Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 8

I didn't see a ton of football this week as I was away for the weekend so this week's lineup lessons will be somewhat condensed, focusing purely on surprise omissions and potential issues, and avoiding the often rambling detours these electronic pages have become synonymous with. Indeed, the reader may well find themselves wishing your humble blogger watched less weekly action to keep future posts this short.

Arsenal
Mannone, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla, Gervinho, Giroud, Podolski
Subs: Martinez, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin, Gnabry

Nothing to report here at all. Wilshere made a return to the bench from injury (delighted for him: one of the English players with truly elite upside in my humble opinion), but from a fantasy perspective we're along from that mattering. This was an odd result for Arsenal, though not totally out of character with their recent struggles, and Cazorla and Podolski owners shouldn't be overly concerned.

Aston Villa
Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Delph, Holman, Bent, Agbonlahor
Subs: Given, N'Zogbia, Albrighton, Benteke, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj

Playing Ireland and Bent seems like a wonderfully novel idea but despite their past successes neither are ownable for now. Indeed, there's very little to like in this whole team, especially with all the players with a modicum of potential being rotated weekly.

Chelsea
Cech, Cole, Cahill, Luiz, Ivanovic, Mikel, Ramires, Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Azipilicueta, Bertrand, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Sturridge

Lampard’s move to a more defensive role has been a godsend for fantasy owners with Mata, Hazard and even Oscar presenting themselves as legitimate every week starters. All three contributed this week, with their respective scores falling in line with how I would rank them: Mata, Hazard, Oscar.

At the back, Cahill’s goal was a nice bonus and with Terry out for four more games, he at least deserves a cursory glance. With the next three home games against Man Utd, Liverpool and Man City though, along with tricky trips to Swansea and West Brom. I don't see a ton of value in Cahill in Terry's absence.

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

Not a whole lot to report here either. Fellaini missed out with injury, as we already knew, and may or may not miss another game this week. That meant Anichebe got another game but he isn't viable given the depth of talent elsewhere in this team. Pienaar will miss the Merseyside derby but with the suspension being for just a single game I'd be okay holding onto him.

Fulham
Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Sidwell, Baird, Richardson, Rodallega, Berbatov, Petric
Subs: Stockdale, Senderos, Kasami, Karagounis, Diarra, Dejagah, Kacaniklic

Kacaniklic has been dropped a couple of times now, and while he's likely only your second on third, it's time to start looking elsewhere as you can't be carrying dead weight as the inevitable suspensions and injuries start to rack up. The inclusion of Rodallega (#20), Petric (#10) and Berbatov (#9) was a touch surprising and based on the average positions, it was actually Richardson (#15) who took up the most advanced position. I'm not reading too much into this yet, but his odd deployment bears mentioning given the almost cult status Berbatov enjoys among fantasy managers.

Liverpool
Jones, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen, Sahin, Fernandez Saez, Suarez, Sterling
Subs: Gulacsi, Jose Enrique, Assaidi, Henderson, Downing, Carragher, Shelvey

Liverpool were unchanged this week which isn't overly shocking looking at their uninspiring bench, though the fact that Wisdom was able to hold off Jose Enrique on his return is notable. Honestly it seems as if Enrique (and perhaps Downing) have been highlighted as the players who represent the past and are being a little scapegoated by current management. I don't watch enough Liverpool games to comment with certainty, but it seems unlikely that the parade of youngsters earning time in this side are all better than some of the older options. Either way, the value in this side rests with the Suarez and Sterling, with Gerrard perhaps representing a risky play for those looking for options in their midfield.

Man City
Hart, Clichy, Lescott, Kompany, Richards, Milner, Barry, Nasri, Toure, Balotelli, Tevez
Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Sinclair, Kolarov, Aguero, Toure

The fact that Tevez and Aguero both didn't start despite Silva's absence is a real concern and I'm almost at a point where I simply abandon this City side, other than maybe Yaya, though his value has taken a knock of late too. With Dzeko getting among the goals again this week he too is sure to get some starting minutes in the future, making this front four a total mess. At the back, Richards seems to have found some favour over Zabaleta though that too is likely on thin ice given Mancini's past.

