Week 9 was a momentous occasion for AM FC. It was the weekend I picked the correct captain for the first time this season. You won't often hear me praise Luis Suarez (don't get me wrong, he's a world class player, I'm just not a fan of his antics) but I doff my cap to him on this occasion. I entrusted him with the armband and he repaid me with a quite superb hat-trick - aren't football fans fickle?
His 35 points doubled to 70 and slotted in nicely alongside goals for Olivier Giroud, Daniel Sturridge, Mathieu Debuchy, an assist for Aaron Ramsey and clean sheets for Neil Taylor, Dejan Lovren and Artur Boruc. 165 points for the week has moved my Yahoo team back in to the top 2,500 and I'm hoping Week 10 can bring similar success.
I was also lucky enough to witness my first live NFL match at Wembley on Sunday, and was delighted to see my team the 49ers defeat the Jaguars, while Spurs beat Hull at White Hart Lane. Not a bad birthday, eh?
Let's look at the week ahead ...
Week 10 Fixtures
Arsenal v Liverpool
Cardiff City v Swansea
Everton v Tottenham
Fulham v Man Utd
Hull City v Sunderland
Man City v Norwich
Newcastle v Chelsea
Stoke v Southampton
West Brom v Crystal Palace
West Ham v Aston Villa
We have a lot of tight looking fixtures this week so I can only see one game that really leaps off the page. Manchester City were unlucky to lose at Chelsea after Joe Hart and Matija Nastasic's horrible mix-up and have been playing very well at the Etihad so I would expect them to dispatch 18th place Norwich without too much drama. Chris Hughton's men have struggled for goals so a home win without conceding also seems a decent bet, which means I'm considering including a City defender, midfielder and striker in my Yahoo team.
On the subject of Chelsea, I don't expect a trip to St James' Park to be easy but this is a Newcastle side who have just managed to lose to Sunderland (albeit in a derby) so I'd expect Jose Mourinho's side to have enough to win and keep the pressure on (and possibly overtake) Arsenal after knocking them out of the League Cup in midweek. As always it's worth noting that Newcastle v Chelsea is the early Saturday kick-off so we'll get starting line-ups before Yahoo's deadline to check if Oscar starts or whether Fernando Torres gets a chance to continue his improved form.
Going back to Arsenal, their meeting with Liverpool at the Emirates should be a cracking game and full of goals, so I reckon it's worth hanging on to some attacking players from both sides. My prediction is a 2-2 draw, which as mentioned above would give Chelsea the chance to top the table if the win on Tyneside, but it's a result neither side would (or should) be too disappointed with after excellent starts to this season.
Next up is Manchester United's trip to Fulham. A friend of mine - a die-hard United fan - was at Old Trafford on Saturday and claims they were "atrociously bad" for 65 minutes before the comeback. It appears David Moyes is almost totally reliant on his strikers to keep him out of trouble at the moment but the good news is that should be enough for them to claim another vital win at Craven Cottage. I'll always have a soft-spot for Martin Jol after his time at Spurs but I do fear for Fulham this season. Something doesn't feel right about the current make-up of the squad and I'm not sure they'll have the required fight if they get dragged in to a relegation battle; I hope I'm proved wrong.
Speaking of relegation battles, Sunderland will have belief they can get out of trouble after their huge win at Newcastle but they face a tricky test in Week 10 against a decent Hull outfit and I'm leaning towards a home win for Steve Bruce against his old team. It's also difficult to see past a West Brom win over Crystal Palace at the Hawthorns and I expect to field at least one representative from the Baggies, possibly two.
The remaining four games are difficult to call in either team's favour. Southampton should sneak past Stoke but it's not a certainty by any means and a goalless draw wouldn't surprise me, while Everton v Tottenham has 1-1 draw written all over it. The all-Wales clash between Cardiff and Swansea is another game that could be low scoring and potentially heated, while West Ham v Aston Villa will also go down as a 1-1 draw on my accumulator coupon, with both teams well aware of how important it is not to lose.
There could well be some value in defensive players from Southampton and Swansea, but I feel the best chance of attacking fantasy points will come from the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and West Brom.
The Week 10 player recommendations follow on the next page ....
