In Strategy on August 31, 2011 at 12:06 am
From @bainesontoast we get the team on the right. As it’s currently comprised, this team has suffered from a couple of poor defensive outings, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City all conceding goals in their emphatic home wins on the weekend. The gaff’s by Jamie Carragher and Hilario allowed soft goals (though still well taken in each case) by Klasnic and Grant Holt. Those teams will be fine, and we’ll look at the upcoming fixtures later.
Manchester City, specifically Micah Richards, is another issue. This is a team that looked excellent in game week 1 against Swansea only for that clean sheet to be tarnished by a lax defensive effort against Bolton and Swansea total inability to find the net. Richards own participation the attack game week 1 may not have drawn the plaudits as Dzeko, Silva and Aguero have stolen the headlines, but he’s earned an assist in each of the first two weeks and often is ahead of the holding midfielders, playing in the ball from the wing. Fantasy Gaffer considers him one of the best potential bargains in EPL, despite his high price, because of his role in the Manchester City attack couple with a defense that led the EPL with 18 clean sheets a season ago.
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In Squad Sheet on August 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm
We were just cuing up to say “it’s about time for the levees to open” when the Manchester City match turned Edin Dzeko (4 goals, 3 bonus) and Samir Nasri (3 assists, 2 bonus) into the fantasy must have players du jour. And then Ash Young (2 goals, 3 assists, 3 bonus) and Rooney (3 goals, 1 assist, 2 bonus) had to go an turn that on it’s ear.
Leaving aside the two highest scoring matches for the moment, we’ve heard and seen enough of it to last a few paragraphs here, it wasn’t an particularly high scoring weekend. Liverpool took their 3 goals well against Bolton, and Chelsea did similarly against Norwich but while those two sides scored six, the other 10 teams managed just 5 between them. The story was the same on Sunday. While Manchester United and City combined for 13 goals, the other 6 teams managed 7 and 8 teams on the weekend failed to score at all. This season, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, is turning into the haves and have nots with respect to goals. In the bottom 10 only one team (Norwich, 3) has scored more than 2 goals. 5 teams have just a single goal to their credit and Swansea has managed to do the incredible, namly earn two points in their first three fixtures without scoring an EPL goal (or having an og scored for them). While it is still early, three fixtures are never enough of a sample to make accurate ‘on pace’ type predictions, unless of course you’re taking a punt on Dreko as Top Scorer with 76 goals, this is the way the league typically plays out, though not with sure dramatic skewing.
A quick note: last season Wigan scored just 40 goals. Champions Manchester United had the top goals for at 78. The season prior it was the most comperable to what we’re witnessing this season. In 2009-10 Chelsea scored 103 EPL goals while allowing just 32. Read the rest of this entry »
In Squad Sheet on August 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm
This week we’ve three big names switching clubs with Juan Mata in at Chelsea, Samir Nasri competed his switch to Manchester City and Emmanuel Adebayor has signed a year long loan deal with Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham where Luka Modric still “plays” though he is yet to see the pitch this season and is finally named in the squad to face City.
At Chelsea Yossi Benayoun has received “special dispensation” to give Juan Mata the number 10 shirt. While Benayoun has been on the fringe of the squad this season, it clearly shows Villas-Boas desire to appease his new Spanish playmaker. We’ve already covered Mata is some detail here, and his arrival certainly dampens the prospects for Florent Malouda, Nicholas Anelka, Solomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge, presuming, of course, that he plays in the top “3″ of the 4-3-3 and does not drop back into the center of midfield where Frank Lampard currently plays with Ramires and Mikel. If you’ve got Ramires or Mikel in your squad, their playing time should be secure for this week, and likely going forward as Mata’s scoring touch makes him a natural choice to play further up field.
At City there is again increased competition for playing time. We’ve previously covered Samir Nasri’s move to City at length and with only Adebayor departing City not much has changed. City will be looking to rebound from a sloppy performance last week against Bolton and Tottenham will likewise be looking to get at least a point from the home fixture. Adebayor has made the switch but is not eligible to play against City this weekend. Regardless, he is not available in the Offiicial EPL game, being unlisted for either club. His price should be in line with Crouch and Pavlyuchenko (£7m) and his presence likely cuts into the production of Jermaine Defoe £8.5m.
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In Squad Sheet, Strategy on August 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm
Aston Villa has started their first two matches of the EPL season in a 4-3-3 formation where they’re using Gabby Agbonlahor, Charles N’Zogbia and Emile Heskey in behind Darren Bent. This has meant that Marc Albrighton has started each match on the bench, coming is as a substitute for N’Zogbia in week 1 and replacing Gabby at the half, for injury, in week 2. The question being asked is why is Albrighton on the bench? With Petrov (r) and Delph (l) in the ‘middle’ of the field, it is being left to Agbonlahor and N’Zogbia to stretch the width of Villa’s attack, a task that Albrighton showed he is capable of last season.
