Fantasy Friday : Cahill out, Ireland in?
Published by Ian John on December 11, 2009
With a full weekend of Premier League action this Saturday and Sunday, including huge games such as Chelsea V Everton, Manchester United V Aston Villa and Sunday’s huge clash at Anfield between Liverpool and Arsenal, this weekend could be a big weekend in the Fantasy Football stakes.
The first thing to note is that there are going to be a few notable absentees, the following are all confirmed as out this weekend : T.Rosicky (injured), S.Petrov (Suspended), T.Cahill (Suspended), M.Essien (Injured), J.Bullard (Injured), W.Bridge (Injured), P.Scholes (Suspended), D.Bardsley (Suspended), K.Richardson (Suspended). Craig Bellamy is also doubtful for Man City as he has Swine Flu, but could possibly play.
It is also worth noting that midweek performances by Michael Owen, Alberto Aquilani and Fernando Torres could push them all into contention for a place in the starting line up this weekend. Mikael Essien’s injury also gives a chance in the Chelsea team for Joe Cole or Deco, with my money being on the England man to come in alongside Lampard, Ballack and Mikel.
There’s also things to consider if you rely heavily on Manchester United defenders and midfielders. Although Nemanja Vidic could return he could well be partnered in defence by either Michael Carrick or Darren Fletcher with Park Ji Sung continuing at right full back, which could all have a negative impact on their fantasy point potential at the weekend. It won’t be easy against United, especially against an Aston Villa side who are brimming with confidence at the moment and who boast a very pacy and dangerous attack. There could be a few goals at Old Trafford and I don’t see any United defender or Villa defender for that matter, scoring too heavily this week.
My favourite defender of the season has been Burnley’s Graham Alexander, mainly because he takes penalties and secondly because Burnley have excellent home form. Those two facts combined mean the veteran defender has stood me well in Burnley home games and with them facing Fulham at Turf Moor this weekend, I see no real reason to drop him.
If you are looking at a defender to score points, then as well as Alexander, two others stand out for me. I think Tottenham will have a relatively easy time of it at home to Wolves and I fancy Michael Dawson to score well again. He’s in great form at the moment. Opposing him will be Wolves defender Jody Craddock who has been a consistent scorer and a real threat at set pieces. Something that perhaps was not expected when Wolves first came into the top flight.
I’ve always been a big fan of Steven Ireland and I think he should start for Manchester City at the weekend. His return, and that of Robinho, will make City a more creative force and should see the fantasy value for the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez increase markedly.
Without a recognised striker and with a worrying defensive frailty, Arsenal go to Anfield hoping their crafty midfield will score the goals to defeat Liverpool. Fabregas and Arshavin are the men to have faith in if you fancy backing a Gunner to do well. For Liverpool, Torres should return and Aquilani could start. Gerrard will be back playing behind the lone striker in a familiar look for Liverpool in a game that doesn’t seem to me to be destined to be too defensive minded.
Anyway, here is my team of the week for this weeks fixtures. Good luck with your team at the weekend.
Gk : Sorensen (Stoke City)
Defs : Alexander (Burnley), Dawson (Tottenham), Craddock (Wolves), Evra (Manchester United)
Mid : Arshavin (Arsenal), Ireland (Man City), Bowyer (Birmingham C), Lennon (Tottenham)
Att : Anelka (Chelsea), Adebayor (Man City)
Image Courtesy of ***Alfonso Jiminez *** at Flickr.com