Sunday, October 31, 2010

Instant Reaction: Newcastle

Anytime a team - particular one with budget options available - scores 5 goals, there is almost certainly going to be plenty of fantasy reaction. Many of us will be seriously looking at Newcastle players this week and so here are some factors to consider before pulling the trigger:
  • Newcastle have the 4th best attack this year overall and the 3rd best at home.
  • Seven players have scored for the Magpies this year but only three (Nolan, Carroll and Ameobi) have more than one.
  • Midfielders account for 10 of Newcastle's 19 goals so far.
  • Newcastle players have been awarded 38 bonus points to date, joint 3rd highest in the league behind only Chelsea (47) and United (40), and level with Arsenal.
  • Newcastle rank as the 5th best attacking team based on strength of schedule over the next 6 weeks and the next 12 weeks.
Kevin Nolan (5.7m)
I will always have a soft spot for Nolan due to the role he played during Big Sam's glorious run in charge of the Wanderers (the goal at Arsenal was particularly awesome). He is also maddeningly frustrating. His eye for goal rates him among the top midfielders in the league and he is a genuinely good finisher who can also hit them in from a distance. I don't think he always puts in enough effort for a central midfielder but he's often been deployed of a lone striker which has eased his defensive duties (interestingly though he played in a 4 man midfield today). Looking at his passing chalkboards do not inspire confidence that the goals will continue to flow but he did manage 7 shots so he's clearly willing to take a punt. Of similar priced midfielders I only really like Adam and Etherington to come close to Nolan and it would not surprise me if he led all midfielders available for under 6.5m when all is said and done.

Andy Carroll (5.5m)
Carroll burst onto the fantasy scene with a GW2 hat trick and he's been in most of minds at some point this year I'm sure. If you want to own one or two premium strikers you will need a cheap compliment and at this point I'd rank them as below, based on value for money:
  1. Carroll
  2. Odenwingie
  3. Rodallega
  4. Elmander
  5. Dembele
 I think all these players are streaky and probably only matchup plays (Carroll has 4 games of 2 points or less) but they give excellent value when the opposition is favourable. If Berbatov and/or Tevez go down hill and Torres/Rooney fail to emerge as legit options there is a reasonable argument to owning two of these boys with Drogba then picking the ultimate midfield.

Jonas Gutierrez (4.8m)
I'm a big admirer of Gutierrez's abilities and have been since his days in Mallorca. That said, I think he is a better real player than fantasy as he doesn't hit the back of the net enough (5 in 77 games for Newcastle) though he has managed 3 assists this year. He isn't a bad option but I feel Nolan is worth the extra 0.9m if you have it.

Joey Barton (4.7m)
Much like Gutierrez I think Barton is a better player in reality than for fantasy. His play makes alot of goals but he tends to play the pass that sets up the assist rather than playing the killer ball himself. The attraction of the pundits is an added bonus (sorry!) but even this has dried up of late and so I would look elsewhere for your squad men.

Shola Ameobi (4.2m)
His incredibly low price makes Ameobi worth a look, especially considering he has more goals than Torres, Rooney and Adebayor and as many as fantasy favorites like Chamakh and Anelka. However, he has just three starts on the season and Carroll didn't start one of these. I don't think Hughton will permanently go two up top and so you're starting minutes are always going to be limited. What's worse is the fact that he has seen action as a sub in every game but one, meaning your chance of a painful 1 pointer is pretty high.
If Hughton sticks with two front at home and away then Ameobi becomes a great bench guy/good rotation player but until that is proven I can't waste a bench spot on someone who might give 1 point, no matter how cheap he is.

I was fairly high on Newcastle coming into the season but I saw Nolan and Gutierrez as spot players and I wasn't on Carroll at all. I now feel that Nolan and Carroll deserve to be played every week, especially considering their favorable fixtures (even though next week's trip to Arsenal is obviously tricky). Rarely do I condone - let alone execute - an early transfer but if you want Nolan you might want to do it now as his price might rise 0.2 this week alone. My strategy is to see if either he or Lee would make my team next week anyway and if not, then I will pull the trigger on the trade I should have made 2 weeks ago.


Ryan said...


Sorry for being off topic here but I need to get it off my chest.

Elmo was subbed out for tactical reasons even before half time and it got me wondering if, from now on, Steve Bruce will stick to his newly adopted 4-4-2 formation? I fear Elmo may no longer have a place in the midfield or starting 11 altogether. To illustrate my point:

LB : Bardsley
LCB: Ferdinand/Mensah/Turner (Bramble suspended)
RCB: Ferdinand/Mensah/Turner
RB : Onuoha/Elmo?

LM : Welbeck/Richardson
LCM: Cattermole
RCM: Malbranque
RM : Henderson

ST : Gyan
ST : Bent

Time to sell the Egyptian Mummy?

Leo said...

No Ryan it's not, Elmo doesn't play RB he plays RM, he will almost certainly be selected above Henderson.

Chris Glover said...

Ryan - I can't see Elmo not getting the majority of minutes in the team one way or another. I think being yanked off when being outplayed is not indicative of future results. He is apparently being tracked by the likes of Arsenal and so Henderson/Richardson etc are highly unlikely to keep him from the team.

For me, the worst case scenario is that he occasionally gets pushed to RB for home games, though I think this is unlikely. I a more concerned by the fact that Sunderland have become a home only play with just 1 clean sheet and 10 goals conceded in 5 road games this year.

I still like Elmo but I think he needs to be in a squad with 5 legit options and not paired with too many other budget options so you can afford to drop him when the schedule calls for it.

Ryan said...

@Leo - Elmo is officially a defender but he usually plays out of position in RM. I don't know much about the Sunderland squad so thanks for your input.

@Chris - Thanks for your insights and assurances. I have long been aware of Sunderland's leaky defence and only got Elmo because of his knack for poaching the odd goal/assist and providing deadly crosses. Agreed, he's a 'homie' - I'm definitely sitting him out of the Spurs and Chelsea matches!

Looks like the strength of our bench will be put to the test in weeks 12 & 13. I'm eyeing Steven Taylor (when he returns) or Danny Simpson as a bargain attacking defender. Are they both worth a punt? Second question: Will Ancelotti's so-called favourite Bosingwa start at least 80% of the remaining matches?

Chris Glover said...

Ryan - I am terrified for Bosingwa. I knew he was risky when I picked him but Ancelotti was blowing hard about having attacking full backs so I liked him to play most games from here on in. Perhaps he felt that they needed the height at Blackburn rather than the extra attacking players.

I think he will surely play the majority of home games (where the clean sheets are most prevelent) but maybe gets dropped for some road games. I think he might play 70% of games from hereon in.

Following that logic he may be dropped again @Liv but then I would think he'd play Ful, Sun, @Bir, @New. If he's dropped for any of these winnable games then I would ditch him.

My problem is that given Ivanovic's fine form, I', not sure if Alex or him are safe either. I think it's reallt 3 in 2 positions. If you want Chelsea defenders you might just have to pony up for Cole

Ryan said...

Yeah there are only 2 places for Chelsea's 3 bargain defenders. It's like musical chairs lol! I have no plans to spend over 6.0 for a CH defender (at 6.9 Ivanovic is too costly for me) so I'm considering doing without one.

Now with Lamps back, would you rather:
a) pair him up with Malouda at the expense of Bosingwa
b) swap Malouda for Lamps and keep Bosingwa?

These are the kinda questions many of us will be asking ourselves in the coming days...