The Week Ahead - Vacation Edition

Artists rendering

If ever there were a great reason to become a writer fulltime, this is it. Rather than my usual deskchair in Northern Virginia, I'm writing this week's version of TWA from the balcony of my hotel room in St. Thomas. I'd add a picture but I'm also doing this on my iPhone so the blog editor is somewhat limited.

My current surroundings got me thinking about the notion of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence - or Manchester. Thinking back on a few recent high profile cases, I guess it all depends on what you're looking for. Henry left Arsenal and continues to win but had to do so as a secondary player rather than as the star. Combine the trophies with living in a more beautiful climate and I can see why you might make the choice. Ronaldo made a similar choice presumably for the money and I'm sure he's got more of that for his time in Madrid despite the lack of any actual success. Hard to see him having spent any, ahem, quality time with Kim Kardashian in Manchester - there are some places even reality stars won't go.

So, what does Wayne Rooney want? Who knows? But a wise man once said, when in doubt, follow the money. I can't pretend to know why anyone would care about making the next million when they already have more than they could spend in multiple lifetimes. On the otherhand, maybe that lack of competitiveness on my part (and insufficient footspeed) is why I'm not playing professionally somewhere. Maybe part of being THAT competitive is needing to make the most money.

One final thought on a storyline that I haven't seen written yet. What happens if Rooney is reunited with one of his former strike partners in either Madrid on the other side of Manchester? The Rooney/Ronaldo partnership relegated Rooney to being an excellent supporting player in the drama while CRon became a World Player of the Year candidate. Hard to see Rooney being up for that again. Even less attractive was the Rooney/Tevez partnership that saw Tevez minimized (short joke totally intentional). Hard to see that reunion playing well at Casa Tevez. I'm not saying those teams shouldn't go after Rooney but they should think twice about the impact.

OK, on to the week to come:


The only two matches I really rate as a decided advantage are Spurs vs. Everton and Chelsea hosting Wolves. I have to admit that I was more excited about the former match before Everton started winning a few matches. That said, Everton's last scalp was Liverpool and while that would ordinarily be impressive, it has been well documented here and pretty much everywhere else on the web how not true that is this year.

The rest of the match-ups are pretty even with the exception of maybe Citeh/Arsenal but I have to say, I generally try to stay away from top four clashes because they tend to be bad investments.


Tevez - better value than Drogba right now but you'd rather have Drogs at 20 than Tevez at market price so this decision really depends on who you have and for how much.

Obinna - Playing at home against questionable opposition - I like him to rebound from a bad week last weekend.

Odemwingie - Assuming he's healthy he's got a solid match-up with travel-challenged Fulham

Dembele - WBA are picking up points but they're doing it from the attack while letting in goals as well, seems like a good week to invest in the attackers in this match.

Elmander - On the road but against Wigan so I'd say there's some value here at under 9

Harewood - Call it a hunch but I like his chances against Brum who will be missing Dann after his RC last weekend. [ed  note: Dann conceded a PK but was not sent off.]

Nani - He's been awesome since week 3 and is currently the epitome of a fantasy player who is much better as a fantasy player than a real one (he should be the third best player on a good team like Malouda when Chelsea is healthy)

Malouda - I expect he'll look better with Drogs back

Adam - If you haven't gotten this message yet, you're just being obstinate.

Nolan - If he returns to health, I think he'll do the business this week disappointing those who went back in for Carroll

VDV - Strong match-up and his price is pretty reasonable compared to other premium midfielders.

Brunt - The poor man's Adam but with a better match-up, solid value at 8.50

Holden - Lots of options in the Bolton midfield with MPet, Lee, and Holden all returning value but this is the best value of the three after Lee's goal/price jump last weekend

Gomez - Wigan are at home and so we should give them some love and N'zogbia is too expensive and inconsistent for my tastes.

SeaBass - check the injury news but he seems like a solid potential bargain

Coleman - robbed of an assist last weekend by a deflection but a useful midfielder listed as a defender by Yahoo

JBoateng - but only if you need the money elsewhere.

Hutton - much better value than Bale the last month or so.

Salcido - he definitely won't get a CS but I see points here

Bale - tough call but he's hard to ignore after scoring a hat trick down a man vs. The reigning European Champs. Plus, he'll be on a mission to screw me for dropping him.

Cech - just that good

Hart - a team that takes but doesn't make lots of shots vs a keeper who makes lots of saves - seems to have some potential

Foster - price is right at home

Gilks - if you don't believe in Foster/Brum at home


  1. Anonymous8:52 AM

    neal - when did dann get a RC?

  2. Anonymous9:06 AM

    Isn't Dembele injured?

  3. DeviLxDeviL10:03 AM

    Well good picks as usual Neal, btw Dann RC? I don't think so. A friend of mine told me that Malouda will be rested and Zhirkov will start.. any idea? Well hope Yahoo! make changes and give the assist to Coleman, I need that :D

    Btw, additional info regarding Peter Odim,,10366~2191742,00.html

  4. Anonymous10:10 AM

    No Drogba at home to Wolves? Whatever next!

  5. Thanks Neal, great post as always.

    @ Anon 9:06AM - Dembele started vs Spurs last weekend.

  6. A report i read suggested Dembele came off injured again last weekend i think.

    I might be wrong though, and in any case, i haven't heard any reports of his since so he's probably fit.

  7. "Midfielder Danny Murphy and striker Moussa Dembele both limped off injured for Fulham, and Hughes admits losing the pair was a blow.",19528,11661_6448641,00.html

  8. Anonymous12:12 PM

    drogba and jones or malouda and bale?
    need help here

  9. not interested in Chelsea defenders? too expensive? too tough to predict? Hopefully our favorite manager (fantasy wise) Ancelotti will let us know tomorrow.. seems one of the only strong chances for a clean sheet, so hopefully can get in cheap with Bosingwa, or even Zhirkov if he's set to play.

  10. Chris O.2:26 PM

    Physioroom says Dembele is out til November.

  11. Anonymous2:41 PM

    How is everyone feeling about Chicharito after his start last week? With Rooney on the outs, is it time to give the guy a longterm gamble? He'd be replacing Chamakh @ 7.24. Thanks for the feedback.

  12. i am taking the waiting approach on hernandez, but he has all of the tools to make a week in week out impact. i want to see if sir alex gets this one right or misses something else.

  13. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Should I stick with Barton with a .03 discount, yeah not big I know, or change to Nolan? Thanks for the advice and great article again.


  14. Good call on Elmander; our resident stat-cruncher has highlighted Bolton's good away form and Wigan's leaky home form...