Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 23

Arsenal
Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Coquelin, Diaby, Walcott, Wilshere, Cazorla, Giroud
Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Frimpong

Podolski and Oxlade Chamberlain picked up an illness towards the end of the week and so weren't available for this one. That left very few options for Wenger so this team pretty much picked itself. The one area of note was Mertesacker retaining his place at the expense of Koscielny, who flirted with the first team before his red card last week. Saying that, as discussed earlier in the week, Sagna seems to make by far the most sense in this back line so the Mertesacker drama shouldn't be a major factor anyway.

Aston Villa
Guzan, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Lowton, Westwood, Delph, N'Zogbia, Bennett, Agbonlahor, Benteke
Subs: Marshall, Ireland, Bent, Holman, Bowery, Bannan, Lichaj

As expected, Vlaar came back into the team this week, though with 21 goals shipped in the last seven games, I'm not sure his return makes a big difference. N'Zogbia got another start here and looked impressive, with seven dribbles and three created chances. At 5.8m it's going to take more than that to justify his inclusion in your team but he is a genuine talent when he's playing and provides this Villa side with some much needed attacking flair. With the transfer window not offering much by way of new talent, returning options like N'Zogbia are going to need to be at least glanced at as the search for differentiators hots up. Darren Bent also made the bench though wasn't introduced here with Benteke and Agbonlahor both looking useful. His only impact for this season is likely to be the potential stealing of minutes from others, unless he was to be sold to another team.

Chelsea
Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Terry, Ba, Bertrand, Ake

We didn't get a great answer as to how this back line will shake out, with Luiz kept out of the squad and Terry kept on the bench. As much as I like Cahill, I wouldn't expect Terry to be benched for a sustained period and thus we're still left with the question as to whether he or Azpilicueta will make way. As talked about in this week's cheap links piece, I like Azplicueta as a risky play but anyone buying him now has to understand there is at least a chance that he is benched soon with Ivanovic taking his place at right back. Up front, we got the expected (if unfortunate) answer to how Torres will be treated, with Ba making way for Spaniard up top. Perhaps Ba gets more minutes than Torres; perhaps there are odd games where both play, but long story short, 8.9m is a lot to pay for someone who might not play every week, and for me at least, he's probably out of contention unless something changes.

Everton
Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman, Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Naismith, Jelavic
Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Duffy, Oviedo, Hitzelsperger, Mirallas, Anichebe

Nothing much to report here, though Mirallas dropping to the bench is at least somewhat of a surprise, if not an impact fantasy move. I wouldn't go so far as to suggest there's any reason to panic about this Everton side, but their numbers have taken a slight downturn of late despite reasonable fixtures. The next two games look excellent so no moves should obviously be made just yet but if Everton don't show a bit more attacking threat in these games, some of Fellaini's appeal might wane.

Fulham
Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson, Duff, Karagounis, Sidwell, Dejagah, Ruiz, Berbatov
Subs: Etheridge, Senderos, Baird, Petric, Briggs, Rodallega, Kacaniklic

We're still seeing a fair amount of movement in this midfield and it's making it very hard to really single anyone out for ownership. Up front and defensively this team is as settled as they come though and continue to offer solid value, though Berbatov's numbers have really taken a hit of late which has me questioning him slightly for the first time this year. The upcoming games aren't outstanding but equally there aren't too many which look overly scary so I'm still on the Bulgarian's bandwagon for now.

Liverpool
Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, DowningSturridge, Suarez
Subs: Gulacsi, Allen, Borini, Sterling, Shelvey, Skrtel, Robinson

We had a couple of new (well, old) names at the back though neither Jones nor Carragher should be long term fixtures in this side. Suarez played up front with Sturridge and despite a few concerns from some quarters, came out with three shots, a goal and - as an added bonus - five chances created. I was very bullish about Liverpool's future coming into this week and an 18 shot (eight on target) to four shot (one on target) victory has done nothing to temper that. Suarez is about as good as anyone in the game, while Sturridge (four shots) represents a very nice differential option. Once again, Sterling got the week off here so I will reiterate my concern that the youngster minutes are bound to be limited in the second half given his lack of proven history in this league.

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

Aguero was only given a shot on the bench, though after a somewhat un-clinical display from City in which they created 20 shots yet only managed a couple of goals, it wouldn't be surprising to see him starting again next week at QPR.Not too much else to note in this side with Milner preferred to Nasri (though that will likely flip again soon) and Balotelli restored to the bench.

