West Ham shattered their club transfer record with the capture of Wolves’ winger Matt Jarvis, shelling out a reported £10.75 million on an uncapped player who suffered the bitter taste of relegation last season. Even so, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce was glowing from the prospect of plucking the flying winger from Molineux, heaping praise on the former Gillingham man and building the winger as a key attacking player for what could be another Premier League survival fight for Jarvis…
Certainly from an attacking sense he [Jarvis] is one of the best final-third crossers in the Premier League and his stats were very good at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He delivers at the business end of the field and creates a lot of chances. He is a player who can give opposition defences an awful lot of trouble and we are hoping he will produce that for us.
Allardyce loves a stat and, sure enough, Jarvis showed up well last season: only Bolton’s Martin Petrov attempting and succeeding with more crosses amongst the league’s midfielders, reinforcing Big Sam’s argument that he is getting a reliable supply from the flanks for his millions. Of course, the trick is to convert them – it has to be said that even with Steven Fletcher, a player who commanded a fee of £14 million from Sunderland last week, Wolves struggled to exploit Jarvis’ toil and tricky. Allardyce will be looking to the likes of Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan, to cash in on the anticipated flood of chances from the fleet-footed winger.
Jarvis can produce himself. His returns last season were strong enough to warrant Fantasy attention, with eight goals and six assists in 37 starts, showing a marked improvement from his output in 2010/11 – four goals and eight assists.
Allardyce will likely expect and need more from Jarvis, particularly with the hefty price tag around his neck. He was given an instant debut at Swansea last weekend and troubled the Welsh side in the first half enough to suggest that he has the appetite to build on those numbers with Wolves.
In Fantasy terms, Jarvis’ prospects are dented by a price tag of 6.0 in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) – identical to that of Kevin Nolan, whereas in the Sky Sports game there is just a 0.1 difference in Jarvis’ favour. In both cases then, when our attention turns to West Ham’s midfield assets, it’s likely to be Nolan who attracts investment due to his raw goal potential, or even the cheaper Mark Noble with spot-kicks and set-pieces in his locker.
At this moment in time, the Hammers have an array of fixtures on the horizon which present Allardyce with the opportunity to build a platform for survival. With a 1-0 win over a disappointing Villa earned on the opening day, the Hammers take on Fulham at Upton Park this weekend and have Sunderland and Southampton at home to follow. Away trips to Norwich and QPR also provide potential, so interest in the West Ham squad could well peak in the coming weeks.
Jarvis will doubtless be a key figure should the Hammers flourish and exploit their kind match-ups, although it will likely be Nolan who, at least initially, tempts investment. Fantasy managers will need to see evidence that Jarvis is not only being given the opportunities to beat his man and deliver crosses, but also that West Ham are able to convert the opportunities he provides. A scattering of goal attempts would also be desirable if we are to consider Big Sam’s acquisition over the grizzled goal-getting power of Nolan.
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