Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Conclusions

Welcome back to the blog everyone - its been a fun few days off for me spent in (somewhat) sunny Florida featuring too much time spent in Disney lines and not enough time watching sports. Luckily the wonders of the internet has allowed me to catchup and I'm ready to try and summarise the past couple of gameweeks and the key events from the holiday period. I am also conscious that the transfer window is now open so I'll do a piece on who we can expect to see coming to the EPL and the fantasy impact they may have.

Gameweek 19
No less than 8 clean sheets in week 19 and I'm pleased to say that my 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th ranked teams all managed to keep the opposition at bay. Birmingham's clean sheet will have surprised some but McLeish's men are for real and the whole back line should be considered every week starters at this point in the season (this was buoyed by the fact that Roger Johnson did not miss time due to injury). My favourite player for the week - Torres - disappointed against Wolves, managing just 4 shots and not really being involved throughout. I still like Torres alot though and rate him as my top rated forward for the next few weeks. My second ranked player - Fabregas - looked to be a terrible pick as he didn't manage to start the game but his 27 minute cameo was sublime and probably underlined his claim as being the most valuable player for any team in the league right now. 2 goals, only 2 misplaced passes and (of course) 3 bonus points rewarded Fabregas owners who had stuck with him through his injury issues. Needless to say, I still love Cesc going forward.
City played well under new boss Mancini and their defense could be worth monitoring, particularly if the likes of Ciellini or Cordoba come in to bolster the unit. Tevez also looks to be more lethal under the new regime and he is worthy of consideration for those needing a Drogba replacement and short on cash. Rooney, my 5th ranked player, has another good game and is right next to Torres in my rankings right now. It is my intention to pair this duo for the foreseeable future which should all but guarantee contributions in the goals and bonus columns each week.

Gameweek 20
The headliners for week 20 were supposed to be the double gameweek teams - Arsenal, Fulham, Bolton and Stoke - though the second games do not come until the 5th and 6th of January so it is unclear whether players from these sides will give big rewards. Rooney, Torres and Drogba all managed to find the back of the net while the high priced midfielders were less successful and were bailed out by overly generous bonus points. City managed their first back-to-back clean sheets since weeks 2 and 3 which again suggests this unit is worth consideration in the near future. Liverpool also managed their 2nd straight clean sheet (their 4th in the last 7) and are slowly turning into a legitimate fantasy option once more. Spurs have now kept 4 straight clean sheets and should be considered a must play defense when the fixture is right (the fact that Bassong is not going to Africa is a major plus).
Arsenal appear to be coping better without Van Persie at the moment but the unpredictability of their scorers (Ramsey, Nasri, Eduardo and Song) make it hard to pick anyone outside of Fabregas, Arshavin and possibly Diaby. United are also starting to really roll with Valencia and Rooney once again looking sharp. I like this pair alot over the coming weeks.

Injuries, Suspensions and the African Cup of Nations (ACN)

Defenders
  • Glen Johnson will be out for at least a month with a knee injury. Even if you are sitting on a 0.1m gain I would advise selling the English right back and re-using your cash on more valuable players right now.
  • Song, Toure and Pantsil have now departed for the ACN while Assou Ekotto will now miss out due to injury. All these players need to be sold as they could miss up to a month of Premier League action.
  • Bridge and Lescott are both missing for City which gives Mancini his first real issue of his new tenure considering Toure is also missing. I would expect Kompany to drop back into the back line Garrido (4.1m) could be worth a thought as a bargain fill in at left back.
  • United's defensive woes are starting to ease and Evans, Ferdinand and O'Shea are all due back early in the new year. Rafael and Brown still offer short term value while Evra gives the best opportunity to guarantee returns from this improving unit.
  • Clichy and Gibbs both appear short of fitness and so Traore should get a couple more games until Clichy can return. He remains good value at home to an Everton side struggling for goals.
Midfielders
  • Wenger suggests that Fabregas might play this week against Everton after resting tomorrow against West Ham in the Cup. Stay tuned for later updates but I'm feeling good about the Arsenal captain's future.
  • Aaron Lennon looks set to miss most of January with a groin strain although some reports suggest it could be just 2 weeks. I like Spurs' fixtures for late January and beyond and might therefore stick with Lennon if your bench is deep enough. If not then the likes of Valencia and Milner become the natural replacements.
  • Dunn looks like he is finally fit and barring any setbacks in the Cup or in training he should be okay to feature in gameweek 21.
Forwards
  • Drogba and Adebayor have now of course departed for warmer climates in Angola and will need replacing. Drogba's Cote D'Ivoire are one of the tournament favourites so I would expect him to miss the longer period of the two.
  • Anelka looks like he will feature in the FA Cup and should therefore be good to lead Chelsea's line in Drogba's absence. Although he may have more of a focal role, I don't think Anelka will tear it up and I would still favour Torres and Rooney by some distance.
  • Long term casualties Cole and Van Persie remain sidelined indefinitely.
Well it's good to be back on the fantasy trail and I will hopefully have plenty of time of the coming weeks to talk injuries, strategy and of course the transfer window. I hope your holidays were enjoyable for yourselves, your families and of course, your fantasy teams.

20 comments:

Steven said...

Watch out for O'Shea .. sources have him out another couple months. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=719624&sec=transfers&cc=5901

auburn.tigers2011 said...

Welcome back Chris. I was down in Florida for the American football Outback Bowl. We went to Disney on Dec 30th and had a great time.

