Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gameweek 31 Preview

It's vital to keep your mind with this week and not get too carried away with tuning your team up for the upcoming double gameweeks in GW33 and beyond. No matter how many doubles you have in the future, if getting them involves playing short handed in the run up, you totally negate any value you might gain.

Having said that, the two highlighted DGWs lie with Arsenal and Chelsea who both enjoy a nice run of fixtures leading into the double. Arsenal in particular look to be the best investment this week though it is tough to read their injury situation with any certainty as the promising return of Fabregas and Walcott has been limited with Wenger stating he "has not decided if they will start the game". With Van Persie also facing a late fitness the Arsenal stars look to be risky plays this week though with by the far the best fixture they might just be worth the gamble. With Denilson sidelined I would think Fabregas is the most likely to return though I think I prefer Lampard over the next 3 or 4 gameweeks. My advice would be to bring in a role player like Nasri and go with Van Persie if your current front man is an injury doubt (like Tevez).

Clean Sheet Rankings
  1. Man City
  2. Arsenal
  3. Newcastle
  4. Birmingham
  5. Chelsea
  6. Everton
  7. Bolton
  8. Fulham
  9. Stoke
  10. West Brom
  11. Tottenham
  12. Man Utd
  13. Sunderland
  14. West Ham
  15. Liverpool
  16. Blackpool
  17. Wigan
  18. Aston Villa
  19. Wolves
  20. Blackburn
Attacking Rankings
  1. Arsenal
  2. Everton
  3. Tottenham
  4. Man Utd
  5. Man City
  6. West Brom
  7. Fulham
  8. Liverpool
  9. West Ham
  10. Chelsea
  11. Blackpool
  12. Aston Villa
  13. Wolves
  14. Newcastle
  15. Wigan
  16. Bolton
  17. Blackburn
  18. Birmingham
  19. Stoke
  20. Sunderland
Captain Stats
Arsenal players are clearly the most attractive here with their predicted 3.5 goals leading the pack this week. The injury doubts make it hard to pick too many captain options and you might consider someone like Nasri who has been solid on his return from injury (3.7 PPG, 2 assists in 3 games). Of the bigger names I think Fabregas is most likely to start though with potential penalty and free kick duties, Van Persie probably has the higher upside. The Dutchman has been sensational in the second half of the season (9.00 PPG, 11 goals in 8 games) and if fit is the pick for the remainder of the year. The Arsenal defense is a little tricky to forecast and without the budget Djorou it's hard to get too excited about this unit (especially with Almunia between the pipes).

Chelsea don't have the ideal fixture this week (at Stoke is the sixth hardest game you can have in terms of average goals conceded) but they are starting to show some form both up front (17 goals in the last 8 including 7 in the last 3) and at the back (4 clean sheets in the last 8 games including 2 in the last 4). No one has been better over that period than Lampard who has 6.67 PPG in the second half including 47 in the last 6 games. Given his low ownership (7%), penalty duties and solid fixtures, Lampard is my main transfer target for this week and is my number one rated midfielder from now through GW35. Interestingly he has actually performed better away from home of late with a 7.2 PPG average away from Stamford Bridge.

The theoretically sensational pairing of Drogba and Torres looks too pricey right now having really struggled to gel together and I would pass on both. If you are desperate to ditch Tevez and are scared of Van Persie's injury I would favour Torres here based on his ownership (7%) but I wouldn't be thrilled to own him right now.

There was once a time when the Chelsea defense was so good that the likes of Cole and Terry deserved captain consideration every week. I'm not suggesting they're there yet but Luiz clearly looks like a good capture and with a couple of goals to his name already, he seems to be one of the more offensively promising defenders around. Captain status this week is a stretch but he is my number one defensive target and at 6.3m looks like a potential steal yet to be fully exploited (6%).

Tim Cahill has the fixture but lacks the form or fitness and Everton lack the talent elsewhere on their roster to justify consideration here.

