Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gameweek 3 Preview

The games are coming thick and fast and there's hardly time to catch your breath before gameweek 3 which kicks off with 6 games at 3pm on Saturday including the Champions looking to bounce back at Wigan from their midweek loss at Turf Moor, as well as the mouth watering prospect of Arsenal at home to struggling Portsmouth. My team is still stuck in midtable in the blog league with Rodi O'Leary still at the top with Sepp Graham top scoring for the week with a solid 68 pointer.

The early team news is starting to come in so I'll run through the week's fixtures with further updates to come on Friday night/Saturday morning as more news comes in.

Arsenal v Portsmouth
The Gunners have started the season with two wins that were each impressive for different reasons. Portsmouth on the other hand have suffered two 1-0 defeats and have off field financial troubles hanging over them like the proverbial sword of Damocles. The fantasy star for the Gunners so far has been Fabregas (10.6m) (much to my delight) who has reminded us all (including me) that he should at least be in the conversation along with Gerrard and Lampard for the league's top fantasy scorer. His incredible 22 points haul in week 1 included 2 goals, 2 assist and 3 bonus points and his chalkboard shows that he hit 31 of his 34 passes. I like him and Arshavin (11m) - who is yet to lose in an Arsenal shirt - this week particularly, as the likes of Mokoena (4.5m) and Mullins (4.5m) won't be able to run with this pair all day. At the back Arsenal's defense looks like a great play due to Pompey's lack of goals this term. Vermaelen (6.5m) and Gallas (6.5m) both scored in week 1, with Gallas adding another midweek against Celtic. Sagna (6.5m) had four and Clichy (6.5m) had three crosses into the Everton box so each has decent assist potential. Van Persie (10m) is also a good play this week as he looks to open his account for the year, having added 2 assists last week. As a potential bargain, Song (5.5m) is listed as a defender but has lined up in midfield in both games this season. If this continues he will jump to the front of the holding midfielder line (Mascherano, Mikel, Neville, Kompany etc) due to his ability to pick up clean sheets.
Pompey meanwhile provide very few fantasy options, especially this week against a strong Arsenal side. With no goals to date, neither the attackers nor defenders can be trusted and you should stay away for now.

Possible Teams:
Arsenal: Almunia, Clichy, Vermaelen, Gallas, Sagna, Denilson, Fabregas, Song, Arshavin, Van Persie, Bendtner
Portsmouth: James, Kaboul, Distin, Wilson, Vanden Borre, Kranjcar, Mokoena, Diop, Mullins, Belhadj, Piquionne

Birmingham v Stoke
Birmingham have played okay in both their games so far and for 4m goalkeeper Hart and defender Carr look like good value again this week. Seb Larrson (5m) picked up the assist on Wednesday and remains a great rotation player, who should probably be activated this week. Jerome is still the best 4.5m option around and McFadden's penalty taking duties give him some value at 5m.
Stoke have looked good (vs Burnley) and bad (vs Liverpool) following last season's trend where they were great at home and awful on their travels. Birmingham is not a daunting trip in itself but with 16 goals for and 40 goals against last year, and a 4-0 loss to their name this year Stoke just aren't very good away from the Brittania. Keep you're defenders active as I can see 0-0 being a possibility here.

Possible Teams:
Birmingham: Hart, Quedrue, Vignal, Johnson, Carr, Larsson, Ferguson, Fahey, O'Connor, Jerome, McFadden
Stoke: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Shawcross, Faye, Wilkinson, Etherington, Whitehead, Delap, Lawrence, Beattie, Fuller

Hull v Bolton
The big news for the Tigers is that Jozy Altidore is set to make his debut, according to both his Twitter account and the AFP. After two poor performances to date, the Tigers probably need a defensive upgrade more but hopefully Jozy can provide a spark. The rest of the side look to be fit with the exception of Marney and so the only change could be Altidore for Folan. Bolton at home is a decent looking fixture for the Hull defenders but after shipping 7 goals in 2 games I cannot recommend any of them unless your squad is depleted. Altidore (5m) and Hunt (5m) are good plays and Mendy (4.5m) might be a decent bargain sub if you need one.
Davies's (6.9m) has fallen in value which after one game is a bit harsh. This is the kind of game he will thrive in and I would back the striker to get on the scoresheet if you still hold him. At 4.5m Muamba is a good sub option as is the whole Bolton defense, particularly Ricketts (4m) who is going back to his former club. I would advise not bringing him in though if you don't already own him as Steinsson is due back from injury in the near future.

