Monday, October 1, 2012

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 6

Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski, Gervinho
Subs: Martinez, Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Giroud, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou.

No real shocks here, though I must say I'm still a bit surprised to see Ramsey in the side over the likes of Walcott and Chamberlain. My suspicion is that against 'weaker' sides Ramsey might take a back seat but in the interim I would steer clear of the whole Arsenal midfield outside of the ever impressive Cazorla. Diaby was in the mix but is now ruled out - per Wenger - for a minimum of three weeks which could give Ramsey some playing time in the middle. It looks like Gervinho remains the first choice forward over Giroud and he's become a very intriguing differentator (2.4%). He's one player I will certainly highlight in this weeks 'fanning the flames' piece.

Aston Villa
Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, Albrighton, Holman, El Ahmadi, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke. 
Subs: Given, Bent, N'Zogbia, Westwood, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj.

Bent and Bannan were two surprise benchings here and if this is a sign of things to come, it could all but end Villa's use as source of fantasy value in the short-medium term. That said, as with Demba Ba a couple of weeks back, the fact that Bent was benched and then scored is often enough for said player to return to the first team sooner rather than later (that doesn't help his grossly inflated price tag mind you). Benteke had a nice game in his absence (statistically that is, I didn't see the whole game to assess him fully) so Agbonlahor may well find himself relegated to the bench again shortly. As for Bannan, I wouldn't panic just yet assuming he's just a bench option for you anyway but his status should of course be monitored closely.

Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand.

Terry came back into the Chelsea side here and while Cahill might get the odd game, it would seem fairly safe to assume that Luiz and Terry play the majority of games. I would still however value Cole higher than either given the lack of real alternatives at left back (Bertrand can do a job but he surely isn't a sustained threat to take minutes). This front six might become the new norm with Lampard pushed further out of contention, but given their individual roles and price tags, it still looks like Hazard and, I suppose, Torres are the only viable picks here.

Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Mirallas, Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic.
Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Distin, Gueye, Vellios, Anichebe, Duffy.

The two widely held midfield options - Fellaini and Pienaar - didn't end up with any returns here but in terms of lineups there isn't too much to report with their status. Jelavic made a scoring return to the side and with the presence of Mirallas out wide, one could argue that Fellaini might be less likely to play so far up field on a regular basis, though any such changes are likely to have a marginal effect on his overall value. The return of Jelavic actually probably helps Pienaar as the majority of his value is derived from assists, and his key passes are more likely to be finished by Jelavic than the shot-happy but rash Anichebe.

With Coleman getting the start at right back and Heitinga once again getting the nod over Distin, we're at a point where Jagielka and Baines (and Howard, but that's a different issue) are the only secure ways to access this useful unit, which probably pushes Baines' value up a touch for the coming weeks.

Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Baird, Sidwell, Duff, Ruiz, Petric, Rodallega.
Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Kasami, Karagounis, Briggs, Kacaniklic, Smith.

Berbatov was injured here which we already knew, so Petric's inclusion (and goal) shouldn't really be taken as a sign of future success. Kacaniklic being rotated is a big blow as he has quietly enjoyed a very promising to the season and was one of the better ~4.5m options around. It's premature to start transferring your bench options based on one game, but if Jol suggests he's ready to give Ruiz significant playing time, Kacaniklic will obviously become a 'sell'.

Reina, Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson, Sterling, Sahin, Allen, Fernandez Saez, Gerrard, Suarez.
Subs: Jones, Assaidi, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Carragher, Borini.

Jose Enrique was injured here so Wisdom got the somewhat surprising start, though from Rodgers' recent quotes, there's no guarantee Enrique will play even when fit. At 4.5m Wisdom would obviously be an interesting pickup but given the lack of security he faces, a transfer at this stage would seem premature. The other key moves here were the introduction of Sahin and Saez for the disappointing Borini and suspended Shelvey. Though I'm not ready to anoint either of those replacements as ownable yet, what these moves do suggest is that Sterling has been officially bumped up the depth chart and thus should only really be limited by age/fatigue rather than simply being dropped. His stats haven't been overwhelming to date but he's playing for a good - and improving - team and looks be better and better value for your 4.7m.

Man City
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Javi Garcia, Barry, Silva, Toure, Aguero, Tevez
Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Nasri, Kolarov, Dzeko, Balotelli.

