Most Premier League clubs successfully navigated the midweek Carling cup games, with only West Brom, Fulham, Tottenham, and Aston villa dropping out in games against other Premier League teams.
We prepare for Gameweek 6 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay. There is no standout game of the week with the most fantasy potential coming from home games from three of last season’s top four. With both Rooney and Aguero in such great form, the question arises: Who should we captain? I’m sticking with Rooney, based on his proven history and amazing early season form, although I wouldn’t fault you for going with Aguero this week for the home game advantage.
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.
- 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:
- Wayne Rooney
- Sergio Aguero
- David Silva
- Differential: Adebayor and Torres.
Stoke City v Manchester United
You can’t deny both the form of United and Rooney at the moment. He is both a must-own and must-captain player at the moment and I will captain him, even away at Stoke. Ferdinand is likely to start following his early season injury with Smalling facing two weeks out with a groin strain. Stoke look to prove a point following their drubbing against Stoke but couldn’t have faced a tougher opponent this Gameweek.
- Rooney: When a class player is such incredible form you just captain him. No philosophical pondering or statistical analysis will dissuade me otherwise.
- Nani: Man of the match in the Chelsea game and is ripping full-backs to shreds at the moment.
- Young: On par with Nani for the start of the season and is as likely as anyone to register assists.
- Anderson: A lively threat from midfield and is also registering set piece duties from corners this season.
- Walters: With United’s defence letting in goals in almost every game, the striker classified as a midfielder is worth a punt. He is also on penalty duties.
- Stoke defence: United look irresistible at the moment and you would be unwise betting against them.
Manchester City v Everton
Based on both teams’ start to the season we should see a safe victory for Man City.
- Aguero: Threatening to become a must-own this season with his early season striking exploits.
- Silva: The best midfielder in the Premier League at the moment and is integral to City’s attacking game. Is registering both shots on goal and vital passes in the final third each game. Consistent Fantasy performer.
- Nasri: A step below Silva, but still a cut above most in the Fantasy game. A slight doubt because of his broken arm.
- Richards: Seems to have cemented his first team spot and provides an attacking outlet down the flanks for City. There is some rotation risk, but not a big enough threat to drop him if you have him.
- Kompany: The new captain and most consistent defender for City. Toure will eat minutes from Lescott, but Kompany seems unlikely to be rotated. The safe option.
- Dzeko: I now rate Aguero as the only safe first team starter for the City strike force. Dzeko, for me, is a slight doubt. At the moment, you could argue that he should be as attractive a Fantasy option as any. You would probably be right, but there is a slight doubt for me.
- Cahill: Playing up front on his own, he is likely to be involved if Everton muster up goals in the match. Not an exciting punt, but a punt nonetheless.
- Howard: At 5.5, Howard is not worth it this match. A clean sheet is unlikely.
Chelsea v Swansea
In spite of their loss against United, Chelsea played well upfront and were a real threat throughout. Swansea are tight at the back and finally registered a goal in their 3 – 0 victory against West Brom last Gameweek.
- Torres: In great form last week, despite his much publicized miss against United. He caused the United defence all kinds of problems and is linking up well with new import Mata. I think he will start to blossom for Chelsea following his horrible start to his Chelsea life.
- Bosingwa: Continues to be both the cheapest Chelsea defender and most likely of the bunch to score or assist. Chelsea should keep a clean sheet against Swansea.
- Mata: Hasn’t delivered in his last two games but he has just arrived and is still acclimatizing to the Premier League. Has looked a class performer and should deliver assists and goals throughout the season. The only question is whether he needs more time before the Fantasy points start to roll in.
- Dyer: Is here only because of his price. At 4.7, he is one of the cheapest regularly playing midfielders with some offensive threat. Not likely to score at Stamford Bridge, but could be a valuable long-term addition to your team if you need a budget signing in the middle.
- Lampard: Has moved back in the pecking order and is playing a deeper role after Villas-Boas’ arrival. Much too expensive at 11.8 to warrant inclusion in your team.
Wigan v Tottenham
Tottenham demolished Liverpool last week and look in good form following the arrivals of Adebayor and Parker.
- Adebayor: A class striker when his head is in the right place. Is highly involved in Tottenham’s build up game and is also arriving in the box to finish his chances. The most attractive striker in the Fantasy game that is not plying his trade in Manchester.
- Modric: Scored a thunderbolt goal and played like the lauded midfielder of last season. Tottenham are a different prospect with him in form. Has never been prolific, assist or goal wise, and is hence a punt.
