Monday, September 12, 2011

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 4

Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Frimpong, Arteta, Arshavin, Walcott, van Persie.
Subs: Fabianski, Park, Andre Santos, Djourou, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin.

This lineup is what most predicted, though I am little surprised that Benayoun didn't get a chance ahead of Arshavin or Walcott, who have both flattered to deceive so far this year. Arshavin grabbed a fortuitous goal was pretty quiet throughout while Walcott had another game of promising positions turning into wasted chances. Benayoun got half an hour but was often pushed back with defensive duties, though he did play a couple of nice through balls to spring Arsenal counter attacks. I almost brought Ramsey in this week on the basis that this team will surely start scoring goals soon, but Arsenal just don't look too dynamic at the moment and even with great fixtures can't be relied upon for big goal hauls.

Defensively, the team obviously looked better than last week though Swansea still gave them some problems. Mertesacker looked a tad slow off the mark but dealt with most danger that came his way; an upgrade over both Djourou and Koscielny. With their lofty price tags, I'm not ready to consider buying anyone from this unit yet though.

Aston Villa
Given, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Petrov, Delph, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Heskey, Bent.
Subs: Guzan, Ireland, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Clark, Bannan, Herd.

Very settled lineup here with few changes made all year. The question is more finding value with those who play rather than wondering who will start. Most of the team come at a premium which isn't really justified though the defense has shown some promise. It's hard to get too excited about anyone on this team though.

Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Dann, Givet, Hoilett, Dunn, Formica, Nzonzi, Rochina, Goodwillie.
Subs: Bunn, Olsson, Petrovic, Yakubu, Vukcevic, Roberts, Lowe.

I literally have nothing to say about Blackburn. They may be the least compelling team of the last 5 years. I could add that Dann slotted straight into the first team but at 5.0m he is overpriced.

Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Eagles, Reo-Coker, M Davies, Petrov, K Davies, Klasnic.
Subs: Bogdan, Muamba, Sanli, Pratley, Ngog, Kakuta, Wheater.

I hope no-one jumped on the Muamba bandwagon after his early goal as he is both (a) defensive minded and (b) liable to be benched. Don't say you weren't warned. There is some potential for rotation here but the players with fantasy value (K Davies, Klasnic, Knight and Petrov) look pretty entrenched in the side. I wonder is Tuncay has a bigger role to play at some point in the future but until then the established names look safe.

Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Mata, Lampard, Ramires, Meireles, Sturridge, Anelka.
Subs: Hilario, Luiz, Torres, Malouda, Kalou, McEachran, Romeu.

Can we finally conclude that Bowingwa is here to stay? I'm very much surprised to see Luiz on the bench with Ivanovic favoured but Bosingwa seems to be ahead of both in the pecking order. I still feel he gets rested more than Cole but for his pricetag he makes a very nice option (provided Chelsea can start finishing the job and holding on in the last minute).

Offensively, I would not condone owning anyone in this side aside from Mata as the others carry either large price tags or face huge rotation risk. Meireles and Sturridge are worth monitoring due to their lower cost but with so many other options on the bench and neither having great games (I know Sturridge scored but his first half display was subdued at best), they too could face the chop soon. Villas-Boas makes me nervous as he doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with his side.

Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Coleman, Fellaini, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Osman, Cahill.
Subs: Mucha, Drenthe, Stracqualursi, Neville, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios.

This side looks fairly settled though the presence of new boys Drenthe and Stracqualursi may cloud things in the future. That said, with Arteta gone and Saha absent once again, there is little value outside of Tim Cahill (or Baines if you like chasing offensive defender points).

Schwarzer, Hughes, Senderos, Hangeland, JA Riise, Duff, Sidwell, Murphy, Dempsey, Ruiz, Zamora.
Subs: Etheridge, Kelly, Johnson, Kasami, Gecov, Grygera, Dembele.

