Championship Amateur Conjecture – Food For Thought On What 11 Leaks Mean
Are Man Utd going to pull a full rep 12 at home to Bolton now we know Paul Scholes starts up top? Who is Joe Max Moore starting up front for Everton?
This week’s 11 leaks ahead of GW17 of Fantasy Championship Manager have generated more questions than supplied answers to many managers in terms of their squads. Concerns continue over which Arsenal players will double or whether there is now an increased risk over the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy or Juan Sebastian Veron starting.
I had leak provider Luke on for my latest podcast (https://open.spotify.com/episode/1cyJBGI7o3c4gK4ET7eGcl?si=QTha8vimRd-uYcVAO9gDPQ) and he disclosed off air that the format of this week’s leak was determined prior to him running the sims. So this should ease some concerns as to whether he saw a load of carnage and then decided on the format.
But that still begs the question on why he chose the leaks he did? Here’s a rundown of my takeaways from the extra knowledge gained.
Arsenal vs Liverpool – Richard Wright starts in goal
Arsenal vs Bolton – Craig Holloway starts in goal
Bad news for Alex Manninger owners to start as he misses out on the weekly roulette challenge, but for those Holloway owners it should mean a stay of execution for another week and the chance to make a transfer somewhere else instead.
The chances of an Arsenal clean sheet are significantly boosted vs Liverpool with Wright in goal and the visitors can be expected to set up defensively, albeit with counter attack on. I would expect the Gunners to keep a clean sheet in 7/10 games vs Liverpool with Wright in goal.
Holloway starting against Bolton isn’t such good news for a clean sheet, as Bolton may only need two shots on target to score now.
Given the potential threat of a depleted Man Utd line up too, the GW promises positivity for Bolton attackers.
I’d be more inclined to punt on Ricardo Gardner over any of the Arsenal defenders on the basis he is more nailed to play both games and more likely to get an assist, while the likes of Henrik Pedersen or penalty-taking Rod Wallace arguably have an increased chance of an attacking return.
Man Utd vs Bolton – Paul Scholes starts as CF
There clearly is some rep rotation in this Old Trafford clash and the million dollar question is whether it’s partial rep or full rep?
As Man Utd have the highest reputation in the Premier League, they can conceivably rotate vs anyone at home, but the major reps still tend to occur against the Rep 12 teams. Although barely, Bolton are still clinging on to reputation 13 status.
This makes me think it’s a partial rep for four or five swaps and not the full monty of the likes Michael Stewart, Ronnie Wallwork, Bojan Djordjic and Kalem Mooniaruck all lining up.
With Scholes up top, I think Veron probably plays without a natural replacement. For Van Nistelrooy owners, I think the risk is greater. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Scholes and Cole up front, Giggs, Veron, Beckham and Chadwick in midfield and then any four defenders.
Aston Villa vs Millwall – Thomas Hitzlesperger starts in CM
Speculation of another rep game at Villa Park continue, with Hitzlesperger starting in midfield.
However, George Boateng is injured and Ian Taylor is at 87% condition. Hitzlesperger is a contender with the likes of Paul Merson to come in should anything happen to one of the two regulars, so this leak doesn’t ring any alarm bells for me.
Villa and Millwall are both rep 13, so rotation is possible, but I expect Villa to be as close to full strength as possible, outside of injuries.
Blackburn vs Leeds – Harry Kewell starts in CM
With Robbie Keane now back available, rotation is more likely again in the forward positions at Leeds. Keane and Kewell are fairly nailed, so basically where one plays affects the other.
If Keane starts as the number 10, Kewell tends to play central midfield and that’s the likely case away to Blackburn, with Alan Smith continuing to partner Mark Viduka in attack.
Although there is a small possibility that Eyal Berkovic nabs another start as the attacking midfielder, which in turn means Keane will likely be up top with Viduka and Smith left out.
Charlton vs Ipswich – David Prutton starts at RB
If Ipswich are playing a right back and not a wing back, that pretty much guarantees we’ll get the formation below.
Let’s start with the good news. I think that with Marcus Stewart still unavailable at 68% condition on an orange flag, Gary Doherty will be up top again. A £4.5m defender playing centre forward against the worst defence in the league makes him very attractive.
But, the attacking arrow from full back doesn’t quite get as high up the pitch as the arrow in Ipswich’s more general 3-5-2 formation, which may hinder the quality of the balls into the box that Doherty can look to benefit from.
If you own Doherty, you have to play him this week, especially as his chances of returning back into the defence considerably increase moving forward once Stewart is back.
Derby vs Sunderland – Steve Elliot starts at CB
Derby’s first choice back three I think are Joleon Lescott, Larus Sigurdsson and Horacio Carbonari. Elliot has been deputising for Carbonari of late, but the latter could conceivably have played against Sunderland now he is 90% orange flagged.
The leak suggests to me that it will be at least another GW before he returns, but ultimately nobody cares about this.
Everton vs Spurs – Joe Max Moore starts at CF
Duncan Ferguson with his injury proneness of 20 is injured again, leaving a free for all between Moore, Tomas Radzinski, Temuri Ketsbaia or even GX to partner Kevin Campbell in attack.
Moore has clearly won this particular battle and Everton have had more shots on target at home than any other Premier League club in our sim.
Given Spurs are far from tight at the back on the road, I fully expect an Everton attacker to contend for a Team Of The Week spot this GW.
Leicester vs Man City – Damien Delaney starts at LW
Delaney moving from left back to left midfield probably has the following knock on effects. Gerry Taggert shifts across to left back and Matt Heath partners Matt Elliott in central defence. And Heath isn’t very good.
With Heath playing on the left side, it could bode well for Darren Huckerby in direct combat against him.
Delaney is an obvious play now in midfield, but the chances of a clean sheet seem weaker in this set up with Heath on the pitch.
Newcastle vs Chelsea – Marcel Desailly starts at CB
The defensive leaks continue with Desailly starting for Chelsea and this looks a big risk as Sunday’s stream showed he was still out for 10 days with a calf strain.
Desailly owners have to be worried whether he reaches 60 minutes as a result.
Chelsea have clearly spent far too much time farming in their free time lately, with Celestine Babayaro also still out for a few days with his own calf strain, but Desailly’s inclusion tells us nothing in terms of the Nigerian playing.
If both do start and Chelsea go light on defensive options on their bench, it could be a positive for Alan Shearer scoring or Benito Carbone playing the full 90 minutes if Chelsea substitutes are forced in other positions.
Watford vs Middlesbrough – Gary Walsh starts as GK
Ilias Atmatzidis serves his ban for the recent red card received when in my starting XI and Walsh has won the battle for temporary stand in.
For those with Boro attacking assets, this is brilliant news, as Walsh isn’t very good and Watford will play attacking mentality in this fixture.
For those contemplating selling the likes of Alen Boksic or Miguel Zepeda for Boro’s upcoming run of away games, I’d wait another week.