The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 27

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Based on how your season is going so far, the FA cup ties last weekend were either a poorly timed break from FPL or a very welcome respite! Now it sees that European football is doing it’s best to derail our best laid plans as some of the top sides look to rotate in time for some important Champions League ties. Managers with solid squads will be hoping for as much disruption as possible – I for one would not object to a little mayhem this week as my bench is filled with players who are itching to make an impression.

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Here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 27!


The Eleven – (3-4-3)

David Marshall (CAR)
Opponent – Hull City (H)
A superb goalkeeping performance by Marshall against Villa last week was rewarded with 3 bonus points, and I’m backing the Scotsman to put in another solid defensive shift as Cardiff welcome the Tigers to the Cardiff City Stadium. Even if a clean sheet does not materialize, I think he could be in line for some save points at least.

Vincent Kompany (MCI)
Opponent – Stoke City (H)
While his attacking returns have fizzled out recently, his security of starts places Vincent Kompany on top of my list for City defensive coverage against Stoke. I think Kompany’s aerial clearances and general passing will light up the bonus point system if City win 2/3-0 in usual fashion (no single player hogging all the attacking points).

Martin Skrtel (LIV)
Opponent – Swansea City (H)
It seems that Gary Monk has steadied the ship somewhat at Swansea, but I think that Liverpool’s attacking style will keep the Swans on the back foot long enough to keep a clean sheet. Skrtel showed his constant aerial threat against a stunned Arsenal recently, and I think a clean sheet and bonus is not an unreasonable expectation.

Laurent Koscielny (ARS)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
In Arsenal’s last 5 games where they kept clean sheets, Koscielny has scored an amazing 11 bonus points. Up next are Sunderland who could be on the end of a vengeful Arsenal side looking to get back to winning ways. A clean sheet in a low-scoring game could mean more bonus points for the Frenchman.

Eden Hazard (CHE)
Opponent – Everton (H)
Eden Hazard has shown an incredible consistency of return at home this year, and I cannot help but back him in a potentially tricky game against Everton. Everton have all their first-choice defenders fit again, but the mercurial Belgian has enough in his locker to put sufficient pressure on Distin at the back to force something in Chelsea’s favour. Hazard seems to be rotation proof.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ARS)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
I have seen enough of “The Ox” to say that he warrants a place in the Dirtsheet this week. Two goals and assist in his last 3 games is a superb return for a players hit hard by a recent injury, and he will show no fear as he faces Sunderland. Arsenal will need a result against the Black Cats after the disappointing showing vs Bayern Munich midweek.

Yaya Toure (MCI)
Opponent – Stoke City (H)
Apologies for sounding like a broken record, but until Aguero returns to wrestle penalties away from the Ivorian, I have to continue with Yaya Toure in the Dirtsheet. Although 12 goals, including 3 in his last 6, is a record that has been inflated due to the number of penalties he has been allowed to take, we must remember that it doesn’t matter how someone is scoring goals for your team, so long as they are scoring!

Juan Mata (MUN)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (A)
Simply put, I expect a close game between a Palace side that are very solid at home and a United side that sometimes struggle to break down a dogged and determined home side. With that in mind, I’m opting for the guile and cunning of Juan Mata to be the difference. He seems to have settled into the team quite quickly, and he seems to be getting into the correct position to add a goal to the three assists he has already registered in his first 4 games as a United player.

Edin Dzeko (MCI)
Opponent – Stoke City (H)
Let it be said that, all things being equal, I’d like to have Adebayor here, but as of now, there are doubts surrounding his fitness after it was revealed that he has been playing with a leg issue for over a month. With that in mind, I have been forced to look elsewhere and my target is the Etihad Stadium. Having been “rested” against Barcelona, I think Dzeko is more certain to start against Stoke than the other City striking options. I personally think Jotevic will start alongside Dzeko with Negredo being rested but I cannot be certain. He has 3 goals in his last games in the Premier League, and Dzeko’s height will probably be needed against Stoke.

Luis Suarez (LIV)
Opponent – Swansea City (H)
Two months ago, Suarez was such a lock for a place in the Dirtsheet, I was strongly considering “retiring” his position entirely and give an extra forward the Dirtsheet position each week. Over the last few weeks, however, he is earning  his place due to the strength of his fixture rather than his form. While 40 points over his last 6 games is very good in its own right, he is no longer guaranteed a place in my Dirtsheet. However, a home fixture against Swansea is too good a fixture to pass up. If he fails to return attacking points again, I do think it is likely that managers will begin to at least consider other striking options.

Daniel Sturridge (LIV)
Opponent – Swansea City (H)
Last week, I stated that Sturridge was beginning to steal the limelight from his more established striking counterpart. Over the last 6 games, Sturridge has scored 59 points compared to Suarez’s 40 points. Ever since Suarez started to play wider, the effect on his FPL returns has been very telling. It is now Sturrigde who finds himself in the more favourable scoring positions. What is more interesting is that Suarez is showing no signs of greed – if he finds himself in a probable scoring situation, he is opting to pass to Sturridge if the Englishman is in a better position instead of shooting himself.

The Captain – Luis Suarez/Daniel Sturridge (LIV) – Simply put, I feel these are the two captaincy choices this week. There is too much doubt surrounding who will line up for Manchester City up front, and Liverpool have no other competitions to worry about except for the Premier League. Simply put, if you are trying to consolidate a lead, it’s probably better to captain Suarez. But if you are looking to pull back a lead, Sturridge is worth the gamble.

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Cardiff and Spurs to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Gareth McAuley (WBA)
Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha (CAR)
Striker: Christian Benteke (AST)
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 share this on Twitter and Facebook! Every follower counts!


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