As pointed out by The Football Guy in one of the comments, suggesting Nemanja Vidic as a potential captain last week was not the most inspired pick I have ever made. Luckily I don’t have him in my team but those that do had to suffer four goals conceded and a sending off. Picking him as captain would have put you on -6 points. Not good. Andrey Arshavin had his best game yet, racking up 15 points in the demolition of Blackburn. He deserved bonus points for the dummy he sold Simpson alone. Elsewhere Eboue scored more points (11) than minutes he was on the pitch (8), while N’Zogbia also got eleven points. This week sees some quite tough games to call with lots of relegation six pointers plus a big game between Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Top three alternatives to Ronaldo as captain:
1. Rooney/Man Utd – Seeing as this section is about picking someone other than Ronaldo, you have to look at who else can produce for Man Utd this week. After last week’s debacle Fergie will be looking for a statement and a response. What better team to face than Fulham, who while exceeding expectations this year, have lost 3-0 and 4-0 to United this season. Rooney is a good a bet as any to lead the predicted victory.
2. Arshavin/Arsenal – Already establishing himself as a key component in the Arsenal side, I for one can’t wait to see him start playing with Fabregas. He faces Newcastle away this weekend and with no midweek game to worry about, you can be sure that a full strength side will be put out. Newcastle aren’t a terrible side but Arsenal are a much better one and should have no trouble beating them. I think that once again Arshavin should be at the heart of the goal scoring action.
3. Torres/Liverpool – I don’t think Aston Villa’s defence will be able to stop him in his current form, certainly not without Martin Laursen. I could actually see the game being a draw, but not a goalless one.
Three potential transfers in:
1. Essien/Chelsea – While he has scored a couple of goals already since his return from serious injury, your main reason for wanting to bring him in is that he is a bonus point machine. Chelsea are finishing the season strongly and I’m sure there will be plenty of games where his midfield drive leads them to victory.
2. Owen/Newcastle – The Toon Army faithful have real cause for concern as their side has quite a good shot at going down. The one saving grace is that six yard punisher Michael Owen made his return from injury last week. They should do just about enough to survive but it’s more than likely that it will be dependant on Owen poaching a few goals. Personally I back him to do so.
3. Players from teams with something to play for – I think this goes without saying really but with just nine matches left for most sides, many teams will soon find themselves playing meaningless games. I’d sooner have a Stoke player fighting for survival than a Wigan player who’s already got one eye on his summer holiday.
Three players to avoid:
1. Robinho/Man City – Another desperately poor away performance against Chelsea has seemingly made Mark Hughes realise that he can’t be relied on. They don’t seem to see eye to eye and I think as soon as Martin Petrov returns from injury (after the international break I think) we could see Robinho in line for a few appearances on the bench.
2. Agbonlahor/Aston Villa – Has played pretty much every single game for about three seasons now and as a result has recently looked a bit burnt out. He was booed by his own fans last week and I think that if Villa are to pick up some form, it won’t necessarily be reliant on him doing so. I just know that having written this he’ll now score against both Liverpool and Man Utd.
3. Middlesborough players – They don’t score (just 21 so far this season) and they don’t keep clean sheets either. Even Downing isn’t worth having unless he decides to start playing well enough to attract Tottenham’s attention again.