As Sunderland and Newcastle lock horns this Sunday, PlayON Daily Fantasy Focus provides you with the in-depth insight and analysis to gain maximum fantasy value from this fixture.
Can Newcastle buck the historical trend of results, or will Sunderland overcome their own troubles and secure that first win of the season? Here are some of our key talking points on a fixture that could yield considerable fantasy differential value.
The Tyne-Wear derby has been strictly the preserve of Sunderland in recent years: the Black Cats have taken all three points against Newcastle in each of their last five clashes in the Premier League and haven’t been defeated by them in seven meetings. To actually find Newcastle’s last derby triumph, you’d have to go to the beginning of the 2011/12 campaign – and prior to that, their last away win over their bitter rivals was way back in 2006.
In the dugout, new Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce and Newcastle’s Steve McClaren enjoy a finely balanced rivalry – with each boss recording four wins apiece and four draws between them over the course of 12 games.
On-field, there are a more than a few things to watch out for.
Both clubs have shipped 19 goals this season – only Norwich have conceded more than the duo – while Sunderland have failed to acquire a single clean sheet. That in itself should send alarm bells ringing – as defensive options, these sides are extremely high risk.
A prime example is Costel Pantilimon. One of the most bankable goalkeepers in the league at one stage last season – keeping a clean sheet in every 2.5 of his 28 games played, only Fraser Forster kept a better ratio. This time around, the big Romanian’s daily fantasy value has plummeted, and he can no longer be relied upon to pave over Sunderland’s hazardous backline.
In short, this match up should promise goals and top heavy performances from the attacking players on show.
Newcastle have been very fragile in guarding against corners and free kicks, conceding the second highest proportion of goalscoring chances from set-pieces with a total of 37.
Worryingly for Magpies, Sunderland have converted three of their eight goals this season from set-pieces. With an impressively high corner conversion ratio – 39% reaching their target, the second best in the league – coupled with the new manager’s focus on aerial bombardment, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sunderland get some joy in this department. Certainly, with specialist set-piece men Sebastian Larsson and Yann M’Vila in their ranks – they will threaten.
PlayON Price: 8.3m
GW9 Points: 1,375
M’Vila is a rough diamond but a potentially rewarding daily fantasy differential. Once a highly rated prospect, coveted by the major clubs of Europe, M’Vila has shown the measure of his talent on a number of occasions this campaign.
With a goal and two assists so far, he hits some key bases as an all-round, mid-range midfield option. A set-piece taker, a grafter and part-time creator, M’Vila is quickly becoming a plus 1,000 points guarantee – regardless of his team’s given performance. Perhaps indicative of his club’s struggles of late, he’s also a leading PL midfield player in terms of clearances – 21 – and boasts solid tackling statistics, with over half of his 38 attempted tackles won.
In Gameweek 9 alone, his three interceptions and five tackles accounted for 550 of his eventual 1,375 points – and that was a 1-0 defeat.
PlayON Price: 9.9m
GW9 Points: 5,575
Georginio Wijnaldum should experience a massive upturn in ownership following his four goal barnstormer in the 6-2 thrashing of Norwich. While clearly a talented and stunning individual, his goals to shots ratio has been incredibly fortuitous this season – scoring his six goals from just seven attempts on target this season.
That said, in light of Gameweek 9, it seems a risk not to ride the Wijnaldum wave. A dynamic number ten, goals are just his thing – he proved this with 14 goals from midfield in two of his last three seasons with PSV.
Amazingly, for 175cm tall man, four of his six goals this season have been with his head. With Sunderland conceding 23 headed goalscoring chances already this season, the Dutchman could very well continue that hot streak.
Jeremain Lens: One of the few bright sparks in recent weeks for Sunderland, the winger could add to his two goals and assist to get some luck on a leaky Newcastle right flank that has conceded 28 goalscoring chances – the second highest in the league – this season.
Ayoze Perez: The Spaniard has been making serious inroads over the past four weeks, bagging two goals and two assists.
Steven Fletcher: Very much an outside bet, the Scottish international could benefit from Newcastle’s aformentioned set-piece weakness. I don’t suspect that Jermaine Defoe will get a starting berth under Allardyce.
Moussa Sissoko: Occupying an unorthodox role on the right of midfield, Sissoko was unleashed last week. Over the past two fixtures, only his compatriot Dimitri Payet – 13 chances created – outdid Sissoko’s 8, while the Newcastle man claimed three assists against Norwich to make it four for the season.
In Gameweek 9, his crossing was particularly strong and with Sunderland’s clear weak spot at left full-back – conceding an extremely high 106 attempted crosses this campaign – Sissoko could further his assist potential.