Gameweek 11 preview

November 4, 2011

Best bets for clean sheets this week are the Manchester teams, Spurs, and, I’m going to say it, Newcastle (mockers on). United come up against a Sunderland team who are capable of getting goals, scoring in all but one of their last seven with Stephane Sessegnon and Niklas Bendtner quietly forming an effective partnership. But in the week of Alex Ferguson’s 25th anniversary as United boss, expect them to re-establish their Premiership challenge with a convincing win. Sunderland have defensive injuries, and it’s been a fair few weeks since Rooney, Nani and Hernandez have featured anywhere near the player of the week awards. City should see off QPR, but must do so without captain Vincent Kompany, who is suspended. Kolo Toure could make his first appearance for yonks. This shouldn’t really effect the result. QPR rarely score more than one in any game. It’ll be tough for them to even reach that total against the best team in the league. Newcastle play an Everton side who aren’t scoring. That first defeat will come eventually. Everton would ordinarily be a challenging game for Newcastle, but the way in which they saw off Stoke last weekend was impressive. This home game might be surprisingly comfortable. And Spurs take on Fulham in Europa week. Spurs’ strength in depth allows them to play virtually a second string in their Europa games. Van Der Vaart isn’t even registered to play in Europe. Fulham don’t have that luxury.

The other big teams aren’t so watertight. Liverpool play Swansea, who have started scoring. Danny Graham has notched a goal in each of the last four games. Chelsea play Blackburn. Ordinarily a banker. But Cheslea have lost two on the bounce, weren’t convincing in Europe and are blighted by off field problems. A response to last weeks battering by Arsenal should be in order, but Blackburn are starting to look a little more resilient. Junior Hoilett is a talented player who could embarrass that nervy looking back four. Arsenal take on West Brom. I’m still not convinced about their defence either, and the Baggies won at the Emirates last season. I doubt they’ll stop Van Persie scoring. He’ll just have to make sure he scores at least one more than West Brom to be sure of victory. Which is obvious I suppose.

Elsewhere, Stoke finish their Europa week at Bolton. I’ve been waiting for Bolton to turn their season round. This might be the week in which they do. Stoke are even less effective than Fulham in Europa League week. Villa play Norwich in a battle to take up a position in the league as the best of the rest, and this could be a good, open game. Norwich are a decent side that have given us a few surprise packages this season – Pilkington, Johnson, Morison, Holt and Barnett are all playing, and scoring well. It’s early season six pointer time at Molineux. Could be a drab 0-0, or a bonkers 5-5 littered with defensive howlers.

So…..we continue with the trend of dodgy defences and goal crazy forward lines. Summed up by the fact that Newcastle, of all teams, have the best defensive record. Stat attack time – last week 39 goals were scored – way higher than the average of 28 per week. Eight teams scored three or more, and only three teams kept clean sheets. The week before saw 31 goals and three clean sheets. The week before that saw 32 goals and only two clean sheets. Unfortunately we can’t pick 11 attackers, but are any teams picking any more than three defenders every week? And why waste your money on the big boys, when your money is so much better spent on the host of in form midfielders and attackers. According to the stats, only two defenders, Chris Samba, and curiously, John Terry, are among the thirty most in form players in the league .

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