Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gameweek 6 Preview

Clean Sheet Rankings
I'm changing things a little but this week as along with the standard statistical predictions for goals conceded, I have also worked in some of the goal trends that I noted earlier in the week in order to generate my weekly rankings. I have looked for concrete trends based on statistical fact so these are not 'hunches' but more tweaked facts to incorporate the wider trends.
  1. Newcastle v Sto 0.34
  2. Birmingham v Wig 0.44
  3. Liverpool v Sun 0.43*
  4. Arsenal v WBA 0.50
  5. Aston Villa @Wol 0.79*
  6. Man Utd @Bol 0.93*
  7. Fulham v Eve 0.71
  8. Blackpool v Bla 0.77
  9. Wolves v Ast 0.91
  10. Chelsea @MnC 1.36
  11. Man City v Che 1.47
  12. Everton @Ful 1.48
  13. Tottenham @WH 1.57
  14. Wigan @Bir 1.93*
  15. West Ham v Tot 1.67
  16. Stoke @New 1.81
  17. Blackburn @Bll 1.82
  18. Bolton v MnU 2.04
  19. Sunderland @Liv 2.79
  20. West Brom @Ars 4.17
*denotes a team whose ranking has been altered based on specific trend analysis noted below. I have capped these movements to 3 positions to avoid basing the rankings on ‘gut’ rather than statistical analysis.

Trend analysis
  • Stoke are conceding 75% of their goals to midfielders with Newcastle’s midfield accounting for 50% of their goals this season. Nolan, Barton and Ben Arfa need to be upgraded accordingly.
  • Stoke have scored 40% of their goals from defense but Newcastle have yet to concede to a defender, thus boosting their clean sheet credentials even further. They are a very good value play this week.
  • Sunderland are highly susceptible to set pieces (60% of all goals conceded) so Liverpool defenders get an offensive boost here.
  • Liverpool have conceded 71% of their goals to forwards and forwards account for 80% of all Sunderland goals. Darren Bent looks like a useful play despite the fixture being tricky on paper.
  • Wigan are yet to concede from a set piece and Birmingham struggle from open play (just 43% of their goals). This one looks like a good 0-0 bet as both sides lack the quality to break down the opposition without using set pieces.
  • Arsenal have surprisingly scored 21% of their goals from set pieces while West Brom have given up 4 such goals already this year. Someone like Koscielny therefore becomes a nice pickup this week as a potential clean sheet/goal double threat.
  • Blackpool have given up 75% of their goals to midfielders meaning someone like Gamst Pedersen becomes a spot starter if you are desperate.
  • Almost half (44%) of the goals conceded by Villa have been from set pieces, something Wolves are not particularly known for (17% of their goals). I am therefore upgrading the Villains ahead of their purely historical ranking.
  • I have upgraded United given that they are yet to concede to a forward this season while Bolton have been reliant on their forward partnership of Davies and Elmander (no other Bolton player has scored this season).

Captain Rankings
  1. Didier Drogba – Despite the tricky fixture I can’t recommend taking the armband away from Drogba unless there in another top line player with a top line fixture (a fit Fabregas would have tested my resolve this week). Must have, must captain.
  2. Dimitar Berbatov – Turning into a real fantasy force, Berbatov is carrying United right now and he gets a good fixture to continue his form in with a trip to Bolton who have been solid but still liable to lose to the best teams.
  3. Florent Malouda – Like teammate Drogba he is undroppable right now and is just 6 points behind the Ivorian. Rotation risk and lack of set piece duties are the only knocks to prevent him holding onto second spot.
  4. Andrei Arshavin – Great fixture for a player in good form though Fabregas will be missed here. My spreadsheet suggests this one will be 3 or 4 nil so there should be points to go around all Arsenal’s weapons, not to mention the bonus points freed up by Fabregas’s absence.
  5. Fernando Torres – Still nowhere near back as a league or fantasy force but he at least showed signs against United and gets a great fixture here as Sunderland come to town. I’d back the Spaniard to get his second of the season in this one.
  6. Steve Gerrard – Two goals against United have put Stevie G back on the fantasy radar, but be careful given that they were both from set pieces. I have bumped him up the rankings here thanks to the fixture but I still feel he is overvalued over the likes of Malouda, Arshavin and a fit Fabregas.
  7. Marouane Chamakh - Someone is going to score against West Brom and Chamakh has been solid so far this season so could capitalise. I like him as a wildcard captain pick if you don't have any of the aforementioned top players.
Matchup Picks

