Musings of a Manager

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As we dig into pre season studies with less then three weeks until season proper, I am left thinking I rather like my opening side. This is on the eve of my yearly deconstruction of everything that is the English Premier League.

This is of course overlooking the rather futile efforts of the autopick side. I must admit this was actually my first ‘proper’ team this year. Picked with such financial balance I can’t help but laugh. See below from some equality of joy:

That's an even squad.

That’s an even squad.

Moving on to the actual team proper and we have the lock and loads Rooney, Hazard, Ivanovic & Kos the Boss. Like any season though the transfer window has plans going out the window, Sterling’s arrival at Man City could either benefit or hinder Silva.

Got excited by the slightly cheaper premium keeper

Got excited by the slightly cheaper premium keeper

Silva for those that don’t know is a real thorn in my side. The constant injuries, poor penalties, backpass powered shots and bonus system changes name a few frustrations. Amazingly he still managed to average a healthy 5.79 points per game.

This is the guy that will go and get injured 3 times a season but still reward his owners with a top 3 midfielder level of consistency per match over the long haul.

Believe me 38 gameweeks is a long haul…

Midfielder Points Per 90 Minutes

He is someway behind the impressive Hazard who for mine is pick number one in the midfield. That said when we have a look a little further forward:

Forward Points Per 90 Minutes

This is where things start to get rather interesting and where personal balance and flexibility comes into play. Before I looked at the strikers this was my line up:

Midfield time feat. Aarons

Midfield time feat. Aarons

Heavy in midfield that was the key. The returns of Hazard, Sanchez and Silva looked too good to turn down with Mane the standout in the ‘breakout’ column. Aguero is simply outstanding, his high points per game took me slightly by surprise ‘that high c’mon’. Kane well I will save (more) words for him until a later date but for anyone that is interested have a look at Kevin Phillips.

Kevin was playing for Sunderland in 1999-2000 his first season in the top flight. Kevin scored 30 goals for the season in all competitions its astonishingly similar to Kane who scored 31 in all competitions. This was his breakout year, in his next 6 seasons of top flight football he scored: 18, 13, 9, 13, 13 & 5 goals never again reaching the heights of that 30 goal season.

I am not saying they are similar players I am not trying to strongly connect the two. The point I am trying to make is it takes a lot of factors to have such an impressive season. The element of surprise on the opposition, the drive to make the level,  the quality of your team mates, the respect of the coach, maintain fitness etc.

European Golden Boot Winner in his first EPL Season Kevin Phillips

European Golden Boot Winner in his first EPL Season Kevin Phillips

These factors are extremely difficult to list and look through but I would be extremely surprised if Kane got close to 30 goals again this season. By the end of last season the fade out had already started on the amount of goals he was scoring. If we remember Kane did not start the season ‘on fire’ it took a while for the show to really get rolling with Kane being a factor for over 10 gameweeks a 3 to 4 month period of time.

Quite often we see this in the league often from the start of the season (think Michu) who had an astonishing first half of the season only to fade out for the games in which he played the opponent the second time around (they were ready for him). Lets look at the Capital One Cup final after scoring a hat trick in the teams last match Kane was held goalless. To say Chelsea would have put research into stopping Kane would be an understatement after he single handily embarrassed them earlier in the season.

Michu was everywhere for half a season

Michu was everywhere for half a season

It should be increasingly hard to find players of real value in the modern game. However it still happens relatively often and us fantasy managers can take advantage. Silva could make way in my team for the cut price Mata, and Payet may take the place of Sanchez to start the season. A healthy cash budget will be important as I look deeper to find the next Rickie Lambert, Ings or Sakho to start the new season.

Plenty of change for that Sanchez upgrade + 1 million spare

Plenty of change for that Sanchez upgrade + 1 million spare

Manager Musings brought to you by @liambednarski with a 10th attempt at FPL trying to break the 5000 rank mark for the first time.

NOTE: If you wish to ask me a question and I don’t answer below please post it on my twitter

For those that are interested I am hosting a draft concept league on the website www.realff.co.uk with the draft occurring in the week leading up to the season proper. The website fee is around $5-10 AUD depending on a few factors, the scoring is similar to FPL (no bonus points though).

Looking for 5-8 players although we could make it extremely challenging with 11 teams if the interest is there. Possible prizes if a league is filled out. Please comment below or message me on twitter if interested.

