Fantasy football advice: Week 14 and 15

Sports Mole looks ahead to the next two rounds of Premier League matches from a fantasy football point of view.

The number 13 is unlucky for some and it certainly proved to be a less than profitable week for Sports Mole in terms of our fantasy football advice.

Aside from Yoan Gouffran, who scored for Newcastle United, the players that we suggested you pick didn't exactly cover themselves in glory. Even an in-form Sergio Aguero failed to find the net!

It didn't improve much more where our avoid advice was concerned, although neither Roberto Soldado nor Dimitar Berbatov scored, just as we predicted.

Each Premier League team will be action twice over the next few days and so we've drawn up a combined list of players to select and steer clear of from both gameweeks.

Who to pick

1. Olivier Giroud: Since the end of October, the Frenchman has found the net just twice. One of them was a penalty and the other was gifted to him by Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc. Tonight Arsenal welcome Hull City to the Emirates Stadium and while Steve Bruce's side have shipped three goals at home, on their travels they have let in 13 from six outings. With that statistic in mind, there won't be many better chances for Giroud to rediscover his clinical touch.

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Crystal Palace on October 26, 2013© Getty Images

2. Juan Mata: An injury to Oscar should see Mata return to favour as far as Jose Mourinho is concerned. The Chelsea boss has opted to bench the Spaniard for large parts of the season, but he proved his worth with a creative performance against Southampton last time out. Coming up for the Blues are away matches at Sunderland and Stoke City - both are opposition that the Londoners are expected to beat. If they do so, you would expect Mata to be at the heart of it.

3. Nathan Dyer: Nine times out of 10 defenders will tell you that the one thing they don't want to come up against is raw pace. Swansea winger Dyer has that in abundance. The Swans will host Newcastle United and Hull over the coming days and as explained with Giroud, the Tigers in particular are leaky away from the KC Stadium.

4. Wayne Rooney: Where would Manchester United be without the England international? So far he's scored eight Premier League goals and laid on five assists. Tonight United host his former club Everton - a game that always seems to fire Rooney up. Then, at the weekend, Newcastle will travel to Old Trafford. The frontman has found the net on 10 occasions against the Magpies since he turned them down in favour of a move to the Red Devils in 2004.

Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney scores his second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane in London, on December 1, 2013© Getty Images

5. Costel Pantilimon: While the dropping of Manchester City's Joe Hart has dominated the headlines, his replacement Pantilimon has gone about his work rather quietly. The Romanian has conceded just one goal from his four Premier League appearances and a total of three in all competitions. He is expected to keep his place in the side for tonight's trip to West Bromwich Albion and with captain Vincent Kompany tipped to return to the defence, a City clean sheet is not out of the question.

Who to avoid

1. Steven Fletcher: As Tony Cascarino told us yesterday, Fletcher "is a decent finisher when given chances". While that may well be true, Sunderland's next two matches are against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur - two teams that have, at times, been able to boast stingy defences. Both sides are also likely to have more of the possession than the Black Cats, so it could be a couple of frustrating outings for their Scottish centre-forward.

2. John Ruddy: For weeks we couldn't budge Julian Speroni off this list, but in fairness to the Argentine goalkeeper, he's conceded just one goal in his last three appearances. His place has certainly gone to Ruddy, who will keep goal for Norwich this evening against Liverpool. Since the Canaries returned to the Premier League in 2011, they've conceded 14 goals to the Reds in just four meetings. What's more, 10 of those have been conceded in the last two contests.

England goalkeeper John Ruddy catches the ball during a training session at London Colney on October 10, 2013© Getty Images

3. Allan McGregor: Only Man City and Chelsea have scored more goals in front of their own supporters than Arsenal, who will play host to Hull this evening. For the same reason why Giroud has found himself on the players to pick list, McGregor is present here. The Scot is bound to be busy this evening and with the number of attacking options available to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, it wouldn't be a major surprise if the Hull net were breached a few times.

4. Phil Jagielka: Roberto Martinez has been quite rightly lauded for the job that he has done at Goodison Park since he took charge during the summer. His team play decent football, but have often been tight at the back. One of the major reasons behind that has been the performances of centre-back Jagielka, so why on earth is he on this list? Well, the Toffees travel to Man United and Arsenal over the next few days, which will be a real test of their resolve. As far as we are concerned, his inclusion is not worth the risk.

5. John O'Shea: Sunderland manager Gus Poyet recently admitted that his side needed to be tighter at the back and they done the Uruguayan proud at the weekend against Aston Villa. As mentioned with Fletcher, they now face a totally different proposition in Chelsea and Tottenham. For a rearguard that has conceded 24 goals in 13 matches so far, a few more goals in the against column wouldn't be a major surprise.

Tony Cascarino in action for the Republic of Ireland on October 09, 1996.
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