Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lineup Lessons Gameweek 29

Aston Villa
Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Baker, Weimann, Bannan, Westwood, Sylla, Agbonlahor, Benteke
Subs: Given, N'Zogbia, Holman, Bowery, Dawkins, Bennett, Carruthers

After a couple of promising outings, N'Zogbia once again found himself back on the bench which only serves to underline that unless your squad is very deep, he's a luxury that can't really be afforded at this stage of the season, even if Villa have been better in the second half of the season. The rest of this team is fairly predictable with Sylla the only odd name here, though obviously not one to cause too many fantasy waves despite a promising first full game. Bent's miserable season continues, though he looks like he could be fit in the next week or so, which mind dent any meagre value offered by Weimann or Agbonlahor.

Liverpool
Jones, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Downing, Suarez, Coutinho, Sturridge
Subs: Gulacsi, Skrtel, Shelvey, Allen, Henderson, Sterling, Wisdom

Fans of the teams out in front don't often don't want to hear it, but this Liverpool side are very much for real. For a while their production was severely straggling behind their underlying stats though aside from Suarez taking a few too many ill advised shots from long range, I never saw too many concrete reasons as to why this was the case. We can point to a number of factors as to what has changed in Liverpool's play, but Sturridge's arrival seems to have brought a lot of their good points together and since he made his first start in GW23, they have been simply unplayable, racking up 21 goals from 133 shots (42 on target) - a full eight goals clear of the next best teams (Arsenal and Newcastle). Now, that goal/SoT rate looks unsustainably high so some caution needs to be exercised here before pencilling this side in for another 20-24 goals this year, but when you consider their floor, ceiling and - chiefly - the predictability of where those goals might come from, this is an exciting side to target. We might see the midfield trio of Allen, Henderson and Sterling steal a few minutes here and there for the rest of the season but generally this side looks to be very settled and given the aforementioned factors, should be an important part of your considerations when setting up your team for the final push.

Newcastle
Elliot, Debuchy, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Sissoko, Gouffran, Cisse
Subs: Harper, Anita, Perch, Haidara, Marveaux, Obertan, Campbell

We've observed a significant amount of turnover in this side this year, though for the most part it has been caused by injury rather than manager rotation. Newcastle are still missing a couple of first teamers, with Ben Arfa apparently set to come back sooner rather than later, but otherwise this is likely your team for the remainder of the season. Where Ben Arfa fits in isn't too clear, but if you had to bet you might think it would be at the expense of Gouffran rather than Gutierrez, who's been virtually ever-present this year and brings a bit more of the defensive responsibility that his teammates lack. Sissoko has obviously caught the eye as a legit goal scoring threat since coming on the scene but Cabaye has also quietly racked up 18 shots over the last six games (though with 17 of them from outside the box, I'm not suggesting he's in the class of the some of his peers in that same total shot range).

Norwich
Bunn, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Snodgrass, Johnson, Howson, Pilkington, Kamara, Holt
Subs: Camp, Whittaker, Hoolahan, Fox, E Bennett, Becchio, R Bennett

Norwich have added a bit of depth up front in Becchio and Kamara though neither have done too much to really spark our interest and time is probably running out for them to be impactful this year. Holt remains an option if you've been priced out of the Benteke/Berbatov/Lukaku market, though that trio offer substantially higher ceilings than the consistent, if underwhelming, Holt.

QPR
Green, Bosingwa, Samba, Hill, Da Silva, Townsend, Park, Mbia, Hoilett, Zamora, Remy
Subs: Murphy, Wright-Phillips, Mackie, Granero, Onuoha, Jenas, Bothroyd

QPR enjoy good depth on the bench here but Redknapp has shown some faith in the majority of his starters this past month, giving us a couple of players to at least look at. I like what I've seen of Remy and believe he's at least worth a look at 5.9m (preferring him to the aforementioned Holt if you're priced out of that 6.5-7.1m group). Saying that, his lack of volume of chances will always hurt his upside and QPR are always prone to simply throwing a blank out against the league's better sides, but without too many of those fixtures left, Remy might be an option if you need to save a bit of cash to free up space for a couple of the elite options with double gameweeks coming up. Outside of Taarabt's mirage-like stat line, the rest of this midfield hasn't shown us a great deal and thus it doesn't appear to offer much value, even at bargain prices.

