Fantasy Football advice: Week 25

Sports Mole looks ahead to week 25 of Premier League action from a fantasy football point of view.

Well, that's a bit better! Last week we were back among the points as Robin van Persie and Adam Lallana both got their names among the scorers for Manchester United and Southampton respectively.

Also, our gamble on Sunderland's Phil Bardsley paid off, because not only did his side keep a clean sheet, he also won them a penalty that was duly converted.

As for the avoid selection, Ryan Shawcross and Diego Lugano were part of defences that conceded a goal apiece, while Dimitar Berbatov jumped ship from Fulham to Monaco.

So, now we've rediscovered some form, here are three players that we believe would be worth picking for the 25th round of Premier League matches and a further three that are best being avoided.

Who to pick

1. Juan Mata: While most Man United supporters will be trying to forget about their side's trip to Stoke City last time out, there were glimpses at the Britannia Stadium of what their club-record signing can do. Although seemingly instructed to play on the right flank by David Moyes, when Mata did saunter inside he caused problems and set up Van Persie to score. With a hapless Fulham visiting Old Trafford on Sunday, it would be a surprise if the Spaniard didn't flourish even more, with a first goal in United colours not out of the question.

Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on January 28, 2014© Getty Images

2. Eden Hazard: In what was a great team performance away at Manchester City, Eden Hazard shone for Chelsea. Every time that the Belgian takes to the pitch at the moment, he appears to do so with such confidence. His direct-yet-pacey style has been effective against stubborn defences, so you would have to fear for a Newcastle rearguard that is not known for being water-tight.

3. Ron Vlaar: Aston Villa have conceded 34 goals this term, but skipper Vlaar has a real opportunity of being part of a defensive unit that keeps a clean sheet on Saturday. West Ham United travel to Villa Park without the suspended Andy Carroll, who showed against Swansea City last weekend just how important his physical presence is to his side's direct approach. He set up both goals for Kevin Nolan and without him, Villa should fancy their chances of securing a shutout.

Who to avoid

1. Luis Suarez: If Liverpool win, more often than not Suarez is at the hub of it - his 23 goals in 19 games suggests as much. However, one defence that did manage to shackle the Uruguayan earlier in the season was Arsenal, who visit Anfield on Saturday. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny did such a job on Suarez that he spent a lot of the match at the Emirates Stadium arguing with his strike partner Daniel Sturridge. If Arsenal's centre-backs can produce similar form this time around, it could be a frustrating outing for Liverpool's leading goalscorer.

Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Stoke during their Premier League match on January 12, 2014© Getty Images

2. John Ruddy: Beware of wounded football players - that's the message that Chris Hughton should be drumming into his Norwich City squad. In Man City, they take on a side that will have been hurt by their 1-0 loss to Chelsea on Monday night. Even without the injured Sergio Aguero, the likes of Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic Yaya Toure, Jesus Navas and David Silva are all capable of finding the net. If Norwich keeper Ruddy concedes an early goal, it may very well be a long afternoon for the Canaries.

3. Cheick Tiote: The Newcastle midfielder may have curbed his combative nature a little, but his six yellow cards in the Premier League highlights that he is still susceptible to losing his composure. At the weekend the Magpies travel to a Chelsea side that contain mobile, tricky midfielders such as Hazard, Oscar and Willian, all of whom like to shift the ball quickly. If Tiote does avoid a caution or worse, he can consider that job done!

Fabio Borini of Sunderland celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sunderland at St James' Park on February 1, 2014
Read Next:
Premier League in numbers: Week 24
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Tables