I enjoy watching international football, but at the same time it frustrates me that it can mean the best part of two weeks without any Premier League action - or Yahoo FPL dilemmas. Fortunately the break is almost over and the Week 4 deadline is fast approaching.
After a miserable start to my fantasy season things took an upward turn in Week 3. It was by no means a spectacular week, but 113 points pushed AM FC up in to 8,113th position overall, which is a vast improvement after drifting around in 25,000th for the first couple of weeks. My captain choice was still shocking (David Silva's 2 points bringing a weak 4 point return) but at least things are moving the right direction. Feel free to let me know how you're getting on so far (via the Facebook comments at the bottom of this article).
Game Week 4 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Newcastle
Everton v Chelsea
Fulham v West Brom
Hull v Cardiff
Man Utd v Crystal Palace
Southampton v West Ham
Stoke v Man City
Sunderland v Arsenal
Swansea v Liverpool
Tottenham v Norwich
Week 4 throws up a few interesting fixtures, most notably Manchester United at home to Crystal Palace as the stand-out match up. Things haven't been easy for David Moyes so far, both through results and a disappointing end to the transfer window, but this is a game I expect United to win comfortably in front of the Old Trafford faithful. I'll put on record now that I will be picking Robin van Persie as my captain this week and I would recommend you do the same. I'll expand on this selection later, but I'm sure it's fairly obvious to most of our readers. It is worth noting that this fixture is the early kick-off on Saturday so we will get the starting line-ups prior to the deadline via Twitter.
Other games worth paying attention to are Tottenham and their seven new signings at home to Norwich, confident Arsenal + Mesut Ozil travelling to struggling Sunderland and Aston Villa (well, Christian Benteke) at home to Newcastle. I also like the look of Southampton at home to West Ham, despite the fact the Hammers sit higher in the table. Call it a hunch, but the new Southampton signings have had time to settle now and Andy Carroll will still be missing for the visitors.
I'm not overly excited about Manchester City's trip to Stoke or Liverpool's tricky match at Swansea. City looked shaky against Hull while Stoke look well organised under Mark Hughes and the Britannia is a notoriously difficult ground to win at when the home side are in form (as they are - currently sitting 5th in the table). Liverpool may be without the injured Daniel Sturridge and with Luis Suarez suspended it could be difficult for the Reds to keep up their 100% record in Wales, with Swansea boosted by their first win of the season at West Brom in Week 3. The away teams should still win, but both matches could just as easily end as score draws.
Everton v Chelsea is a tough match to predict, although one would expect Jose Mourinho's men to have just about enough to dispatch the Toffees, but I'll be avoiding Hull City versus Cardiff and Fulham versus West Brom for fantasy purposes. Neither match holds much value and are likely to be won by the odd goal or finish as low scoring draws.
With all that in mind, here are my player recommendations.
David De Gea - Expensive at over £15million, but De Gea probably has the best chance of a clean sheet at home to Crystal Palace.
Hugo Lloris - Norwich are more dangerous than Palace, but Tottenham still have a decent chance of keeping them out and I expect a home win, so Lloris is a terrific option and costs £5million less than the man above.
Artur Boruc - Southampton face West Ham at home, the Hammers haven't scored in their last two games and Andy Carroll remains out injured. There are better options, but if you're looking to save cash then Boruc could be your man in net.
Patrice Evra - I don't rate Evra particularly highly as a player, but there is no doubt that he's been getting forward more and more in the past 18 months and even pops up with the odd goal nowadays. Add to this the clean sheet possibility and I feel he's the defensive pick of the week at home to Palace, despite his high price.
Kyle Walker - He had a bit of a shocker in the Ukraine on Tuesday night as England adopted a cautious approach, but Walker will get the chance to bomb forward down the right wing against Norwich and will pick up attacking points as well as potential clean sheet points.
Pablo Zabaleta - The right-back has two assists in the first three games of the season and is relishing overlapping Jesus Navas. Stoke will be a tough test but Zabaleta is a quality player and he's capable of picking up both defensive and attacking points.
Antonio Luna - It's been an eventful start in England for Luna, who has scored a goal and an own goal already, but he's a constant menace bursting forward from the back (as seen against Arsenal) and can cash in against nervy Newcastle this weekend.
Nemanja Vidic - The big Serbian defender has been quiet thus far but is a massive threat from set pieces and as mentioned he can pick up a clean sheet. I prefer Vidic to Rio Ferdinand purely because of the goal threat offered - Ferdinand doesn't always go up for corners.
Joleon Lescott - The England defender has been solid and is a cheap way to get on the City defence if you think they'll do well at Stoke. Lescott is another player who is always capable of a goal from a corner and has already looked dangerous this season, having a header on target and having hit the crossbar.