Reading
Taylor, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Robson-Kanu, Akpan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Hunt, Le Fondre
Subs: Henly, Shorey, Karacan, McCleary, Morrison, Guthrie, Blackman

Le Fondre got his second straight start this week, perhaps signalling that Reading are ready to place an emphasis on scoring goals - an advanced concept that is taking the league by storm. Whether or not there's enough certainty here to warrant investment is still a tricky issue, but as noted above, the key driver for these coming weeks could well be the need to fill your team with elite double gameweekers, so the flexibility a 5.0m forward can offer your team is not to be ignored. The narrative for Robson-Kanu (Reading's 4th top scorer) is almost exactly the same as with Le Fondre, with the midfielder offering nice value in the lowest price bracket, if only given a modicum of consistent minutes. His six shots over the last couple of games place him 6th among midfielders, as do his three efforts on target, yet I wouldn't be too surprised to see one of the other dubious options restored next week, so caveat emptor is the name of the game here.

Southampton
Boruc, Yoshida, Fonte, Hooiveld, Shaw, Fox, Schneiderlin, Rodriguez, Ramirez, Lallana, Lambert
Subs: K Davis, Clyne, Forren, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado, Chaplow, Puncheon

It was a big surprise to see both Clyne and Puncheon benched, as - at least in my limited viewings of Southampton this year - that pair have been a couple of consistent bright spots. What to do with them now isn't clear, though my instinct would be that both will be back soon and thus panic moves are probably best avoided, particularly as their budget prices allow them to be benched without too many issues. The timing of them being benched when most fantasy squads were decimated by bye weeks was however frustrating to say the least.

Stoke
Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Wilkinson, Shotton, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Jerome, Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Adam, Whitehead, Kightly, Shea

Wilson made his third start since returning from injury and my bet is that he will stay in the lineup at the expense of Wilkinson when Huth is back from suspension (though that one isn't set in stone). If that's the case he will represent excellent defensive value at just 3.9m. Not too much else going on here with the likes of Adam, Jones and Kightly still finding themselves on the outside looking in.

Sunderland
Mignolet, Gardner, Bramble, O'Shea, Colback, Sessegnon, Larsson, N'Diaye, Johnson, Fletcher, Graham
Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Rose, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Mangane, Cuellar

No real issues to note here though with Bardsley, Rose and Cuellar all fit enough for the bench, we're likely to see some movement along the back line in the coming weeks. Sunderland haven't offered too much value at the back this year, though they've been playing midfielders at full back for essentially the whole season, so the return of this group would be a welcome boost. The fixtures don't offer up too many games where a clean sheet looks too likely though, so any enthusiasm for a quick turnaround should probably be tempered.

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

Nothing really to note here and it's another so-so performance from this once-darling Swansea side. I don't want to be down on this team, who have been very good at times this year, but over the last six gameweeks they rank just 14th in total shots, scoring just six times and there is a slight danger of this season petering out a little bit unless they can get back on track. In fantasy terms their current 'struggles' make me apprehensive about getting behind anyone other than Michu, though he himself should probably be somewhat questioned given Swansea's tough set of fixtures.

Tottenham
Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Parker, Livermore, Bale, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Defoe
Subs: Friedel, Huddlestone, Gallas, Naughton, Holtby, Caulker, Carroll

With Adebayor and Lennon sidelined, Spurs didn't have too many options here, though I did think Holtby had shown enough to maybe get a start here. This is a useful Spurs team who can score against anyone, though it's still tough to see beyond Bale. The defense looks solid on paper, though with just two clean sheets in the last ten gameweeks, it's not easy to fit any of these options in here other than perhaps Dawson given his lower price tag (no, I don't believe Vertonghen's goal threat compensates for the extra 1.7m outlay).

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

Nothing much going on here either. I guess however that this is the point in the weekly post where I note that Lukaku now ranks 6th among all forwards in SiB, despite playing between 30-45% less minutes than most of his competitors. The penalty miss was a shame but the bigger issue remains Shane Long's return from injury which could once again cut into the Chelsea loanee's minutes. 

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I'm looking to transfer out Michu for one of the elite midfielders. I have 9.7 to spend and already hold Mata and Bale (in addition to Sissoko and Coutinho).

My options are basically: Cazorla, Gerrard, Walcott, Hazard, Silva, or hang onto Michu. Cazorla seems like the pick based on fixtures and the double Gameweek 3, but I'm curious to hear other thoughts.