DEFENDER: ERIK PIETERS, STOKE
For the first time this season, I am looking to play 5 at the back this week. Sure, it’s because the rest of my squad is so awful I have no choice but I also fancy some clean sheets or ‘shutouts’ if you’re a d*ckhead. Stoke have been popping up on people’s radar lately and not just because the Gladstone Pottery Museum is a touristic delight for all the family (the film Peaky Blinders there don’t you know). It’s because despite being in 16th place, they have mustered 2 draws and 2 wins in their last 4 and have only conceded 2 goals in that time. All of a sudden that makes £4.4m Erik Pieters a pretty viable squad option, with Swansea at home a good chance to make it 3 consecutive shutouts. Plus it’s nice to have a player in your side that you would walk past in the street without even knowing who the hell he was.
MIDFIELDER: NATHAN REDMOND, SOUTHAMPTON
Outside of the top 5, it has been a pretty impressive season so far for Everton, Saints, Watford and Bournemouth and this has seen their picked percentages take a bit of a rise. It’s safe to say I didn’t have a good week last week. Not to mention that the blog wasn’t very good. So, I think it’s a shrewd option to look for these overperforming sides and try to milk them before they dry up. My pre-season pick of Nathan Redmond didn’t seem all that great as he went on a run on 7 weeks without scoring more than 3 points. His value has suffered as a result, making him available at £5.9m but he has come good in his last two outings. I find it surprising he is 6.5% given that Capoue is still over 40% and hasn’t delivered in over a month. Throw in Redmond’s advanced role in Saints’ system and his ability to see out matches and I think he might be worth reconsidering.
FORWARD: TROY DEENEY, WATFORD
Where defenders were once the tricky part of picking your side, strikers have now left us with oozings of doubt come gameday. The regulars aren’t being very….well…regular. One striker a lot of people seem to be trying to offload is Troy Deeney. Waiting for that double free transfer to ship him out and replace him while doing some DIY on your defence or midfield. However, in a barren category I think Watford’s matchup at home to Hull might be a good week for Troy to prove himself. By all means swap him out next week but I don’t see the value in getting rid just yet.
CAPTAIN: BIG ROM LUKAKU, EVERTON
The other obvious choice as striker is Big Rom, as always. The reason I didn’t pick him now becomes clear. He’s my skipper. As second highest scoring striker in the game, but at under £10m he is by far and away the most value for money forward available to you. Everton are having a great season and you know full well Koeman will play him for 90 minutes every week before he inevitably has to be turned into glue. West Ham have toughened up at the back in recent week (dropping James Collins helps) but I think we have to appreciate that Everton are a side who will give any team a tough game if they perform. I’m backing Big Rom to score.
OUTSIDER: SAM VOKES, BURNLEY
Twitter is awash with striker requests, given the current climate of them all letting us down more than a Dad in a Ken Loach film. It has been hard to pick one, let alone two and now three! However my wildcard outside pick goes to Sam Vokes. Burnley are playing United away and some bookies have them at 18/1 to win!! I have no idea why. Granted all their points tend to come at home, but they beat a very good Everton side last time out and gave Arsenal problems at Turf Moor. In all likelihood, Man U will win, of course they will. But United aren’t very good. They really aren’t. Sam Vokes has 2 goals in 2 games and he’s more of a handful than United’s defenders would want after having to embarrassingly field a full strength side in the EFL cup. Besides, we don’t need Burnley to win (unless you have that bet on) we just need them and Vokes to score.