I'm still not totally convinced that Senderos is safe here with Grygera lurking on the bench, but we can hopefully get more clues on Thursday as Fulham face Twente in the Europa Cup. It was no surprise to see Ruiz jump straight into the lineup, though having been withdrawn at half time after struggling with the pace of the game, it's perhaps worth holding off for a few weeks here before tracking the newest arrival to Craven Cottage. Once again Dempsey's role out wide appears to be limiting his opportunities and he looks overpriced at 8.5m.

Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Kuyt, Adam, Lucas, Henderson, Downing, Suarez.
Subs: Doni, Johnson, Carroll, Maxi, Coates, Spearing, Bellamy.

Carroll has really found himself on the outside looking in and should not be owned right now. The midfield is more settled than I expected but someone is set to miss out with the return of Gerrard so be careful before investing here. For what it's worth I would expect a combination of Henderson and Kuyt to miss most games. Adam's value takes a hit on Stevie's return though as he will surely surrender at least some set pieces. Suarez is of course safe to play most weeks but after a hot start he suddenly doesn't look to be in the same fantasy class as Rooney and Ageuro. With Hernandez returning, Dzeko firing and Adebayor starting, he no longer looks like a slam-dunk pick in that 8-10m range.

Man City
Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Toure Yaya, Johnson, Silva, Aguero, Tevez.
Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Nasri, Toure, Balotelli, Razak.

At least the defensive line is settled. Dzeko was widely talked about sitting so this wasn't a huge surprise nor was Nasri (who broke a finger midweek), though it still will have hurt those who brought him in for Silva, who enjoyed another nice game. Tevez didn't impress but his presence is still an issue, as are Balotelli and Adam Johnson. I am going to do a separate post on how to deal with City's team in the next couple of days as they are proving to be one of the trickiest dilemmas for many years.

Man Utd
De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Cleverley, Anderson, Young, Hernandez, Rooney.
Subs: Lindegaard, Berbatov, Giggs, Smalling, Park, Carrick, Fabio Da Silva.

Evans over Smalling was a surprise for many, including myself who dropped Evans down to third on my bench on the assumption he would only get some junk time. Given that there is always the possibility of Smalling getting a game and that Vidic is set to return at the end of the month, I wouldn't advise pursuing Evans now, but if you hold him he's probably worth keeping (and starting) for now. At 5.5m I am starting to think Jones might be the best answer in this unit as his ability to play CB, RB and even DM make him somewhat of a John O'Shea 2.0. He will of course drop some minutes to Smalling and the Da Silva twins but Ferdinand has shown he is unlikely to exceed 25 starts or so making Jones' upside very intriguing.

Having stated my surprise to see Nani so far behind Young in people's pre-season rankings, I was personally pleased to see him have another good day this week. I think this matchup is closer than many think and it's worth noting that Opta credits Nani with 11 'key' passes to Young's 6, and shows Nani with one more shot (10 to 9). Gun to my head, I'd probably give Young the edge given his set piece duties but considering Nani's lower ownership and price tag, the decision is at least one to consider. Cleverly has been ruled out for a month, presumably opening up a spot in the team for Carrick or Fletcher (when fit).

Rudd, Naughton, Barnett, De Laet, Tierney, Bennett, Crofts, Bradley Johnson, Surman, Holt, C Martin.
Subs: R Martin, Morison, Vaughan, Jackson, Hoolahan, Fox, Wilbraham.

We're starting to see some consistency with this lineup though with just 3 goals and zero clean sheets it isn't clear if there's any value to be had in this side.

Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters, Crouch.
Subs: Sorensen, Whelan, Jones, Wilkinson, Shotton, Jerome, Palacios.

Woodgate was (surprise!) injured for this one so Upson got the start. Upson has been a useful Premier League player and it isn't clear how he will be accommodated in this team when everyone is healthy, though I would still give the edge to Woodgate. With three clean sheets in the bag already, Shawcross would appear to be worth the extra 0.5m given his certainty to play pretty much every week.