The good news is that aside from Nastasic getting the start over Lescott, this is the team which I suggested was City's strongest and would be the one to generate the most minutes this season. Of course, the likes of Nasri, Dzeko, Kolarov etc will all get their minutes too, but I felt happiest backing this eleven to start more often than not. The problem is the fact that Tevez was once again withdrawn  on the hour mark and despite his comparatively cheap price tag, he's suddenly moved from being perhaps the best value elite forward to borderline ownable. With so many great options available for 8.0m or less, most of whom are almost guaranteed to play when fit, it's tough to swallow paying 2.0m more for Tevez's services.

City still lead the league in shots conceded inside the box and their eight goals conceded in six games isn't horrific, yet they just don't seem to be able to put together a 90 minutes performance to get the clean sheet. This week they lost it on a very soft penalty and only surrendered one other shot on target inside the box all day (and one from about 70 yards out from Riise). The data suggests good times will come for this defense but given their price tags it's definitely worth considering if you'd prefer to wait for that happen while owning someone else.

Man Utd
Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Nani, Giggs, Kagawa, van Persie
Subs: De Gea, Anderson, Wootton, Cleverley, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck

Twitter was abuzz this week about the prospect of Kagawa, Rooney and van Persie playing together after Rooney made an impact off the bench, though it still isn't 100% clear to me how this will work out. Will the team just sacrifice width on one side of the field and hope that Rafael or Evra can fill it? Will van Persie be deployed on the left with Rooney up top (a bad idea in my humble opinion)? Until we know for sure, given the price tags involved and the fixture next week (at Newcastle) I would suggest there's no rush to pile onto this trio just yet.

No unexpected changes at the back with Vidic missing out through injury (knee - 2 months). Ferdinand was so bad in this game that I am more worried about this unit than City and while Rafael is good value at 5.8m, I don't see him as an elite defender without Vidic to solidify this unit. In fairness, Ferdinand was largely undone by Bale (one of the league's better and faster players) but if we're downgrading United to a team to only play against weaker sides, 5.8m suddenly doesn't look so great.

Harper, Perch, Williamson, S Taylor, Santon, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Bigirimana, Gutierrez, Cisse, Ba
Subs: Elliot, Anita, Shola Ameobi, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson, Tavernier

Newcastle have a host of defensive injuries to deal with, now including S Taylor who departed here after 55 minutes and with so many question marks it makes it tough to (a) forecast who will play and (b) whether the unit can recover from so many enforced changes. If you own Taylor or Santon I'd be okay holding them for a week or two to clear the tough fixtures and let a couple of teammates regain their fitness.

On the attacking side of the pitch, Bigirimana came in for Anita but for fantasy purposes it's as you were: Ben Arfa and Ba are the stars with Cisse offering some differential value but at a premium I'm not willing to pay.

Ruddy, R Martin, Turner, Barnett, Garrido, Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Surman, Morison, Jackson
Subs: Bunn, Holt, Hoolahan, Tierney, R Bennett, Tettey, E Bennett

Jackson came in for Hoolahan in this one and Hughton doesn't appear to really know what his best eleven is. It's hard to imagine that it doesn't involved Grant Holt but for now at least he should not be in contention alongside the growing list of solid 6.0-8.0m options. Turner got the start here for Bassong but there's no way you should be touching anyone from this back line right now.

McCarthy, Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey, Kebe, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak, Hunt
Subs: Taylor, Pearce, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Guthrie, Le Fondre, Roberts

Cummings, Mariappa, Kebe, Karacan and Hunt all came in here and given the good results (16 shots created and a good draw with Newcastle) some of these players could be here to stay. Until we see some consistency in this lineup though, there doesn't appear to be much value other than third bench man fodder. Blog favourite Guthrie was benched so his owners should start considering bench options to bring in if and when you have a spare tree transfer.

