Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Adopt a Team: Hull Lineup

The second team we're going to adopt this week are Arsenal's opponents - Hull - who have been enjoying a reasonable start to the new campaign, although as we'll get to later in the week, their underlying data suggests trouble might be brewing if they don't start to generate more chances for their talented front pair.

Hull have switched between a 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 base formation thus far this year, making their lineup a little harder to forecast on a weekly basis. We don't really have enough of a sample of draw any concrete conclusions about the team scoring/conceding more/less goals when in either formation so I'm not going to focus too much attention there in this post. McGregor, Davies, Dawson, Robertson and Elmohamady all appear to be close to automatic choices here with Chester the first man in if the back three is favoured. Elmohamady is classified as a midfielder in the PL.com game so we'll touch on him in a second, leaving three options to consider. Davies and particularly Dawson come with the stronger reputations, while Bruce and Chester have the higher ownership numbers,1 yet it's Robertson who looks like the most interesting option here. We will get to individual data in the next post, suffice to say that Robertson leads his defensive teammates in created chances by a distance and offers as good a goal threat as any of them. Add in his lower price tag and he becomes the clear player to target here. Between the posts this is still very much McGregor's job, but with him sidelined until towards the end of Novemeber, Harper makes a reasonable rotation option for those looking to save a few pounds.

Whatever the formation, Steve Bruce had tended to deploy the Huddlestone and Livermore combination in the middle of the pitch, yet while that decision may be wise in terms of securing Hull's Premier League status, the pair do little to excite fantasy managers. In one sense, Huddlestone has shown flashes of excitement with 13 shots ranking up among some of the league's more promising midfield talents yet with just one of those coming from within the box, it's tough to forecast anything more than the two goals he chipped in with last time season.

The remaining positions - those which are most important to fantasy managers - are the trickiest to forecast and it's that uncertainty which may temper any enthusiasm surrounding this talented group. Whether in an advanced role or playing alongside Huddlestone and Livermore, Diame seems to have the inside track on one of the remaining midfield spots and he currently leads Hull midfielders in shots inside the box and penalty box touches. However, it's reasonable to assume that Ben Arfa has been brought to the KC Stadium to contribute in the first team sooner rather than later, which puts both these players into the risky category. To date Bruce seems to favour deploying both Jelavic and Hernandez, though it wouldn't be too surprising to see him roll with Ben Arfa, Diame or Ince behind a lone forward in away games, as was the case before Hernanez arrived. All this essentially means we have five players to fit into three spots.2 His pair goals in just four games suggests that Hernandez is the automatic choice here but his nine total shots (five SiB) are not spectacular and a local media review suggests there is still room for improvement in his overall game. He's a player who I will be watching closely at the weekend given his reasonable price tag and upside but I couldn't suggest investing in him just yet until we see how Ben Arfa is going to impact this team.

There is without doubt talent in this team yet with unremarkable team totals - despite playing a softer schedule to date - and some uncertainty around which of the attacking will play and how they will be deployed it's hard to immediately focus on any one player to monitor. Hernandez, Ben Arfa and Jelavic all carry solid price tags though and may yet offer some value in the future. At the back, it's the promising Robertson who stands out and he'll be another key focus for the weekend as he's tested against some of the league's finest. Next up is a focus on individual and team stats to date to potentially highlight some areas to capitalise on or avoid.
1. I was never a fan of essentially punting a spot on your bench just to save, at best, 0.5m so would not condone the 11% ownership of Bruce here. We all get stuck with dead weight from time to time as we concentrate transfers on other parts of our teams but Bruce is buried on this depth chart and will contribute essentially nothing for his price tag.
2. I'm assuming that Elmohamady will be preferred either as a wing back or as a more traditional winger in a four man midfield given that he offers the only natural width in this midfield pack.


Jan-Erik Brundell said...

Thanks, interesting stuff! However, the item I'm most eagerly awaiting is "Player Forecast" on the menu, any plans for that?

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