First of all, an apology to anyone who actually listened to me and brought in Fernando Torres. It was looking good until he was sent packing. Anyway, the other advice was pretty good and I’m sure no one took any notice of my Torres recommendation so here are the latest tips…
Teams with nice looking upcoming fixtures: Chelsea, Manchester City, Stoke City, Manchester United, Aston Villa
Anyone with no Manchester United representatives in their fantasy team is taking a big risk and the champions welcome Norwich to Old Trafford this weekend. Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez shaking off injuries has probably put the kibosh on my plans to bring in Michael Owen or Danny Wellbeck. The Roon and Chicarito are likely to return to the United starting line-up so unfortunately, Owen, Dimitar Berbatov and Wellbeck represent too much of a gamble, particularly with Sir Alex’s team travelling to Anfield after the international break. Last week I suggested swapping Ashley Young (£10.4m) for Luis Nani (£10.1m): both good choices but if you can only afford one, it has to be Nani, who I’d also recommend as captain. As for the defensive options, with Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic injured, many will have got on the Phil Jones (£5.8m) bandwagon. If you can’t quite afford him, Fabio (£4.5m) is certainly worth considering.
Sky Sports News was renamed Carlos Tevez News this week and it’s fairly safe to say no one will be selecting the Argentine striker any time soon. Edin Dzeko’s petulance in Munich means he is also a risk which is a great shame since City are playing Blackburn this week. This could make way for another ego in Mario Balotelli (£8.5m), who scored against Everton last week. It seems Sergio Aguero (£11.5m) will be safe from squad rotation and with City playing Blackburn away then Villa at home, you want him in your side. David Silva (£10m) is another must and would be a good candidate for the captaincy this gameweek. It’s tough picking City defenders on the basis of their price, while it’s also difficult to guarantee starting roles for anyone apart from captain Vincent Kompany or goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Bolton are looking to end a run of five straight losses so the last thing Owen Coyle wants is a visit from Chelsea. The Blues have enjoyed recent visits to the Reebok and will be favourites again this weekend. With Fernando Torres suspended and Daniel Sturridge recently recovering from a knee problem, we could see the return of the Drogba-Anelka partnership for Chelsea. I wouldn’t bet against Drog (£10.1m) or Nico (£8.5m) netting against Bolton and they represent good value for money, with Chelsea playing Everton at home after the international break. It’s also unwise to ignore the fantastic form of Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Ramires(£7.1m). He’s done the business for the Blues this season and remains cheaper
than Lampard and Malouda, who are far from guaranteed starts these days. Chelsea have been disappointing as far as clean sheets have gone this season, so it could be best to avoid the likes of Cech, JT and Ashley Cole. Defensively, Jose Bosingwa (£6.1m) remains the best choice as far as value for money goes.
Aston Villa host Wigan this week, before travelling to the Etihad so it’s the Wigan game where they’ll be looking to pick up some points. Alex McLeish’s teams are always stubborn and difficult to break down so Stephen Warnock (£5m) and Shay Given (£5m) are bargains. You could also do worse than Richard Dunne (£5.5m), James Collins (£5.5m) and Alan Hutton (£5m). In midfield, Barry Bannan (£5m) and Stiliyan Petrov (£6m) are Villa’s top scoring midfielders and more affordable than the likes of Charles N’Zogbia and Marc Albrighton. I’d also keep an eye on Darren Bent, who could return to first-team action this week. I’d say it’s too early to put him in, but jump on the bandwagon as soon as he hits form. Meanwhile, Gabriel Agbonlahor (£6.9m) is a man in pretty good form and is more affordable than the big hitters.
Stoke will fancy a decent return from an away fixture at the Liberty and a home match against Fulham after the international break. I can never give the Potters credit for their total thuggery approach to the game but I’m happy to cash in on the points when they’re on offer. Asmir Begovic (£5.1m) will be a popular choice as goalkeeper, while captain Ryan Shawcross (£5.1m) is probably the best bet as far as the defenders go. Jon Walters (£6m) is also well worth considering from the Stoke midfielders. He is often deployed as a striker and with Kenwyne Jones out injured, he might get the nod ahead of Cameron Jerome in the forward role. I’ll also give a mention to Peter Crouch (£6.9m). Always a handful and a man in decent form, Crouchy could give the Swansea defenders a tough time at the weekend.
Others to consider
Arsenal travel to White Hart Lane for the first of the North London derbies this season. Usually high-scoring affairs, you’d be advised to steer clear of the defenders involved in this fixture. Those of the Arsenal persuasion should consider pairing Aaron Ramsey (£6.3m) with Robin Van Persie (£11.9m) who could link up well. But if Arsene Wenger has not told his defenders to watch out for Emmanuel Adebayor (£8.4m), he’s doing something wrong. He will love scoring against the Gunners and is in good form so he must be considered. If you can afford him, Rafael Van der Vaart (£9.7m) will also be very dangerous for Arsenal’s rear guard.
For cheaper options worth considering in order to balance the books, you have to look to Newcastle again. Tim Krul (£4.6m), Steven Taylor (£4.9m), Cheik Tiote (£4.5m) and Leon Best (£5.3m) are all likely to start and are dirt cheap for the points they’ve amassed so far. Fulham could be worth considering also for this week, with Mark Schwarzer (£4.9m) and Danny Murphy (£6.1m) their stand out players so far.