After a very difficult Week 29 it's a relief that Week 30 brings us back to a normal, full schedule of ten games. Enjoy the normality while it lasts because Week 31 is going to be mayhem, with no fewer than FIFTEEN matches - Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, Swansea, Newcastle, Hull, West Ham and Sunderland all play twice.
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Week 29 was disappointing. As discussed in last week's column I took the following approach to the reduced schedule ...
"Aside from placing Luis Suarez (owned at £19million) on the bench, I'm going to be selling Daniel Sturridge, Steven Gerrard and one of my cheap defenders in an attempt to go for maximum points this week. I have never finished outside the overall Top 500 in my 10 season of playing Yahoo Fantasy Premier League, so this is a roll of the dice in an effort to make up some ground on those above. It could quite easily backfire but it's a risk I'm willing to take."
... and the risk did not pay off. Not really. AM FC scored 79 points which was enough to move me up 200 spots in the overall ranking, but it wasn't worth losing so many discounts for. The main culprit was my captain Robin van Persie and his petulant display, which returned a big fat zero. Had I picked Eden Hazard or Wayne Rooney it would've been close to a 100 point week, but I did not, and so the experiment did not work.
Anyway, moving on.
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Week 30 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Everton v Cardiff City
Fulham v Newcastle
Hull City v Man City
Man Utd v Liverpool
Southampton v Norwich
Stoke v West Ham
Sunderland v Crystal Palace
Swansea v West Brom
Tottenham v Arsenal
The stand-out fixtures are Everton at home to Cardiff and Southampton at home to Norwich, two games that should end as comfortable home wins with potential clean sheets thrown in to the mix. League leaders Chelsea will be expected to see off Aston Villa at Villa Park, while Manchester City know they need to go win at Hull to keep their hopes of a second Premier League title alive. It will be a tough test, but I expect a reaction after the shock FA Cup defeat to Wigan and defeat to Barcelona. City's game is the early Saturday kick-off so we'll get the starting line-ups before the Yahoo deadline. I'll ensure these are tweeted out as soon as they get released, so follow me if you'll be needing this info.
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The biggest games of the weekend are Manchester United v Liverpool and Tottenham v Arsenal. Both match ups should be entertaining and appear to favour the away side - Liverpool's attacking pace is likely to cause United's defence plenty of problems, while Arsenal are coming up against a Spurs team who are not playing well, lacking confidence and who have just been told by their manager that they he doesn't trust them. I fear another defeat for Tim Sherwood, which would probably be the final nail in the coffin for Tottenham's top four aspirations.
Newcastle are definitely worth a look as they travel to rock bottom Fulham, as are Swansea at home to struggling West Brom. Stoke against West Ham and Sunderland hosting Crystal Palace look like low scoring draws so there could be some value in defensive players, but attackers from all four sides are best avoided.
With that in mind, click over to the next page to view the Week 30 player recommendations.