Boaz Myhill - The West Brom keeper is at home to Crystal Palace and has seen a big drop in his price after Liverpool smashed four past him in Week 9. For a fraction more than £5million Myhill represents terrific value given the fixture and is likely to be my choice in net.
Artur Boruc - Southampton's defensive form has been remarkable, conceding just three goals in the first nine games of the season, and there's no reason to see that changing against Stoke. As mentioned in my fixture analysis a nil-nil draw or narrow away win isn't out of the questions so Boruc is well worth sticking with, especially if you have him at a discount.
Joe Hart - I expect a Manchester City clean sheet against Norwich so despite his erratic form, Hart is still a decent option (unless he's dropped of course).
Pablo Zabaleta - My old mate Aleksandar Kolarov appears to be swapping places with Gael Clichy on a regular basis, which means Zabaleta moves back to the top of the City defenders list. He's at home to Norwich so has a clean sheet opportunity and should also get plenty of chances for attacking points.
Dejan Lovren - Fantasy manager's keep picking him and Lovern keeps repaying the faith, and he's now just a few points behind the current top scoring defender, Leighton Baines. Another clean sheet awaits at the Britannia.
John Terry - Many people (myself included) had predicted Terry may find himself on the bench a bit more this season, but the Chelsea captain has proved me wrong and established himself as Jose Mourinho's first choice central defender. He plays in a winnable game and I have a hunch that Terry will score against a Newcastle side who struggle to defend set pieces.
Neil Taylor - I hope you all picked the Swansea defender up at his bargain price of £3million before his clean sheet against West Ham. Taylor will continue to deputise for the injured Ben Davies and the left-back will be looking to impress Michael Laudrup to give himself a chance of hanging on to the spot for more than just a few games.
Curtis Davies - Is there a more improved defender in the Premier League? Davies was highly rated when he first burst on to the scene in 2005 before a prolonged run of poor form, bad moves and multiple relegations left him a forgotten man. However, the centre back has been superb since signing for Hull and it shows in his fantasy points returns. A terrific option for the home game against Sunderland.
Billy Jones - My pick of the West Brom defenders to cover the potential clean sheet at home to Crystal Palace, although it really is a coin toss between him and Liam Ridgewell.
Jose Fonte - To quote my good pal Jeremy, "The cheapest entry into the Saints backline. And at Stoke, who have only scored two goals at home, while the Saints have only allowed two goals on the road this season, you'll want at least one Saints defender. Lovren is probably the pick of the litter, but Fonte is running him close and at a discount." Well said that man.
Martin Demichelis - The Argentine defender has had a tough start to his Manchester City career, first with injury and then in a difficult debut against Chelsea, but he already appears to be ahead of Joleon Lescott and should start against Norwich. Worth a look at just £6million.
David Silva - Two goals, three assists and sixteen successful crosses in just six Premier League games for Silva, who has been quietly going about his business in a very effective way since returning from injury. I like the midfielder's chances of another goal against Norwich as he drifts in from the left and dove-tails perfectly with Sergio Aguero.
Mesut Ozil - He had a quiet game at Crystal Palace in Week 9 but I'm expecting a far more open game against Liverpool and would expect Ozil to hit back with a far better fantasy score after being rested in the League Cup.
Oscar - Another star name rested by Chelsea as they overcame Arsenal so Oscar will be fresh and should cause the Newcastle backline problems in his scheming role behind the central striker.
Aaron Ramsey - It was a slight surprise to see Ramsey start against Chelsea given the amount of football he's played this season, and he wasn't particularly effective. His sensational form thus far allows him the odd quiet game and you should keep him if you're holding him at discount, but it will be interesting to monitor if Santi Cazorla's return starts having a detrimental impact on the Welsh midfielder's attacking potential.
Stephane Sessegnon - If we get confirmation that Morgan Amalfitano is fit then I feel he is the slightly better pick, but the majority of reports suggest the winger is struggling with a knee injury, so Sessegnon is the next best midfield bet against Crystal Palace playing just behind the striker.
Robbie Brady - Currently a slight doubt for the weekend as he recovers from hernia surgery, but if Brady is fit he must be considered at home to Sunderland. If he isn't fit then you have to question Hull's decision to rush their midfielder back in to action.
