Nik Argiropoulos

Weekly Picks

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AM's Week 21 Player Picks

Thursday, January 09, 2014


KEEPERS
Kelvin Davis - The dreaded keeper @1.00, and he plays for Southampton! Everyone should remember the Paulo Gazzaniga horror-show when he went for -11 at home to Aston Villa, but I'm seriously considering taking the risk on Davis - who is a more reliable keeper - to allow bigger spending elsewhere. At home to West Brom, what can go wrong?
Tim Howard - A safer bet is Howard (back from suspension) for Everton with a winnable game at home to Norwich, although he'll cost you ten times more than Davis
Hugo Lloris - Another who will cost you ten times more than the bargain option, but Lloris should be guaranteed a positive score as an improved Spurs host Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane.
David Marshall - A snip at less than £7million and facing a wretched West Ham side at home, Cardiff stopper Marshall could prove the most balanced keeper pick of Week 21 as he has an good chance of a clean sheet.

 

DEFENDERS
Aleksandar Kolarov - The boy done me good after a last-minute switch to include him in Week 20 once I'd seen the line-ups. It's a bit of a lottery regarding who gets the nod between him and Gael Clichy, but Clichy played last night against West Ham so it appears to be Kolarov's turn against Newcastle. Deadly from free-kicks, he's my pick of the Week 21 defenders and is in my team.
Leighton Baines - A back injury kept him out of the FA Cup tie last weekend but Baines is back in training and should be ready. He was an extremely tempting £16million before his price shot up, but the fact he faces Norwich who are awful on the road means he should be under consideration at full price if you have spare funds.
Kyle Walker - The England right-back is expensive but has been backing up his price tag with some fine scores this season thanks to an increasingly productive understanding with Aaron Lennon on the right-flank, and I'm expecting big returns against Palace as he continues to get forward.
Alvaro Alcaraz - Signed from Wigan in the summer but a forgotten man at Everton ever since, Alcaraz should get a run in the team due to Phil Jagielka's injury and he's a bargain considering the home fixture against Norwich.
Nacho Monreal - All team news suggests Kieran Gibbs is still out so again, so Monreal will continue at left back for Arsenal's trip to Aston Villa and he represents terrific value at under £10million.
Vincent Kompany - Manchester City's captain remains the cheapest guaranteed starter in their defence and has been in good form in both boxes recently, picking up a couple of goals for his troubles.
Steven Caulker - At home to goal-shy West Ham, Caulker is pricey but picks up solid defensive points more-often-than-not, and has an excellent chance of a clean sheet this weekend.
Luke Shaw - Southampton's attacking left-back hasn't been setting the world on fire with his fantasy performance this season but I fancy his chances of a strong week against West Brom, and again, there's a clean sheet opporunity.

 

MIDFIELDERS
Jordon Mutch - You won't often see a Cardiff player top of the midfield list (or as the column photo), but Mutch has been magnificent since breaking in to the team in early October, contributing four goals and three assists. The powerful attacking midfielder always looks a threat and has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, so he'll be in my side for the very winnable game against West Ham.
Mesut Ozil - With no Aaron Ramsey and no Theo Walcott I'm expecting Ozil to be given unlimited licence to get forward and support Olivier Giroud this weekend, and Aston Villa are pretty poor at home, so I'm likely to bring him back in to my team after dropping him when he was injured.
Steven Gerrard - A close call between him and little Philippe Coutinho, but Gerrard makes the cut on account of the large amount of free-kicks and penalties Stoke tend to concede, long after the departure of Tony pullis. You know who'll be taking those free-kicks and penalties? Yep.
David Silva - I initially had Yaya Toure in this list but he was substituted early in the Cup match against West Ham after picking up an ankle knock, so Silva looks the safer bet if you want a City midfielder at West Ham. He should be fresh after serving a suspension in week 20.
Adam Lallana - What a season Lallana is having, as he continues to reinforce his place on the England plane to Brazil in the summer with consistently excellent performance. He costs a hefty wedge but could prove worth it at home to West Brom.
Christian Eriksen - Finally finding his feet at White Hart Lane, Eriksen is getting a lot of joy floating in from the left hand side, much as Silva does for Man City, and the goals and assists are starting to come. Definitely worth a look with a match against Crystal Palace.
Oscar - We'll get team news ahead of the deadlines so you'll know if Oscar is set to start against Hull and if he is, he's worth considering. If not, then Willian would be my pick, although I expect both to start.
Ross Barkley - Averaging almost double figures in his past three games, Barkley's price has finally reflected his good form by passing the £10million mark, but that's still value when you consider his home fixture against Norwich.
Peter Whittingham - As mentioned I prefer Jordan Mutch if you're interested in Cardiff players, but dead-ball specialist Whittingham is also a fine option for the West Ham game.
Adnan Januzaj - The only remotely interesting option in the Manchester United midfield if you expect them to bounce back against Swansea.

