Thursday, September 25, 2008

It isn't quatum physics

Saturday sees the anniversary of Einstein's paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?" which first introduced the equation E=MC2. Such intricacies and brain power will not be required this week in the fantasy world. Four of the best hot spots for fantasy talent - Arsenal, United, Chelsea and Villa - all face what appear to easy matchups that could be filled with goals and fantasy points. Its surely a matter of filling your lineup with as many of these as possible to max out your points this week.

Arsenal v Hull City
Hull have impressed so far with the exception of the Wigan game where their potential frailty was exposed. Arsenal have been in good form this season and after a bit of a nervy start against Bolton they played some breathtaking flowing football where the only disadvantage for fantasy owners was that anyone in the team could pop up with a goal (or be benched in van Persie's case).
With the big guns rested against Hull you would expect a full strength team to take the field which does not bode well for Hull. The defense looks to a good bet though none of the back for have scored a goal or assist (Clichy did get 2 bonus points in week 2). Interestingly, Clichy is owned by 20% where as Sagna just 4%. From the games I've seen this year both players get equal opportunities to forward and Sagna actually scored one last season to Clichy's zero.
Eboue (6.1m) and Denilson (6.4m) both still represent great value and you wouldn't bet against Fabregas (9.9m) kick starting his season if you can squeeze him in (plus he's always good for a couple of bonus points if nothing else).

Man U v Bolton
I hate to say it but this could be a massacre. With Megson's negative tactics and general cluelessness the triple headed of monster of Rooney, Ronaldo and Berbatov could spring into action and put 4 or 5 past the hapless Wanderers. Bolton looked decent in the second half against Arsenal but you felt it was more a case of Arsenal pushing on for more rather a tactical turnaround by Megson. The United midfield is hard to predict at the moment though Anderson (6m) and Fletcher (5.6m) are both potential steals if they make the team. Anderson was very impressive midweek and could really do some damage if he can hold down a regular spot for a while. No might be a great time to jump on van der Sar (5.9m) (as I might do) as although he has individually looked shaky this season, you are buying into a defensive unit not an individual player and with games against Blackburn, West Brom, Everton ,West Ham and Hull to follow the Bolton game, the big Dutch man may be the best value keeper over the next few weeks. Elsewhere Evra (6.5m) is the pick of the defense valued at 0.4m less than Ferdinand and Vidic. I would stay away from Neville (5.6m) and Brown (5.9m) until it becomes clearer who Ferguson is going to settle on (if indeed he does settle). For a great discussion on the return of Ronaldo see the blog over at 'Never Captain Nicky Butt'.

Stoke v Chelsea
Drogba (11m) should be back for this game having figured in the midweek defeat of Portsmouth. He is a potential fantasy star but will likely require so serious maneuvering (unless you have maybe Torres or Adebayour). With games against Villa, away at Boro, and then Liverpool it may be wise to hold of Drogba until he has proved his fitness and we've seen what form he is in. At 5.6m Alex looks like maybe the buy of the week, filling in for Carvalho who could be out for up to a month. Alex's free kicks and occasional long shots only spice up the deal further. Bosingwa (6.3m) and a rejuvenated Cole (6.5m) are decent value and could be picked on match up this week. Lampard (11.1) is in great scoring form, but as with Drogba will take serious tinkering to get him in at this point. A better option might be Ballack (8.8m) who should see extended playing time now Deco is out.

Aston Villa v Sunderland
Though not as high profile as the big three fixtures above I really like Villa's prospects here to pick up a decent 2-0 or 3-0 win. Sunderland are a decent side at home but haven't travelled as well the past couple of years (though they did earn a credible draw at Wigan two weeks ago). Villa have been very impressive when I've seen them this year and Young (8.5m) and Agbonlahor (8.2m) have been particularly good. I was very high on Luke Young (4.5m) to open the season though the villa defence hasn't really been up to last season's form so far. This week could be the week for this to change and I like Young and his team mates to notch a clean sheet this week. This makes Laursen (6.1m) good value as he is as dangerous as ever from set pieces. Reo Coker (5.1m) has been amazing value to date but with the Milner settling in you would expect his minutes will start to be reduced.

Elsewhere around the league . . .
The merseyside derby is a tough game to call and I'm not very high on anyone. I'm sticking by Arteta due to him taking all set pieces which may prove vital in these usually physical battles. Torres (12m) and Keane (8.7m) have been big disappointments so far but - as most journalists (and indeed Torres himself) seem to be pointing out - they must surely break this barren run soon. Fulham will look to capitalise on the turmoil at West Ham and I still like Bullard (6.5m) and Gera (5.4m) this week even after last weeks poor showing at Blackburn. The North West derby between Wigan and City is a game I'm personally relishing watching as two up and coming sides (for different reasons) meet at the JJB. Wigan have been a fantasy goldmine so far with Zaki (6.5m), Valencia (6.1m), Melchiot (4.5m) and Figueroa (4.2m) all making an impact. However, I am even more interested in City after their explosion last week against Portsmouth. I am keen to get another glimpse of Robinho (9.2m), Jo (8.0m), Shaun Wright Phillips (8.0m) and the still underrated Stephen Ireland (5.9m). City's next couple of games aren't great but they follow them with Newcastle, Stoke, Boro, Bolton, Spurs and Hull which could be a great time to hop aboard the City bandwagon.

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