- Van der Vaart: It remains to be seen how Redknapp will deploy him if he accommodates Defoe in a 4-4-2. He will likely be shunted out to the wing, which should diminish his Fantasy potential.
- Di Santo: Has three goals in six games and could sneak a goal against an ever changing Tottenham defence. If King is playing his value is decreased.
- King: Is a class defender and it is no surprise that Tottenham have kept two clean sheets in a row with him on the field. But he is injured half of the season and can not be relied on to play.
Arsenal v Bolton
Both teams are having disastrous starts to the season.
- Van Persie: Will probably not reach the Fantasy heights of last season with a much weaker support cast but should provide goals and assists. I’m skeptical that he will justify his price tag.
- Gervinho: Threatens with his pace and scored in the last game.
- Petrov: With the Arsenal defence as leaky as Swiss cheese, Petrov’s chances of assists and goals multiplies.
- Arteta: I’m not sold on his Fantasy potential in the Arsenal team. Has scored twice against Blackburn this season, which is hardly an epic task. But, he has potential should the Arsenal team turn around their form and start scoring freely.
- K. Davies and Cahill: Threats at set pieces, which Arsenal have big problems defending.
- Klasnic: Is suspended until October 15th because of this headbutt the last game.
Liverpool v Wolves
Having started brightly, both teams have suffered setbacks in the last two Gameweeks. Liverpool have a point to prove at home and it is unlikely that Wolves will be able to contain them.
- Suarez: Has shown his petulant side lately, complaining to referees and castigating his teammates. However, he is always involved in the attacking game and has been unlucky to not have scored more. I’m still backing him to have a good goals coring season.
- Enrique: Has played well, both in Liverpool’s good and bad games. Provides an attacking threat and is priced at a lowly 5.1. However, Liverpool’s defence has been shipping in goals lately which puts a damper on his potential. I’m still punting on Liverpool containing the domesticated Wolves of late.
- Fletcher: Is still carrying a groin injury and is a major doubt for the Liverpool game.
Newcastle v Blackburn
With Newcastle’s great defensive record this season, there is a high chance of a clean sheet against Blackburn.
- Simpson: A budget option in Newcastle’s solid defence.
- Cabaye: Has caught the eye with his energetic performances in the early season. Had 19 goals and 20 assists in the last two seasons for Lille. Should he bring some of that form into the Premier League he would become a Fantasy favorite.
- Best: Has three goals and six bonus points in five games for the Magpies. Is a rotation risk, although Pardew will be hard pressed to drop him after last Gameweek’s goal.
- Blackburn team: I would wait and see on the Blackburn team following their impressive 4 – 3 victory over Arsenal. They don’t have any obvious Fantasy prospects and it could have been a one off result.
QPR v Aston Villa
QPR is looking set for a comfortable mid-table finish this season while Aston Villa fans are already complaining about McLeish’s defensive minded setup of the Aston Villa team.
- Gabbidon: A controversial pick that is doubtful to play (possible knee injury). Aston Villa will set up to contain QPR and could offer little attacking threat. For the price of 4.0 Gabbidon is a value pick this Gameweek.
- Barton: Captain and commander of the QPR midfield, having scored a goal in the last Gameweek and stolen bonus points in both his QPR games.
- Agbonhlahor: The one bright spot in Aston Villa’s attacking play this season.
- Bent: Has been isolated up front for Aston Villa in McLeish’s new setup. For 10.0, he is much to high of a risk, especially away from home.
West Brom v Fulham
West Brom have one victory in five games while Fulham showed their fighting spirit in their comeback against Manchester City last Gameweek, registering their third draw.
- Zamora: Took his chances well at Crave Cottage last week and is looking sharp again following his return from injury.
- Murphy: Is integral to Fulham’s play and is likely to pick up assists, even though he plays deep.
- Odemwingie: Scored the winning goal against Norwich and showed last season that he knows how to finish his chances.
- Foster: West Brom are shipping in goals left and right and Foster is not registering saves. Stay away.
Norwich v Sunderland
Sunderland look to build upon their impressive drubbing of Stoke while Norwich have little Fantasy potential combined with a rotation crazy manager. Both teams are unexciting this Gameweek.
- Larsson: Provided great returns last Gameweek and has a constant Fantasy potential based on his set-piece duties.
- Brown: I rate the Sunderland defence higher than most and they have only conceded four goals this season. Brown has been impressive for the first few games. Their clean sheets have coincided with O’Shea’s return.
- Hoolahan: Touted as Norwich’s attacking fulcrum, he has been the victim of manager Lambert’s rotation policy.