Gameweek 8 and some interesting fixtures this weekend. A big four clash, plenty of tired teams who were involved in midweek European competition and some good opportunities for the cellar dwellers to pick up some victories. There were 37 goals last weekend and some high scores fantasy wise. Here’s to more of the same.
Gameweek 7 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):
Maverick approves. Sort of.
It was a battle of the strikers this time round as three players fought to win the award but ultimately if you score four goals there’s a 95% chance you’ll be top scorer for the week. Keane‘s quadruple against Burnley coupled with three bonus points made for a grand score of 21 and with it the Top Gun award.
In a way this feels quite a low score for so many goals but I guess that will always be the case for strikers. Looking back at Arshavin’s four goal haul against Liverpool last season, it also brought him 21 points. It would have been 25 in his new midfielder classification.
As I was saying, two other strikers ran Keane close this week. Torres scored the easiest hat-trick of his career against Hull and also got three bonus for 17 while on Sunday Darren Bent saved many a fantasy team’s weekend by grabbing 18 points via three assists, a goal and three bonus against Wolves. I don’t think anyone was expecting that good a haul from him!
Elsewhere John O’Shea got the classic defender’s combination of winning goal, clean sheet and three bonus for 15, while Tevez, Jones, Petrov and Babel all got 12+. A mention too for Thomas Vermaelen who was the first Top Gun winner to get more than two points the following week. He kept a clean sheet for six.
Three Captain choices:
A big four matchup between Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday means we should probably avoid Torres, Lampard, Gerrard et al. After both teams unimpressed during midweek Champions League and with Chelsea also on the back of a league defeat at Wigan, there may well be an avoid defeat at all costs strategy. A low scoring encounter is certainly on the cards meaning we have to look elsewhere.
1. Rooney/Man Utd – The hairy, screaming one faces Sunderland at Old Trafford this weekend and is a good shout to score I’d say. Sunderland have been very average at the back despite the arrival of Michael Turner and have the sixth worse defensive record with 11 goals conceded so far. It’s their attack which has got them up to 8th. Rooney has six goals in his first seven league games and is now centrepoint of United’s attacking play. Do you really see John Mensah stopping him? Nope me neither.
2. Arshavin or Van Persie/Arsenal – The Gunners have won both home games so far and Blackburn have lost both away games. For all Sam Allardyce’s success against Arsenal over the years, I genuinely don’t see his side getting anything on Sunday. Van Persie has been Arsenal’s best attacker this season without actually getting that many goals but he did score against Fulham last weekend and Olympiacos in midweek. Arshavin too has quietly got himself three goals recently so perhaps is finally hitting some of the form of last season. I’ll be going to this match so am hoping for a few Arsenal goals.
3. Saha/Everton – The oft-injured striker has had a great start to 2009/10 and has scored five in five (he missed Fulham). Stoke are terrible away from home – for some reason they just can’t replicate the form they show at the Britannia and I expect an Everton victory here. Always back a striker when in form. Baines, Cahill or Fellaini are also good shouts in this game.
Gets a Captain's tick
Three Potential Transfers In:
1. Fabregas/Arsenal – Yes he’s a very expensive transfer in, but my thinking is to replace Gerrard or Lampard with him. Arsenal’s next five are Blackburn, Birmingham, West Ham (A), Spurs and Wolves (A) all of which are winnable, most of which are easy. Lampard (see transfer out) hasn’t been scoring at all (goals wise not points wise), while Gerrard has to play deep for the duration of Mascherano’s absence. Fabregas has scored or assisted in his last three and should continue his good form. Just a thought.
2. Reid/Sunderland – Steve Bruce commented the other day about how Andy Reid has been Sunderland’s best player for the past month. Who am I to argue. The man who used to be really fat but is now just big-boned has three straight assists, plus a goal and three bonus in the last few weeks. He’s a bargain too at £5.3m.
3. Benayoun/Liverpool – Ok, so my attempted reverse jinx clearly failed last week as Benayoun got himself two assists for eight points. I will now attempt the opposite and start recommending him and hope he suddenly stops producing for Sportboy P’s side. I’m still not entirely sure he has the consistency over the course of a season but he is a good player capable of big games (see the 24 points against Burnley) and Rafa has at least realised that he’s a better option than Ryan Babel.
Might be worth a pick
Three to avoid:
1. Lampard/Chelsea – As I mentioned above, I’m not convinced Lampard is a player to have right now. Let’s look at what he’s done this season. He only has one goal (a penalty) but he does have four assists which is second after Giggs. His eight bonus leads midfielders but five strikers have more than that and he lies eighth overall with 42 points.
Watching a fair amount of Chelsea this season, he doesn’t seem to be getting into as many scoring positions as last year and I mentioned in Monday’s Six Pointer that part of this may be Chelsea playing two strikers again. I’m not saying get rid of him and don’t replace him, I’m just saying that don’t think you can’t just because he’s Frank Lampard.
In his defence his overall score is good and perhaps I’m being hasty but I think in terms of value if nothing else, there are currently better players out there. Just remember Ronaldo last season where people were hamstrung by the fear of not having him when you’d actually have been better off investing in someone a fraction cheaper and spending the rest elsewhere. Looking at the transfers out, it appears 24,000 people think so, the most for a midfielder this week. One to monitor.
2. Defoe/Spurs – Another player who you might think I’m crazy for suggesting to get rid of but it might be a good time. He’s just broken his hand, his value has gone up to £9m and as the Football Guy and I were discussing, Defoe has always been a very streaky player. Six goals in six games or something similar but then nothing for ages. You realise he hasn’t scored for two weeks right? Maybe it’s already begun. Cash in.
3. Sunderland players – Man Utd and Liverpool up next.
Are you taking the mick?