Saturday, 14 April 2012

GW 35’s Double Gameweek - Scraping the barrel?

The upcoming Double Gameweek (DGW) for Aston Villa and Bolton in GW 35 is a small taster before the main course of DGW fixtures in GW 36. Villa and Bolton are two sides that will have seen scant investment across the season.  GW 35 provides an appetising pair of fixtures for both sides as follows:

The fixtures in question

Aston Villa v Sunderland
Bolton v Swansea
Aston Villa v Bolton

Villa host Sunderland first. The Martin O’Neil effect seems to be fading as of late with 2 losses, 2 wins and 2 draws in the last 6 games seeing them in mediocre form. More notably they have conceded 14 goals in their last 6 games away from home.

Bolton host a Swansea side in poor form who have lost 4 on the bounce. They have conceded 8 goals in their last 6 away fixtures. It appears as if teams have figured out how to stop Barcelona Lite as of late.

The final clash takes place at Villa Park. McLeish showed last year that you can get relegated AND keep a lot of clean sheets. This season however they have only one clean sheet in 12 at home. Bolton have kept only two clean sheets all season conceding the third most goals in the league. However home advantage gives the fixture edge to Villa and means they perhaps warrant greater investment.

The players

In goal Shay Given and Adam Bogdan are the two options. Given was expected to be a bargain when the prices for the season were announced but that has failed to materialise. Down to 4.7 he offers a good budget option and with two strong fixtures he should be a consideration if you have a transfer spare. Bogdan is the cheapest starting keeper in the game at 4.0. Clean sheets with Bolton are always improbable but with 4 fixtures in 2 GWs he could sneak one perhaps, if not then save points should at least compensate for minus points from goals scored.

In defence James Collins appears the only nailed on option and offers a decent goal threat with an impressive 7 shots in his last 5 games second most in defence only to David Wheater. Whilst Collins comes in at 5.3 Wheater is available at only 4.4. Beyond Collins the Villa defence looks like a bit of a minefield, Alan Hutton appears to be nailed on but is a liability or to quote one villa fan “Alan Hutton leaves so much space behind him you could put on a music festival there”. Eric Lichaj is a budget option at 4.0 but far from guaranteed from starting. Fit again Cieran Clark is an interesting option likely to find himself out of position in midfield and priced at 4.5 is a decent option. American Tim Ream is the Bolton budget option at 4.0 and is nailed on but for the small amount of extra budget Wheater appears to be a better pick.

In the midfield the pickings are pretty slim. Enigma Stephen Ireland has found a place in McLeish’s side and in an advanced position. Picking up an assist and 2 bonus points in GW33 he has however failed to fire off a single shot in his past 5 games. Former fantasy hero Charles N’Zogbia is a possible differential punt if your budget stretches that far. With Villa short on creativity he may find a starting place after returning from injury but remains a very risky pick. For Bolton speed demon Ryo Miyaichi could be a steal and has set-pieces in his Arsenal however he has seen rotation over the past two games. Martin Petrov could be the safer pick – having worked his way back into the side he has started the last 5 games in a row and does spot kicks as well.

If midfield pickings were slim then the forwards are size 0 supermodels. Bolton really have no good options. Ivan Klasnic scores goals but doesn’t start, David N’Gog starts but never scores and Kevin Davies doesn’t start, doesn’t score but does have a penchant for yellow cards. Avoid. Villa don’t fare much better; Gabby Agbonlahor had a strong start to the season but hasn’t scored or assisted since December. The only real prospect up front is Andreas Weimann. Priced at 5.0 and owned by 0.1% of players he could prove a real differential. He reportedly has a great eye for goal and has scored twice when being eased into the side in recent games. With McLeish talking him up in the press this week he should start both games. Weimann is a good pick for those chasing in mini leagues

With all of that in mind, it's up to you to decide on whether scraping the barrel could make a difference to your team.

Written by Billy Mac
(Follow him on Twitter!)