Well that’s done and dusted! I haven’t noticed too many truly horrific scores around the teams so it seems most of us came through that relatively unscathed? I’m not going to spend too much time on this weeks Dream Team as I don’t think we’ve learnt too much with only half the games being played. True, Man Utd had a win and a clean sheet but it was against a poor West Brom. Fulham showed how far they’ve got to go to be classed as a Premier League team and how much work Gaffer Felix has ahead of him. Keep an eye on their opponents! Chelsea romped to a big win, but Tottenham really helped them with that…
I’ll go through the team quickly, but I’ll also discuss the future monster DGW and go through some of the possibilities, and what to watch out for…
De Gea (5.7m), Jones (5.8m), Rafael (5.8m), Rooney (11.4m) – Moyes’ men have now registered 3 cleanies in a row to show some sort of form, but the immediate future doesn’t look great. Home games against Liverpool and Man City sit either side of a trip to West Ham so buyer beware… Rooney is looking good however.
Caulker (5.2m), Mutch (4.4m) – Caulker scored his third and fourth goals of the season this week in a clean sheet free 17 point performance, and this weeks Jonjo Shelvey Award winner Mutch also scored double figures. It was against Fulham however so read into that what you want…
Shaw (5.0m) – Southampton’s up and down recent form continued with a one niller away to Palace and Shaw getting a couple of BPs to pocket 8 points.
Hazard (11.2m), Ba (7.4m), Eto’o (8.2m) – Tottenham basically gifted Chelsea a huge win on Saturday with these three all getting amongst the points. Again their strikeforce is too hard to predict for us to really take advantage but Hazard continued on his merry way.
Johnson (4.4m) – Lastly, Johnson scored the Canaries only goal to squeeze into the team but I wouldn’t waste your team looking at him past this sentence.
So now lets do a little bit of crystal ballin’. If you haven’t started planning for GW31 then you’re a little behind, but it’s not too late. There’s a massive 15 games to have to consider when you’re building your team and you really should be looking at 10-11 players playing twice to be in with a shout of getting a competitive score. That said, don’t push the boat out too far and take multiple hits to make that happen. Some of these teams are playing a lot of games around this week so the risk of rotation could make those hits worthless… I’ll go through all of the teams playing twice.
Man City – I’ll start off with potentially the toughest of the bunch, but also the most tempting… Man City have been well known for squad rotation for most of this season and with them about to embark on their most hectic run of fixtures yet, you could suggest they may step that up a notch or two. On the flipside, they have to win every remaining game in the EPL to give themselves the best chance of taking out the title, so too much rotation may hamper performance… A conundrum for Gaffer Pellegrini. The most attractive thing about Man City however is that they have another two more DGWs on the horizon, when they are unfortunately we don’t know yet, but it gives any City players we draft in to our teams the potential of scoring even more points in the future. For the games during this round they welcome the defensive basket case in Fulham (goal fest), followed by an away derby against United (could be anything) during GW31. Taking rotation out of the equation, Aguero and Yaya Toure seem like sure things as well as potentially Negredo and Silva then defensively, Kolarov and Zabaleta should start more games than not. The next level down Navas and even Nasri and Dzeko could be good shouts if they get game time. Summarily, there’s big risk involved with all of Man City’s players but as we know, they can put the ball in the back of the net which means big points if you get it right. And if Pellegrini gives us a break!
Man Utd – I can’t with a clear conscious recommend any of these guys for the DGW. They have West Ham in the first game, away from home, which is going to be a really hard game. West Ham’s defence has been immense in recent months but also Andy Carroll versus the Man Utd defence could lead to some carnage if the right Carroll turns up. They then have to show up for the Manchester derby against a superb Man City side, albeit at Old Trafford. Surely Mr Moyes can gee up his troops for that game? If you really want to have a crack then look no further than Wayne Rooney. He could turn out to be a great POD as we have the more popular Aguero, Suarez and Sturridge in and around that price, plus he’s just signed a multi-trillion pound deal which could be the catalyst for a run of form. Outside of him, a punt on RVP could lead to some good times or you could hope that Mata finally shows his worth. Their defence..? It seems to be getting better but I’m not touching them.
Liverpool – This is where it’s at! Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard, Sterling… An away game at Cardiff followed by a juicy fixture at home to Sunderland could mean a big bag full of points for your Liverpool players. They don’t seem to rotate much either, and with a shot at the league title on offer, or worst case the Champions League, they’ll be going all out for wins. Even the next tier down are tempting with Coutinho and Henderson providing both potential and recent point scoring exploits in equal measures. Their defence is showing no sign of getting any better unfortunately so stay away.
