We’re feeling smug after absolutely nailing it last weekend with 3 Liverpool players in our starting XI [Suarez, Gerrard, and Glen Johnson] and Brendan Rodgers’ men didn’t disappoint us: putting 5 goals past Norwich on the road. Who will be the Fantasy Premier League studs this weekend? Read on to find out…
I. Manchester United @ Newcastle: Manchester United lost at Old Trafford last weekend against Tottenham in the most exciting match thus far of the young Premier League season. They bounced back midweek with a Champions League win against minnows FC Cluj, but how will they do at Newcastle?
Alan Pardew’s men have been the surprise Premier League package over the past 12-15 months and with Ba and Cisse up front, can strike fear into any opposition’s hearts. In Manchester United’s case, injuries at the back [Jonny Evans' thigh problem is the latest] further compound the issue.
But while there may be concerns at the back for Sir Alex’s men, there are no such concerns up front. RVP & Rooney combined for both goals midweek and at 13.5M and 11.7M, respectively, they come with exorbitant FPL pricetags and must deliver week in and week out to keep fantasy managers happy. Can they do it at Newcastle? Both should earn the start.
I can see RVP turning provider for this one, with Rooney picking up the goals at Newcastle – a fact that may frustrate some fantasy managers and RVP owners. After all, Rooney has scored 10 Premier League goals against Newcastle in his career.
Both teams should concede, so a score draw is a likely scenario – perhaps a 2-2, or 1-1, but I’ll go with a Manchester United away win because RVP & Rooney should be too hot to handle.
Prediction: 2-1 Manchester United away win
II. Norwich @ Chelsea: I don’t think Sunderland will get much at Manchester City, while Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool also have fantasy friendly matchups this weekend, but let’s go with Chelsea at home despite the Blues scoring only 3 Premier League goals in their last 3 games.
Chelsea won away at Arsenal thanks to some sloppy defending from the Gunners, but prior to that only managed 1 goal against Stoke and QPR in their previous 180 minutes of Premier League football. Can they turn it around at home to Norwich?
John Ruddy is Norwich’s main hope in this one. The likes of Hazard and Torres should combine well to create loads of chances for Chelsea – and if they’re not rested – then Lampard, Mata and Oscar should join in on the fun. All three started midweek in the Champions League so I expect Hazard to come in for the Norwich affair.
At the back, Ivanovic and Ashley Cole are the two highest scoring Fantasy Premier League defenders. Cech is the highest scoring goalkeeper. A clean sheet should be expected, then, but we all know a funny bounce or two could spoil the home clean sheet banker. Grant Holt could earn a start after coming off the bench to score against Liverpool in the 5-2 loss. He will be Norwich’s main weapon.
While Ivanovic and Cole are high scoring, it’s David Luiz who is coming into form – and he’s cheaper than both of them. If he’s not rested in this one, expect him to take a few direct free kicks. One to watch long term after his midweek Champions League goal.
Chelsea should win comfortably.
Prediction: 3-1 Chelsea
III. Studs & Duds: Chelsea players are studs, of course, and they are joined by Manchester City’s Aguero and Tevez at home to Sunderland. Studs. Aguero is a slight rotation risk but Tevez should start. Young Manchester City defender Mastija Nastasic has started at Real Madrid, at Fulham, and at home to Dortmund – and only costs 5.5m. As far as I’m aware, both Lescott and Kolo Toure are fit. This is a major potential fantasy development. Nastasic costs only 5.5m and if he can earn the starting CB role alongside Kompany, he should be universally owned by fantasy managers. It’s too early to jump on him now, as Lescott could earn the start against Sunderland, but this is one we will monitor for you all going forward…
Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey are studs at home to Aston Villa, while the likes of Defoe and Adebayor are on the stud/dud fence depending on who gets a majority of the minutes. I don’t expect both to start.
West Brom are home to QPR so Funny Feeling Friday success Shane Long - 1 goal, 1 assist and 3 bonus points in his last 2 gameweeks since being featured in our FFF column, continues as a stud. Lukaku is 0.5m more expensive and hit or miss, so he’s only on the stud/dud fence.
Everton are at Wigan so Jelavic, Mirallas and Baines are on the stud/dud fence but leaning to stud status – almost falling over the fence. Fellaini too. Roberto Martinez’s men sometimes surprise you, so I wouldn’t bet it all on Moyes’ in form men though they are obviously all firmly leaning to stud selections.
Swansea have Reading at home so it’s a chance for Michu and Graham to shine again after a few poor weeks. They are studs. And Liverpool players Suarez, Gerrard and Sterling continue as studs at home to Stoke. Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom [4.5m] is another player worth monitoring [like Nastasic above] if he earns regular playing time, but at this point it is too early to tell as well.
Duds this week are Norwich, Newcastle, Sunderland, and West Ham defenders. Arsenal are at West Ham so the likes of Gervinho, Cazorla and Podolski are leaning to stud status in a nice London derby.
Lastly, Southampton’s Lambert is a stud at home to Fulham while former Funny Feeling Friday success Dimitar Berbatov is a major injury doubt – dud?
IV. Gameweek 7 Best Eleven:
D: Baines – Clichy – Skrtel
M: Hazard – Bale – Gervinho – Michu
F: Suarez – Tevez – Torres
Subs: Foster – Fellaini – Clyne – Wisdom