Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gameweek 2 Preview

The pessimist in me is wondering where I go from here after a very successful first week in which my predictions did well and my team dominated to a three digit score. However, I am going to be positive and look to have another good week of predictions and hope to show that last week was no fluke (in reality it was probably was a fluke, as my countless failed predictions in the past show).

One thing I didn't focus on last week, which I now wish I had, is the prediction tool I use to create my clean sheet rankings. Without getting too bogged down in Excel nonsense, the basic idea is to break down teams historic performance at home/away, against other teams and against certain types of team along with the corresponding data for their opponents. To get the historic data for the promoted sides I used a historic relationship between teams' performance in the EPL and the Championship to try and gross up/net down the expected goals conceded/scored.

Anyway, the point being is that along with some somewhat easier predictions that were correct, the spreadsheet also spat out the following:
  • Man Utd 3-0 Newcastle
  • Chelsea 5-0 West Brom
  • Wigan 1-2 Blackpool
Granted these are only three games out of ten but it shows that the spreadsheet is working pretty well and I have renewed confidence that if we rely on the clean sheet rankings over a long period we should get a decent level of success. Indeed, of all the individual team predictions, only the City prediction was out by more than the odd goal (the stats suggested they would concede 1.9 goals but they kept a clean sheet). Now I've talked up the prediction tool let's get this week's picks in the books and hopefully they will be as useful as last week:

Clean Sheet Rankings
  1. Birmingham (0.33)
  2. Arsenal (0.56)
  3. Chelsea (0.63)
  4. Man City (0.70)
  5. West Brom (0.70)
  6. Newcastle (0.77)
  7. Everton (0.78)
  8. Man United (0.84)
  9. West Ham (0.90)
  10. Fulham (0.99)
  11. Stoke (1.10)
  12. Tottenham (1.35)
  13. Blackburn (1.37)
  14. Aston Villa (1.38)
  15. Liverpool (1.59)
  16. Wigan (1.81)
  17. Sunderland (2.08)
  18. Bolton (2.10)
  19. Wolves (2.31)
  20. Blackpool (4.11)
Some tasty looking fixtures for some premium teams this week with Arsenal (vs Blackpool) looking like pick of the big boys. In truth they probably should be number 1 but I have some uncertainty as to how to predict Blackpool's goals. Regardless, Birmingham deserve their place alongside the big teams as they welcome a Blackburn side to St Andrews who were horrific on the road last year. Add to that the way they struggled to keep possession in GW1 against Everton and you have a great looking opponent for Foster, Carr and co. In fact, I am tempted to play both of these players this week to try and double up on the fixture.

I wouldn't go anywhere near the bottom six sides given their opponents and historic performance. True, West Brom looks like an easy game for Sunderland but the Mackems had the 4th worst road defense last season and conceded twice to a Birmingham side at home who managed just 19 all last season.

In all I think it's a decent defensive week but not as promising as last week. It might be worth considering a three man defense if you are loaded up on mid-price options from teams like Spurs, Blackburn or Villa who face tricky road trips this week.

Captain Rankings
  1. Didier Drogba
  2. Florent Malouda
  3. Robin van Persie
  4. Frank Lampard
  5. Cesc Fabregas
  6. Darren Bent
  7. Mikel Arteta
  8. Dimitar Berbatov
  9. Ashley Young
  10. Wayne Rooney
Two fixtures stand out this week from where to select you captain as two of the best attacking teams around take on the two favorites for relegation. The issue is that the star players involved in these games are almost all considered to be risky this week and so the armband must be awarded with care. Drogba and Lampard are both rumoured to be rested though Ancelotti said yesterday that "Drogba is fit, [and] he does not have problems physically". I am fairly relaxed that Drogba will play but less so with Lampard. Still, if either get a rest they will likely not play at all so as long as you have a decent reserve captain, you should be okay. I have put Malouda ahead of Lampard due to Lampard's deeper role and Malouda's risk free status.

The Mirror (not quite the Wall Street Journal but it's all I have right now) claim that Fabregas will be rushed back this week in time to play the mouth watering tie against Blackpool. Given that Cesc didn't play at all last week, this seems a bit suspect and we know the Wenger has alot of time for Wilshere so I am not that confident that Fabregas features here, especially in light of the fact that Wenger will surely back his team to beat Blackpool without their Spanish genius. I am more confident that Van Persie will play having come on late last week. Needless to say, they are both great options and it is worth checking the newswires (or following me over at @plfantasy) to see if any breaking news emerges on this pair.

Darren Bent, Mikel Arteta (or is that Michael Alpha now that the Everton man is being tipped for an England call) and Dimitar Berbatov are three somewhat cheaper options who I like this week if your star men don't excite you. Arteta has a very good fixture (Wol) while Bent and Berbatov are in top form, though facing away trips to West Brom and Fulham respectively. Finally, I am unconvinced by the final pair due to their tricky ties and inconsistent form, but I was running out of options and you really need to try and get one of the Chelsea or Arsenal boys in this week if you.

In case you missed it, I had some rambling thoughts on a successful week one here which I urge you to take a skim through in your own time. As always thanks for reading and good luck for GW2. Continue to check back here and on Twitter for last minute injury news and it's fantasy impact.


The Gaffer said...

Hey mate, this is the 2nd season I've been following your blog, its great help adn really appreciate your blogging.

I was wondering, do you keep a spreadsheet from last season with each result and goal scored?


David A said...

This is a great blog. What are people's thoughts on Bent vs. Chamakh this week? I already have Cesc, but both Bent and Chamakh are playing bad teams, and Defoe is questionable at this point, so I want to replace him with one of the two. Who's more likely to produce?

Thommas said...

If you worry about the two, I would go with Bent. He takes their pens and are certain to play.

With Van P, likey to start up front this weekend, Chamakh will maybe play wide. But not sure tho..

Steven said...

Agreed, Bent. The RVP factor (and Fabregas for that matter) take away from Chamakh's value. Let alone the fact that he's unproven at the Emirates.

David A said...

Thanks guys, good points, I'll go with Bent and pray to god that Cesc actually plays.

Chris Glover said...

Gaffer - I'm afraid that last season I just updated a league table from where I drew all the data from. I am keeping a better database this year but I can't help you with last season.

David - thanks for the kind words. I like Bent this week and he is the safer pick. I am unsure how Wenger will utilise Chamakh if RvP plays so it might be worth holding off on him until that is clearer. As Thommas says, Bent's pens are also a bonus.

Thanks for the comments guys. Keep it up.

Bojan said...

what do you think of ireland move to a.villa is he going to play against newcastle?