A few more quick notes coming out today that are important for EPL fantasy managers. First are the comments coming from Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs that he has been given license to press the attack. From Arsenal.com:
Gibbs’ average position in the 0-0 draw at Stoke was more advanced than striker Lukas Podolski’s. The England international says that is not just down to his instincts. “The boss is always telling me, ever since pre-season, to play high and wide and stretch the team, to let the midfielders have more room,” Gibbs told Arsenal Player.
We’ll cover Gibbs below, but the news on Podolski is less encouraging. Podolski has a world of talent but has not performed as well as EPL fantasy managers may have expected. Four of his six matches have ended with 2 points, while he has yet to finish more than 81′ in a single appearance. Opta stats (via EPLIndex.comd) illustrate that he is not created many chances for his teammates — eight chances created in six matches — but is shooting well. The shooting stats are also important. His two goals have come from 10 shots and Opta has his shooting accuracy at 57% through six BPL fixtures. We liked Podolski at the start of the year as the heir to Robin van Persie’s goals, penalty duty and free kicks. He is not currently creating enough to contribute EPL fantasy points through assists, though his shooting is on pace to see him netting a respectable 12 goals. Back to Gibbs.
“I feel my performances have been positive this season,” added Gibbs. “I’ve kept fit which has been important for me – especially over the last couple of years where I struggled to stay fit. I always said if I can get a good run of games under my belt, I can always get stronger and hopefully be more consistent – which is what I’m doing at the minute. I’m happy to be fit and I’m happy to be playing.”
In fact Gibbs is one of two Arsenal defenders (Carl Jenkinson) and three Gunners overall (Mikel Arteta) who have played every minute of Barclays Premier League action this season. Per Mertesacker had been in the starting lineup until the return to fitness of Laurent Koscielny and the later appears to be first-choice pairing with Thomas Vermaelen for manager Arsene Wenger. Bacary Sagna is due back from his leg injury in the coming weeks and Jenkinson may lose his place when that occurs. With Gibbs’ license to attack, solidified place in the starting XI and Fantasy Premier League price of £5.8m, he should be owned in more than 11.7% of FPL sides. EPL fantasy managers should consider that the Gunners face a modest run of fixtures over the next seven BPL fixtures with only Manchester United (GW 10) and Tottenham (GW 12) solid bets to prevent a Gunners clean sheet.
There is also a bit of news from West Ham. Sky Sports has Sam Allardyce refusing to allow investment to dictate his selection. In this case, it is record signing Matt Jarvis at issue:
West Ham United assistant boss Neil McDonald says being the club’s record signing is no guarantee that Matt Jarvis will be a regular in the team. Jarvis joined the Hammers from Wolves before the close of the transfer window and he started on his debut in the 3-0 defeat at Swansea City last month. He has not subsequently started a Premier League game for West Ham and appears unlikely to be recalled by manager Sam Allardyce for Monday night’s game against Queens Park Rangers. McDonald added of Jarvis: “The game he started away at Swansea, we didn’t play as well as we had done before.”
Jarvis has a Fantasy Premier League price of £5.8m and is selected in 0.2% of sides. The former Wolves man recorded eight goals and six assists in 2812′ in 2011-12. He finished the ’11-12 EPL fantasy season with 142 points in the Fantasy Premier League. If he can solidify a spot in the Hammers starting XI, Jarvis has the potential to provide solid value as a fourth midfielder. Until such a time as he does, EPL fantasy managers should feel comfortable in starting Mark Noble – £4.8m, 2.2% selected, and his 12 chances created a joint best for the squad (Ricardo Vaz Te). Noble’s chances are largely from set pieces — 10 from set play, 2 from open play — which should mean that they are more sustainable as fouls earned by any player can result in a chance created for Noble.
Last bit of Hammer’s news, Andy Carroll is back for the QPR match on Monday:
Carroll, 23, has been sidelined for almost a month after limping out of his Hammers debut against Fulham. The on-loan Liverpool man was expected to be out for around six weeks, but is now in line to play at Loftus Road after Allardyce revealed he has made a speedy recovery. ”He’s going to be back tonight,” Allardyce told talkSPORT on Monday afternoon. Carroll’s return will be a huge boost to the Hammers, who have failed to score on their Premier League travels this season despite sitting in the top half of the table.
Carroll is priced £8.3m and is selected in 0.5% of Fantasy Premier League sides. It remains to be seen if he can score for Allardyce’s side, having been used primarily as a foil in his early-season appearances. There is no doubt Carroll has the ability to poach, but until he proves both fitness and integration into West Ham’s tactics, we’re avoiding the lanky England man.