Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gameweek 6 Preview

Gameweek 6 fixtures

Burnley v Sunderland
Arsenal v Wigan
Aston Villa v Portsmouth
Bolton v Stoke
Hull v Birmingham
West Ham v Liverpool
Man Utd v Man City
Wolves v Fulham
Everton v Blackburn
Chelsea v Tottenham

Sunday serves up a couple of epic derby matchups where as Saturday provides several opportunities for stronger teams to have some fantasy joy over weaker sides. I love Martinez's confidence and commitment to the beautiful game, but Wigan simply do not have the players to keep possession against Arsenal and often the teams who take on Wenger's men with such expectations are often the ones who get shot down. The trip to Burnley also provides a good game to gauge just how good Sunderland can be as Burnley have played well at home this year while Sunderland have managed just one goal on their travels. I also like Villa's chances against Pompey who have yet to gel all their new signings, and Villa should be good for a clean sheet and a few goals in that one.

Clean Sheet Rankings
1. Aston Villa
2. Sunderland
3. Arsenal
4. Fulham
5. Bolton

Not a bad week for clean sheet potential but like gameweek 5, several premium options are playing each other (Manchester derby and Chelsea-Spurs) so the top options are somewhat limited. Villa are my play of the week as they get Pompey at home, and this trend will continue until Portsmouth can prove they can score against anyone. Villa have kept two straight clean sheets and the arrival of Dunne and Collins appears to have been a success. Sunderland have conceded just once on their travels and Burnley only have two goals at home so this one should play out as a tight game. If Cattermole doesn't play I would downgrade this ranking slightly. I like but don't love the next three picks with Arsenal having the potential to score a few but then concede a silly goal and Bolton and Fulham are not in the best of form. That being said, if this was my back 5 I would be expecting 3 clean sheets as a minimum.

Captain Rankings
1. Steven Gerrard
2. Gabriel Agbonlahor
3. Tim Cahill
4. Didier Drogba
5. Robin van Persie

Gerrard is the the logical pick again this week after not disappointing this tip last week with a solid 7 point performance. Gerrard has scored in both away games for Liverpool this year and a trip to West Ham provides a decent chance to make this three in a row.
Agbonlahor gets the matchup of the week against Portsmouth at home and with goals in his last two games I like the speedy striker to make it three in a row.
Cahill is another player who scored last week and I again like his chances of doubling his seasons tally this week. Blackburn have some big men at the back but it seems no one can deal with Cahill's heading ability and with Baines swinging in some gems, the little Aussie has a decent shot of another goal this week.
Drogba doesn't have the best matchup, but he doesn't have the worst either. Spurs have conceded just 2 in 2 on the road this year but don't forget that last year they were very average defensively on their travels and I am not convinced those days are fully behind them. Drogba has 2 in his last 3 against Redknapp's men and I like him again this week, especially after missing out midweek in Europe due to suspension.
Van Persie hasn't started on fire this season but he found the net against City and has a good matchup this week. He should be on free kick and possibly penalty duties and I like him alot this week.
You might be wondering where Lampard is, but the fact he hasn't scored in the last 7 league meetings with Spurs and he isn't shooting as much as one would like these days. I'm sure that me considering dropping him from my squad and this dismissal of his chances will inspire Frank to bag a hattrick though so its probably safer to bet your house on him.

Strength of Schedule

Defenders - Buy
1. Stoke
2. Tottenham
3. Hull
4. Arsenal
5. Aston Villa

Looking ahead for those wishing to make changes the above 5 teams have the best looking schedules in the coming weeks for defenders. I think Stoke and Spurs are both legitimate sources of every week starters and I love Faye (4.6) and Assou Ekotto (5.1) from these sides. Hull players might provide decent bench fodder with Zayatte (3.9) the cheapest option. Arsenal and Villa have struggled a bit to start the year but I like both these teams to become every week plays though Arsenal are potentially a bit overpriced right now. I love James Collins (4.5) for Villa and rate his as one of the top 5 transfer targets in the league right now.

Defenders - Sell
1. West Ham
2. Fulham
3. Blackburn
4. Bolton
5. Sunderland

Strangely enough three of these teams actually have good fixtures this week so it might be worth delaying your sale for one week. However after week 6 all these teams have tough schedules and none of them are sturdy enough at the back to withstand that kind of pressure. Most players from these teams and priced in the 5m range and appear overvalued. If you have anyone for 4.5m, or less such as Michael Turner or Sam Ricketts then they might be worth stashing on the bench but be careful as if your frontline starters don't play, there will be few points to help your team coming off the bench.

Midfield/Attack - Buy
1. Arsenal
2. Everton
3. Tottenham
4. Aston Villa
5. Hull

Arsenal and Everton are someway ahead of the others here with Arsenal facing no red light games until week 14 and Everton free until week 13. Arsenal's team has okay depth for fantasy purposes with Fabregas, Arshavin, Denilson, Diaby, Eduardo and possibly Rosicky providing good value for money. I love Arshavin when he returns from injury and I recommend getting Fabregas now and upgrading when the Russian returns for the modest expense of 0.3m extra. If Diaby keeps his place (which is doubtful with the return of Rosicky) he is great value, though Rosicky himself could be a must own if he plays every week and stays fit (a leap of faith at this point, I know). Everton, Spurs and Villa all provide several attacking options for good value with Lennon, Young and Cahill potentially giving top tier production for a 8m range price. Defoe looks to continue to have success with this schedule while Agbonlahor also looks like a shrewd investment. In terms of budget options, I love Tom Huddlestone and Steve Pienaar's production should improve after a slow start. Hull players make decent bench warmers based on the schedule but the uncertainty up front make it hard to know who will play. Stephen Hunt is probably the safest option and the 5.3 midfielder looks like decent value.

Midfield/Attack - Sell
1. Man City
2. Sunderland
3. West Ham
4. Wolves
5. Blackburn

Before you get too excited and cry hypocrite (I just picked up Shaun Wright Phillips) remember that these rankings are purely based on schedule and do not allow for the strength of an individual side. Would I sell Stephen Ireland and replace him with Matt Taylor? Absolutely not. Would I try and replace him with Fabregas though? Well that's a different story. I am not saying here that City players are a bad pick, more that better value could be found elsewhere. It isn't so easy with Sunderland and Darren Bent has no-one in his price range who can really replace him (except Kenwyne Jones!). I would therefore either stick with it or go in a different direction and get a much stronger striker like Defoe. West Ham, Wolves and Blackburn have few solid fantasy plays and are probably bench men for now. I do still like Jimenez, Jarvis, Keogh and Dunn to name a few but be prepared to stash them on the bench for the next few weeks.

As always I look forward to hearing your thoughts for the week, so please post below or tweet your lineup/captaincy/transfer headaches. And of course, thanks for reading.


NotoriousDre said...

nice read Chris,

i agree with Gerrard. I'm just getting a good feeling of that Captain pick this week.

im torn over either playing Masch or Jimenez. Will probably go with Mash.

Otis said...

Great posts this week. I think now would be a good time to rescind my comment about Van Persie. Now that he's playing, he'll probably have a gigantic game just to spite me. Since I'll be using my wildcard next week, and I had two transfers to use, I brought in Benayoun and Friedel. I'm hoping that Benayoun can find some points consistency and that Friedel will put on a strong showing.

For curiosities sake, if you had to choose between Lampard and Gerrard, who would you pick?

Chris Glover said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Otis - for this week Gerrard is obviously the safer bet. Longer term I probably still like Lamard though I am sufficiently off him to bring in Cesc + 2m. Right now I don't think either justify 12m+.