Many were bad but this is the laziest lyrical hatchet job of a classic thus far, so please allow me to be sufficiently embarrassed of myself before we continue.
Alright, here’s another Friday Foreplay and it’s customary captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.
1. Aguero: Manchester City have scored 41 goals in the Premier League this season, a full 11 goals more than Arsenal, their opponents this Gameweek. This is thanks mostly to their out of this world results at home where they have not failed to score and average 4.14 goals per game. City are favorites to win, backed by El Garitero’s Fancy a Flutter, and Aguero’s 4.4 shots per game makes him our pick of the bunch in City’s talent pool. He’s the safe captain pick this Gameweek.
2. Lukaku: The most transferred in player this Gameweek, as highlighted in the Market Mechanics article, he’s got the advantage of a supposed easy home fixture. The question mark is whether Meulensteen has tightened the Fulham defence already following their clean sheet against Aston Villa. Realistically, Fulham will need time to adapt to Meulensteen’s system so away games should continue to be tough, as they have been conceding on average 1.86 goals per game. Lukaku’s 3.2 shots per game back up his 8 goals and he’s a great captain pick, especially if you believe the Manchester City v Arsenal game will be tight.
3. Hazard: Another captain pick facing a relegation battler and another one with a new manager already delivering improvements. Pulis’s Palace has two clean sheets in a row (as noted in our last Mid-Week Round-Up, albeit facing rather blunt offences (West Ham and Cardiff) at home. The real test will come away at Chelsea and this being reality they will probably fail. Chelsea’s attacking talent is just too great, as exemplified by Hazard. He’s got Mourinho’s trust, having played in every league game this season and already has 6 goals and 6 assists, with 3 goals and 4 assists in his last five games. Just be alert to Mourinho’s statements before the game in case he decides this is the time to finally rest Hazard, but that is unlikely.
Suarez is in by default, despite playing away at defensively sound Tottenham. Topping the our watchlist despite tough fixtures ahead just goes to show how good he has been playing this season. The stats are just insane: He’s top scorer, in spite of missing the first six games, with 8 goals and 5 assists in his last five league games, and having returned only two Fantasy blanks in 10 games. You could even captain him just because of his talent although we believe there are better choices this Gameweek.
Given United’s woes in recent weeks Rooney surprisingly tops our Captain Poll with 24% of votes. Perhaps we’ve got so accustomed to a United response following a bad loss or perhaps it’s Rooney’s consistency, providing attacking returns in over 75% of matches so far. His underlying stats of 3.3 shots and 2.2 key passes per game gives us reasons to believe he will continue to deliver, and he could even be a cheeky captain shout this Gameweek.
Lampard and Oscar are not surefire starters this Gameweek but both are likely to return Fantasy points if they start. They’re cheaper than Hazard and the points returns reflect that, but both are viable plays at home against Crystal Palace.
Newcastle’s Remy faces a former miserly Southampton defence that has now conceded 2.25 goals per game in their last four games. Newcastle on the other hand are coming off a great win at Old Trafford and Remy is their main threat, having already scored 8 goals this season from 3.3 shots per game.
Chelsea, Everton, and Cardiff are the best clean sheet bets this Gameweek, playing at home against teams that are offensively weak playing away from home.
Terry and Ivanovic are playing every game for Mourinho’s Chelsea, a minimum requirement for an expensive defender.
Cardiff’s Marshall is a solid keeper that dovetails perfectly with Speroni in the cheapest goalkeeper rotation.
For Everton, Coleman is a fine pick. He’s another heavily purchased player this Gameweek and for good reason. He’s a defender providing a decent attacking threat (0.8 shots and 1.2 key passes per game) playing in one of the best defence in the league
Widely touted as a potential superstar, Barkley had an excellent outing against Arsenal last Gameweek. Despite not delivering Fantasy goods, he caused problems in Arsenal’s defensive shape when he found pockets of space in between the midfield and defence. He’s not guaranteed game time but should be a decent bet for a goal or an assist this Gameweek.
Nathan Redmond, a pick in this week’s Differentials, brings to the table an impressive three assists in four games. Norwich play at home against Swansea and Redmond’s low price of £4.6 is a bargain, considering he created 11 chances and registered 13 goal attempts in his last four outings.
You should be aware of Walcott returning from injury due to his potential of disrupting Arsenal’s midfield lineup. Not only does this give Wenger more chances to rotate, thus affecting Ramsey and Özil, Walcott is also a genuine Fantasy threat. He is touted to start against Manchester City in this week’s Flying Under the Radar, and is a fine differential purchase given his low ownership and last season’s impressive output of 14 goals and 13 assists.
Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick
With our former Gut Pick, Chamakh, scoring in back-to-back Gameweeks we are encouraged to go looking for outside bets in the relegation strugglers. Frazier Campbell has only played the full 90 minutes in one game since Gameweek 3 and has scored one goal and not provided an assist in the same time frame. Yet we are telling you he will score against West Brom. Why? Let’s just blame this on sleep deprivation and move on.