Choose ’em or lose ’em?
It is back to a standard one-game week, which means every player is now up for grabs. And with a whole range of evenly-matched games coming up, it looks like a tough week to pick a team.
Here is our weekly helping hand:
Choose ’em: Burnley versus Everton looks like the ultimate letdown game, and The Fantasist heartily recommends all Toffees players this week. None more so than Tim Howard (7.76), whose price has plummeted after scoring minus-14 last week. And it’s not often we recommend a top-shelf goalkeeper, but Arsenal’s Manuel Almunia (13.46) is points in the bank at home to Portsmouth.
Lose ’em: Brian Jensen‘s (7.55) heroics against Manchester United mean he is nearly as expensive as Howard. Just stay away. Normally an injured goalkeeper is good news for Fantasy fans. Sadly, Carlo Cudicini (9.91) is even more expensive than Heurelho Gomes (8.37).
Choose ’em: Micah Richards (6.48)? At home to Wolves? You’d be mad not to. He does tend to get booked and substituted more than most, but he is definitely worth a dart. He would be a bargain at centre-back for Liverpool if we had the foggiest idea who was going to play at Aston Villa from Martin Skrtel (7.37) or Daniel Ayala (6.09). It won’t be Sotiris Kyrgiakos. If you have funds, the smart money should go on left-back Emiliano Insua (8.63).
Lose ’em: Sometimes not even a favourable match-up can redeem some players, and that is the case with Hull’s defence at home to Bolton this week. Just stay away from Michael Turner (8.59) and Andy Dawson (9.03). Following their poor start to the season, Aston Villa‘s defenders are all on the cheap side, but just steer clear when they visit Anfield.
Choose ’em: A big pat on the back if you got Jordi Gomez (6.40) last week. The Wigan man looks a player, and is still on the cheap side if you can tolerate a tough match-up at home to Manchester United. The same can be said for Nenad Milijas (6.73), whose superb opening week will make him a popular pick-up – but his Wolves side travel to Eastlands. Lorik Cana (5.22) has done very little for Sunderland so far, but he’ll come good. You just watch him. What to make of Manchester City’s midfield? Too many good players to share the points between. But if you fancy a rout at home to Wolves, go for the staggeringly reliable Stephen Ireland (13.39).
Lose ’em: Damien Duff (6.85) has a tough opening fixture for Fulham against Chelsea, and is not even guaranteed a start. Leave him out this week and pray he doesn’t secure a points bonanza. Andrei Arshavin (15.65) may not start – see ‘forwards’ section for explanation. Manchester United changed all four midfielders for the defeat at Burnley. Don’t even try and guess who will get the nod this time around.
Choose ’em: Yes, we should have gone for Darren Bent (11.05) last week, but sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and jump on the bandwagon. Despite two goals in two games, Bent’s value has not risen excessively, and he looks value at home to Blackburn. The Fantasist just has a funny feeling about Dimitar Berbatov (11.99), who will surely start for Manchester United following Michael Owen’s horror show at Burnley. And Birmingham’s Christian Benitez (6.04), could start at home to Stoke.
Lose ’em: There is no easier game than Portsmouth at home, but just a word of warning before you fill your team with Arsenal forwards. After tough games away to Everton and Celtic, Arsene Wenger may opt to shuffle his forward line. Eduardo is OK after a groin scare on Tuesday, and Theo Walcott is back in the reckoning – which could mean an afternoon off for Robin van Persie (18.60) or Nicklas Bendtner (8.90). The rewards could be great, but it is a gamble picking any Arsenal attacker.
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Injury update (new injuries/developments only):
John Carew (Aston Villa – virus)
Curtis Davies (Aston Villa – shoulder)
Cameron Jerome (Birmingham – ankle)
Vince Grella (Blackburn – thigh)
Gretar Steinsson (Bolton – illness)
Steven Pienaar (Everton – foot)
Jack Rodwell (Everton – knee)
Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn)
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)
Lorik Cana (Sunderland)
Andy Johnson (Fulham – collarbone)
Daniel Agger (Liverpool – back)
Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United – back)
Heurelho Gomes (Tottenham – groin)
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves – hamstring)