The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 26

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

With the London tube strike diverted, all eyes will be firmly fixed on Craven Cottage come Wednesday night as the attacking might of Liverpool attempt to do what David Moyes and Manchester United failed miserably to do – destroy the worst team in the League. While Moyes set up his side to complete negate his own attacking players, I expect Liverpool to do what they do best – break teams down with mercurial passing and defeat them with clinical finishing.

Remember, you can wait for team news from all of tonight’s games before deciding on your teams.

Here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 26!

THE DIRTSHEET: GAMEWEEK 26

The Eleven – (3-4-3)

Joe Hart (MCI)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
After a flaky (hair-product advertising pun intended) start to the season, Joe Hart has reestablished himself as the City number one in recent months. Next up at the Etihad is a Sunderland side who have developed a reputation as “City-killers” in recent seasons. I expect the Black Cats to pepper Hart’s goal but, with Kompany in defense, I think a home clean sheet is on the cards.

James Collins (WHU)
Opponent – Norwich City (H)
A total of 21 points from his last 3 games sees James Collins make his first Dirtsheet appearance of the season ahead of the visit of Norwich. The Hammers seem to have stabilized things at the back and Collins seems to be making a huge contribution to the cause – he was awarded bonus points in each of the last 3 games.

Gary Cahill (CHE)
Opponent – West Bromich Albion (A)
Gary Cahill continues to impress at the heart of a Chelsea side who are now gaining momentum towards the Premier League title. He is always either in the bonus or close to it when Chelsea keep a clean sheet – an occurance that is becoming quite regular. His aerial ability will certainly test the WBA rearguard at set pieces and he could easily add to his record of 1 goal and 2 assists on Tuesday night.

Leighton Baines (EVE)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (H)
I’m expecting a solid performance from both teams at the back, and so I’m predicting a low-scoring affair at Goodison Park on Wednesday evening. With doubts surrounding West Brom full back Billy Jones, I’m opting for Baines to take advantage of this. The Englishman has been impressive since his return and has outscored Coleman over that time. He has direct free kicks and penalties in his locker – the former being now more interesting considering Everton have Duelofeu and McGeady available who both tend to draw a large number of fouls around the box.

Eden Hazard (CHE)
Opponent – West Bromich Albion (A)
A stunning hattrick against Newcastle shows why Eden Hazard is certainly the best FPL prospect in the Chelsea team. Having already reached “essential” status in the eyes of many managers, he now travels to the Hawthorns to face an unpredictable West Brom side who drew with both Everton and Liverpool but lost to Crystal Palace and Villa in recent games. A very strong captaincy choice for the gameweek, Hazard is likely to continue his rich vein of form.

Kevin Nolan (WHU)
Opponent – Norwich City (H)
About 5 weeks ago, I highlighted Kevin Nolan as a player who looks like coming into a rich vein of form and added him to the Dirtsheet. One red card later and all the dreams of a cheap free-scoring midfielder came to a shuddering halt. Since returning three weeks ago, however, he has scored 4 goals and 6 bonus points. Up next are a Norwich side who should be buoyed by holding Manchester City to a scoreless draw – however, the Canaries have only 1 win in their last 6 games away from home.

Yaya Toure (MCI)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
The Football Association decided in its wisdom that Yaya Toure’s petulant kick at Ricky Van Wolfswinkel was not worthy of a ban, and so the City powerhouse is free to line up against Sunderland at the Etihad. Although he has drawn successive blanks over the last 2 weeks, he will be on penalties should one of Wes Brown’s teammates decide to have a rush of blood to the head. I expect Toure to play a more defensive game as Fernandinho continues his recovery, but all it takes is one free kick and Yaya could be dancing to double-figure returns.

Raheem Sterling  (LIV)
Opponent – Fulham (A)
While it is clear that Sterling possess unbridled talent, it has come as a surprise that the young Englishman has kept his place after Daniel Sturridge returned to action. Brendan Rogers has found a way to fit the quartet of Sturridge, Sterling, Suarez and Coutinho into the game team to devastating effect. He is a player who could easily take all the plaudits for himself against Fulham.

Edin Dzeko (MCI)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
Having been rested in a dour goalless draw against Norwich, I expect Dzeko to be reinstated to the staring eleven for the visit of Sunderland. Without Wes Brown, I can see Dzeko’s brute force being too much for the Sunderland back line.  Much will rest on the performance of Liam Bridgecutt who will attempt to stifle the City attack immediately in front of the Sunderland defense, but I can only see a City win and Dzeko may be the catalyst.

Luis Suarez (LIV)
Opponent – Fulham (A)
A game agaisnt the worst side in the Premier League you say? Well that can only mean that Luis Suarez is a lock for the Dirtsheet. Quite simply, David Moyes’ tactics played into the hands (and heads) of the Fulham gameplan. Refusing to do anything but cross the ball into a defense containing a 6’7″ behemoth was a terrible decision, and I expect no such non-sense from Liverpool. They will go down the middle and attempt eviscerate the Cottagers. Although his returns have not been as impressive in recent weeks, I still see Suarez scoring some sort of attacking points.

Daniel Sturridge (LIV)
Opponent – Fulham (A)
That’s right – I have selected 3 attacking players from the same team. Liverpool are, quite simply, one of the very best attacking units in European football and they now face the worst defense in the league. It seems logical to double down on their best assests, and while Stephen Gerrard is also a great choice, I have to go with Liverpool’s most in-form attacking player as my final Dirtsheet choice. Sturridge has been almost single minded in his attacking play recently, and his 6 goals and only 1 assist in the last 5 games highlights this fact. It’s pretty fair to say that Sturrdige has overshadowed his Uruguayan strike partner over that same time.

The Captain – Luis Suarez (LIV)

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Jan Vertonghen (TOT)
Midfielder: Wilfreid Zaha (CAR)
Striker: Peter Crouch (STO)
Captain: Daniel Sturridge (LIV)

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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