Player List Analysis – Midfielders

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What am I wasting time talking here for, let’s take a look at the best midfield options available! There’s plenty on offer…

Budget

Let’s go in reverse order! I’m not sold by the budget midfielders on offer this season, so I will stick to the few who I think could become relevant. If you feel I’ve missed any, let me know in the comments! It’s likely my opinion of them won’t be very high…

I’m including players priced at 6.0 in the budget bracket, making Ritchie the standout option. He scored 15 goals and 17 assists last season, half that haul would still make him the bargain of the season. He is a great shout if he fits your team structure, I like the look of him.

I earmarked Chamberlain for a breakout season at the start of pre-season, and he has got off to a decent start! He still has a long way to go though, he needs to convert mazy runs into final product at the top level. I’m not brave enough to spend 6.0 on him in my initial squad, however he will start GW1 and has the chance to be an early bolter!

Puncheon always seems to find himself in this bracket of players. He has the potential to go to the next level, but something always holds him back. Cabaye and Sako’s arrivals have question marks on his role, I’m inclined to keep him on the watchlist. Speaking of Sako, he could be the fpl buy of the year if one of Palace’s wingers go down injured. To be honest he should be a starter anyway! Being a fan of Wolves I have followed his career, and his last 3 seasons have been immense. He scored 15 goals last season in the Championship (similar to Ritchie) but comes in at 5.5. If he can tick of the job security issue then he becomes a bargain! He’s a goalscorer.

Zaha is another Palace midfielder to come in the budget bracket, I feel like one of them will definitely be a success, predicting who it will be is a much tougher question. There’s too many risks associated to start with him unfortunately.

Gradel’s arrival has caused shockwaves, will it boost or hinder Ritchie’s potential? One thing is for sure, it makes Bournemouth even more dangerous. He is pacey and can finish, definitely one to watch at 6.0.

Finally at Villa there are a couple of options to consider. Grealish’s hamstring concern is a shame, however it opens the door even further for Sinclair, Aston Villa’s most used player pre-season. He looks a certain starter at 5.0 and could become a no brainer looking at his 2011/12 season. Hint, I have him at the moment!

Mid-price

There are always plenty of options in the midprice bracket (6.5-8.0), however only 2 or 3 ever truly succeed. Picking the right midpricer is crucial to your seasons success. Nailing a selection like Sigurdsson allows you to free up the rest of your budget to get as many big names as possible. So who will be this seasons Sigurdsson? At 6.5, there isn’t the same quality. Cabaye is a popular option, but I am not convinced. He was appalling for PSG as far as goals and assists go, so I want to see him prove himself again before considering him. You can’t presume he will pick up where he left off.

Bolasie is ANOTHER Crystal Palace midfielder who could take the next step, he looks to have the most potential of them all. He can certainly improve on that 4 goal tally, which would see him soar up the rankings. He is struggling with a hamstring concern at the moment so I’d avoid him for GW1. You can always get him in if he fires.

I’ve spoken about most of these blokes in my projected XI series. Lens is one I touched on recently, Sunderland’s new marquee signing. He is a goalscorer, but we’re yet to see if he can re-produce that in the premier league. He certainly thinks he can!!! Just go listen to his interviews… You’ll know what I mean. His early fixtures make him an awesome POD! I like it.

Sadly De Jong is made of glass, I’d love to select him. If he stays fit watch for him to score close to 10 goals this season, he’s extremely talented. Has an eye for goal just like Sigurdsson.

Speaking of which, he is a guy that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention this pre-season! Sure he is now priced at 7.5 instead of 6.5, but he’s still great value based on what he produced last season. Check out my review on him in Swansea’s projected XI, he is great value.

Another player who I’m extremely keen on is Payet. I don’t think you can choose 2 players in the 7.5 range, so picking which of these 2 will be the best is a tough call. Thanks to Sigurdsson’s experience I’m inclined to stick with him, however Payet could be massive. If only he was at a club capable of scoring 2 goals every week, I reckon he would thrive upon a quality striker.

Coutinho and Mane are both priced at 8.0, they find themselves awkwardly priced between mid price obscurity and, well, premium obscurity. Can they escape the dreaded 8.0 price tag? I think Mane certainly can, a goalscoring midfielder will always be kindly favoured to in FPL! Coutinho has a lot to prove…

That just leaves the 7.0’s, which will be contested by 3 players. Henderson v Milner, if only I got an extra minute for every time I was asked that question (Time>Money as I write this at 3am). Henderson’s penalty duties get him over the line, however I’m a bigger fan of Milner’s chances. If it was up to me, I’d pick Milner. But Henderson is the safer choice… Chadli is the joker in the pack. At times he can be BOG for the opposition, but at his best he is a serious threat. His 11 goal haul was huge last season, giving him the equal second best ppg ratio of this bunch. At 7.0, he could be a bargain if he continues his 2014 form. I’m warming to the idea of people selecting him!

Premium

Lastly we reach the premium options. I feel like I need to address the hype surrounding some of the 8.5 options, it’s getting out of hand. Yes there are some great names available at an attractive price tag, BUT ALWAYS CONSIDER THIS. Players are priced  where they are for a reason. Occasionally you get a guy having a breakout season, or one who had a poor year with injuries. These are the bargains that tend to shoot you up the rankings. Getting carried away with making your team look pretty is a danger I’ve been sucked into before.

