Gameweek 10 preview

October 31, 2013

02 Nov 12:45 Newcastle v Chelsea
02 Nov 15:00 Fulham v Man Utd
02 Nov 15:00 Hull City v Sunderland
02 Nov 15:00 Man City v Norwich
02 Nov 15:00 Stoke City v Southampton
02 Nov 15:00 West Brom v Crystal Palace
02 Nov 15:00 West Ham v Aston Villa
02 Nov 17:30 Arsenal v Liverpool
03 Nov 13:30 Everton v Tottenham
03 Nov 16:00 Cardiff City v Swansea

It’s the first four week gameweek of the season pierced by another (yawn?!) international break. By the end of which, if Sportingoffensivewig are still top (and are still starting Nathan Baker), I’ll eat my hat.

Lets start the analysis of this week on the point scoring potential of the Manchester teams. I know – we do that every fucking week. But, with City at home to a free-falling Norwich, and United facing Fulham, that potential is definitely there.
City rotated for their Carling Cup tie against Newcastle in midweek, so rested big hitters such as Aguero and Toure will no doubt be making a reappearance, as will the likes of Zabaleta and Nastasic at the back. But will Joe Hart? There’s been a lot of talk of Hart being dropped following his dodgy display at Chelsea last week. And second choice Costel Pantillimon will have done his chances of a pick no harm with his clean sheet display at St James Park. Hart kept three clean sheets in his first four games, but hasn’t kept one since. Norwich looks a good bet for a shut out regardless of who plays.
United are in the middle of a similarly barren run of clean sheets – only two all season and none in the last five. The likely return to league action in the heart of the defence of Vidic and Rio could encourage managers to re-invest. They kept a clean sheet on their return in midweek against Norwich in the League Cup. Fulham’s form is patchy, and I think historically, they get little return from their fixtures with United.
To confuse things even more, both have crucial European ties next week, so the rotation could extend further, and to be honest, why wouldn’t you pick Artur Boruc, Dejan Lovren, Jose Fonte, Luke Shaw or Nathaniel Clyne who are cheaper, better, and up against Stoke.
Although there must be a feeling that the Saints defence are going to buckle at some point. Will it be this week? If it isn’t, the following weeks look a lot tougher. Southampton have Arsenal, Chelsea and City between now and gameweek 15.
A few weeks back I sang the praises of West Brom winger Morgan Amilfitano, whose form has understandably dipped. So, I figure it’s time to put the mockers on another low priced, yet in-form midfielder in the shape of Marko Arnautovic. Arnautovic has added some flair and bravado to the Stoke attack – something which has been lacking since the days of Stanley Matthews – and has two in two, including that pearler of a free kick last weekend against United. Stoke come up against Sunderland and Cardiff in coming weeks, and another point scoring performance against Southampton this weekend could see his price start to rise. Anyway – I’ve done it for him now. You might aswell stick with the Saints.
It’s a worrying week for those teams packed full of Arsenal and Liverpool players, as they face each other. For every goal a striker of one team scores, the defender of another team loses out. I’d wager no manager would wish for a 0-0, with more teams reliant upon the attacking options from both teams. With Southampton’s defence taking all the plaudits for their unexpectedly stingy start to the season, Tottenham’s defensive exploits have gone a little unnoticed. They’ll also have a tougher week up against Everton and Romelu Lukaku, one would expect.
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