Friday, August 14, 2009

Last minute news

Probable team: Almunia, Clichy, Gallas, Vermaelen, Sagna, Song, Denilson, Fabregas, Arshavin, Van Persie, Eduardo

Its a full strength team (if not squad) for Arsene to pick from, including new boy Vermaelen having shaken off a hamstring problem. Wenger should deploy his new 4-3-3 system which will trouble any team, even the stout Everton defense. Should be a good game here, with plenty of fantasy talent to scout, most notably Arshavin who I have tipped to join Lampard and Gerrard in the new holy trinity of fantasy football.
Everton scored a healthy 24 on the road last year, though Arsenal conceded just 16 so a clean sheet is definately a possibility, especially with Arteta and Yakubu out. Of the big four though they have the third best fixture and with the week 2 bye, I wouldn't be too high on the Gunner defenders. The offense looks good though and with Jagielka out and Lescott's mind elsehwere (Eastlands? the bank?) Arsenal should be good for a goal or two.

Aston Villa
Probable Team: Friedel, Shorey, Cuellar, Davies, Beye, Young, Sidwell, Petrov, Milner, Carew, Agbonlahor

Luke Young and Wilifred Bouma look set to miss a couple more weeks, allowing new arrival Beye and last season's bust Shorey to take the full back positions on opening day without much competition. Sky Sports says that Petrov will start, though Physio Room still have him listed as very doubtful. I'd go ahead and plug him in as if he doesn't start he will likely not feature at all and you're sub will drop in anyway. If he doesn't go then boy wonder Delph could start in his place.
Villa players are a good play this week as Wigan were poor on the road last year and O'Neill knows that with increased competition from City and Spurs, his side must hit the ground running.

Birmingham City
Probable Team: Hart, Queudrue, Vignal, Johnson, Carr, Carsley, Ferguson, Johnson, McFadden, Larsson, Jerome

Big time worries for McLeish making this trip to Old Trafford all the more daunting. Espinoza, Taylor, Ridgewell, Murphy and Dann are all out according to the Guardian, leaving paper thin depth at the back. The Telegraph echo this point, though they suggest Bowyer will play which is tough for any player serving a three game suspension. Aside from Bowyer, the midfield is pretty much full strength, allowing McLeish to name a sufficiently gritty side to try and disrupt United's play. Blog favourite Jerome looks set to start up front with the Guardian and Telegraph in agreement he will lead the line in a 4-5-1.

Blackburn Rovers
Probable Team: Robinson, Givet, Nelsen, Samba, Jacobsen, Warnock, Andrews, Dunn, Diouf, Roberts, McCarthy

BBC report that new stiker Kalinic is short of match fitness and will not play for a 'couple of weeks. This sentiment is echoed by the player himself who concedes he needs "time to get in good shape". BBC also report that Ryan Nelsen (a blog tip) faces the dreaded 'late fitness test' and his status won't be known until closer to kick off. The Guardian are more bullish and have included the Kiwi in their predicted lineup. With City coming to town looking to prove a point it wouldn't be the worse idea to bench the lad anyway and focus your attention elsewhere as even kicking lumps out of them will surely only slow down Hughes' dynamic attacking side.
Warnock is a potentially nice play, so long as he holds off Pedersen on the left side of midfield. The former Liverpool man is classified as defender in the game and is one to watch in the coming weeks.

Bolton Wanderers
Probable Team: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Cahill, Knight, Steinsson, Taylor, Muamba, McCann, Davis, Davies, Elmander

Andy O'Brien and Gavin McCann are both listed as doubtful at the Physio Room, though with no natural replacement available I think McCann will hold his place in the side. The Bolton Evening News suggests that McCann will be ready to go if selected. More important for fantasy purposes is the back four, which I believe will feature two new arrivals, but not Ricketts who should not be picked ahead of the impressive Steinsson. Cahill is the only man to be guaranteed a place here though and my be your best bet in the short term. New signing Chung Yong Lee is said to have received sufficient clearance to make the bench, and the exciting South Korean might be one to monitor in the coming weeks. One player who is gauranteed a place is young Muamba who I really like this year, especially in light of Megson suggesting a more advanced role for the young Englishman.
With so a few new faces at Sunderland needing time to gel Bolton players as a whole could be good bargain plays in this one and there is some chance of a clean sheet to replicate the achievement in last year's corresponding fixture.

