going for a left back! He could be an option this week, but be mindful of the fact that following Saturday’s game Sunderland face a tough fixture list consisting of Man City, Liverpool and Man United in successive matches.
The late kick-off provides Man City with a stern test as they try to turn around their poor form away from the Etihad. They’ve won only one of their last seven away games in the Premier League, a run that started back in September when they lost 4-1 at Tottenham. They face West Ham this weekend, a team who are in superb form having not lost in their least 8 league games at Upton Park. Dimitiri Payet (£8.0m) is the Hammers’ main threat, and over half a million Fantasy Football managers have brought him into their squad since his return from injury just over 2 weeks ago.
On Sunday there’s an obvious captain choice with Everton hosting Swansea. Romelu Lukaku (£9.2m) has gone 3 league games without scoring but will be confident of getting back amongst the goals against a Swansea defence that has kept just one clean sheet on their travels all season.
Finally, the big game of the weekend is Chelsea’s trip to the Emirates. The Blues are having a woeful season, and could find themselves just one point clear of the relegation zone going into this game if other results go against them earlier in the weekend. They won’t be relishing the news that Alexis Sánchez (£10.8m) and Mesut Özil (£10.0m) are both in contention to start for Arsenal having recovered from injury. Either of these players would be a fine addition to your team this week.
Good luck to all our Fantasy League managers. There’s a break for the FA Cup next weekend, but that’s followed by a double header of Fantasy Football action, with midweek fixtures on 2/3 February and another full round of games over the weekend.
Norwich v Liverpool
(BT Sport 1, 12.45pm)
Sunderland v Bournemouth
Watford v Newcastle
West Brom v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Leicester v Stoke
Man Utd v Southampton
West Ham v Man City
(Sky Sports 1, 5.30pm)
Everton v Swansea
(Sky Sports 1, 1.30pm)
Arsenal v Chelsea
(Sky Sports 1, 4.00pm)