After what has seemed like a very long international break, it’s nice to get back to agonising over transfer decisions in Fantasy Footy! Here’s who I’ll be backing this week.
Teams: Arsenal, Everton, Manchester City, Manchester United
Much as we all admire Norwich’s never say die attitude, you’d have strongly fancy Arsenal to turn Paul Lambert’s side over on Saturday lunchtime. Arsenal finally managed to get an away win three weeks ago, putting five past Chelsea in the process and then despatched with Roy Hodgson’s West Brom at the Emirates. With Holland resting Robin Van Persie in midweek, you’d expect the Gunners to carry on firing where they left off. Norwich meanwhile have conceded goals to the likes of Sunderland and West Brom at home this season and the fact that Blackburn hit the back of the net three times at Carrow Road speaks volumes. Arsenal will be glad to have Thomas Vermaelen (£6.7m) back at the heart of their defence, preventing as many goals as he scores. Bring him in before he gets as expensive as John Terry. The Arsenal midfield has a lot to offer, with Theo Walcott (£8.8m) and Mikel Arteta (£8.1m) both looking dangerous at the minute, although Aaron Ramsey (£6.7m) is racking up just as many points and will save you a few pounds. Only 24.4% of teams have Robin Van Persie (£12.6m) currently, which means 75.6% of players are doing it wrong. If it’s a question of money, well you should have brought him in earlier! Go for Gervinho (£8.9m) if can’t afford RVP. With Fulham travelling to the Emirates next week, you ought to have three Arsenal players in your side.
Everton have had a pretty rotten season so far and with the fans planning a protest against the board at the weekend, it might seem unwise to back them at this point. But David Moyes’ side definitely has it in them to secure positive results against Wolves and Bolton in the next two weeks. The Wolves game doesn’t really have goals written all over it, so Tim Howard (£5.4m) and Phil Jagielka (£5.3m) could prove sensible short term buys. Royston Drenthe (£6m) and Jack Rodwell (£5.3m) are also money saving options from the midfield. Louis Saha (£6.9m) may well do a job, but be prepared to ship him out if he gets injured.
Manchester United have a nice looking couple of fixtures ahead, with a trip to the Liberty this weekend followed by the visit of Alan Pardew’s Newcastle. Swansea have looked strong at home this season and Newcastle are unbeaten so far, but this is Manchester United. Sir Alex’s side has not been banging the goals in on the same scale as early on in the season but since their 1-6 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City, they have racked up four successive clean sheets. Nemanja Vidic and David de Gea look a little pricey and with Rio no longer guaranteed first team football, you have to look to Phil Jones (£6.1m). The midfield and strike force options are a little tricky to pick from, but I’d suggest Luis Nani (£10.1m) and Javier Hernandez (£10m) are the most in-form of United’s forwards. The Roon’s value has fallen recently as he’s not done very much in terms of point scoring for a few weeks but spending £12m on him could be a risk worth taking, given United’s upcoming fixtures. He’s also had a two-week rest.
Manchester City. Is this where the Newcastle bubble finally bursts? Not that I want it to, but they can’t stop City, can they? It’s difficult picking forwards for City because of Roberto Mancini’s squad rotation but you should be fairly safe with ever present centre halves Joleon Lescott (£6.2m) and Vincent Kompany (£6.2m). David Silva also looks to be one of the City players guaranteed a starting role (more often than not, anyway) and £10.4m is a bargain for a magician. I’d also be looking to have either James Milner (£7.6m) or Edin Dzeko (£8.5m). Although they don’t play every time, they rack up the points whenever they are on the pitch so I’d take the gamble. Converse to Manchester City style, they won’t break the bank either.
Others worth considering
Spurs are playing Aston Villa and West Brom in their next two fixtures and a return of six points is not exactly out of the question for Harry Redknapp’s side. Brad Friedel (£5.5m), Kyle Walker (£5.6m) and Benoit Assou-Ekotto (£5.1m) are all cheap defensive options worth considering. Many people will rightly have Rafael Van der Vaart, a few will be on the Gareth Bale (£8.1m) bandwagon once again, while Scotty Parker can do no wrong at the minute. Aaron Lennon (£7.2m) however is a man in great form and is likely to score you points at a far cheaper price.
For those of you that like a gamble, and I mean a serious, serious gamble, ladies and gentleman, Fernando Torres (£10.4m).