For Spurs, Van der Vaart appears to be fit enough to consider owning but it might be a bit early to hand him the arm band just yet. Teammate Bale is banged up and cannot be considered here at the moment.

United's trip to Upton Park is trickier than it looks (two straight clean sheets) though the Hammers can still be leaky and United should have some joy. Rooney and Nani are obviously the first thoughts and both have shown excellent form of late (Nani 7.3 PPG, Rooney 7.4 PPG over the past 8 GWs). Nani's struggles on the road (5.2 PPG vs 9.75 PPG at Old Trafford) suggest that perhaps Rooney is the better pick here though do check who your opponents look to captain this week if you are leading your league (Nani is more likely the pick with 42% ownership). The presence of Hernandez makes Berbatov un-captainable and possibly un-ownable right now.

Gael Givet
DJ Campbell
Paul Scholes
Jonny Evans
Cheik Tiote

Every move you make now needs to be made with an eye on the remainder on the season so I thought it might be useful to highlight the strength of schedules for the final run in:

Strength of Schedule remaining (defensive)
(in order of total predicted goals conceded, games conceding less than a goal in parenthesis)
  1. Chelsea (7)
  2. Man City (5)
  3. Sunderland (5)
  4. Man Utd (4)
  5. Arsenal (3)
  6. Fulham (4)
  7. Liverpool (4)
  8. Bolton (3)
  9. Stoke (2)
  10. Tottenham (3)
  11. Birmingham (4)
  12. Aston Villa (4)
  13. Blackburn (3)
  14. Everton (1)
  15. Newcastle (1)
  16. Wolves (0)
  17. Wigan (0)
  18. West Ham (0)
  19. West Brom (0)
  20. Blackpool (0)
Strength of schedule remaining (attacking)
(in order of total predicted goals scored, predicted games scoring over 1.5 goals in parenthesis)

  1. Arsenal (7)
  2. Man Utd (6)
  3. Chelsea (6)
  4. Newcastle (4)
  5. Everton (3)
  6. Man City (4)
  7. Blackpool (4)
  8. Tottenham (4)
  9. West Ham (3)
  10. West Brom (2)
  11. Liverpool (3)
  12. Wolves (2)
  13. Bolton (2)
  14. Aston Villa (4)
  15. Blackburn (1)
  16. Stoke (2)
  17. Fulham (2)
  18. Sunderland (2)
  19. Wigan (1)
  20. Birmingham (0)
As always I welcome comments/questions below or over on Twitter @plfantasy. Thanks for reading.


    Mell 10-11 said...

    That's good review you have there. I'm with you on The Hammers potential to hold United but I also expect Spurs to lose to be better prepare for Madrid but even though they have a bare defense, they have a lot of midfield options to turn out for. Its anybody game at this stage.

    The performing players from the
    relegation hopefuls may prove a significant difference in the selection to be honest. Other than West Ham players, I find that Hoilett, Larsson, Odemwingie, O'Hara are the possible picks

    Anonymous said...

    Suarez where? You've to consider him ripping Bromm's defence a new one ;)

    Chris Glover said...

    Mell - nice write up on your site. Thanks for the post.

    Thommas - fair point on Suarez but based on historical data (which I tend to rely on) there is no way I can captain him just yet. Liverpool have 15 goals in 15 games on the road and have only marginally improved to 4 in 3 during his time at the club. I would not be surprised to see him score I suppose and I probably should have referenced him but the play would be clearly based on gut and the eyeball test rather than data. His form is useful and he is on my radar to own but Liverpool are too inconsistent for me to consider captaining any of their players right now.

    Mell 10-11 said...

    Thanks Chris, do leave a comment if any ok, Cheers.

    I find that both VPersie and Suarez might not be profitable due to unfit condition and Hodgson's defensive tactics against his old club respectively. VPersie may share his kicks since Fab & Nasri are available. But I rather choose Suarez than Tevez though