The original thought in soccer (or with any sport for that matter) is to go with the home club. Maybe when the away team is a heavy favorite, that changes, but in the bigger matches between top clubs, the line usually leans toward the home side. Gameweek 6 just changed everyone’s ideal way of thinking.
Chelsea went to Emirates and beat a previously undefeated Arsenal squad 2-1. Juan Mata and Fernando Torres each had a goal and assist while the early season monster Eden Hazard was shutout for the third straight match. Hazard is owned by 43 percent of players at premierleague.com. Mata is owned by just under four percent. Hey, it’s a seasonal game; don’t get too excited by a few good matches to start the campaign.
As for the other major match I was talking about, it was rather historic, according to Andre Villas-Boas at least. I’m sure you’ve heard it by now, but Spurs beat Manchester United on Saturday 3-2, ending a run of 26 games in all competitions in which Tottenham was unable to beat the Red Devils. That’s a pretty sizable streak dating back to 1989. In this one, Gareth Bale was the man of the moment scoring a goal with two assists. Bale was running past every United defender all game without Nemanja Vidic back there. Also of note, Clint Dempsey scored his first goal for Spurs off a rebound from one of Bale’s bullets.
Another road win came from Manchester City at Craven Cottage, home of Fulham. They played possibly their most complete game of the season although Edin Dzeko had to grab one late for the win. David Silva came away with an assist and full bonus points for City.
The biggest win of the weekend, score wise, came from Liverpool. In fact, it was their first win of the season. Actually, you could probably just mark it up as a win for Luis Suarez, in what could be called his coming out party. Suarez notched a hat trick along with an assist, showing that he may just be in form. Real Madrid loan-ee Nuri Sahin also came up big for the Reds with a goal and two assists. The former Borussia Dortmund player can become a vital part to Liverpool’s attack as the season goes on.
We discuss these options and more on our weekly Fantasy Soccer show, Premier League Plus, every Friday at 4pm EST. Make sure to check it out.
Steven Fletcher vs. Peter Crouch
Both of them scored last week. Fletcher, the Wolves transplant, has five goals and 12 bonus points in his last four matches. Crouch has four goals, an assist and nine bonus points in his last four matches. Keep in mind you can only get three bonus points per match. That means they’ve been some of the top players in the league. The question we have is who to pick. Each of them is priced at a medium rate, Fletcher at 7.4m, Crouch at 6.6m. That’s right under what you want to pay for your top forward and a little over what to pay for your third forward.
So who do you go with? They both have tough road games coming up which doesn’t help. In fact, I’d wait a week to transfer one of them in. Fletcher (at Man City) is the pick if you need a forward next week, and Crouch (at Liverpool) is the pick in a few weeks. Don’t jump on them yet because of difficult matches this week. If you need a forward NOW, go with Nikica Jelavic who faces Wigan this weekend.
Hatem Ben Arfa vs. Marouane Fellaini
HBA: two goals, one assist, seven bonus points. Fellaini: three goals, one assist, four bonus points. Yes, in Fantasy terms their numbers are almost identical. Everton probably has the most favorable schedule over the next month or so which gives Fellaini a slight edge. But as players, I think you have to choose Ben Arfa.
Fellaini has not had more than three goals in a season since 2008. While he’s playing good, I’d rather put my money in a player you know you won’t have to transfer out. Ben Arfa’s current schedule is harder, but if all goes well, that shouldn’t matter. Keep in mind he has Demba Ba to pass to up front so that should take out any fixture favoritism.
Kieran Gibbs vs. Gareth McAuley
McAuley currently has the fourth most points for Fantasy defenders. Can he keep it up? Doubtful. Would you rather spend a small amount more on a player that plays for one of the giants? Probably.
Sometimes, you have to defy logic. West Brom is playing really good right now and McAuley is just one of a few WBA defenders that are having a good start to the season due to their three clean sheets. Arsenal also has three clean sheets, but it’s not as big of deal when they do it. Problem is, Arsenal’s schedule is nice and tasty over the next three Gameweeks and it might be best to go the route of a Gunner.
Jussi Jaaskelainen vs. Ben Foster
Honestly, there isn’t much that separates these two right now. Both teams are playing great defense and both teams have 11 points in the table. For this week, you definitely have to go Foster as he’s at home to QPR while Jaaskelainen is against Arsenal. In the long run, Foster should have the edge, but that doesn’t mean you have to find money to get him. JJ is still a great option for his price.
WEEKLY FANTASY TIP
I’ll make this one short and sweet. There are a lot of friendly matchups this week. A lot. When you transfer in your player for this week, make sure he plays for one of the clubs in that favorable position. And no, I don’t consider Man City’s game against Sunderland one of the best ones to look at. Check out my Money Men below for some help.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to set/update your captain.
YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN
- Robin van Persie/Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
- Gareth Bale, Tottenham
- Fernando Torres, Chelsea
- Juan Mata/Eden Hazard, Chelsea
- Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
RVP may be on the road, but the Newcastle defense is beat up. With Wayne Rooney back, I expect the two to combine for at least two goals here. I put both of them there because you most likely only have one or the other (same will be said about Mata/Hazard later).
How about Gareth Bale? I expect him to bring his great form home to White Hart Lane as Spurs demolish Aston Villa. They should get about three goals in this one and you know Bale will be involved somehow. I wouldn’t mind captaining Jermain Defoe either.
I’m putting Torres in the three spot because you know he’ll be in the lineup and he doesn’t really have to fight with anyone else up front. He’ll be the most likely to score again and Chelsea face Norwich at Stamford Bridge. Yes, Norwich gave up five goals last weekend on their home ground.
Two other Chelsea men come up next because like I said they are going to score a few goals in this game. Chelsea isn’t like a Man United or Tottenham though. You know Mata or Hazard will be the ones getting assists because they set most plays up. Other clubs have multiple players that do the dirty work.
Since Aguero is starting, you have to give him a look when City plays at home. Even though they face Sunderland, it still should be expected that they score one or two goals here.
Remember, these aren’t your obvious favorites.
Michel Vorm vs. Reading
Going old school here. Swansea is struggling mightily but I can see them turning it around at home against a team that has trouble scoring.
Ashley Cole vs. Norwich
Surprisingly, Cole was not one of the defenders priced at 7m this year. I mean, he finished the last three years at over 7m. Get him now or never while his price is down.
Damien Duff at Southampton
Duff has stepped up huge since Dempsey left. He should be able to tab a goal/assist on the road this week.
Nikica Jelavic at Wigan
I’m telling you, get him now before it’s too late. It won’t be surprising once his value surges to 9.5m by the end of the year or sooner.
*Stats up-to-date as of Oct. 2