Okay, I think I’m done. I’ve settled on four double Gameweek players, disgruntled that I’m saddled with Raheem Sterling but resigned to the fact that I’ve only myself to blame: I clearly failed to predict the stellar rise of both Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing in a Liverpool shirt, perhaps an oversight I can be forgiven for.
I’ve got to admit, I’m worried. I’ve no Liverpool coverage at the back and I’m relying on Daniel Sturridge, a player who is not even certain to start against West Brom on Monday, to carry my hopes of attacking points and, most likely, my armband.
My options are not that attractive, however. One route would be to sacrifice both my Everton players at Old Trafford but then I’d go into Gameweek 27 and 28 with them facing Norwich and Reading, whilst my Liverpool replacements have the one game at Wigan. Maybe I’ve been listening to Granville too much but I’m not keen on that.
Memories of Everton’s performance at Old Trafford last season, plus the fact that they triumphed over United on the opening day of the season, have me wondering if both Leighton Baines and Marouanne Fellaini can’t produce some returns on Sunday afternoon to pep up my tally.
More to the point, the recent press has me wondering just what kind of team they’ll be facing in the light of United’s Champions League tie in Madrid on Wednesday. I’ve been pondering whether the “double Gameweek” has been a major distraction for a weekend where our main concern should perhaps be Sir Alex Ferguson’s team-sheet.
Consider these words from the United boss on Friday…
“It’s ridiculous to think that we play on Sunday and Real Madrid play on Saturday with that extra day’s rest. We’re not giving our teams a chance to be successful in Europe. Leagues in other countries make sacrifices for their teams…The team on Sunday will not be the same as the team that plays on Wednesday…I trust the squad of players I have. They are all internationals, they are all good players and there is no reason why I can’t play them..They’re all contributing in their own way and that gives us a better chance of dealing with the various competitions we’re in.”
That’s surely a warning that we can expect some surprises in United’s lineup for the Sunday’s clash. Worst-case scenario is that we’ll see Robin Van Persie preserved on the bench, with Javier Hernandez flying back to the UK from duty in Mexico to earn a start. While that’s perhaps not a major concern in a week where the armband is strapped on a Liverpool player, we obviously need to consider our bench options to prepare for such a possibility.
There are also others who could be affected – Patrcie Evra is another player key to United’s Champions League hopes in Madrid: he hasn’t missed a league game since Gameweek four, a match that saw Alex Buttner score on his debut. Could the Dutchman be given the left-back berth on Sunday afternoon to keep Evra fresh for Madrid? It seems a possibility.
In the main, this morning’s press are conservative with their take on matters. However, the Sun’s lineup stands out. They have very strong views on United’s likely approach to the Everton clash and have them fielding Hernandez up front with Shinji Kagawa in support – neither Van Persie or Wayne Rooney start. Chris Smalling is at right-back, whilst Buttner gets the nod on the left.
While none of the other papers endorse such changes, the Guardian also omit Van Persie in their prediction, as do the Telegraph. It’s clear, then, there is a real feeling amongst the press that the Dutchman’s role on Sunday will be a affected preparation for Wednesday’s European tie. As Fantasy managers somewhat distracted by affairs in the Liverpool and Swansea lineups, we need to take time out to consider how this would affect our eventual starting XI.
It has to be said that wholesale changes to the United lineup would be a gamble. Everton are a strong side who will go into Sunday’s match with confidence having performed well against their opponents in previous meetings. Should Ferguson put out a weakened lineup, this will surely only provide further impetus for the Toffees and, with David Moyes vowing to go on the attack, I’m inclined to hold to both Baines and Fellaini in anticipation that they may compensate for my humble collection of double Gamweek-ers.
The United team-sheet is undoubtedly the most turbulent of the weekend. Across the way, the City lineup at Southampton looks more assured with every paper this morning predicting a return for Vincent Kompany to the defence. Up top, there’s increased support for Scout Pick Edin Dzeko – with three of the morning papers handing another start to the Bosnian ahead of Carlos Tevez.
Lewis Holtby is tipped for a start in the Independent, the Sun and the Guardian and all the papers predict a start for David Luiz for Chelsea, three of them opting for a midfield role for the Brazilian.
As for Liverpool, Sturridge starts in all the lineups on show with the Independent the only one to offer me a crumb of comfort by including Sterling. Right now the 18-year-old is facing a start on my bench, with Fellaini given the nod ahead of him. It’s a troubling scenario and a gamble on my part – I’m almost willing Ferguson to leave the door ajar with his teamsheet, I’m almost banking on Van Persie being benched and failing to make an appearance.
I’m feeling uneasy. In a Gameweek where I sense that all around me are equipped for heavy points scoring, I feel I’m clinging to Fellaini’s magnificent mane and waiting for the gale to blow by, hoping there’s something left for me when it all dies down.
I own Bale but I think it’s quite possible Dempsey is playing striker. He played predominantly as a second striker at Fulham and more sporadically on the wing. Don’t know why people sometimes say his natural position is on the left, as far as I know he only played there because there wasn’t a vacancy in the centre at Spurs.
Also, in the random quotes at the bottom of this screen I must have seen the one where AVB says he's a natural striker a million times.
- 4 months, 9 days ago
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Line up for GW 27 before transfers:
Clyne demel zab r Martin (Davies)
Mata Walcott (c) bale puncheon (Gerrard)
RVP (Suarez sturridge)
Planning 4 point hit Gerrard to TBC (considering sissoko,gouffran, cabaye, silva, fellaini) and Suarez or sturridge to TBC (considering cisse, Giroud)
- 4 months, 9 days ago
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Bale up front then. This could go one of 2 ways. Didn't work for Michu but did for Walcott.
- 4 months, 9 days ago
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Team of the Season 2012/13
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“We have dynamic players with good movement, so if he can link with them fine. He can play a bit higher because his timing getting into the box is very good.”Rafa Benitez talks up the role that Frank Lampard can play in his Chelsea revolution