 

STRIKER
Robin van Persie / Wayne Rooney - Will either of them be back? After three defeats in a row, David Moyes needs at least one of them. I had expected van Persie to be ready after the 10 day gap between Week 20 and Week 21 as he was reportedly back in full training, but there's no news of a return at this point in time. He's in my team at under £16million right now but I imagine the more expensive Rooney is more likely to start after getting a rest in the FA Cup and Capital One Cup. We await team news on Friday but if either of them are confirmed as fit then you have to be interested.
Luis Suarez - We've been through this one. Provided he is fit (which he is) I will be captaining Suarez until the end of the season. He could go big against Stoke.
Jay Rodriguez - The Southampton man has already proved what a fantastic finisher he is with some wonderful goals this season and I'm expecting to see him add to that tally against West Brom.
Olivier Giroud - The Frenchman has recovered from injury and the much needed break will have done him the world of good as he was looking extremely tired. Arsenal should dispatch Villas will relative ease and Giroud will be involved.
Roberto Soldado - Perhaps you'll be surprised that I've gone with Soldado over Emmanuel Adebayor, but I'm seeing enough in the Spanish forwards all-round game to feel confident that he's starting to understand the Premier League. He's in my Week 21 team at a bargain price and I think he'll score from open play against Crystal Palace before going on a bit of a run.
Romelu Lukaku - After a tough spell the powerful forward was back amongst the goals over the festive period and will fancy his chances of adding to already very decent season with another one against Norwich.
Alvaro Negredo - The hat-trick hero now has a quite astonishing 18 goals in his first season in England and has helped prevent Aguero's injury having any real impact on Manchester City's season. Away at Newcastle is tough, but the guy is on fire.
Eden Hazard - If he's down on the Chelsea team-sheet to start at Hull then he's worth a look, as he'll be on penalty duty in Frank Lampard's absence.
Dimitar Berbatov - You don't need to worry whether the enigmatic striker has been in improved form over the past 6 weeks because he's looking for a move away from Fulham, you just need to know that it's likely to continue, so he'll have a great chance of a big week at home to Sunderland.

 

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So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 18 Yahoo team. For now I have the following saved on my own team page:


Starting XI: Davis, Kolarov, Walker, Baines, Barkley, Eriksen, Mutch, Ozil, Soldado, Suarez (C), van Persie
Subs: Januzaj, Bardsley, Spence, Harper


Is the midfield a bit weak? Possibly, but I absolutely love the defence and attack, so those six players could stay if we get news of a surprise van Persie return. If not then I may find a way to get Rooney in if he's back, or I could go with Rodriguez. Davis @ 1.00 in goal leaves me a bit of money in the bank and I could always downgrade Januzaj on the bench which would leave me a tidy amount to upgrade a midfielder, perhaps trying to get Lallana or Gerrard in. Lots to think about.


Check back here on Friday for all the team and injury news coming out of the manager's press conferences to assist you with your final decisions ahead of the Saturday deadline.


How's your Week 21 team looking? Who are you passing the captain's armband to?



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Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for Rotoworld and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.
Email :Nik Argiropoulos





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