We prepare for Gameweek 11 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.
Remember that the game previews are in most cases short-term recommendations based on the next Gameweek. You should pick most of your squad for the long-term results, with a few players up for rotation since you only get one free substitution each week. The following recommendations should always be in consideration when picking your team for the Gameweek:
- Regurgitated recommendation 1: Captain one of your best attacking players because the bonus point system favors goal scorers.
- Regurgitated recommendation 2: Play the fixtures. The PL Fantasy blog offers helpful analysis. But don’t forget players in form.
- Regurgitated recommendation 3: Avoid silly mistakes in picking injured players by using injury information from the Physio Room and the suspension list from the official FA site.
Basing the captain picks on the above regurgitation and the analysis below we arrive at:
- Robin van Persie, the goal scoring machine.
- Suarez, because of the home game, opponents, and his overall play.
- Van der Vaart, for his incredible form.
- Aguero, because of City’s frightening attacking potential.
- Differential: Nani, should you believe in a United backlash and be willing to gamble.
Robin van Persie is the obvious captain choice this week with a home game against West Brom. West Brom have conceded 1.6 goals on average away from home while Arsenal have score on average 1.8. I expect a comfortable Arsenal victory with Van Persie involved in the goals. Gervinho has produced goals and assists in Arsenal’s last three games in is likely to score Fantasy points in this fixture.
With Young out and Sunderland offering Manchester United little resistance in the past, Nani is set to take advantage. He has been in and out of the team due to rotation but is likely to start in a United attacking formation. He will be eager to cement his place in the team and United will be keen to provide goals for the Old Trafford crowd that witnessed their disaster performance against Manchester City. Hernandez seems to always score when given chances and a bet for a goal or two is reasonable.
face a trickier test, away at Goodison Park, where they face an Everton side that caused United problems last season. I wouldn’t back any United player with the captain’s armband before we see how they respond last week’s result. I expect some backlash, but perhaps not until next week’s home game against Sunderland. Avoid defenders and focus on United’s attack in Rooney and Nani.
Despite three goalless games, Suarez has been the heart of the Liverpool attack. Setting up both goals in their 2 – 0 win over WBA, he was yet again Liverpool’s man of the match. Swansea at home is exactly the type of game that could see him finally score more than one goal in a match for Liverpool.
Although an away game at Fulham is nothing to sneeze at, one must mention Van der Vaart. He has scored and stolen 14 bonus points in five consecutive games. He should be rested after Tottenham fielded a second string team in the Europa League, while Fulham could suffer from their midweek game.
Silva is likely to be rested and we could see less fluency to Manchester City’s play away at Loftus Road. However, Aguero and Dzeko will test QPR’s resolve. In light of City’s 27 goals in their last seven games, captaining either of them could reap rewards.
Probable clean sheets are getting harder to predict by the week. Basing your strategy around defenders is risky prospect this season and more gains are to be found in goal-scoring midfielders and strikers.
The clean sheet picks are:
- Newcastle is proving resolute this season and is the clean sheet pick of the Gameweek. Everton are lacking bite in the final third, and Newcastle are conceding less than a goal per game at home. Play your Newcastle players if you have them but beware of investing in them. Their next three games are Manchester City (A), Manchester United (A), and Chelsea (H).
- Aston Villa are conceding less than a goal per game at home while Norwich are noticeably less dangerous away from home. Aston Villa have frustrated Fantasy managers this season by conceding a single goal three times where they were likely to deliver clean sheet points. McLeish’s teams have been setup defensively and I believe Villa will start to rack up more clean sheets as the season progresses.
- Swansea is scoring few goals away from home. That should benefit Liverpool, who look much more solid with a fit Agger in defence.
You should generally gamble on defenders playing at home. Thus, if you don’t have defenders from the above teams, other possible options are Manchester United at home against Sunderland. The quality of Manchester City’s defence also makes playing City defenders away at QPR a reasonable bet.
Taking a Punt
- Walcott will test the West Brom defence with his direct running. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a goal from the speedy winger.
- Brunt has one of the sweetest left foot in the Premier League and will try to make it count against a wobbly Arsenal defence. An assist seems likely and a goal isn’t out the question.
- As strange as it sounds, I’m classifying Rooney as a punt this week. He has been playing in midfield for the last few games and has spent more time supplying wingers and forwards in attacking positions than trying to create goals and spending time in the opponent’s penalty box. Should he start up front, he could cause havoc in the Sunderland defence.
- Enrique is supplying a hefty attacking threat down the left flank for Liverpool. He could have a splendid Gameweek, registering an assist and a cleans sheet. A clean sheet only would suffice.
- Following his second hattrick of the season, Ba will be full of confidence he can puncture the Everton back line.
- Richards is taking up attacking positions and providing support down the right flank. He could be in line for an assist and a clean sheet. Either would do for a successful Gameweek.
Good luck, use your free transfer wisely, and please comment below.