There is just 9 days, yes NINE days until season 2015/16 kicks off! That can only mean one thing, it’s time to kick off our player list analysis! First up, the keepers…
Schwarzer is probably your best bet at 4.0, however there are no starters in that price bracket. The only game time they will be getting is when their teams number one goes down injured.
At 4.5 however we have some intriguing options:
Myhill – Foster is out with a knee injury until at least October, so Myhill will get a chance to continue his form from the back end of last season. West Brom tightened up under Tony Pulis’ management, resulting in Myhill averaging an incredible 5.1 points per game (ppg). He accrued 6 bonus points (Equal third for keepers) in his short 11 game spell. Of more interest to me was who they kept clean sheets against. In the last 5 gameweeks Myhill kept clean sheets against Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea! This suggests that rotation may not be the best option here (I had him on my bench when he scored 15!), Pulis can keep a clean sheet against anyone… Perhaps their early fixtures aren’t such a major issue after all.
Butland – There has been a lot of interest in Butland, however I’m concerned that people continue to attribute Stoke’s defensive capabilities from when Pulis was manager. Hughes is changing their image, just look at the Barcelona rejects they’re signing! Begovic was Stoke’s keeper last season, managing just 106 points and 3.0 ppg. This was due to keeping just 7 clean sheets! I’m not sure if that will improve so I’d avoid Butland, especially with Given breathing down his neck.
Ruddy – I’m a pretty big advocate for avoiding keepers from newly promoted clubs. Last season Green and Heaton struggled, whilst Schmeichel didn’t have any success until Leicester’s final charge home. Norwich do have Premier League experience though, so Ruddy’s 2013/14 season may be a decent indicator. They kept 12 clean sheets, resulting in Ruddy scoring 135 points at 3.6 ppg. Respectable. Looking back to when they were first promoted in 2011/12 however, they kept just 3 clean sheets. It’s a risk, but Ruddy could be a solid rotation option.
Krul – I really like Krul’s value this season, however Newcastle will have to prove to me that they’ve turned the corner under new manager Steve McClaren. There is the possibility that he could finally tighten them up in defence, however I have some major issues. Basically, their defence sucks. Coloccini is utterly horrible, Steven Taylor is a mobile hospital and Mike Williamson is a Championship defender. They have purchased 21 year old centre back Lascelles, but the jury is still out. Krul managed 3.3 ppg last season, which is a good starting point. Intriguingly Newcastle failed to keep a single clean sheet during the 8 games Krul missed. He is crucial for Newcastle and if they start the season well, look to bring him in.
Schmeichel – Leicester won 7 of their last 9 games, keeping clean sheets in 5 of those encounters. They kept just 5 clean sheets in the previous 30 games. The question is which Leicester will we get this season? Schemichel averaged a solid 3.5 ppg, his 80 saves in just 24 appearances is of note. Only Fabianski, Myhill and Pantillimon averaged more saves per game. This should mean Schmeichel will benefit from the new BPS changes, have him high on your keeper watchlist! Leicester’s opening fixtures are relatively kind, making him a solid option.
Guzan – It would take something pretty spectacular to make me consider selecting an Aston Villa goalkeeper. Sherwood kept 3 clean sheets in his 13 games as manager last season, however one stat concerns me. He managed just 1 clean sheet in his 7 home games including clashes against Stoke, West Brom, Swansea, QPR and Burnley. I’d avoid.
Speroni – There seems to be a lot of interest in Crystal palace’s defence, including Speroni. I’m not really sure why. Pardew managed a ridiculous 2, yes just TWO clean sheets in his 18 games at the helm. That included a clean sheet on the last day of the season as well! Why would you want to take that risk? If Palace are in good defensive form then consider Speroni, until then give him a wide birth.
Boruc/Federici – As if selecting a newly promoted keeper wasn’t risky enough, Boruc and Federici will be fighting for the number 1 spot! Avoid until we know more, Boruc looks to be just ahead at this stage.
Gomes – Not only are Watford the weakest defensively of the newly promoted sides, they have Heurehlo Gomes between the sticks. I will say no more.
There is always plenty of value in the 5.0 bracket, often the seasons top keeper comes from the mid-price bracket. Howard and Fabianski have done exactly that over the past 2 years, so who is this seasons value pick?
Fabianski – Interestingly Fabianski has remained at 5.0. During Howard’s best season Everton managed 15 clean sheets whilst Howard scored 160 points. Fabianski managed 151 from 13 clean sheets, including an incredible 137 saves yet he has remained a mid-pricer. He should benefit greatly from the BPS changes, even furthering his potential. The fact that his score doesn’t include any penalty saves is encouraging. Swansea’s opening fixtures are a mixture of tough encounters with some very promising clean sheet opportunities. Strongly consider him.
Pantilimon – Last seasons best performing keeper was undoubtedly Pantilimon. He averaged an unbelievable 4.4 ppg, accruing 11 clean sheets and managing a ridiculous 4 saves per game along the way! Considering that he would have gained an extra 12 bonus points under the new system, his potential is blatantly obvious. He would’ve averaged 4.7 ppg, 0.9 better than the popular Courtois. That alone would result in around 30 extra points for 0.5 less! He is more of a gamble though, it’s hard to see him replicating those returns. Sunderland’s first 4 fixtures are a dream, and he’s currently selected as my keeper to start the season. If Sunderland are struggling there’s many possible replacements, however defence will be key to their survival. Great option.
