A few Carling Cup blowouts [Chelsea and Arsenal looked solid] and a few surprised [Manchester City beaten by Aston Villa] but we’re back to what really matters- the league, so let’s dive in.
I. Chelsea @ Arsenal: The Gunners looked great at the Etihad last weekend, and deserved the point they came home with, so they’ll have tons of confidence at home against a Chelsea side that controlled possession against Stoke at home but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
For Chelsea, Juan Mata seems to have woken up a bit from his early season slumber, and if he can combine with Eden Hazard and/or Fernando Torres, then the men in blue will be confident of a result even on the road.
Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla is turning into quite the Fabregase-esque FPL selection – and it all will come through him once again this weekend. His form is superb, as is teammate Gervinho’s. Podolski should also receive a start up front and could trouble Chelsea’s back four.
Star defensive assets Gibbs, Jenkinson, and Ivanovic have started the season superbly from a fantasy perspective, but I don’t expect a clean sheet from either side in this one, so a place on your fantasy bench [though perhaps in first position] seems fair.
Neither team has lost in the league and I think both will remain unbeaten after this one. While a 2-1 is possible, I’ll go with a score draw.
Prediction: 2-2 draw
II. Liverpool @ Norwich: Everton certainly have a nice home match with Southampton that is ‘fantasy friendly,’ but let’s go with their rivals Liverpool as the team in focus this weekend. Brendan Rodgers’ men bossed the first half against Manchester United – absolutely bossed it – and a performance similar to that will lead to 2-3 goals at Norwich.
Luis Suarez is the main man from a FPL perspective. Steven Gerrard could get in on the action as well, and perhaps even Fabio Borini – if he can shake off an ankle knock.
The cheap stud asset is Sterling, of course, at just 4.6M – what a 5th midfielder in the FPL. Neither team has won yet this season but I think Liverpool – despite all of their injury woes – get the away win.
Prediction: 0-2 Liverpool away win
III. Studs & Duds: Everton players are studs at home to Southampton. That’s Leighton Baines, Fellaini, Pienaar, Mirallas, and Jelavic – if he gets an instant recall to the starting XI after injury – which he should do.
Manchester City are on the road at Fulham but the rested Sergio Aguero is a stud – and should start at the expense of Carlos Tevez – who played 120 minutes midweek. Frustrating for Tevez owners, surely – but perhaps Mancini will start them both? Doubtful.
Berbatov, of course, is in form [as is Rodallega] but it will be tougher for the Fulham men this time around – they are on the stud/dud fence then, leaning to duds, not studs, but still very much in our long term thinking.
Stoke are home to Swansea so Crouch is a stud while Sunderland are home to Wigan, so Fletcher, McClean and Sessegnon are studs.
Newcastle travel to Reading – in a difficult match to predict, but Cisse and Ba are the obvious selections in this one if you trust Pardew’s men to put in a nice away performance.
Will Wayne Rooney start for Manchester United at home against Tottenham? Perhaps, but it looks like RVP will be the main man once again – a worthy Captain selection despite Brad Friedel’s good form.
Darren Bent, Shane Long, and Romelu Lukaku will all hope to score in the Aston Villa – West Brom encounter – all are studs but these teams have been far from consistent, so no result would surprise me.
A London derby with QPR and West Ham is too close to call, but you shouldn’t own too many players from either of these sides other than a bargain defender or two.
Duds this week are defenders from Chelsea and Arsenal – and even Manchester United [and Tottenham]. Usually reliable back fours will be tested and may not keep the clean sheets you have come to hope for and expect.
IV. Gameweek 6 Best Eleven:
D: Baines – O’Shea – Glen Johnson
M: Fellaini – Cazorla – Hazard – Gerrard
F: RVP – Suarez – Jelavic
Subs: Foster – Yaya Toure – Jonny Evans – Shawcross