The Assistant to the Assistant Manager is back with the fantasy Premier League players to choose in week 10.
Hello. I'm the guy who sits next to you and reads the newspaper over your shoulder. Wait... Don't turn the page, I'm not finished. Life is so uncertain.
Those Lyle Lovett's (and his Large Band) words came to mind as I contemplated my role here. Nik, your faithful Assistant Manager, has overdone it a bit over the last few weeks and is now suffering the consequences with an early winter cold. So it's left to me, your humble Assistant to the Assistant Manager, to try to recomend some players for your fantasy team this upcoming Premier League weekend.
And since I'm not above beating a gimmick to death...
Given that true intellectual and emotional compatability are at the very least difficult if not impossible to come by, we could always opt for the more temporal gratification of sheer physical attraction. That wouldn't make you a shallow person, would it?
For Spurs Jermain Defoe and especially Gareth Bale are the picks of the bunch. Clint Dempsey is certainly worth a long look. Yes, he missed a penalty kick in yesterday's League Cup match, but that's never been his strong suit. With Bale back in the line-up, Duece can play his game behind the main striker. I'm not sold on Spurs' defence, however. I picked Kyle Naughton over Jan Vertonghen last week and he outscored the Belgian by a point - from the bench! - as Vertonghen went red.
On the flip side, I do trust West Brom's defence. Gareth McAuley, Liam Ridgewell, and Jonas Olsson are all good, but expensive picks. I'm looking at Gabriel Tamas as a cheap in, but will be following the Baggie's injury list and potential starters closely to see if Tamas indeed starts.
In the attack, I would expect Shane Long to start again but he's gone and picked up knee injury. He's a doubt now, and hopefully we'll learn more before kick-off. If he can't go, Romelu Lukaku is the nailed-on pick of the week. No question, no doubt. He has the ability to torture the Saints' terrible defence and would be expected to pick up big points.
Elsewhere in the Baggies' attack, I would look at Zoltan Gera in midfield as a cheaper alternative to James Morrisson and Peter Odemwingie. Gera has been playing and scoring more regularly this season but still remains a budget-friendly option in midfield.
If Ford is to Chevrolet what Dodge is to Chrysler.... what Corn Flakes are to Post Toasties... what the clear blue sky is to the deep blue sea... what Hank Williams is to Neil Armstrong... can you doubt we were made for each other?
To the more evenly-matched teams meeting this weekend, at least the ones to which we're looking forward.
Manchester United host Arsenal: This could be a wild one, if these club's repsective League Cup matches are anything to go by. I would expect United to have too much at home and they should win. Robin van Persie will have a point to prove against his old team and may even be worth investment at his current, riduculous price. Wayne Rooney is another good bet, though he could get sucked into a midfield role. It's bang or bust with him these days. Antonio Valencia could have a big game running into the spaces that Andre Santos will vacate, but you could say the same thing (albeit with much less certainty) about Lukas Podolski and Rafael.
Swansea host Chelsea: Another potentially open match here. If Ashely Cole can't return from an ankle injury then Ryan Bertrand is a great pick. Even if Chelsea don't keep a clean sheet, he will get forward. For the Swans, Michu and Jonathan de Guzman make for an out-of-position front-line pairing. Michu has the better track record so far, but de Guzman is coming on and gets set-piece opportunities.
Oh yeah, Juan Mata is playing pretty well right now.
Manchester City travel to West Ham: I've had some converstations about Andy Carroll being the type of player that could unsettle the City defense. I agree with that, but so far it's been those around him, like Kevin Nolan, that have benefited. I tend to think City can hold out, however. Carlos Tevez returns to the ground where he made his bones in the English game and is probably the most consistent fantasy option for City. Another Argentine, Pablo Zabaleta, should start at right back and he's often been value, even for his admittedly high price tag.
Look, I understand too little too late. I realize there are things you say and do you can never take back. But what would you be if you didn't even try? You have to try.
So after a lot of thought I'd like to reconsider. Please, if it's not too late... make it a cheeseburger.
To the more evenly-matched teams meeting this weekend, the ones too close to call, or potentially to ugly to stomach... Norwich/Stoke; Sunderland/Aston Villa; Liverpool/Newcastle; QPR/Reading. I'm looking at these matches for my enablers, or for potential clean sheet points. Simon Mignolet is expensive, Asmir Begovic is rising in price, while Brad Guzan remains the cheap bet of the bunch. There are decent attacking options for cheap here including Shola Ameobi if Demba Ba is injured, Raheem Sterling, and Jason Roberts - all under 5. Andy Wilkinson will play left-back for Stoke City and could get points, even on the road. On the other side of the pitch, Sebastian Bassong and Ryan Bennett (if Russel Martin doesn't make the match) could get you points on the Norwich side.