Michu - Just two goals for Michu so far but he's still getting plenty of shots on target and has had a couple of quiet fantasy weeks so Cardiff beware, he's due a performance.
Yaya Toure - Silva is my pick of the City midfielders for the Norwich game but if you're looking to double up (and I wouldn't blame you) then Toure would be my second choice, bursting from midfield, taking the odd free kick around the box and looking dangerous from corners.
Adnan Januzaj - The only Manchester United midfielder to get remotely excited about at the moment is young Januzaj, but we'll need to monitor team news as he played the full 90 minutes in the League Cup. If there's confirmation that he's set to start then I will be considering him for my team.
Stewart Downing - For those looking to do something a bit different then Downing at home Aston Villa could be your man. The winger struggled to break in to the West Ham first team to begin with but is starting every game now and is taking the majority of set pieces, so a big score is possible in Week 10.
Sergio Aguero - In the same form that helped win Manchester City the title two seasons ago, Aguero is already in double figures for this campaign and he should start at home to Norwich after getting a rest in the League Cup in midweek. He's in my team and is likely to wear the captain's armband.
Wayne Rooney - I'm guessing David Moyes must be a very relieved man because if Rooney had left Old Trafford in the summer his side would be more than eight points behind the leaders. The England striker has been nothing short of excellent and I will be making moves to get him in to my starting XI for the winnable trip to Fulham.
Luis Suarez - He looks to have the potential to be this season's Robin van Persie at the moment, as everything he touches turns to gold. As mentioned countless times there should be goals between Arsenal and Liverpool and Suarez will be at the heart of everything for the away side.
Fernando Torres - He's back, he's back, Torres is back! How many times have we heard that? It is extremely unlikely we'll ever see the Fernando Torres of 2009 again, but he is playing well and one assumes he'll start at Newcastle after Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba both got pitch time in the League Cup. We'll be able to check line-ups via Twitter before the Yahoo deadline to make sure that assumption is correct.
Olivier Giroud - The Frenchman was given a well-earned rest against Chelsea but boy did the Gunners miss him, as Nicolas Bendtner looked like a man devoid of confidence with a very silly haircut. Arsene Wenger will be praying his main striker remains fit until he can sign a more suitable back-up in January, but for now it's down to Giroud to score the goals to keep Arsenal top of the table and he has already proved he's capable.
Daniel Sturridge - Not as valuable as he was now Suarez is hogging the majority of Liverpool's attacking fantasy points, but with eight league goals in nine games, Sturridge is still a perfectly good choice at the Emirates.
Christian Benteke - The powerful striker was only an excellent Tim Howard penalty save away from adding to his goal-tally in Week 9 and he should be sharper after 90 minutes and another week of training under his belt. You can be sure West Ham's defenders won't be looking forward to marking Benteke this weekend.
Nicolas Anelka - The curveball pick of the week. Anelka has been getting in to the right positions for West Brom but his goalscoring touch has deserted him so far and he has been guilty of a couple of awful misses. However, his side face Crystal Palace at home and I reckon he'll open his account provided he gets the start, so it's worth monitoring team news if you're looking for a differential pick.
So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 10 Yahoo team. For now I have the following on my own team page, although it's currently unsaved:
Starting XI: Myhill, N.Taylor, Debuchy, Zabaleta, Sessegnon, Oscar, Ozil, Silva, Rooney, Suarez, Aguero (C)
Subs: Barkley, Bardsley, Spence, Elliot
It's a work-in-progress as I still have over £9million left in the bank, but the main decision to be made is whether to sell Sturridge. The Liverpool man is still in my team at discount and is having a tremendous season, but I already have Suarez and really want Rooney and Aguero this week, so he may have to be sacrificed. I'll probably look to upgrade my defence with Terry or Lovren on the radar, but I like the balance of the midfield so that should stay as is.
Check back here on Rotoworld on Friday for all the team and injury news coming out of the manager's press conferences to assist you with your final decisions.
How's your Week 10 team looking? Who's your captain choice?
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester City
- Daniel Sturridge
- Luis Suarez
- Olivier Giroud
- Artur Boruc
- Dejan Lovren
- Neil Taylor