We are at the crossroads as the season has ticked over the half way point. Looking forward can be pretty difficult, especially for the top 10 sides who started so brightly (West Brom, Everton) or have been quite up and down (Arsenal, Liverpool). Combine that with the remaining ‘winter’ wildcards and things can certainly get difficult.
A mere 3 weeks ago suggestion of the kings was but speculation upon the future of the closely held fantasy assets of Mata, Bale and even Michu.
Steven Gerrard has matched all pre season expectations and finally lived up to his underlying stats with a devastating run of form. He has returned an impressive 7 games in a row unmatched by even the most impressive of fantasy assets. My appreciation of the Liverpool captain has come at a cost earlier in the season (and much to the joy of Bayswater Toffees) but his talents cannot be forgotten especially upon the return of Lucas Leiva (9 matches ago). Lucas is highly regarded in the holding midfield role the perfect mixture of hard tackling & cut throat passing quite simply provides the perfect foil to allow Gerrard to attack.
Many thought the Liverpool captain was washed up having only played 13 & 20 games in the last two seasons for dismal fantasy returns. His career was over, he was too old, he was too slow to run the midfield etc. The critics were wrong Gerrard is the ONLY midfielder to have played every single minute of the league (2070). It is quite a feat showing the security of the player. Combine that with his low ownership (6.5%) and we have a real fantasy asset on our hands.
The stumbling block as always with Gerrard over the years is the price tag. The rather humorous part of the equation ‘9.4’ is a steal for a player of his quality. Just think about it:
10.5 = 180 points
10.6 = 200 points
12.4 = 216 points
12.5 = 159 points
Gerrard this season has 128 points (5.5 per game) with 15 games remaining (in theory 83 more points for a total of 211). In theory he looks a dead certainty but we have to consider the weight of the competition. Gerrard is fighting for a place in our squads with the likes of Bale, Mata, Hazard, Santi, Silva & Walcott. It is a complex situation which has caused many a headache for someone ‘twice bitten thrice shy’ let alone the rest of the speculating competition.
Now normally I would not go into team dynamics I much rather talking up a player in form & the reason why not squad dynamics. Gerrard is worthy of the occasion. If you are keen on winning a mini league Gerrard is worth the punt over the likes of Bale, Hazard, Santi, Silva & Walcott (if your behind of course). Mata well he is the hottest midfielder this season he can’t be simply traded on a recommendation.
Out of form: Lucas Podolski
Sick is no excuse the German came with a big reputation & has failed to live up to the price tag (fantasy at the very least). For some reason he is not fit enough to complete a game ONLY playing 90 minutes once this season…
The frustrating part of all this is he has the quality to produce week in week out performances (& through the middle of the park at that). Walcott and Podolski in a front two would be delightful to watch alas it will not happen 4-4-2 left Arsenal many moons ago (some would say with the trophies).
Season so far:
7 Returns in 21 games (33%) at a cost of 8.3 simply got good enough
Not much more to say really. One does wonder if he can redeem himself for those who placed faith in his clinical finishing ahead of the double game week. [Edit: He came in Yay!]