Misfiring Gunners to take aim
Arsenal quartet to take centre stage in Shootout
The goalposts have been moved somewhat for this weekend’s £10k Mondogoal BPL Shootout with the fixtures played on Sunday and Monday excluded from the contest along with Saturday’s early kick-off. This means that there is a reduced player pool to select from but on a more positive note also means that you will have the option to edit your line-ups after team news becomes official on 5 of the 6 games in question.
This Guaranteed Prize Pool carries just a £2 entry fee with prize money stretching down to the player who finishes in 1001st spot. However, our intention here is to put together a game plan that will give us a chance of taking home the first prize. As usual we start with those all-important team goal expectancies and have included the ‘Home Win’ percentage based on bookmakers expectations:
Arsenal scored an average of 2.16 goals at home last season, conceding 0.74 goals per game in the process so they stand-out and will form the basis of our line-up. We’ll also be looking for a home team that has the potential to claim a clean sheet and will be opting for a block defence style approach. On top of this we’ll look for a couple of players that might enable our entry to differentiate itself from the crowd as we go all-out to claim the top prize.
The Man Utd v Liverpool game looks like it could be a volatile affair and with neither team creating too many chances of late we’re happy to swerve the fixture all together. Throw in the late kick-off on top of this and it means that any late team selection problems that present themselves in the other games can be handled there and then.
Man City have been in impressive form and the usual suspects are sure to be popular choices. However, Palace look a dangerous side, particularly with their strength in wide positions, so we’re content not to make our line-up too City focused. However, one player who did catch our eye was Raheem Sterling. The Sky Blues are pencilled in at just over 2 goals here which contrasts well with the 1.16 goals per game that Liverpool managed to muster away from home last season. Sterling looked to be back to his best last time out and we really like his prospects in a potential match-up against Joel Ward.
Guessing who Wenger will choose up front is a precarious occupation but equally important is exactly how much playing time a starter gets as highlighted in Keep that Scoreboard ticking. For this reason we’re happy to side-step both Giroud and Walcott and have gone for Alexis Sánchez who has slipped down to the £10m mark having finished last season valued at £14.6m. He found the net for Chile at the weekend and is maybe just taking a little bit longer to come to the boil following his exertions at the Copa America. Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla have both started this season in fine points scoring form, completing the full 90 minutes on each occasion and are included along with the attack-minded full-back Héctor Bellerín.
The Baggies averaged just 1.26 goals per home match last season but Salomón Rondón is something of a wildcard who promises to be a real hit and miss striker judged on the evidence so far. He has been away on International duty but we’re prepared to take a chance on him having a good day against the Saints here but will monitor any developments closely in case his exertions have taken their toll. Nathan Redmond and Wes Hoolahan are averaging the most points per game so far for the Canaries this season, 8.58 and 7.42 respectively, and the match against the Cherries should be an open affair so both are included.
Watford have had 2 goalless draws at home and we’re going to take a chance on them gaining another clean sheet when they entertain Swansea. It’s a risky play but if they do pull it off it could put us in a great position. Heurelho Gomes gets the nod in goal while centre-back pairing Craig Cathcart and Sebastian Prödl, who are both capable of getting on the scoresheet complete our line-up.
So here’s our provisional line-up for this £10k Mondogoal BPL Shootout and remember to edit your selections close to kick-off if necessary!
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