We prepare for Gameweek 8 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, and speculating on possible punts.
The international break saw many Premier League players hit top form with their countries:
- Silva was instrumental in Spain’s win over Scotland and recorded two goals and an assist.
- Bale played so well that Gary Speed saw fit to single him out for praise.
- Ramsey was impressive and pulled the strings in midfield for Wales.
- Nasri scored for France and Dzeko scored in both of Bosnia’s games.
- Young, Kyut, Larsson, Pedersen, Ivanovic, and Olson also scored.
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, simply because of the form he is in at the moment.
- Silva, for his form and a home game.
- Van Persie, for a home game against a down-in-the-dumps Sunderland.
- Differential: Sturridge and Wright-Phillips.
The biggest matchup of the Gameweek is Liverpool v Manchester United. However, high Fantasy returns aren’t guaranteed for either set of players. Rooney and Nani are the obvious choices for United and a bet on Suarez at home against a leaky United defence is reasonable. A counter to that bet is that Vidic is back from injury as well as Cleverley, who could add some urgency to the midfield. I would not play either team’s defensive players, as clean sheets are unlikely.
Manchester City is at home against Aston Villa and Silva looks likely to pick up Fantasy points following his display for Spain against Scotland. Dzeko is set to start upfront as Aguero is injured and Tevez is banned following his strop in Munich. If there are goals to be found, Silva and Dzeko will be involved.
If Van Persie is going to justify his price, a home game against Sunderland is exactly the kind of game that see his Fantasy returns in the double figures. If you own him, you should be captaining him here.
Last Gameweek saw five clean sheets, with predictable ones coming from Aston Villa, Manchester United, and Fulham at home against possible relegation candidates (although QPR could be safe this season after the Fernandes buyout).
Swansea should now be considered candidates after four consecutive home clean sheets. The have also only conceded one goal per game away from home apart from the four goals conceded against Manchester City in the first Gameweek.
Remember to tread carefully, rather focusing on attacking points until defensive patterns are clear. That being said the clean sheet candidates are:
- Chelsea at home against a toothless Everton is probably the most obvious clean sheet potential of the Gameweek. From Chelsea, Bosingwa also offers the possibility of assists and goals.
- Manchester City playing at home is a reasonable bet. Kompany is ever-present and reasonably priced.
- Norwich and Swansea games have been low-scoring, with both teams averaging around a goal per game. The game could easily end in two clean sheets. Vorm and Ruddy are cheap goalkeepers worthy of considering in a goalkeeper rotation system.
You should generally gamble on defenders playing at home. Thus, if you don’t have defenders from the above teams, other possible options are QPR at home against Blackburn, Newcastle v Tottenham, and Stoke at home against Fulham.
Taking a Punt
- Di Santo at home against Bolton. Bolton have conceded more goals in their first 7 games of the season than any other team in Premier League history.
- Sturridge will have space on the right flank should Baines venture forward and Distin asked to cover.
- Gervinho is back for Arsenal and will be looking to re-start his season with a positive impact.
- Wright-Phillips is likely to cause the porous Blackburn defence problems with his speed and QPR will look to bounce back after their 0 – 6 thumping against Fulham.