Premier League : Mid-Season Review (Part 3)
Guest Post from SuperGrover at www.shotsontarget.co.uk a fantastic site for insight and analysis into the Fantasy Premier League!
FantasyYirma are pleased to feature this Mid-Season Review PART 3 and the conclusion to his ongoing mini-series.
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Prediction: Jol struggles to find offensive identity all season. The Berbatov honeymoon ends as his work rate becomes a real problem while Fulham fights relegation. In the end, they manage to stave off relegation but aren’t completely comfortable until game week 37.
Fun Fact: Steven Fletcher scored 5 goals on his first 5 shots on target this season. He has scored 3 in his last 13.
Prediction: Martin O’Neil’s tactical changes results in more goals on both sides, but allows Sunderland to remain in the premier league another season.
I have to admit, I enjoy Rickie Lambert. He’s not the most gifted player and will never be more than he is, but he understands the game and he understands how to score. I have been rooting for the Saints and Lambert ever since locking onto the striker as a preseason budget option. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
It was presumed that Southampton started the season poorly, but much of that was due to a difficult run of fixtures that saw defeats to Man City, Man United, Arsenal and Everton in the first 6 games. Since then, Southampton are 4-7-5, accumulating 20 points in just 16 weeks. Interestingly, the underlying statistics indicated they weren’t as bad as thought all along. Further, the introduction of Jack Cork in week 11 seemed to correspond to a change in tactics. The defense was much more organized and the attack more cautious, taking chances when available but not stringing out to do so. Luke Shaw’s emergence and a more settled central pairing also helped. The results can be seen in the six week form that shows the Saints as a poor attack but stingy defensively.
Fun Fact: Rickie Lambert has created the 2nd most chances among all forwards with 45.
Prediction: The recent form is no fluke and the Saints stay clear of relegation. Rickie Lambert scores 15 goals and Luke Shaw is hailed as the next Garreth Bale.
Fun Fact: Newcastle’s midfielders have taken 118 shots, but only 34 in the box. By comparison, Liverpool’s mids have 164 but 83 in the box.
Prediction: Newcastle improve somewhat as injuries subside, but problems remain. The relegation fight goes until the very last few games of the season with a goal here or there being the difference.
Prediction: The fixtures ease up a bit, but Wigan’s record improves little. A clear relegation candidate heading into the last fortnight of the season.
Aston Villa are not a good team. The results on the field have been poor and the underlying statistics not much better. They have struggled to generate and stop shots and the resulting goals conceded should be expected.
The caveat is that Villa’s goal differential is an aberration to some extent. While they have been poor, they haven’t been 6 goals worse than everyone else. Further, unlike some other bottom dwellers they have registered a few points against some of the better teams in the league, winning at Anfield, drawing with Arsenal and taking 4 points from their meetings with Swansea. Nonetheless, this is a bad team that needs to improve quickly or face relegation.
Fun Fact: Christian Benteke has scored or assisted on 76.9% of all Villa’s goals this season, easily the highest of all players with at least 1000 minutes played.
Prediction: Benteke continues to dominate, but Villa don’t have enough to back him up. Without a turn around, Villa get demoted.
Reading are the worst team in the league and it’s not all that close. Offensively, Reading have been among a group of poor offensive teams at the bottom of the table, scoring occasionally but never generating an consistent attack. Defensively, Reading are atrocious, allowing more shots, shots in the box, shots on target, and goals than any other team in the league. They have been poor, and lucky to have the points they do. This is a team with little upside and little chance of finishing out of the relegation zone.
Fun Fact: Pavel Pogrebnyak has scored on 27.8% of all shots, 7% better than Mr. Van Persie himself. Unfortunately, the Russian has just 18 shots all season.
Prediction: Reading’s fate is sealed before the month of May.
Harry’s next big thing still reside at the bottom of the table 5 points away from safety. It seems assured the Rangers will be demoted, right? Not so fast.