Arsenal – I’ve made no effort in hiding my concern for Arsenal over recent weeks and it gets no easier in GW31. A short trip to league leaders Chelsea followed by a home game against an up and down Swansea is at worst going to be very difficult, at the very best it’ll be wildly unpredictable. Their FA Cup win on the weekend may have triggered some players into an upward form trend but it’s a bit early to gauge. The defence has been the most reliable source of points so far with Koscielny the standout but Sagna could be a viable alternative if you want to be different. Gibbs and Monreal are a wait and see proposition and Mertesacker should at least be considered if you want to throw the extra money away. Further upfield, Giroud can still score goals if you have space for a striker and then there’s Ozil and Ramsay who surely have to come good sooner or later? All in all Arsenal aren’t going to be an easy team to sell to FPL Managers due to their recent dip in form, but they are high risk / high reward for the gamblers amongst us.
Everton – We now drop down into the next group of teams. Everton have been really sporadic these past couple of months and it will be a test to see if Martinez can get them back on track for the final push towards a European place. Everton have had the wood over Swansea who they host first up, which is then followed by a trip to Newcastle which will be a coin flip if I’ve ever seen one! I highly doubt Everton won’t score in both games, it’s whether they are able to stop the silly mistakes to keep some clean sheets. If you think they can, Coleman and the soon to be fit again Jagielka come into contention. Perhaps Baines if you have the cash? A fit and firing Lukaku is a temptation after scoring in both his past two games, but can you fit him in? There then seems to be too much rotation and non-scoring going on in their midfield to really spend too much time on, but Barkley should come back into the team regularly soon with the below par performances (in my opinion) of stalwarts Osman and Pienaar of concern recently. One thing to remember is that they have further outstanding DGWs in their pocket so you won’t just be investing in this round…
Newcastle – Newcastle are the quintessential flamboyant, middle of the table team. They can put together some scintillating performances one week but the next look like they don’t want to be there. Two home games will have us putting serious thought into them however. Crystal Palace look like a potential points buffet followed by a tough game against Everton. The standouts would have to be Remy and Sissoko, but looking outside the box could prove prudent with Gouffran never far away from scoring and Debuchy an excellent attacking outlet from right back. I doubt a potential touchline ban for Gaffer Pardew will effect this mob as I’m not entirely sure they listen to him anyway!
Swansea – They were on the up until some recent setbacks, but I still think they are a worthwhile talking point. Just not this game week… Both of their fixtures are away, which don’t seem to effect them as much as other teams, but they’re against Everton and Arsenal which they will find tough. Bony hasn’t been doing anything away from home so needs to be swerved like a puppy on a highway, and their midfield all contribute but never for more than a game or two in a row so picking one of them to score points for you will be a lottery. Their defence isn’t good enough anymore so don’t waste your time looking. That’s a big pass on Swansea then.
West Ham – West Ham eh… Home v Man Utd. Home v Hull. There could be potential here, and definitely some value. West Ham at home are not broken down easily and there’s a part of me that thinks Man Utd won’t be able to… Hull will find it even harder. Sneaky bet on two cleanies? Or a big plunge on 1 clean sheet? Any of their defenders could prove to be value trades for this round. Up the ground, I doubt either opposing team will be able to properly contain a full fit Andy Carroll, if he turns up, so could be a great POD. Also his partner in crime Nolan who’s been in great form recently is a solid choice. Consider…
Hull – Hull have been all over the place in recent weeks. One thing that they have shown however is that they can create quality chances from their new strike force of Long and Jelavic. Their first game is at home against West Brom where I can see them putting a goal or two in and keeping it clean down back. They then travel to West Ham, which has all the makings of a potential low scoring slugfest! That puts their super cheap defence in the spotlight, and a trade in will make it much easier to upgrade elsewhere.
Sunderland – No. The only chance they have is the away game against Norwich, but even then Norwich are a decent team at home. After that is a trip to Liverpool which could turn ugly.
Just my thoughts… Did we manage a decent score this week and how are we all going with your team building towards GW31? I’ve pulled the trigger and traded both Aguero and Yaya in this week before they go up too much in value (Aguero already has), then looking at Sturridge next week and maybe Sissoko to give a possible 10 players playing twice.