Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 5


Arsenal
Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Gervinho, van Persie, Arshavin
Subs: Fabianski, Walcott, Djourou, Gibbs, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin

It is looking like Benayoun has jumped to yet another team where he will serve as bench option, which is somewhat disappointing given the ability he has shown in the past. That said, everyone in that front five with the exception of Arshavin, contributed 5 fantasy points or more this week. Arteta opened his account and despite Arsenal's real life struggles, he's still pulling the strings for a team with good goal scoring potential and he may the best option in that 6-8m range very soon, if not now.

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

Though it didn't translate into any tangible success, N'Zogbia is once again playing on the left of a 4-4-2 where he is more comfortable and should be allowed to move forward more often than when he was forced into a central role in a 4-3-3. Bannan is an intriguing option, having apparently jumped ahead of Albrighton on the depth chart. At 5.0m he is worth monitoring over the next few weeks.

Blackburn
Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Dann, Givet, Hoilett, Lowe, Nzonzi, Rochina, Formica, Yakubu
Subs: Bunn, Olsson, Grella, Petrovic, Vukcevic, Roberts, Hanley

I still have no idea what to do with this team. Their joint top scorers are now own goals and Yakubu, a forgotten star who has played once for Rovers this season. Junior Hoilett continues to impress but while his key passes and assist numbers are impressive, he's logged just 4 shots all season and will likely struggle to find the back of the net given his deep deployment. I guess Yakubu now needs to be thrown into discussion given his low price tag and proven history but he's struggled for fitness for several years now and I need more proof of a return to form before buying in just yet.

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

The key players continue to play for the Wanderers, though they also continue to disappoint from a fantasy perspective. It's worth noting that Bolton have faced a very tricky start to the season and this week's game against Norwich was only the second of the season against non-elite opponents. The defensive unit is probably unownable until they can prove their form, while no one in the midfield is distancing themselves from a crowded field. Klasnic will now be suspended while K Davies has underwhelmed so far. After playing Arsenal and Chelsea over the next weeks, they then don't face an elite team until the new year so we can reassess this team after they've played some easier opponents.

Chelsea
Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Meireles, Lampard, Sturridge, Torres, Mata
Subs: Turnbull, Luiz, Romeu, Mikel, Malouda, Lukaku, Anelka

Despite the team's struggles, Sturridge (6.5m) is playing his way into fantasy contention purely on the basis that he seems to be the third choice forward after Torres and Mata. Throw in Torres' struggles and the fact that Villas-Boas has stated that no one is safe from rotation, and Sturridge looks like he could play fairly regularly. As we said last week, I think we can now conclude that Bosingwa is the starter here, who may possibly be rested every now and then but should play enough minutes to be a very good fantasy defender.

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

Moyes appears reluctant to give his new signings a run out in the first team, while Saha omission caused some uproar on Twitter. Cahill was the lone front man which sounds great on paper but he still hasn't scored in 2011 and I'd prefer to jump on him after he's found form and be a week or two late rather than wait another month before he eventually turns things around. You all know I felt Baines was too expensive before the season started and with Everton continuing to concede sloppy goals, I'd be surprised if he can live up to that 8.0m tag anytime soon.

Fulham
Schwarzer, Kelly, Baird, Hangeland, JA Riise, Duff, Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey, Zamora, Dembele
Subs: Etheridge, Orlando Sa, Kasami, Ruiz, Senderos, Gecov, Grygera

We speculated that Senderos may lose his starting place here, but the presumption was it would due to the arrival of Grygera, who also found himself on the bench. It's a balancing act for this team as they haven't particularly performed well to date but have good fixtures on the horizons which might just about make it worth sorting through this rotation mess.

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

This side is now fairly settled, though before bringing anyone in be mindful of Gerrard's return. The fixtures look pretty good for the medium term so it might be time to consider bringing Suarez back, if of course you can bring yourself to not spend upwards of 23.0m on a certain Manchester forward pairing.