Man Utd
De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Jones, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Welbeck, van Persie
Subs: Lindegaard, Valencia, Anderson, Rooney, Giggs, Smalling, Hernandez

Rooney was sent to the bench which is a concern for those looking to divest themselves of van Persie anytime soon, though at least part of that might be the strength of the opposition (which meant Ferguson didn't want to roll with four very attacking players) and Rooney's own fitness. Long term I wouldn't say his playing time is a huge issue, though he's clearly more susceptible to rotation than some of the other elite assets like, say, Suarez, but given his ownership/price/upside combo, he's still very much in contention. With Evans sidelined, Ferdinand and Vidic were restored at the back, though with the Northern Irishman back soon, it's not too clear as to Ferguson's first choice partnership so Rafael still looks like the clear pick here.

Newcastle
Krul, Coloccini, Santon, Debuchy, Williamson, Cabaye, Anita, Marveaux, Gutierrez, Sh Ameobi, Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Perch, S Taylor, Bigirimana, Obertan, Sa Ameobi, Ranger

It's great to see Cabaye back in this side, especially as he marked his return with a beauty of a free kick. He added five shots in total, though to temper that enthusiasm somewhat, four of those were from long range so we're not ready to put him into an elite bracket just yet. He has however put together some decent underlying stats this year, and was better than his fantasy points haul suggested before getting hurt. At 6.6m and with 2.8% ownership he represents a nice differential option, though I might be tempted to wait until GW27 when the fixtures open up nicely.

Norwich
Bunn, Martin, R Bennett, Turner, Garrido, E Bennett, Johnson, Howson, Snodgrass, Tettey, Holt
Subs: Rudd, Jackson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Barnett, Tierney, Kane

Bassong was injured so Bennett got the start here but otherwise it's pretty much as you were here.

QPR
Julio Cesar, Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill, Da Silva, Derry, Mbia, Mackie, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Remy
Subs: Green, Traore, Ferdinand, Park, Hoilett, Faurlin, Bothroyd

Redknapp hasn't really settled on a set system at QPR never mind a team, making it tricky to get overly excited about anyone here. I did however think that Remy looked very good at times during his debut, no more so of course than during his composed finish, and while I'm not saying he's suddenly a lock to achieve anything based on one display, it's rare that we get a genuine influx of talent for a reasonable price and thus Remy deserves a note. More on him in this week's fanning the flames.

Reading
Federici, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Kelly, Leigertwood, McCleary, Kebe, McAnuff, Guthrie, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Taylor, Gunter, Morrison, Akpan, Karacan, Le Fondre, Hunt

I'm not sure what Le Fondre has to do to earn minutes in this side, but his brace this week will help. It's not that I'd be thrilled to own him, but at least at 4.7m he would be someone who could occasionally come off your bench and give you something at a bargain price. The rest of this side is pretty uninspiring and I'm not really buying into Kebe despite his points tally over the last couple of weeks.

Southampton
Boruc, Clyne, Hooiveld, Yoshida, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Ramirez, Cork, Guly, Puncheon, Lambert
Subs: K Davis, Fox, Richardson, S Davis, Chaplow, De Ridder, Rodriguez

Guly got another start at the expense of Rodriguez though he hasn't exhibited particularly exciting stats that would elevate him over the consistently solid Puncheon. The majority of this side is very settled and continues to offer solid value across all positions.

Stoke
Begovic, Whitehead, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Etherington, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Walters, Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Jones, Owen, Upson, Kightly, Jerome

Another left back missed out this week with Wilkinson sidelined, thus giving us no very cheap ways to access this useful back line. Wilson is back in training and will represent outstanding at 4.0m if he wins his place back, as would Wilkinson if he was the preferred starter at 4.3m. Either way, it's probably worth waiting here to see who wins out with Cameron looking like the best safe haven for now, if you are keen to take advantage of this week's Wigan fixture. Crouch was restored to the starting lineup for the first time since GW13, though with just a single shot in just over an hours work, I wouldn't say that battle with Jones is really settled.

Sunderland
Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Colback, Larsson, N'Diaye, Vaughan, Johnson, Fletcher, Sessegnon
Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Wickham, McFadden, Kilgallon, McClean, Elmohamady

N'Diaye marked his first start with an assist and his two shots and two chances created don't really tie in with his deep deployment. I'd suspect he won't generate that kind of offensive threat consistently, but given his price tag (4.5m) it's at least worth monitoring. The reliable names remain in this side and after an a dyer run of games, Sunderland have looked better of late and I'm more hopeful the likes of Fletcher and Sessegnon can enjoy some sustained success.

Swansea
Vorm, Rangel, Monk, Williams, Davies, Hernandez, de Guzman, Ki, Michu, Routledge, Shechter
Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Britton, Graham, Dyer, Lamah, Tiendalli

I like Shechter quite a bit as a player but it remains a touch odd that Graham continues to be passed over in this side when he's enjoyed relative success when played. One point of note on Schechter's deployment is that it pushed Michu slightly deeper into midfield, though another four shots (three in the box) suggest there's little worry about there.

