Friday, December 28, 2012

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 19

Given the fact the games are coming so quickly at the moment, I'm going to keep the below very brief. Normal, more in depth analysis will resume in GW21, just in time for the opening of the all important transfer window.

Aston Villa
Guzan, Lowton, Herd, Clark, Baker, Bennett, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph, Holman, Benteke
Subs: Given, Ireland, Albrighton, Bowery, Bannan, Lichaj, Carruthers

Nothing to really note here, and to be honest, any lineup changes other than Benteke suddenly not playing would be pretty irrelevant given how this team is playing right now.

Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, David Luiz, Moses, Oscar, Mata, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Lampard, Hazard, Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.

Luiz's move to midfield is interesting and as noted last week, it probably makes him the best pickup in this back line. Terry is supposed to be back in the next couple of games which I would suggest will shift Ivanovic to right back and thus I don't really trust Azpilicueta's minutes enough to consider him over the now-advanced Luiz. Hazard got the week off here which makes him somewhat more valuable for the coming weeks as presumably that was a one off game to give the youngster a breather.

Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Hitzlsperger, Gibson, Pienaar, Jelavic, Anichebe
Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Oviedo, Naismith, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios

No issues here with Fellaini set to return after this week which should return the Everton team back to the familiar team we've seen in prior months. Hitzlsperger might get a look given his eye catching history, but needless to say that even at 5.0m we'll need to see more consistent minutes before he returns to the radar in these pages.

Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Dejagah, Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Rodallega
Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Ruiz, Karagounis, Briggs, Hughes, Frei

The biggest news here could be the return of Ruiz, as while I still have some doubts about whether his departure spelled doom for Berbatov, he's clearly a good player and in all likelihood an upgrade over the other options deployed in his place the past few weeks. Hopefully any frustration with the Bulgarian were somewhat alleviated this week and the next three fixtures serve up more opportunities for him to enjoy some more success. Senderos in for Hughes is an odd one, but having played every minute of every game before this week, I'd suggest this is a resting move, rather than a case of Hughes being dropped.

Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Downing, Shelvey, Suso, Suarez
Subs: Jones, Cole, Henderson, Coates, Carragher, Allen, Sterling

Sterling once again found himself on the bench here, and while I still believe he'll play more games than he misses, I am still concerned that he simply has to have time off given his age. As noted in prior weeks, Sterling has been a sensational value to date but at 5.7m you're already paying for a lot of his upside and any inconsistency in his minutes essentially wipes out the rest. Add in the risk of new arrivals next month and Sterling looks like someone to consider selling sooner rather than later, given the sharp price decline that could some his way given his 21% ownership. Allen has also been a surprise omission of late, though not one which should be concerning fantasy managers.

Man City
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Toure, Nastasic, Milner, Javi Garcia, Toure, Silva, Aguero, Tevez
Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Dzeko, Sinclair, Barry, Rekik, Razak

I'm at a total loss with this City side. The underlying stats at both ends of the field look decent but they just aren't turning into consistent returns at the moment. Aguero - arguably the best forward in the league - has been as wasteful as anyone, hitting the target with just three of the 15 shots (11 SiB) he's managed in the last six games. The lineup has been more settled but given the results it's all but impossible to imagine a situation where big changes aren't made this week. It's hard to simply advise steering clear of this whole side given it's potential but other than the fairly priced Nastasic, it is hard to see too many players who are really delivering on their price tags at the moment. Saying that, if you're in a hole (like me) these are the kind of players you are going to have to take a risk on, and I'd prefer to do that with someone as talented as Aguero or Silva than trying to gain points with other mid-level picks.

Man Utd
De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, van Persie, Hernandez
Subs: Lindegaard, Vidic, Cleverley, Fletcher, Buttner, Wootton, Tunnicliffe

Rooney's late injury in training was another ill-timed blow in a season filled with them and it looks like he'll now miss the next two games for United. With the wildcard window opening I see no reason to hold onto him and, if you plan on using the wildcard as soon as possible, Suarez looks like the best replacement given his fixtures in the next weeks (@QPR, SUN). Hernandez would also be a worthy replacement and would obviously free up a boat load of cash, though I'd only advise those moves if you have other free transfers stashed away or plan to wildcard later in the month, as paying 4 points so soon before a wildcard looks ill advised.

Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Anita, Perch, Bigirimana, Cissé, Ba, Marveaux.
Subs: Elliot, Shola Ameobi, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson, Tavernier, Campbell

As has been the case for a number of weeks, we're seeing plenty of changes in the Newcastle side, though the majority of them are enforced rather than due to Pardew playing around with his lineup. With Cabaye and Ben Arfa sidelined, our options really lie with the front pair and perhaps the cheaper defenders (Perch/Williamson) if you believe those couple of clean sheets against Wigan and SPR indicate an ability to keep the weaker sides at bay.

Bunn, Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Holt.
Subs: Rudd, Howson, Jackson, Morison, E Bennett, Barnett, R Bennett.

No issues here with Martin sliding in to replace the injured Whittaker.

Green, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Hill, Traore, Mbia, Faurlin, Mackie, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Cissé
Subs: Julio Cesar, Diakité, Derry, Granero, Dyer, Hoilett, Ehmer

Green kept his place in goal despite the return to fitness of Julio Cesar, and while I wouldn't necessarily buy into this QPR defense at the moment, a 4.1m 'keeper is not to be ignored and with possible new arrivals in January, a rejuvenated QPR side could make Green quite valuable. As noted in prior weeks, we're seeing some movement here but Taarabt and Cisse look pretty locked in and that's where the value really seems to lie anyway so I wouldn't be overly concerned with the movement in the middle of the park.

Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, Guthrie, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Taylor, Le Fondre, Hunt, Morrison, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Cummings

I don't really see where McDermott is going with this lineup as three of their best performers from the first half of the season have been pushed aside (Le Fondre, Shorey and particularly Robson-Kanu). With that trio on the outside looking in and other options like Guthrie, McAnuff and Pogrebnyak (themselves fancied at one point this season) still not fully entrenched either, there's little reason to dwell on this team's fortunes at the moment.

K Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, S Davis, Puncheon, Ramirez, Lambert
Subs: Boruc, Hooiveld, Rodriguez, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado, Richardson, Mayuka

Nothing really to add here in terms of lineup issues, though at some point we're going to need to look at this team's prospects which have really taken a hit of late.

Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson, Kightly, Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Jones
Subs: Sorensen, Adam, Whitehead, Upson, Crouch, Shotton, Jerome

No issues to note here either in terms of the key options with Crouch still sidelined in favour of Jones which basically limits our attacking options to Walters.

Mignolet, Gardner, Cuellar, Kilgallon, Rose, McClean, Larsson, Colback, Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher
Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan, Bramble

No issues to note here as Sunderland are one of the more stable lineups around. They too are a team who need a bit more attention in the next couple of weeks as they have quietly turned things around very well, especially at the back, and budget options with guaranteed minutes simply aren't that easy to find this season.

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

de Guzman drops to the bench which looks like a short term move, but could potentially be longer term with Hernandez on the mend. Michu picked up a knock and it's likely he could get a game off in the next two, but it doesn't look like anything for his countless owners to worry about.

Lloris, Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton, Lennon, Dembele, Sandro, Bale, Defoe, Adebayor
Subs: Friedel, Parker, Dawson, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Townsend, Caulker

I thought we had a handle on this defense but Dawson was benched in favour of Naughton, with Vertonghen shifting back to his preferred centre back spot once again. With Gallas, Naughton, Dawson and Caulker essentially fighting for two spots, it's becoming tough to squeeze value out of this potentially cheap defense. For now the front six seems to pick itself though I still have some questions about what happens when Dempsey returns.

West Brom
Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Mulumbu, Morrison, Fortune, Gera, Brunt, Lukaku
Subs: Myhill, Ridgewell, Rosenberg, Long, Dorrans, Odemwingie, Tamas

Nothing to really add here though I'm pleased to see Lukaku continue to get some playing time. If this continues he'll generate some wildcard consideration but he's too risky at the moment.

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

Maloney kept his place in the first team and might be playing his way back into 5th midfielder consideration while Ramis returned to the bench and could put an end to Stam's run in the side: a small blow considering his extremely low price tag.


Anonymous said...

Chris - if the move was made to maximise the profit from Sterling and transfer him out, who would you suggest as a replacement cheap 5th midfielder? Is there anyone the stats like?

Previously, Puncheon looked the logical downgrade, but the downturn in Southampton's fortunes make him much less appealing than a month ago...

As always, great work on the blog, keep it up!

stooshermadness said...

@ soulonice - 2 guys to think about, maloney @ 5.0; out for a while through injury but looks to have come back into the lineup. Also, Marveaux @ 4.2 for Newcastle. He has been brilliant in the games I've seen, and with all the midfield injuries looks set for a run in the side.