David said...

welcome back chris

Can't wait to see what bargains the transfer throws some rumours that have me thinking:

> O'Hara to get loaned out someplace new
> MRichards to Spurs
> New defenders for City
> Portsmouth player sale (stock priced to go)
> SAF shopping for defenders?
> Strike partner for torres

I plan to get city defenders for GW21 (Zabaleta/Richards)and upgrade O'hara to Modric GW22, depending on transfers tho. exciting times & good chance to differentiate i suppose as the transfer window will change the balance of a team as far as fantasy options go

Chris, do you know how they value new players coming into the EPL (being my debut season and all)

NotoriousDre said...

Chris,

hope your vacation was a good one! The festive season was great for me...

back to the football...

im looking at Drogba as my offensive threat for Chelsea. Im not convinced Anelka will lead the line as Didier (though he did it last season)...what do you think?

Mish said...

Hi Chris.
It's good to read your blog again.
I'm still looking for a mid or long term replacement for Scharner.
I'm thinkng of Spurs defenders.
What's on this?

Chris Glover said...

Auburn - congrats to the Tigers. I watched the game at the airport on my way home - really good game.

David - I like both your thoughts on City defenders and Modric. I wrote a piece on bringing Modric in but I got a bit spooked by Kranjcar's play. However it looks like we can safely plug him in each and should get good return from the Croatian maestro.
I also like City's defense based on their upcoming fixtures and the improved defensive performance under Mancini. I am a bit concerned by the departure of Toure but games at home to Bla, Por and Bol and trips to Eve, Sto and Hul all look like they could give returns.

As for valuing players, the prices seem pretty random but in the past I have felt that they tend to overprice big name arrivals, presumably because if they undervalue a player, everyone will jump on board and skew prices etc.

Dre - I have loved Anelka in the past but I don't really like him in this system if he is supported by a group of midfielders like Deco, Lampard and Malouda. If Aneclotti's stayed 442 with Sturridge up front I like Anelka a bit but in a 4231 I would look elsewhere.

Mish - Spurs fixtures over the coming weeks actually look better than those in which Spurs have notched 4 straight clean sheets. I like Bassong as a consistent choice with some bonus potential and Bale as a sleeper who is held by almost no one and should get 3 or 4 games at left back in Assou Ekotto's absence.

Thanks for sticking with the blog through the holiday period. Im really looking forward to the new year and of course the transfer window.

Yagiz said...

hey chris.. was at florida as well..

im thinking about dropping vermalainen to free up some cash and replace arshaving with fabregas..
what do you think?
who do you suggest instead of vermalainen..?

Yagiz said...

vermalaen i meant..

David said...

Ja I plan on getting rid of Vermaelen this week for a city defender like i mentioned earlier to finance my Modric upgrade. I've had him since GW 3 or 4 but his time has come.

Yagiz said...

David- Which city defender you think would be good?
I trust City defence with Mancini.
I would like Bridge if he wasnt injured.. but now can not find a reliable one..

Mmmarek83 said...

Is that good idea to replcae Zayatte with Garrido? Is there enough space in the lineup in ManCity?

Chris Glover said...

Looks like we could have had a fantasy reunion in Florida over the holidays!

Yagiz - I think moving Vermaelen is a good option. Arsenal's fixtures arent great after the double gameweek and the loss of Song will surely hurt them. Vermaelen's goal threat is a bonus but not enough to justify his 7.3m price tag.
To replace him I like United and City defenders.

Chris Glover said...

A few of you talking City defenders. I like:

1. Richards - should play every game and can contribute assists on occasion.

2. Zabaleta - Richards could shift inside given Zabaleta extra playing time. No a guarantee to play every game but good value at 4.9m

3. Garrido - if you have a dud on your bench, you could do worse than swapping him for Gariddo who at 4.1m is a potential steal. Lescott and Sylvinho threaten his minutes but when he plays he can contribute assists and goals from free kicks.

Yagiz said...

Thanks Chris,

I'll probably change Vermaelen with Richards.
Then i have 2 options:

1) Get Fabregas instead of Arshavin
2) Aquilani instead of Etherington (risky but may pay well, will keep Arshavin in that case)

What do you think?

Colin said...

Chris,

I have Andy Reid and Lee Bowyer in my midfield at the moment. Both have done very well for me as back-up/rotation type players, indeed both have contributed so much that they have been starters more often than not for me. However Reid is now injured and I'm sensing that Bowyer is beginning to flag a bit, so I'm wondering about replacing both of them. It will need to be with players in the £5M region. I'm thinking Damian Duff may be one possibility but I'm also intrigued about Ramsey as a possibility for differentiation. Obviously he won't start all the time but I'm wondering if he might represent good value for £4.8M. What are your thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions for midfielders whoi could fill this back-up role?

David said...

presume im not the only one bummed about the arsenal/bolton match. Valencia was my captain b4 i switched to Arshavin when i saw the double :(

auburn.tigers2011 said...

David I feel your pain. I brought in diaby and arshavin after my initial transfer so I wasted those 8 points because of the match being cancelled. Captaining Arshavin just adds insult to injury too...

Yagiz said...

I had Vermalaen and Arshavin :(

I was gonna captain Arshavin but thank god I forgot Torres as captain :)

auburn.tigers2011 said...

Can someone please explain to me why United, Stoke, Hull, and City do not have a game on gameweek 23?

Thanks in advance

David said...

auburn, they had to move those matches to make way for the postponed Utd/City League Cup Semi