Mathieu Debuchy - The France full-back has been superb for Newcastle and this is translating in to terrific fantasy returns, with or without a clean sheet. The number of tackles won and passes intercepted by Debuchy is quite phenomenal and has led to him leading the fantasy scoring for defenders.
Dejan Lovren - If you fancy Southampton to keep out the Hammers then Lovren is terrific value and a good alternative to some of the more popular defensive options above.
Mesut Ozil - Make no mistake, Arsenal have signed the best number 10 in world football, and as a Tottenham fan that really annoys me. Will Ozil be thrown in from the start again Sunderland? Possibly not, but I'm likely to have him in my squad and he will remain there for the rest of the season (barring injury) at his quite insane entry price of 6.29.
Theo Walcott - He wasn't great for England in either game and limped from the pitch on Tuesday night, but if Walcott is fit I'll probably pick him. Sunderland are in a bit of a mess at the moment after signing 14 new players, conceded 3 goals against Crystal Palace, and Arsenal are playing at a far higher level than the Eagles.
Marouane Fellaini - The fluffy-haired midfielder should make his debut this weekend (remember we'll be able to check the starting line-up before kick-off) and he'll give Manchester United a completely different option in midfield. David Moyes obviously knows the player well, but it'll be interesting to see how the other United players (and the fans) adapt to Fellaini's presence. I think it will be positive and I'm strongly considering picking him for Week 4.
Paulinho - As I mentioned in Week 3, someone described Paulinho as "a Brazilian Frank Lampard" and I'm starting to see what they mean. The guy is box-to-box, has a cracking shot and is constantly running past the strikers to get on the end of chances, something Spurs have been sorely lacking from a central midfielder for some time. He didn't really get going at Arsenal but Norwich at home are a different proposition and I prefer him over Erik Lamela this week.
James Ward-Prowse - Again, to borrow from my Week 3 line - "Posh name, fantastic crosser of a ball", well worth a look at home to West Ham.
David Silva - He chose the week I selected him as captain to be a bit bobbins against Hull, but he's still the pick of the City midfielders at Stoke.
Philippe Coutinho - He didn't have much of an impact against Manchester United but he's worth a look against Swansea. If Victor Moses starts he'll take some of the attention away from Coutinho - and that could help give the little man get the extra space he needs - but I think we'll really see him shine once Suarez returns.
Hatem Ben Arfa - The one shining light and only true source of attacking quality for Newcastle right now. If they get anything at Villa Park this weekend you can bet Ben Arfa will have something to do with it.
Robbie Brady - As Hull's set piece and penalty taker, Brady is the choice this week if you're looking to stray from the crowd.
Robin van Persie - It's Crystal Palace, it's at Old Trafford, he's had two very quiet games in a row so it seems unlikely he'll have a third, he scored twice for Holland in midweek and Wayne Rooney is out so RvP will be the focal point of everything for United. Captain, Captain, Captain.
Roberto Soldado - In truth Soldado has been lacking support in the first three games of the season and if you take away his two penalties in the league he hasn't really had a clear chance. However, this will improve with the arrival of Lamela and Christian Eriksson, and it's quite possible this improvement begins this weekend.
Christian Benteke - If he can score away at Arsenal and Chelsea then I'd back Benteke to score at home to Newcastle.
Olivier Giroud - Proving his doubters wrong with some top class finishing already, and now he has Ozil's through passes to feed off. And he's playing Sunderland. What's not to like?
Danny Welbeck - Is this the season Welbeck finally learns how to finish for his club? He's had no problem banging in the goals for England and his all-round game vastly improved last season, but the goals have never flowed for United. With Rooney out he'll start on Saturday and will get chances.
Daniel Sturridge - There are doubts over his fitness but if team news suggests Sturridge he's recovered start then he must be considered; he has scored in every game he's featured in this season.
Alvaro Negredo - The striker deserves a start after saving City from the bench against Hull and should get it against Stoke. Negredo is looking far more sharp than both Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero.
Rickie Lambert - England's new hero has a nice home game against the Hammers and will be on penalty duty.
So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 4 Yahoo team. For now I have the following saved on my own team page:
Starting XI: De Gea, Lescott, Evra, Walker, Walcott, Fellaini, Paulinho, Ozil, Soldado, Benteke, van Persie (c)
Subs: Elliot, Spence, Coates, Livermore
If news suggests all 11 of the men above are fit and likely to start then it could well be my final team, although I have £3million left in the bank to make some switches if required and I have this nagging feeling that I should bring Giroud in. Who for? I'll have to decide that closer to the deadline.
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 4 team looking? Anyone not giving van Persie the captain's armband?