The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 19

Posted: December 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It seems like all I have been doing recently is writing Dirtsheets! As the gameweek’s come thick and fast, we are seeing a number of injuries to key players, no more so that Aaron Ramsey who has been a staple in most sides all season. There is a clear choice to be made…to stick with the Welshman and hope that his injury is not too serious or to make a clean break and sell him on for a clever differential.

My own team has been decimated in recent weeks with injuries, suspensions and bench warming duties affecting 8 of my team. It’s very tough to get out of such a rut, but had I taken my own advice that I give to you every week with the Dirtsheet, I might be faring much better!

Come 17:45 on Sunday, we will be halfway through the season. Here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 19.


The Eleven – (3-5-2)

David Marshall (CAR)
Opponent – Sunderland
It’s actually quite difficult to choose a goalkeeper this week, so I’ve opted for David Marshall to cover the Cardiff home tie against Sunderland. The Bluebirds will be hoping to avoid a similar capitulation that saw Southampton score three without reply on Wednesday night. Against a 10-man Everton, Sunderland could not score from open play and so I feel Cardiff could walk away with a narrow win and a clean sheet.

Vincent Kompany (MCI)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (H)
The City captain has been an unlikely source of goals lately, with 2 from his previous two games. While a third goal would probably come as a surprise against Crystal Palace, a clean sheet would not. The returning Marouane Chamakh should pose some threat but the pairing of Kompany and Nastasic (in addition to the returning Zabaleta) should be enough to keep a clean sheet at the Etihad.

Phil Jagielka (EVE)
Opponent – Southampton (H)
A rare defensive and offensive blank for the Everton backline allows us to highlight how poorly Coleman fares compared to the center-back pairing of Distin and Jagielka when the time comes for bonus points to be allocated. I still feel that Coleman is punching above his weight and I think Southampton will be smart enough to keep tabs on him tomorrow. With that in mind, I’m opting for Phil Jagielka to cover a possible Everton clean sheet. I’ve said it before – in games when Everton win by a few goals to nil, Jagielka always seems to lead the race for bonus points.

James Chester (HUL)
Opponent – Fulham (H)
Having almost made it 2014 with just 4 goals conceded at home, it will have annoyed Steve Bruce to throw away three points and three goals to his former side. I can see Hull bouncing back to keep a clean sheet against Fulham. Chester scored against Manchester United only to put through his own net, but it’s clear that the potential is there. At just £3.9, he is certainly a budget friendly option, especially for those looking to squeeze Walcott into their side by freeing up some funds locked in the defense.

David Silva (MCI)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (H)
The first of two City attacking players, David Silva take his place after an assist and 2 bonus in the midweek win over Liverpool. I am of the opinion that Silva is the best midfield pick in the City side, but Yaya Toure seems to have a habit of pulling a goal out of the hat from a set piece which can sometimes take the shine off yet another Silva masterclass. I have read some arguments for the idea that Silva could be rested, but I cannot see this happening. Alvaro Negredo walked off on Wednesday with a heavy limp, and whether he is tired or injured, I cannot see Dzeko leading the line by himself without Silva to create the chances. Palace can be a stubborn side to break down at times, and I cannot see Pellegrini taking any chances with his team selection.

Theo Walcott (ARS)
Opponent – Newcastle United (A)
Since returning after a longstanding injury, Walcott has emerged as yet another big-budget midfielder to vie for our attentions. Leading the total transfers in this week, he is the perfect replacement for Aaron Ramsey who was taken off after 62 minutes with a calf injury on Wednesday. A very strong captain candidate this week, he has a great record against a Newcastle side who will not be afraid to attack the Gunners. There could be goals in this one, and I can see Walcott on the score-sheet yet again.

Eden Hazard (CHE)
Opponent – Liverpool (H)
The Belgian is clearly living up to his tag of being undroppable by Mourinho, and despite lingering doubts as to weather he would start last game week, he ended up starting and scoring the game-winning goal. Like Suarez, he is the player most likely to be involved in any goals scored by his side.

Yaya Toure (MCI)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (H)
With so much confusion surrounding the City front-line going into tomorrow’s match, I’m opting for a second City midfielder and that can only mean Yaya Toure fills the final midfield spot. If it weren’t for the fact that Toure is on penalties and most direct free kicks, I think Silva would trounce him in FPL, but unfortunately he is on both while Aguero is out. This means that Toure could do little attacking for an entire game and still score direct from a set piece. Palace will be buoyed by their smash and grab win at Villa Park, but City will be too much for them in the middle of the park.

Ashley Young (MUN)
Opponent – Norwich (A)
I have been very impressed with Ashley Young’s contributions to the United cause in recent weeks and I am very confident that he will start against Norwich who are finding things very tough at the moment. With Januzaj on the other side and Rooney helping out in midfield, it’s giving the wingers more of a chance to get inside their man and Young is superb in these areas. It’s perhaps a little gamble, but at £7.1m and just 0.2% ownership, it’s one that I am considering myself.

Luis Suarez (LIV)
Opponent – Chelsea (A)
By all accounts, it seems that the it was not Manchester City that prevented Suarez notching some attacking points on Wednesday night, rather the combination of dreadful officiating and poor finishing by his wasteful teammates. Up next is another difficult game against Chelsea who have been known to park the bus in such matches – a tactic that Arsenal and Manchester United have both witnessed first-hand this season. I cannot see many goals here, but if Liverpool are get a result, it has to involve Suarez.

Wayne Rooney (MUN)
Opponent – Norwich City (A)
David Moyes has been lauding the contribution of Rooney to the success of the Manchester United team as of late, and based on recent performances, it’s hard not to agree with him. United seem to be a much more direct and dangerous force lately, and most of that is down to Rooney dropping deep to free up other players. Thankfully, these excursions do not appear to be affecting his output – a goal and assist in his last game was a fantastic contribution, especially when you consider that Hull had only conceded 4 all season at home, and never more than 1 in a single game. The Canaries will need to have a very good day at the office to stop Rooney and company.

The Captain – Wayne Rooney (MUN) –
Given the aforementioned tactics that might be employed on Sunday afternoon by the home side, it may be difficult for Suarez to score enough to warrant the captaincy this week. In the City game, I need to be 100% that my captain is playing, but a home tie against Palace is a good a time as any to rest key personnel. It’s not enough of a concern for me to omit their players from the Eleven, but it is enough to look elsewhere for the captaincy. For me, it comes down to Walcott and Rooney. Both players have an away fixture, but it is clear that the Gunners will be more severely tested. Newcastle are beginning to climb the table in recent months, and I cannot rule out the possibility of a tighter game than is usual in this fixture. With this in mind, I’m giving the armband to Rooney this week. He has the form and he is working incredibly hard for the team. The other players around him are clearly benefiting and there is now a clear sense of self-belief flowing through the Old Trafford side.

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, West Ham, Hull City and Cardiff to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Michael Dawson (TOT)
Midfielder: Yohan Cabaye (NEW)
Striker: Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT)
Captain: Theo Walcott (ARS)

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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