International break was great but let’s get back to business. I feel like a kid in a candy store writing this post – after the transfer deadline, Manchester United and Manchester City’s recent dominance, and new signings around the league galore…
Decisions, decisions but let’s get to it.
I. Newcastle @ QPR: Who would have guessed before the season that I would choose Newcastle at Queen’s Park Rangers as the most exciting match for a neutral at some point in the season? Well it’s week 4 and to me, this is going to be a great one. First, QPR have made some excellent moves in the transfer window – including bringing in Joey Barton (5.9M) who I think will be excellent (4-6 goals, 4-6 assists this year – bank on it) as well as Shaun Wright-Phillips to go along with Taarabt (6.5M). That’s a Premier League midfield, not a Championship midfield.
Taarabt hasn’t scored yet this season but has looked dangerous and he should pop up with a goal or assist over the next 2-3 weeks. He’s moderately priced in the 6.5M range and is a good buy. Barton, too, at 5.9M could be an interesting selection – depending on the role in which he is deployed by Warnock.
QPR have also made some improvements at the back (Young from Aston Villa and Traore from Arsenal) and I think that despite Newcastle’s excellent start to the season (undefeated, 7 points, 2 clean sheets) the newly promoted side could cause them some trouble.
Look for Cabaye (6M) to lead Newcastle’s efforts from midfield, but I think Barton, SWP and Taarabt will have too much on this day.
Prediction: 2-1 QPR
II. Wigan @ Manchester City: It’s hard to go against Rooney, Young and Manchester United after they put 8 past Bolton, but let’s go with City as our favorites for a big fantasy weekend.
You already know the names – One of Silva or Nasri looks like a must purchase. One of Dzeko, Aguero, or Tevez could become a must purchase as well (depending on rotation). Kompany at the back is a solid 6M buy – only due to the Captain’s Armband and the fact that he is free from rotation.
I really like this Wigan team at the back to be honest – Al-Habsi is good and Adrian Lopez is a warrior (and only 4M in the Fantasy Premier League!) while Caldwell, Figueroa and Boyce are very experienced. That said, the defense should be breached by City and a comfortable win should be expected.
Prediction: 3-1 Manchester City
III. Studs & Duds: Rooney and Young remain studs on the road at Bolton but Nani owners (and to a lesser extent Young owners) beware – Antonio Valencia has recovered from an ankle problem! The Champions League is coming up soon so perhaps Valencia will start to cut into Nani and/or Young’s playing time. The same has to be said about Anderson and Cleverley – who have both been cheap entry points into United’s attack, as Darren Fletcher now returns to fitness and threatens the youngsters’ spots… All studs but be careful of rotation and don’t get too overconfident.
Arsenal and their fifty new signings are studs at home to Swansea but I can’t see more than 3 goals because of one man and one man only – the VORM-inator. Swansea’s GK Michael Vorm is superb – and will be Holland’s #1 for many years to come in my opinion if he stays fit over the next few seasons. I’ve only seen him in 2 full matches thus far this year but he’s impressed me. That said, Arteta (8.1M), Walcott (9M), and RVP (11.9M) are your selections if you want to buy into an Arsenal side low on confidence but high on new talent. Arteta is the ‘safe’ pick for an assist and bonus point while Walcott is the ‘swing for the fences’ hit or miss pick – either a 2 pt. showing or a 10 pt showing are on the cards for the young speedster. Arteta will pick up 4′s and 6′s while Walcott may frustrate with a run that reads 2-3-2-12. Will you still be around owning him when he grabs that 12 point game? Managers with an appetite for risk should go with Walcott (could be threatened for a place by the likes of Gervinho, Arshavin, and even Benayoun) while managers going with the ‘old reliable’ could stick with Arteta – who is a set piece specialist and faces little or no competition for a starting role with Wilshere out long term. Mertesacker (6M) is the defensive selection – stud.
Fulham are home to Blackburn so Ruiz is a stud as are Fulham defenders and Schwarzer. I don’t know what to make of Aston Villa – Everton but play Bent, N’Zogbia, Baines, and Given if you own them and hope for the best…
Duds this week are Stoke defenders against Liverpool and Sunderland defenders against Chelsea. I think quietly that the likes of Mata and Torres (on the stud/dud fence but leaning towards studs) will perform well in the coming weeks so Sunderland fans should be worried…
IV. Gameweek 4 Best Eleven:
D: Kompany – Bosingwa – Mertesacker
M: Silva – Walcott – Dempsey – Taarabt – Brunt
F: Rooney – Van Persie
Subs: Kenny – Holt – Simpson – De Laet