Barcelona and Real Madrid = Manchester United and Manchester City?
That is perhaps hyping it to the extreme, but this season is shaping up to be a two horse race between the Manchester teams. Chelsea could have something to say about that and will probably improve as the season progresses.
Gameweek 4 again produced emphatic wins for City and United. Manchester City cruised to a comfortable victory over Wigan while Manchester United battered Bolton away from home. Their victims last week, Arsenal and Tottenham, got off the mark home against Swansea and away at Wolves, respectively. Chelsea kept up their laboured winning ways.
Stoke scratched up an impressive win against Liverpool at the Britannia, and Hodgson’s West Brom won away against Norwich.
In other news, Everton and Aston share the spoils. The same happened for Fulham v Blackburn and QPR v Newcastle.
- Manchester City: Quite contrary to what I predicted last week Edin Dzeko did not cement his place in City’s lineup with Aguero and Tevez being preferred. In spite of Aguero’s hattrick I am now wary of City’s forwards because of rotation. Even though the City attack is looking menacing, you are risking having spent 8.8 – 11.o for a bench player, or worse a 15 cameo likely resulting in a 1 or 2 pointer. Instead I would go for the either or both of Silva and Nasri. Silva was the fulcrum of City’s attacks while Nasri again notched up an assist. The defensive lineup seems settled and I wouldn’t advise against an investment in Kompany or Richards.
- Manchester United: Rooney is still on fire. I’m now even more certain that he will be this season’s top Fantasy scorer. Nani surprised many with two assists, but based on his Fantasy returns last year we will see more of the good stuff from the Portuguese winger. It is very tight between Nani and Young, with Young perhaps edging it out based on set-piece duties. Also, Young seems more comfortable than Nani on the left wing, which could mean that Nani will be rotated more when Valencia is fit again. Ferguson opted to rest Smalling, meaning that Evans proved excellent value this week. Jones is looking quite the player and could rack up more games this year than most expected. He should be a consideration at only 5.5.
- Chelsea: It is now clear that Villas-Boas considers Bosingwa first choice right back. This makes his cost fully justified, providing Chelsea stop shipping the odd goal per game. Torres was dropped, with Sturridge preferred. Mata again looked lively although he did not produce Fantasy points. Apart from Bosingwa, I am hesitant about the Chelsea attack and midfield while Villas-Boas is finding his preferred setup.
- Arsenal: Looked sturdier than against Manchester United, but lacked fluidity and menace. Robin van Persie will likely come good sooner rather than later, but at the moment I would hold off Arsenal players unless you are willing to gamble.
- Tottenham: We have found our mid-range striker; Adebayor to the rescue! I’m jumping on the Togo bandwagon and recommending him as your Dzeko replacement. Parker slotted right in the midfield and Spurs will hope to set a tone for the season against Liverpool next week.
- Aston Villa: I was disappointed with Villa conceding two goals and am willing to concede that the premium on Villa’s players is probably too high at the moment. I hold Given and will give him a few more games before I think about shipping him out. I would not recommend other Villa players.
- Everton: Baines is doing his best to prove PL Fantasy’s Chris Glover wrong but I still believe his excellent analysis that pricey offensive defenders are not worth the investment. Tim Cahill provided an assist and it is worth to keep an eye on him. He is proven Fantasy quality, but seems a little to pricey at the moment.
- Stoke City: The addition to the squad and their Europa League campaign combine to cloud the value of Stoke players. I am vary of the effect of the midweek games on their League form. However, if you want a defensive Stoke investment, based on their three clean sheets, Shawcross is the safest bet. Walter is an option; playing out of position and is on penalty duties. I’m keeping my eye on Begovic as he could be a useful direct swap for managers holding Robinson, Jaaskelainen, Schwarzer, Foster, and Given.
- Liverpool and Bolton: Nothing has changed with both teams’ losses away from home. The Britannia is a tough venue, and many teams will struggle at Stoke this season. I still rate Suarez and Enrique as the most exciting options at Liverpool. Old Trafford, of course, is a fortress. The Bolton lineup seems settled and they should now start providing more value after their tough start to the season. Klasnic and Petrov could be smart purchases.
- Wolves: The loss at home put a dampener on an otherwise bright start to the season. The offense has looked blunter in the last two games in contrast to the sharper first two games. I would consider Ward as a fine cheap rotating defensive option. Just don’t expect to get too many clean sheets.
- QPR: Shaun Wright-Phillips looked like he should score Fantasy points this season and the midfield and defense look stronger after their deadline day purchases. Barton will be immense for them. Gabbidon is a budget defender option.
- West Brom: Surprisingly, Brunt was benched. Perhaps, Hodgon was resting him, but who knows? I get the jitters when my players are benched. Long and Odemwingie look exciting options up front. Don’t be fooled by the clean sheet, I don’t expect many of them.
- Newcastle: Another clean sheet and another start for Ryan Taylor. I’m officially baffled by the Newcastle strength at the back.
- Blackburn, Fulham, Norwich, Wigan, Swansea, Sunderland: Apart from value purchases to be benched regularly; e.g. Moses (Wigan), Vorm, De Laet, and Dyer (Swansea), Senderos (Fulham), and Brown (Sunderland); I do not see any Fantasy potential here at the moment.
Again, I would recommend you finish your transfers early in the week, especially if you are holding a selling player or trying to buy the new hot stuff. Having transfer problems because of a price rise/drop of 0.1 here and there is much more telling in the long run than the rare event of picking up a player that gets injured during the week. As long as you are not transferring in the Woodgates of the Premier League, that is.