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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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Nov 18, 2008

Getting value for your cash

With the fantasy season now firmly mapped out the Value for Money (VfM) table has a very different look to that of two months ago.

Back then, Arsenal midfielder Neves Denilson was on top with a haul of 5.88 points per £million spent. With the Gunners' fortunes suffering and the Brazilian failing to add many points to his early season tally he's plummeted down to 21st in the table and is a player many have recently shipped out. In fact, he was removed from 307 teams in the last week with only unavailable team-mates Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor, plus Manchester City's Elano, proving to be more unpopular.

Adebayor, due to his injury troubles, is being dumped in double-quick time - by 1,247 managers last week alone - which could be more than a little hasty considering he returned from the bench at the weekend.

Sitting on top of the VfM table is Hull City's Geovanni. After scoring in the opening game of the season he went off the boil a little. Now with five goals in his last eight games he's as hot as they come at a price tag of just £6.5 million. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more from a midfield role, though both play in an advanced position. The Brazilian's VfM is now up to 9.38 points per £million.

Team-mate Michael Turner was second in the rankings until Hull shipped 10 goals in the last four games. The advice from a month ago was to cash in on the central defender then rather than hold onto him. If you transferred him in, that was sheer folly. He's sunk from second in the VfM table way down to 62nd which is a dramatic fall but he actually remains a popular transfer target and was the 18th most transferred in player last week. That must surely change.

Quickly catching Geovanni is Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka. Those who chose to heed the words of this column last week will and switch Amr Zaki for the Blues forward would have got immediate results, as Zaki did not play so drew a blank while Anelka grabbed a brace. The stats suggest many did as he was picked up by 1,922 managers last week making him well ahead of another player tipped as a target, Spurs forward Darren Bent.

VALUE FOR MONEY LEADERS

Geovanni - Hull - 9.38
Nicolas Anelka - Chelsea - 9.01
Stephen Ireland - Man City - 8.87
Jose Bosingwa - Chelsea - 8.38
Seyi Olofinjana - Stoke - 8.13
Darren Bent - Tottenham - 7.97
Rory Delap - Stoke - 7.96
Gretar Rafn Steinsson - Bolton - 7.56
Peter Crouch - Portsmouth - 7.54
Samir Nasri - Arsenal - 7.50
*Figure shown is points accrued per million spent.

Anelka, amazingly, remains at just £8.1 million though he has shot up £0.5 million in the past week. It's still an outstanding price for a top four striker. By comparison, Didier Drogba is £2.2 million more expensive. The points differential? Anelka has 67 and Drogba just six. Anelka is now the top scoring player in the entire game after his recent irresistible form.

Of course, with such a low price tag there will be a lot of managers jumping on that bandwagon. It will certainly pay for the time being with Drogba almost certainly looking at a three-match ban. This kind of form cannot continue, though, and there will come the time, as with Zaki, when cashing in may be the best policy. For now his 9.01 points per £million is a steal.

Third in the VfM table is Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland following his brace at the KC Stadium on Sunday. As predicted, he remains a strong performer at 8.87 points per £million and he is now level with Frank Lampard as the top scoring midfielder and the second best player in the game. The difference is that Ireland costs £4.7 million less than his Chelsea counterpart.

Another Chelsea player, and who also scored at the weekend, is Jose Boswinga who has been simply superb. He has scored 50% more points than the second best defender, John Terry, with 60 points so far and is the fourth best player in the game. It's a remarkable achievement for a defender as they rarely get a mention when it comes to leading scorers. For example, last season Joleon Lescott was seventh overall but the next best defender was down in 21st.

Completing the VfM top five is a surprising name, Seyi Olofinjana of Stoke City. Though he's only scored 39 points they've come at a cost of 8.13 points per £million. He should be firmly placed in the "Turner bracket" of a flash performer not expected to produce long term.

At the other end of the spectrum is Wayne Brown of Hull and Andy Wilkinson of Stoke, two of four players in negative equity. All four have seen little action all season, are in minus points for the campaign. Brown and Wilkinson stand on -0.86 points per million. The other two players in minus points are Michael Dawson of Tottenham and Blackburn's Zurab Khizanishvili.

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