With deadline finally closing in, it’s time to wrap up our analysis of the playing list. There’s plenty to consider up forward, especially with some big names out injured. Will you be going with the tried and trusted players, or gambling on a new recruit? Let’s take a look at the options…
I reckon these guys are the biggest risks you take in fpl. If things go wrong, it’s hard to fix. Naismith could be value if he gets gametime, but with Lukaku’s arrival that will probably be limited. Long could be on the move, either way I don’t believe he’s great value. Fraizer Campbell will just cause you too much pain to even consider, whilst Bent is, well… Crap. I wouldn’t touch him until he proves he’s in some serious form. The promoted strikers are all too risky to start off with in my books, as suggested by Baysie in his recaps of the promoted teams.
Wickham is the one of two players who I can see becoming great value, definitely have him on your watchlists. Having just said that, with some difficult fixtures from GW1 through until Gw6, it may be best to wait and see. Have the trigger ready on him.
The one bloke who looks like he could perform well above his average is Bojan. I know I’ve played his prospects down in my fresh blood series, but his pre-season form makes for some reconsideration. 3 cracking strikes in as many games caught many eyes, drawing some massive praise from Mark Hughes. He is locked on, meaning you don’t have to worry about his game time. The big issue is if he can perform at the highest level. I am kicking myself for this, and I may end up forever hating myself for doing so, but I’m going to start off with him. Why? Well considering his recent performances in Europe’s top leagues, blind faith is the answer. Stoke’s great fixtures and some nice rotation with Swansea’s Sigurdsson has tipped me over the edge. I’m certainly not confident about him, but at 5.5 he frees up enough cash to help me succeed elsewhere. He seems to be a popular pick, it may end up being a nice POD going without him. Ok this sales pitch isn’t winning any awards, so I’m going to shut up and let you decide. He did score 10 goals in a season for Barcelona once, the potential is there, the question is will the results match? There’s only one way to find out…
Interestingly it has been the midpricers in midfield that have delivered the most success over recent seasons. Looking at Bony’s stats he should have been a great pick, but one thing you will learn in fpl is looks can be deceiving. His start to the season was horrific, hurting many managers. Pelle seems to be in a similar boat. He’s arriving from the Dutch league with 50 goals under his belt over the past 2 seasons. A slow pre-season (After a debut brace) and an own goal in the Saints final hitout isn’t promising. If Long goes to Southampton, I’d avoid him. If Long doesn’t move, then he may just be worth the gamble with Southampton’s fixtures.
Remy is one to strongly consider at QPR, but I have my concerns. His fantastic season last year was propelled by an in-form Newcastle, in his first year with QPR he managed 6 goals in almost 1200 minutes of gametime. Not bad, but not worth 7.5. Pick him in the knowledge that he’s unlikely to better 15 or so goals this season with a newly promoted team. I like to pick midpricers with potential to greatly outscore their worth, and I’m not so sure Remy has that potential at 7.5. If he moves to Spurs, then things change dramatically.
Now for the rejects. Avoid Lambert at all costs. He will get game time, but there’s too much competition to pick him with any confidence. Welbeck and Hernandez will compete for United’s striker spot, and that’s only until RVP returns. Riviere is yet to top 10 goals in a season, ans should only be on your watchlists at this stage. Not only does Gomis closely resemble an orc, he also hasn’t scored more than 14 goals in league campaign and competes with Bony. Avoid. Goaldado? Someone’s gotta do it… I sincerely hope it’s no one on this site. Drogba? You’re living in the past… What about Torres as an alternative? The day that fpl includes ponts for missing an open goal is the day Torres can be considered. Unfortunately it will be losing points for missing a big chance, and you may as well go buy Chamakh. Hell, I’m even underrating Chamakh there. Carlton Cole would be serviceable. So yeah, there’s not much else.
This is where most of the action is. There are two groups of forwards. 4 or 5 risky options, priced at a premium with the potential to go huge. Then there’s the 4 or 5 big hitters priced at uber premo levels. At this stage I’m setting up with 2 uber premos and a budget option, but there’s many ways to go about it. Here are the options:
Giroud is an interesting one. Leading the line for Arsenal, if given penalties he could burst through the 20 goal mark and beyond. He has an added bonus of being a link up man in most of the Gunners attacks, producing him 9 assists last term. There is one big letdown in his game, and that’s his finishing. He misses some crucial chances, and there’s no guarantees he will fix that up this season. He had no competition last year, but with Sanogo in form, Campbell pressing for a first team spot and Sanchez well capable of playing the centre forward role, there’s no room for error for Olivier. This could go either one of two ways. He takes the next step in his game, benefitting from Sanchez’s runs in behind and notches 20+ goals for the season, making him an absolute bargain at his price. He could also have a poor start to his campaign, have the Arsenal supporters on his back, get jeered every time he misses and be out the door by January. Perhaps it won’t be that dramatic, but you get the point. He’s a big risk, and there’s plenty of room to invest in Arsenal’s midfield. That seems the wise move, but if he starts the season well we could just see the emergence of the powerhouse Wenger clearly sees in him.
