Fantasy Football Insider – Gameweek 22: Parking the bus pays off for the Chelsea defence
Chelsea’s defence were as miserly as Scrooge over the Christmas and they’ve maintained it in the New Year, which is great for the lads at the back as far as Fantasy Football is concerned.
Gameweek 21 review
Previously written off as relegation fodder during the days of Paolo di Canio earlier in the season, the Black Cats are having a bit of a laugh at the moment and Sunderland’s recent rejuvenation is reflected in the Dream Team this week.
Adam Johnson, who had managed a measly goal and two assists all season prior to the weekend, was by far and away the top scorer with 22 points thanks to a hat-trick and an assist against Fulham, that tally representing a third of all the points he has managed so far this campaign.
Johnson was joined in the midfield by teammate Ki Sung-Yueng after a goal and assist against the Cottagers earned him 12 points, the same total as defensive trio Leighton Baines, Aleksandar Kolarov and Ashley Cole, all of whom were one point off the 13-point total registered by that man Luis Suarez after his brace against Stoke.
Mark Noble, Jack Wilshere (both 11) and Gareth Barry (10) also formed part of a very strong English contingent this week, with West Ham ‘keeper Adrian and Spurs defender Vlad Chiriches (9) making up the numbers.
With the lead they have built up over the chasing pack it was no surprise that Stuart McGoldrick’s Champions 2013/14 and Barry Curran’s gambitbeer remained in first and second after solid weeks of 70 and 68 respectively, but it is after that where things have become really interesting in the J-League.
A mere five points separates six teams between third and fifth place, with Paul McInaw’s Poppycock Wednesday and Sean Jackson’s Bloemfontein Celtic locked together in third, Brian Ruane’s Dukes of Hazard and Anthony Murphy’s Sea Dogs!!! inseparable in fourth and Mark Jones’ Gunner Get Ya sticking glue-like to Mark Colley’s Ferncourt F.C. in fifth place.
J-League Top 5:
- Champions 2013/14 – Stuart McGoldrick: 1,439 points
- Gambitbeer – Barry Curran: 1,430 points
- Poppycock Wednesday – Paul McInaw, Bloemfontein Celtic – Sean Jackson: 1,396 points
- Dukes of Hazard – Brian Ruane, Sea Dogs!!! – Anthony Murphy: 1,395 points
- Ferncourt F.C. – Mark Colley, Gunner Get Ya – Mark Jones: 1,391 points
‘Parking the bus’ has paid off for the Chelsea defence
Back in early December Jose Mourinho suggested that even the training ground dummies would score against Chelsea such was the bad luck they were having at set-pieces; this coming after the Blues had conceded six goals in two games to the might of Stoke and Sunderland.
Mourinho suggested that they would not adapt to a more defensive style of play after those games and, even though it might be because their luck has changed, their results since would suggest otherwise.
Since losing away to Stoke on December 7, Chelsea have conceded just one goal in five games and that against a very good Liverpool side, the type of goal from a set-piece that had so infuriated Mourinho in the first place. The run started with a 0-0 draw against Arsenal two days before Christmas – where Chelsea’s defensive approach was obvious – and has also included wins over Swansea (1-0), Liverpool (2-1), Southampton (3-0) and Hull (2-0). Such a run has been very good news for the Chelsea defence as far as Fantasy Football is concerned.
Only two defenders – Seamus Coleman and Per Mertesacker – have scored more points than John Terry (£6.6 million) and his partner in central defence, Gary Cahill, is pretty much an ever present and decent value at £5.7 million.
If value is what you’re after Cesar Azpilicueta costs just over five million quid (£5.3 million), has played 90 minutes in all but one of Chelsea’s last ten league games and appears to have overtaken Ashley Cole (£6.0 million) in the pecking order, although Cole himself has benefitted from the absence of Branislav Ivanovic to register two assists, four clean sheets and 37 points in the last four games.
Mourinho seems to have landed on the idea that solidity is the best way towards trying to land the title in his first season back in the Premier League and if that’s how it’s going to be from now until May, then it might be no harm if your defence is tangled up in blue.
JOE’s Fantasy Football Picks
Top Dollar: Alvaro Negredo (£9.9 million). A lot of you may be getting ready to put Sergio Aguero back in your team already, but until he’s fully fit, we’ll stick with Negredo, who was three goals already this week and is particularly lethal at the Etihad. Watch out Cardiff!
Mid-Range: Christian Eriksen (£7.3 million). The Dane has three goals, an assist and 34 points in his last four games and is flourishing under Tim Sherwood at White Hart Lane.
Bargain Basement: Vito Mannone (£4.4 million). Mannone has kept four clean sheets since the end of November and in three of those games, he scored ten points because of the amount of saves he made. A bargain at that price, even if it’s only as back-up.
Irish Pick: Jonathan Walters (£6.1 million). Grabbed a goal and was one of Stoke’s best players during the crazy defeat to Liverpool last weekend and will hopefully push on from here for the rest of the season.
Captain’s Pick: Luis Suarez (£13.4 million). It’s tempting to go with a Man City player with a home clash against Cardiff, but we can’t see any reason to take it away from Luis Suarez, especially not with the Reds taking on a vulnerable looking Aston Villa at Anfield.