Friday, September 11, 2009

Gameweek 5 Preview

There's a change of pace for this week's preview as I feel the game-by-game run-through often just tells you what you already know (Gerrard is a good play against Burnley - no kidding) and doesn't give you what you really want. I will therefore focus on 4 categories to help you make your decisions:
- best clean sheet bet
- captain rankings
- game predictions
- long term strength of schedules (for forward planning).

Let me know what you guy
s think and if any of the features are particular useful or if you could do without them. With that in mind, let the weekly preview begin . . .

Gameweek 5 fixtures

Blackburn v Wolves
Liverpool v Burnley
Man City v Arsenal
Portsmouth v Bolton
Stoke v Chelsea
Sunderland v Hull
Wigan v West Ham
Tottenham v Man Utd
Birmingham v Aston Villa
Fulham v Everton

Clean Sheet Rankings
1. Liverpool
2. Blackburn
3. West Ham
4. Sunderland
5. Bolton

I don't like that many teams this week for clean sheets with Liverpool looking like the only odds on bet. Blackburn-Wolves looks like it has 0-0 written all over it, much like Rovers' stalemate with the Hammers in week 4, who themselves look like they might be involved in a low scoring affair at the DW Stadium. Check the long term strength of schedules below before picking players from these teams though as the fixtures aren't easy enough to warrant burning two transfers on.

Captain Rankings
1. Steven Gerrard
2. Fernando Torres
3. Wayne Rooney
4. Ashley Young
5. Nicholas Anelka

As with clean sheets above, there aren't a great array of captain option this week due to United, Arsenal, City and Spurs going at it in two titan contests. Chelsea's trip to Stoke is also tough which might limit Lampard and Drogba's effectiveness this week. Of the Chelsea players, Anelka's pace could expose the Stoke defense who might deal better with the power of Drogba. I love the pair of Gerrard and Torres this week and the Liverpool captain will hope to round out a great week after his midweek brace against Croatia. United always play Spurs well though did fail to score in the corresponding fixture last season. Rooney has been in hot form of late and I would back him over all non-Liverpool players this week. After a quiet week 1 followed by the bye, Young has been largely overlooked this season but a goal, two assists and three bonus points in the last two games suggest good things to come for Young. I like him to shine in the Midlands derby this week and is a good outside bet for your armband this week.

Game Predictions
Blackburn 1-0 Wolves
Liverpool 3-0 Burnley
Man City 1-2 Arsenal
Portsmouth 0-0 Bolton
Stoke 0-1 Chelsea
Sunderland 1-1 Hull
Wigan 0-1 West Ham
Tottenham 1-2 Man Utd
Birmingham 1-2 Aston Villa
Fulham 2-2 Everton

The two headline games are the clashes at Eastlands and White Hart Lane where two pretenders - City and Spurs - face off against two European football giants. I am backing against them both (just!) and neither game is likely to provide a fantasy windfall for any single player. Adebayor against his old team looks like a tempting bet as does the aforementioned Rooney. I would avoid all defences in these games if possible.
A few games on the flip side look fairly dull which normally means they either (a) end up very dull or (b) surprise everyone and dish out 4 goals or so. Of the four predicted boring games at Blackburn, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Wigan, the most potential probably comes at Wigan where Martinez and Zola both encourage good football from their respective sides.

Strength of Schedule

Defenders - Best
1. Everton
2. Hull
3. Portsmouth
4. Aston Villa
5. Tottenham

Looking forward a few weeks for those wanting to move players on, the key target is Everton defenders, as I wrote about earlier in the week. After this week they get Bla, @Por, Sto, Wol, @Bol, Ast which all look pretty nice. All these games should also be helpful to the Everton forwards who have struggled a bit this year, and with the return of Yakubu, the Nigerian striker and Cahill look like decent pickups. Even with the favourable matchups, Hull and Portsmouth are too weak to consider right now though Villa and Spur are more intriguing. With a decent fixture this week, Villa might be a good source of talent though it isn't crystal clear who will play. Young and Davies look set to miss out with injury which leaves five defenders to fight for four spots. Warnock (4.9) is the assumed choice at left back and might be the best best. The sleeper pick is Collins (4.5) who is very cheap and showed midweek that he can even add the odd goal. The more likely partnership in the middle is Dunne and Cuellar though so perhaps Collins is too risky for now.
As for Spurs, after next weeks trip to Chelsea the fixtures look pretty great with only the derby trip to the Emirate looking scary until mid season. Bassong (5.2)is struggling for fitness now but should be healthy by the time you would to bring him in for week 7. Asou Ekotto (5.1) and Corluka (5.4) are also worth consideration for this favourable run of games.