Probable Team: Jensen, Kalvenes, Jordan, Carlisle, Alexander, Blake, McCann, Gudjonssen, Eagles, Paterson, Fletcher

Caldwell is out for Owen Coyle's side in case his dad is reading this, who is presumably his only owner. We will need to see at least 3 - 5 games before you either consider picking any of these boys to start and my advice is to stay well away for now.

Probable Team: Cech, Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Bosingwa, Essien, Malouda, Ballack, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba

Zhirkov and Cole will both miss out, making Malouda the default choice on the left, while a desire to be attacking at home should see Essien in the holding role allowing Ballack to take up arms on the right. Ivanovic had a bit of a nightmare at the weekend and so Bosingwa should be reinstated at right back, though I have mentioned before that he is a very risky pick or 7.5m based on the potential for totation. Anelka and Drogba are both great options this week, as is (of course) Frank Lampard. I'd probably tip Drogba as my captain if you have him but Lampard will also make a good chief for the week.

Probable Team: Howard, Baines, Lescott, Yobo, Hibbert, Pienaar, Fellaini, Neville, Osman, Cahill, Saha

Three big names are missing for Everton, with Jagielka, Arteta and Yakubu all missing out on opening day. Cahill should have added responsibility and becomes great value at 8.5m and is now worth consideration even in light on their gameweek 2 bye. The defense looks a risky play against Arsenal who scored an incredible 37 goals on the road last year so I'd stay away. Saha is not a long term option and with the bye next week I'd hold off.

Probable Team: Schwarzer, Koncesky, Hangeland, Hughes, Paintsil, Gera, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora

The only worry for Hodgson is Simon Davies who looks set to miss the first couple of games, with Etuhu the likely candidate to deputise. Fulham are a good defensive and offensive play and they are one of the best clean sheet picks of the week.

Hull City
Probable Team: Myhill, Dawson, Zayatte, Turner, Mendy, Olafajana, Boateng, Hunt, Marney, Geovanni, Altidore

Although fit, the back five is a terrible play this week so leave well alone. The midfield is also uninspiring despite the arrival of Stephen Hunt (5m) from Reading. You all know how much I love Altidore but even if he starts this looks like a tough opening fixture so he might be worth sitting for now. Sorry Phil Brown [please don't yell at me in front of the away fans].

Probable Team: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Benayoun, Mascherano, Lucas, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres

With Riera listed as doubtful at the Physio Room and in the Guardian, I have gone with Benayoun upfront alongside Torres and Kuyt. Skrtel came through a behind closed doors friendly this week and looks ready to line up alongside Carragher, with Agger out of contention until the end of the month. With Aquilani out, Lucas should get an extended run in the side and hence looks decent value at 5m. Insua and Skrtel at 6m also look good value, at least until Aurelio and Agger return.

Manchester City
Probable Team: Given, Bridge, Dunne, Toure, Richards, De Jong, Barry, Ireland, Robinho, Tevez, Adebayor
Unsurprisingly there is much debate as to who will play for City and indeed what formation Hughes will start with. The main arguments seem to be with Richards/Zabaleta at right back and Tevez/Wright Phillips up front/on the wing. I have gone 4-3-3 as I can't see how Hughes can keep his forwards happy all year when only playing two per week. Physio Room, the BBC and the Guardian all list Adebayor as doubtful, though I am still leaning towards Hughes throwing him out there in week one. At the back I think Richards is the long term solution at right back and Hughes will choose the English man over Zabaleta, though I would avoid both these players for now, instead choosing Bridge as the safer option.

Manchester United
Probable Team: Foster, Evra, Brown, Ferdinand, O'Shea, Park, Fletcher, Carrick, Valencia, Berbatov, Rooney

Van der Sar, Vidic, Neville and Rafael all look set to miss out which would allow Foster, Brown (himself a slight doubt) and O'Shea to take their positions at the back. The Guardian suggests that Brown is out, and it is in fact Evans who will partner Ferdinand at the back, while the BBC say Brown has shaken off his thigh problem and is fit to start for Ferguson's side. It seems that whatever happens, O'Shea will play this week and looks great value again at 5.5m. The midfield and up front are both full strength save for the perma-injured Hargreaves, with Anderson missing out in my predicted lineup due to the steel likely to be put out by Birmingham as they look to rattle the Champions. Needless to say Berbatov and Rooney are both quality starts this week, and both worthy of captaincy consideration.

