We have certainly had a great start to the season so far, filled with upsets, goals, and controversy. This weekend could turn out to be highly important as Manchester City look to bounce back from their 3-2 defeat at Cardiff, Liverpool look to continue their fine season, and Arsenal have a lot to prove when Spurs come to visit the Emirates. The matches I am most interested in are as follows:
As you can see, Manchester City v Hull City is listed first and thus will be our early kick off for the week. For those that can get up early enough, we will have full team news before the deadline. I am likely to have 6-7 City players in my side as I believe they will easily overturn Hull at home. Liverpool v Manchester United will be a crucial match for both teams, especially to put more distance past Manchester City if Utd can nick the win here. Arsenal will have a lot to prove when Spurs come to visit, and a 4-4 draw is never off the cards in this match. For the other matches, not to say there isn't value in them, for me, the money is better spent elsewhere.
Okay onto the player picks:
Aguero/Dzeko/Negredo/Jovetic - What to make of the forward line for Manchester City? We have seen Aguero partner Dzeko in the first 2 matches, however, Negredo has been slowly working up fitness, even scoring, and could displace Dzeko. Jovetic has still yet to feature, as he steps up his own fitness, so leave him alone this week. The good news to all of this? We will get the Manchester City line up before the deadline so we will know EXACTLY who starts. At least 1 City striker is required this week, but I wouldn't argue against 2 in your team. Be ready for a huge City win.
Giroud - Not exactly the best matchup, but the North London derby is know for goals and if you wanted in on either side of the ball, the attack is the way to go. Not to mention Giroud is having a great season so far, netting in each of his starts. The only worry is that he hasn't scored many phantoms, but if he can keep his scoring record going, should be a solid pick up.
Soldado - 2 penalty kick goals in 2 wins for Spurs. His movement has been great and has looked a real threat going forward, but like Giroud, the phantom points just haven't been there. However, I wouldn't put it past Szczesny to concede another PK. For my money, I'd be looking to only pick one striker from this derby, as I will likely have 2 City strikers, but Soldado is probably likeliest to be dropped from my team. His price is still low and with the extra funds your can always pick him back up.
RvP - He won't score every week, again I see a low point game for him. So I might suggest that you captain someone with a better matchup! That means you Ken! Just my opinion as a biased Liverpool fan! Of course, you can't really bet AGAINST RvP, so I may be hurting come Monday!
Sturridge - He has had a great run of goals since the start of the new season. If you have him and just can't let go then hold your guns, but I'd avoid buying at retail this week.
Differential pick: Chamakh - he's off the mark for the season and home to Sunderland. I was going to recommend Altidore as my differential, but given he's away and has yet to score, I opted for the former Arsenal man. The are better options, but some of you might want an alternate route so good luck!
Bottom line: City's strike force is the must have this week, I'd be hard pressed not to have 1-2 with my third striker option either from the N. London derby, or keeping hold of RvP/Sturridge.
David Silva/Fernandinho/Jesus Navas - The little Spanish winger, Navas, really hasn't lit the Premier League aflame just yet. He isn't going to get you goals week in week out, but he did create the most scoring chances in La Liga last season. You just need a forward to finish those chances though. For my money, Silva is the best option, still taking corners, generally the main man behind all the creativity from midfield, and more of a goal threat than the other 2. Fernandinho has yet to show us he should be worth considering, so unless you have a huge hunch and are feeling like a gamble, I'd stay away.
Walcott/Cazorla - A season ago you'd be tinkering to fit in both players to your team, but the times they are a changing. Theo Walcott has stepped up to the plate and is taking ALL kicks (corners, direct FK's, yet to be seen who takes PK's with Arteta out though). Cazorla is still a goal threat and a great player, but without FK's, I can't recommend him with such a high price. Walcott is your main man here for the N. London derby.
Ramsey/Wilshire - These two are not players I would normally recommend, but this season we have seen a shift in points scoring. With CW no longer available, FW, TW, and PI have been boosted to 1pt each. Players like Ramsey/Wilshire get a lot of abuse and thusly have racked up quite a decent score under the radar. One thing is for sure, this derby will be full of fouls, so FK's and easy points look likely.
