Every week we compare a player from each position to help you choose your fantasy football line ups
Scooping the ball from the back of your net while the opposition wheel away in celebration can’t be an easy thing to deal with every week, Rob Green and Tom Heaton should know. Heaton and Burnley have suffered a rude introduction to life in the Premier League and limp into a Gameweek 11 clash with Hull in search of that first win. QPR, now rubbing shoulders with the Burnley men at the foot of the table, host a troubled Manchester City on Saturday- can they capitalise on the underperforming champions?
Rangers may have the leakiest defence in the league with 20 conceded, but they possess more quality than this evidence suggests. Having run Chelsea close in Gameweek 10, there are signs of improvement. Green, personally, has seen 17 put past him this season but he’s also clocked more saves than anyone with 38 in all. By comparison, Heaton’s save count stands at 34 to compliment a laudable three clean-sheets. The QPR stopper represents a marginally cheaper PlayON option but in terms of damage limitation, are Hull or Manchester City a more dangerous prospect?
Ritchie De Laet has been a positive for Leicester in an otherwise grim few weeks. The Belgian fullback, once a perennial reserve at Manchester United, has been one of the most consistent Premier League performers in his position.
A surprisingly impassable object, he ranks among the top defenders with 76 duels won and scores highly in tackles and interceptions. Weighed up against similarly priced defender in Burnley’s Kieran Trippier, the Belgian outperforms the Englishman on most fronts. However, Burnley’s trip to a Hull team struggling for goals looks considerably more favourable defensively than Leicester’s away day at free-scoring Southampton. Or is this the game where the Saints slip up?
Steven Gerrard v Nemanja Matic
A slight and spindly playmaker in his first stint at the club, Nemanja Matic was deemed surplus to requirements and moved on by Chelsea in 2011. He returned in January 2014 a different animal; dominant, hungry and re-imagined as an all-purpose defensive midfielder, Matic slotted into the team immediately and has remained immovable ever since.
If it’s been an upward progression for Matic, the same cannot be said for Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain and his side have struggled badly this season and look a shadow of the team they were six months ago. The two will lock horns in Gameweek 11 and it should prove a fascinating duel by stylistically opposing defensive midfielders. The Serb wins possession, sniffs out attacks and launches his own while the no.8 plays the link between defence and attack- a creator from deep.
The contrast in function is seen in the facts; Matic trumps Gerrard in terms of tackles and interceptions, but lags in terms of key passes. However, with an assist each it’s clear which of the two is performing to expectations and who is flattering to deceive.
Romelu Lukaku v Wilfried Bony
Neither Bony nor Lukaku could find the back of the net when they crossed paths on field in Gameweek 10 and both will no doubt be keen to set that straight this weekend. Lukaku is a young player of immense talent but has struggled to dominate games consistently.
Though four goals apiece is a reasonable tally for this stage of the season, the stats don’t show the influence and link up play that form such a crucial part of their repertoire. They are strikers whose very presence sends panic among opposition defenders and can create space for their teammates just by being. The Belgian poses the pricier prospect but his goalscoring ratio falters behind that of the Swansea man.
Bony gets more attempts on goal- and with Swansea hosting a defensively lax Arsenal in Gameweek 11, there is certainly scope for the Ivorian to add to his goal count. Over the course of the early 14/15 campaign Lukaku’s PlayON point total outshines his competitor with 10045 to Bony’s 9155. However, with a reenergized Sunderland hosting Everton on Sunday could another European hangover be on the cards for Toffees and Lukaku?