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Fantasyland: City and United left licking their wounds

The two Manchester sides will need to recover fast after exiting the Champions League on Wednesday – our collective Fantasy Football fortunes depend on it.

Van Persie has scored 14 goals in 14 games so far this season.
Van Persie has scored 14 goals in 14 games so far this season.

IT’S BEEN A difficult week for the two Manchester sides.

Fresh from their respective Champions League exits, they must prepare once again for the bread and butter of Premier League football.

And while United have the perfect opportunity to recover from their surprise exit at home to Wolves, City face a considerably more daunting trip to Stamford Bridge.

Fantasy Football aficionados will thus be hoping that long-time favourites such as Silva (picked by 46.5% of teams) and Rooney (picked by 28.4% of teams) will not suffer a dramatic loss of form in light of their teams’ setbacks.

Two players to pick this week

Robin van Persie (Arsenal): The fact that Robin van Persie has been compared to Lionel Messi of late gives an indication of the type of form the Dutchman has been in this season. It also makes you wonder how Arsenal would have fared last year had they not been missing him for a large portion of the season. However, he has proven his fitness in recent months, stepping into the void left by Cesc Fabregas’ departure from the club. Moreover, his incredible record of 14 goals in 14 Premier League games this season has rendered him an essential FF pick.

Jose Enrique (Liverpool): Liverpool haven’t always demonstrated consistent form this season, with some of their new signings (*cough* Jordan Henderson) not exactly setting the league alight. Jose Enrique, however, is one of the few exceptions. The Spaniard has started every game for the club this season and is part of what is statistically the joint-best defence in the Premier League.

Two players to avoid this week

Patrice Evra (Man United): The French full-back has looked uncharacteristically sluggish of late and was one of their weakest performers on Wednesday. While United currently boast an impressive Premier League defensive record, it’s hardly worth having an out-of-form £7.0m defender in your team when there are cheaper alternatives playing twice as well.

Micah Richards (Man City): Richards has been one of City’s best players in the Premier League this season, playing in all but one of their games, with his defensive solidity and powerful forward runs encapsulating City’s strengths. However, the star is currently suffering from a calf injury and consequently, is rated as having only a 50% chance of playing on Monday. And even if Richards is passed fit to play, don’t expect him to be as dominant as usual, given that City face difficult opposition in the form of Chelsea.

Predictions for the weekend:

Arsenal 3-1 Everton

Bolton 1-2 Aston Villa

Liverpool 2-1 QPR

Man United 3-0 Wolves

Norwich 1-2 Newcastle

Swansea 1-1 Fulham

West Brom 2-1 Wigan

Sunderland 2-2 Blackburn

Stoke 1-2 Tottenham

Chelsea 2-2 Man City

How my team got on last gameweek: As Larry David would say, pretty pretty pretty good. 76 points, thanks largely to the efforts of Messrs Bale and van Persie.

Who’s leading TheScore.ie’s league? Paudie O’Neill’s ‘Deceptively Slow’ remain on top this week, two points ahead of perennial contenders ‘Ride Me Sideways’.

Read: Preview: United without Vidic, Liverpool face midfield dilemma>

Read: It’s Gdynia or bust as Ireland confirm Euro 2012 base>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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