The (Mid)Week Ahead

Let me clear up a few things from the "First Impressions..." column.  First, let me apologize to Liverpool supporters about the omission of Liverpool.  I was hoping to get to a longer feature about them later last night but it didn't happen.

If I'd included something about them it would have looked something like this:

Liverpool - What a shocker.  Granted Liverpool have been in the ascendancy and Chelsea have been struggling on the road but I don't think anyone really saw this coming.  Either the great play from Torres or the flat play from Chelsea.  Liverpool just wanted it more in their defensive end and had the exceptional version of Torres at the other end to ensure the win.  The return of Kuyt certainly helps a great deal as well.  He isn't glamorous but I'd bet every opponent would agree he's a pain in the @ss to play against.  I'm not ready to jump on the Liverpool for Top 4 bandwagon until they diversify their attack beyond Gerrard and the occasionally-brilliant-but-frequently-crocked Torres but mid-table seems guaranteed at this point and the real questions become 1) Can Torres stay healthy and in form? 2) What will NESV spend in January? 3) What does this do to your opinion of the Woy era to date? and 4) Can Torres stay healthy and in form? (repetition intentional).
Second, I'd like to address the notion that I hate Spurs which seems to be a frequent complaint from those in the comments section.  I assume it's easy to assume I hate Spurs because I make it fairly evident that my personal allegiance is to Arsenal.  I take some pride in being objective and commenting on performance on the field, in the transfer market, and in the boardroom regardless of whether I am for, against, or ambivalent towards a team in my personal life.  If I couldn't do that for you, then there would be no reason for anyone to read my work.  For those who still think I'm a Spurs-hater, here's a little game for you.  Go to the comments section and answer the following questions:
  1. Was it my horribly biased writing that dropped points to Wigan, WBA, West Ham, and Bolton or was it Spurs? 
  2. Was it me out there dribbling aimlessly and getting knocked off the ball or was it Modric? 
  3. Was it me not living up to the investment of 15% of my fantasy budget by scoring 6.5 points or was it Bale? (Fair point that he had a few excellent crosses that SHOULD have been converted leading to assists or at the very least SC points but they weren't and he hasn't gone higher than 10 points since Week 5 while his price has been at about 15)
I completely get that you're frustrated with the club you support just like I'm frustrated with Arsenal losing to NUFC and Shaktar and seemingly not realizing that it would be a good idea to buy a better-than-average keeper but the fact that someone points to the above facts doesn't mean that they hate your team.  It means that they watched the game on Saturday. 

Finally, for those frustrated about the fact that we didn't know that DBent was going to be out, join the club.  I was frustrated by not knowing that ahead of time but no one else did either.  I would have added Gyan in a second if I'd known he wouldn't be competing with DBent for opportunities.

OK, on to a quick review of the mid-week matches so you can hopefully adjust your teams to recover from what was likely a rough weekend.