Man Utd
De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Scholes, Carrick, Welbeck, van Persie, Rooney
Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Giggs, Hernandez, Nani, Powell, Wootton

De Gea keeping his place between the sticks is potentially noteworthy, though with another shaky performance at the back, I'm not sure we're too bothered either way. The situation up front has resolved itself with van Persie and Rooney showing an ability to play well together (at least by way of fantasy returns) but the midfield remains a minefield and should probably be avoided right now. For long stretches last season I had six players from the two Manchester teams, now it's very conceivable you'd be best served with zero.

Newcastle
Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Gutierrez, Cabaye, Tiote, Ben Arfa, Ba, Shola Ameobi
Subs: Harper, Anita, Cisse, Perch, Obertan, S Taylor, Ferguson

Given his well publicised success against Sunderland, it's very likely that Ameobi got the start here based on a handful on previous encounters with Newcastle's local rivals, which I can't say I'm a fan of. Either way, I don't see that as a long term trend and would expect Cisse to return soon. The same can be said for Steven Taylor, who presumably didn't quite pass the fitness test to return here. This side continues to offer good fantasy options at a number of positions, though Tiote's absence will have some impact on their usually decent defense.

Norwich
Ruddy, R Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, E Bennett, Johnson, Hoolahan, Tettey, Pilkington, Holt
Subs: Rudd, Snodgrass, Howson, Jackson, Surman, Morison, R Bennett

Paul Lambert's former team is a lot like his new one, with players rotated ad nauseum, often including those with the most talent. I understand a manager's job involves more than simply playing the best players but the rotation of Snodgrass and sometimes Holt leaves me baffled to say the least. Nevertheless, they got the win this week against a good Arsenal side, and while I might argue with ESPN's notion that they deserved it given their 28% possession and 3 shots on target, it's a good 3 points for Hughton's side. Fantasy wise though, I see nothing here other than perhaps Holt.

QPR
Julio Cesar, Bosingwa, Diakite, Nelsen, Traore, Mbia, Granero, Park, Taarabt, Hoilett, Zamora
Subs: Green, Ferdinand, Cisse, Wright-Phillips, Mackie, Onuoha, Faurlin

We're starting to see a first team emerge here which could make the likes of Granero, Hoilett and even the mercurial Taarabt worth looking at once again. I'm not personally there yet, but one change in the front six this week is a step in the right direction and with home games to come against Reading, Southampton, Villa and Fulham up next, Hughes' men might finally offer some potential as reliable squad men.

Reading
McCarthy, Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey, Kebe, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak
Subs: S Taylor, Gunter, Pearce, Le Fondre, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Roberts

The core of this side looks pretty settled these days but with the second worst attack in terms of shots inside the box and the league's fourth worst defense by the same metric, it's still tough to see a ton of value here. I'm not enamoured by his upside but Pogrebnyak at least seems to have guaranteed minutes, which shouldn't be ignored given his price tag and thus he deserves mention. Gurthie and McAnuff also place fairly well among their peers, though once again their chief appeal is their low price.

Southampton
Boruc, Clyne, Hooiveld, Fonte, Yoshida, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, S Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez, Do Prado
Subs: K Davis, Lambert, Ward-Prowse, Mayuka, Seaborne, Chaplow, Reeves

Boruc came into the team in goal, making him the Saints' third keeper for the year. I can't comment with authority on the finer points of shot stopping or when to come out for crosses having routinely shunned 'keeper duty since I was about nine years old, however, I do know that if you allow 92 shots inside the box and 137 in total in 8 games, you're going to concede goals even with Buffon between the pipes. We're not here to talk about this defense though.

The headline this week was Lambert's benching  and while you don't like to overreact to one game, this is the second time he's been benched. The good news is that those two benchings have come in tricky away games so his value isn't massively compromised, though it's enough to make the likes of Berbatov, Kone or Holt a touch more attractive. We'll touch on him more in the fanning the flames piece but I must note (read: thank) Lallana for his goal this week, which bailed my team out of another otherwise miserable effort.

