Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 9 Preview

I'm jumping the gun a bit here as I'm sure the inevitable international injury bug will bite someone midweek but I wanted to give everyone a jump on the upcoming week as we look to come out strong from our week off. Four of the big five teams have good looking fixtures and with double gameweeks on the horizon, the next few weeks could be very important.

Gameweek 9 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Arsenal v Birmingham

Everton v Wolves

Man Utd v Bolton

Portsmouth v Tottenham

Stoke City v West Ham

Sunderland v Liverpool

Blackburn v Burnley

Wigan v Man City

Fulham v Hull City

United are the pick of the week as they welcome a Bolton side that have not won at Old Trafford in their last 6 attempts, conceding 18 goals in those losses. Historically, Rooney has done pretty well against Bolton and I like him this week should he bounce back from the calf strain that kept him out for England. The United defense also looks like strong selection to coincide with the probable return of Edwin van der Sar. Arsenal also like a solid play this week though Alex McCleish's side have only conceded 5 goals in 4 away games and their compact style could frustrate the Gunners. I still like Arsenal to win and Birmingham's 3 road goals suggest a clean sheet is on the cards, but I do not expect a 4 or 5 goal whitewash as we have seen in other games at the Emirates this year. The best fixture on paper comes at Villa Park as the Villains welcome Chelsea though in fantasy terms the game looks like it could disappoint as both sides would probably take a draw and there should be only the odd or two to go around.

Clean Sheet Rankings
1. Arsenal
2. Blackburn
3. Stoke
4. Fulham
5. Man United

I like the defensive matchups this week with the above 5 and even a couple of other teams (City and Spurs) having a decent shot at the clean sheet. On stats alone Blackburn are the best matchup having conceded just 1 goal a game at home this year as they welcome local rivals Burnley who have yet to notch an away goal this season. However, it is Arsenal that I like the best this week due to the likely gameplan Birmingham will employ (11 men, staff, fans, team bus behind the ball). The only way I see Arsenal conceding is either from a set piece or from a mental lapse after being in a comfortable lead. Stoke (1 GPG conceded) and Fulham (1.33 GPG) have been solid at home this year and will fancy their chances against West Ham and Hull respectively. Finally, the stats don't necessarily point to a clean sheet for United as they have been only okay at home (1.50 GPG conceded) while Bolton have been surprisingly good on the road (1.67 GPG scored). However, when you consider that Bolton's road trips have been to Hull, Portsmouth and Birmingham you realise that those stats might be misleading. United need to get their defense in order as soon as possible after shaky displays against City and Sunderland and only one clean sheet in the last 5 games. With Van der Sar expected to return I expect that to happen though I advise against bringing fresh United players in due to their fixtures in weeks 10 and 12 (@Liv, @Che).

Captain rankings
1. Cesc Fabregas
2. Robin Van Persie
3. Wayne Rooney
4. Tim Cahill
5. Aaron Lennon

I'm sticking with the hot Arsenal boys this week as they welcome a stubborn but ultimately overmatched Birmingham team. The Gunners have scored a frightening 14 goals in 3 home games and while I don't foresee another 4 or 5 goal drubbing, I do see them getting another 3 goals which should lead to decent production from Fabregas and Van Persie. Arsenal have no really troubling games until week 16 with Chelsea at home the only concern. This pair are therefore not just great plays this week but remain buy options ahead of the likes to Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney (after this week). Rooney looks like a good play this week before his schedule gets tough so I'd certainly hold him but would not be buying at this stage. Cahill has just one goal this year but has been getting chances and I like him against Wolves who have conceded a few goals from set pieces this year. At 8.2m Cahill is a good pickup and is in a range with the likes of Lennon, Ballack and Benayoun which allows you some flexibility in the future. Currently held by 6.4% of owners I really like Cahill going forward until week 16 when he goes to Chelsea before his bye in week 17. Finally, Aaron Lennon is my non-stud of the week pick largely due to his trip to Fratton Park. His form has fallen a bit of late but with Defoe back and Keane in good form I like Lennon to bounce back and give the Portsmouth full backs plenty of trouble this week.

Stay tuned in the week for a couple of transfer tips and player features aloing with all the injury news for the weekend.


NotoriousDre said...

hey chris,

can wait for this weekend action.
need ya looking to strenghtne my defense. I want to replace Zayatte with either Bridge, Distin/Baines or O'Shea? What is your opinion?

This is contingent on Rooney & Gerrard being fit to play. Most likely Rooney will Gerrard is my only concern. Will pull the trigger as late as possible.

Thommas said...

IMO if you can afford Bains he is a good pick, because of his set piece abilities and the fact that he have a home game against Wolves.. =)

Don't think Gerrard will play, his inj. seems to be more severe than firstly reported :/ (i'm a l'pool fan) Liverpool can face a midfield crisis this weekend against sunderland

Good read as always Cris! :D Keep up the good work!

Chris Glover said...

Dre - Love Baines for the next 5 weeks which includes his double gameweek in week 13. For 1.3m less Distin is good value so it depends how well you can use the extra cash. If it upgrades you from, say, Lennon to Fabregas I'd go with Distin but if you dont need the cash Baines looks great.
United's fixtures are tough in weeks 10 and 12 so the timing on O'Shea doesnt look great. Bridge has four very nice games and is still cheap at 5.6m. I like Everton a bit more though.

The Telegraph reports that Gerrard will be fit, though my trust for them is limited so Id keep checking until transfer deadline.

Thanks for the input guys.

Jay said...


My five defenders are Ashley Cole, Distin, Assou-Ekotto, Vermaelen, and Shawcross.

Should I sit one of them and take a four point hit and bring in Bent, or should I just play a 5-3-2 with Fab, Lennon, Cattermole, Van Persie, and Rooney?


Chris Glover said...

Jay, I wouldnt pay 4 points for Bent as assuming all your defenders play and don't get hammered, they should each contribute 2 points which means Bent needs to score just to break even.

There's actually an argument to be made for all five defenders anyway as four have good looking fixtures (@Por, Bir, WH, Wol) while Cole (@Ast) is in the best defensive side in the country. I like stikers going forward but its a good defensive week and Id roll with the back 5.

NotoriousDre said...

thanks for the input Chris....i've got some thinking to do! Gerrard fitness is the key...

@ Jay, i would play the 5-3-2

Thommas said...

Rooney is ruled out the Bolton match. he picked up a calf inj. duriing the international matches,16368,2483_5630798,00.html