Let’s start with Ozil for example. Could he have his best year yet? Perhaps. However his role isn’t always judged by goals and assists. He is a creator, but this always has it’s shortcomings. There is a reason that these types of players never top the rankings. Silva broke through this price barrier last season, but that was with 12 goals! Can you see Ozil doing that? I can’t. I think at times he’ll hit form, but for the most part you get what you’re paying for.

Ramsey is always a few poor games from being dropped, especially when you look at the quality he is up against. Cazorla should nail down the central mid role, meaning Ramsey will have to fight for a place on the wing. When Sanchez comes back, I’m not sure where he fits in. I see his best role being in midfield, which means it’s him against Santi. I’d love him to repeat that 2013/14 season, but I just can’t see it happening.

Let’s just continue on with Arsenal’s midfielders! Cazorla will be a solid selection, especially with free kicks and penalties in his locker. However his open play returns won’t be anything special from centre mid, I think he’ll produce similar returns to last year. Once again, you get what you’re paying for.

Sanchez is clearly the pick of the bunch. I’ve heard talk that he may play a lesser role with key players having returned from injury… What a load of ass. That’s the best way I can put it. I believe that will only help him, carrying less of the burden isn’t a bad thing. Don’t be surprised to see him push the 20 goal mark this season.

I shouldn’t have to expand on Hazard. He will only get better, not that 14 goals and 10 assists isn’t good enough already. Going without him is hugely dangerous. If he repeats those figures then you’ll get away with it if you spend the extra money wisely. He is goes one better though, RIP. Safe as houses.

Silva’s injury concerns will always hamper his value, however his haul last season was incredible. Based on what he produced Dave is a bargain at 10.0, he just needs to stay fit and keep up that scoring record! You know he will deliver 12+ assists, whether he can get 10+ goals again is the question. I like him to start the season, although a stomach bug has him in doubt for GW1.

There are 2 other midfield options I like the look of, and they’re both priced at 9.0. Sterling has been immense during pre-season, you can see my thoughts on him here. I have no doubt he can push 10 goals and 10 assists this season, making him great value at 9.0. I can’t structure my team without him at the moment, he will thrive upon Aguero’s movement and scoring ability.

Every god damn year we have to deal with Walcott. In 2012/13 owning him was genius. In every other year, owning him was genius for a few weeks, then it all fell apart. Whether it was due to form or fitness, something always seemed to halt his progress. For what feels like the 50th time, this looks like it’s now or never! He has just signed a new big money contract, having done sweet f**k all since he last signed. It’s not all his fault, but now is his time to shine. He is finally being played up front, and he can make a mockery of that 9.0 price tag if all goes well. I think he’s capable of being the top scoring midfielder, you only have to look at his points per minute ratio to know why! The problem is this. Will he start every week? I can’t see Giroud being left out in the cold completely. Walcott was also poor against Chelsea, he needs to get involved in the build up play. Overall I can’t risk not starting with him, however I won’t be surprised at all if Walcott just teases us yet again…

So, who else have I ignored? I think Toure’s massive season was a one off, he won’t be on penalties and he won’t produce consistently. He’s not getting any younger either, I’d avoid. Eriksen, well… 8.5 could even be over-priced. I’ll happily eat my words if he proves me wrong, I just can’t see him becoming an elite midfielder this season. Chadli a much better option. Depay is a massive risk considering it’s his first season in the PL, although he’s my favourite of these 8.5 options. I love a goal scoring midfielder, and he should be exactly that. To get to the next level though, you have to become a complete player. Watch and observe for mine.

Mata will produce similar results to last season, however I doubt he can reach his Chelsea glory days. Another who will gain solid returns, but I can’t see him becoming an elite premium. Lastly Firmino is an option I can certainly entertain, but once again I’m going to suggest we see how he settles in. Having missed most of pre-season the smart move is to sit back and wait.

Well… Another 2000 words in under an hour, I certainly hope this has given you guys some useful info!!! My team reveal will be out around lunch time, so you can mock me then! We hope you’ve enjoyed everything we’ve written this pre-season, here’s to a massive 2015/16!

Cheers guys.

Matt

24 comments on “Player List Analysis – Midfielders

  1. Ryan

    No mention of Ross Barkley? I feel like he’s going to score vs. Watford in GW1 and there will be a mad rush to grab him.

    • Ryan

      I was looking at him too, but when I saw there fixtures early on I decided that I can see how he goes and if he’s doing well trade him in before they have their fantastic patch of fixtures

    • mattcraigdt Post Author

      Damn, missed one! I’m not a big fan of starting him in GW1, not only are his fixtures ugly but he hasn’t done anything for over 12 months. One to watch.

  2. Bio Eden Hazard

    Very well done Matt, can’t wait to see your team reveal. Agree 100% on Sterling and Walcott, still undecided between Ritchie and Lens

  3. Ryan Crowley

    Interesting to note that on the FFS website they predict Siggurdson is going to be dropped in their team projections.

    I thought he was about as nailed as anyone in the competition and had him locked in my team. Whats the deal?

  4. greenninja15

    Certainly committed to the cause fella, 2k words…I’m flat out doing that at 3pm let alone 3am!!
    Interesting to note that after reading some press this morning Siggy is a chance to start on the pine if Monk goes 4-1-4-1. Wouldn’t that be a turnup!

  5. joelharrison82

    Mammoth effort Matt. Much appreciated by the avid FPLaddicts readers. You’ve definitely given me something to think about with my current midfield of hazard, Erikson, sigurdsson, Henderson and wanyama.

  6. MarcusR37

    Awesome write up Matt, just wondering on what your thoughts on Fabregas and his prospects? I noticed after flicking between this and my team that you hadn’t mentioned him?

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