The reigning EPL champions are next to go under the microscope, here is my analysis of their best XI…
Courtois is of course a lock to be their number 1. Word of warning, you don’t always get what you pay for with keepers. On other lines it’s simple, the most expensive forward, midfielder or defender is most likely going to be the best scorer. Not with keepers. Even though Chelsea clearly had the best defence in the competition, Courtois had the 7th best points per game ratio for keepers with over 10 appearances. I’m sure this will be analysed further when we review the player list, but food for thought.
Good luck to Begovic on his year off.
I don’t need to introduce Ivanovic. He is priced at 7.0 for a reason, half the time he is closer to a winger at Stamford Bridge. He will certainly get the right back gig. Terry will be partnered by one of Cahill or Zouma. At the moment I’m tipping Cahill to get the nod at the start of the season, but I wouldn’t be selecting either. My no brainer in the Chelsea defence is Azpilicueta. Felipe Luis has reportedly returned to Atletico Madrid after just one season. Either way Azpili is the first choice left back and is great value at 6.0.
Matic will sit deepest in Chelsea’s midfield, with Fabregas joining him in the double pivot. Mourinho’s team hardly rotated last season and I expect more of the same this year. Ramires is not bad backup… One spot that was up for grabs is the attacking mid role. Oscar often gets the nod, but can’t seem to put together consistent performances. I’d avoid him.
On the wings, Hazard is a certainty to be fielded on the left. There has been some expectation that he may move central, but for now he is most dangerous out wide. Willian and Cuadrado will fight it out for a spot on the right, with 26 starts Willian won that battle towards the end of last season. Considering that he only scored 2 goals and 4 assists and Cuadrado managed just a single assist, I’d avoid both.
Costa is a guaranteed starter in Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 formation, if he can stay fit he will no doubt score goals. On the job security front he’s a safe pick, when it comes to his fitness there are questions. That may bring Falcao and Remy into the frame at some point, but ignore them for now…
So, who are the best fantasy prospects?
50/50: Costa is one of the most hyped players this pre-season, just like he was last year. Is it justified? Perhaps… He scored 20 goals at an incredible conversion rate last season, but he is not perfectly suited to fpl. I noted his lack of assists and bonus points would be an issue last season, and it proved to be exactly that. He managed just 3 assists and 18 bonus points. Importantly when he managed only 1 goal, he never got bonus. Compared to Kane’s 7 assists/32 bonus points and Aguero’s 10 assists and 27 bp’s, he is missing out on a lot of points. His 150 point return proves that. Of course if he remains at full fitness he will be a beast, but that is a huge if. 11.0 is about right, he will need 25+ goals to be an fpl success though. Risky but could pay off. I’m 50/50!
Lock: Hazard is as safe a lock as you can select. He is durable and he is consistent. Hazard has contributed to 24, 24 and 25 goals over the past 3 seasons respectively, and will repeat that feat at worst. One of these seasons, he will explode. Easy selection.
Avoid: Terry. At 7.0 I don’t think he justifies the price tag, his 7 goal season surely can’t be repeated. Ivanovic is a much wiser option at the same price if you’re willing to splash the cash.
Breakout: Not really applicable to this Chelsea squad. I’d love to say Oscar, but I’m not willing to put my reputation on the line for him! He is capable though…
There you have it, Crystal Palace are up tomorrow. Happy tinkering season!