Monday, January 3, 2011

Gameweek 22 Rankings

No time to breathe or dwell on GW 21 (which was fairly successful by recent standards) as the EPL action continues on a short week. The highlight for most will be the double gameweeks for Blackpool and Liverpool, who both also enjoy a double in GW24 (some thoughts on them below).

Clean Sheet Rankings
The rank order is based on the normal form adjusted expected goals per game. In parenthesis you can find the number of clean sheets (at home/away) by the listed team and the number of times the oppositon has failed to score (at home/away)
  1. Man Utd (6 - 3)
  2. Blackpool* (1 - 3) and (1 - 4)
  3. Blackburn (4 - 4)
  4. Bolton (2 - 5)
  5. Newcastle (2 - 5)
  6. Aston Villa (4 - 4)
  7. Chelsea (2 - 1)
  8. Fulham (3 - 4)
  9. Tottenham (0 - 2)
  10. Liverpool (2 - 2) and (2 - 0)
  11. Man City (3 - 1)
  12. Everton (3 - 2)
  13. Wolves (1 - 4)
  14. Arsenal (2 - 2)
  15. Sunderland (3 - 2)
  16. West Brom (0 - 2)
  17. Wigan (3 - 2)
  18. Birmingham (2 - 0)
  19. West Ham (0 - 2)
  20. Stoke (2 - 0)
 *double gameweek

Team Goal Rankings (form adjusted)
  1. Man City
  2. Blackburn
  3. Man Utd
  4. Blackpool*
  5. Tottenham
  6. Chelsea
  7. Arsenal
  8. West Brom
  9. Newcastle
  10. West Ham
  11. Bolton
  12. Liverpool*
  13. Fulham
  14. Birmingham
  15. Everton
  16. Aston Villa
  17. Sunderland
  18. Wigan
  19. Stoke
  20. Wolves 
Captain Stats
  • I'm sure you're sick of reading this but Dimitar Berbatov at home is money. 11.14 PPG at Old Trafford, including 38 in the last two (7 seven goals, 6 bonus points). Stoke have two road clean sheets (at Blackburn and West Brom) and would appear overmatched against a dominant home team. The favourite to stop Berbatov would be Ferguson if he chooses to rest the Bulgarian hitman.
  • It may be a statistical fluke, but Van der Vaart is consistently crushing mid level teams for 10.0 PPG (4.9 against all other teams). He is as good (7.33 PPG) on the road as he is at home (7.13 PPG) and won't be scared of an Everton side with just one clean sheet in their last 11 games. Having played in all three Christmas games I am bit worried he will be rested but is probably unlikely to come off the bench in that instance so as long as your backup option is set, VdV makes another solid play this week.
  • Carlos Tevez has two good indicators this week having incredibly notched 8.5 PPG on the road as well as hitting mid level teams for 6.89 PPG. I was left frustrated watching him against Blackpool but he did have plenty of chances and a similar game would likely see better returns in the future. In terms of production he hasn't been outstanding against the top sides (1 goal in 4 games vs MnU, Che, Ars and Tot) to date but we know he has the talent and his overall production this season has been very good.
  • With 8.5 PPG at home, Nani is a useful play this week but his injury status makes him very risky. He looks likely to return but this could well be on the bench so the armband looks to be a week too soon for me.
  • Of the Arsenal players, I like Fabregas the most who has been very impressive since his return from injury (again). One goal, 3 assists and 5 bonus points in two games have made owners pay attention and the fact he was rested against Wigan makes him a safe pick this week. City have only one road clean sheet since GW6 and have shipped 11 goals in the last 4 road games. Elsewhere I like Nasri's 7 PPG at home and he too should be relatively safe to start having also missed the Wigan game.
  • I don't know what to make of this Chelsea side and none of them look like captain options this week. Drogba is of course the pick of the bunch but he's averaging just over 4 points on the road and is likely not your best option.
  • Of the double gameweekers I think Chaz Adam is surprisingly the best pick; better than any Liverpool player. Adam's home stats aren't great (4.0 PPG) but with such a small sample size (6 games) it's hard to make too many judgments. Liverpool and Birmingham have four road clean sheets between them while Blackpool have scored in every home game this year (including 2 per game in the last 4). I guess Torres has some appeal but with one road goal in 9 games I am not happy giving him the armband. Liverpool defenders may get some attention but again, Blackpool have scored in every home game while Blackburn have dropped just 2 duck eggs. Liverpool meanwhile just 2 road clean sheets, the last coming in GW10.
Double gameweeks
  • GW22 - Blackpool and Liverpool
  • GW24 - Aston Villa, Blackpool, Fulham, Liverpool, Man Utd, Wigan
Liverpool and Blackpool obviously are attractive due their double-double gameweeks with Adam and Varney being my picks from these two teams. Torres, Gerrard and co still look overvalued and I can't place enough faith in their defense to warrant investing right now.

Elsewhere, obviously Man Utd stick out and if you don't own any now, you might want to consider bringing in a MnU player this week in preparation for the double so you can field at least 2 in GW24. Their fixture this week is also very solid so the tough trip to Spurs next week is offset by the potential spoils. Berbatov is of course the obvious pick while I think Rooney is showing signs (if fit) of being poised for a breakout run of goals. At the back, Rafael was rested last week and makes a nice value option should he recover his place. If that's too risky Ferdinand makes a lot of sense at 6.7m as United's defense is getting back on track. A fit again Nani is of course a solid option once more.

Suspensions
  • Nikola Kalinic
  • Marouane Fellaini
  • Jermain Defoe
  • Younes Kaboul
  • Gabriel Tamas
  • Charles N'Zogbia
On a side note, a piece I did on Arsene Wenger's best signings is posted over at backpagefootball and any reads or comments would be greatly appreciated. As always I welcome your comments/questions below and you can follow me @plfantasy. Thanks for reading.

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