In Form & Out of Form

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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!]

@Liam 

41 comments on “In Form & Out of Form

  1. mad romeys

    Considering Michu/Bale for Gerrard/Lampard but never quite came to having the balls to do it really.

    If I were to get rid of one of Michu/Bale, who should I get rid of and who for, Gerrard/Lampard??

    Money is no problem…

    • Liam

      Yeah your not the only one. I avoided Gerrard for no good reason thinking to myself ‘it won’t last’ after 3 games, it has.

      Lampard well he has kind of come out of no where. Personally I felt he played terrible in the club world cup final. He came back from that & is firmly part of the first team again. Playing quite well but he has racked up the penalties during is little run.

      I would firmly say Gerrard over Lampard if I had the balls I would consider getting rid of Bale (although check his fixtures first).

      Michu is an interesting case, he is in top form having a freak season. His finishing is unequalled his hit the post that many times in the last little run (everton, villa games) also missed a sitter against reading.

      Goals against chelsea & arsenal have given me extra faith in his abilities (although cup games). I was thinking of ditching but after goals against the best at the second time of asking (after they have figured out swanseas game) he is firmly a rock in my side.

  2. Dan

    I think Michu comes down to what u got him for…I can sell him for 7.4….at that price only Fellaini comes close to offering the same returns

    Gerrard vs Lampard depends on who else u have/are interested in getting imo. I personally wouldn’t double up on Chels mid, and have no interest in losing Mata do i want even consider Lampard ( tho if I didn’t have Mata i hes a great buy for cheaper)

    Don’t have any Pool players currently, so Gerrard is being considered along with the obvious front 2.

    Im starting to think the cheapo def, heavy attack maybe not the way to go, reckon the cleanies are gonna keep increasing as the season goes, and the value up top and in the mids currently hard to ignore (eg Sturridge, Fletcher, Remy, Lambert, Lennon, Johnson)…

    Definaltely want to grab a City def asap…considering Gibbs >Clichy/Zab either this week for a hit of next for free.

    • Liam Post Author

      Yeah I also bought Michu for 6.5 so the 7.4 isn’t really going to get me anywhere.

      Cheapy defenders are very much the way to go. There is supreme value this season too many good defenders are underpriced.

      I remember the seasons when Foley was one of (about 3) the only nailed on 4.0 defender. Times have changed for our benefit now I have at least 2 4.0 defenders in my squad absoulte budget saver.

      That said a city defender is a very good idea I have one tucked away at present for a 5.5-5.6-4.1-4.0-4.0 (at cost price) defense (total of 23.2) normally I look to a (6.5/7)-(5/6)-(4.5/5)-(4.5/4)-4 for a (total of 24-30)

      • grinpowderdiah Post Author

        Have to agree with the cheapo defenders option – plus if you watch a lot of games it’s much more exciting to watch a game of your gun strikers/midfielders & hoping they score, as compared to hoping for a CS from your 7.0 defender.

        I think guys like Davies (SWC), Clyne/Shaw (SOU), O’Brien (WHU) and even the last few weeks guys like Naughton (TOT) and Martin (NOR) have proven clean sheets AND attacking returns are attainable for guys priced 4.0-4.5.. and i’ve probably missed a few good ones as well.

        Obviously it’s a bit of a preference thing as well, but the way I look at it is that your returns are potentially much greater with premium attacking options over premium defender options.

        • Dan

          Guess I didnt explain myself the best….I didnt really mean going HUGE downback (the Evras/Baines etc)…just I’ll be focusing on the “bigger” clubs for my defs from now on, even if it means spending a bit more, as I really think the CS are gonna come more frequent for the likes of the Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Spurs and maybe Liverpool.

          There just seems to me to be a heap of “cheaper” options in the mids and upfront eg Lennon/Dempsey over Bale, Sturridge/Gerrard over Suarez, also Fellaini, Lampard, Fletcher/Johnson, Remy/Taraabt, Lukaku etc providing great value currently

          just food for thought

          • grinpowderdiah Post Author

            Yeah very true – lots of good value options forward and midfield as well. However consistency really just the issue for me here, for the premiums you generally get that consistency in their scoring.

            Good point regarding the bigger clubs finding clean sheets too – especially if it gets tighter at the top, look for them to be more conservative given the threat of potential goal difference etc. However, what bothers me most is generally the top 4 have a rotation in place in their defence, which really hurts when you’re spending say 5.5 and if they don’t start it’s unlikely they will get any minutes at all. I like the security of 90 minutes every week from the cheaper guys, who may not get CS’s on a regular basis but the fact they play all games and have some attacking threat as well is enough for me!

