Week 11 in the Barclay's Premier League is sure to offer another fantastic set of matches with the highly anticipated Manchester United v Arsenal set to be the highlight. After proving their title credentials against a bright Liverpool side, Arsenal will look to continue their early season dominance against a decidedly under performing United side. I doubt this will be the 7-2 scoreline we saw before and I expect it to be a hotly contested match until the final whistle. United may be in less than sparkling form, especially after their bore draw with Real Sociedad in which RvP missed a game winning penalty and Fellaini was dismissed for two silly Yellow Cards. However, United are a different story at Old Trafford and on their day can show why they were last seasons Champions. If Arsenal can muster the defensive power to hold off the likes of Rooney and RvP, I feel their strength in midfield will be their key asset to taking home the win. If Arsenal come out with the 3pts at Old Trafford, I think their title credentials will be completely justified.
Onto the matches:
Southampton v Hull City: It was a bit of an unlucky stumble at the weekend for the Saints as Asmir Begovic scored after only 14 seconds from a "freak" clearance, but I expect Southampton to bounce back at home to Hull City. With no home losses this season, I expect the Saints defense to reorganize and their midfield to be too much for the Tigers, so we should see a home win here. Certainly one of the matches I will be looking at to grab a decent amount of players from. VERDICT: Invest in Southampton defense, they have been solid all year and no need to think they cannot keep the clean sheet here, one of the Saints midfield, specifically Adam Lallana will also be a solid choice this week.
Aston Villa v Cardiff: Well we didn't exactly think Cardiff would pull out the win against Swansea, but their hard work on and off the ball paid off in the form of a Steven Caulker match winning goal. I wouldn't be too excited on the road however as most of Cardiff's results will come at home. While Aston Villa toiled against West Ham, I expect Christian Benteke to finally get back to his early season form and will be crucial to Villa's success at the weekend. I don't expect a high scoring game, but I can see this one playing out as a low scoring draw or narrow home win. VERDICT: Investment in Villa attack only, and by that I mean only Benteke, he could be the perfect differential pick this week.
Liverpool v Fulham: Liverpool will be looking to quickly bounce back from the loss to Arsenal and Fulham represent the perfect opponent after their early season struggles. I can't imagine anything less than a home win here and Fulham have notoriously struggled on the road. Our only bonus from the 2-0 reverse at the Emirates was that Mignolet and the Liverpool defense took a dip in price, perfect for this home match which should re-invigorate their top 4 aspirations. If Fulham start as slow as they did against United at home last week, then they will surely be in for another long night as Suarez and Sturridge will be looking to get back onto the score sheet. VERDICT: Invest in Liverpool's attack and defense. Mignolet and at least one Liverpool defender look key this week, Coutinho should be back into the starting 11 after 45min against Arsenal, and those of you with SAS should look to hold onto them for at least the next stretch of matches that looks like: @Everton, @Hull, Norwich, West Ham.
Crystal Palace v Everton: Crystal Palace have been nothing short of relegation fodder all season long and look unlikely to stop that trend against a well organized Everton side under Roberto Martinez. Even in their recent matches, Crystal Palace have only offered glimmers of fighting for their Premier League survival but then always end up capitulating at the back. Strong fantasy returns look strong then for any team playing against them. I expect a comfortable away win here for Everton. VERDICT: Invest in Everton's defense and attack. Leighton Baines looks good value and the likes of Lukaku, Piennar, and Mirallas offer solid options in attack. Be weary of Barley however, he has been dropped to the bench as Martinez looks to protect his young starlet from fatigue.
Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion: Another one of the highlighted match ups for this week and I expect Jose Mourinho to ring the changes from the utterly disappointing loss to Newcastle last time out. While we cannot be sure exactly who Mourinho will replacing in his starting 11, tonight Champions League clash with Schalke will provide some clues. Regardless, Chelsea should easily come back from that loss and over take a plucky WBA side, so a moderately high scoring home win is on the cards here. VERDICT: Investment in Chelsea's defense looks more assured than further up the pitch as Mourinho will likely rotate. However, some form of Chelsea's attack should be represented in your side and Oscar/Hazard look the likeliest candidates to retain their starting roles.
