The Knee-jerk: Elimination finals review

After 180 minutes of intriguing football, we now have our semi finalists.

There will be a tantalizing Melbourne derby on Friday night, before Adelaide travel to Sydney on Saturday.

Once again, there are four days and six transfers for managers to alter their team. Remember, managers will have unlimited transfers in next gameweek’s grand final round, so there is no need to be conservative with this week’s selections.

Without further ado, here’s a wrap and analysis of the preliminary final winners and the low-down on their key Fantasy assets as we head into the penultimate gameweek of the Fantasy season.

Carrusca returns for Adelaide, but Goodwin steals the headlines – and the points

It’s such a shame that the game’s developers listed Craig Goodwin as a midfielder for the 2014/15 season. Classified as a defender in his Newcastle days, Goodwin’s move to Adelaide has seen Josep Gombau deploy the former Novocastrian up and down the left-hand side. Although this kind of versatility has seen him benched several times, it’s unlikely this will occur when Adelaide go to Sydney on Saturday.

Goodwin’s excellent free-kick and maximum bonus points return means he is second to only Aaron Mooy in terms of form midfielders. Given that he will have almost certain reign of set-pieces, the chances of Goodwin delivering will increase significantly – but its not as if this is all his owners will rely on, having managed three shots on target against the Roar. He’s a player with his tail up and enjoys an excellent left foot – a good combination. He’s worth $212k – a handy price going into this weekend – and his 17% ownership is sure to rise.

Elsewhere for Adelaide, Marcelo Carrusca returned from injury but his homecoming was rather underwhelming. I had backed him to be the man to drive the Reds into the semi finals but retrospectively, an early substitution was not so surprising. Nevertheless, there is a strong case to select Carrusca this week. Although Adelaide’s recent form against Sydney is imperious, they will be a sterner test than Brisbane – and Carrusca will have to have some impact on the game for the Reds to progress. Carrusca would be an ideal straight-swap for Nathan Burns (goodnight, sweet prince) at $324k, and he has an inferior ownership to Goodwin at 13.2%.

Managers looking to fill a forward slot with a United front man should find reasons to select either Sergio Cirio or Pablo Sanchez. Cirio’s ownership has rocketed in recent weeks (now at a season high 14.9%) and is far more expensive at $319k. Although in comparison, a budget cheap Sanchez edges Cirio in terms of goals scored (eight to seven), you would have to concede that Cirio offers a more consistent and probable attacking return.

Adelaide aren’t fantastic at the back but have kept three clean sheets against Sydney this season – including two at Allianz. It would probably be pointless to waste a transfer on removing Tarek Elrich, but apart from that, it would be a risk banking on United to keep another clean sheet against the Sky Blues this weekend.

Defence and counter the key for Melbourne City

In somewhat of an upset result, Melbourne City set up a date with their cross-town rivals Victory in the first Friday night semi final by beating Wellington 2-0. It means City have five clean sheets in eight – but they will have to produce their most dogged defensive display of the season to keep out the Victory.

In the unlikely event they do, Paddy Kisnorbo will be the likely beneficiary. Kisnorbo is now the games top scoring defender – even outscoring this season’s golden boy Tarek Elrich. Superb against Wellington – and perhaps unlucky to evade all three bonus points, the City captain will no doubt capture the attention of many Fantasy managers as they scramble together a backline. As competent as City looked defensively on Sunday – and indeed many times over the past months, it’s easy to forget they conceded four away to Adelaide just a week ago. Furthermore, City have concede five and three to Melbourne this season, with a 1-0 win at home sandwiched in between.

For these reasons, and the high likelihood of a Melbourne Victory goal, it’d take a brave Fantasy manager to include Kisnorbo, and to a lesser extent any City defender, into their semi final team. Because clean sheets will be impossible to predict, keeping Tando Velaphi in your team on the virtue of high save points potential is a good idea.

Outside the City defence, there seems to be limited obvious options outside Aaron Mooy. Robert Koren, despite returning eight points this weekend, is still underwhelming in a Fantasy sense, and is a real roughie to take into next gameweek. Although Joshua Kennedy is worth considering after his goal against Wellington, he’s at long odds to outscore the likes of Berisha, Ibini, Janko, Cirio and others. Harry Novillo (a Knee-jerk favourite), is still impressing, with and we all know Harry has a penchant for a shot. This near shoot-on-sight policy has seen Novillo fire 10 shots on target in his last three games. Statistically he is City’s best forward despite playing significantly less games than his fellow marksmen. His bargain $156k price and 2.2% ownership is outstanding value. There’s an argument for holding back an au revoir for ‘Arry for one more week.


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