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

This looks like the City first team, with the possible addition of De Jong in place of Barry. We can probably come to the conclusion that the front four are all great fantasy options and while they will all sit at some point, they appear to be locked in for 25-30 appearances each over the course of the season. As promised, the City preview will be up shortly to expand on my thoughts here.

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

Speculation was rife in the pre-season that Valencia would take Nani's place in the first team, but yet again this looks unfounded. Sure, he will steal minutes at some point but Nani has been performing just as well as Young over the past couple of weeks and I would imagine this rotation is fairly equal from here on. You have to imagine Berbatov will get some minutes at some point meaning Rooney and Hernandez will sit for the odd game now and then, but nothing that would make me think twice about owning him. I have expanded on the back line in the upcoming City/United piece, suffice to say I like Phil Jones a lot.

Newcastle
Krul, Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, R Taylor, Obertan, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Best, Ba
Subs: Elliot, Guthrie, Lovenkrands, Perch, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi

Not too much to add here this week. The arrival of Davide Santon spelled doom for Ryan Taylor but a knee injury has delayed his start to his Newcastle career, though he could return to training this week. I wouldn't be desperate to sell Taylor just yet but I wouldn't be buying him anytime soon either.

Norwich
Ruddy, Naughton, R Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Bennett, Fox, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Morison
Subs: Rudd, Crofts, Vaughan, Holt, Surman, C Martin, De Laet

I am totally confused by this team, with only one player (Tierney) featuring every week, and names who appeared locked into the first team (like De Laet, Crofts and Holt) appear to be rotated without any notice. Given their lack of goals (5 in 5) and clean sheets (0 in 5), along with no one really standing out in the underlying stats (key passes, shots on goal etc) there isn't too much fantasy value to be found here.

QPR
Kenny, Young, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Traore, Barton, Derry, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd, Taarabt
Subs: Murphy, Hall, Campbell, Buzsaky, Connolly, Smith, Puncheon

I didn't see this week's impressive victory at Wolves but I was extremely impressed with Taarabt against Newcastle and I have totally come around after being somewhat indifferent after the first couple of games. He hasn't racked up significant fantasy points just yet but I'm very much convinced that the upside is there (this time I put my money where my mouth is and brought him in to my team). Wright-Phillips also caught the eye against Newcastle and added an assist this week at Wolves. For the same price I like Taarabt more but if the run of fixtures was right, I could see a situation where both these players became valuable.

With three clean sheets already, this defensive line deserves some attention and it's looking like this week's lineup is the clear first choice. Traore and Young carry price tags from their earlier high profile teams but Ferdinand and Gabiddon look well priced with the latter in particular offering great value at 4.0m. He picked up a knock against Wolves but looks to be okay to face Villa this week.

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

Stoke have quietly acquired pretty good depth, which is making it harder to judge them for fantasy purposes. The return of Woodgate would suggest he remains ahead of Upson in the pecking order and I still like him despite this week's disaster. I thought Crouch's arrival might spell the end of Walters run in the side but he seems to be ahead of Jones on the depth chart and remains an interesting pickup given his midfield classification.

Sunderland
Mignolet, O'Shea, Bramble, Brown, Richardson, Elmohamady, Gardner, Vaughan, Larsson, Sessegnon, Bendtner
Subs:Westwood, Turner, Cattermole, Wickham, Colback, Ji, McClean

I'm not ready to get too excited about this team just yet as the 4-0 scoreline somewhat flattered them. Sessegnon continues to have good underlying stats but has yet to deliver much in the way on concrete returns. Sunderland's fixtures are up and down so he remains risky but in the long run he provide a useful differentiator as more and more managers jump on the likes of Rooney, Aguero and Silva.

Swansea
Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Monk, Taylor, Dyer, Britton, Allen, Gower, Sinclair, Lita
Subs: Tremmel, Dobbie, Routledge, Moore, Bessone, Richards, Lucas

Dyer and Sinclair finally had the big days their early play had suggested though I'm still not ready commit to Sinclair given his higher price tag. Graham was injured for this one though with Lita scoring it won't be guaranteed that he walks back into this team. With Caulker injured, Neil Taylor appears to be the budget choice on the backline (when fit), along with Vorm of course who is making a very strong claim for must own status through the early part of the season.

