Fantasy Football Preview: Gameweek 18

Cazorla Arsenal Debut

Arsenal and Manchester City roared into form last weekend with eight goals between them, and with Chelsea also scoring freely now, there is a slew of good options available this weekend.

Fixtures Analysis: Fantasy football managers are spoilt for choice this week, with a host of good sides having friendly fixtures to pick from. Arsenal go to Wigan on the back of their 5-2 mauling of Reading, and the Royals head to Manchester City in what could be another thrashing for McDermott's side. Chelsea host Aston Villa, who are in good form but Lambert's team have struggled against the top sides this season. Tottenham Hotspur host Stoke, and it's also worth considering in form Norwich away at West Brom. Pretty much every game has the potential for big points this weekend, but the final two I'm going to look at here is Sunderland's trip to Southampton and Liverpool's home game against Fulham.

Transfer's In: Santi Cazorla (9.7) brought home the bacon in epic fashion on Monday, with a hat trick and an assist at the Madejski. He will be the first choice Arsenal player for many, but Theo Walcott (8.5) shouldn’t be overlooked. Walcott might start as the central striker, and has been more consistent in delivering points when starting matches than Cazorla. Those two are the best choices, but Oxlade-Camberlain (7.2) gives a cheaper option if you're strapped for cash.

Roberto Mancini is a nightmare for fantasy football managers, but even he must now see the merits of starting Aguero (11.0) and Tevez (9.5) ahead of their other strikers. Either look must haves ahead of Reading's visit, with the Royals perhaps the worst defensive side in this year's Premier League.

In recent matches Chelsea have shown that once they get going, they are looking to score plenty of goals in matches. Aston Villa are in good form, but their 5-0 loss at Manchester City shows they can get overrun if they fall behind. Juan Mata (9.5) is the key man for Chelsea, and is in outrageously good form. Torres (9.5) is a less risky pick week by week, but you might want to stick with the midfielders just for now, with Hazard (9.5) another option. At the back, David Luiz (6.5) gives the chance of a clean sheet as well as attacking returns.

Spurs will welcome back Gareth Bale (9.5) this weekend, and he and Jermain Defoe (8.5) are probably the most reliable men from their side. Lennon (7.1) has been performing well at White Hart Lane too, but their defenders might be a better option against Stoke, with a clean sheet for the home side more likely than them scoring lots of goals against the league's best defence. Vertonghen (6.3) is the stand out choice if you can afford him.

Norwich's midfield is still ripe for investment, with Pilkington (5.8), Snodgrass (6.0) and Hoolahan (5.5) all decent bets against an out of form West Brom. From Southampton, Ramirez (5.8) and Puncheon (4.8) are the safest options with Lallana ruled out through injury.

Fulham are in poor form, and Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from the loss to Aston Villa at Anfield last weekend making Luis Suarez (10.3) a decent option. Glen Johnson (6.4) is also has a good chance of a clean sheet, and has shown before he can pick up attacking returns as well.

Selection Doubts: Adebayor should be fit for Spurs, with Dawson and Bale also available to start. Bryan Ruiz is still out for Fulham, and John Terry is a doubt for Chelsea. Ben Foster might return to boost West Brom's defences, and Vorm could be back between the sticks for Swansea. Jose Enrique is available for Liverpool.

Captain choice: If you can face the risk of Mancini benching them, Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero are each great shouts for the armband at home to Reading.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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