What players should you pick for Gameweek 7 and most importantly, who should you captain?
We prepare for Gameweek 7 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, and speculating on possible punts.
Premier League clubs successfully navigated the Europe League waters midweek; Fulham, Stoke, and Tottenham all won. We should note how the teams perform in Gameweek 7, trying to spot possible patterns for clubs playing back-to-back games. Stoke suffered against Sunderland after their last midweek game while Tottenham played their second string which should mean they are fresh against Arsenal in Gameweek 7.
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:
- Wayne Rooney
- Sergio Aguero
- Differential: Adebayor and Robin van Persie
Manchester United v Norwich stands out as the fixture most likely to have high Fantasy returns for United players. Rooney and Nani are the obvious choices with Young, Anderson, and Hernandez a tier below.
There is always rotation to look out for and Young could be a candidate following his 90 minutes against Basel in the Champions League. We could see Giggs or Park deputize.
Blackburn have conceded 13 goals this season making Manchester City’s Aguero captain material, especially after Tevez’ ban and Dzeko’s strop against Bayern Munich. Silva has been City’s most consistent performer and is always looking for the killer pass.
Both Tottenham and Arsenal have less than stellar defences, which opens up the possibility for a goal-fest at White Hart Lane. I like both Adebayor and Van der Vaart for Tottenham and Robin van Persie (RvP) for Arsenal; however, the RvP excitement is dampened if Tottenham start with Ledley King in defence.
Last season Tottenham conceded 0.67 goals per game with King playing and 1.21 without (stats courtesy of EPL Index). Whether King starts or not buying RvP makes sense, fixture wise. After the Tottenham game, RvP has two home games against Sunderland and Stoke and will score Fantasy points.
I’m reluctant to suggest clean sheets, as they have been hard as hell to predict this season. Unlikely candidates in Swansea, QPR, and Newcastle have given better defensive returns than former stalwarts such as Chelsea and Manchester United. Tread carefully, rather focusing on attacking points until patterns are clear. That being said the clean sheet candidates are:
- Aston Villa at home against Wigan. Villa have only conceded 5 goals this season, the same number Wigan have scored. Statistically, this is as good as it gets.
- Both Fulham and QPR have a fair shot in what could be a cagey London derby. Both teams have scored few goals so far and Jol is likely to set Fulham up for a tight encounter.
- Manchester United at home against Norwich. In spite of United’s defensive frailties this season they are dominant at home.
You should generally gamble on defenders playing at home. Thus, if you don’t have defenders from the above teams, other possible options are Sunderland at home against West Brom, Wolves v Newcastle, and Swansea at home against Stoke.
Taking a Punt
- N. Dyer at home against Stoke City. Stoke were dreadful against Sunderland after their last European adventure, although they were at home this week which negates any travel fatigue.
- Kaboul was menacing in Tottenham’s set pieces against Wigan last Gameweek and could capitalize on Arsenal’s aerial weakness.
- Drogba could lead the line for Chelsea against a Bolton team in the worst form in many a years. Anxious to prove that he still has a role to play, he could bang in a few goals.
- Suarez has been effective in big games for Liverpool, most notably in their demolition of Manchester United last season. The Merseyside derby is as big as it gets for Liverpool and he is likely to contribute.
The news of Rooney’s injury circulating the football media tested the seller’s patience, with over 165.000 managers opting to transfer Rooney out. Unfortunately for those quick to act, both Hernandez and Rooney were declared fit by Ferguson this morning. United face Norwich at home, making Rooney the obvious captain this Gameweek with Nani following closely behind.
To be fair, the reasoning for Rooney’s sales, besides his injury, is tough fixtures. The next two games after Norwich are Liverpool at Anfield and Man City at Old Trafford.