          • Dan

            Yeah didnt think about rotations..though u could say that also applies to some of the heavy hitters in attack too (Mata, City forwards as eg’s)

            Tbh Im not really thinking anything too drastic…my mids are currently Mata, Bale, Walcott and Michu…relatively big guns. Plus RVP up forward, with Fletcher and Lambert, which is obviously saving me a bit of cash.

            Down back I have Luiz who I plan to keep, Gibbs who I will swap to Zabaleta/Clichy and Boyce (don’t ask why) who I plan to upgrade with my extra funds to Rafael.

            Maybe will be a little light on up front but apart from Aguero and Sturridge ( who can be a straight swap for Fletcher) there’s noone at a more expensive price that Im particularly keen on.

          • grinpowderdiah Post Author

            Yeah still a very strong midfield (I am assuming your 5th though is on the weaker side?), but playing Lambert/Fletcher every week on the pitch would frustrate me personally! Still, your defense would be 10x stronger than mine, particularly in respect to potential future clean sheets – so I guess it’s just a preference thing thereafter!

          • Liam Post Author

            I am not set on Rafael’s job security of late. I can see where you are coming from in terms of using the budget in the defense have you ever thought of liquidating your budget?

            I generally have money floating around most weeks (last two or three have been tight due to dgw’s) so I can make a variety of moves depending on the situation.

            I could load this extra cash in my defense but then I would be limited in the amount of trades I could make in forward areas.

            We all have different strategies though & we can change from year to year too

  3. Bayswater Toffee's gaffer

    It pains me to say it Liam but you’re spot on… I’ve got one trade I need to make and full a choice of premo mids, and Stevie G was very close to being traded in Sunday morning… I still can’t go beyond Bale though. He seems to want to shoot from everywhere and with his left foot, with his right coming along nicely too, he will score and more regularly than Gerrard. Or Mata.

    • Liam Post Author

      I know how can we look past bale? gerrard seemingly brings consistancy though.

      It is a tough choice one I don’t want to make right now. I am going to keep Bale until Gerrard has played City & Arsenal then re-assess.

  4. mattcraigdt Post Author

    If I was to get Gerrard in I would run a 5 premo midfield without Fellaini. The decision comes down to either Suarez/Fellaini or Gerrard/Ba. Ba is my biggest concern, even though he should start every week I highly doubt he will. I wish Fellaini would leave…

    • Liam Post Author

      Fellaini has left…left the hole behind the striker. An in form man beast by the name of Anichebe is stealing his spot (not for a full 90 minutes but for an annoying amount of time).

      Ba has the reading game to prove me his worth then my wildcard will let him go.

      The idea of a 5 premo midfield is an interesting one, one I will look into. I currently have a 4.2 (cost price) midfielder rather nicely filling my 5th spot so it is complicated personally.

      • Bayswater Toffee's gaffer

        Nooooooooooooo way Liam. Anichebe is playing off the wings. Fella dropped back for bits of last night coz we were getting smashed in the first half (but tbf I haven’t seen the game yet, just what I read will try and watch this arvo). Moyes would be absolutely crazy to drop him back full time, it would mean the attacking threats we have would go from 2 to 1.

        • Liam

          Ok guys I listened to it on the radio so I concede I got the role change wrong.

          I just assumed especially when mirallas also came on the field.

          It wasn’t for the full game he is totally going yaya toure on us though (last few games at least).

          I have not watched their games I just feel as though his threat has diminished slightly since anichebe has been playing. (fpl returns)

          I now agree Matt (about Ba) but I am not going to go all out to get Felliani back in.

          • Bayswater Toffee's gaffer

            You weren’t completely wrong! He did drop back for a bit…

            Someone under the radar (sort of), is Papiss Cisse. Ever since Ba has left he looks a completely new player. He missed at least three absolute sitters on Saturday but its a matter of time before he starts putting them away. Putting it in writing here and now, he’ll score more goals than anyone in the second half of the season. I’m trying to find the $$$ to trade him in.

          • grinpowderdiah Post Author

            This is the problem with Cisse, his price is based on last years highs and until Ba left he hasn’t even looked like being worth a quarter of that. I haven’t seen the Newcastle game as yet, but the week prior I can tell you he didn’t even get a shot off against Norwich. I think the key for him will be to have Cabaye and HBA back, Newcastle don’t have great possession without them and certainly the delivery is lacking. With Sturridge moving to Liverpool and a cheap Remy joining toothless QPR, Cisse effectively moved down my watchlist to the point where he’s probably even lucky to still be on it.

