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Week 16 Preview: Seven Questions

Am I glad that Game Week 15 is over?! Yellow and red cards galore, poor defensive performance by Chelsea and injury to the league's best offensive player made me scratch my head in dismay. Time to turn the page and concentrate on the upcoming Game Week 16 with a few questions…

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Question 1: Will the absence of Cesc Fàbregas from the Chelsea line-up this weekend play as big of a role as the absence of Nemanja Matić last week?

The absence of Nemanja Matić against Newcastle left Chelsea without a backbone, exposed in the middle, which led to two counterattacking goals. Cesc Fabregas' impact on the team is different, of course. He is Chelsea's playmaker due to his impressive field vision and precise passing ability. He also puts in a shift in defense. With Number 4 set to miss Saturday's home game against Hull City due to yellow card accumulation, will Chelsea lack the creativity to break down Hull City's defense and who will be the player to step in?

Questions 2: Is picking Premier Defenders overrated?

Fifteen weeks into the season and the impact by the bargain defenders cannot be understated as most continue to consistently perform well above their price range week in and week out. Let's compare the season that the three "Bargain" defenders are having to that of the three "Premier" (subjectively based on popularity, games played and price) defenders:

Bargain Defenders

Cresswell (bargain price £1): 121 points through GW 15.

Kelly (bargain price £1): 85 points through GW 15.

Bertrand (bargain price £3.99): 145 points through GW 15.

Premier Defenders

Baines: 142 points through GW 15.

Caulker: 89 points through GW 15.

Ivanovic: 107 points through GW 15.

Adding the numbers together, the Bargain Defenders have a total of 351 points compared to 338 points from the Premier Defenders. Hence, the question: pending injury and rotation, does it make sense to keep starting the bargain back line every week?

Question 3: Can Everton turn their mediocre Premier League season around by getting a convincing home win against Queens Park Rangers?

This has been a rollercoaster season for Everton. The team has performed extremely well in the Europa League competition but has slid closer to the bottom part of the mid-table after the loss to Manchester City. On top of that, home has not been all that welcoming to the Toffees, with only two wins against Aston Villa and West Ham United. Queens Park Rangers, on the other hand, has been absolutely atrocious on the road this season, failing to secure a single point! With Charlie Austin suspended, could this be a good week to go "all in" on Everton players?

Question 4: Is the Southampton "Cinderella glass slipper" slowly beginning to crack?

This is still, undoubtedly, a great and unexpected season for Southampton. But since the tie at Aston Villa, Ronald Koeman's team has not looked convincing offensively. Granted, the team has not had an easy schedule having faced Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United, back to back to back, but I am concerned whether there is still plenty left in the gas tank until the January transfer window opens. What are your thoughts and how many Southampton players will be in your squad away to Burnley on Saturday?

Question 5: Can Manchester City still challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title with Sergio Aguero set for a lengthy layoff?

The news from the Etihad is less than cheerful for the Manchester City fans and the fantasy football managers, as Sergio Aguero is set for lengthy layoff with knee ligament injury. With David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetić coming back from injuries, can Manchester City still challenge Chelsea for the title?

Question 6: Is Andy Carroll a viable forward option at least for the next two Game Weeks or was his Game Week 15 performance just a "one off" game?

Andy Carroll looked awesome against Swansea, culminating in a 25 point performance. Many, myself included, brought him at £4.46 "barndoor" price. Is he a viable forward option away at Sunderland and then home to Leicester City, or should we chalk it as a "one off" performance and look for another option?

Question 7: Is the Arsene Wenger resentment justified?

The Arsenal skipper is not having the best year. A recent video appears to show Wenger being mocked by fans following his side's 3-2 defeat at Stoke. Also, recently fans and shareholders expressed criticism after the Swansea and Manchester United defeats, as well as a hard earned, 1-0 win in the West Midlands. Arsene Wenger has been an Arsenal manager since 1996. I won't go into details about his accomplishments, but he was one of the first managers in English football to scout foreign talent and his teams tend to play entertaining football. Arsenal is currently in 6th place domestically, although just 4 points away from the 4th place West Ham United, and have already qualified for the Champions League knockout stages in the spring. While it is still too early to judge the Danny Welbeck trade, the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez has been "spot on" and the team should be much higher in the EPL table if not for key injuries to Walcott and Ozil. Hence the question, is all this recent frustration with Arsene Wenger justified?