Aston Villa faces a run of matches against their mid table rivals, all matches where they’ll need results to stay in contention for a top 6 finish. With Wolves, Everton, Newcastle, QPR, and Wigan in the next 5 weeks new manager McLeish may decide to stick with the current lineup. Clearly the Fantasy Premier League value of Albrighton is near 0 when he’s not guaranteed a start and may see less than a half. Albrighton did get the start in the Carling Cup match with Hereford, and Agbonlahor did not make the squad, but it looks like it will take an injury for him to break into the starting lineup. With niggles for Gabby (hamstring) and Emile (groin) Albrighton may see time but at £6.5 is a costly risk.
This means that Heskey and Agbonlahor become more attractive options. Unfortunately this is a case of a player playing out of position but the wrong way. Agbonlahor is priced at £6.5m in the Official FPL and Heskey is priced £5.5m. Though they’re getting minutes, they’re also less likely to score than out and out strikers, and therefor fantasy premier league managers should weigh the risk of the lower points per goal against the potential to score more often (based solely on minutes played). Read the rest of this entry »
In Player Projection, Squad Sheet on August 25, 2011 at 11:55 am
Juan Mata, he of the famed Real Madrid exit, the one man show against Barcelona and Real, the excessively pun-laden headlines, has landed in London. While the sides are fairly evenly divided in the camps of “quite good” and “the Savior of Chelsea; the Bringer of Creativity” it needs to be with a grain of salt and a pound of patience that fantasy premier league mangers draft Mata into their paper side.
Mata still has not been priced in the Official Fantasy Premier League game, but if recent EPL additions Aguero and Long. Shane Long. are any indication he will be priced at just below the tier of his teams best player. Aguero was priced at 11 to Tevez’s 12, Long 6 to Odemwingies 7.5. The top priced midfielder at Chelsea is, of course, Frank Lampard’s 12. The next highest is the man many are tipping Mata to replace, Florent Malouda. If Mata is priced at 10.5 like Malouda, it would be a wise decision to initially avoid the Spaniard.
If Florent Malouda is sold to Juventus, that would create a nice void for Mata to fill. However, he is still one of many and manager Villas-Boas has shown his willingness to fully use his substitutes bench each match. OptaJose has been enjoying this little fact:
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In Squad Sheet, Strategy on August 25, 2011 at 2:37 am
Responsibility. It’s a big word. It’s the difference between 1, 2, or 3 extra chances on the ball to create an assist or take a speculative shot on goal. For one player last season, Charlie Adam, it was the difference between a transfer to Liverpool or staying in the Championship, between being an average fantasy premier league player and being one of the top midfielders and unquestioned best bargain in the game. So far this season there have been just 19 matches, and with some squads lacking full fitness, and players already missing matches through suspension, these are current as we’ve reviewed all 19 match reports, cross referencing BBC Sports with ESPN, and collected the relevant free kick data as of Wednesday August 24. This data was then been cross-referenced with EPLIndex and the chalkboards at The Guardian. This is not a definitive list, but a helpful snapshot of the entire EPL. Some of these are obvious first choices, but for some, like Chelsea, there are a number of specialists and many will try. Fantasy Premier League managers can benefit on playing the odds, and those players taking the extra touches are worth the extra look when doing transfers.
Arsenal: Van Persie. Arshavin also was on wing free kicks, corners taken by RvP, Rosicky, but again, this team is in flux and any new arrival may upset the balance and create opportunity for new players to take corners and wing free kicks. Anything near goal is RvP.
Aston Villa: Bent, N’Zogbia. N’Zog takes the wing free kicks for crosses. Albrighton gets the corners when he’s on the pitch. Warnock and Dunne take the restarts. Bannen took free kicks when he took the pitch.
Blackburn: Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Dunn. Dunn takes a majority of corners.
Bolton: Reo-Coker. Petrov takes the corners. Read the rest of this entry »
In Head-to-Head on August 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm
Manchester United is off to a decent start. With wins over West Brom and Tottenham already banked they will turn their attention to Arsene Wenger’s injury ravaged and suspension depleted team this weekend. The fast start for Manchester and the goals of Rooney have, in small degree, overshadowed the story of the season – the emergence of Anderson and Cleverley as the first choice pairing in the center of midfield.