Andros Townsend/Paulinho/Chadli - Of the players in midfield for Spurs, these are the ones you should really be looking at, but they are not equal. So far we only know Soldado is the assured PK taker, however the rest of the FK's have been traded around. Townsend took many direct free kicks last match and looked extremely lively, darting in and out of the defense. Chadli looks a decent option, with a good cross of the ball, although don't expect many SC with the height of the Arsenal backline. Paulinho looks a real threat, fantastically running box to box and generally getting into the right areas at the right time. For me Townsend > Paulinho > Chadli - as I always prefer players with spot kicks. I would say one of the 3 is perfect.
Kevin Nolan - At home, which is where he scores the bulk of his goals, against a Stoke City squad still trying to find their feet under Hughes.
Adel Taarabt - Away to Newcastle, but taking direct FK's and generally being the player we know him to be from last season. I expect him to increase his goal/assist tally this season.
Michu - The matchup isn't ideal, especially because Michu doesn't get many phantoms. But he should either play as the striker, or in support of Bony. Either way, he is in an advanced position and generally speaking, will get chances in this match.
Differential Pick: Whittingham - This is a player that was mentioned over at RotoWorld on Nik's player picks, but also a player I noticed for Cardiff. He is taking the vast majority of kicks and may even have PK's in his locker. The match up isn't terrible and I expect Cardiff will be their most dangerous at home. Anytime a player takes kicks, the match up is less of a concern, Whittingham should have no trouble regaining value even home to Everton.
Bottom line: We have always recommended players in advanced positions, taking free kicks, and with the best match up. But with the new changes in scoring, the central defensive midfielder is due a huge boost in fantasy terms. With PI, TW, and FW all 1pt each, the CDM is now a viable option week in week out. So be aware of players you used to overlook, because they could be the new backbone of your midfield.
Zabaleta/Lescott/Nasastic/Kolarov/Clichy - I can't fully recommend any of City's defense besides Lescott who will play as long as Kompany is out. However since Manchester City has the early kick off, we will know who starts for City's defense. I think we can all safely say we'd like to see Kolarov on the team sheet Mr. Pellegrini!
Baines - I expect Cardiff to be tough at home, but not to the extent of a shut out. His price is extremely high, but we have the funds and he is on all kicks. Plus he has the added value of a possible CS. You could argue he is very much like RvP in the sense of kick duty, price, and selection regardless of matchup. However, I think this week's matchup is more in Baines favor than finding the money for RvP.
Arsenal/Tottenham defense - I'd stay away, the chances either team can score is huge. These derby's are all about the attacking talent and each side's defense is pretty high in price. Manchester City's defense is the way to go this week, yes even after the 3-2 loss!
Whittaker - He gets forward into the attack for Norwich and has a decent matchup at home to SOT. Still reasonably priced after his goal + assist in week 1. There was speculation he gets dropped for Bassong, so wait for team news.
Differential Pick: Since I am most likely going all in on City defense w/ Baines, I can say you have a decent chance of a 0-0 draw in each of the NUFC v Fulham, West Ham v Stoke, or Norwich v SOT matches so pick a defender that fits your team!
Bottom line: Last week we saw City fall to newly promoted Cardiff, and we all were hurt by Hart's -5pt performance. But this time the tables are shifted, City are at home and playing another promoted side, Hull City. I think City's defense should get a second chance here.
Joe Hart - Again, the match up is right, and even after his horrid -5pts, he is still the top keeper pick this week. Just take a deep breath, add him, and exhale. See? That wasn't so bad?
Jussi Jaaskelainen - Okay, Okay, if you just can't bring yourself to trust Hart, Jussi is your man. The match up is solid and West Ham are good at home.
Tim Krul - As I mentioned above, could be a 0-0 draw.
Differential Pick: Just go get Hart already!
Bottom line: It has been said enough, City get the nod with their match up, it would be highly unlikely for Hart to produce another negative performance.
There you have it folks. For those interested, my current line up:
Hart, Kolarov, Lescott, Baines, Silva, Walcott, Townsend, Whittingham, Dzeko, Aguero, Giroud
Bench: All 1.00mil
Good luck, we will see you back for injury and suspension, also look for
KM's Player Picks Mo's picks. How is your team shaping up? Who have I missed from the picks?