Norwich City v West Ham United: Awful, just awful. Both sides are offering nothing usable to fantasy managers and another bore draw from a lack luster Norwich side and an utterly attack-less 4-6-0 formed West Ham is on the cards here. We will see a 1-1 draw at the most, but expect both sides to struggle to get any foot hold in the match. VERDICT: Avoid all together, even though Winston Reid has had a solid fantasy run this season, his price is too high even for what should be a 0-0 draw.
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle: One side has just come off the back of a fantastic win over top table opposition and one side has looked rather dull in attack for much of the season. Tottenham have a real problem in their forward attack with Soldado hardly setting the Premier League alight and only recording fantasy returns with a goal. It is still a bit bemusing that AVB has been leaving the likes of Erikson and Lamela on the bench when both have the quality to deliver the kinds of crucial passes to unlock most defenses. Had it not been for Spurs outstanding defense this season, many of those narrow 1-0 wins could have been turned into draws. Newcastle should be full of confidence going into this one and will bo looking to build on last weekends success. The deliveries of Cabaye and the form of Loic Remy will give the Tottenham's back line much food for thought. This one is too close to call for me, but if I had to put my money down, I'll have to give it to the home side, BUT narrowly. VERDICT: Not the type of match you want to invest in if you don't already have discounts on certain players, so keep the ones you have and hope for a decent amount of points.
Sunderland v Manchester City: With 7 goals scored against Norwich and 5 goals scored against CSKA Moscow, Sergio Aguero/Negredo look to lead a rampant City attack against a dismal Sunderland side. To just point out, of those 12 goals in the last 2 games, Aguero has scored 3 and Negredo 4, over half of the goals combined. It is clear Pellegrini rates them as his preferred strike partnership, but you feel it wouldn't be out of the question to see the unused Dzeko enter the fray at the weekend. I am a bit worried about the lack of rotation from City this season since we were so frustrated by this under Mancini. Regardless, Sunderland (who will be lacking Dossena, Cattermole, and Westwood from their starting 11) will be STEAM ROLLED by City at the weekend. A thunderous away win is on the books for this match, so get in on the action or risk falling behind. VERDICT: Invest heavily in Manchester City defense and attack once again. Any discounts you have keep and any player you don't have, consider bringing in. I'd expect Pantilimon to retain his place so I am going to hold until I see team news.
Swansea v Stoke City: Not much to love from this match up so I am avoiding. Michu looks set to be sidelined but he hasn't been the same fantasy asset this season as he was last year. Obviously Begovic isn't going to score every week and this being an away match I wouldn't bother with any of Stoke's defense (which is their only valuable fantasy product). I expect a narrow draw or slight away win for Swansea in this one. VERDICT: No investment needed. Michu has been a shade of his former self recently and now looking likely to miss out through injury. Better to avoid this one all together and use the funds to bring in players from the more juicy match ups.
Manchester United v Arsenal: As I highlighted above, this will be a fierce and hotly contested match that could honestly go either way. Arsenal undoubtably have the best midfield in the Premier League and if they can stiffle United's attack through the middle, then I feel they will have a strong chance of seeing this out with the 3pts. Even though United are coming off he back of a dismal Champions League performance, being at Old Trafford always raises their game and they will be a tough side to break down. The team that can score first will probably have the impetus to go on to win. This one is absolutely up in the air and will be eagerly anticipated to see if United can get their Title defense back on track or if Arsenal can cement their position at the top with another stellar performance. VERDICT: The biggest game from the weekend but not a match you want to get involved in besides holding your discounts. Had RvP been in better form I'd back him to score against his old club, but as it stands, it will probably be better to keep your discounts on the likes of Rooney, Ozil, and Ramsey rather than over pay for RvP.
Okay that does it from me and our look at the upcoming fixtures. We should have a fantastic weekend on the cards and many of us will be looking to continue to climb the rankings overall and in our private leagues! I currently sit in 133th overall with 1264pts. My current line up is as follows: Pantilimon, Demichelis, Baines, Sahko, Lallana, Ozil, Ramsey, Silva, Suarez, Lukaku, Aguero (capt) + Holtby, N.Taylor and fillers on the bench. Much tinkering could be done before the deadline but I am actually quite satisfied with my current side.
How are your teams shaping up? Which match ups are you considering looking at for your Week 11 team? Who will be your captain for Week 11?