  • Torres - Hello bandwagon.  If he's in form, then he'll be worth it, especially with so many other "premium" players struggling to justify their prices.
  • Tevez - If you don't like Torres two matches in a row then Tevez against his most recent former team in a big derby match seems like a pretty solid bet.  I usually stay away from such affairs but with ManYoo struggling with injury, I'm inclined to think a better team than Wolves will do well.
  • Gyan - Assuming that DBent is still injured [ed note: he is.] he's a great bet as he'll be the only healthy player who has scored in the Prem for Sunderland this season.
  • Yakubu - He tends to get points in spurts and he's been in form the last couple of matches - the match-up is a good one as well.
  • Obinna -  11 SOTs and no goals.  Call me contrary but you have to figure that will change eventually, don't you?
  • Crouch - 11 matches and no goals in the Prem. Call me contrary but you have to figure that will change eventually, don't you?
  • Bendtner -  I don't even know if he'll start but in a tip of the hat to the ARS/Wolves match I saw last season where he scored late to send me home happy, I'll throw this name out as a completely random option.
  • Gerrard - With Cesc struggling, Nani likely still out, and FloMal off of his best form I'm thinking that both the team momentum and the match-up (@WIG) are with Gerrard when it comes to premium midfielders even if his output was modest against Chelsea.
  • Arteta - If you don't like the choice on the red side of Liverpool then maybe the blue side will be more attractive with an even better match-up for Arteta than Gerrard.  I'm not a Cahill fan for the purposes of Yahoo! (too dependent on scoring to get his value back) but if you are more inclined towards the Australian then you probably want to consider him here as well.
  • Albrighton - Despite a strong effort over the weekend, he's still value priced.  If you don't like buying players coming off of a goal (on the theory that most midfielders don't score two weeks in a row) then you might want to look at Bannan or Delfouneso as potential bargains instead of Albrighton.
  • Adam/Brunt - Still in, still the same reasons.
  • Nolan - With Barton and Nolan both (relatively) expensive, you have to ask yourself which one you think will do well.  They've sort of been alternating strong weeks so unless you have one at a big discount then I'd go Nolan since Barton got the points vs. Arsenal.
  • Coleman - At home, strong match-up, defender playing midfield, price still pretty reasonable - much better value than Baines.
  • Hutton - See Coleman above and strike the "defender playing midfield" part (although he does attack a lot more than he defends) and replace "Baines" with "Bale".
  • Kelly - All Liverpool right backs who know how to actually defend, please take one step forward, not so fast Mr. Johnson.  If Kelly gets a second start in a row, he should be solid value.
  • Squilaci - I'm probably overly dismal about Arsenal's prospects for the match vs. Wolves, if you're more optimistic that they'll rebound against weak opposition than I am then Squilaci represents value.
  • THo -  I'm not 100% sold on this pick but he's probably the best bet out there on paper combining price, match-up and home match
  • Gomes - His price went way down after putting up a -10 so this might be the time to get on board with Spurs playing at home where they're generally better.
  • Begovic - I dubbed Birmingham "the new Bolton" in "First Impressions..." last night so take this recommendation of Begovic going against them with the grain of salt that we have no idea what we are likely to get from Brum but if you need a less expensive keeper, then Begovic is a pretty strong bet.


  1. Anonymous2:30 PM

    spurs are poo. no apology needed...

  2. Anonymous2:35 PM

    Thanks for another great post. I'm a part-time Spurs fan (I figure if they only show up half the time...) and I don't think you need to justify your comments at all. Your posts are always interesting, well written, and helpful. That said, I do blame you both for the Bent fiasco in my lineup, as well for not reminding me about my mother-in-law's birthday last week, and the current economic situation in North America.

    Thoughts on Carrol this week? He seems to get tons of chances, although Samba's a bit of a tough match-up...

    Matt H

  3. Excellent stuff as usual, thanks for the thorough commentary on a pretty tight deadline with the mid-week matches. Trying to decide if it's a Torres run-of-form or more of an abberation in an otherwise pretty mediocre pattern of performances. I suppose that's the fun.

    And - does anyone else kind of miss the "KEEGAN MESSY-AAAAAH!" guy from a couple seasons back?

  4. Julian Dicks2:49 PM

    Chaps, where is the best place to find the team that Wenger submits in the lead up to a game?

    It was spot on at the weekend, and i want to pick Walcott for the midweek game.

    Any help is appeciated :)

  5. I second Matt's question about Carroll ... although, other than the monster game he had earlier this season, he seems to be tepid at best.

    Second question(s), What about WBA? If Odemwingie gets a start he has to be interesting against WHU and I could see Brunt being the guy to feed him the ball.

    Barton, Brunt, Adam, Albrighton... All seem to be fairly close in price and production. Does it come down to who is taking kicks, etc? Are they match-up proof?


  6. @Julian Dicks, Wenger tips his hand with the squad list he puts out. Most teams list the players by position from keeper to forward. Wenger lists the squad by likely starters then likely substitutes.

    It's not always 100%, but close enough.

  7. Julien Dicks3:29 PM

    Thanks Jeremy, is that normally displayed on the Arsenal website?

    I can never seem to find it, all of the other websites i have seen show it in the keeper to striker format.

    I just by chance saw you post it on facebook on Friday.

  8. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Can you help me with my team? How does it look? Thank you!

