Thursday, 31 January 2013

GW24 Match Centre

Not looking good for Villa, is it.  From a fantasy perspective Bentkeis still the crux of their attacking value, but there's isn't enough of it really to get all that excited about, especially with bonus points being so dependant on winning. Newcastle introduced three debutantes in this fixture in Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko, and Gouffran. None are worthy of a look yet. This game did not provide enough of what Newcastle may offer wit these new guys and without Ba, although on the face of it, it would seem little. 


Both these teams have troubled me from a statistical point of view, with their form shifting quite significantly at different parts of the season. I am not surprised by this result though. Swansea have wisened up and their early season buccaneering exploits are no more as they look to control games more with their passing. They're still, clearly, the most attack-minded team on show here, and Michu remains the standout option ahead of the more risky Hernandez, Dyer and De Guzman. 


How the masses like to mock Benitez and Chelsea's performance's since he took over from the eminently likable RDM. Losing 2 goal advantages against promoted clubs is not very good - it happens of course ("the most dangerous lead in football") but it should not happen to a master tactician of Benitez's supposed repute. How we mock. As for their personnel, it's as we were with Mata generating striker stats and Torres not. Lampard has emerged as a real option though. Of course, Adam Le Fondre stole the headlines with two late goals, and almost all of Reading's attack in just 31 minutes. We backed ALF quite a bit a while back but dropped him from the model when he lost his place in the first XI. Has he earned his place in the team? 


QPR can defend and their defender's may be worth an investment. Personally I am not tempted though. A mandate to secure a point against the league's elite is a straightforward gameplan for a team of players. Sit back. Defend. Sit back some more. With more winnable fixtures on the horizon I would expect Redknapp to pus his team on for more than just a point which could bring Taarabt into the frame. City are lacking something this season. For me, Agureo has not had a decent run of games yet, but he looked a threat here, as did Silva. The two of them need to recapture their spark if City are going to defend their title. 


After an away spanking by Liverpool Norwich's regular back line was restored with the return of Bassong and the Canaries resolve duly kept a quality Spurs team at bay, until a little bit of awesome from Bale. Hoolahan and Pilkington really make an interesting pair in this team and although they've suffered from rotation they have now started five of the last six. Established, or due a rest? One player who we know won't get rested in Gareth Bale and his stats will tell you he's the man. 


Half the world probably captained Van Persie in this one, but it was Rooney who stole the show and threw a cat amongst 14.1 million pigeons. Both looked equally threatening. Patrice Evra continues to be a points threat whenever he plays, but the rest of Ferguson's side is so unpredictable it can make you dizzy. Southampton played really, really well, and made United look average whilst throwing a few fantasy spanners in the work themselves, with popular cheapie Puncheon's withdrawal as well as Shaw's benching. 


A long-overdue win for Fulham and goal for site fave Berbatov who unfortunately may now be injured. Despite this win though, Fulham could not claim they bossed this match and there early season blow-out should be erased from our memory now, although Duff's pair of assist might just remind us he exists. Another player to perhaps make an emergence from a dry spell is Kevin Nolan who was at the centre of everything the Hammers did, the rest of their attack shifted to and fro from the bench. 


We tipped this fixture to provide goals and were not disappointed. From the home team, all eyes should be drawn to two players - Giroud and Walcott. The former is averaging a goal every 3 games for the season. If you take into account his indifferent start and subs appearances we're probably looking at a more realistic 1 in 2.  An extra layer was added to Suarez/Sturridge conundrum. Suarez scored, Sturridge didn't. Suarez had more shots. Sturridge was subbed off for Enrique, a tactical move. I don't think it's too revealing to say that Suarez remains the absolute better option, but how many more points could you get from the relative price difference of £3m? 


Everton made it hard for themselves again, conceding from just one shot on target, something they have done a few times this season, give or take. Clean Sheet points don't matter for Leighton Baines though and he served up a mighty treat for those who kept the faith, Fellaini, the other manager-magnet in this team, was deployed deep back in his natural midfield role with Pienaar and Osman much farther forward. This could have been a tactical move from Moyes though, but regardless of the reasons, Fellaini is always going to present a risk in this respect. West Brom's two main fantasy assets - Long and Lukaku - combined for the visitor's only SoT. 

Stoke City have lost their appeal. They had quite a bit, and not so long ago, but now they can't keep a clean sheet and they are making Wigan look better than average (the green arrow), conceding 6 SoT. This is not the Stoke we want to pour our defence budget in to. I'm being too harsh on Wigan though perhaps, it's about this time of the season they start to find their rhythm. Di Santo has grabbed his opportunity with Kone away at ACON and Maloney, re-established in his role behind the striker is looking to make his mark.

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