Picklive Preview: Arsenal v Ipswich Town
The Seventy Two’s inaugural Picklive Preview consists of a brief look at the first of two Carling Cup semi-finals this week as Ipswich travel to the Emirates. The reason it is so brief is because the statistics are self-explanatory. You would clearly be better off picking five Arsenal players than including any from the visitors…
Ipswich Town were superb in the first leg at Portman Road and fully deserve the lead they will take to north London, but perhaps they will also end up kicking themselves at not making the most of a below-par Arsenal display.
In The Seventy Two’s Picklive Previews, the Football League will be the focus. As such, there won’t be many opportunities to put forward players for selection in cup ties against the best teams in the league. Put simply, they just won’t score enough points to get near the opposition.
The evidence is overwhelming.
That same below-par Arsenal side at Portman Road still dominated Picklive with midfielder Denilson completing 108 passes on his way to a total score of 133, the highest of any player on the pitch. Cesc Fabregas (105) and Kieran Gibbs (101) also made it into three figures, while a further four Arsenal men (Emmanuel Eboue, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou and Theo Walcott) surpassed the best Ipswich performer, goalkeeper Marton Fulop (55, equalled by Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere).
Given that Ipswich’s most prolific outfield passer, David Norris, completed only 11 passes in the home leg of the tie, even the most one-eyed Town fanatic could not have any faith in an outfield player scoring enough Picklive points to merit a selection in the second meeting of the two sides.
Ipswich’s highest-scoring outfield player was winger Carlos Edwards with 54 points, 18 of which were compiled due to completed crosses and 10 of which came through interceptions.
The only real case for the inclusion of an Ipswich player in a Picklive five would be Fulop. Picking up 40 points for saves made during the first tie in his total of 55, Fulop can expect to be far busier in the return game.
Even then, however, you would be hard pressed to look beyond a full complement of Arsenal men. In Arsenal’s recent FA Cup replay at Elland Road, Leeds United’s top Picklive points scorer was their sole goalscorer Bradley Johnson with 75 points.
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who equalled Fulop’s tally for saves with 40 points, came second with 56 points.
Every single outfield player who started the game for Arsenal bettered Schmeichel’s total. Denilson was again the most prolific passer, this time with 75 completed passes.
Gibbs made Arsenal’s top five in both games so, if selected, he may prove a decent pick again. The same obviously goes for Denilson along with the usual suspects Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Arsenal’s top points scorer against Simon Grayson’s side.
Good luck to all Picklive players!
Hang about, what the dickens is Picklive?
Picklive is a live fantasy football game that you can play along with televised matches.