Once again there is a break in play for the fantasy premier league with the fourth round of the F.A Cup swinging into action this weekend. This break in play will allow fantasy managers plenty of time to consider their next move as they look to make a charge up the leader board in a bid for fantasy success. With an elongated break however the temptation to leave it all until the last minute can sometimes be overwhelming but our coaches here in the manager office advise that now is the time to start looking at the prospects for round 24 of the Irish Times Fantasy Premier League giving fantasy football managers as much time as possible to weigh up their options, so with round 24 not kicking off until Tuesday the 29th here are their thoughts on two goalkeepers fantasy manager should monitor closely heading into next week.
David de Gea (Manchester United) £4.5 million Fixture: Southampton (Home)
The young Spaniard has come in for some criticism over the last number days after United failed to hold onto a 1-0 lead at White Hart Lane in round 23, but on the balance of play the current league leaders could have very easily lost the game were it not for some outstanding saves by the former Atlètico Madrid keeper. After much uncertainty at Old Trafford about just who is the number one choice between the sticks for United de Gea has emerged as the main man having started the last eight league games for United. It would seem that regular football is agreeing with the 22 year old, de Gea has collected two clean sheets in his last four games and looks to be growing in confidence with every game.
Southampton make the trip to Manchester in what must be a daunting task for new manager Mauricio Pochettino in only his second game in charge. Southampton’s away record this season isn’t all that bad and in recent week’s they have picked up vital points on the road including that impressive come back at Stamford Bridge in round 22, but United have certainly sured things up at the back with the reemergence of the Vidic-Ferdinand partnership playing it’s part. Having conceded so late on at the Lane United will be looking to ensure a shut out at the back to help maintain that five point lead at the top of the table.
Joe Hart (Manchester City) £4.6 million Fixture: QPR (Away)
Having ended the year in somewhat uncharacteristic style conceding three goals away to Norwich, City have bounced back since the turn of the year and are the only side yet to concede a goal in this calendar year. Three clean sheets on the trot has seen heavy investment in the City rear guard and Joe Hart in particular, having kept Stoke, Arsenal and Fulham quiet the next task it to keep a slightly rejuvenated Queens Park Rangers under wraps at Loftus Road next Tuesday. In truth Hart has had little to do in recent weeks with his defence shielding him ever so well and it is once again for that reason that he finds himself in our tips. The England number one has only had to make four notable saves in the last three games, which is a stagering stat considering their opponents.
The R’s on the other hand will be keen to keep their current little run going as they look to go to four games unbeaten as the attempt what many see as the impossible and stave off relegation. There is no doubt that Harry has done well to galvanise the struggling R’s but this one may be a bridge to far for a side that has only managed to score eight goals at home all season. City now go into a run of games that should see them collect plenty more defensive points with the toughest tests coming in round 25 and 27 as they play Liverpool and Chelsea respectively but even these games are home where the title holders have only conceded nine goals and kept six clean sheets to date.
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