For most, Fantasy Football is a study in the methods used to reap the biggest points return for ample use of funds allotted. Supporting a particular club sees a conflict of interest arise as most fans subconsciously pick players from their clubs as the building blocks of their fantasy squad. But some fans must learn to remove themselves form such methods of team selection as hoards of Wolves, West Ham and Liverpool fans long to pick players from their respective clubs. But the fact that their sides are absolute shite this season make doing so rather difficult and, mellow-dramatically, heartbreaking.
Here at The Gaffer’s Corner, we revel in exercises like these. As for Gooner Talk, supporting Arsenal makes including some Gunners in your fantasy squad less of a challenge. Rules limit the selection to just three players from each club. But picking the best three can often be troublesome, while maximising the value for money can be a headache in itself.
To begin we’ll start by evaluating the productivity of each position. We needn’t go far into looking at how risky selecting one of Arsenal’s goalkeepers can be at this point. Manuel Almunia has rightfully been rubbished, but Fabianski is making a case for Arsene Wenger not buying another ‘keeper in January. His performances of late have been mildly impressive, but his decision-making isn’t the best as reward seems to often outweigh the risk for the Polish stopper.
Defense has been another inconsistent realm for The Gunners. The loss of Thomas Vermaelen has certainly been felt, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Sebastian Squillaci has managed to kind of impress in Vermaelen’s absence, kind of. The enigma that is the Arsenal defense should be enough to turn even the most diehard Gooner away from selecting any of the Arsenal defense for their side. Consistency is the main problem while clean-sheets have been hard to come by, though three in the last five matches isn’t a poor return.
You don’t need to look far to see that Arsenal’s strong point is in both strikers and attacking-midfielders.
Andrei Arshavin is the top midfielder for The Gunners at the moment, but his £9.4M price-tag is mildly excessive. Case in point, there are eleven midfielders who have accumulated higher points-totals than The Pixie, but are also valued at a lower price, some up to £3.8M less.
Samir Nasri is perhaps more enigmatic, having accumulated fifty-one points after making ten appearances this season. He earns 5.10 points-per-appearance while having a value of 6.71 points-per-£M. Compared to Arshavin’s 4.31 points-per-appearance and 5.96 points-per-£M, Nasri is not greatly better, but slightly and just enough. Plus, signing Nasri will leave you with £1.8M left in your pocket and that can be more valuable down the line than having Arshavin’s extra five points.
Surprisingly, Alex Song is probably the other better midfield player for Arsenal. Earning forty-seven total-points this season to date means he has a 3.92 point-per-appearance return with a value of 8.54 points-per-£M. His low price and moderate return is exacerbated by the fact that talismanic midfielder Cesc Fabregas has recorded just forty-four points this season, while being valued at nearly twice the price of Song.
When it comes to Arsenal’s most productive player, it’s really no surprise that Marouane Chamakh is in a league of his own. The Gunners’ top goal-scorer–with five–has featured in all of Arsenal’s matches this season, and sees a point return of 4.77 points-per-appearance. His value hasn’t risen too much since the start of the season thanks to some mildly inconsistent performances, but that’s likely a good thing as he’s more affordable despite his positive outings. His £8.4M price-tag is justified when his value (7.38 points-per-£M) is compared other strikers above him, Dimitar Berbatov comes in at 7.11 and Carlos Tevez with 6.27.
The given trio of Arsenal players have managed twelve goals between them and have created six others. Their total price tag of £21.5M isn’t horrendously expensive and a fairly reasonable amount to pay for three players who have earned a collective 160-points this season. Compare that to a side built on the back of Dider Drogba (£13.0M) or Carlos Tevez (£11.0M) and you’d be lucky to even find comparable returns as a unit.
Article by Thomas Walker, Co-editor at Gaffer’s Corner.
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