The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 18

Posted: December 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

A very Happy Christmas (or Holidays!) to all my readers around the world. I hope I find you all in the same position as I am today…full of good food and surrounded by loved ones. I learned two things today – firstly, my brother makes the most incredible goose fat-covered baked potatoes and secondly, my fiance is the most devious shrew when it comes to getting me presents 🙂 She completely blind-sided me with something that was apparently sold out for months.

Anyways, back to FPL! Here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 18!

THE DIRTSHEET: GAMEWEEK 18

The Eleven – (3-4-3)

Tim Krul (NEW)
Opponent – Stoke City (H)
Newcastle will be buoyed by a superb display against a usually solid Crystal Palace side, and will look forward to kicking off the festive period with a home tie against Stoke. Clearly, they will need to deal with the service to Peter Crouch, but proper closing down of any potential balls from midfield will help to eliminate the threat.

Martin Olsson (NOR)
Opponent – Fulham (H)
With Berbatov struggling to be fit, I’m looking towards Norwich for a clean sheet against the Cottagers. With little to separate any of the Canaries back line in terms of attacking threat, I’m choosing the budget-friendly option presented by the Swede.

Seamus Coleman (EVE)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
Although any player in the Everton back line is a great pick against Sunderland this game week, it’s impossible not to select Seamus Coleman. While I still think that the recent attacking returns are well above the normal for the player, the loss of Wes Brown (and possibly John O’Shea) means that Coleman stands head and shoulders above his defensive team mates. Can he extend his run of 3 goals in his last 5? My statistics say he cannot, but the Irishman may as well be sitting beside tearing up those stat reports!

Per Mertesacker (ARS)
Opponent – West Ham United (A)
A number of months ago, I had the simple choice between Koscielny and Mertesacker to cover the Arsenal backline, and I chose the Frenchman over the German – boy was that the wrong move! Mertesacker was the outstanding player in the home draw versus Chelsea, and with a visit to the stuttering West Ham up next, another clean sheet is likely.

Yohan Cabaye (NEW)
Opponent – Stoke City (H)
With 2 goals, 2 assists and 7 bonus points in his last 5 games, I’m opting for Cabaye ahead of the home tie against Stoke City. Cabaye will likely play right behind Remy which will allow him to contribute more to Newcastle’s attacking play. Stoke have not traveled well in recent weeks and I can see a home win for the Magpies.

Theo Walcott (ARS)
Opponent – West Ham United (A)
After seeing the dynamic duo of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey dominate the Dirtsheet over past number of months, I’m freshening things up by selecting Theo Walcott for the second week in a row ahead of visit to West Ham. Arsenal seem to have more of a cutting edge when Walcott plays and will thrive on the service that Arsenal have been supplying (without much fruit) to Olivier Giroud.

Eden Hazard (CHE)
Opponent – Swansea (H)
Although Hazard has only one assist to his name in the last 3 games, we must remember that he scored 42 points in the 4 games previous to this. I do feel that Hazard will start at home to Swansea and I am hoping he returns to scoring ways. If Chelsea are cruising after 60 minutes, Hazard may get a rest, but I think he could have done enough damage to have earned his dirtsheet slot.

Yaya Toure (MCI)
Opponent – Liverpool (H)
It’s a close call to select the player who will cover the City showdown with league leaders Liverpool, but in my mind, it comes down to two players – Yaya Toure and David Silva. While both players are great choices, I’m opting for Toure. He will be on direct free kicks and penalties at the Etihad. Given the immense attacking threat posed by both sides, there could be a landslide of goals and with neither defense looking to pull punches, there may be plenty of opportunities for Toure to score from a dead-ball situation.

Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT)
Opponent – West Bromich Albion (H)
The lack of Romelu Lukaku is certainly a huge call – after all, he has a great chance to get back to scoring way with a home tie against Sunderland. However, it’s hard to ignore the form of Adebayor, who seems to be a different player under Tim Sherwood – the former Spurs man has placed his faith in the Tongolese powerhouse and he seems incredibly eager to repay the faith that previous managers have failed to show. 4-4-2 certainly seems to fit the Spurs team far better than any team selection which isolates Soldado up front by his own.

Luis Suarez (LIV)
Opponent – Manchester City (A)
As I said last week, Suarez is capable of scoring against any team on any ground in the country, and he will certainly be looking to send a clear message to the rest of the league tomorrow – that Liverpool ARE genuine title contenders and a win over title rivals City will go a long way to proving the doubters wrong. Arsenal scored three against City two weeks ago and I am putting my money on Suarez to breach the City back line – even with club captain Vincent Kompany back to rally the troops.

Wayne Rooney (Hull)
Opponent – Hull City (A)
Again, Lukaku runs Rooney close for a final Dirtsheet place. Certainly, Hull’s home defensive form seems to indicate that United might struggle to break down such a well-disciplined side. However, Rooney has been dropping deep into midfield in recent games which has had a huge effect on United’s fortunes. They are beginning to score more freely, and we need to remember that Rooney is also on penalties and free kicks. If United get an early breakthrough, they may score 2-3 goals and I think Rooney could be heavily involved.

The Captain – Luis Suarez (LIV) – On most weeks, I don’t even have to think about this choice. However, it’s not every day that Liverpool travel to the Etihad. In addition, we have a number of other candidates for the armband, and most seem to favor Rooney as a viable alternative. Even with this in mind, I still have to opt for the Uruguayan. His recent returns are the best that I have seen since I started playing FPL, even eclipsing those of Ronaldo and Van Persie. City have been poor defensively and there could be plenty of space for Suarez to run riot yet again. If you have Rooney and Suarez, I would urge you to go with your gut instinct on this occasion. For those looking to pull back points against opponents who will certainly captain Suarez, then Rooney might just the better option.

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham, Norwich, Arsenal and Everton to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Patrice Evra (MUN)
Midfielder: Pete Whittingham (CAR)
Striker: Romelu Lukaku (EVE)
Captain: Wayne Rooney (MUN)

And that’s a wrap! It’s quick, it’s informative and it’s helpful. It’s the Dirtsheet, and it’s here every Friday! Please follow us on Twitter and share! Every follower counts!

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