After much talk, I went and used my wildcard last week and am much happier with my team for it. There has been nothing to suggest the there will plenty of clean sheets this season and it appears that in general teams are going for it a lot more. Whilst I think the big teams will start despatching poor sides with ease later in the season, I don’t think we’ll see anything to match Man Utd’s ridiculous clean sheet run of 08/09.
Anyway I decided to sacrifice most of my expensive defenders as well as one pricey midfielder (Arshavin) in order to get Rooney and Van Persie/Adebayor(once he’s back) up front. I still have Lampard and Gerrard plus Darren Bent so all in all quite pleased. Getting rid of Arshavin was something I was unsure of but at the moment he’s not producing and is getting injuries. I still think he’ll be pushing 200 points come May but for now I’ll run with the in form strikers.
I did think about trying to get Cole or Johnson in there but I think the former won’t keep up his goalscoring while the latter is too expensive now. I was also pleased that the leader in our league Amer, who you may remember has been as high as sixth in the world, also played his wildcard. I don’t especially like the changes he made and am still confident he can be clawed back despite a lead of 90 points. Of the main people I think only Sportboy P is yet to use his so we’ll see how long he waits.
Gameweek 6 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise approves):
An Arsenal player wins it for the third time this season as 19 points come from Thomas Vermaelen who scored twice against Wigan and kept a clean sheet too. He only got one bonus point and having been at the game I think that was fair. He scored two good goals but there were more important players who contributed to the 4-0 win.
It’s a little tricky with Arsenal players this year as there are quite a few who are capable of random bursts of points scoring (see Diaby in week 3) but there’s a lot more fluidity (and rotation) in the new formation meaning you’re never quite sure who’s going to come up trumps. I could quite easily imagine Arshavin, Eduardo and Van Persie all winning the Top Gun award before the season is out.
Elsewhere James Milner continues to increase his influence at Villa with 14, Ryan Giggs got three assists in the Manchester derby for 14 and Torres scored two great goals against West Ham for 13.
Interestingly, every single recipient of the Top Gun award has stunk the place out the following week – Fabregas 2pts, Johnson 1pt, Diaby 2pts, Cole 1pts, Benayoun 2pts. It looks like the Football Guy’s decision to bring in last week’s Top Gun Vermaelen could well backfire. Expect two solitary points in a 2-1 victory!
Three Captain choices:
1. Torres or Gerrard or Johnson or Kuyt/Liverpool – You should really have one of these guys in your team if you any ambitions for winning private leagues and with a home game at Hull it’s take your pick as to who you think will cause most damage. Torres is back in form and Hull have a shocking defence, Gerrard has been on the verge of a huge week for a while now, Dirk Diggler Kuyt has scored two weeks running while Johnson is very likely to get a clean sheet and assist.
2. Defoe/Tottenham – Ickle Defoe was quiet against Chelsea but has a home game against Burnley this weekend. Burnley are no pushovers of course but I’m pretty sure this game will have goals in it, hence Defoe is as likely as anyone to be amongst them.
3. Baines/Everton– Portsmouth are fast becoming the team where you pick whoever is playing against them as captain. Six straight defeats and I don’t see Everton not beating them to make seven. Baines is in great form and has assists in three straight games. Clean sheet + assist? A good chance I’d say. If you’re feeling adventurous pick Saha, Yakubu or Bilyaletdinov.
Three to bring in:
1. Giggs/Man Utd – Old man Giggs has shown that he still runs (metaphorically at least) the Man Utd midfield. His set-piece delivery is still second to none and he got three assists last week. While I don’t think he can maintain it for the whole season, it’s worth getting him in for the time being. He’s only £7m which is excellent value. Fletcher is worth considering, but he doesn’t contribute much beyond the odd bonus point (last week’s double aside).
2. Bilyaletdinov/Everton– The injury list at Goodison Park is always quite large with any number of players out. This guy was signed in August for £10m or so and he has impressed in his two cup games so far with five, yes five assists. A bit of set piece specialist by all accounts he’s only played two league minutes so far but I expect he will get more shortly. Worth a punt at £6.5m with four very favourable fixtures coming up. Put that in your spellchecker and smoke it!
3. Barry/Man City– Fast becoming the bonus point machine at Eastlands. I think the pattern will go something like this: if Adebayor scores he gets three bonus, if he doesn’t but City still win then Barry will. Not very scientific but still.
Three to avoid:
1. Foster/Man Utd – I still have him but every passing week I’m less impressed. I’m very tempted to cash that £5m in, get a second cheap keeper who saves enough to make up for fewer clean sheets and invest the rest elsewhere. VDS isn’t that far away from being back either.
2. Bolton players – Booed off the pitch last week and the next five games are quite tough (Birmingham A, Spurs H, Man Utd A, Everton H & Chelsea H). I can see them getting no more than two points and it wouldn’t surprise me if they lost all five.
3. Benayoun/Liverpool – Not because he isn’t a good player, but the 24 point week is the exception rather than the rule and I would much rather have the more consistent Dirk Kuyt in my team (and regular readers will know my irrational fantasy hate for Dirk). Benayoun strikes me as someone who will always be the guy who assists the assist, i.e. the guy who gets no points.