Hello again and apologies for the lack of posts this week. We are currently in a transition period trying to get in a new admin to the blog team, so hopefully all goes well and we can welcome them into the fold! As for myself, I have been away living on the legendary Komodo Island in Indonesia, home to the largest living extant lizard species left on our planet (the biologist in my is just giddy with delight!). I have been effectively "cut off" from the real world as my Park Ranger guide and I trekked around the island of man-eating giants with nothing but a pointed stick for protection.... yes I said that right, just a POINTED STICK! Side note: my guide told me in very broken English, "If stick break... RUN FAST UP TREE!!!" But I have survived long enough to have returned to civilization on Flores Island to bring you Kellz Player Picks! I only hope this Indonesian internet holds out long enough for me to type, so here we go!
Lets start by taking a look at the upcoming fixtures:
Newcastle v Chelsea
West Ham v Aston Villa
Hull City v Sunderland
Arsenal v Liverpool
Everton v Tottenham
The teams I will be concentrating on are Chelsea, Southampton, West Bromwich, Manchester City, and Manchester United. The runner's up choices are Hull City, Aston Villa, and Swansea City but I wouldn't be loading too many players from those teams. Obviously the most contested matches will be the top of the table clash between Arsenal and Liverpool with Everton against Tottenham shaping up to be a third place decider early on. We have a great slew of games to watch this weekend so let's get onto the player picks!
Boaz Myhill - Arguably the best value keeper of the bunch, hovering just around 5mil. Myhill represents a budget way into a solid home match for West Bromwich as they take on a sinking Crystal Palace side. You just feel his price and home match up justify the risk in picking him, but he is currently in my side.
Michel Vorm - Cardiff City have been waning in recent weeks and their attack hasn't been that attractive. I tip Vorm to continue his solid run of form and should represent a decent chance at the clean sheet this week even away from home. Worst case senario Cardiff nick a goal, but Swansea should prove too strong and I see at leas an away win with some saves for the Dutch keeper.
Boruc - I didn't recommend him in my last player picks (causing a bit of a stir) but he can no longer be ignored. I was wrong about Stoke's lack of ability to score in last weeks picks, but even though they scored away to Manchester United, I see that as more of an exception to the rule. I feel high flying Southampton will prove too much and given Boruc's current form, the CS + Win is likely.
Joe Hart - Will he start after some shaky performances that really haven't highlighted his obvious skill? If Pellegrini wants to give the young England keeper his confidence back then he will give the lad another go against lowly Norwich City. This represents a perfect match for Hart to get back to his best and I think it would be foolish to retire him to the bench. Premium keeper pick this week, of course, if he starts.
Brad Guzan - I hate recommending keepers playing away from home, but West Ham really don't offer much in the attacking department. If you want to go for a differential route then look no further. For me this match has draw written all over it, but one thing is for certain, Guzan always comes up with saves.
Neil Taylor - Assuming you picked him up on the barndoor, he represents a solid defender bench option. But even with his higher price, Swansea City have a decent chance of the CS this week so if you need to free up funds then he is your guy.
Ivanovic - Certainly in the premium category, but he has been Chelsea's most attacking defender this season and past. He has proven time and time again to collect phantom points even with out the CS, if you have cash to burn then Ivanovic looks a solid buy in what should be a Chelsea win.
Lovren - Another Southampton player left out of my player picks last time out, but even at his high price (creeping towards premium) he has been outstanding for the Saints this season. With Stoke City performing terribly in front of goal (last week not withstanding) Lovren looks set for another solid CS chance with his added bonus of phantom point production.
Kolarov/Zabaleta - The two most productive of City's back line with the former looking more likely to be rotated than the latter. Given his performances over this season however, I feel we should see Kolarov return to the starting line up but check team news tomorrow. The safest, albiet most expensive option, is to take Zabaleta. At least one should be in your side for the visit of an utterly dismal Norwich Side.
Phil Jones - With injury concerns around Vidic and Ferdinand, Jones has started the last couple games at CB. Still relatively cheap, but prone to a blunder or two, he represents a decent way into United's defense. We know he can collect phantoms on his day and Fulham don't seem too scary do they?
