Manchester City get beaten at Ajax 3-1 and it will take a miracle for them to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League, is Mancini’s job safe? Swansea could feel the wrath this weekend, let’s jump in…
I. Manchester United @ Chelsea: We have a Merseyside Derby this weekend, but surely Manchester United visiting Stamford Bridge is the best match from a neutral’s perspective.
Eden Hazard and Robin van Persie cost a combined £56m this summer and they are the most likely to find the back of the net in this one, with Rooney, Torres and Mata the next best bets.
I do expect goals in this one as the aforementioned players are a fantasy manager’s dream, and despite their exorbitant costs, you could do way worse than field a RVP or Rooney despite the tricky away fixture. Chelsea are surely the bookie’s pick at home but I don’t think they’ll be able to handle the likes of RVP & Rooney for a full 90 minutes. They’ll concede.
Prediction: 1-1 draw
II. Swansea @ Manchester City: The mood on the blue side of Manchester is just that, blue. A loss in the Champions League and a frustrating flight home from Holland… but there is some good news: Swansea come to town this weekend. Newcastle are home to West Brom in another ‘fantasy friendly’ matchup, but let’s stick with Mancini’s misfiring men.
Carlos Tevez is an obvious option after he featured for just 20 minutes midweek. Samir Nasri took his goal well against Ajax, and with David Silva perhaps out this weekend with a hamstring problem, Nasri is another option. Up front it will be Balotelli, Aguero or Dzeko alongside Tevez. Probably Aguero, though Super Mario could get a start.
Michu is Swansea’s main man and fantasy managers will have loved his start to the season – 6 goals scored in 8 games! But should he be dropped for this one? Benched? Transferred out? It certainly doesn’t look too promising for the Spaniard but if anyone on Swansea can pull out a moment of class, it’s him. Only bench him if you see a clearly better option in midfield.
I think Manchester City win this one fairly easily. Swansea have been up and down this season, and the world class athletes on Mancini’s side of the pitch will just be too much.
Prediction: 3-1 Manchester City win.
III. Studs & Duds: Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa are studs at home for Newcastle against West Brom. Affordable, mid-priced options, they could rival the likes of the aforementioned Nasri and Tevez this weekend when it comes to fantasy scoring…
Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe are a mouthwatering prospect at Southampton. They’ll attack despite the away fixture and should get something out of the game. Studs. Santi Cazorla is a stud for Arsenal at home to QPR. Arsenal are mis-firing – they failed to score against Norwich (amazing considering Norwich shipped 5 against Fulham, 5 against Liverpool, and 4 against Chelsea this season). Giroud, Podolski, and Gervinho are on the stud-dud fence as they may be prone to rotation but they look the likely recipients of Cazorla’s beautiful through balls.
Peter Crouch and Stoke have a decent home matchup against Sunderland in what should be a low scoring affair. He’s on the stud-dud fence then. Wigan’s Kone – our brilliant FFF selection just two weeks ago – is a stud at home against West Ham, while Dimitar Berbatov travels to Reading as a stud.
Duds this week include usually reliable Top 4 defenders like Evans and Rafael, or Ivanovic, though Manchester City defenders (surprisingly cheap options like Kolarov, Clichy, and Micah Richards) look solid despite the fact they are prone to rotation – and thus, frustration to fantasy managers. Usually reliable (and cheap) defenders from Fulham and West Ham could also find it difficult on the road. Duds.
IV. Gameweek 9 Best Eleven:
D: Baines – Shawcross – Kompany
M: Cazorla – Bale – Ben Arfa – Hazard
F: Tevez – Ba – Giroud