          • tseagrim Post Author

            Well said! He did miss a few sitters but that was against Reading who hadn’t won an away game all year… you’d be a very, very brave man to count on him!

          • Bayswater Toffee's Gaffer

            All excellent points. I didn’t watch the game v Norwich but did watch Newcastle v Everton and v Reading. With the positions he was in to score, an inform striker (i.e. Cisse at the end of last season) would have scored at least 4 over those 2 games. I’m not saying pick him, but those who like the risk v reward thing will love it when it comes off. 8.8m is a bitch though…

          • grinpowderdiah Post Author

            The 8.8 is the real problem yep. Otherwise, he’d be a real smokey option if he was priced under 7. In fact I could almost assure you I would’ve jumped at that already if that was the case.

          • Liam Post Author

            his on my watchlist I don’t think he will be leaving it but neither entering my team. If he had any of the quality of ‘form’ of last season he would have scored at the weekend.

            No disrespect to Federici he did well for my team!

      • grinpowderdiah Post Author

        As the other guys have said, Fellaini was still prominent up forward – particularly in the second half when Everton played a lot better. He had two shots saved by Boruc in about 90 seconds at one point, the second of which was an open header and he should’ve done much better than put it straight at Boruc.

        I have that same concern that he may drop back but, if you were Moyes you’d be insane to do that IMO.

        Anyway, this is my main cause for concern at the moment. It seems I have the exact same strategy as Matty with regards to this:
        Option A) Fellaini/Suarez
        Option B) Gerrard/Ba.

        I have the 5 prong midfield at the moment (Mata, Bale, Walcott, Michu & Cazorla), with Cazorla only there for the DGW. I am not sold on him long term, particularly not over Fellaini or Gerrard. However I too will wait and see how Gerrard goes against Arsenal/City and potentially go from there.

        So, again like Matty – I am hoping Fellaini leaves as well. It’ll be much easier to make a decision on my above predicaments!

        • Liam Post Author

          Yeah Cazorla long term does not look good, he looks tired & not a huge goalscorer.

          Is suarez still that hot on the radar? my thoughts are sturridge is very much changing the game at liverpool in terms of fantasy. His certainly hot at the moment & 3 million less.

          Suarez is certainly the better player but in terms of fantasy is he the better player?

          Generally players either start like a house on fire or don’t start at all so to conclude these two players get the same basket case as Gerrard (after City & Arsenal).

          • grinpowderdiah Post Author

            Yep – never been a fan of Cazorla as a fantasy option myself, should I say, not for his price anyway. Would rank about 6th/7th out of the midfielders in my mind with all that factored in.

            Anyway, with Suarez I see what you’re saying – definitely agree Sturridge is changing things there. However on viewing I think it might just make Suarez potentially stronger, maybe we’ll even see assists from him now. At the moment (or before Sturridge), Suarez really struck me as a one trick pony (albeit a pretty good trick) as a goalscorer/finisher only. Now he looks like he’s struck up a good chemistry already with Sturridge who is all too happy to sit as the deepest forward (essentially cherry pick) and knock in Gerrard/Suarez’s good work – as he should, that’s his job.

            I guess with Suarez I can just be 100% sure i’ve got a certain starter and pretty much fixture proof point scorer to team with RVP. I have Ba at the moment and thanks to Rafa’s deep love for Fernando you cannot guarantee the better player will start most of the time. Whilst there are plenty of value forward options thereafter, the consistency is my biggest issue here.

          • Liam Post Author

            Being an Arsenal fan I was keen for him to excel but was wary of him as a fantasy asset from the very start. I had him in a spanish league facebook game I played his numbers were good but not 9.5 good.

            I had him for his hat trick and a decent gameweek (or two) before which is all that mattered really.

            Anyway back to the major topic.

            I think Sturridge lowers Suarez’s goal threat (then again that amazing dummy). Then again you can consider it is only a single points difference for a striker.

            Consider the case of RVP & Rooney they are the top partnership in the league I feel when they are both fit they very much steal fantasy points off each other. Van Persie automatically in my mind becomes a 9 or less player rather then a 10+ when Rooney is fit and firing.

            Suarez & Sturridge are the level below (well Sturridge is anyway) but I still see tic for tac combine that with Suarez’s much lower rate of return (was around 65% from memory).

