The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 36

Posted: April 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

So Ryan Giggs is the Interim Manchester United manager! I remember him making his debut – a gangly kid who seemed to have an incredible future ahead of him. Sir Alex Ferguson was able to take him under his wing and keep him away from the media lights in a way he was unable to do with some of the other prodigious talents coming out of the Old Trafford youth ranks at the time. Now, at 40, he finds himself the manager of his childhood club. It’s an exciting time to be a United supporter, but I have not let that cloud my judgement when selecting the Dirtsheet for this week. Having said that, 3 United players make my team for this week based on the fixture and their recent form. Meanwhile, I back Liverpool to all but wrap up the Premier League title on Sunday and the Dirtsheet selections reflect this.

Three weeks to go before we all run off to find a World Cup fantasy game!

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Without further delay, here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 36!

THE DIRTSHEET: GAMEWEEK 36 (Formation: 3-4-3)

Joe Hart (MCI)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (A)
We could be in for a tight affair at Selhurst Park, but I have City down for a clean sheet and I’m opting for Joe Hart to cover the City back-line. I do think Palace sacrifice some attacking threat for defensive stability against the bigger clubs (and rightly so), but I still think Hart will need to be alert to the likes of Jason Puncheon. City need to win to have any chance of winning the title. 1-0 or 2-0 to the away side would not be a surprise.

Per Mertesacker (ARS)
Opponent – Newcastle United (H)
The big German put in a very solid performance against Hull at the KC Stadium and I expect the same against a Newcastle side who have failed to score in their last 3 away games. His constant threat from set pieces will be a major worry for Newcastle, and he could be in the mix for attacking and bonus points come Monday night.

Patrice Evra (MUN)
Opponent – Norwich City (H)
The first of three United players in the Dirtsheet ahead of the visit of Norwich on Saturday evening, Patrice Evra looks set to return to the United defence just in time for three successive home games. United still have a chance of securing Europa League football next season, but will need 3 wins from the next 3 games to stay in contention. The Canaries have just 4 goals in their last 6 games and a home clean sheet is likely. Evra will be well up for this game and will attack the Norwich right-hand side at every opportunity.

Phil Bardsley (SUN)
Opponent – Cardiff City (H)
The Black Cats face what is perhaps their most crucial game of the season against fellow-relegation candidates Cardiff. Simply put, Sunderland need 3 points if they are to have any chance of staying in the Premier League, but they have a number of players at the back who will put everything on the line to ensure survival. I’m opting for the attacking threat of Phil Bardsley – he will return from suspension and could punish Cardiff’s poor defense even further.

Aaron Ramsey (ARS)
Opponent – Newcastle United (H)
Another man who repaid his Dirtsheet selection last week was Aaron Ramsey – a goal, 2 assists and 3 bonus was a superb return against a usually solid Hull side. Up next for the Welshman are Newcastle who seem to have both eyes on their summer holidays already. Ramsey is giving Arsenal a real burst of energy and thrust in an area where they have been lacking in recent weeks. A strong captaincy choice for the Monday evening game, attacking returns are very likely.

Juan Mata (MUN)
Opponent – Norwich City(H)
One piece of journalism seems to have spread a rumor like wildfire all week – from nothing, a debate has started over whether Juan Mata will start in the Saturday evening kick-off. Personally, as a United fan, I see NO chance of Mata being rested. None at all. Giggs announced this morning that Rafael and Van Persie are the only injury concerns, and therefore a team with Wayne Rooney playing ahead of a free-roaming Juan Mata is very likely – certainly many United fans around he internet agree with this assessment. Giggs “expects” goals and a win, and a team without the guile of Juan Mata is a team less likely to do so.

Steven Gerrard (LIV)
Opponent – Chelsea (H)
Simply put, should Liverpool beat Chelsea on Sunday, it will virtually deliver the Premier League trophy to Anfield. Gerrard has encapsulated everything about Liverpool in the last 10 years, from leading troops through the bad times to rallying them towards the title this season. Come Sunday, there will not be one player who will run harder, fight tougher and put his body on the line more than Gerrard. It’s almost written in the stars that Gerrard goal will win the game for the Reds, and given Liverpool’s incredible season, I would not be a bit surprised to see Gerrard on the scoresheet.

Christian Eriksen (TOT)
Opponent – Stoke City (A)
There is no denying the current form of one Christian Eriksen. Since returning to the side, he has been a revelation. With 3 goals, 5 assists and 11 bonus in his last 5 games, he now faces a Stoke City who have shown some excellent home form over the last few months. However, I do think that Spurs have the pace and power to score and Eriksen’s delivery is going to cause mayhem for Stoke. An outside bet for the captaincy this week, but I still think there are better options.

Wayne Rooney (MUN)
Opponent – Norwich City (H)
With Robin Van Persie still injured, Rooney will play as the furthest forward player against a Norwich side who have lost their last 6 home games, conceding a dreadful 16 goals in the process. That’s relegation form, and I expect a very positive United to unleash ten months of frustration on the Canaries. Rooney will be on penalties and will be supplied opportunities from players who are surely in a more positive frame of mind. There is excitement in the air at Old Trafford, and it will surely translate to a comfortable win on Saturday evening. With 4 goals in his last 4 matches, Rooney is another strong captaincy choice.

Sergio Aguero (MCI)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (A)
The Argentinian instantly returned points for those FPL managers who placed their faith in him, and although he was withdrawn just after the 60-minute mark, it was more than enough time to score a goal and an assist. Although Palace have shown incredible form in the last 5 games, City (and particularly Aguero) need only a few seconds to punish any lapses in concentration. If you are looking for a genuine differential, or feel that Palace will hold City, then take a look below at the Unusual Suspects – Conor Wickham is showing incredible form!

Luis Suarez (LIV)
Opponent – Chelsea (H)
There has been substantial discussions over the last number of games regarding the Chelsea team that takes to the field against Liverpool. One thing is certain – whether or not Mourinho decides to field a second-string side against the Champions elect, he won’t have any choice regarding John Terry, Petr Cech or Eden Hazard. That is essentially the spine of the Chelsea side, and I think Suarez will give the Chelsea backline a torrid time all afternoon. Along with Ramsey and Rooney, an excellent choice of captain.

The Captain – Wayne Rooney (MUN)
It’s a very tough choice this week but I’m persoanlly backing Wayne Rooney. It’s one of those weeks that I would actually tell all FPL managers to go with their gut instinct as their captaincy choice, and to be honest, I’be be happy with any one of Rooney, Suarez, Aguero or Ramsey as my captain. For me personally, Rooney edges it slightly.

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Sunderland, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Ben Davies (SWA)
Midfielder: Morgan Amalfitano (WBA)
Striker: Conor Wickham (TOT)
Captain: Aaron Ramsey (ARS)

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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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