Clean Sheet Rankings
(Team clean sheets - opponent failed to score)
- Arsenal (4 - 5) and (4 - 5)
- Birmingham (4 - 5) and (4 - 3)
- Liverpool (6 - 6)
- West Brom (1 - 6) and (1 - 5)
- Blackburn (5 - 3)
- Man Utd (7 - 4)
- Stoke (2 - 4) and (2 - 2)
- Sunderland (7 - 2)
- Blackpool (0 - 5) and (0 - 2)
- Tottenham (1 - 2) and (1 - 0)
- Newcastle (3 - 3) and (3 - 4)
- Chelsea (3 - 2)
- Fulham (6 - 5)
- Bolton (3 - 3)
- Everton (2 - 3)
- Wigan (3 - 1)
- Wolves (1 - 2) and (1 - 3)
- Man City (4 - 0)
- West Ham (0 - 2)
- Aston Villa (0 - 0)
(Predicted goals for the week)
- West Brom
- Man Utd
- Aston Villa
- West Ham
- Man City
So far in the captain poll, Van Persie has 85% of the vote and with good reason. He is the clearly the form player in the Arsenal team with a frankly ridiculous 50 points over the past 4 gameweeks and 5 QGs in the last 6. When you consider that he has faced just one team who concede more than 1.5 GPG this season but gets two of them this week, his upside for the week is unmatched. His status as a differentiator is gone (21%) but he still ranks well below Berbatov and Tevez and is still a way to gain some points over the unattentive managers. The presence of Chamakh worries me a little as does his flu, so the potential for rotation or early withdrawal is there but so long as you think he can play 120 minutes or so, he should have enough time to shine.
Fabregas, who himself has 47 points over the last 6, is still a differentiator (11%) and it's this point which makes him intriguing this week. I don't believe in players being 'due' a goal but given the number of shots he has had over the past few weeks, the regression to the mean would indeed suggest that a goal will come soon. His 10 bonus points over the past 6 weeks are great and he generally produces points in more categories than Van Persie. Like Van Persie, Fabregas has the flu but he makes a slightly safer pick than the Dutchman due to the lack of obvious replacement for him and his status as club captain. Picking him is a risk and there's a real possibility it could be a Nani/Berbatov GM24 situation, but sometimes you need to make a bold decision to gain some ground.
A decent outside bet is Theo Walcott who has been astonishingly good from a fantasy perspective this season and is currently level with Van Persie (151) and just one behind Fabregas (152) in aPoints. My concern are his 11 bad games compared to just 6 quality games. In fact, in every game but one he has either contributed double digit points or 3 or less. His 5 double digit games are as many as Van Persie and Fabregas combined. He is surprisingly owned by more managers (15%) than Fabregas so his differential potential is lower than you might expect but you can be sure that the vast majority of those owners won't be captaining him and so you could gain ground if you need to make a last gasp move.
Bacary Sagna is the pick of the defenders with Djourou injured but despite the great fixtures I do not think this unit is captain worthy right now. They were a shambles in the second half against Newcastle and while a single clean sheet looks like a decent bet, the chance of double digit production from Sagna and co looks unlikely.
As always thanks for reading and I welcome all comments/questions below or at @plfantasy. You can also check out more fantasy ramblings over at Back Page Football where I write a weekly column.