Let us prepare for Gameweek 5 after a dose of thrilling Champions League action.
You know the drill: Captain picks, big hitters, clean sheets, and punts.
- Bale: Tottenham looked a better team against Reading than in the first three games of the season. Perhaps Villas-Boas is starting to get through to his players and imprint his style on the team. Bale is the man most likely to benefit and is, in my view, the only guaranteed starter of Tottenham’s attacking players. Despite his solitary goal and no assist, has attampted 12 shots and created 11 chances, indicating that an upturn in fortunes is likely.
Tevez: Manchester City won 18 out of 19 games at home last season with 55 goals scored. So even with an in-form Arsenal defence coming for a visit, the numbers tell us that City will score. Tevez is the leading Fantasy player, with 38 points coming from three goals, four assists, and six bonus points in four games. Half of Fantasy managers own him. If you do, captaining him is a logical choice.
Hazard: After looking at City’s impressive home form, Stoke’s away form looks dismal. Losing 11 games and conceding 33 indicates that they should be ripe for the picking for Chelse’s attackers. Hazard is a rising star and the second most popular player in the FPL will be heavily captained. As with Tevez, he’s a good bet.
Despite Ba’s agent piping up on Tuesday over his lack of playing time, his brace against Everton should secure a start against Norwich. Newcastle are favorites and with Cisse’s goals drying up, Ba is set to play upfront. Even if he starts on the wing in Pardews’s 4-3-3 he has proven effective so far this season.
Defoe is making me look bad with my continuing predictions that he will be benched for Adebayor. I can’t see how Villas-Boas ban bench him after his brace last Gameweek, which probably means Adebayor gets his first start. He started against Lazio on Thursday night so Villas-Boas could claim that he needed to freshen up the squad. Nevertheless, I think he will start and is a good option at home against QPR.
Torres, despite being less than impressive this season, will likely start against QPR and has a great chance of scoring. Hazard and Mata are quality playmakers and should create chances a plenty for the Spaniard.
Berbatov is a quality player and has been praised front and back by Martin Jol since arriving at Fulham. I believe he’s a no-brainer as a third striker and the stats back it up. Seven chances created and eight shots in only 135 minutes is tremendous, especially when backed up by a two goals.
West Ham welcome Sunderland to Upton Park. Allardyce will look to keep the game tight, and Sunderland haven’t exactly been an attacking force in their first three games. They only have 10 shots, with five of them on target. McCartney’s spot in the side is in doubt following an ankle injury so Demel is the cheapest defender at only £4.1.
Tottenham face a QPR side still in transition due to the plethora of summer signings by Hughes. Assou-Ekotto is injured, giving Naughton the chance to shine at left back. He’s a budget pick at £4.4 and a decent short term buy.
West Brom have looked impressive under Steve Clark and a home game against Reading will be a good measure of how stable they are at home against a relegation candidate. Should they keep a home clean sheet again, look for Ridgewell and Olsson to grow in popularity. Also, expect a price rise.
Fulham’s away form has been appalling the last couple of seasons and face Wigan at the DW Stadium. Maloney is playing as part of Wigan’s front three and has seven chances created and three shots in four games. That’s not that good, until you consider that two of the four games are Manchester United at Old Trafford and Chelsea at home. Maloney gives you the double benefit of being cheap and offering an acceptable goal threat for a fifth midfielder.
West Brom play at home against Reading, which should give Morrison a good chance to add to his Fantasy total. He has created seven chances and taken seven shots in four games for West Brom which, although not fantastic, is a decent return for a £6.0 priced midfielder. He’s owned by only 1.4% of Fantasy managers so he is a differential punt.
It seems strange putting him in the “punts” category, considering his Fantasy awesomeness last season, but Silva has started the season slowly and is being substituted early by Mancini (if he’s not on the bench, that is). Nevertheless, he has six shots and nine chances created in only 184 minutes. That equates to 20.44 minutes per chance created putting him on similar ground as Baines (18.95), Cazorla (19.5), and Berbatov (19.29), all who are currently considered exciting Fantasy players at the moment. He’ll come good, sooner rather than later.