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

Nothing really to note here as once again Stoke provide a consistent lineup. Though their generally solid lineup gave up four goals against United, it was actually encouraging to see them score a couple with Kightly quickly joining a solid list of mid-range midfielders.

Sunderland
Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose, Johnson, Larsson, Colback, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher
Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Campbell, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Meyler, Saha

Another settled lineup here with though my latest version of the model suggests some concerns over the sustainability of their success this year, but we'll get to that later in the week. On a personnel level there are plenty of good options here though so for now let's leave it there.

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

I'm pleased to see Hernandez break into the first team though it's a shame that came at the expense of Dyer who has been a useful fantasy option over the past year and a bit. Michu played the role of nominal striker, though in truth he didn't play much further upfield than in past weeks. Nevertheless, he's a good option for his price. I'm not out on Graham and Dyer just yet but it looks like we might need to part ways soon.

Tottenham
Friedel, Vertonghen, Gallas, Caulker, Walker, Sandro, Huddlestone, Dempsey, Sigurdsson, Lenon, Defoe
Subs: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Falque, Livermore, Townsend, Adebayor

Vertonghen appears to have settled into that left back quite nicely which is a slight disappointment as I thought Naughton might develop into a decent fantasy prospect this year. Regardless, Gallas and Caulker both come at a discount price and my previous concerns about the latter have been dismissed with some decent outings which seem to have confirmed his place in the first eleven. With Walker and Vertonghen coming at a huge premium and the uncertainty between the sticks, it would appear that Caulker might bet he best bet here.

The midfield still isn’t really sorted as while Dempsey and Sigurdsson played together, one will likely find themselves on the bench again as soon as Bale returns to action. I’m still finding myself turned off by this whole attacking unit other than the Welshman. Defoe is worth holding if you own him and though I’m not confident in this assessment, I still believe he and Adebayor will split time in the coming weeks, making both tough to own.

West Brom
Foster, Ridgewell, Olsson, McAuley, Tamas, Yacob, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Morrison, Fortune, Long
Subs: L Daniels, Popov, Rosenberg, Jara Reyes, Lukaku, Gera, Odemwingie

I continue to be frustrated by Odemwingie and Long not getting enough playing, but Clarke is doing a decent job by all accounts and Long has three goals to his name, so what do I know (if I was pushing an agenda though, I might point to his four shots on target for the year to those now labelling Long as a 'natural finisher'). Regardless of the situation up front, Morrison remain a useful option and this defense should have better days again in the future.

West Ham
Jaaskelainen, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, McCartney, Noble, Diame, Benayoun, Nolan, Jarvis, Carroll
Subs: Spiegel, Cole, Maiga, Spence, O'Neil, Chambers, Hall

There's a lot to like about this side, who offer consistent lineups as well as upside at a number of positions. We'll touch on Nolan and Noble in this week's fanning the flames and there's not much more to say for now.

Wigan
Al Habsi, Caldwell, Figueroa, Ramis, McCarthy, McArthur, Boyce, Beausejour, Kone, Maloney, Di Santo
Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Watson, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli, Miyaichi

I waxed lyrical about this front three a couple of weeks back, and while they weren't able to contribute on the scoresheet this week, they showed flashes once again with Maloney in particularly looking most likely to nick a goal. With his goal this week (a beauty if he meant it by the way), there will be plenty of managers jumping on the Boyce bandwagon, and while I'll expand on this in the later piece, be careful about buying a defender from a side who just aren't very good at the back because he might get the odd goal or assist here and there. 

3 comments:

Matt Stone said...

Don't be ridiculous, I look forward to sinking my teeth all the juicy detail in your rambling posts.

ransor said...

"Tevez and Aguero both didn't play" Not quite right Chris both got an assist and Tevez got 2 bonus points. I think I know what you were getting at but Tevez is still doing the business in most games this season, still I'm considering Ba instead though.

Chris Glover said...

Thanks Matt

Ransor - that should have read "start", not "play"