Well, we’ve done it. Left alone with our laptop, our Twitter and a team that was decimated by injures, Chelsea players and the departure of Rafa Van der Vaart to Germany. So we’ve just one Fantasy Premier League Wildcard left and a new team to play with as we continue to build a table-topping side:
Before the injury to Ryan Taylor and the transfer of Van der Vaart to Hamburg we were prepared to use our transfer to bring in Michel Vorm from Swansea and send Cech out. However, the loss of Taylor and Rafa, coupled with Torres, Cech and Cole all missing through participation in the Supercup, meant that we would be unable to field a full squad. In examining the possible moves, we contemplated an eight point penalty but determine we would be better off making wholesale changes than attempting to piece in corrections. Instead, we’ve selected the following players to remain in our side:
Only seven of our fifteen survived the initial culling. Some of those let go – Maloney, Nolan – are players we still advocate owning but we played the card and wanted to maximize our potential, so out they went. Van Persie and Tevez were in through necessity, their prices will continue to rise and selling them a day before they face QPR and Southampton, respectively, was never a consideration. Dembélé will be part of a dynamic attack under the guidance of Andre Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane. While his £6m pricetag is a touch steep for a player who will fall behind Adebayor, Bale, Sigurdsson and Dempsey in the attacking cue, we must remember he only had two goals and three assists in 2936′ last season. We are still smitten by his 51 chances created at Fulham, and Dembélé stays as a result.
At the back, we can not get away from Swansea City defenders. They provide tremendous upside for Fantasy Premier League points (even more in ESPN’s format where defender goals count 10 pts) and have a schedule ripe with clean sheet opportunity. Four of their next six Premier League fixtures will be played at Liberty Stadium which also led to our addition of Michel Vorm.
The decision to remove Cech was two-fold. First, he is very expensive. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it was cost I could not justify as Vorm will be first choice keeper for the next several weeks. While Mannone may not be the starting keeper for Arsenal this weekend, any long-term injury to Szczesny will see him come in. Following GW3 there is the international break and we did not feel that there was any rush to pick another ‘keeper with any view but short-term.
The additions of West Ham players Noble and Demel were motivated by cost. Simply put, we like Noble but were hoping he might be transferred. Instead, it appears he’ll be in a midfield with Nolan and Benayoun which should benefit the young man. His free kicks remain his strongest asset for fantasy premier league managers and we expect him to have a few big matches, though he is best used as the fifth midfielder.
Surprisingly, Shinji Kagawa is only up to £8.6m and his match against Southampton could see his price rise additionally. There were also late rumours of a Nani move – well, there were good odds given on a move – and a departure by the Portugese playmaker would have see Kagawa’s role cemented. As it is, Ashley Young is out this weekend and been withdrawn from international duty and Kagawa linked well with Van Persie in their last outing. His price should continue to rise and his skill is sublime.
The final three pieces of our side are simply putting our money where our mouth is. We’ve been unabashed supporters of Demba Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa – that is HBA on Twitter – and Rafael. They are discount options for the skill they posses and the fantasy premier league points they can provide. Ba and Ben Arfa have Villa, Everton, Nowich and Reading in the next four. The way the Toffees are playing, we’re not expecting much, but the singular skill of Ben Arfa means he can create a goal from nothing even against Moyes’ dedicated defensive tactics. Ba, as we’ve noted, scored 24 goals in 3829′ – a goal every 159:30′. That is better than one goal every two games and there is no reason he cannot continue to provide that return when you consider the volume of chances created for the Geordie’s striker by the outstanding midfield assembled by Alan Pardew.
Rafael is the best £5.5m rated defender in the game. He may not be slated to play every game, but when he does he is part of one of the premier defensive units, a side capable of keeping a clean sheet every other match or more. Further, he is involved in the attack, having a good understanding with the United wingers and possessing the class to overlap into the attacking third and press the opposition.
That is it. We’ve played our first Wildcard, brought in nine new players and remade our side in our own image – at least the image we’ve presented in the Buying Guides and various other posts. Like us? Follow us on Twitter and please tell your friends, we do occasionally provide poor advice and we can all hope they take the chaff to heart and ignore all the cream. Hmmm, mixed the metaphors a bit there at the end.