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Fantasyland: Games come thick and fast as festive period begins

With four fixtures in 11 days, getting your team right for Christmas is vital.

City's Sergio Aguero.
City's Sergio Aguero.
Image: Steve Drew/EMPICS Sport

IN THE FINAL set of fixtures before Christmas Day, all 20 Premier League managers will be aiming for a positive result in the first of four games to be played over a busy 11-day festive period.

Leaders Manchester United have been just doing enough to get over the line all season and Alex Ferguson was again unhappy to see them allow Sunderland a glimmer of hope last weekend when the result should have been put to bed by half-time. They face tenth-plaved Swansea, who come into the clash on the back of two league defeats – to Tottenham and Norwich.

Reigning champions Manchester City look to have an easier task of hosting basement club Reading at the Etihad. Brian McDermott’s Royals are shipping goals at an alarming rate and have conceded 13 in their last four games. Expect the home side to fill their boots on Saturday afternoon.

Elsewhere, I’m backing Luis Suarez to break a six-game goalless spell to help Liverpool earn a big win against Fulham, who sit just two points off the Reds.

Two players to pick this week

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City): Boosted by the return of his compatriot Carlos Tevez, Aguero scored the first on Saturday to send the Citizens on their way to a 3-1 away win over Newcastle. The 24-year-old’s tally this time last year was twice it is currently (7), but he won’t have a better opportunity than this weekend, when they come up against the league’s leakiest defence.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool): Liverpool have been over-reliant on the Uruguayan’s goals for sometime now and it has not surprise that reports coming out of the club suggest Brendan Rodgers will invest in a striker or two once the January transfer window opens. Suarez has been unable to find the back of the net in over a month but at home to a Fulham side which lost out to QPR last weekend, he could well break his duct.

Two players to avoid this week

Marouane Fellaini (Everton): It may sound obviously but the 35% of you who have the Belgian in your team will need to make a transfer after the Toffees midfielder serves the first of his three match ban for headbutting Ryan Shawcross. Fellaini is third behind Michu and Santi Cazorla in the fantasy table but could well be passed by the likes of Juan Mata and Yaya Toure before January 2 comes around.

Adam Federici (Reading): Newly-promoted Reading have let in a total of 36 goals since their return to the top tier and the Australian will need to have the game of his life to keep City from adding to that figure in Saturday’s late kick-0ff.

Predictions:

Wigan 1-2 Arsenal

Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa

Manchester City 3-0 Reading

Newcastle 1-1 QPR

Southampton 0-0 Sunderland

Tottenham 2-1 Stoke

West Brom 2-2  Norwich

West Ham 0-1 Everton

Liverpool 2-0 Fulham

Swansea 1-3 Manchester United

How my team got on last week

Not a bad round for me. Picked up the majority of my 54 points through reliable captain RVP and Norwich’s Wes Hoolahan.

Who’s leading TheScore.ie Primera Division?

Gerry Ward and his Donkeys Ride Again storm into the lead on 991 points closely followed The Flying Elephants, managed by Cian Mannion. Last week’s leader Neil Cullen (Riggins’ Rovers) plummits into 22nd after amassing just 21 points during Gameweek 17.

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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