One of my main regrets with this blog is my inability to keep up with all the injury news. I've tried sharing links from the local papers and the main sites but I just don't have time to keep up. Hopefully everyone knows where to look for the important news but I do want to point out that, for me, the best sources are Fantasy Football Scout's excellent team news section and the Guardian Squad Sheets which don't get everything right, but at least stop you making silly mistakes (signing a suspended player etc). Anyway, I guess that is my way or shirking some responsibility for the clangers I dropped last week (I forgot to mention the S Taylor injury and totally missed the injury to Sorensen). I hope though that you get enough alternative info to make the blog worthwhile. I'm pleased with where the blog sits in the world but I'm always looking for ideas to freshen things up so I open things up to the readers for any suggestions. What decisions do you struggle with every week that could be made easier? What do you want to see ranked? What stats to do want to see?
Anyway, let's move on to this week. For the first time in a while it's the red side of Manchester that looks to be the better pick for the week, both offensively and defensively. In years past, this week would be a total lock to captain Rooney but is he worthy of that status, regardless of the matchup? United have only hit the back of the net once in the last 7 gameweeks despite playing the likes of Sunderland, Swansea and Everton. Looking at FFS's ICT rankings, Rooney hasn't had a good game since GW7 and thus he's a risk this week. He is of course an option but this is one week I would push the stats aside slightly and stick with the hot hands elsewhere in the league.
And there's no hand hotter than Van Persie. I wish I had a database of all time fantasy scores to try and put Van Persie's current run into context. 7 of the last 9 weeks have gone for double digit scores including 13 goals, 4 assists and 19 bonus points, though it's hard to forgive those two 2-pointers (ha). Everton aren't a terrible defensive team but they gave up 3 at Chelsea and 2 at City at you be surprised if Arsenal didn't hit a similar mark this week. Van Persie has scored or assisted 17 of Arsenal's last 24 goals so any success they do have will surely be reflected in the Dutchman's fantasy line and thus I can't recommend captaining anyone else this week.
If you're not one of the 33% of managers who own Van Persie then you still have a couple of decent options. As we noted above, United's struggles make it tough to look at either Nani or A Young for anything more than a cursory glance. City have been simply outstanding on the road this year, brushing off United (6) and Spurs (5) while giving Bolton (3), Blackburn (4) and QPR (3) a few lessons of their own. Aguero, Dzeko and Silva all played the majority of the game midweek so while Balotelli could come in, it will likely only be at the expense of one of these players. Even then, he may be on the sidelines as Mancini has suggested he will be dropped in 'important' games which Chelsea away probably still counts as. Both Aguero and Silva have both missed a couple of games in the year so both represent some rotation risk but I'd be fairly comfortable giving either a go if you need a captain pick for the week.
Despite their struggles for clean sheets, City have only conceded more than the odd goal once in the last 9 gameweeks, thus making Chelsea players a huge risk this week. With a vintage Lampard or red hot Drogba you might roll the dice but while Mata has been good, I don't think he's good enough yet to justify playing him in such a tough fixture.
Equally, Spurs face a tricky trip to Stoke, though they've been extremely consistent all year, netting twice or more in the last 11 games. That of course brings Bale, Adebayor and Van der Vaart into play especially as Stoke have suffered a couple of uncharacteristic blemishes at home of late. Of that Trio I still like a fully fit Van der Vaart the most, though with that not a guarantee I'd stick with Bale or Adebayor.
Check back tomorrow evening (ET) or Saturday morning (GMT) for reader questions and be sure to post anything below or @plfantasy if you want anything answering (or attempted to be answered at least).