Defenders - Worst
1. Fulham
2. Bolton
3. West Ham
4. Blackburn
5. Chelsea

The middle three teams enjoy good fixtures this week though any production is likely to go downhill soon so unless I would not advise bringing these boys in unless you can spare another transfer to move them on soon. Despite the fixtures Chelsea defenders will always carry some value, and although some tricky opponents lie in wait (Spurs, Liverpool and United), they all come at home so I wouldn't run away from in form players like Ashley Cole just yet.
Fulham worry me a bit and I've been thinking about the future of Aaron Hughes (4.9) in my team all week. They have conceded four in the last 2 games but both were quality opponents - Villa and Chelsea - so its harsh to abandon them just yet. The fixture don't get really nasty until week 7 so I advise given the Cottagers two more weeks to prove their worth after which you might want to move them on anyway (Ars, @WH, Hul, @MNC, Liv). Note though that from week 12 on Fulham have great fixtures and a double week so if you can afford the luxury it might be worth holding out until then through the aforementioned sticky patch.
Midfield/Forwards - Best
1. Everton
2. Portsmouth
3. Arsenal
4. Hull
5. Birmingham

I mentioned Everton and Portsmouth above, so lets focus on the other three teams here. Hull and Birmingham lack top level talent but I rate both Altidore (5.0) and Jerome (4.5) very highly, though Jerome's injury status rules him out of fantasy consideration. If Phil Brown would just play Altidore, I am sure he can be a 12-15 goal a season player but until he gets regular minutes he is a major risk. As for Arsenal, the player I liked best to benefit from this run of games was Arshavin, but he now looks likely to miss a couple of games. Fabregas played with and scored for Spain in midweek and looks to be gaining full fitness ready for this favourable schedule. I therefore expect Lampard/Gerrard like production over the next 2 months and with Chelsea's tough fixture list some Lampard owners (including myself) might want to look at Cesc as a way of freeing up some cash for the next few gameweeks. Van Persie's (10.0) value has been hurt somewhat by the 4-3-3 as he is yet to find the net despite Arsenal scoring 11 in the first 3 games. He has added 3 assists though and I think he can generate big time points in the coming weeks and would rank him ahead of similarly priced players such as Adebayor, Anelka and Drogba in that period.

Midfield/Forward - Worst
1. West Ham
2. Sunderland
3. Stoke
4. Man City
5. Fulham

These rankings are a blow for mid range striker believers as Bent, Cole, Jones and Beattie all appear to be risky bets in the coming weeks. West Ham's schedule is particularly brutal with trips to City, Stoke and Sunderland compounded by the visits of Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and Fulham - all at least solid team. These rankings wouldn't scare me off the likes of Jimenez, Malbranque, Lawrence or Murphy as you are better having the central point of a team against a tough opponent that an average player on a weak team playing Portsmouth. I am scared off with City a bit though and any plans I had to bring Adebayor in have been shelved for now. Ireland owners might consider upgrading to Fabregas or switching to a Young or Lennon and using your cash elsewhere.

I hope you found the above useful in picking your team for the week/making transfers and please post any comments or suggestions below. Also, for those on Twitter, why not tweet your lineup decisions to @plfantasy and I'll post them with answers here before Saturday's deadline.

7 comments:

goke313 said...

love this format

Chris Glover said...

thanks goke. your feedback and kind words are very much appreciated. hope your season has started well.

Elliot said...

Great post, as always.

Since you have Hull defenders ranked 2nd going forward maybe Sonko is a sneaky buy for cheap, as Phil Brown thinks he is an adequate replacement for Turner.

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11714_5531076,00.html

NotoriousDre said...

i agree with the change Chris

this new format give a great oversight of he gameweek.

i especially like the captain picks...i've had no luck with choosing mine...you input could onl help...

i do have Gerrard this week!

auburn.tigers2011 said...

Chris, Im loving the new format. I feel more informed this way. Much appreciated!

Chris Glover said...

Thanks for the positive feedback everyone. Good luck this week.

marco said...

Chris this is a good report, I like it.

Stength of schedule though is one thing, strenght of team is another... Everton, Hull and Portsmouth have a good defensive schedule but their defenders haven't shown anything good so far