Adrian – West Ham became a more attacking side last season, however that resulted in them keeping just 9 clean sheets. Be careful, Adrian’s scores last season are massively boosted by his 3 penalty saves. Sure he is probably the best stopper from 12 yards, but these aren’t reliable points. He does rack up the save points, however I wouldn’t pay 5.0 for a West Ham keeper at this stage. Monitor how Bilic has them playing early in the season.
Lloris – Lloris is one flying under the radar at the moment. There is some merit for that due to the fact that he plays for Tottenham, however this is the first time he has been priced in the mid-price bracket. Looking back on his 2013/14 season, there is some potential for him being a bargain. Spurs managed 14 clean sheets, resulting in Lloris posting 141. Last season he scored 121, but missed 3 games. He was on track for 130+, even though Spurs only kept 8 clean sheets with him between the posts! Pochettino proved that he could manage a stable defence at Southampton and will be aiming to improve Spurs’ defensive form. They will have to pick up their clean sheet count if they want to push for top 4, definitely keep an eye on Lloris this season. His 107 saves was impressive for a top 6 club. Good value.
Mignolet – Competing for the top 6 side value keeper slot is Mignolet. If you’re after stability instead of rotation, Lloris vs Mignolet is something you will have to consider. After starting the season under scrutiny, Mignolet was eventually dropped after another few calamitous errors. This only seemed to spur him on though, he returned to the team and ended up keeping 14 clean sheets! His 149 points was the second best return of any keeper, whilst his 4.1 ppg equalled Fabianski. The question is can Liverpool be solid at the back? From the start of December to the end of April, Liverpool managed a ludicrous 12 clean sheets in just 21 games. Was that just a flash in the pan, or signs of what’s to come? They kept 2 in their first 12 encounters and didn’t manage any in their last 5, including a horrific 6-1 loss to Stoke on the final day. This could be a genius selection or a complete disaster.
Stekelenburg – Forster is out until Christmas with an injury, so Stekelenberg will be the Saints number one for the first half of the season. I’m not convinced by this selection. Considering the alternatives at 5.0, Southampton will have to at least maintain their defensive form this season to justify selecting him. Considering they lost Schneiderlin, that won’t be easy. Forster managed just 61 saves and 0 bonus points last season, meaning that even though Southampton kept 15 clean sheets his point returns were nothing spectacular. Stekelenburg will have to seriously up his save count if he is to be a good selection, I’m more inclined to sit back and see how his first month goes.
Howard – Howard is back in the mid-price bracket after Everton’s shocking season last year. This could’ve been down to a number of factors, one being their European commitments. Free of that burden, they have a chance to return to their 2013/14 form. I’m going to be straight forward here, you can’t pick Howard for the first 10 GW’s due to their fixtures. Afterwards however, he is coming into my team.
Want a lock and load keeper? Look no further than these guys…
Cech – Cech’s points per game last season was misleading, he only played 7 games! He did however keep 5 clean sheets in that time, proving he has still got it. Arsenal’s defence was solid last season, but by no means was it spectacular. Just 12 clean sheets was well down on their previous 2 campaigns, I expect them to pick it up again this year. Impressively, Ospina averaged 4.2 ppg in his 18 appearances. If Cech can maintain something similar then he will prove to be a great selection. When spending 5.5 on your keeper you can’t be planning on rotation, he’s a lock and load option. Let’s hope he can make enough saves to boost his point scoring.
Hart – Hart’s scoring has been on a gradual decline over the past 4 years, mainly due to Pellegrini’s arrival as manager. They’d need to get back to the Mancini days where they managed 17 or 18 clean sheets per season to increase his value. I wouldn’t select him until City show some defensive form, however some easy fixtures early could make him a decent differential.
De Gea – Avoid. His mind seems to be in Madrid at the moment, this transfer saga has a way to go yet. If he does go, new signing Romero becomes serious value at 5.0. Until that happens however De Gea remains United’s number one. I wouldn’t pay the premium for him though…
Courtois – Finally we reach the second most selected keeper, and it’s easy to see why. Chelsea managed 17 clean sheets last season, at 5.5 how could this go wrong?! Here’s how. Firstly he won’t benefit at all from the BPS changes. Secondly his 75 saves and 1 bonus point aren’t exactly huge numbers. Chelsea won’t better their clean sheet count, so it will be up to Courtois to get a few more save points. He is a safe selection, sure. However his 3.8 ppg was laughed at by guys like Mignolet, Fabianksi and Pantilimon. I can guarantee you this, Courtois won’t be this seasons highest scoring keeper. Finding the best value is not an easy task, however I believe it’s one worth trying. Goalkeepers are a funny thing in FPL. On every other line you pay top dollar for the best scoring players, here that’s hardly ever the case. The decision is up to you!
Well, I hope that helped! The defenders are up next, get working on those squads. We’ll be releasing our league codes over the next few days, get excited!!!