Several players who would normally be given the fantasy armband will play just one match, so whom do you choose?
The usual possibilities each week would include Rooney, Van Persie, Aguero, and Tevez. However, they only have one game for the week and Rooney and Tevez are involved in the massive Manchester City-Manchester United game. The last match among those teams ended six goals to one in favor of City; however, that blowout is not likely on Monday. One additional factor on playing time is that the Italian bobble-head returns from suspension. One would expect he will be in a reserve role, especially with Tevez on a goal and assist run and working well with Aguero. However, there is fantasy danger in having any player managed by Mancini.
Forwards who have two matches for the week include Adebayor, Suarez, Ba, Torres and Newcastle’s Cisse. Ever since the arrival of Cisse, Ba has been blah, with no goals in his last ten matches and one in the past 14 games.
In midfield there are special circumstances. Silva and Nani have just one game for the week, as does a not-so-hot-anymore Valencia. Midfielders playing two matches include Van der Vaart, Lampard, Bale, Mata, Modric, Gerrard, and Dempsey. The Texan, with a midfield high point total of 221 points would normally be a good choice for captain; however, consider who Fulham play and more importantly where the matches will be held. The Cottagers play Everton and Liverpool, both stingy on defense. The biggest factor is that both of those games for Fulham will be on the road, and in 15 games the London team has scored only 11 goals.
Sir John is not big on picking defenders as captain; however, for those inclined, the top-two point producers on defense this season, Evra and Vermaelen only have one game for the week. John Terry has two matches, both at home against QPR and Newcastle.
Goalkeepers are not recommended captains either. Hart and DeGea face each other in the one game while Krul, Cech, Howard, Friedel and Schwarzer will play twice.
Fantasy managers should remember player suspensions and injuries. Ivanovic has one remaining game on his three-match send-off and will not play against QPR. Injury factors involve Cahill, Luiz, Kaboul, Saha and Assou-Ekotto, the later possibly out for the rest of the season.
On paper, the team with the easier two-match week is Tottenham. They play at home against Blackburn and then travel to the Reebok to meet Bolton. However, both of those teams are in relegation survival mode and will be fighting for their lives. And there are the injury status and out-of-form realities for Spurs. Modric has been a disappointment for Spurs with no goals or an assist in his last 12 games, Bale, in his typical end-of-season slump, has had no goals in the past 11 matches while Van der Vaart ‘s last goal was on April 1.
Finally, consideration should be given to managers considering Chelsea’s players. The Blues have the FA Cup on May 5. Roberto Di Mitteo must use his players wisely and is in a juggling act trying to move his team into a Champions League position for next season and also have his lads in form to face Liverpool for the FA Cup title. And, of course, there is the Champions League final on May 19 a week after the Premier League season ends. Even so, it is not likely Di Mitteo will rest players in Week 36, a two-game week with home matches against relegation candidate QPR and red-hot Newcastle. The Magpies are desperate to secure a Champions League spot for next season.
Before closing this entry, don’t you love the dilemma RDM has put Abramovich in? The zillionaire owner obviously wants a big-name, high profile manager after the disastrous hiring of AVB and now all RDM has done is win.