A great afternoon of action ahead with six games this afternoon including fantasy favourites United, City and Arsenal. We're expecting big afternoons for City and Arsenal though I am sure Wolves and Pompey will have different ideas:
15:08 Early chances for United and the backlash is definitely on the cards. United have suffered alot of early criticism which is surely an overreaction to losing one game. Similar criticism was levelled at Ferguson's men last year after the opening day draw with Newcastle but the season ended pretty well in the end for them I seem to recall. From a fantasy point of view however, United are definitely the weakest they have ever been. The defense has suffered through injuries but should prove to be a top 3 unit when Vidic and co are fit. The midfield is devoid of any stud prospects with Valencia having the talent but not the price tag (8.5m) to be worth considering right now. The arrival of Owen has cost doubt over the value of Berbatov while Rooney doesn't have the past goalscoring heights to be worth 11m.
15:11 Beattie has gone off injured which is a real blow for those using a 3 cheap-striker rotation policy. He will be replaced by Kitson.
15:18 As expected Arsenal and City both take the lead through Diaby and Adebayor respectively. Tevez gets the assist for City while Eduardo nabs it for the Gunners
15:21 Blackburn lead at Sunderland through Givet after a corner from Gamst Pedersen which has been causing the Mackems all kind of problems. At 6.5m he could be worth a look if he continues this form.
15:23 Diaby gets his second of the game and thrusts himself into the minds of fantasy owners across the world. For 5.4m he could be a decent player, and already looks to be more attacking minded than fellow 'holding' players Macherano and Mikel. I think there is a good selection of midfielders in the 5m-6.5m range and the selection of these players could be key in the season's success. Most players will have Lampard, Gerrard or both which will largely cancel everyone else out. It is the selection of the other squad men that will allow you to differentiate your team. I like the potential of Jimenez and Cana but the reliability of a Diaby or Mascherano must not be underestimated.
15:31 Kenwyne Jones opens his account for the season, which I must say I predicted in the weekly preview. I like him and Bent to both top double figures for the season with Jones liable for extra bonus points due to his dominant Drogba like style. Bent is probably the better pick but don't sleep on Jones just yet. Malbranque made it again is should be considered a great pick as he dictates the play for a good team for just 6m.
15:37 Pompey pull one back which will devastate Arsenal defender owners who will have pencilled this one in as a clean sheet. Kaboul has got the goal after leaping over Almunia to head in to the empty net.
15:45 Pretty quiet first half with not too many fantasy points for recognised players around. Congratulations if you have Diaby but hopefully the second halves will improve.
16:08 Free kick from Arshavin turned in by Gallas who gets his third goal in as many games. I am going to do some analysis on Gallas to see if his goal scoring threat is likely to be a trend all season. At 6.5m Arsenal's defense is probably not good enough to make him good value but if he can add goalscoring to his resume then Gallas might be a nice premium defensive option. I am delighted to see Arshavin continue to get the assists as he looks to deliver on my prediction of him joining Lampard and Gerrard in the big three of fantasy football. I have sold him for my team due to the bye week/United/City fixture list but he'll be back in week 6 for the distant future.
16:12 Sunderland in front at the Stadium of Light through Kenwyne Jones for his second of the afternoon. I wish I'd taken my advice and brought the big man in for this one. He is a great option going forward and could be a top 10-15 striker by season end.
16:15 Goal for United through Wayne Rooney who continues his good early season form. Valencia picks up the assist against his former team which was inevitable really. Rooney gets his 100th goal for the Reds and continues to challenge my view that he is overpriced at 11m.
16:16 Koumas almost creates an instant reply crossing to Rodallega whose header is well saved by Foster. And then United counter attack and score their second through Dimitar who gets his first goal in nine games. A bit harsh on Wigan that one.
16:17 Goal at the KC and its gone to Hull, scored by Gilas with the assist from ALTIDORE. I am positively thrilled for the young American who I know has high expectations from his fans back home. He'd only just come on and he makes an instant impact, well done Jozy. Hull haven't won at home in 2009 and this will be a great chance to break that duck.
16:24 United get their third at Wigan with Rooney's shot deflected in but he should receive the credit. Once again, I may have to reconsider whether Rooney is overpriced or not, though after this display his price will surely rise further.
16:26 Arsenal get their fourth through Aaron Ramsey and Wenger's rotation policy is well and truly vindicated. The Gunners' squad is not considered to be one of the best in the league but if players like Ramsey, Song and Vela can step up then Arsenal may be title contenders. Just noticed that Ramsey was on for Fabregas who went off at half time, with the Guardian noting that he has 'picked up a knock'. More info to come when its known.
16:39 City can't kill the game off and this is the kind of game that top four teams pull away in (see United and Arsenal today). If they drop two points they will be devastated and they have no excuses with all that firepower up front. Aside from Adebayor and Ireland none of the other City midfield and forwards looks like viable fantasy options.
16:44 Michael Owen gets United's fourth and his first in competitive games for the reds. Quality finish from the English hitman who needed that after his poor display in midweek. The United front line waters are therefore muddied once again.
16:47 A couple of sides hanging on here, with backs to walls stuff for Hull, Sunderland and even the mighty City. Surely there will be a late goal somewhere, but where will it come? Ricketts almost scored against his old side as the Hull line drops deeper and deeper.
16:51 And the late goal comes at the DW stadium through Nani and the predicted backlash is complete. Perhaps talks of a United crisis were a touch premature. Wigan are still a decent side so don't read too much into this one but it is essential that we work out which United players to pick as this side have goals in them. City have hung on against Wolves after a solid performance from McCarthy's men. City had chances galore but couldn't convert and are another side whose fantasy stars are tough to predict. Its all over at the Stadium of Light and Diet Drogba's brace has secured the three points for the Mackems. Also a predicted, Birmingham-Stoke ends 0-0 so well done if you stuck your sub defenders in for that one.
That ends a decent day of fantasy action and I am pleased with United's clean sheet and delighted with Altidore's assist. Big day's for Kenwyne Jones, Rooney and Diaby while Arsenal underline their strength and depth by winning 4-1 with a weakened side. I'll be back later with a wrap up and analysis of today's action and then tomorrow with another three games worth of action.