The penultimate Gameweek of the season kicks off tomorrow. After last week’s bumper double header, Fantasy managers are fast running out of time to make up their mini-league differences. The Captaincy armband is, more than ever, a vital choice…
A familiar name has run away with our poll thus far. Robin Van Persie will have surely claimed the armband more than any other player this season and yet, after a prolonged dry spell, confidence was beginning to wane. The tap-in at Stoke, coupled with a favourable fixture appears to have turned the tide back his way.
After scoring his first goal from open play in eight fixtures at the Britannia, the Arsenal skipper is back on track to win the Premier League golden boot and keep his side in check for third spot. A home game against a safe and stuttering Norwich outfit adds plenty of weight to the argument for Van Persie to be the top candidate.
With the Arsenal fixture being the sole Saturday match-up (an early kick-off thanks to tube works and the FA Cup Final) those who back Robin to build on his recent showing have the opportunity to get their Gameweek rolling early, although should the Dutchman fall flat, Sunday promises to be an uncomfortable experience.
With a proportion of Fantasy managers shedding Van Persie for double Gameweek temptations, there’s a tough decision to be made. While the Dutchman’s potential is strong, there’s clearly a differential to be had for those brave enough to look elsewhere.
Wayne Rooney is an obvious plan B. There’s a case to be made for United’s attacking players given their home fixture with Swansea and the need to attack to help close the goal difference on rivals City.
With Robert Mancini’s side kicking off early at Newcastle on Sunday, United will take to the Old Trafford pitch knowing the scale of their task. A win for City and it will be interesting to see how United react given that City will be eyeing up a home clash with QPR on the final day. Sir Alex Ferguson has played down the goal difference factor but, should City squeak a narrow win, then United will surely have to go for the throat against the Swans rather than write the title off.
Papiss Cisse and Nikica Jelavic rounds out a strong trio of striker alternatives to the Van Persie option. The latter looking the more viable route: the Croatian striker has brought a goalscoring zest that Everton fans have been craving for years and is up against a Wolves side with nothing but pride to play for. Everton goals look assured and that normally has Jelavic getting in on the act.
As for Cisse, he’ll face a City defence hell-bent on keeping him out to allow both Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero the chance to weave their magic. The Senegal striker looks almost impossible to stop right now, however, his strike at Chelsea demonstrating that he’s a threat from all angles. It would still be a brave decision to back Cisse over the top three poll candidates, given City’s determination and defensive resolve.
A risk might be a necessity at this stage, however, and while Cisse fits the bill there are clearly other candidates to consider. Incredibly, Victor Moses has demanded more transfer attention than any other player so far in the Gameweek. His form, coupled with Wigan’s own confidence and remaining fixtures, has seen him worked into over 50,000 squads so far this week. Moses would make an unlikely Gameweek captain but, for those desperate to go out on a limb, he’s clearly an option to explore.
Goals from midfield perhaps look more likely from Tottenham’s Rafael Van der Vaart and Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. Both have obliging Sunday fixtures. Van der Vaart goes to Villa Park having delivered on his double Gameweek promise and will surely carry the biggest goal threat to the home defence. Dempsey has stuttered since the return of Pavel Pogrebnyak but, similarly, will remain a major threat to a hopelessly erratic Sunderland back four.
While that pairing have struggled to make an impression in our poll, it’s perhaps even more surprising to see a lack of support for City’s strikers. City surely have to get three points at Newcastle and, in Aguero, they have a striker who has scored five goals in the last four, including three goals in his last two away trips. It seems certain that Mancini will have to look for a couple of goals from Sunday’s trip and Aguero looks well placed to be amongst them. While United’s attacking assets get the attention, perhaps City’s strikers could present the most viable alternative to Van Persie for those seeking something a little different.
Our Captain’s Poll will run and run in the middle menu of the Homepage to see where the lay of the land is as the deadline approaches.