Jack Wilshere - One of the few men in the world to benefit from Cesc's injury (aside from Arsenal's competitors), Wilshere should play in the favourable fixture at home to West Brom and becomes a nice option for the week. He is only a short term fix though as Fabregas is possibly back for the Chelsea game and even if not, Arsenal players will be poor plays that week.

Laurent Koscielny - Like Wilshere Koscielny benefits from a great matchup in terms of both defensive and offensive stats. Arsenal rank 4th in the clean sheet rankings and as noted above West Brom are weak at set pieces making Koscielny a double threat this week.

Mike Williamson - Williamson has been very good value this year, being the pick of the Newcastle defense contributing bonus points, an assist and clean sheet points. Newcastle are my top clean sheet pick this week and I think Williamson is not only a good play but also a good pickup if you are dissatisfied with any of your bench/rotation defender.

Carlos Salcido - I was a big fan of Salcido's work during the World Cup and he marked his Fulham debut with an assist and two bonus points last week. Salcido is a very attacking player and he should have plenty of chances to get forward and contribute offensively, on top of the good clean sheet chance he has this week. Fulham's fixtures are tough from GW9-16 so I think he is only a spot starter but nonetheless carries some value.

Tim Krul - Much like Williamson above, Krul gives you cheap access to a top defensive play this week after Harper's injury. Over the next few weeks I think Krul is the best 4m 'keeper to own.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your comments below and @plfantasy.


Ryan said...

I'm a big fan of your blog. but this week, Chamakh is facing West Brem that tends to play open game, not Sundererland. @SupperRookie

Tony said...

What's your thoughts on captaining Bale?

Colin said...


Once again props for the blog. I'd like a bit of advice regarding my team, as I've used my wildcard this week and need my team shape to be set from now up until the transfer window, so the side needs to be set for a long term strategy as well as keeping an eye on immediate returns. I didn't want to use the wildcard just yet, but with a combination of injuries and a need to het Berbatov into the side, I've decided to bite the bullet. As it stands it's

GK: Foster (Bir), Jaaskelainen(Bol).

DF: Alex (Che), Ridgewell(Bir), Konchesky(Liv), O'Shea (ManU), Williamson(New)

Mid: Gerrard (Liv), Nolan(New), Ferguson(Bir), Scholes(ManU), Malouda(Che).

For: Carroll(New), Drogba(Che), Berbatov(ManU)

The plan is to keep Gerrard in for Fabregas until he returns from injury and then swap him straight back in, but most of the others I see as reasonable medium to long term bets. I've also taken the decision to drop Bale, as he's a little pricey and Redknapp has been making alarming noises about him being a left back and not a midfielder. I was just wondering though if there's any players there from sides facing a particularly tough run though.

Chris Glover said...

Thanks Ryan - that'll teach me to try and post late at night.

Tony - I am literally terrified of captaining Bale after doing it once this season and getting burned by a 2 point display while the mighty Drogba and Malouda powered on to high scores. That said, the fixture is decent and he was on the edge of my consideration after Chamakh. My problem is that Assou Ekotto played for 120 minutes in midweek and is liable to be dropped thus forcing Bale to LB once again. With so much talent in midfield and Redknapp commenting that LB is Bale's best position for the future I think this is going to be a risk all season. If it happens again I am moving Bale onto the chopping board.

Colin - I like the team lot. I see you have the same reservations about Bale and I might go the same way very soon. The only player with a really tough run of games in the next 8 weeks or so is Alex but there is little reason to think he shouldn't be widely held so no issues there.

