Nik Argiropoulos

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AM's Week 22 Player Picks

Thursday, January 16, 2014


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Joe Hart or Wojciech Szczesny - Both very expensive but both have an excellent chance of keeping clean sheets against Cardiff and Fulham respectively. If you have the money to burn I'd probably lean towards Hart as Fulham do have a couple of players (namely Berbatov and Dempsey) who can create a goal out of nothing.
Simon Mignolet - My choice for Week 22 given he's a full £5million cheaper than the options above. Liverpool have been a bit leaky but I think they'll keep Aston Villa out this weekend, which could mean bumper points for Mignolet.
Artur Boruc - Back from injury and in fantastic form against West Brom in Week 21, Boruc instantly makes Southampton look a lot more solid and they will fancy their chances of victory at Sunderland. Tim Krul almost made the list but the return of Andy Carroll concerns me a bit, so he misses out.


Aleksandar Kolarov - The left-back was absolutely superb in defence and attack against Newcastle last weekend, and should retain his place against Cardiff after Gael Clichy started the FA Cup replay against Blackburn on Wednesday night. Kolarov remains firmly in my team.
Per Mertesacker - Quite how the giant defender failed to score either of the two glorious chances against Cardiff, only he knows, but he is a constant threat in the opposition's penalty area. Add that to the fact he has a chance of a clean sheet and Mertesacker appears to be worth every penny of his £13million price-tag this week.
Vincent Kompany - If you're not sold on Kolarov, then Manchester City captain Kompany is a cheaper way to cover the potential clean sheet against Cardiff.
Leighton Baines - He's probably too expensive at his current price (more than £22million) but if you’re holding Baines at a discount he could be worth keeping as in-form Everton travel to 14th placed West Brom.
Kieron Gibbs - Like Kompany for Manchester City, Gibbs is a cheaper way to cover the potential Arsenal clean sheet against Fulham. With Nacho Monreal out injured he'll definitely start.
David Luiz - Playing in midfield against a Manchester United side who are looking weak in that area of the field. Alongside Ramires, David Luiz should be able to dominate the game and will be handed any free-kicks within shooting distance, as Frank Lampard is still out with injury.
Joel Ward - A home game against a competitive Stoke side will give Ward every opportunity to increase his hugely impressive tackles won and pass intercepted stats which have brought him so many Yahoo fantasy points already this season.
Aly Cissokho - An extremely cheap way to cover the potential Liverpool clean sheet against Aston Villa. Cissokho hasn't been great in all honesty, but is guaranteed a start as Jose Enrique and Jon Flanagan are injured, and his production isn't much worse than Glen Johnson (who costs double).
Steven Taylor - The bargain defensive option of Week 22, Newcastle's Taylor is back from a long-term injury, faces West Ham and costs less than £4million.