22 comments on “Musings of a Manager

  1. N1qQ45 4R3 K1nG5

    I think your spot on with Kane, and he is quite young and I dont think it will be now but in the future he could become a consistent starter in our FPL sides! Im also really hoping Targett gets consistent game time, looks like an absolute no-brainer at that price for the Saints defensive coverage.

    • Liam Post Author

      I am hoping to get to Kane in a bit more detail later on in the pre season but just wanted to get the be warned sign out.

      Targett played some games towards the back end of the season and Southampton like to promote the academy youths. Unfortunately he is a left back and they have Bertrand who was quite impressive last season.

      His team mate Martina is actually an interesting prospect, read this article for more information:
      http://thesetpieces.com/features/first-look-cuco-martina

      I am hoping he plays next to Fonte

      • N1qQ45 4R3 K1nG5

        Those positioning stats are very interesting. Over 50% at the right back position is a little worrying (if Targett was to make many appearances), but the guy seems like a very versatile and a handy player to any coach really. I recon this may mean that Yoshida will be starting in the centre back role while Martina takes up the right back, leaving Targett as the bench man. Koemans not one to make too many signings but I think he will make one more, and fill that vacant centre back role.

        Im hesistant with Kane, if he can produce something even similar to that middle part of last season for the whole season, then I think 9.5m will be a fairly tempting price.

        • baysietoff

          Fyi… Reading through some Southampton boards from preseason games, they’ve been scathing on Martina. “Sunday league player” comments are common! And Bertrand is coming back from injury, will probably miss the first 1 or 2.

          • Liam Post Author

            Its interesting if he can cut the grade, he is perhaps playing different positions in pre season. In any case I trust the clubs recruiters more then the fans who post on forums.

            That said you have to take it on board to some degree, my thoughts were he was bought in for squad cover but if you look at the CB role next to Fonte it is wide open for the taking.

            Apparently he has a different tackling style which would make him stick out straight away to the supporters, that and the fact his probably a beast player physically there would be a lot of attention on him. The guy is a defender though when does the crowd ever respect the abilities of a defender?

    • Liam Post Author

      His 19 mealy a kid. I would look towards his team mate Scott Sinclair 5.0 who had an injury on his loan but he still signed on a season long deal.

      His shot statistics were better then Grealish, his performed at this level and his even a good chance to be on penalty kicks this season.

      Sinclair is probably the best 5.0 option outside of the promoted teams who I know very little about at the moment. Regardless of who they purchase for Benteke his going to be an important part of the attack.

      Thanks for the reminder, Sinclair can be anything he wants to be.

      Thoughts on Grealish put him on your watchlist but start with someone else (Sinclair or a player from a promoted team Surman is a strong option at 4.5)

    • Liam Post Author

      Rooney was my first picked player, you want to aim for players who will lead the teams attack and not have a direct challenge to their position.

      Until that Striker comes in Rooney is the main man, he is the captain too and is keen on playing as a striker again & hopefully on penalties – LOCK –

      Ideally I feel LVG would like to play two strikers but they have not been able to recruit any centre backs which is a big worry if another quality player does come in to challenge Rooney.

      The transfer window is epic in changing the landscape of fantasy selections very quickly my thoughts are to worry about Rooney until another striker is 100% signed then reconsider the options.

  2. Ryan

    Are there any obvious options for a mid 5.5 or lower? As I’m thinking Ibe is actually locked into my starting team this year. 5.0 and there is no doubt that with good game time he will perform well enough to be worth having at that price and I also think he will get that good game time

    • Liam Post Author

      Its something I haven’t quite looked into in depth yet. theultimateandy did get my brain thinking about it.

      Sinclair is going to get the most minutes at 5.0, Grealish is a little overpriced for mine at 5.5 but still could increase his output. Surman is a 4.5 gem on face value, Ibe at 5.0 has a decent chance of breaking into the Liverpool team more consistently.

      You want all your players to be starters or getting a decent amount of minutes, I think their might be some value amongst the promoted sides. It is something I am planning to look at in the next couple of weeks.

      This is worth having a read over: http://www.fantasyfootballgeek.co.uk/fantasy-premier-league-best-cheap-midfielders-a-look-at-the-4-5m-midfielders/

        • Liam Post Author

          I haven’t had a detailed look at the 5.5 range I would normally do a 5.5 to 6.5 analysis and a 4.5 to 5 bracket. It is slightly higher and you really want to be seeing a break out or comeback year from a 5.5+ priced player (like downing last year what a jet).