Cleverley, £5.5m in the Official Fantasy Premier League game, is the twenty-two year old homegrown talent that excelled in loan spells for Watford and Wigan. He appears to have taken Michael Carrick’s role and is paired with the 23-year old Brazilian in the heart of the United midfield. Each has Premier League experience and, for two fixtures at least, both are excelling. But which of them, if either, do you want in your fantasy premier league team? Using the below chalkboards, in conjunction with their EA Sports Player Performance Index scores, we’ve outlined the case for each.
Anderson has had the single best game for either player according to EASPPI with a 43 against Tottenham. He had also posted a 15 in the opening match. In comparison, Cleverley had a 15 on opening day as well, and he too improved against Tottenham, but just to 21. Neither total was good enough to earn Cleverley bonus points in the FPL, while Anderson added 2 bonus points to his goal against Spurs.
Anderson has stepped up to the challenge, improving his overall passing numbers from his career and, while these numbers of just two matches may not be able to be sustained over the course of the whole season but for these two fixtures he has done an exceptional job. Read the rest of this entry »
In Strategy on August 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm
I need to point out right up front that I will not be updating individual totals on a week to week basis. The idea driving these posts is the ability to forecast bonus points for the next week, and it is more useful to look at the data as a whole, rather than split it out over individual players. However, initially it will provide value to know who is getting those points each week, and this weeks big winner is once again Newcastle’s Steven Taylor.
John Ruddy. We’re not exactly sure what else he was supposed to have done. He stopped a penalty shot and was credited with 2 saves while allowing a stoppage time goal to Jones after withstanding a half hour of pressure following Norwich’s reduction to 10 men. And instead of earning anything, he saw his EASPPI score drop from 9 in gameweek 1 (5 saves, 1 goal allowed) to 8. In fact goalkeepers in general look to be very poor value to earn any bonus points this year with arguably the best goalkeeping performance of the weekend, Al-Habsi’s 4 saves and a clean sheet against Swansea, earning him a EASPPI score of just 13 – and just 1 bonus point in a match where last season would have seen him earn 3 with his man of the match performance. This was again on display as Brad Friedel recorded 13 (13!!) saves against Manchester United and earned 0 bonus points, with his EASPPI score at 0.
Just three ‘keepers on the season have earned bonus points, and they have just 5 bonus points between them. While goalkeepers have three ways (predominently) of earning points, with saves, clean sheets and minutes – fantasy premier league managers need to consider that higher cost ‘keepers on teams more likely to provide clean sheets are going to out earn their bargain counterparts. Players like de Gea and Reina at £6.5m are going to see 13-16 clean sheets and fewer than 40 goals allowed, making them solid if unspectacular investments. The down side is there will, in all likelihood, never be a single bonus point awarded to a top 5 goalkeeper as their teams a filled with players who will cannibalize bonus points. De Gea proved the point this weekend, with 9 saves and a clean sheet against Tottenham earning him 0 bonus points. The points instead went to Welbeck (3), Anderson (2) and Rooney (1). Read the rest of this entry »
In Head-to-Head on August 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp had glowing praise for his Coatian midfielder after the first leg of the Europa League qualifier at Hearts. Spurs had scored 5 goals, through 5 different players, and looked lively enough that they’ve now ensured a place in the Europa group stages before the return leg kicks off. Redknapp said the Croatian international “ran the game” and “was outstanding in midfield”. Of course, the Croatian in question was not Luka Modric, but rather Niko Kranjcar.
Earlier this summer there was considerable speculation, fueled by Kranjcar himself, that he would be out the door with advances for his international and club teammate being rebuffed by the Tottenham board. The curtain still has not been raised on the Spurs EPL season and Modric missed the Europa League fixture. Redknapp’s squad for the Manchester United fixture does not include Luka, with Harry saying that his “head’s not in the right place”. It may be that his head and the rest of him are moving across London shortly, leaving his position in midfield to be filled by Kranjcar.
Valued at £6m in the Official Fantasy Premier League game, he cost £2m less than Modric. Kranjcar has played in the EPL with Portsmouth and Tottenham since the 2006-07 season and two FPL seasons over 110pts, each time playing more than 2000′. He has scored 17g and 15a and looks set to assume full time minutes. Given that last season Modric scored 125 points in 2,794′ it is likely that Kranjcar would be able to equal, if not exceed, the fantasy premier league total of his compatriot. Kranjcar’s impact on his teammates scoring is equal importance.
From EPLIndex.com we’re able to review a number of statistics comparing the two midfielders. For purposes of this article, two sets of statistics are the most important, the passing and the 50/50 duels: Read the rest of this entry »