No big intro today, other than to highlight the fact that Rooney and Chicharito being back probably has us all scrambling to figure out how to align our teams to get as many United players as possible into our line-ups against Norwich.
Man United vs. Norwich
Rooney, Chicharito and Evans are back and should all start. Not good news for Norwich OR people hoping to pick up Welbeck as a cheap source of points against a newly promoted team. Rooney goes to the top of the forward charts and you have to consider Chicharito highly in the mix as well. Evans is solid value at the back as well. In other news, the implication of the team news is that Smalling will be out for one more week and it is unclear who will deputize - Valencia, Fabio, or one of Evans/Rio/Jones.
Spurs vs. Arsenal
Lots of certain absence in the Spurs back (Gallas and Dawson plus THud) and the typical uncertainty on the Arsenal side (questions around Gervinho, TW14, Koscielny, and Yossi). For me that just improves the chances of a goal-fest with K2, VDV, Bale, and RvP heavily in the points. The question for fantasy managers is whether there is a cheap source of points (Ox?) available as well. It would take a solid pair of b@lls to pick him but if he plays, I'd predict good things for him - he looked very Nasri-like on Wednesday. Not many/any bargains to be had on Spurs.
Bolton vs. Chelsea
Talk about a turn-around. Last year at this time, Chelsea were announcing exactly who would start for them. This year we get "Torres is out suspended so either Drogba or Anelka will start" and "Lampard hopes for a recall after scoring in midweek". Talk about your all-time useless information. The important thing is that Klasnic is still out for Bolton which means they will continue to struggle to find goals even at home against a defense that hasn't been as good as you'd like. My guess is that Drogba will start with Mata, Sturridge and either Lampard or FloMal. Of that group, Sturridge is the most interesting to me but with Chicharito and Agbonlahor both available and more certain to start, he isn't going to crack my line-up.
Fulham vs. QPR
Not much news here other than the fact that Zamora and Dembele "SHOULD" be back and available after missing out on Europa Cup action in midweek. Hardly a ringing endorsement of their starting status. Not sure what to do with that other than ignore them. Dempsey is probably the only guy in the Fulham attack I'd endorse and he's pretty expensive given the other options.
Blackburn vs. Manchester City
Still one more match starting out on the bench for NdJ meaning I'm still not thrilled with City's chances of a CS on the road. I know everyone is down on Rovers but the road CS is pretty rare even for the good teams playing the bad ones. The BBC team news (behind the link) is pretty emphatic that Dzeko will start with Kun up top. Please ignore all Balotelli recommendations from earlier in the week as a result. If forced to choose, I'll take Chicharito over Dzeko as Dzeko is starting to look like this season's FloMal (high priced, started out on fire, quickly cooled, angered many fantasy managers including me who stuck with him a little too long).
Aston Villa vs. Wigan
The big news is that DBent is back. Not really much to do with that other than know he's an option, I'd still buy Gabby over DBent if you want "in" on Villa's attack at home to Wigan. In other news related to this match, I'm going to start making jokes now for the Live Chat about which player who played for Wigan last season had less of an impact on the proceedings - Rodallega (out injured) or N'Zogbia (theoretically playing for Villa). Bring your own such jokes to the chat if you're so inclined.
Sunderland vs. WBA
The only meaningful news here for fantasy managers is that Seb Larsson has a broken toe and is uncertain. That uncertainty makes both he and any SUN forwards (especially the fairly cheap Bendtner) less valuable. I wasn't seriously considering either of them even at home to struggling WBA but if I were, that sealed my disinterest.
Wolves vs. NUFC
No news worth commenting on really. I'm interested to see Davide Santon if he gets a sub appearance because of his (now tarnished) reputation coming over from Italy as one of the next great Italian defenders but as the BBC folks say, he's not expected to displace RTay at this point so it is only curiosity on my part as opposed to fantasy interest.
Everton vs. Liverpool
I generally don't like this match for fantasy purposes - too many possibilities with two teams that have been anywhere from below average to above average from week-to-week. Throw in the derby and that's just too much variance. Cahill and Gerrard are the key question marks for this edition of the Merseyside Derby but you should be spending your money elsewhere.
Swansea vs. Stoke
Kenwyne Jones is definitely out and Eth faces a "late fitness test". If Eth misses out that only strengthens the value of Vorm and the Swansea defenders who would represent a solid bet to get a CS in addition to whatever other phantom points they accumulate.
See you all tomorrow for our usual Live Chat.