I'm not a Crouch guy and his presence along with fellow new-arrival Jerome just serves to cloud this front line and dilute the value of the incumbent starters. Walters' penalty duties are a boost to his value and despite the competition, he remains decent value for the time being. I rate Etherington but he had another quiet fantasy game here and at 6.5m he's becoming tough to own. I will add him to list of players to investigate in this week's chalkboard analysis.

Mignolet, Bardsley, Bramble, Brown, Richardson, Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner, Colback, Sessegnon, Bendtner
Subs: Westwood, Wickham, Vaughan, Ji, Turner, Elmohamady, McClean.

It looked like Bendtner was going to potentially cause some issues here but with Gyan unexpectedly moving on, the lineup is basically as you were. Strangely, Sunderland have managed to find the back of the net against Chelsea and Liverpool but were blanked against both Swansea and Newcastle. Larsson received a lot of backing after his week one display while Sessegnon was a pre-season favourite of many (including this writer) but this Sunderland side really doesn't look too good right now.

Vorm, Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor, Agustien, Britton, Allen, Sinclair, Dyer, Graham.
Subs: Tremmel, Dobbie, Lita, Moore, Bessone, Gower, Richards.

The starting lineup is starting to take shape here though I've been generally underwhelmed by the play of Graham and Sinclair, who both arrived with pretty good reputations from the Championship. Zero goals through four games speaks for itself and the 07-08 Derby County team might be on notice as they look for someone to take their record away from them (20 goals in 38 games). Dyer caught the eye again here but no matter how good a player looks, there aren't too many goals or assists to be had on this team at the moment and thus ownership of any of their players becomes tough. At 4.6m and 4.9m Dyer and Graham at least have the plus of being extremely cheap.

Friedel, Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, Parker, Modric, Bale, Adebayor, Defoe.
Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Livermore, Pavlyuchenko, Townsend, Falque, Giovani.

Adebayor comes straight in and makes an impact, probably sparking a rush of transfers for the 8.0m man. There is a distinct lack of talent in that 8.0m range so if there's no way you can stretch to a Dzeko or a Suarez, the moves makes a lot of sense. I was a fan of Adebayor's play at Arsenal and City and I have no doubt he can score goals again the Premier League. I am somewhat concerned about how this team fits together when Van der Vaart returns, which could be much sooner than expected, especially given Redknapp's love for Defoe. However, it'll be hard to drop Adebayor after scoring on his debut and if he holds that spot down he becomes incredibly tempting at 8.0m.

With Parker slotting in alongside Modric in the middle, you'd expect this lineup to be fairly settled once Lennon returns (in place of Kranjcar) with the question of Van der Vaart/Defoe/Adebayor the only real issue.

West Brom
Foster, Reid, Olsson, Tamas, Shorey, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas, Long, Odemwingie.
Subs: Fulop, Tchoyi, Morrison, Brunt, Dawson, Jones, Cox.

Very surprised to see Brunt benched here as I've felt he's been one of their best players over the past couple of seasons (I haven't seen much of the Baggies this year though - has anyone seen Brunt play poorly?). That front pairing should now be settled and both provide good value in price ranges which lack too many other options. I like Odenwingie a lot as a player and before Adebayor arrived back on the scene I was ready to anoint him my favourite sub-8.5m forward. I am currently debating if a front line of a 11-12m player alongside Dzeko and Odemwingie might be preferable to two 11-12m players and a budget player. Those musings may require a separate, and and undoubtedly long/incoherent post.

Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Lopez, Figueroa, Rodallega, Diame, Watson, McArthur, Moses, Di Santo.
Subs: Kirkland, McCarthy, Crusat, Gomez, Sammon, Jones, Stam.

This lineup is pretty settled, I'm just not sure how much of it you want a part of. Wigan have faced all three promoted sides (and now red hot City) but have only managed 3 goals in the process. Rodallega has not shown the form he did last year and the team seem to be really missing N'Zogbia's dynamic play. Moses remains on option given his price tag but he no longer justifies consideration as anything more than an emergency sub.

Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Kightly, Henry, O'Hara, Hunt, Doyle, Fletcher.
Subs: De Vries, Elokobi, Hammill, Milijas, Vokes, Foley, Jarvis.

I want to like this team offensively but with a couple of blanks against good, but not great, defenses my confidence has been rocked a bit. Jarvis was only fit enough for the bench but Kightly is a good replacement and that front six should be generating goals. No one is really separating themselves within the team making it hard to single any one them out and the current goal shortage compounds that issue. The fixtures get tougher from here so unless we see a fairly dramatic shift in the way the team are playing, you might consider looking elsewhere for your mid level options.


Kick Some Goals said...

Hey Chris, nice work as usual.

My forward line currently consists of Rooney, Suarez and Odemwingie (a favourite of mine also).

After his run of great play but low fantasy returns, I'm looking at giving Suarez the boot for now - however, I'm torn between the outstanding form of Aguero and the cheaper option of Adebayor.

Would you recommend one over the other? I could obviously afford to downgrade to Adebayor but would have to shuffle my lineup to fit in Aguero.

Cheers mate!

Steve said...

I actually took Dzeko out as I thought he'd be benched, but even having Aguero seems a rotation risk as well.

It seems that both will rotate and both will come on for 1-2 points, but should I work on getting Dzeko back in and just take it on the chin when he gets benched around European games?

My other 2 are Rooney and..... Best :-) He's my current budget striker for the season but time will tell!

Anonymous said...

Great blog Chris!
Contemplating playing my wild card this week.
What are people's thoughts on....

Given Kenny
Bosingwa Kompany Senderos Shawcross Enrique
Brunt SWP Young Silva Dyer
Rooney Adebayor Odemwingie

All feedback will be much appreciated!

Chris R said...

@clintpower I debated that front line on Friday and finalized with Rooney + Suarez + Adebayor.

I think both 3 sets will get good results though, I'm staying away from city front line for a while as the rotation to me isn't worth the gamble.. Rooney, Suarez, Adebayor, Odemwingie are regulars for their teams and will get consistent points. Dzeko has had one great game and Aguero is off to a great start but with the price tag the chance they get 0 pts is too risky, plus everyone has them!

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about the city strike force. I want to keep clear until an injury/suspension to at least one of the 4.
I'm actually going to be subbing out Suarez. Would love to keep him as he has impressed this season but the 2.2mil i will be saving will allow me to make other necessary changes.
I'm a bit unhappy with Dyer as i feel he is complete deadwood who i will never want to start. Problem is i feel that way about all midfielders valued below 6mil so i dont feel the extra outlay is justified and i really like the rest of my team. I've had Moses since the start and really want to cut my losses on him!

Anonymous said...

Right done a bit of a rejig and think ive come up with a better team.....

Vorm Begovic
Bosingwa Kompany Senderos Enrique Warnock
Brunt SWP Young Silva Hunt
Rooney Adebayor Klasnic

vs my original wildcard select....

Given Kenny
Bosingwa Kompany Senderos Shawcross Enrique
Brunt SWP Young Silva Dyer
Rooney Adebayor Odemwingie

Does anyone have any thoughs on which team is better or alternative picks?!


PUl615 said...

About Brunt, I think the most logical theory for hes benching that I have heard is that he played 2 international games and was rested.

Gummi said...

Great analysis again Chris. What is your take on the effect of the Europa League adventure on Stoke? I'm hesitant about investing in the team before I see how they cope with the added fixtures. I'm reminiscent of Fulham's excellent Europe campaign and mediocre Premier league campaing under Hodgson.

danny13d said...

I think at the moment that rooney and aguero who are both definate starts should be on everyones team. the budget striker i have gone for is agbonlahor who seems really under valued. he hasd 4 great seasons in a row, then last year he was riddled with injuries and now everyone seems to have forgotten about his quality.

Harry Bollocks said...

um.....where's QPR?