Football.com - everything football

Fantasy Marketwatch: Gameweek 25

by Fake Eric Cantona
Feb 07, 2014 12:11 PM EST



The top transfers in, this week are:
Mannone and Cech
Fonte, Cahill
Johnson, Lallana, Bacuna, Mata and Mirallas
Dzeko, Rodriguez, Sturridge, Negredo, Rooney, RVP.

Couple of thoughts on this:

There's a widespread sentiment that Southampton are going to boss Stoke on Saturday. The most bet upon players in fantasy include Fonte, Lallana, and Jay Rodriguez. And Ricky Lambert is is in that list as well. Maybe it's because these players have been very consistent, and have remained cheap additions. The thought of picking up Fonte weighed heavily on my mind last week, and I regret not picking him up. Could lightning strike twice?

Stoke has a reputation of playing with size and strength. They also perform well on set pieces. Stoke could present problems on mismatches with Southampton. And after last week's game between Man Utd and Stoke, a lot of people are picking up the mercurial Charlie Adam. Adam, who was so good for Blackpool that he caught the eye of Liverpool at the worst time to catch Liverpool's eye. His talent is there. Stoke is a great team for him. Whether they can use set pieces and size mismatches to their advantage on Saturday remains to be seen.

There is also a lot of wagering on Chelsea to dominate Newcastle. So much so that the top defensive transfers this week are mostly Chelsea players. Cech, Terry, Ivanovic and Cahill are sure to start, and by the looks of things, should earn a clean sheet. Newcastle are erratic. Dutch international Krul is a quality keeper for Newcastle, but defensively they stink like a Dutch oven surprise. Newcastle's defensive anchor, Colloccini, is not 100%. Offensively the team is a reflection of Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley. This team was so promising.

To add insult to Newcastle's injury, there is a bit of black cat fever going on in the fantasy transfer market for the Sunderland vs. Hull. As mentioned above, Mannone is a hot item for the Saturday afternoon matchup, as well as Adam Johnson, Colback, and Borini. It is difficult to encourage anyone to transfer in a player that won't be useful down the road, as Sunderland must face Man City away, and then Arsenal away. Tough road matches, yet the numbers reflect that fantasy managers are still picking up Sunderland players. Gus Poyet has proven to be a better candidate for the job than myself.

In fact, back in September, 2013, I penned the following letter:

"Dear Cats, the Cats-In-Charge and Mr. Short,

I was dismayed to find out that Di Canio was sacked recently. And many other fans share this sentiment. His style was not conservative enough, but that was not the real problem. I believe the real problem was a lack of preparedness; the very thing that fortune favors.

And so I wish to throw my hat into the consideration for a new manager. [...] Yes, I am unknown. A fan from the shadows, but I know football. I know who is good. I know who needs to be given their walking papers. Football is my life.

I would not ask for a salary of my own, but rather the support from you to assemble the right pieces to run the team. The players on Sunderland right now are extremely talented. We have the best striker of the Eredivisie last season. And Borini was on fire in the Serie A only 2 years ago. The cats should be pummeling opponents. And they will, if I have anything to say about it.

In fact, if, as manager, I do not lead Sunderland to cripple Newcastle so badly that Sunderland stay afloat while Newcastle is relegated, then I will turn in my slip. I will leave the toons with red on their face. I am that confident that I can succeed.

Yours in love and war,"

I did not receive a response. No hard feelings. Enough about that, on to real games.

Liverpool hosts Arsenal tomorrow at 12:45. Suarez has been okay. He could score. He probably will not. In a battle of the cattle, stalemates are typical, and drubbings are possible from either side. A conservative gambler would consider other options for fantasy players. This is the match of the week, as a win would bring Liverpool back into the conversation for the league, while a win from Arsenal would further buffer them from the Sith mind tricks of Jose Mourinho.

The match that could have been most anticipated is Tottenham vs. Everton. Without Lukaku, again we will see Naismith start. Strikers Seamus Coleman and Baines will present major problems for the opposition defence, from behind their own midfield, as usual.

Manager-wise, Martinez is likely to win against Sherwood. But This game will be at White Heart Lane, which will give Tim Sherwood a boost. Eriksen, Adabayor, and Paulinho are all solid pick ups, and the upcoming game weeks will see the Spurs face Newcastle and Norwich. Investing in the Spurs is a good idea. Everton face Crystal Palace next week and then Chelsea. But against Crystal Palace, Mirallas will likely be golden. As a midfielder, he plays high up the field, and will likely be a scoring threat this weekend and the next. To be determined.

Manchester United host Fulham, in the follow-up episode of "Manchester United's Prodigal Sons." Sunday, they cap the week off against former right hand to Sir Alex Ferguson, René Meulensteen. Expect Fulham to get the same treatment that Cardiff did. And although Meulensteen may not receive the same plaudits of Solskjær, he should.

The one thing Meulensteen would truly benefit from, as chief honcho at the Cottage, would be a clone of himself, to assist in the managerial duties. One man alone does not make a kingdom. One man could make a cottage, but cottages suck. So do the Cottagers. Their one respite is that Moyes is inconsistent.

Swansea host Cardiff, which should be exciting. Why? Because Solskjær has weapons now. Zaha in particular. And this game, if won, could lead to Cardiff creating a run against their next opponents, who are all defeatably beatable. In fact, Zaha is the player to pick up this week, if decisions must be made.

With all of that said, here are this gameweek's Arbitrage Opportunities:
(Legend: Player Name; Team Name; Price in )

Goalkeepers:
No one worth losing a free transfer. Maybe Adrian from Westham, as they face Villa.

Defenders:
Shaw - Southampton - 4.9
Azpilicueta - Chelsea - 5.4
Nathan Baker - Aston Villa - 3.9

Midfielders:
Zaha - Cardiff City - 5.4
Charlie Adam - 5.7
Paulinho - Tottenham - 6.6
Januzaj - Manchester United - 5.2
Matic - Chelsea - 6.0

Forwards:
Jay Rodriguez - Southampton Saints - 6.6
Dzeko! - Manchester City - 7.1