It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. It's a funny old week for fantasy managers with five teams playing twice and three teams not playing at all. It means fantasy managers have to be careful about what players they pick as a lot of points can be made and lost this week.
I managed one perfect scoreline, four correct outcomes and five incorrect last week. It means I stay fourth in my predictions league, but second place is still well within my grasp.Here's a look at how my predictions league stands.
Pos Player Week Total
___ ______ ____ ____
1. antonius_ronny_s 25 2215
2. ahujag 55 1680
3. RSun624 45 1680
4. JamrockRover 50 1640
5. AblockGooner 130 1545
6. birchy1962 55 1535
7. b_red_devils 25 1510
8. Rutland Gooner 55 1490
9. nawa87 95 1430
10. Meikku 55 1385
Saturday April 13
Arsenal v Norwich City
3pm BST, Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal have won six of their last seven league games and look ever more likely to clinch a top four spot. Only the leaders United have scored more home goals than Arsenal and their defence has looked better in recent weeks too. This is the first of two home games this week for Arsenal and two wins would put them in a great position for their final five games.
Santi Cazorla is the best fantasy choice in the Arsenal team and Theo Walcott might be a good option too if he returns from injury.
Norwich have only win once in their last 15 league games, but seven draws in those games have helped to bring them closer to safety. They are only four points above the drop zone though and have only won once in 16 away games. If they can take any points from this game it would be a huge boost in their bid to stay out of the relegation battle.
At a push Robert Snodgrass might not be a bad option for fantasy managers, but their players are probably best avoided especially when they are away from home.
I think Arsenal will have too much for Norwich and continue their winning ways.
Aston Villa v Fulham
3pm BST, Villa Park, Birmingham
Villa have won three of their last four games and all of those wins were against other teams at the wrong end of the table. They are two points clear of the relegation zone and look like they will avoid the drop on current form. They have struggled to score at home though with only QPR scoring less home goals than Villa.
Christian Benteke is in fine form for Villa and well worth including for any fantasy manager.
Fulham have taken 11 points in their last six games to move to the relative safety of 10th place and eight points above the drop zone. They have only won three of their 16 away games, but that's a better return than usual for them. They proved they are a tough team to handle by winning away to Spurs a couple of weeks ago.
Dimitar Berbatov didn't score in his last game but with two games this week he has to be considered a good bet.
I think Villa's current form and Benteke's goalscoring will give them the edge.
Everton v Queens Park Rangers
3pm BST, Goodison Park, Liverpool
Everton very nearly got themselves right back in the race for a too four finish against Spurs last week. They had to settle for a draw in the end though and they can accept nothing less than three points in this game. They have only been beaten once at home and need to put a struggling team like QPR away.
Marouane Fellaini and Stephen Pienaar both return from suspension and are good bets along with Leighton Baines. Kevin Mirallas might not be a bad buy either with three goals in his last four games and two games this week.
QPR looked likely to make some headway in their fight against relegation last week, but Wigan denied them with a last minute equaliser. They have only won four games this season, but will need to win at least of of their last six to stay up. It looks beyond them but a win in this game will give them some hope.
Loric Remy has four goals in the last five games and looks like the only QPR player for fantasy managers to consider.
I think Everton will be more than good enough to take the three points.
Reading v Liverpool
3pm BST, Madjeski Stadium, Reading
Reading have lost their last seven games and look only scored four goals in those games too. They are bottom of the league with the worst defence in it and eight points adrift of safety with six games left. A win in this game would give them some hope, but surely they're just not good enough to keep their place in the top flight.
There are no Reading players worth considering at the moment.
Liverpool highlighted their inconsistency in failing to win at home to West Ham last week. One win in their last three games isn't good enough from Liverpool considering the opposition in those games and neither is five wins in 16 away games. They have to be good enough to beat a poor Reading side though.
Luis Suarez, Stephen Gerrard and Phillippe Coutinho are all worth a punt considering they play Reading this week.
I think Liverpool should win this game comfortably.
Southampton v West Ham United
3pm BST, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton
Southampton have won their last three games to move six points clear of the relegation zone. Their ability to score goals has been one real advantage over the other teams at the wrong end of the table. A win in this game would surely be enough to guarantee their safety.
Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert are in fine form for Southampton at the moment.
West Ham have lost 10 of their 16 away games, but their home form looks like keeping them up. They have only scored nine goals in those games and no other team has scored less goals away from home. They have six points to spare over the relegation zone though and there are enough teams below them for West Ham to feel fairly safe.
Jussi Jaaskelainen is probably the best performing fantasy player in the West Ham team.