Probable Team: James, Belhadj, Kaboul, Distin, Vanden Borre, Mullins, Mokoena, Diop, Kranjcar, Utaka, Piquionne

Hreidarsson and Finnan are both said to be out until the end of the month with the Guardian predicting the voids to be filled by new arrival Vanden Borre and Belhadj. The Telegraph suggests the Kaboul will get the call at right back with youngster Wilson slotting in alongside Distin. Wilson would be a nice pick for 4m as would Mullins for 4.5m. Up front new boy Piquionne has little competition and is worth a punt at 5.5m if you're looking for someone different.

Stoke City
Probable Team: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Faye, Shawcross, Shotton, Etherington, Delap, Whitehead, Lawrence, Beattie, Fuller

No real worries for Stoke here with the big question being who will start at right back. The Guardian have gone with the young Shotton, as have the BBC. The Telegraph meanwhile have played it safe with Wilkinson. Shotton is not available in the game yet so those wanting a 4m player would have to risk rolling the dice with Wilkinson. As this is probably the best shot at clean sheet all season, its probably worth spending the extra 0.5m to get Higginbotham, Faye or Shawcross, with Shawcross and Faye carrying the added bonus of being decent goal threats.
Beattie, Fuller and Etherington are also good plays this week and worth rotating in off the bench if you were planning on stashing them there.

Probable Team: Fulop, McCartney, Ferdinand, Collins, Bardsley, Richardson, Cana, Cattermole, Malbranque, Jones, Bent

Bardsley is listed as a slight doubt by Sporting Life, but neither the Physio Room or the Guardian predict the ex-United trainee missing any time. I think Jones and Bent will be preferred to Campbell and both are decent option this week though I don't see a goal fest at the Reebok (last season this game was 0-0). The back four looks pretty settled and there isn't much controversy in my suggested lineup.

Probable Team: Gomes, Assou-Ekotto, King, Bassong, Corluka, Modric, Palacios, Huddlestone, Lennon, Crouch, Defoe

Redknapp's defensive woes have been lightened by the introduction of Bassing but they are still without Woodgate, Dawson and Bale, while King remains a doubt. In midfield Jenas is out with Huddlestone or perhaps O'Hara the likely replacements. Its a tough game for the defense anyway so I would try and stay away for now, despite Spurs' excellent home record last year. Likewise the forward players are risky against a stout Scouse defense, but Modric, Crouch and Defoe are still viable options.

West Ham United
Probable Team: Green, Ilunga, Upson, Collins, Spector, Noble, Kovac, Collison, Dyer, Jimenez, Cole

Ashton, Behrami and Boa Morte are all long term casualties, but otherwise Zola has a fit squad to choose from. Aside from Jimenez it isn't clear who will feature in midfield and despite the attraction of playing a newly promoted side, these picks might be too risky right now. Cole is a great play up front, as is the defense with Collins looking the best pick at just 4.5m.

Probable Team: Kirkland, Figueroa, Bramble, Scharner, Melchiot, N'Zogbia, Brown, Gomez, Koumas, Scotland, Rodallega

Only Kapo is out for the Latics so Martinez has a full squad to choose from. Some sources, including the Guardian think he will go 4-3-3, where as Sky Sports suggest he will stick with the 4-4-2. The fact I am backing Sky is probably a bad sign but I think Martinez signals his intentions with an attacking lineup.
Wigan players aren't a great play this week, as they face a tough trip to the Midlands and the added pressure of it being the new boss's first competitive game in charge. They might get a goal but I can't see much joy for the defense here.

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Probable Team: Hennessey, Ward, Mancienne, Zubar, Foley, Jarvis, Surman, Milijas, Henry, Halford, Ebanks-Blake

Berra and Kightly will both mis out according to the Guardian and Physio Room, while Doyle is also a doubt and will at best make the bench. I personally am not that confident in who will play and aside from Milijas and Ebanks-Blake would not bet on anyone being a guaranteed starter. Therefore steer clear of all but Ebanks-Blake this week until the situation clears up and the fixtures get a bit easier.


Bojan said...

sorry i don't get it is collins(4.5) from West Ham United bad???

marco said...

good report, thanks much

Charlie said...

Nice summary, thanks, saves me scouring the websites! Glad to see that you think O'Shea starts, was getting worried there.

Chris Glover said...

Bojan. No I think Collins is a solid 4.5m man. Better value than Upson and ilunga. If I typed somethine confusing it was probably due to it being 3am. haha. apologies

Many thanks Marco and Charlie. Good luck to you all for the season

Bojan said...