Hello and welcome to another edition of Most Selected. In part 1 of the midfielders we analysed the top 5 most selected picks, now it’s time to analyse the 5 that just missed out. Lets get into it!
Cesc Fábregas – The recently transferred Chelsea midfielder was unlucky not to sneak into the top 5, being selected by a solid 17.1% of managers. The Spaniard made the move from Barcelona to Chelsea over the summer in controversial circumstances, many hoping that he would make his return to Arsenal, instead favouring a move to Chelsea. When in the Premier League last, Fábregas proved a solid selection, scoring 128, 214, 108, 205 & 182 overall points from his 5 years at Arsenal. During his time at Arsenal he scored 30 goals and made a whopping 72 assists, giving managers plenty to think about this pre-season. Although his stats and generous price indicate that Fábregas should be a no-brainer, I’m not so sure he’s a lock, yet… The only reason there are question marks hanging over Fábregas’ head is due to the unknown squad role he will fill this year. Keeping an eye on Chelsea’s pre-season form is absolutely critical if you’re wanting to select Fábregas as we will start to get more an idea where he will feature on the pitch this year. At the moment it’s a hesitant ‘no’ for me.
Raheem Sterling – Next up is another stand out player from last year, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling. Sterling has been selected by 16% of managers mainly on the back of his performances for Liverpool last year. Due to his improved performances from last year Sterling has been given a ridiculous price tag of 8.5m, something I am struggling to come to terms with at the moment. Last year he finished the season priced at 6.4m and it has somehow been determined he deserves over a 2.0m upgrade for the start of this years season. Last year Sterling replicated Christian Eriksen’s season, also registering 132 overall points thanks to his 9 goals and 7 assists. With the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona over the summer it is yet to be determined how Sterling will perform without his partner in crime and fellow member of the SASAS, with Suarez often putting many of Sterling’s goals on a platter last year. Due to his ridiculous price tag and the lack of Luiz Suarez I won’t be going anywhere near Sterling. He may be in for another break out year but I’ll be much happier to transfer him in rather than look for someone to transfer him out for. At this stage it’s a no from me.
Christian Eriksen – The 8th most selected midfielder in Fantasy Premier League this year is Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen. Eriksen has been selected by a respectable 15.6% of managers so far after his first season in the Premier League last year. After making the switch from the Dutch League to the Premier League last year Eriksen made a good impression on us FPL managers, scoring 7 goals and creating 9 assists for a grand total of 132 overall points. Eriksen is currently priced at 8.0m which has given managers a lot to think about, especially considering the steep price of quality forwards this campaign. Last season Eriksen struggled with his consistency and as a result was, at times, relegated to the bench by caretaker manager Tim Sherwood. This time around he and his Tottenham teammates will hopefully gel more as they’ve spent a year together and this will start to result in more consistent performances. At this stage because of his price and what he’s capable of he gets the nod in my team, subject to how Tottenham are looking as a team this year.
Juan Mata – Next up is the creative spark from Manchester United Juan Mata. Mata has found himself in 13.6% of teams so far, a solid effort considering his dismal season last year by his lofty standards. Mata started last season with Chelsea and finished it quite remarkably at Manchester United. After hardly receiving any playing time under Jose Mourinho, Mata was in search of regular football and that was found in the solace of former Manchester United manager David Moyes. After an abysmal season at Manchester United Moyes has been sacked by the United board and succeeded by Louis Van Gaal, coach of the Netherlands national team. Mata is being played in his preferred central role, which should result in a large increase in attacking returns. Last season he managed 6 goals and 7 assists for an overall score of 124 points, a solid effort considering he only managed 2053 minutes. This season Mata should be the star of the show, slotting in just behind Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie. In United’s first friendly of pre-season they tore shreds off a hapless LA Galaxy in which Mata featured heavily in their 7-goal demolition. Mata should be back to his old self this season as United look to improve on last years embarrassment. At 9.0 he represents good value compared to what he is capable of and will no doubt look to impress under the new gaffer. With United’s awesome opening fixtures selecting Mata should pay dividends and in turn reward you for your selection. A great option.
Ander Herrera – To round out the top 10 most selected midfielders so far this pre-season is the recently transferred Ander Herrera, with a decent 12.7% of managers electing to go for his services. Herrera completed a move to Manchester United over the summer after solid season in the La Liga. There have been a few teams floating around with Herrera in them but I’m not exactly sure he justifies selection yet. He has looked decent so far pre-season, starting in both United’s first friendlies but its his scoring output that has me wondering why so many people are selecting him. Last season he only registered 5 goals and 5 assists for the La Liga season which wouldn’t necessarily suggest he’s going to dominate in the Premier League this season. The other problem I have with Herrera is where he will fit in this United lineup. Mata, Rooney and RVP are all seemingly locked in at this stage meaning there aren’t many attacking positions left for the Spaniard. So far pre-season Herrera has been lining up in a central midfield position meaning it will be hard for him to solidify a solid scoring output, something so desperately required to find a way into our midfields. Despite United’s early run I don’t think Herrera is a solid option at this stage. If he proves himself early on then it’ll be an easy task to squeeze him, priced at a slim-ish 7.5m. At this stage it’s a no for me.
Well that wraps up the midfielders edition of Most Popular. Unlucky to miss out on the top 10 was Albrighton, Mirallas, the recently injured Lallana and Shlevey selected by 12.2, 12.1, 11.4 and 10.6% of teams respectively. Up next is of course the ever popular forwards, so until then – cheers!