I think better options exist than Ferguson, particularly as this gives you 3 Birmingham players. He has only generated bonus points this season and the arrival of Hleb and Beausejour may cut into these soon.

Assuming you have no extra cash, Nolan and Ferguson cost 10.1m so other options would be:

Ben Arfa / Simon Davies - 10m
Barton / Parker - 10m
Barton / Henderson - 10.1m
Adam / Ben Arfa - 10.1m
Hleb / Ben Arfa - 10m

Of these pairings I am fan of Ben Arfa and Adam which gives you sufficient upside in Ben Arfa along with reliability in Adam. Their fixtures gel well (assuming you will normally play at most one of them) and both enjoy a great set of attacking fixtures over the next 10 weeks or so.

This pair isn't a HUGE upgrade over what you have but I feel they will outscore them in the long run.

I love the front 3 and if using a wildcard it is hard to pick against this frontline. At 5.0m I think Odemwingie deserves a mention as that 0.7m could be used to upgrade elsewhere but based on not just form but also the prospect of future form, Caroll looks like the right pick to me.

I am going to fake play my wildcard this week and see who I would pick if I were to use it for real. I'll post the results and we can see how similar our teams will be.

David said...

Excellent article, Chris. Good work, as always. I agree with your pick of Drogba as number 1 choice for captain, especially with the news that City have an injury crisis in their defense.

Chris Glover said...

David - yeh @MnC suddenly doesn't look so daunting. I can see City playing with 2 defensive mids but Malouda Anelka and Drogba should be a mismatch for whoever they play along the back line.

Carroll=Shearer said...

Isn't it amazing that Rooney is no longer even mentioned in the captain rankings? Sports are crazy, huh?

Chris and others: where do you expect Gerrard to play tomorrow? I kinda want to pick him up, but not if he's going to be playing as defensively as he has been. Thanks.

Ryan said...


I have Alex, Bale, Scholes and Nani in my team. For the purpose of GW 6 I only have 2 spots left.

Here's my take on the matter:
-Alex may concede @ Man City so I'm not too keen on risking a mere 2-pointer.
-Bale might be pushed to LB and end up with 2-3 points too. However, he has performed better (eg. bonus points) in away matches so far this season.
-this leaves me with Nani & Scholes and I honestly don't know what I'm gonna do with them. As of now, Scholes is on my bench merely because he's cheaper!

Which duo would you recommend me to use? Thanks!

Chris Glover said...

Carroll - I think Gerrard is going to play too deep to warrant consideration on a regular basis but I like him as a short term fix for Cesc owners. With Maxi, Cole and possibly the returning Kuyt to choose from, it looks like Gerrard might play in the 3 of a 4-3-2-1 formation.

Ryan - I would go Nani, Bale, Alex, then Scholes. Nani is a safe play these days while teammate Scholes is still liable for rotation. I am concerned by Bale's move to LB but he still notched an assist when moved there in GW4 and I think he always give you a chance at points from corners etc. Alex meanwhile faces a tricky game and while City have injuries they still look like a formidable opponent and Alex is more of a boom/bust 6 points or 2 points kind of guy.

Ryan said...

Thanks for your ranking Chris!

Nani is on form so he's a must. I actually like Bale and Scholes equally because one scores unexpected goals/assists while the latter is a bonus points magnet. Alex should probably sit this one out as the probability of a Chelsea clean sheet @ MC is below 50%. My tentative duo is Nani & Bale.

Have a good gameweek.

Colin said...

Cheers for that Chris. I've decided to take your advice and go for Ben Arfa and Adam. Ben Arfa was a player I had my eye on, but thought I'd give him a little while to see if last week was the norm, or a flash in the pan, but I've decided the risk is worth it, now that Adam is also available for a similar rotation strategy as we're using for the goal keepers. I'm also thinking in the longer run that I might want to bring Ireland in for Scholes, but want to wait and see how he settles into the Houllier regime at Villa. Apart from that and the obvious Cesc issue, I'm pretty happy with the side...