Gazzaniga, Richardson, Fonte, Yoshida, Clyne, Ramirez, S Davis, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Lambert, Rodriguez
Subs: K Davis, Hooiveld, Do Prado, Mayuka, Chaplow, Reeves, Puncheon

A couple of changes here with the most notable being Puncheon finding himself on the bench. Puncheon was the subject of this week's moneyball piece and while I didn't see him as a legit every week fantasy starter, I did think his playing time was fairly assured. Instead the Saints went with a midfield trio of Rodriguez, Ramirez and Lallana to support Lambert up top. Long term Ramirez - the most talented of the group - looks like the safest bet but he of course comes with a much steeper price tag. For now then, I'd be okay holding onto Puncheon, hopeful that if he is indeed done as a starter, another 4.5m option will emerge soon to replace him.

Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Kightly, Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Edu, Whitehead, Upson, Etherington

Nothing to report here. Stoke continue to be an undervalued and underrated team, both in reality and in the fantasy world and we all need to give them a bit more credit. This lineup is extremely settled and therefore offers several decent options, most notably in Walters, Crouch and Shawcross but also in a couple of cheaper options like Wilson, Kightly and Whelan. Expect to see more on this unit in this week's 'fanning the flames'.

Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Rose, Johnson, Larsson, Colback, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher
Subs: Westwood, Campbell, Wickham, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Meyler, Saha

Sunderland really set their stall out to attack here, and while the results were modest (one goal at home to Wigan) it's great to see a team adapting their lineup to try and win games and this should give Fletcher owners hope that his number of chances will increase in the coming weeks. We'll get to Fletcher in fanning the flames but for now we can just conclude that this Sunderland team offers a number of solid options for the short, medium and even long term.

Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Dyer, Britton, Ki, Michu, Hernandez, Graham.
Subs: Tremmel, Routledge, Monk, Shechter, Moore, de Guzman, Tiendalli.

The gloss has come off this team somewhat with a combined 7-0 loss over the last three games. The good news is that the main fantasy options all appear to be locked into the team, and we've gained a potentially valuable sub in Davies, assuming of course this defensive unit can get back on track. I'm okay holding onto most of the Swansea options but if you're sat on a large Michu profit, you need to weigh the benefit of keeping him for the next two great looking fixtures (RDG, WIG) versus the risk that the tipping point has been reached for the masses who will jump ship and cost you 0.2m or so. For what it's worth, if you've held him for this long, I'd keep him for at least the next two gameweeks.

Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Sandro, Dembele, Dempsey, Lennon, Bale, Defoe
Subs: Lloris, Dawson, Huddlestone, Falque, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Mason

I speculated that we could see a situation where Spurs go very narrow with a Bale-Sigurdsson-Dempsey attacking trio but we've seen no evidence of that so far with Dempsey here acting as a straight replacement for his Icelandic teammate. That makes that pair unownable unless one of them shows they can lock down a place in Villas-Boas's first team though it's good news for Lennon who, in theory, deserves some attention. I say in theory because to date his production has been so-so, with underlying stats which show solid assist potential but very little chance of getting on the scoresheet.

Defensively, Vertonghen really caught the eye this week, both for this forward runs from the left back spot and his threat from set pieces. Is he worth 1.4m more than Gallas? Probably not, but if you have a bit of cash lying around he deserves a thought. Though the clean sheets haven't come so far, Spurs rank 4th in shots conceded in the box and have a really nice run of four games coming up if you fancy taking a chance at the back to replace your floundering assets from the two Manchester teams.

West Brom
Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Gera, Long
Subs: Luke Daniels, Rosenberg, El Ghanassy, Dorrans, Lukaku, Tamas, Fortune.

Popov came in at the back for Ridgewell though that was a forced change so I wouldn't read too much into it. The only other change was somewhat of a surprise with last week's goalscorer Lukaku making way for Long, who rewarded Clarke with a goal of his own this week. Despite his goal, Lukaku didn't actually have a great game last week so this wasn't a huge shock but I'd still wager he gets more playing time as the season progresses. That said, at 6.5m he's too expensive to bench every week and thus probably should be avoided for now (but monitored closely).

Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, Kone, Gomez, Maloney
Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Watson, Di Santo, McManaman, Boselli, Miyaichi

McArthur came back into the team for Watson though to suggest this move registered highly on anyone's radar would be an exaggeration. One point of note in team is Di Santo's place on the bench as after a promising start to the year he seems to have fallen out of favour of late, with Martinez preferring a couple of midfield options behind a lone forward. At 5.5m Di Santo represented a potentially solid third forward investment so it would be a shame to lose him but without guaranteed playing time he is of course a 'sell'.


chemikills said...