    A. Begovic
    J. Boateng, R. Stearman, A. Hutton
    C. Brunt, F. Fabregas, K. Nolan, M. Jarvis
    A. Carroll, F. Torres, Obinna

    Also, as a female who doesn't know much about soccer (I only play in the Yahoo! League for bragging rights against my hubby and his friends), I thoroughly enjoy your blogs! Keep up the good work!

  9. Rawad5:07 PM

    @"Lady playing the game to brag against her hubby and his friends" I wish my wife did that... I wouldn't mind her bragging if it was football (soccer) related.

    Anyway, good lineup, however, i dont like mixing competing players (in Fab Vs. Jarvis & Stearman) coz if one does good the other (mostly defender) would most likely not (by missing on the clean sheet); anyway it's up to the way you see the match going really...

    On a personal note, i believe that players who "unexpectedly" score, won't do it again the next game.

    Good Luck...

  10. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Thanks Rawad. So, who would you trade and pick up? Fabregas hasn't done crud for me lately, so I think he's due, but the other half of me wants to trade him (although he is rather easy on the eyes). :-)

    Granted, this past weekend was a doozie, but I did get the most points out of everyone and I am not letting them live it down. Haha! Normally I choose my players by cool last names. It does pretty well for me. :)

  11. G-man6:03 PM

    No love for Chelsea vs. poor travelers Fulham (even if it's only a tube stop away)?

    Drogba and A.Cole are both looking good, if expensive. Zhirkov and/or Boswinga if starting.

  12. Bravo on the shout for Liverpool! Very just of you. Although I'd steer away from Gerrard when Roy has him playing deeper. I'd only pick him up if he's playing support to the strikers, but now he and Lucas are playing meistro, and while I love the results, it's not hot for fantasy purposes.

  13. Anonymous12:20 AM

    no one support drogba?

  14. Anonymous5:01 AM

    spurs are poo! poo poo poo

  15. I don't think you hate spurs, I just think perhaps you underestimate them, thought it was a good discussion. This week was a perfect example of spurs at the moment- brilliant against inter, didn't turn up against Bolton. The thing with the Bolton game was that they didn't look like they were trying (and if there is anything more frustrating from a spectators point of view then let me know). Virtually all of your points are very valid, but I think Modric is a lot better than you give him credit for (although he did have a couple of very average games), but he is NOT a good fantasy player. On this week, Zhirkov bench or play is the big question for me as I can only keep one of Boateng or Zhirkov if I keep bale

  16. I have a hypothesis on which team is likely to win a match in the EPL:

    Go to the Yahoo! site; compare the results of the teams' last 5 matches; correct for which team is at Home or Away.

    Win = 2
    Draw = 1
    Loss = 0

    Home = 2
    Away = 0

    Going by this hypothesis, to be fine-tuned or improved on by taking other variables (such as: points per situation, availability of key palyers, etc) into consideration, the following are the likely mid-week results:

    Stoke v Birmingham = Birmingham Win or Draw
    Spurs v Sunderland = Spurs Win or Draw
    Wigan v Liverpool = Liverpool Win
    West Ham v West Brom = Draw or West Ham Win
    Newcastle v Blackburn = Newcastle Win
    Chelsea v Fulham = Chelsea Win
    Villa v Blackpool = Villa Win
    Arsenal v Wolves = Draw or Arsenal Win
    Man City v Man U = Man U Win
    Everton v Bolton = Everton Win

    From now on we all should make efforts to verify the correctness of this hypothesis and suggest possible modifications...

    Good luck in our mid-week selections!

    Salut !

  17. Cech / Kompany, Boateng, Coleman, Squillaci / Adam, Barton, Park / Carroll, Drogba, Gyan

    Please rate my team.

    Many thanks and best regards!

  18. And by the way, Tayo wrote...

    I think the "said" introducing the comments should be changed to "wrote".

  19. @Julian Dicks, sorry I missed the point of your question.

    Check out the previews at, for example.

    Arsenal (from): Fabianski, Clichy, Squillaci, Sagna, Nasri, Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Walcott, Eboue, Chamakh, Szczesny, Arshavin, Denilson, Bendtner, Vela, Djourou, Rosicky, Van Persie, Almunia.