I find myself in a bit of a pickle this week as I only have nine players available at the moment, two of which are goalkeepers. With Man Utd being in the Carling Cup final, Paintsil and Bosingwa being suspended, and Portsmouth not playing I’ll need to make a couple of changes just to get a full team out. Next week Fulham, Blackburn, Sunderland and Spurs all play twice so that is something to consider too.
Last week saw James Beattie as top point scorer with 13. I am willing to bet that will be the first and last time this will ever happen. He has done well though since joining Stoke with four goals in four games. Elesewhere it was a case of Fulham players trying to outdo each other with Schwarzer (12) just beating Johnson (11) who just beat Zamora (10). All got into double figures though.
On to this week’s picks…
Three alternatives to Ronaldo as Captain (makes sense, he’s not playing)
1. Lampard/Chelsea – I have to say no one stands out this week, Chelsea and Arsenal both face good defensive teams despite being at home so goals may be at a premium. I don’t have Lampard in my team but if I did he would be my likely choice. I could see Wigan holding them to a draw though.
2. Young/Aston Villa – Martin O’Neill has laid his cards on the table and decided that he would rather qualify for the Champions League instead of win the UEFA Cup. I know the feeling. His first team will be fully rested having not played against CSKA. Stoke are a big physical team so you could well see Carew and Heskey play together. All this leads to plenty of crosses from Ashley Young. Hopefully one of these crosses will end up as an assist.
3. Van Persie or Bendtner (if you’re feeling very reckless)/Arsenal – Fulham are a tough side to break down but they have only scored three away goals this season. Arsenal will no doubt be camped in their half from the first minute onwards and in the absence of Eduardo, Adebayor and Walcott, the aforementioned RVP and NB will probably continue up front. I’m hoping clutching that given enough chances Bendtner might score. Please. Thank you.
Three suggested transfers in:
1. Santa Cruz or Roberts/Blackburn – A decent game this week against Hull and then two next week against Everton and Fulham. Either is worth a shout for a couple of weeks even though Blackburn are struggling.
2. Arshavin/Arsenal – Seeing as he can’t play in the Champions League, Wenger will likely use him in every remaining league game. He’s pricey, and listed as a striker, but he showed enough against Sunderland to suggest that he will be a good source of points for the rest of the season.
3. Baines/Everton – The Toffees are pretty solid right now and stand to take a more defensive approach now that Arteta is out. He’s finally established himself in the back four and at £4.6M is a million cheaper than any other Everton defender who plays regularly. Tony Hibbert doesn’t count, he can barely be classed as a footballer let alone defender.
Three to avoid:
1. Arteta/Everton – Out for the season. He’s at an odd price range where there isn’t an obvious replacement. Maybe SWP or Cahill I guess. If I had him I’d go cheaper and spend the money elsewhere.
2. Spurs players – If last season is anything to go by Tottenham’s season officially ends on Sunday after the Carling Cup final. I avoid their players anyway, but even more so now that they won’t have anything to play for. The fact they may still find themselves in a relegation battle does not make them suddenly appealing either.
3. Liverpool players – Watch Rafa rotate as he begins to prioritise the Champions League.