Possible Teams: Myhill, Mouyokolo, Turner, Gardner, Dawson, Mendy, Boateng, Olofinjana, Hunt, Geovanni, Altidore
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Knight, Cahill, Ricketts, McCann, Davis, Muamba, Taylor, Davies, Elmander

Man City v Wolves
A real opportunity here for City to stamp their authority on the league as the face a promoted side with injury issues, although they did get a valuable win in midweek against Wigan. Adebayor (10m) and Robinho (9.4m) are doubts are therefore look like expensive risks. I'd either swap them for Tevez (8.5m) of go in a different direction with Van Persie or Defoe. The City defense looks like a great play as without Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle, the Wolves attack looks a bit light. So long as Dunne (5m) remains in the team he remains the value pick, but long term I like Bridge (5.5m) to present the best value. Ireland (9m) remains a great premium midfielder and if Wright Phillips (8m) can replicate last week's form he too looks like a good bet. Note that Petrov (6.9m) played and scored in midweek at the Nou Camp and could therefore generate some interest from Hughes for this one. Barry's (8m) holding role makes him overvalued and not worth considering.
The Wolves defense have done okay in the opening games, getting a clean sheet in midweek against Wigan. This is a different story though and you should avoid this fixture unless you have absolutely no other options. Milijas (6m) has done well so far and might be the best bet for Wolves in this one with the rest of the team looking uninspiring.

Possible Teams:
Man City: Given, Bridge, Toure, Dunne, Richards, Barry, Ireland, Shaun Wright Phillips, Petrov, Bellamy, Tevez
Wolves: Hennessey, Stearman, Mancienne, Craddock, Ward, Halford, Henry, Jarvis, Milijas, Edwards, Keogh

Sunderland v Blackburn
This looks like a good game which will give us an indication on how good these two improving teams are. I really like the looks of Sunderland this year, at least when Malbranque and Richardson playing anyway. That doesn't look likely this week as Malbranque looks set to miss out on the second straight game and should be replaced by Henderson again. BBC and Sky Sports both suggest that Cana will play through the pain barrier after fracturing his hand though Cattermole is going to be subject to the dreaded last minute fitness test. The pair of Jones (7m) and bent (7.1m) both look good this week and I like Diet Drogba (Jones) to open his account for the year.
Blackburn get captain Nelsen (4.5m) back who I think is a great buy for future who will be guaranteed minutes in a decent back line. A clean sheet this week will be tough though and better options might be found elsewhere. Allardyce is a fan on N'Zonzi (4.5m) but the whole midfield looks devoid of fantasy options and until new arrival Kalinic (6.4m) proves his fitness, the front line doesn't look much better.

Possible Teams:
Sunderland: Fulop, McCartney, Ferdinand, Collins, Bardsley, Henderson, Cana, Cattermole, Richardson, Jones, Bent
Blackburn: Robinson, Givet, Nelsen, Samba, Jacobsen, Warnock, Andrews, N'Zonzi, Diouf, Gamst Pedersen, Roberts

Wigan v Man Utd
Wigan has the unenviable task of meeting the Champions after an embarrassing performance and result midweek against newly promoted Burnley. The good news is that the Wigan side is a full strength aside from N'Zogbia who is rated as 50-50. They are not a great play this week though and I think Martinez might get a tough reminder on how good the Premier League is. With a weakened defense, United might be more susceptible to goals and so Rodallega (6.6) and Koumas (5.1m) might be decent plays.
Ferguson's defensive woes are eased by the probable availability of Vidic, though Ferdinand is now out for a further month, and Evans' fitness is still not certain. Evra (6.5m) is the safest pick of the week and is good value, especially in light of the time spent in the opposition half. O'Shea (5.5m) also looks value this week as he will almost certainly figure in Ferguson's play one way or another. Valencia (8.5m) will be looking to put in a good performance against his old side while the rest of the midfield looks weak at the moment. Up front Rooney (11m) is the form player, though after Owen's poor performance against Burnley I think we can assume Berbatov (9.9m) will be seeing plenty of action in the coming weeks.

