*By Matthew Green
Welcome to a brand new article for FPL Addicts. Each week I will be looking at a few players with low ownership, commonly known as PODs (points of difference) who have the potential to majorly boost your FPL ranking if they score well. Having a couple of PODs in your team is not only an important strategy in FPL, it also makes watching these players particularly exciting knowing that very few managers have them.
I am by nature a bit of a gambler so many of my selections might seem a bit out there and a bit too ‘punty’ for some. However, as long as your team isn’t littered with crazy picks, a few well-timed PODs can be the difference between winning your league and loitering around mid-table.
So without further ado, let’s jump into it…
When FPL opened in July, one of the first names to jump out at me was Scott Sinclair priced at a bargain £5.0m. I assumed that come August 8th, Sinclair would be sitting at around 25-30% ownership. The fact that he is still hovering at just under 3% makes him even more of a lock for my team.
Let’s not forget that before Sinclair committed career-suicide by signing for Manchester City Reserves, he was one of the most exciting young talents in the premiership. In 2011/12 he scored a very impressive total of 151 FPL points which included 8 goals and 5 assists. Watching Swansea play such enterprising precise football over the last year really makes you wonder how Sinclair’s career might have panned out had he not followed the dollar to warm the bench at Eastlands.
Anyway, now that he is finally back playing regular football there is a good chance that Sinclair could compete with many of the more expensive mid-priced options such as Henderson, Sigurdsson and Wijnaldum and the money you would save could be the difference between a Rooney and an Aguero. Indeed, having him in my side allows me to pick the big 3 of Aguero, Hazard and Sanchez and that makes me happy.
This is a pic of Scott’s missus, Helen Flanagan. I figured it was relevant to the article.
His role looks to be extremely favorable too, sitting in ‘the hole’ in a 4-4-1-1 or operating as a winger/forward in a 4-3-3. Watching Villa’s impressively disciplined Pulis-esque 1-0 victory away to Bournemouth at the weekend, you could be forgiven for thinking that games involving them this season will be generally low-scoring. However, based on Tim Sherwood’s brief managerial career so far, you would have to expect that they will be a very attacking and adventurous side and that Sinclair could potentially flourish in his new environment. Another factor that further increases Sinclair’s appeal is the signing of Rudy Gestede from Blackburn. The big Beninian (I have no idea if that is what you call someone from Benin but it sounds pretty damn good) has already shown his devastating aerial ability scoring a stunning winner at the weekend and Sinclair’s accurate crossing could be handsomely rewarded.
Mrs Flanagan again. Unlike Tim Sherwood, she has opted for two upfront.
You might be thinking that getting him in this week when they face Manchester United is a bad idea. However, consider that this is Villa’s first home game of the season. The mood amongst the supporters will be jubilant after their opening day win and the fact it’s a Friday night game should charge the atmosphere even more. You can’t help but feel that Villa could put on a really attacking high-energy performance and grab a goal or two. Despite their clean sheet on the weekend, United’s defence looked far from full proof against Spurs with Blind looking vulnerable at centre back. The full backs got forward regularly and left plenty of space in behind. Looking beyond this game, Villa face a favorable run of fixtures against four teams (cpa SUN lei WBA) who conceded a total of 10 goals between them in GW1.
So all in all Scott Sinclair looks too good to pass up. His basement price means that he could be difficult to shift if he turns out to be a failure, but with every punt comes some level of risk. His high scoring potential, excellent job security and ‘Beninian’ partner-in-crime make him the biggest bargain of the season for my money. He is sitting comfortably in my side.
Oh and did I mention that he is Villa’s penalty taker?
Doing what he does best…
Now let me preface this section by saying that in 30 years of watching football, I have never disliked a player more than Ashley Young. And it’s not even close. His blatant and continuous cheating riles me like nothing else and if I didn’t have children I would happily leave all my worldly possessions to the wonderful pigeon that shat in his mouth.
However, personal grievances aside, Young looks to be a potentially brilliant early pick up in FPL this year. The facts are these; we have a highly talented England international with four 150+ point FPL seasons under his belt. He’s playing in the forward line for a top-4 side and priced at just £6.0m. That’s a full £1m cheaper than Mario Balotelli. The obvious downside is that if Pedro, Kane or any other significant attacking player signs for United in the next 3 weeks, Young will very quickly find himself warming the pine and being used as an impact sub or fill-in defender. I also suspect that Van Gaal might use a flatter midfield in some games, which could mean Herrera coming in for Young shifting Depay onto the left.