Tottenham
Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton, Lennon, Parker, Dembele, Bale, Dempsey, Defoe
Subs: Friedel, Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Townsend, Assou-Ekotto

Villas Boas continues to rotate his defence and it was especially strange to see arguably their best defender (Vertonghen) benched against the league's best forward. I've highlighted Dawson before and still believe he will play enough to earn his price tag, but this continued rotation does limit our excitement about anyone on offer here. Though we're generally keen to diminish the value of long range efforts, Bale's seven shots this week caught the eye and though Spurs face a number of games on the road in the coming weeks I'd suggest the Welshman remains as valuable as ever.

West Brom
Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Dorrans, Yacob, Brunt, Lukaku, Odemwingie
Subs: Myhill, Popov, Rosenberg, Thomas, Thorne, Dawson, Tamas

I'm delighted to see Lukaku continue to play here but without seeing him sustainably started over a fully fit Long, I'm still hesitant to get involved there. Elsewhere the key men and fairly entrenched in this side giving us little to discuss in these pages.

West Ham
Jaaskelainen, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, O'Brien, Noble, Diame, J Cole, Nolan, Jarvis, Chamakh
Subs: Spiegel, C Cole, Collison, Vaz Te, Taylor, Diarra, Potts

West Ham have suddenly built up some decent depth (one of Allardyce's most underrated abilities is his ability to constantly add pieces here and there whenever they become available) and it's making this team slightly harder to predict. That said, Joe Cole seems to have played well in his two games back at Upton Park and you'd think his place in this side over the likes of Taylor or Vaz Te is pretty safe. With Jarvis also looking to be first choice and that central trio really picking itself we are hopefully in a spot where that depth is only utilized when needed rather than for rotation's sake. Chamakh - himself probably not guaranteed a starting spot - did well in this one, racking up four shots and sixteen penalty box touches, so if you believe he can hold off C Cole, his aerial ability should offer some value if nothing else.

Wigan
Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa, Stam, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, Gomez, Di Santo, Maloney.
Subs: Robles, Jones, Henriquez, McManaman, Espinoza, Boselli, Golobart

With Kone gone, this side becomes easier to forecast and despite the loss this week, their 23 total shots (11 inside the box) suggests they should still be able to score with Gomez (four shots) and Maloney (three shots, five chances created) each looking notably threatening. 

5 comments:

JT said...

Very helpful write-up Chris, although I'd add the following notes:

- Sagna was poor and the good form of Jenkinson earlier in the season will surely lead to him getting the odd game at Sagna's expense.

- Mirallas was returning from injury so I imagine he wasn't fit enough to start.

- The comments from Pulis recently suggest Wilson will walk back into the side: http://www.stokecityfc.com/news/article/wilson-comeback-bid-610027.aspx

Vertongen was ill.

vanilla said...

Also,
Danny Graham is a transfer target being courted by Newcastle and/or Sunderland, if you believe the news sites.


Chris,
I know you err toward wait-and-see, but I'd be interested to know your take on Southampton's management change. Nigel Adkins was reportedly well-liked by the players. As to the new manager I have no idea about La Liga, and wouldn't know Espanyol from CarlesPuyol... any pundits care to venture a guess?

Tony S said...

Hi Chris,
Thanks for the article, very interesting as usual. Just a few questions:

Sunderland - they seem to be scoring goals lately, do their numbers support this improvement or are they scoring at a high conversion rate? they also seem to be keeping a clean sheets lately, is this sustainable by the numbers? Have they reduced the number of shots they were giving opponents?

Man City - Trying to get City attacking cover is a nightmare, do you think side-stepping them altogether is a viable option? Or do you believe that Silva is worthy of a midfield spot over Mata/Walcott/Bale/Fellaini?
You mentioned Aguero being a potential solution but at 11M is he not too high a risk from Dzeko who is scoring lately? or do you see Tevez losing out here?

Spurs - are you concerned by their scoring rate lately considering the price of their assets? Defoe doesn't seem to be linking up with the team lately and I'm starting to feel that AVB might be happy with small margin victories. I know Bale's is still getting plenty of shots but he doesn't seem to be getting the quality of chances lately (mainly due to Defoe being incapable of setting players up)

Wigan have some great home games coming up and I'd be tempted in DiSanto as a third striker for a few weeks. Do you feel that their shots will eventually transform into goals or do they historically just shoot and miss a lot?

Cheers
Tony

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Craig B said...

Hi Chris - I was reviewing your 8 week player projections and was surprised to Kenwyne Jones so high on the table and then noticed that you have him attached to Sunderland. Is the data still accurate.

Thanks,
Craig