We're getting down to crunch time (both in the various races in the Premiership and in everyone's private leagues) and what do we have but a week with very few attractive choices. The positive side is that if you guess right, you have a chance to make up some ground in your league or extend your lead if you're so fortunate as to have one. The negative side is that there are few sure things this week and most of the names that we, as fantasy managers, have come to rely on for points when they are absolutely needed are either not playing this week (Chelsea & ManYoo plus some random good players like Bellamy & Pedersen), are playing more important matches this week which may lead to uncertain selection policy (Liverpool & Arsenal), or are playing in a particularly meaningful derby (Arsenal & Spurs). Throw in some key injury uncertainty (LuaLua, Emre, Pennant & Stefanovic) and there's not a lot out there to get excited about.
Never fear, I wouldn't let a little thing like that get in the way of making some predictions and recommendations. So here we go...
1) Adebayor, or K2 as we like to call him here at the blog - he can't play in the Champions League so he'll likely be partnering whomever Wenger decides to play at striker vs. Spurs (of course the "does he play Henry?" question is probably the biggest of the week).
2) Gary O'Neil - he's been hot as has Pompey...and they're playing Sunderland...at home...what's not to like?
3) D'Alessandro - see O'Neil above
4) James McFadden - we've been pimping this guy all year, Everton has been in a bit of a slump but home to a Birmingham side wrecked by injury might be the time the Toffees and McFadden break out
5) Bridge and Niemi - Fulham are at home and both are generally good bets at home...and they're cheap.
6) Naysmith - Always a solid fantasy choice and he's cheap with a good match-up.
Right now, I'm thinking about those guys as the core of my line-up. Around them, I'll be placing some more expensive pieces - the most obvious question is the above stated Henry question. You have to think that Wenger will play Henry given the importance of the tie with Spurs relative to finishing fourth. If the Gunners win, they'll be in the driver's seat for 4th and bunches of cash next year. If they rest Henry, they're in some deep trouble and have to count on finishing off Villareal and then beating Barcalona in the finals (possible, but still a hard road).
Gerrard is another interesting option but I'm not sure why Rafa would play him in the Premiership with the FA Cup still in play. If he plays vs. West Ham in mid-week and gets injured then Rafa will look silly.
Random possibilities for your consideration - Baros, Barton, Samaras, and Luque all of whom should start in relatively meaningless matches...
In defense, I think I'm going to find a way to get Eboue in my line-up - I can't imagine Wenger benching him as there are no other options at right back and he's been great going forward. Always a threat to do something big.
Hopefully, something contained above will be helpful.
Happy Shopping. Go Gunners!