Possible Teams:
Wigan: Kirkland, Figueroa, Bramble, Scharner, Melchiot, Gomez, Thomas, Brown, Koumas, Watson, Rodallega
Man Utd: Foster, Evra, Vidic, Brown, O'Shea, Giggs, Anderson, Carrick, Valencia, Rooney, Berbatov

West Ham v Tottenham
This one could be entertaining and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few goals. Tottenham's defense is not the same on the road and the likes of Cole (7m) and Jimenez (5m) could take advantage. I don't like either defense here and better options can certainly be had elsewhere. On fire Defoe (8.6m) has a great chance to continue his good form and if he does expect to see his price rocket to 9m within a week or two. I still like Modric (7.6m) despite his lack of action in the Hull victory and Lennon (7.5m) has also become a legitimate every week starter. I am intrigued by the prospect of Huddleston (5m) who seems to be established as an every week starter and has been orchestrating the play ala Xabi Alonso in the opening weeks.
Ilunga will definately miss our for West Ham according to the Mail, while King looks set to retake his place in the back four for Spurs after sitting out the Hull game. Gomes also looks set to miss the game with Cudicini stepping in. After the impressive 5-1 performance midweek it is unliekly that Redknapp will rotate Keane, so expect Crouch to miss out once more.

Possible Teams:
West Ham: Green, Spector, Collins, Upson, Faubert, Collison, Noble, Parker, Dyer, Jimenez, Cole
Tottenham: Cudicini, Assou Ekotto, Bassong, King, Corluka, Modric, Huddlestone, Palacios, Lennon, Defoe, Keane

Burnley v Everton
Burnley will look to build on what must have been one of the biggest wins in their history on Wednesday, and have no new injuries so should name an unchanged side. However, despite the incredible defeat of United, the team does not have any every week fantasy players and should only be considered for substitutes. That being said, if you do have any subs they might be worth rotating in this week such is the state of Everton's team. Carlisle (4m) is their best defender in my eyes and so gets a slight advantage in that he could pick up the odd bonus point.
Everton are still without Arteta, Jagielka and Yakubu though Lescott should be recalled having been dropped for the Europe League game. Cahill (8.5m) is a good option here and should be at the centre of everything Everton do. The Everton defense is probably too risky based on their poor start though Hibbert (5.5m) is probably good value. I think Saha (7m) will get the start up front having scored twice in midweek and is a decent option for those using mid range strikers.

Possible Teams:
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Jordan, Alexander, Elliot, McCann, Blake, Fletcher, Paterson
Everton: Howard. Baines, Lescott, Yobo, Hibbert, Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha

Fulham v Chelsea
Tough game for both sides which probably won't yield too many fantasy points. Its likely to have 1 or 2 goals so clean sheets may be available, with Chelsea of course the favourite to keep the opposition out. Fulham are that good at home though that I would not bench them unless you have a strong bench player, though I wouldn't be transferring them in this week. Chelsea's Cole (7m) is the safest bet at the back though Carvalho (7m) should return having sat out for Ivanovic for the Hull game. In midfield, Essien (7.5m) and Lampard (12.5m) are the only safe options and even Lampard probably doesn't warrant your captaincy in this tough fixture. Drogba (10.6) and Anelka (10.4m) are still obviously worth playing but don't expect fireworks, and more than the odd goal. Andy Johnson is out for up to 5 weeks and so you should look to move the journeyman on if you still hold him.

Possible Teams:
Fulham: Schwarzer, Konchesky, Hangeland, Hughes, Pantsil, Duff, Murphy, Dempsey, Gera, Zamora, Nevland
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Bosingwa, Essien, Malouda, Ballack, Lampard, Drogba, Anelka

Liverpool v Aston Villa
Villa have been very poor to open the season and Benitez will fancy his side to build on the 4-0 victory over Stoke in midweek. Torres and Gerrard have hit the ground running and are both armband worthy this week. Benayoun (7.5m) is clearly better than Babel (7m) and Riera (6.9m) at this point and should feature on a weekly basis. The Liverpool defense is also a good play though with Agger out and Skrtel still listed as a doubt it is hard to know who will partner Carragher. Insua (6m) is probably the value pick once more while Johnson (7.5m) suggested against Stoke that he is the best premium defender around at the moment. Ayala (4.5m) could be worth a flyer but with Krygiakos due any day that would certainly be risky.
Villa are not a good source of fantasy players right now as you are paying top 6 prices for a bottom 6 team. After Fulham next week the fixtures get a bit easier so its perhaps hasty to sell everyone now but all but Young and Agbonlahor should be benched this week.

Possible Teams:
Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Ayala, Johnson, Benayoun, Mascherano, Lucas, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres
Aston Villa: Friedel, Shorey, Davies, Cueller, Beye, Young, Petrov, Delph, Milner, Agbonlahor, Heskey


Real JT said...

Is Collins expected to start for West Ham despite his incomplete sale to Stoke? If he goes, whom do you expect to replace him: wonder-boy James Tomkins or Gabbidon?

Chris Glover said...

Good call JT, I missed that one. I would expect, as do the Guardian, for Gabbidon to come in.