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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 19 July, 2019
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Fantasyland: The games just keep on coming...

We’re feeling a little bit spoiled after all that midweek goodness.

Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

CHRISTMAS HAS NOT even arrived yet and it seems like you can’t shut your eyes without waking up to a Premier League match of some description.

Tuesday and, mainly, Wednesday saw a full programme of top flight action as the usual suspects won while playing indifferently (Manchesters United and City, Spurs), the usual suspects lost despite dominating possession (Liverpool, Newcastle) and Swansea produced the best display of the midweek in beating the Europe-chasing West Brom.

And then there was Chelsea who, despite shoring up their leaking, creaking defence, can not buy a goal at the moment.

Two players to pick this week

Matija Nastasic

The 19-year-old Serb was marketed as the new Nemanja Vidic when he joined Manchester City from Fiorentina over the summer. After a somewhat shaky introduction, he has not disappointed. Joleon Lescott has been reduced to onlooker status as Nastasic has formed one of the most unkind defensive partnerships in the Premier League with Vincent Kompany. The pairing has only conceded two goals in seven matches together and they face Everton, in the middle of an indifferent run, at home on Saturday. Expect a clean sheet.

Papiss Cissé

This is a risky one but given that the Senegalese seems to play up to a live studio audience (Newcastle’s clash with Wigan is the Monday night game on Sky) and he scored his second goal of the season – without the use of his arse, this time – in the defeat to Stoke, we think he could fire.

Cissé is far better than the labouring mass at the point of Newcastle’s attacking trio this season. He will, surely, come into a glut of goals and if last year is anything to go by, he likes the winter months.

Two players to avoid this week

Luis Suarez

That could be that. The Uruguayan was back to his frustrating worst against Spurs and he always bears the look of a man who is just one or two games away from a drought. Suarez has had to shoulder so much of Liverpool’s attacking intent this season that the wear has to start showing soon. He, more than anyone else, needs investment in January, if only to get a day off or two.

Andy Carroll

Suarez’ former strike partner (or understudy, for the most part) had a great start to life as a Hammer, destroying the Fulham defence on his debut before being forced off with injury. Since that blow, the 23-year-old from Gateshead has struggled as part of a decent West Ham team that seems to be doing most of its best work through the middle. Matt Jarvis has been poor on the wing, with none of his eight crosses against

Manchester United reaching a team-mate, robbing Carroll of his most obvious route to goal.

Moreover, West Ham face a newly scabby Chelsea on Saturday.

Predictions:

West Ham 0-2 Chelsea
Arsenal 2-3 Swansea
Fulham 1-1 Tottenham
Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
Man City 2-0 Everton
QPR 0-1 Aston Villa
West Brom 2-1 Stoke
Reading 0-3 Man Utd
Norwich 1-1 Sunderland
Newcastle 2-0 Wigan

How my team got on last week

With neither Lukas Podolski nor Carlos Tevez starting in midweek, it was not pretty. I got 31 points, prompting a fire sale that sees the signings of Messrs Lambert, Rickie and Aguero, Sergio Kun. The revolution starts here.

Who’s leading TheScore.ie Primera Division?

Former Score contributor Neil Cullen is the top dog this week. Neil’s Riggins’ Rovers picked up a generous 61 points in midweek to leapfrog the magnificently titled Jäger Bombich Albion, team of Liam Boyle.

Heaslip in the frame for Lions captaincy as Gilroy catches Gatland’s eye >

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