When thinking about our fantasy teams and players choices, a few common themes enter our minds before pressing the confirm button. Discounts, transfers available, good old gut picks and considerations of rival's player selection in private leagues all influence our decisions. But perhaps the most common of thoughts is the form vs fixture angle. Do we pick the players in white hot form over the players who on paper have the better fixture or the other way around? What if we have the option of a player with both form and fixture, are they the answer to us having a fantastic fantasy week?
With week 27 upon us we thought we would take a look at some of the players who fit the criteria and see if a small sample can guide us.
Form over Fixture
Facing Chelsea is never an easy game, even this season when they have been far from the side we know. Under Guus Hiddink they are unbeaten in the Premier League and are a much more sturdy side than at any point in the season. Eden Hazard is back and may start this one and the side come into the game on the back of a huge home win in the cup. Chelsea also have kept 4 clean sheet in a row on the road, so even without John Terry it will be tough to get the win over them.
The Saints are on a run of 6 cleans sheets all since the return of their mountain sized keeper Forster. As a England fan it's great to see there is a real alternative to Joe Hart at last. I sit firmly in the camp that Fortser is the better keeper and a continuation of his form could see him yet remove Hart from the team. Having said that however, it seems very different to break into the 1st team until you play for the EPL's traditional big guns.
5 goals in 7 games suggest the Siggy from from a couple seasons ago is back. We can also add in the player against his former club rule to interest you. You wouldn't think he would get as many chances in this one but he will be on both direct free kicks and pens.
As clear a form v fixture pick as you could get I'd say.
Fixture over Form
Just the 1 goal in his last 7 Premier League games means Ighalo is no longer the fantasy option must he may have been prior to Christmas. Perhaps the league has found him out but more likely he is just on one of those runs where fortune is missing. Last time it was strike partner Troy Deeney who took all the plaudits and points but Ighalo was as effective just all around the chance;s and therefore points. On a different day the run could have ended, maybe this week's opponents Bournemouth are a willing side to give him the chances once more.
The cherries have the 2nd best away record in the last 6 games with 3 wins, 2 draws and just the 1 defeat. In those 6 they have conceded just 5 goals.
Butland's last 8 scores in Fantrax show you just how out of form Stoke's defending has been. 5 of the 8 have been negative scores -6, -7, -7, -2 and -5. The remaining scores are 3 points twice and 13 points in a 0-0 draw with Arsenal. They have conceded 16 goals in those 8 games and perhaps the team have the iend of season midtable wandering minds mode.
Little to no form then and if we include club captain Ryan Shawcross ruling himself out and other defenders doubtful, you should be looking to avoid the Stokie shot stopper. Unless of course your Stokie shot stopper is playing Aston Villa. Perhaps a contender to the title of worst EPL side we have seen, the Villains 1st team lost 3-0 to a side containing mainly under 21's this week.
Form and Fixture
Payet is a must this week in a any format of fantasy football. Sunderland are much improved and will give the Hammers a challenge but they still allow too much time and space on the ball in away games.
Talking of allowing too much time and space we come to Norwich City and their defending. It's all over the place right now and conceding chance's and goals galore in recent weeks. If Leicester could pick the perfect opponent to bounce back from the heartbreak at the Emirates, it may be this Norwich side. Vardy just gets the nod over Riyad Mahrez due to taking pens from him and being less likely to be subbed.
The form and fixture duo will be most people's picks to return the most fantasy points but let's see what the weekend brings.
As for my teams I will include look to load with Leicester/Spurs and West Ham options. To do so will mean a few cheap gamble picks in Fantrax and use of my transfers in the Official game.
Who are you looking at in week 27?