Obviously it’s hard to know what will unfold at this stage of the year. There are clearly great risks picking up anyone with dubious job security (looking at you Theo) so the more cautious managers may not give Young a second glance. However with a kind run of fixtures coming up (avi NEW swa LIV sot SUN) he could be a great short-term pick while we identify this year’s Sigurdsson (hint, I don’t think it’s Mahrez).
Now for the long shot.
On the face of it there appears to be no good reason for selecting Coleman. Despite being handed a very favorable opening day fixture hosting newly promoted Watford, a shaky looking Everton scrambled their way to a barely-deserved 2-2 draw. They looked nervous at the back and, until Arouna Kone came on, toothless going forward. Coleman himself picked up a yellow card on his way to a grand total of zero FPL points. Also consider that the Toffees are about to embark on a truly horrific run of fixtures (sot, MCI, tot, CHE, swa, wba, LIV, MNU, ars) and the thought of picking up any Everton players seems faintly ridiculous.
So why would you even consider Coleman?
The main reason is this: the Irishman has the potential to go HUGE at any time. For my money Coleman is the most attack-minded full back in the league bar none. He is essentially a full back, a wing-back and a winger rolled into one. The combination of his ability to get forward, his eye for goal and his bonus point magnetism means that 10+ point hauls are always a possibility. Then you have to consider that his awful fixtures will deter many managers from jumping on board so if he does deliver a couple of big hauls early on you will be getting those beautiful points all to yourself. I cannot emphasise how valuable those unique double-figure tallies can be at this stage of the year. Now you may be thinking that ~14% ownership makes him far from unique, but I guarantee that the majority of his current owners are ‘casual’ players who don’t take the game too seriously, and are blissfully unaware of Everton’s early fixtures. Most of you reading this will be more serious players competing for a high ranking and I can assure you that most of your real competition in FPL will not have Coleman in their teams right now. Also consider that Everton do not have to compete in the world’s worst competition this year. Their premiership performances should improve substantially from last year, where they clearly struggled to cope with the demands of playing 684 Europa League group games each month.
Last season we saw Leighton Baines attacking instinct curtailed badly by the greediest player in the league, Kevin Mirallas. ‘K-Mart Ronaldo’ would constantly pull out left and just get in Baines’ way, killing his fantasy prospects in the process. He also stole his set-pieces, what a prick. Coleman meanwhile appears to have the whole of Everton’s right flank available to him and could easily overtake Baines as a fantasy prospect this year should the England man continue to be bullied off the ball by the replusive Belgian showboater.
‘Listen Leighton or whatever your name is, this is primetime TV and I must be centre of attention’
When you bring in a player like Koscielny or Kompany you are essentially paying for their clean sheets. This can be extremely frustrating when they concede a sloppy late goal, especially when there are £4.5m defenders picking up clean sheets in other games. However, with Coleman you are essentially getting a budget midfielder whose attacking output can easily match similarly priced midfielders such as Adam, Ritchie and Puncheon. The clean sheets are just a nice bonus and it’s not quite as infuriating when he misses out on them knowing that he will get his share of goals and assists throughout the season.
Think of it this way, if Coleman were to grab 3 goals, 5 assists and 12 clean sheets this year (which is very attainable) that would equate to 78 points. For a midfielder, 78 points would be equivalent to 9 goals and 11 assists. If I offered you a midfielder for £6.0m with 100% job security and a very reasonable chance of getting 9 goals and 11 assists would you be interested? (hint, Coleman could be this year’s Sigurdsson)
A possible downside with Coleman is that if he doesn’t perform early on, the casual players are likely to knee-jerk him out of their sides which could cause a price drop or two. However, if you are picking up the Irishman now you should be looking to hold him till at least GW20 (Everton’s fixtures from gw11-20 are obscenely good) so short-term price fluctuations shouldn’t be a concern.
With Chelsea poised to sign left-back Abdul Rahman Baba from Augsberg, the appeal of popular defender Cesar Azpilicueta has just taken a major nosedive. A sideways trade to Coleman would be a highly aggressive move that could pay off in spades. Make no mistake, bringing in a £6.0m defender in a flaky side with horrible fixtures is a very dangerous move, one that could make or break you. For me, I like a strong defence and Coleman is the perfect differential regardless of fixtures.
But do you have the stomach for it?
Thanks for reading!