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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 23 September, 2014

Fantasyland: Spurs are the way to go

A certain swashbuckling Welsh winger should be top of your fantasy shopping list as we prepare for two full sets of Premier League games in five days.

Bale is bound to be a popular choice during Gameweek 19&20.
Bale is bound to be a popular choice during Gameweek 19&20.
Image: Chris Radburn/PA Archive/Press Association Images

WITH THE FIXTURES coming thick and fast during the Christmas/New Year period, it is essential that you take a couple of minutes out to do some fine-tuning today.

First up in Gameweek 19 is Newcastle’s visit to Anfield as sixth meet seventh with the prospect of former Magpies favourite Andy Carroll facing his old club.

As Luis Suarez is suspended, Kenny Dalglish may go with Carroll and Craig Bellamy up top. However, neither of that pair have been nearly as effective as Newcastle’s Demba Ba.

The Senegalese striker is the Premier League’s second top scorer and while there’s every possibility that he will prove to be the difference tonight, if you haven’t already got him in your team, now might not be the best time to acquire the former West Ham man as he leaves for the African Cup of Nations in a couple of weeks.

One player whose name will be on plenty of teamsheets is Gareth Bale. As well as being in top form against Norwich City on Tuesday night, picking up 18 points along the way, Spurs have two outings in Gameweek 20.

Their fixture with Everton which was postponed back in August because of the London riots has been rescheduled to January 11, so adding some of ‘Arry’s key players, or indeed a couple of Toffees, would be a shrewd move.

Robin van Persie has stormed to the top of the points chart with his virtuoso performances for Arsenal this season, but with Arsene Wenger suggesting he may have to rest the Dutchman, he could start on the bench on Saturday as they play Fulham two days later.

The two Manchester clubs should both pick up three points tomorrow, while Chelsea will have too much for Villa at home. We fancy Juan Mata to come up with the goods in a comfortable win at the Bridge.

Two players to pick this week

Juan Mata (Chelsea):The Spanish international may not have been clocking up major points in December but Chelsea should overrun a Villa midfield, which has been abject at times this season. Expect to see him get some assists for Drogba and Sturridge.

Gareth Bale (Spurs): He is phenomenal when he gets going and after being switched to a more central role, should have more of an impact on the game. Plus, Spurs have two games next week so he could potentially earn you double points.

Two players to avoid this week

Robin van Persie (club): Certainly don’t get rid of him if he’s in your squad, but Wenger has hinted at dropping his most important player for a game in order to prevent burnout. Arsenal may have agreed a deal to bring Thierry Henry back to the club but he won’t play for a week or two so keeping Van Persie fit is crucial.

Mark Bunn (Blackburn): Yes, he pulled off a wonder save to keep out Andy Carroll on St Stephen’s Day but the 27-year-old will have his work cut out for him at Old Trafford in the early kick-off tomorrow and could potentially concede three or four on the day.

Predictions for the week:

Liverpool 2-2 Newcastle

Manchester United 3-0 Blackburn

Arsenal 2-1 QPR

Bolton 1-1Wolves

Chelsea 2-0 Aston Villa

Norwich 1-1 Fulham

Stoke 2-1 Wigan

Swansea 0-2 Tottenham

West Brom 0-0 Everton

Sunderland 0-4 Manchester City

How my team got on last gameweek: Not great at all. Let down by RvP and Aguero, who both should’ve taken advantage of poor opposition.

Who’s leading TheScore.ie’s league? He’s still up there and will be top for New Year’s – Paudie O’Neill and his ‘Deceptively Slow’ side take a 100-point lead on David Gilkeson and ‘Tog In you Useless’ in 2012.

What the focal? Stan Collymore shows off by tweeting ‘as Gaeilge’

Shisha-filled Christmas celebrations land Ireland in hot water

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