My transfers and tips this week were about as successful as Chelsea's set piece defensive training. I really liked Drogba this week who was ruled out after a failing a late fitness test, and then my replacement captain Fabregas limped off and will miss at least the Hull game this week. Having mentioned in my preview that it was vital to field 11 men this week, I used a double substitution and still ended up having Drogba, Brown, Torres and Jarvis all starting and out of their team's first team lineup.
The bright spot was Torres' goal and El Nino is now my top rated player alongside Drogba, though considering Torres is owned by half as many owners and Drogba leaves for the African Nations Cup soon, I really like Tores as my top transfer target.
If you wish to replace Fabregas then Arshavin is the logical replacements if you are looking for a short term solution. If you are looking long term then you might need to re-arrange your whole team as no similarly priced players strike me a good value. I for one will be holding Fabregas as it will cost 0.6m to bring him back if I sell him now.
I think Drogba will be fit by the weekend but more on this to come on Friday as the injury reports come in. Drogba is going to be available for the gameweek 20 fixture against Fulham which gives you three more games (@WH, @Bir, Ful) if you decide to keep him this week. In that same period Torres faces @Por, Wol and @Ast which is statistically exactly the same as Drogba's schedule (opponent conceding an average of 1.42 GPG). 25,000 managers have already bought Torres this week and his value will rise soon so if you want him it might be an idea to make this switch now (Drogba's value will almost certainly fall when he leaves for Africa).
If you - like me - already have Drogba and Torres then I think Rooney is the only real option unless you can use the money saved by picking up, say, Defoe into really upgrading the core of your team. United have good fixtures after this week and the timing works out nicely in that you can play Drogba this week and then move over to Rooney to take advantage of the Hull and Wigan games.
Three clean sheets in 8 games this week made clean sheets tough to come by once again. Many managers have Villa defenders and they have been rewarded for sticking with them after a string of 9 games without a clean sheet has been followed up by 3 straight. The likes of Dunne and Warnock remain excellent value although their fixtures are only okay so other options should at least be considered.
United were a great bet for a clean sheet this week but only Evra owners benefited as Brown was a late scratch and Vidic was agonisingly withdrawn after 59 minutes. Physio Room suggests that no one will be back for United this week Vidic is not listed on the injury report so should be okay. Evra is a great choice for the next few weeks while I think Vidic is overpriced given United's shaky back line. Its hard to recommend anyone else for fear that won't feature regularly for the foreseeable future.
Chelsea's defense has suddenly lost form with 6 goals conceded in the last 3 games after a run of 5 straight clean sheets. However, 12 of their 14 goals conceded have come from set pieces which is something that Ancelotti will be able to target in training. The upcoming fixtures are very encouraging and I still think Ivanovic might be the best value defender around at the moment. I have faith that Chelsea will turn it around and finish the season with the most clean sheets in the league.
I had drafted a post on the virtues of Luka Modric and was about to crown him as my favourite transfer target around but I am now a bit nervous after the form Kranjcar has been in of late. It's possible that Modric could be shifted to the middle of the field in place of Huddlestone but either way I am not as high on Modric as I once was. At 7.1m he is still a potential steal but I would wait until it emerges if (and where) he will play before spending your cash on the Croatian playmaker.
Valencia is the only midfielder valued between 8m and 11m that I love over the next month or so and I think he is an upgrade over the likes of Young, Ballack, Wright Phillips and even Lennon (due to Spurs' tough fixtures). After this week's trip to Fulham , United's only tough game before week 24 is a trip to Birmingham and I think Valencia can contribute in all categories over that period.
Larrson was excellent against Blackburn and I like him ahead of Bowyer and Ferguson for the remainder of the season. His lack of bonus points concerns me and I don't like him as an every week starter but I think Bowyer's goals will dry up quicker than Larsson's goals and assists.
Check back soon for my week 18 preview including the usual captain and clean sheet rankings. Until then, why not post your transfer and lineup issues below or tweet them @plfantasy.