1) Terry has that 4 match ban hanging over his head. Surely he has to decide whether or not to appeal this week? So Cahill may well get minutes

2) Bassong was injured, Turner 2 starts with 10 goals conceded (ouch)

3) Sigurdsson was fielded deep to hold the lead, it might be that Dempsey will get more minutes. But we shall see

Ramzy said...

What to do with Podolski Chris? I am worried he is playing deeper and on the wings with Gervinho playing centrally, his only contribution in the Chelsea game was an excellent header which was saved by Cech and to add on to that, Arsene Wenger regularly subs him around 70 mins.
At 8.6M, is he justifying the extra premium paid over the likes of Crouch,Lambert,Ba and Fletcher?

Crhis said...

No mention of Mata?

Haven't looked at the stats in any depth myself yet, but word is his place in the new system is more attacking than that which made him unownable at the start of the year - with a corresponding downturn in Hazard's stats.

I'm intrigued at £8.8m

Charl Du Plessis said...

I'm currently sitting with a front three of Ba, Aguero, Berbatov after replacing RVP with Aguero for the past gameweek.

In all honesty I only put in Berbatov as a "wildcard" type of trasnfer. I transferred him on deadline day when I read that Fulham bought him. But as I said, it was more of a gamble than a realistic expectation of points. You can imagine my delight at how well it's panned out. However I'm not quite happy with those 3.

I've got 2.3 in the bank and a decent midfield which includes Bale, Kagawa, and Nolan. I'm strongly considering to upgrade Adam Johnson (another gamble of mine) with someone like Cazorla.

Do you think my front 3 is okay? If I have to change any of them it would probably be Berbatov as I'm not sure if his fantasy points are sustainable. Are they? I quite fancy Aguero. If I do want to change Berbs (or Ba) who do I get in? Or should I wait a week or two and see how they fare?

Kevin Tan said...

Who would you choose between Suarez and Ba?

Do you think Suarez worth the extra 1.3 premium?

Tony S said...

Hi Chris, after Chelsea's game with Norwich next week could you maybe analyse the contribution of the 3 attacking midfielders. I'm tempted to dump Hazard for Mata and collect my 0.7 profit.

Additionally, it seems that owning Carzola, Suarez, Ba and Bale is sufficient cover for their teams attacking potential but who or what do you think is the best way to achieve this for Utd or City? Is it a Utd striker and city midfielder? I'd love Silva to hit form again to resolve this issue :)

Chris Glover said...

Chemikilis - 1. Terry's suspension might not kick in for up to six weeks depending on how all the appeals etc shake out so I don't see Cahill as ownable until we know for sure when that falls. Even then, given that he is all of 0.2m less than Cole who is virtually guaranteed to play 30+ times this year, I don't see any value.

2. That whole Norwich defense, and team to an extent, is a bit of shambles at the moment. I actually rated Turner quite highly at Sunderland but I guess he's taken a couple of steps back?

3. You can argue Dempsey v Sigurdsson either way but for 8.0m+ I want guaranteed minutes which neither of these come close to providing. It's nice to find differentiators but I don't see this as a place to do it.

Ramzy - Podolski has played on the left for almost every game this year so I don't have any specific concerns there. Indeed, while I haven't looked specifically at stats or game tape to back this up, you could argue that Gervinho's versatility (vs Giroud) actually means Podolski could take up advanced positions more often.
Is he worth a million or so more than that other group? Tough call. I think he has higher upside for sure, purely based on his team but his underlying stats haven't been great so far. I can't make a persuasive argument to say you should definitely hold him but I'm not ready to bail yet.

Chris Glover said...

Chris - I'm not really looking at player performance here, only who is in and out of their starting XI. He will definitely get a mention in the upcoming fanning the flames piece though.

Charl - I like that trio a lot and wouldn't have any concerns about any of them. Assuming their teammates keep creating chances at the same rate, there's nothing in the stats to suggest any of them are due for serious regression.

Kevin - I'd take Ba because of the cost saving but on pure points it's a toss up. Maybe Suarez shades it just because he tends to get more self-created chances and thus can score against the stronger opponents where as Newcastle can sometimes be held out.