It’s fair to say that Michu has been the signing of the season. Over the last few weeks however, Fantasy Coaches have been left wanting more from the Spaniard. For this week’s conundrum, I take an in depth look into his performances to try and work out the big question- Is he really a fantasy lock this year?
Let me just start by saying that this man’s transition to the Premier League has been as smooth as anyone that I’ve seen. His current tally stands at 13 goals and 2 assists from 24 appearances- not bad for someone acquired in the summer for as little as £2 million. Considering he started in our fantasy teams for as little as £6.5 at the beginning- he has almost grown a whopping £2 million in value- tipping the scales at a healthy £8.4 now.
It’s fair to say though, that his returns in recent weeks have been dwindling. Just a solitary assist (from being fouled outside the box when De Guzman did all the hard work curling the ball in) from his last 7 games pretty much tells you that he’s running short of form. But what’s led to this drop in form?
I studied his games and opposition so far, both home and away, measuring shots taken also, and came up with this table.
So after examining the table- there’s a few things that stand out to me.
HOME VS AWAY
It’s plain to see from anybody’s perspective that Michu is a fantasy pig at home, scoring 8 of his 13 goals there. This is mainly due to the fact that away from home, Swansea like to sit back and attack on the counter, which means they concede very few goals (only 10 all year), but also score very few (12 in the PL). To put that in perspective- They’re the 15th most prolific away scoring team in the league, with even Aston Villa netting more away from home.
We can see that all of his stats that matter to us are down when he plays away. I won’t put that down to him personally, but down to a team preference by Swansea under Laudrup. Given the fact they have 6 games away and 7 at home remaining- it’s hard to drop him based on this discovery (benching him for away games would be viable though).
1st GAME AGAINST OPPOSITION V 2ND GAME AGAINST OPPOSITION
This is where it gets a little more interesting. Here is a list of people he has played twice, with the differences between his first game and his second game definitely noticeable.
1st- Blank 2 shots
2nd- Blank 6 shots
1st – Blank 2 shots
2nd – Blank 1 shot
1st- 1 goal 2 shots
2nd Blank 2 shots
1st- 1 goal 3 shots
2nd- Blank 2 shots
1st – Blank 2 shots
2nd 1 assist (lucky) 4 shots
1st- 1 goal 1 shot
2nd- 0 goals 2 shots.
On the whole, on the first appearance Michu has netted 3 goals from 13 shots. On the second outing against the same club, he managed 0 goals and 1 assist from 17 shots. Now on first glance it looks like he’s just been unlucky- notching more shots on aggregate than the first time, but if you watch each of the games, the shots he gets off are in nowhere near the amount of space he was allowed initially. Defenders have recognised his threat, and are quick to close him down when the ball enters the area.
The conclusion can only be one thing really. Teams are working him out- and it’s not just teams that have played him twice- I guarantee you teams that have played him for the first time in the last couple of months have seen him dismantle other outfits and set out to nullify him.
Michu is the type of player that unfortunately for us, can be marked fairly easily. He isn’t particularly fast or quick and not particularly skilful, but his asset is finding time and space in the box- especially when joining attacks from the midfield. That means if a defensive midfielder sits on him for most of the game, his chances will be rushed and his shots won’t come as easily as they previously had.
The table also shows that as the season has progressed, his outputs have returned. The 8 goals he notched in his first 12 appearances have been followed by 5 in his past 13, with his last goal coming before Christmas against Manchester United- a whole 9 games ago.
Unfortunately for us it means one thing- his output won’t match the consistency of the first 60% of the year. Yes he will have the odd game where he nets a couple, but on the whole, the statistics suggest that they are getting fewer and farther between.
What do we do with him?
Well it depends on the individuals position. If you;
Picked him up at the start then his selling price will be substantially lower than his purchasing price- so if you decide to ship him out of your team- it pretty much is for good (buying him back would be a massive waste of money). So with a selling price of 7.4, is it worth trading him out? Well the only way I could justify it would be to trade him to Sissoko (£6.0) if he maintains this impressive start playing in the hole. That’d make you £1.4 million to upgrade a Tevez/To a Suarez type.
If you picked him up later and you can sell him for £8.0+million the temptation must be fairly strong. To downgrade him to a Sissoko or even a Fellaini (now he has his role in the hole back) would be tempting, with the former freeing up enough cash to make a significant upgrade elsewhere.
Personally though- I think it comes down to team structure. Most people WILL keep him- but if you’re after a leg up or are trying to make up lost ground earlier in the year, then pulling the pin might be the way to go by taking a gamble elsewhere. In my team (which runs a 3-4-3), he is on notice. If his performances dwindle much more, then I will consider trading down a Podolski/Sturridge type and upgrading him to a Bale/Gerrard midfield premium. A home fixture vs QPR should give us a good indication of where he’s at.
Obviously trading him this week before his double is not an option- but if he fails in both games- I will be joining the flock of FPL managers who will be showing him the door. Keep an eye on @FPLPriceChanges to see when he’s going to drop in price so you don’t lose any value!
So what are your thoughts with the signing of the year? To keep or not to keep? That is the question…