Burning the Blueprint – Christopher Samba

Posted: February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Prior to the arrival of Dirtsheet 25 at 9pm tonight, it’s time for the first Burning the Blueprint article. In these articles, we look at the players who are not widely owned, but who have the potential to help you get an advantage on your opponents. With the January transfer window closed, it’s only fitting that I take a look at one of the players who have moved to a new Premier League club. As far as I am concerned, one candidate stands head and shoulders above most of the others, and I mean that figuratively and literally…Christopher Samba.

Samba.

What a name.

If you knew absolutely nothing about football, you could be forgiven for thinking Samba was the title of an action movie from the 80’s. It’s easy to cast the scene…a towering 6 foot 4 inch mountain of a man, cleaving through countless minions to reach his goal. He’d be called a “leader” by those who liked him, a “monster” by those who feared him and “hard as nails” by those who respected him.  Ironically, the real life version of Christopher Samba has been described as being all those things (and a whole lot more) by QPR manager Harry Redknapp after the London side broke their club record to sign the Congolese powerhouse for a staggering £12.5m.

“Chris is just what we need. He’s a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He’s a proper centre-half.” – Harry Redknapp

Given the horrific defensive form of so many teams recently, FPL managers are looking to replace a number of players that have been considered stalwarts until now. In particular, owners of Stoke and Arsenal defenders have grown increasingly tired of seeing their players concede on a weekly basis. The likes of Shawcross, Huth, Gibbs and Sagna have not been justifying their prices recently (especially the latter three), and given their price tags, managers are forced to play them regardless of the fixture.

While there are so many established players to choose from when looking for better defensive options, the Burning the Blueprint articles are meant to focus on those players that can give the edge over your rivals, and I cannot think of a better player than Christopher Samba to be the focus of the first article in the new series.

Samba has been priced at an affordable £5.0 in the FPL game. It is a little surprising that, given his stats in previous years, that he has not been priced a little higher. He has consistently scored attacking points throughout his career, despite playing for a Blackburn team that struggled desperately before being relegated. In the 1350 minutes he was afforded at Blackburn last season before his move to FC Anzhi Makhachkala, he scored a superb 2 goals and 5 assists. Blackburn were in freefall at the time, but he continued to be a threat from every single set piece, whether or not Blackburn were playing well.

But those days of struggling to keep even a single clean sheet are seemingly behind him. He now finds himself a part of a revolution at QPR spearheaded by Harry Redknapp who is beginning to lay down the roots of a very solid team at Loftus Road. In recent weeks, the Champions of England and the Champions of Europe both lined up against the London outfit with literally hundreds of millions-worth of talent in their respective teams.

They mustered all their power, skill and guile in an attempt to break down QPR.

They failed.

With Ryan Nelsen’s departure from the club, Samba is expected to replace him immediately in the QPR starting eleven for the home tie against a struggling Norwich side. While that fixture alone makes Samba a lock to appear in tonight’s Dirtsheet (2100 GMT!), it signals the start of a very favourable run for QPR over the next 7 games. From GW26 onwards, they face Swansea (A), Manchester United (H), Southampton (A), Sunderland (H), Aston Villa (A), Fulham (A) and Wigan (H).

Arguably, the home tie with Manchester United is the only tough fixture in that list. However, when we analyze this fixture, owners of Samba will have cause for optimism. Firstly, top teams have found it difficult to break down QPR, especially at Loftus Road. The small size of the pitch (a mere 112 yds x 72 yds) will constrict the movement of United’s top players, allowing the likes of Samba to keep tabs on Van Persie and/or Rooney. In addition, United have been anything but solid at defending set pieces this year, as was evident when United travelled to Reading earlier in the season. As good a keeper as David De Gea is, he will struggle if Samba gets to anything from a set piece. Even if QPR concede, he could easily get attacking points.

While there are cheaper alternatives in the QPR back line, none offer the same attacking threat that Samba provides. In the short-term, Fabio looks like he could be a decent alternative. When he arrived at Old Trafford, it was felt that he was the better of the Da Silva twins and could even play left wing, a position he is now occupying at QPR. However, with the myriad of new players who have arrived over the January transfer window, it is uncertain whether Fabio will keep his place. It is also important to note that Fabio will miss the home tie against Manchester United in GW27 as he is ineligible to play against his parent club. The keen FPL manager will immediately recognize that this is the same gameweek that Liverpool and Swansea will also miss. With the likes of Suarez, Michu, Sturridge, Davies, Gerrard, Enrique and Johnson not playing, managers will need to make sure that everyone else in their squad is certain to start that week. Fabio will not. Barring a freak injury, Samba will.

If QPR maintain their recent form, Samba could easily make a mockery of his £5.0m price tag by the time we reach the last quarter of the season. It is very easy to think that Samba is in his thirties. He is only 28 and is in the prime of his career. QPR will hope that Samba is the catalyst that will help them turn back their clock, to a time when they were a mainstay in topflight English football. With Taarabt, Remy and the returning Zamora, they should do well enough in the attacking third of the field, but that isn’t enough. With Cesar and now Samba, they have the spine of a team that should help them get out of the relegation zone and into saftey. They are in the middle of a dogfight, but have the manager and the players to claw their way out of their current predicament, and Samba could be the man to save them.

Like in those movies where the war-ravaged old general sends his top man to defeat the villainous warlord, he knows that, when the moment comes to strike, his top man will be taking on multiple adversaries in order to save the day. When the ball is hanging in the swirling air above the opponent’s 18-yard box, owners of Samba will be holding their collective breath that their hero is about to cut through all his opponents to save their gameweek. Because, like all good actions heroes, he invariably does.

Say it. You know it makes sense…

Samba…

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Comments
  1. […] under Harry Redknapp as I pointed out in the recent Burning the Blueprint article on Chris Samba (https://fplstrategist.com/2013/02/01/burning-the-blueprint-christopher-samba/). Van Persie will have a full 10 days to rest and United will need all their strikers on form to […]

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