- We prepare for Gameweek 23 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay (Tuesday Edition) by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.
Basing the captain picks on the thoughts below we arrive at:
- Van Persie: Even with the away game he sits at the top of the list, mainly because of Arsenal’s dependence on his goals.
- Rooney: Has been playing well, even if he hasn’t been involved in United’s goals. Watch out for reports whether he recovers from ankle injury.
- Bale: Explosive in his new central role for Tottenham and I’m gambling he’ll outscore Van der Vaart yet again this Gameweek.
- Differential: Despite his hattrick last Gameweek, few will captain Dempsey this Gameweek. He has two recent hattricks and the shooting statistics to back the selection.
Robin van Persie’s is the current king of the Fantasy Premier League, having outscored the second highest player (Silva) by 28 points. He leads the league in shots, with the total of 80, and will add to the tally away at Bolton. Bolton have a horrible home game record and RvP is likely to capitalize. Anyone betting against RvP should better have a good reason and be chasing in the mini-league.
A stuttering Stoke team is ideal for Rooney to start a new scoring streak. He has taken the responsibility for much of United’s creative play against the tougher teams which has meant that he has dropped back to midfield. Missing the Liverpool FA Cup loss, he will be fresh to inflict pain at home. Valencia is always the best bet for a United assist and is their in-form player.
Bale has been consistent from Gameweek 10 onwards, scoring seven goals and delivering eight assists. He has outscored both Van der Vaart and Adebayor, who haven’t scored since Gameweeks 19 and 17, respectively.
Everton are always a tough nut to crack so I would stay away from captaining Manchester City players this Gameweek. That being said, if you have any of Silva, Aguero, or Dzeko, you play them. Silva is Mr. Consistent and Aguero is City’s best bet for an explosive Gameweek.
Other strong plays include:
- Dempsey, following his double hattricks in recent weeks. Fulham, historically much stronger at home, welcome an inconsistent West Brom to Craven Cottage.
- Sessegnon has blossomed into his new attacking role under O’Neill and is currently the FPL’s in-form player (apart from N. Dyer). Sunderland should score at home against Norwich and Sessegnon is the most likely player to be involved.
With both Manchester teams, Swansea, and Tottenham all playing at home the clean sheet picks are rather obvious this Gameweek.
- Manchester United welcome Stoke to Old Trafford. Despite Evans and Smalling sometimes being troubled by route one strikers United is a good bet for a clean sheet. Evans is a steal at £4.5.
- Manchester City play at home against an Everton team that can’t score this season. City welcome Kompany back after his suspension.
- Tottenham is defending better this season than I expected, having already registered six clean sheets at home. Despite his mistake against Manchester City, I still rate King, priced at £4.5, as their best defender.
- Swansea is the defensive surprise package of the season, with goalkeeper Vorm hogging the headlines with some outstanding performances. Statistically, they are likely to keep a clean sheet against Chelsea.
Taking a Punt
- Welbeck has scored in consecutive Premier League games and seems to be Ferguson’s preferred strike partner for Rooney. He provides cheap access to United’s attack. For the defence, Lindegaard is a budget option for goal.
- Everyone and their grandma has been touting McClean as a budget pick from the Sunderland midfield. Count me in.
- With Dempsey hogging the headlines, many missed Zamora’s excellent performance against Newcastle. He scored and provided three assists in addition to collecting two bonus points. He has been in and out of the first team, reportedly because of a rift (denied by Jol), and is therefore a punt.
- West Brom’s Morrison takes his fair share of shots and should, statistically, be rewarded more often with Fantasy points.
With the second part of the season upon us we should remember to evaluate teams and players based on current form and numbers. Remember that early season success isn’t a perfect indicator for success later in the season.
Remember Hull and Blackpool?
Some players have overdelivered and will regress to their true potential while others will finally deliver in the latter stages of the season. Walter’s of Stoke has worse stats than his points indicate, while players like Suarez could explode in the latter part of the season.
Who do you predict will decline and improve in the latter part of the season?