          Sinclair got injured the double gameweek that Villa and QPR had two matches.I remember because…

          I traded him in on the Thursday (I don’t normally trade on Thursdays) only for him to do his hamstring on the Friday and miss the rest of the season. I picked him over Matt Phillips cost me 20 points that week one of those coach killer moments.

          N’Zogbia is an interesting player 15 million plus transfer fee terrible first season then did his Achilles. His a winger at his best but his lost pace and tends to play as an inverted player in a forward three or the most advanced of a midfield three.

          His a bit of a liability his not overally creative, at his best he was a wide player whipping balls in and scoring goals (had a really good season at Wigan).

          I think Sinclair has quality pace and can play on the left wing (and should) I am not sure where N’Zogbia (right side like your article maybe) fits in or where exactly Grealish will play. It is all a bit up in the air at the moment.

          Personally I would like to see Gabby ST, Sinclair LW, N’Zogbia RW, Grealish CAM with a holding midfield two behind him. Gabby just because of the price tag of 5.0 but I have a feeling they will use the Benteke money to bring another striker in.

          Monitor the pre season line ups but I doubt they would have signed Sinclair from City unless he was going to be an important part of the team, pretty sure it was a 5m fee or more too.

          I just read this, he cost 2.5 million activated after they stayed up and Sherwood did prefer the 4-3-2-1 with Charles & Grealish so perhaps his not the cut price option I thought. I don’t trust the press article totally though because he won them an FA Cup game under Sherwood and had the best shot numbers from midfielders before he did his hamstring.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3087537/Scott-Sinclair-join-Aston-Villa-2-5m-permanent-club-avoid-relegation.html

  3. templetontherat

    This has been a very good opening to the season on this site. Some of the first-team squad articles have altered my thinking a bit from what I had at the start. As of right now my team looks like this: Cech, Guzan; Fonte, Clyne, Azpilicueta, Huth; Sigurdsson, Coutinho, Hazard, Cabaye, Ward-Prowse; Deeney, Benteke, Kane

    • Liam Post Author

      I’m glad your liking it 🙂

      I like your team for player quality but fantasy quality I am not too sure if it is being maxmised

      Something to remember is we are on the lookout for people who are underpriced to help fill out the squad of 15 players & the only one I see in your team is perhaps Benteke after his recent move or Cabaye who is perhaps 0.5 to 1 underpriced (if he is to play the CAM role).

      Ward-Prowse is a real young talent but is fairly priced for what he can produce (lots of assists, minimal goals). Looking to someone like an Aarons (who got a goal and two assists in a friendly last night) gives you an extra 1 million to fund transfers early in the season.

      Money is really tight at the start of the season personally I tend to play the game on a budget of less then 100 million a lot of the time to enable greater flexibility. This is generally harder at the start of the season as you need to build team value before you can have spare cash.

      A bit of a pre season challenge. Challenge yourself to build a team on 98 million and see what you can come up with. Post the results in the comment below or reach out to me on twitter @liambednarski

    • Liam Post Author

      It is a complex answer.

      Simply no they are overpriced in the game and you will find better value elsewhere

      Chelsea will finish top of the clean sheet charts in my opinion and probably go close to winning the league again. It is always a good idea to have a defender from the premium defence especially if they are attacking like Terry & Ivanovic are. (set and forget)

      I am looking to start Ivanovic at this stage because he has put together 3 strong starts to the season a bit like Fabregas but less talked about for making an impact early in the season.

      He almost plays like a winger it is insane how far forward he gets, additionally Fabregas is an excellent corner taker so him and Terry are going to pop up with opportunities not necessarily goals.

      Defender scoring is random but for some reason Ivanovic has had 3 massive starts the last 3 seasons and put me behind the 8 ball each time so I am planning on starting him and moving him on after the first half dozen games for someone cheaper.

      I am planning to discuss defenders further in another piece, thank you for your question.

  4. Jords

    team so far, would love some opinions..
    GK- Krul, Butland
    Def- Ivanovic, Mertesacker, Jagielka, Yoshida, Moreno
    Mid- Hazard, Cazorla, Bolasie, Shelvey, Ibe
    Fwd- Rooney, Kane, Agbonlahor
    1.5mil left over

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