Sessegnon - The best value for price out of West Bromwich's midfield especially if Amalfitano is indeed ruled out. I would rather have Amalfitano given his production this season, but what a better match up for Sess to get back into his attacking mojo than facing an inept Crystal Palace side. He is currently in my side.
Robbie Brady - He returned from injury earlier than expected. Although he is still a slight doubt, I tip him to back to the starting line up against rock bottom Sunderland. Even though Wearside took the derby win over Newcastle, we aren't worrying about Hull City's defense, more over we only care about their attack. Brady offers the most attacking threat from this Hull City side and his price is still affordable. My thinking is if he was fit to come off the bench last week, he should be fit enough to start this week, but check team news.
Januzaj - Still the only worth while United midfielder given his price and production. He has seemingly nailed down a starting birth on the flank (for now) so get the young winger in while you can.
Ramsey/Ozil - If you have the ability I think one needs to be benched this week. I have opted to keep Ozil in my starting line up and relegating Ramsey to the bench. This will be Arsenal's first true test in the Premier League this season and given other decent match ups, it is probably not worth doubling up.
Oscar - Still the most productive of Chelsea's midfield and still a decent buy given the match up. It should be another 3pts for the Blues and if they are going to get onto the score sheet, you can bet Oscar will be involved.
Silva - The premium midfield pick of the week and a must have in my opinion. If you don't have the money, make the necessary trades to get him in, trust me. His form has been excellent since returning from injury and he should rip apart a weak Norwich defense.
De Guzman - We all know Michu is the more popular choice, but I am tipping Johnathan De Guzan to produce the goods this game week. He has always looked lively and has free kicks in his locker. When Michu isn't performing, De Guzan usually is. Look for him to be involved in much of the Swansea attack.
Adam Johnson - Another unpopular pick that once held a lot of appeal in the fantasy world. Hull City aren't exactly the best defensive side so if any of Sunderland's play makers can unlock that defense then it will be Johnson. On some corners and the occasional free kick, Adam offers a solid differential pick this week.
Luis Suarez - We all have him, his price has SKY ROCKETED, and there is no need to drop him. He is a season keeper.
Wayne Rooney - Continually being United's most consistent goal threat this term with RvP having a rather unremarkable season. I am hard pressed to find another option given my discount on him and Fulham don't represent a scary opposition.
Sergio Aguero/Negredo - One of these men HAS to be in your team, and the former is the likeliest to start and has penalties in his locker. Really a no brainer at this point. Negredo offers an interesting alternative, but with City's riches in the striker department, you just never know. I'd opt for Aguero and hold out for any bit of news regarding his strike partner to make a decision. Certainly no one could blame you for doubling up this game week.
Jozy Altidore - Looked lively against Newcastle and is my differential pick of the week. He has yet to get onto the score sheet but knowing what this guy can do for the USMT, Hull City hardly seem capable of handling his bullish style. If you have the balls, then this risky pick may just finally pay off.
Torres/Eto/Ba - El Nino seems to have gotten back to his old ways and scoring for fun. If you wanted in on what should be a Chelsea win, then the Spanish striker is your man. Although Mourinho is always capable of pulling a fast one and bringing in a striker like Ba from the cold. The risk seems fair enough though, so Torres should get the nod given his recent performances.
Olivier Giroud - Back to scoring ways against Crystal Palace and desperate to score more. Liverpool haven't been as solid at the back as they first were and if Arsenal hope to over come the attacking talents of SAS (arguably the best in the league and WILL score this week) then Giroud will need to be at his striking best. Not a pick up at current price but more of a hold and hope if your discount is deep enough.
Anelka - I can't recommend him but Crystal Palace are in tatters, basically any team playing them should be represented in your side. It doesn't get much better for the WBA striker to get of the mark.
Okay ladies and gentlemen, another week of player picks in the books. Since I have been gone I haven't had time to tinker but my team currently looks like: Myhill, Nasatic, Kolarov, Lovren, Brady, Sessegnon, Ozil, Silva, Rooney, Aguero, Suarez with Ramsey/Taylor on the bench. Still a lot to think about but most should stay.
How is your team shaping up? Who have I missed this week in my recommendations?