Philippe Coutinho - If he plays I feel Coutinho's constant shooting could lead to a massive fantasy score, and he is currently in my team. However, if Sturridge is restored to the starting line-up then someone from Liverpool's midfield has to drop to the bench, so we'll need to keep an eye on team news to see if it's set to be Coutinho, Lucas, Raheem Sterling or Jordan Henderson.
David Silva - It's been a bit of a quiet spell for Silva recently as he's spent a lot of time out on the left wing, but with the more-direct Samir Nasri out injured he'll be expected to drive inside more often and that should bring an improvement in his fantasy points production. Silva's price has dropped to £11million and that makes him a bargain with a home game against Cardiff. Jesus Navas is also tempting and costs a fraction less, but I'm leaning towards Silva who was rested in midweek.
Yaya Toure - If he's back from the knock sustained against Newcastle then he must be considered, especially with free-kick specialist now added to Yaya's already impressive list of talents.
Steven Gerrard - England's captain played in an extremely deep role against Stoke and would've had a poor fantasy week were it not for the penalty. However, Gerrard is a certain starter, is taking set pieces and has a great career record against Aston Villa (11 goals and counting) so cannot be ignored.
Mesut Ozil - Is anyone running out of patience with Ozil and his recent weak fantasy production? I'll admit I am, but he could score big at home to Fulham so I'm giving him another chance to impress.
Christian Eriksen - Officially finding his feet in the Premier League, Eriksen now has four goals this season and is causing opposition defences problems with his forward runs from the left wing to support the strikers. The Dane is also on set pieces, making him a fine option despite a testing away game at Swansea.
Jack Wilshere - Occupying the role left by Aaron Ramsey's injury has allowed Wilshere to have far more influence in the attacking areas of the pitch and the England midfielder is now adding goals to an already excellent all round game. I'm considering giving him a run in my fantasy team over Ozil.
Adam Lallana - Now the second highest scoring midfielder in the Yahoo game, Lallana is having a terrific season, and as I've mentioned countless times in this column, has surely sealed a place in England's World Cup squad already. Like many of you I'm holding Southampton's captain at a discount and although he's playing away from home and there are lots of other midfielders with excellent home fixtures, I'm expecting to keep him.
Yohan Cabaye - Playing very well indeed, picking up attacking and defensive fantasy points and facing a very winnable fixtures against West Ham. I wouldn't blame anyone for taking a punt on Cabaye for Week 22.
Adam Johnson - Points-chasing at it's very finest. The chances of Johnson ever repeating his hat-trick performance are slim-to-none, but if you picked him up at £7million last weekend then you could stick with him to see if the confidence boost brings him another decent week of points. There are far better options though.


Luis Suarez - Home to Aston Villa. Captain.
Alvaro Negredo - "The Beast" added two more goals in the FA Cup replay against Blackburn last night to pass Aguero as the club's top scorer for the season with an astonishing 21 goals already. Legend has it that Tottenham had the opportunity to sign Negredo last season but instead decided to focus on Roberto Soldado. Oops.
Sergio Aguero - The Argentine striker is back from a calf injury and scored within a minute of coming on from the bench against Blackburn. We await team news on Friday to discover if he's set to start against Cardiff, and if so you may need to weigh up Negredo v Aguero, or go with both.
Olivier Giroud - The Frenchman looks like the FA Cup break has done him the world of good as he looked sharp and scored a great goal against Aston Villa. I expect him to grab at least one goal as Arsenal comfortably beat Fulham.
Daniel Sturridge - The SAS was back for the last half hour of Liverpool's match against Stoke and it brought a goal for both Suarez and Sturridge, assisted by each other. Will Brendan Rodgers start Sturridge against Villa? If we get word that he will then it's extremely tempting to go with both of them. I'm currently torn between him and Giroud.
Eden Hazard - As suggested earlier in the article, I feel Manchester United are there for the taking this weekend and Hazard remains Chelsea's biggest goal threat. He'll also remain on penalty duty in Lampard's absence.
Ricky Lambert - People may frown that I'm overlooking the in-form Jay Rodriguez, but I have hunch that Southampton's trip to Sunderland will be a game for Lambert to shine. He's also on penalty duty, so could be a great alternative option if you're looking to do something different.
Loic Remy - The Newcastle front-man, also on penalties, has been running hot and cold over the past month but will have a fantastic opportunity to get back in the goals at West Ham this weekend. 


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So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 22 Yahoo team. For now I have the following (unsaved) on my own team page:


Starting XI: Mignolet, Cissoko, Kolarov, Mertesacker, Ozil, Lallana, Silva, Coutinho, Giroud, Negredo, Suarez (C)
Subs: Bardsley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Spencer, K.Davis


It's a work-in-progress, unsaved, so I'm still holding Gerrard and Sturridge at discount behind the spots filled by Silva and Negredo. I'm almost certain Negedo will probably stay, but I can't decide between Giroud / Sturridge for the third striker spot and I'm not 100% set on Coutinho, Ozil or Cissoko either, so there is plenty to think about. You may notice I've dropped the injured Ross Barkley for the returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£2.45million) which has freed up some extra funds. 


Check back here on Friday for all the team and injury news coming out of the manager's press conferences to assist you with your final decisions ahead of the Saturday deadline.


How's your Week 22 team looking? Anyone but Suarez for captain?

Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for Rotoworld and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.
Email :Nik Argiropoulos

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