Gameweek 5 preview: More than Arfa chance
You’re still here then? You haven’t decided to throw in the towel after the trials and tribulations of last weekend? I salute you.
I wouldn’t have blamed you if you’d gone. It was a Gameweek which saw barely any goals for the usual suspects, the early substitutions of others and a late appearance off the bench for everyone’s favourite expensive Dutchman. You might as well have picked your team by tossing 11 coins.
It’ll be different this week though, as the clubs return to action following midweek European appearances no doubt refreshed and ready to earn you some points.
One man who’ll certainly be prepared is the Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, who misses his side’s Europa League trip to Portugal due to a European suspension which dates back to his Marseille days.
That means he’ll be fresh for Norwich’s visit to Tyneside on Sunday afternoon, when Alan Pardew’s men will be expecting to earn a victory for only the second time in this Premier League season and the first since the opening day.
The fortuitous draw at Everton did at least highlight that the Magpies are made of resilient stuff this season, and given that Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez and the admittedly under the weather Papiss Cisse were also all left out of the squad to travel to Madeira and face Maritimo, Pardew’s key men will all be fit and raring to go for the visit of the former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton and his side.
Admittedly a player who can struggle when his side are under the cosh as they were at Everton, Ben Arfa picked up 10 points in Newcastle’s opening home game of the season against Tottenham, and then nine in the second against Aston Villa.
The Frenchman loves the Tyneside air, and he could well make Norwich suffer in it come Sunday afternoon.
Elsewhere over this Premier League weekend, eyes are inevitably drawn to the most super of super Sundays as Liverpool take on Manchester United at Anfield before Manchester City host Arsenal.
The focus in the former clash is likely to be just as much on the off-field matters as on-field ones, but Liverpool will be determined to give their old rivals a stern test as they go in search of a first win of the league season. They might not get it here, and the tight nature of the contest makes it difficult to recommend any player from either side. The same can be said of the match at the Etihad Stadium, although City should do enough to win.
For Fantasy football purposes – and that is why we’re here – both matches should be avoided, but the same can’t be said for Chelsea’s clash with Stoke at Stamford Bridge.
The early season pacesetters may have suffered the blow of letting their lead over Juventus slip on Wednesday night, but they’ll be determined to come out fighting after dropping their first Premier League points of the season at QPR last weekend. Petr Cech and his defenders will be confident of a clean sheet, and whilst it has been a whole week since Eden Hazard made an assist, perhaps it’ll be the returning Juan Mata who comes to the fore on Saturday – particularly if Oscar is out injured.
After recommending him last week, Dimitar Berbatov didn’t let us down with two goals against West Brom, and the Bulgarian will fancy hitting the back of the net again when Fulham go to Wigan. If you’ve got slightly more to spend though then perhaps it could be better invested in Jermain Defoe, who overcame the indignity of having to play in that terrible Tottenham away shirt to score twice against Reading last Sunday.
If he can get over that, then QPR at home should be a doddle.
Gameweek 5 Preview – EXTRA TIME
As a special addition to our GW5 preview, Fantasy Yirma had the pleasure of speaking to Man Versus Food legend Adam Richman this week. Now that he has thrown in the fork on eating challenges he has discovered a love for all things Fantasy Football.
Adam plays the Telegraph version of the game here in the UK so first things first – we must get him in the official game also next time!
Speaking about the season so far, Adam has a strong team and you can tell he takes his Fantasy Football seriously when as a Spurs fan he is loaded up with Chelsea players. It’s reassuring to hear that Adam is facing a lot of similar dilemmas as us with his team at the moment with question marks over Swansea and Fulham players giving him food for thought this week.
We asked Adam to select a Captain for GW5, (or predict the GW-MVP-ESPN style, gotta love an acronym or three) and here were his thoughts.
“This week Chelsea will dominate I think” Key Player? “more than likely Hazard”
Thanks to Adam for speaking with @fantasyyirma this week, and good luck this season.
The gauntlet has been thrown down for you to join the Yirma mini- league next season! 🙂