The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 7

Posted: October 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

As mentioned earlier on my twitter feed early this morning, I managed to lose nearly three hours of writing for this weeks Dirtsheet. Not to be defeated, I have restarted from scratch as I had promised a full version this week after my wedding adventures.

For the neutral, there are some great fixtures to enjoy this week, most notably Chelsea vs Arsenal and Manchester United vs Everton, but apart from a certain Spaniard, I look elsewhere for a slice of FPL gold.

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Without further delay, here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 7!

THE DIRTSHEET: GAMEWEEK 7 (Formation: 3-4-3)

Vito Mannone (SUN)
Opponent – Stoke City (H)
It seems like Sunderland are beginning to show some defensive stability after recording back-to-back clean sheets. I’ve selected Mannone in goal to cover their defense against Stoke City.

Liam Moore (LEI)
Opponent – Burnley (H)
Although Leicester have been received the plaudits for their attacking display against a shell-shocked Manchester United in GW5, the shrewd FPL manager will have noted that the Foxes have not been rewarded for some excellent defensive displays since the start of the season. While one clean sheet in six does not look like a great defensive record, I cannot see Burnley scoring at the King Power Stadium – the Clarets have not scored since the opening gameweek of the season and are without the services of a number of key attacking options.

Vincent Kompany (MCI)
Opponent – Aston Villa (A)
I’m opting for the captain as the first of my three City picks in the Eleven this week. After a Champions League game, there is usually some rotation in the City backline, but Kompany is usually exempt from such tinkering. He will be a danger at set pieces in the likely absence of his counterpart in the Villa backline (Ron Vlarr) and I think a clean sheet is also on the cards.

Alberto Moreno (LIV)
Opponent – West Bromich Albion (H)
Although the Anfield side have found clean sheets hard to come by so far this season, I’m opting for the attacking threat of Alberto Moreno who could return both attacking and defensive points against West Brom. His mazy solo strike against Spurs shows he has an eye for goal and starts a run of three solid fixtures.

Nacer Chadli (TOT)
Opponent – Southampton (H)
The jury is still out on whether Chadli’s form is a flash in the pan or whether he a bona-fide diamond in the rough. All the statistics point to the latter, and so I am selecting him ahead of the home tie against Southampton. Most of the Spurs first team received a rest in the Europa League tie last night and should be fresh and ready for what should be a great battle against the Saints. Although 4 goals in 6 games is certainly well above his historical goal-scoring average, he is certainly revelling under Mauricio Pochettino and a goal against the Saints would not surprise me in the slightest.

Stewart Downing (WHU)
Opponent – QPR (H)
I debated at length as to whether I would select either Downing or Gylfi Sigurdsson for this week’s Eleven as they both have a favourable home fixture against teams with porous defenses, but I have to back the recent form of the ex-Villa midfielder. He is enjoying his time under “Big Sam” and looks like flourishing behind the power and pace of Valencia and Sakho. As expected, QPR look like a side destined for the drop and a convincing home win is the likely outcome here.

David Silva (MCI)
Opponent – Aston Villa (A)
It is clear that City are a much better side when Sergio Aguero is leading the line and making space for the attacking players around him, and with 2 assists in last weeks game against Hull City, I’m backing David Silva to continue his fine form against Aston Villa in the Saturday evening kickoff. There seems to me more signs this year that City will continue to attack teams even when a win is secured, and that will turn 2-0 games into 4-1 games, a clear indication that City attacking talent is worthy of your attention.

Raheem Sterling (LIV)
Opponent – West Bromich Albion (H)
To put it mildly, Liverpool are really struggling for form and goals this year. However, when your star striker leaves for Barcelona and your next-best forward suffers an injury, it is very easy to understand. With Mario Ballotelli failing to convince anyone so far this season, I’m selecting Raheem Sterling for the home tie against West Brom. The young Englishman will play behind the Italian, but I actually think he will be playing almost as a second striker as Liverpool look to secure a much-needed three points. I cannot see Sterling being rested for this one – he is the only player that looks like providing an attacking threat as new signings Lannana and Markovic also continue to find their feet.

Sergio Aguero (MCI)
Opponent – Aston Villa (A)
Aston Villa look like a defensively solid side against weaker opposition, but continue to look defensively frail against the top teams. Back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Chelsea and Arsenal in recent weeks exposed a number of weakness that I feel will be exploited by the City attack. Sergio Aguero seems to have put his recent injury woes behind him (for now), and given the doubts surrounding Ron Vlaar, the Argentine could have a field day against the Villains. With 4 goals in the 348 minutes afforded to him so far this season in the Premier League, it’s only a matter of time before Aguero fills his boots. He is the one player I do not have that I fear could do very well this week – perhaps a cheek fiver on anytime scorer could calm my nerves somewhat!

Leonardo Ulloa (LEI)
Opponent – Burnley (H)
With 5 goals in his last 6 games, it’s an easy decision to bring in Ulloa to The Eleven this week. The 27-year-old has a proven goal-scoring record and has an strong run of fixtures over the next 5 games. As mentioned earlier, Burnley are without some key players and will still be reeling from the 4-0 defeat by West Brom. An outside bet for the captaincy this week, I’m hoping for a strong performance from the Argentinian as he currently sits in my own forward line!

Diego Costa (CHE)
Opponent – Arsenal (H)
There seems to be a recurring trend surrounding the gametime of a certain Diego Costa. Every gameweek, we anxiously await the words of Jose Mourinho as to whether Costa will start. The combination of Champions League fixtures and a recurring hamstring worry look like it could curtail his league involvement at any given time, but it seems that the Spaniard will be risked for the visit of Arsenal this Sunday. Mourinho clearly does not care about the international endeavours of his star striker, and while a rest could be likely in coming weeks, he should get at least 70 minutes against the Gunners – ample time to add to his 8 league goals this year. I have a sneaking suspicion that Chelsea could embarrass Arsenal this gameweek with some early goals.

The Captain – Diego Costa (CHE)
Speaking of recurring trends, it seems clear that if Costa starts, he is the best choice for captain regardless of the fixture.

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Swansea, Manchester City, Sunderland, Liverpool and Leicester to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Rafael (MUN)
Midfielder: Sadio Mane (SOU)
Striker: Abel Hernandez (HUL)
Captain: Leonardo Ulloa (LEI)

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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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