Sitting kindly at 8.5, Dzeko could be set for a huge season. There’s no denying that you’ll be selecting someone with the capability of scoring 20+ goals and moving himself into the 3 figure price range. He is finally getting some consistent football together in England, mainly thanks to Aguero’s injury crisis. You have to take your opportunity when it’s thrown at you, and Dzeko is certainly doing that. 16 goals and 7 assists in under 2000 minutes of football is a brilliant return, he basically equaled Giroud’s season in two thirds of the appearances. The big question is can he hold his spot for the entire duration of the season? With Jovetic bang in form, Aguero to soon return from injury and Negredo still lurking around like a bad smell, there’s not much room for error. If he has a poor start to the season, he could find himself back on the bench quicker than you can say “Why did I fall for it again”. Yes it isn’t the first time he’s shown promise at the start of the season, he managed 14 goals and 6 assists in 2011/12 and 2012/13 in less game time than he got last year. I must say though, with Aguero and Negredo out it’s never looked better for him. On the back of a solid world-cup his match fitness will be high and so should his confidence. He will get at least the first month to prove himself, it could be a pick that will pay off handsomely.
Not if Jovetic has anything to say about it. Injuries aside, if all 4 of City’s strikers were fit, there’s a good chance Jovetic would be partnering Aguero at the moment. 5 goals in just 4 pre-season appearances proves he’s in red hot form. I’ll be upfront about this, unless you’re going to wildcard in GW3, I would avoid Jovetic. I can’t see City starting all 3 of their top strikers, whilst Nasri and Silva should both start as false wingers. It’s too hard to say which one out of Jovetic and Dzeko will start with Aguero fit, it may come down to their form in the first 3 gameweeks. Dzeko should be slightly ahead as he is a proven EPL scorer. At this stage his relevance is how he affects Dzeko. Note that he’s also injury prone.
Lukaku is obviously on many radars, and so he should be. He notched 15 goals and 9 assists on loan at Everton, and should only increase that output now that he’s there permanently. I know their tough fixtures may put some off, but note that he often produces his best football in big games. He is frustratingly inconsistent, but when he’s at his best it’s unstoppable. Note that he could miss GW1 along with Mirallas, so he is a risk to start with. Definitely consider him long term however, he could push 20 goals this season.
Bony is certainly worthy of consideration after storming home last season. I am slightly concerned at how Garry Monk is setting up for the new season with 2 strikers. I’m fearful that having Gomis at striker may hinder Bony’s scoring potential. For this reason I’d avoid him to begin with. Adebayor has shown in the past he can greatly outscore his price tag, and under a new manager he may be worth a look. That’s all I’d be doing at this stage. As for Soldado, well… Maybe he can come off the bench for a penalty or two?
Now onto the big hitters, and there seems to be one ever present figure. Rooney looks to be a massive beneficiary of Van Gaal’s introduction, bringing a formation that will allow him to play in his preferred role partnering RVP and giving him the armband permanently. I’ll make this simple. He will be on penalty duties whilst RVP is out, and we all know how injury prone Vanners can be. He will play striker for most of the year, and has scored 5 times already in pre-season. With United’s incredible fixtures, along with the knowledge he still managed 17 goals and 12 assists last season surely makes him a no brainer at 10.5. I tried to experiment without him today, and I just couldn’t do it.
A riskier acquisition at the discounted price of 10.5 is Costa. Riskier he may be, but his goal returns last season proce he is capable of becoming the number 1 goalscorer in the premier League. Not only did he come third to Ronaldo and Messi in the golden boot with 27 goals, he also scored 8 goals in 8 appearances in the Champions league. He has proved he is a goal scorer at the highest level, and his fantastic pre-season only makes him more appealing. Yes he’s inexperienced in the EPL and that makes him a gamble, but my god it could pay off in spades.
Let’s not play down what Sturridge managed to achieve last season. He banged in 22 goals in just 29 appearances last season, what a massive step forward. Add that to 8 assists and he averaged almost 7 points per game. It’s a fact that Liverpool won’t be the same force with Suarez, and I do think Sturridge will suffer. Yes he was great when Suarez wasn’t playing last season, but he will miss their link-up play. At times he can be too easy to read, cutting onto his left 98% of the time. Teams will shut down on him this season without Suarez to contend with, and whilst he will still bang in 20+ goals, I’m unsure whether he can value that 11.5 price tag. He’ll have to be better than Rooney or Costa, and at this stage I have him on the watchlist only.
RVP and Aguero won’t be fit for GW1, so they will only become relevant over the next 2 weeks. You don’t pay 12.0 to sit on the bench for a week or two. Just quickly, RVP’s proneness to injury and the fact that his best football may be behind him sways me away from his monster price tag. How the hell was he valuated at 12.5 after a poor campaign, even when he was fit. Aguero is deadly when fit, and could be a fantastic POD once he returns. The issue is, he’s not often fit these days.
So that just about wraps up our pre-season content! We will be finishing off our projected XI’s over the next 24 hours, along with our writers team reveals. You can also look forward to the captains returning on Friday, this season they will be my sole focus! Hopefully we can see a slight improvement… Under 72 hours to go now, things are getting serious! Feel free to panic over in the RMT section, let’s help each other out.