            Then you have to consider Liverpool as a team. Having not beaten top 10 opposition is rather worrying. Gerrard manages to lift for the big stage I feel because Suarez has been considered the main threat & not enough attention paid to the captain.

            Take for example the United game Suarez was clean marked out of the game. Gerrard’s assist came when they defenders were not marking him as tight as they were Suarez.

            Maybe I am shielding myself from Liverpool’s woes of late (last 3 seasons) they have smashed out every game bar United in the last 6. I have put myself on the line for Liverpool too many times (including Suarez’s baron run before christmas).

            You may laugh but I called Liverpool top 4 material before the Villa home game. Everything since then has proven me right they sit 5th in the form table 7 points outside the 4 which is nothing at this stage of the season.

            The next two games define their seasons direction & will firmly shape my opinion of Suarez the beauty is I have a wildcard to use between the two.

          • grinpowderdiah Post Author

            In depth mate 😛 .. I agree on most fronts, lots of good points as usual. Until Sturridge can prove to me that he is remotely consistent i’d rather Suarez for the time being. I think I may be influenced by having an annoying partnership next to RVP most of the season (Berba, Tevez and now Ba).. so consistency and guaranteed minutes are high on my agenda!

            I wouldn’t have called Liverpool for top 4 but they definitely are starting to click, the key I think as you said – Lucas is back which has released Gerrard. I think without him they really struggle in midfield, most of their buys here have been overpriced and overhyped (and there’s many of them!).. but even they look to be getting slightly better and the overall structure is coming together slowly.

            As you say though, these next two games really define where they’re at. If they make a game of it against Arsenal and at least don’t get blown off the park by City, they could potentially be a true source of FPL options for the remainder of the season.

  5. Shaun Curnow

    Who’s the better option. Gerrard or Silva! Both seem be in red hot form! Im seriously considering trading out Cazorla for one them!

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      The next two weeks? Probably Silva. The following two weeks? Probably Gerrard.

      In saying that, Gerrard is a big game player, don’t be surprised to see him racking up points against Arsenal or City. Gerrard is by far and away the more consistent of the two at the moment. Silva’s average over his past 10 is 5.2, if you take out this week’s game (so over his previous 9), that average drops to 4. For me, that’s way too low for a guy costing 9.4.

      • Shaun Curnow

        Yea Gerrards next 2 weeks doenst fill me with confidence, also fact Liverpool ALWAYS let me down when I want them to do well.. (yes im looking at you Saurez!)

        Reckon im going go Caz to Silva and then if he doesnt fire in next couple weeks and Gerrard keeps up his kind of form ill just swap to him.

        • grinpowderdiah Post Author

          If that’s the case, pay close attention to his price potentially increasing over the next few days. No doubt a lot of people have probably knee-jerked him in after his performance last weekend. It might only be 0.1, but if that’s the way you want to go there’s no point losing 0.1 needlessly!

      • Liam Post Author

        Gerrard is in better form, Silva has been erratic to say the least (much like city in a lot of ways).

        Silva is a brilliant creator, Gerrard is a better finisher. Silva has missed some sitters this season.

        Gerrard is certainly a big game player especially considering Liverpool have not beaten a team in the top 10 he still managers to pull out points while losing. (only united were that material on the current run)

        In reality it is a gut call, personal choice. City are pushing for the league, Liverpool are pushing top 4 (via a miracle).

        Personally Silva has not looked great but a player of his class could turn it on for an extended period.

        • grinpowderdiah Post Author

          Pretty much hit the nail on the head with Silva. I got tired of waiting for him to turn it around earlier this year, which last weekend may well have been the start of. Regardless, at the moment I like Gerrard until Silva can prove that this wasn’t just a flash in the pan (with his return to form).

  6. Robin

    Hey all,

    Which looks better after WC?

    1. Evra, Ba & Dzeko
    2. Gibbs, RVP & Pogrebnyak

    Rest of team is as follows:

    Begovic (Jaask)
    Johnson, Zabaleta, _____, Azpil (Pearce)
    Mata, Walcott, Fellaini, Michu (Puncheon)
    Suarez, ______, (______)

    Thoughts?

  7. Bazza

    Thinking of gambling and playing a very cheap defense (Davies/Clyne/O’Brien/Naughton/Martin) allowing me to play 5 class midfielders (Bale/Gerrard/Michu/Mata/Walcott). That only allows Suarez/Ba/Lambert up front.

    Mignolet and Bunn in goal.

    Gamble? Stupid? Fun 🙂

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