I think Southampton's attacking flair should be enough to get them another victory.
Sunday April 14
Newcastle United v Sunderland
12pm BST, St. James Park, Newcastle
Newcastle got a very important last minute win at home to Fulham last week to move five points clear of the relegation zone. They have won nine of their 16 home games which can only be bettered by the top three. They will relish the chance to best their bitter rivals and push them further into the relegation mire.
Yohan Cabaye looks the Newcastle player most likely to succeed.
Sunderland are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference and have not won in nine games. The absence of top scorer Stephen Fletcher for the rest of the season is a real blow to their hopes of staying up. New boss Paolo Di Canio will endear himself to the fans if he can win this local derby.
Simon Mignolet is still the best fantasy bet in the Sunderland team.
I think Newcastle might just edge this game although they could be drained after their Europa League quarter final second leg on Thursday night.
Stoke City v Manchester United
2.05pm BST, Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Stoke have only taken one point and scored two goals in their last six games. It means they are now only three points above the relegation zone with some vital games coming up against fellow strugglers. They have only lost three of their 16 home games, but they will do well to get anything out of this game.
I can't see any Stoke players to recommend considering their current form.
United lost at home to City on Monday night to cut their lead at the top to 12 points with seven games left. Despite my misgivings about how good their team actually is they still aren't going to blow that lead. They have won 11 of their 15 away games and are the joint top scorers away from home.
With two games this week United players are good buys and Patrice Evra might not be a bad bet. Robin van Persie hasn't scored in five games but he's still hard to ignore this week.
I can't see anything other than a United win in this game.
Tuesday April 17
Arsenal v Everton
7.45pm BST, Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal have the chance to move into third position on Saturday against Norwich and cement that position with a win in this game. It won't be easy against Everton, but only United have scored more home goals than Arsenal. They have the chance to put real pressure on the teams above them by winning both of these games.
As I said above both Cazorla and Walcott could be good fantasy buys this week.
Everton are just about still in the race for a top four finish, but a win in this game could see them move ahead of Spurs as long as they beat QPR on Saturday. It won't be an easy task against an Arsenal team in very good form. I'm sure Everton will go for the win though as the promise of Champions League football is something they would love to achieve.
I think Mirallas looks to be the Everton player in form and Fellaini is still a good but too.
I think Arsenal might just edge a very tight game.
Wednesday April 18
Manchester City v Wigan Athletic
7.45pm BST, Etihad Stadium, Manchester
City beat United on Monday night to at least recapture some pride, but the FA Cup is their only hope of a trophy. They play Chelsea in the semi final at the weekend and that result could have a bearing on their performance in this game. They have won 11 of their 15 home games though and have the best defensive record at home.
Carlos Tevez looks like the City player most likely to score points at the moment and their defensive players could be a good bet against Wigan.
Wigan play an FA Cup semi final this weekend too and will be on their way to Wembley if they beat Championship side Millwall. They are still in the relegation zone though and will find it hard to get anything from this game. They have taken 10 points from their last five games, but only managed four away wins so far.
Arouna Kone is still the Wigan player most likely to perform and Shaun Maloney has done well recently too.
I think City will be too strong at home and will win comfortably.
West Ham United v Manchester United
7.45pm BST, Upton Park, London
West Ham have taken seven points in their last four games and are never an easy team to beat at home. They have only lost four of their 15 home games and have a reasonable defensive record at home too. They have caused United a few problems on this ground in the past and would live to do so again.
Andy Carroll did well in his last game for West Ham and could be worth a shot in a week where they have two games.
United can go one step closer to another league title if they can get a win at West Ham. Their firepower could be a vital difference against a goal shy West Ham team.
As I said above both Evra and van Persie look to be good buys with Wayne Rooney a possibility too.
I think United will get yet another away win to move a step closer to the title.
Fulham v Chelsea
8pm BST, Craven Cottage, London
Fulham are safe from relegation and usually perform very well at home. They should have fresher legs than a Chelsea team that have played an awful lot of games this season. They will do their best to get one over on their local rivals and have a good chance of doing so.
As I said above Berbatov looks a good bet with two games this week.
Chelsea have only won seven of their 15 away games and conceded 20 goals in the process. They have a chance to move three points clear of Spurs if they win this game and it's their game in hand on Spurs. A top four finish is vital for them but I wonder if Rafa Benitez has his eye on a trophy instead.
If Rafa Benetiz plays his strongest team in the league then Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Frank Lampard are all worth having, but he doesn't always play them.
Fulham will make life hard for a Chelsea team with a lot of games at the moment and could sneak a point.
That's it for this week.
See you next week.