Premier League – Fantasy: Choose ’em or lose ’em

 

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Who you should be betting the farm on this week, and who should be sent out to pasture…

FOOTBALL 2007-2008 Champions League Inter-Liverpool Gerrard Fernando Torres - 0

 

 

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Goalkeepers

Choose ’em: If you fancy taking on one of the goalkeepers involved in the all-singing, all-dancing Grandaddy of ’em all on Sunday, then Carlo Cudicini (6.68) is by far the cheapest.

Mark Schwarzer takes his twice-annual turn to be hot fantasy property. Yep, that’s right, Middlesbrough are playing host to Derby this weekend.

If you’re the daring type, Paul Robinson (2.61) is still cheap as chips after conceding six goals in his last two games. He may be worth a cheeky punt, however, as Tottenham host a Portsmouth side missing Jermain Defoe and Sulley Muntari.

Lose ’em: David James (14.79) is the highest-scoring keeper in the game, with a phenomenal 251 points. It’s a lot of dosh to spend though, particularly when you consider that Portsmouth’s hosts have only failed to score at home once in any competition all season.

Sunderland are yet to win away from home this season, and have only kept one clean sheet on their travels (against Derby, quelle surprise). So it’s probably not worth taking Craig Gordon, even at a very tempting 2.82.

Defenders

Choose ’em: Reasonably priced defenders among the top teams are a rarity, but seeing as Arsenal have been struggling in front of goal of late, Chelsea‘s Paulo Ferreira (7.06) is worth a shot.

Manchester City at the Reebok doesn’t really set the pulse racing, but it could be good news for Richard Dunne fans (of which there are many, of course). City’s main man at the back wins tackles and gets stuck in, so could be worth a go at 8.71.

David Wheater (7.30) looks the best bet for a Boro defence playing Derby, while Birmingham defender Stephen Kelly (4.66) represents good value in what is bound to be a cagey affair at Reading.

Lose ’em: Fabio Aurelio (12.04) and Gael Clichy (11.74) are way overpriced for players likely to gain few points if their teams win but lose plenty if they suffer defeat.

Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel (6.24) looks a tempting price, but against a Manchester United side averaging over two goals per game recently it would be a brave man to take the Slovakian.

Midfielders

Choose ’em: Ah, the C-Ron question. At a cool 32.16, that’s about a third of your entire budget on Cristiano Ronaldo. However, he is almost guaranteed to post huge scores. If you already have him, then happy days. If you haven’t, then tell yourself that Rafa will have a tactical masterstroke up his sleeve to keep the Portuguese (who averages 17.52 a week!) quiet and keep those fingers crossed.

For the shrewder shopper with money to burn, you could do worse than pick David Bentley (17.66) against a Wigan side who are light-headed from being in the giddy heights of 12th. Bentley’s team-mate Steven Reid (3.83) is, as ever, a useful bargain.

If you wish to continue putting all your eggs in the Middlesbrough basket, then Stewart Downing (15.96) and Gary O’Neil (7.09) are the men for the job.

If you fancy Chelsea to beat Arsenal and Jon Obi Mikel to feature, then he is not to be missed at just 2.11.

Lose ’em: With so much quality on display in their matches, Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard (22.72), Chelsea’s Frank Lampard (21.88) and Arsenal’s Francesc Fabregas (19.71) may struggle to deliver their money’s worth.

Elano (12.39) will struggle to weave the magic that we all vaguely remember from the golden summer of 2007 while he’s being kicked around the Reebok.

Despite his early-season goals keeping Fulham in with a shout of staying up, Clint Dempsey (8.18) has been dropped by manager Roy Hodgson in recent weeks. That’s gratitude for you.

Forwards

Choose ’em: Fernando Torres (21.09) has proved himself to be the big man for the big occasion, and they don’t come much bigger than Old Trafford on Super-Mega-Triple-Decker Sunday.

If things aren’t going Arsene Wenger’s way on the hour, don’t be surprised to see Nicklas Bendtner (4.59) come on for Robin van Persie (15.73) and make an impact.

Ashley Young (17.30) costs a lot for a man with only four goals, but his set pieces are sure to cause all sorts of problems for Sunderland.

Yakubu (15.19) has become a consistent threat for opponents of Everton, while Victor Anichebe (3.76) could partner the Nigerian after Andy Johnson pulled up with a groin injury last week.

Lose ’em: Since moving to Manchester City, the Sven effect has really taken over Benjani (13.28), and the Zimbabwean has gone from free-scorer to plodder quicker than you can say Faria Alam. Avoid.

Don’t be duped into thinking that Dirk Kuyt (8.21) is going to turn out to be some kind of budget Torres.

Also, be aware that Jermain Defoe (12.24) is not eligible to play against his old club, Tottenham. Save him for next week.

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