I'm changing things a little but this week as along with the standard statistical predictions for goals conceded, I have also worked in some of the goal trends that I noted earlier in the week in order to generate my weekly rankings. I have looked for concrete trends based on statistical fact so these are not 'hunches' but more tweaked facts to incorporate the wider trends.
- Newcastle v Sto 0.34
- Birmingham v Wig 0.44
- Liverpool v Sun 0.43*
- Arsenal v WBA 0.50
- Aston Villa @Wol 0.79*
- Man Utd @Bol 0.93*
- Fulham v Eve 0.71
- Blackpool v Bla 0.77
- Wolves v Ast 0.91
- Chelsea @MnC 1.36
- Man City v Che 1.47
- Everton @Ful 1.48
- Tottenham @WH 1.57
- Wigan @Bir 1.93*
- West Ham v Tot 1.67
- Stoke @New 1.81
- Blackburn @Bll 1.82
- Bolton v MnU 2.04
- Sunderland @Liv 2.79
- West Brom @Ars 4.17
- Stoke are conceding 75% of their goals to midfielders with Newcastle’s midfield accounting for 50% of their goals this season. Nolan, Barton and Ben Arfa need to be upgraded accordingly.
- Stoke have scored 40% of their goals from defense but Newcastle have yet to concede to a defender, thus boosting their clean sheet credentials even further. They are a very good value play this week.
- Sunderland are highly susceptible to set pieces (60% of all goals conceded) so Liverpool defenders get an offensive boost here.
- Liverpool have conceded 71% of their goals to forwards and forwards account for 80% of all Sunderland goals. Darren Bent looks like a useful play despite the fixture being tricky on paper.
- Wigan are yet to concede from a set piece and Birmingham struggle from open play (just 43% of their goals). This one looks like a good 0-0 bet as both sides lack the quality to break down the opposition without using set pieces.
- Arsenal have surprisingly scored 21% of their goals from set pieces while West Brom have given up 4 such goals already this year. Someone like Koscielny therefore becomes a nice pickup this week as a potential clean sheet/goal double threat.
- Blackpool have given up 75% of their goals to midfielders meaning someone like Gamst Pedersen becomes a spot starter if you are desperate.
- Almost half (44%) of the goals conceded by Villa have been from set pieces, something Wolves are not particularly known for (17% of their goals). I am therefore upgrading the Villains ahead of their purely historical ranking.
- I have upgraded United given that they are yet to concede to a forward this season while Bolton have been reliant on their forward partnership of Davies and Elmander (no other Bolton player has scored this season).
- Didier Drogba – Despite the tricky fixture I can’t recommend taking the armband away from Drogba unless there in another top line player with a top line fixture (a fit Fabregas would have tested my resolve this week). Must have, must captain.
- Dimitar Berbatov – Turning into a real fantasy force, Berbatov is carrying United right now and he gets a good fixture to continue his form in with a trip to Bolton who have been solid but still liable to lose to the best teams.
- Florent Malouda – Like teammate Drogba he is undroppable right now and is just 6 points behind the Ivorian. Rotation risk and lack of set piece duties are the only knocks to prevent him holding onto second spot.
- Andrei Arshavin – Great fixture for a player in good form though Fabregas will be missed here. My spreadsheet suggests this one will be 3 or 4 nil so there should be points to go around all Arsenal’s weapons, not to mention the bonus points freed up by Fabregas’s absence.
- Fernando Torres – Still nowhere near back as a league or fantasy force but he at least showed signs against United and gets a great fixture here as Sunderland come to town. I’d back the Spaniard to get his second of the season in this one.
- Steve Gerrard – Two goals against United have put Stevie G back on the fantasy radar, but be careful given that they were both from set pieces. I have bumped him up the rankings here thanks to the fixture but I still feel he is overvalued over the likes of Malouda, Arshavin and a fit Fabregas.
- Marouane Chamakh - Someone is going to score against West Brom and Chamakh has been solid so far this season so could capitalise. I like him as a wildcard captain pick if you don't have any of the aforementioned top players.
Jack Wilshere - One of the few men in the world to benefit from Cesc's injury (aside from Arsenal's competitors), Wilshere should play in the favourable fixture at home to West Brom and becomes a nice option for the week. He is only a short term fix though as Fabregas is possibly back for the Chelsea game and even if not, Arsenal players will be poor plays that week.
Laurent Koscielny - Like Wilshere Koscielny benefits from a great matchup in terms of both defensive and offensive stats. Arsenal rank 4th in the clean sheet rankings and as noted above West Brom are weak at set pieces making Koscielny a double threat this week.
Mike Williamson - Williamson has been very good value this year, being the pick of the Newcastle defense contributing bonus points, an assist and clean sheet points. Newcastle are my top clean sheet pick this week and I think Williamson is not only a good play but also a good pickup if you are dissatisfied with any of your bench/rotation defender.
Carlos Salcido - I was a big fan of Salcido's work during the World Cup and he marked his Fulham debut with an assist and two bonus points last week. Salcido is a very attacking player and he should have plenty of chances to get forward and contribute offensively, on top of the good clean sheet chance he has this week. Fulham's fixtures are tough from GW9-16 so I think he is only a spot starter but nonetheless carries some value.
Tim Krul - Much like Williamson above, Krul gives you cheap access to a top defensive play this week after Harper's injury. Over the next few weeks I think Krul is the best 4m 'keeper to own.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your comments below and @plfantasy.