Finally the international break is over, and the Premier League returns with a bang. With Man City travelling to the Emirates in the early kick-off, there’s plenty to plan for captaincy wise. A few ‘knocks’ are causing us headaches in the build up, with many suffering from trading Costa last gameweek. Who are the players to back? Here’s my picks…
I never really like having a captain from the early game, as a poor performance can ruin your weekend before it’s even begun. With Jovetic ruled out, Dzeko should start up front with Nasri and Silva on either side of him. They’re all too risky for my liking considering Arsenal haven’t lost at the Emirates since GW1 last season. On the Gunner side of things, Ramsey is a big doubt due to a knock he picked up playing for Wales. It’s not serious, but he is a doubt for this week. Never captain a player in doubt. Sanchez is definitely a shout, but with Welbeck playing up front we are yet to see how the pair will link up. It can’t be any worse than playing with Sanogo and there’s huge potential for it to prosper, but City won’t let anything come easy. None of these options really fill me with confidence.
Chelsea v Swansea is definitely a game that will catch many managers eyes, but looking at Swansea’s form this will be no push over. Ok, so they haven’t beaten anybody of real significance, but this won’t be a simple walkover for Chelsea. Having said that I can’t see anything but 3 points for the blues, so Hazard has to be a massive shout. I can’t believe he’s not in my top 3 to be honest, his up and down form makes him a very risky option for the armband. Definitely one to consider if you own him. I don’t rate Fabregas as much a captaincy option, he relies more on other players finishing his good work. He’s still a great shout this week.
Of all the ‘leftovers’ this week, trying to summarise what might happen at Old Trafford is the pick of them all. The answer? Fuck knows. United have plunged themselves into a world of debt and require nothing less than a top 3 finish this season. Can they deliver? Against QPR (who are as bad as they come), they’d better. Their form has been miserable and we all can’t wait to see how their team dynamics will work. RVP, Falcao, Rooney and Mata should all be great captaincy picks this week, but I don’t have faith in any of them. There really should be 3+ goals in this game for United, so if you own one of their attackers then they are a great shout. Then again, it’s United. Captain at your own peril.
1. Aguero – You’re right, I’ve lost my mind. Considering most people don’t have him, I guess it isn’t so influential. Here’s my reasoning. Firstly, there’s nobody in the EPL right now boasting his scoring potential, with an incredible assist record to go along with his amazing goal scoring prowess. Secondly, he’s fully fit for the first time in ages. A fully fit Aguero is a force to be reckoned with. Thirdly, a fully fit Aguero is fixture proof. He proved this last season with goals against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea amongst his injury issues. I know there’s always the chance he could go off injured in the first half, but if you’re going to play fpl like that then don’t bother! Arsenal haven’t had great success against the top teams and I can see a few goals in this game. Aguero is my shout, especially with Jovetic out.
2. Di Maria – Another outsider makes it into the top 3, Di Maria is without a doubt my pick of the United options. With Rooney, Falcao and Van Persie headbutting egos, it’s hard to tell who will be the most successful. There’s no doubting who will be pulling the strings though, Di Maria’s performance midweek proves he is world class. I’m confident United can comfortably get the job done against QPR, and Di Maria is the safest bet to be amongst the points. At 9.5 he looks great value if United can click, especially with more easy fixtures to come.
3. Costa – I guess this is subject to change if we get any more news, but the word from Mourinho is that he picked up an injury midweek, and is “a chance to play” against Swansea. This is exactly what we heard last week, so who knows. Don’t trade him! However as I said earlier, never captain a player in doubt. I’m going to make exceptional circumstances here after what he did against Everton 2 weeks ago. It’s definitely a good shout to captain him and make sure your vice is securely in play. If he isn’t up for it he’s likely not to feature at all, which wouldn’t be any different to not making him captain anyway. The nightmare is that Chelsea are struggling and he comes off the bench, you’re playing with fire giving him the armband. As we saw last gameweek, when you play with fire, not only can you get burnt, but you can burn others too. If he’s named as a starter come Saturday, I know I’ll be packing it. If you own Hazard or the top 2 however, they would be my captaincy picks.
Here’s 2 players that could go either way this weekend. Liverpool are at home to Aston Villa, so you would think this is a chance for them to bang in the goals correct? I’m not so sure. They had a tough time playing Villa last season, Liverpool like to hit teams on the counter but Lambert will have his side sitting as deep as possible. The big question is how they can fare in games against sides who will come to play for a draw without the brilliance of Suarez. They will have to find new ways to break teams down, and not having Sturridge is a massive blow. He has been ruled out for 3 weeks leaving either Balotelli or Lambert to lead the line. Balotelli is certainly a shout, but by god captaining him is the biggest punt you could ever take. How’d you like to double a negative score?! Balo could make that happen.
There’s no doubt that Sterling is the one to consider, and if Liverpool are to win then he will be central to it all. Can a 19 year old carry his team without the support of his pacey teammate in Sturridge? I’m not convinced. It’s a massive punt that’s for sure, but it could pay off big time if the reds get on top.
So there you go. There’s 5 or 6 options worthy of strong consideration, but injuries are making selecting one a nightmare. Let’s hope the picks can get it done! I’ve promised a deadline day recap, but exams this week have made it impossible for me to get any spare time to do a good enough job of it. Getting out the United article and the captains was hard enough! I’m still going to be doing a projected XI recap after all the deadline day moves, whether it’s out by tomorrow is another question. If I don’t get the time to write it this week, make sure you post your wildcard queries in the comments! I’ll be sure to give my thoughts. There’s actually not too many we haven’t touched on after the Q&A and United review! To summarise:
Moreno a one hit wonder in my opinion
Zaha could be gold
Hull are the team to watch.
Good luck for this weekend!