I think it’s fair to say that was a tough week! Keep in mind though the first week of a season always throws up some bizarre results, and performances. There’s a Friday night game for those unaware!!!
I think most of us found it hard to pick players who scored any sort of points last week, never mind pick a skipper that did anything worthwhile. For those that took my second choice last week, Rooney, you’d be happier than nearly everyone! Outside of him, barely any of the higher priced players did anything of note so successful captaincy choices were few and far between… Why don’t we try again shall we?
Man Utd have the early game (again) but this time they travel down to Villa for a Friday night encounter. Now… I don’t rate Villa at all. I reckon they’ll come close to being relegated. I also don’t rate Tim Sherwood at all. The “go get them!” managerial style rarely succeeds long term. That said, they will get the odd result as they did in GW1, but I just don’t see them being able to match United. Even a United team that has a whole heap of work to do to get them playing Top 4 football. Depay showed enough to suggest that he could turn into a success in the EPL, but as suspected it might take him a little while to put in consistent FPL performances. Mata got a heap of the ball but was largely held down by a surprisingly resilient Spurs defence. I have picked one Red Devil in my top 3 however…
Southampton host Everton in the early Saturday game which could be a cracker! Southampton conceded twice to Newcastle which could suggest the loss of Schneiderlin is having the effect we thought it might. Or they could have just had an off night? Either way you have to at least consider that their defensive wall has some cracks in it until it gels again, and Lukaku could break through them. Barkley scored another one of his piledrivers from outside of the box, but he’s done this before without being able to follow it up… Everton also conceded twice last week, so Pelle definitely comes into consideration. He’s on pens so is always a shout, especially against an occasionally clumsy Everton defence. Tadic looked really good last week, and you never really know what Mane is going to do… What I don’t like about this game is I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to play out. Both teams will be looking to keep possession, with Southampton having the edge on winning it back with Everton having a better counter attack. It feels like a score draw type battle, and a game in which Mirallas will probably get on the scoresheet… But for heaven’s sake don’t captain him! I might pass on this game completely.
Spurs v Stoke is an interesting prospect for us… Stoke have not been great in attack all preseason and followed that through to GW1. Spurs on the other hand were quite solid away to United and matched them in attack. This has “win to nil” written all over it. We’ve seen already the increase in defensive BPs, and at some stage we have to consider a defensive captain. Just not yet. Spurs are nearly a sure thing to score against Stoke, and they come into captaincy calculations. Eriksen is probably the second best Tottenham option in my opinion. He wasn’t at his absolute best last week, but he got 3 shots away with 2/3rds of them on target and Stoke will give him more room to create than United did. None of their other attacking mids really excite me enough to even name them here… And definitely no Stoke players!
Swansea will score plenty of goals this season, and they play a Newcastle team who will do the same. Newcastle surprised me a little with how good they looked. I thought with all the changes that have occurred they’d be a lot rustier, but they were quick in attack and created some good chances. Their attacking mids of Sissoko, Wijnaldum and Obertan played with enough creativity to suggest they have some goals in them. Particularly Wijnaldum, who won me the Sunday Moneyball!!! Away to Swansea is tough who themselves looked very good against an admittedly ordinary Chelsea side. Their own attacking mids will do some damage this season too. Any one of Siggy, Ayew or Montero all have decent shouts for attacking points against a Newcastle side who are not great defensively. I’ll get back to my pick in this game later…
Arsenal has a whole heap to make up to their fans after the surprise result of last week being beaten by West Ham, and I’m reasonably confident they will. Their passing style wasn’t quite on the mark, and they didn’t look as incisive as we know they can be. That could easily be put down to first game of the season blues. Quite a few of us were screwed by Wenger’s rotation policy and it’s due to that reason I have little confidence in picking any of them for top 3 skipper options. Sanchez may well make it back into the team, and if you have him then he could be a sneaky option but he did look a little leggy in his short stint from the bench. Ozil looked ordinary, and nobody knows what will happen with Walcott. Giroud had enough chances to score but he might be the scapegoat jettisoned to kick the team back into gear.
Game of the week! Man City v Chelsea. I’ve historically shied away from these sorts of games… They are either low scoring 0-0’s, or one of the teams puts away 3 or 4 goals, but being able to pick which team will do the damage is a nightmare. On City’s side Aguero could come back into the XI and I guess if you have him you could do worse than put the C on him. Yaya will have tricked more than a few FPL’ers into thinking he was back last week, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before he tricks me after 1 game. I think Chelsea will have enough defensively to contain Silva, but perhaps not Sterling. Sterling v Ivanovic I feel will be the pivotal duel after Ivanovic was given the run around by Ayew, who is in a similar mould as Sterling. If the young fella can get the upper hand, then City will win.
Liverpool host newbies Bournemouth in what could be a big win. Although Bournemouth looked decent last week, it was at home, and against Villa. Playing at a pumping Anfield will feel like a different universe… Liverpool aren’t without their own problems. Although they looked a lot more solid than I had thought they would be, they still aren’t clicking in attack. Benteke was nowhere to be seen and Lallana and Ibe didn’t show enough for mine. The only potential we have here is Coutinho who was their best last week by a margin, but is a very sketchy skipper option at best. Firmino came on late but I’d want to see more. Nope.
1. Rooney. Like I said, I don’t like Villa. I don’t like Sherwood. I like Micah Richards playing in the centre of defence even less. Yeah he’s big and strong, quick. But to play centre back in the EPL you need more than physical attributes to get ahead. Rooney has been doing this for years and he’ll be licking his lips at the prospect of playing against this defence, on Friday Night Footy, in front a worldwide audience. United need to improve going forward but I think they’ll have enough to put a few away, and Roondog will be the shining light leading the way in a multi-goal win.
2. Kane. It’ll be a good test to see how young Harry bounces back from the United game. He was completely blanketed by Smalling but he’s up against a Stoke defence who are a step or two down from that quality without Shawcross. If they roll out a Cameron/Muniesa central defence again, then Kane has too much nous to let them do to him what Smalling did and I reckon he’ll get a few chances to give you some goals.
3. Hazard. He’s been given a skipper’s reprieve, albeit only just. It’s completely unfair to be disregarding the merits of Hazard as a captain due to Chelsea being forced to play such a large chunk of the last game with only 10 players. He gave everything he had, but just didn’t have the support. Jose will be taking the reins as bus driver this week against City, and will be looking for Eden’s speed and dribbling on the counter attack to sneak a goal or two. Risky yes, but not without merit.
Gomis. Not quite an “all in” moment, but getting closer. The momentum in my mind about how many goals Bafe could score this season is reaching fever pitch! We all know that he can be a tad wasteful in front of goal but you need to get yourself in the positions to score, and this bloke does that very well. He’s only inches away from a hattrick!
Don’t forget to join Moneyball! *LINK* I had a lovely little collect of $90 on the Sunday games last week from a $10 outlay. Needless to say I’ll be reinvesting that!