Tottenham
Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, Parker, Modric, Bale, Adebayor, Defoe
Subs: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Van der Vaart, Giovani, Bassong, Corluka, Livermore

We're pretty settled here with the only question being what happens when Van der Vaart is fully fit and ready to go. Surely the Dutchman plays every week, which means either Modric/Van der Vaart gets forced wide or Adebayor/Defoe get dropped. I really like Adebayor but that question is burning in the back of mind making it hard to fully recommend him for the immediate future. We all know Redknapp's love affair with Defoe over the years and it's going to be very tough for him to permanently drop Defoe.

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

Still no Brunt here which is a risk you cannot take for 6.0m, making Brunt a definite sell. This whole team has taken a step back from last year and while the goals conceded are a concern (1.6 GPG) it's the lack of offense which is more troubling (0.6 GPG). I like Odemwingie as a player a lot and I'm not ready to bail yet but at 7.4m you have to start wondering if better options don't exist elsewhere.

Wigan
Al Habsi, Van Aanholt, Caldwell, Lopez, Figueroa, Gomez, Watson, McCarthy, Moses, Di Santo, Rodallega
Subs: Pollitt, Thomas, Crusat, Maloney, McArthur, Sammon, Jones

With Van Aanholt slotting in at left back this team now looks fairly predictable and not without some potential value. I don't think I've mentioned Di Santo at all this year but he now ranks 6th among forwards in shots and has already added 3 goals for the season. He is supported by a useful pairing of Moses and Rodallega and seems to be at the fulcrum of everything Wigan do. I had been leaning towards spending big on my front line but Di Santo might make a nice 3rd forward, allowing you the flexibility to keep some money back for your midfield. Moses continues to play and promise much but yet flatters to deceive every week. I wouldn't object to anyone sticking with him but equally, continue to look for other budget options as Moses isn't cutting it right now.

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

My patience with this team is wearing thin and while the side they are sending out is fairly settled (Fletcher missed out through injury), the product they are delivering is pretty weak. Aside from the odd big week from Jarvis and Ward the team has offered little more than promise and given the upcoming fixtures I am starting to feel we should look elsewhere until someone in this side can prove they are for real.

4 comments:

Terry Bae said...

Ahhh I was waiting for this post, thank you! Looking forward to the ManCity article - is it worth keeping Rooney, Aguero and Dzeko as the forward line up, or will Adebayor in Dzeko's place be more productive? :)

My cents at the moment is that I'm really liking Leon Best right now as the third striker option. If he gets time on the pitch, he seems to score most of the time, and with this new ludacris bonus system he'll get heaps of it. Too bad the manager doesn't seem to give him enough chances...

Pat Vivat said...

thank you for the post Chris. What are your thoughts about Gervinho, i see him as a good differentiate (1.4%), and his ceiling is pretty high considering his upcoming fixture. I know arsenal form is not so good, but from a forward prospective - i don't mind scoring three goals and lose out on a game. do you think he is a nail on starter?

Also another forward worth mentioning "leon best" will he start every week from now? i'm making a decision between him and Cabaye. i believe Cabaye is due for a big scoring in these up coming week.

kazek said...

Great post Chris.

Interesting comment on Brunt. I've had him for 2 gameweeks now sadly but I believe his limited game time was mostly due to an injury/recovery more than tactical reasons.

Feels like a waste if I sold him now that Westbrom's fixtures are getting better.

Gummi said...

Nice summary Chris, thanks. I would not hesitate buying Adebayor, as his upside is huge. He is a striker of undoubted quality and seems to have matured from the Togo bus tragedy.

I think it likelier that either Van der Vaart will shift out wide or Defoe will be dropped.

Considering the amazing form of the City teams, do you think it is worth it to keep more expensive defenders (e.g. Bosingwa) or sell them all and front load on Manchester players?