It was a cold and blustery night as two teams tediously knocked a ball about.The monotony of it left one time to ponder the value of friendlies either club or international on the fantasy season ahead.
Firstly it is important to remember that every club operates with a different policy in regards to pre season. Some are on tours of the globe to expand the club brand. Others stay local taking on amateur sides to steadily build fitness.
Fitness is a key component in pre season with minutes handed out to a number of players throughout the squad. This is not always by choice one must remember with the top players earning a break this pre season after Euro 2016 and the Copa America.
The transfer market adds to the level of complexity. A single transfer in or out of a club could require a re-evaluation of the team structure. With a vast global market the possibilities are endless and transfer rumours never ending.
There is a lot of factors to consider in pre season most of which is based on unreliable data and trends. This makes building a fantasy squad to start the season successfully a tough task.
With less then three weeks to the start of the season FPL Addicts is going to read between the lines and provide you with some meaningful indicators from the pre season so far. The first port of call is long term injuries. With injury comes opportunity and ultimately value for the fantasy manager.
If you are looking for defensive value then look no further then Arsenal’s Gabriel (5.0). Captain Per Mertesacker (5.0) has been ruled out for half the season opening the opportunity for Gabriel to nail down a spot in the side.
Although Arsenal state they are now in the market for a central defender there are few high class defenders for sale. It is also an area Arsenal have struggled to recruit for on a number of occasions. Gabriel does have frailties but he will be given the CB role in a defensive which includes Bellerin (6.5), Koscielny (6.0) & Monreal (6.0).
Aaron Cresswell (5.5) has been superb at left back for West Ham over the last two seasons. Unfortunately he is out with a knee injury for half the season to add to West Ham’s woe they do not have an experienced left back in the squad to replace him. Keep your eyes peeled on Lewis Page the 20 year old academy graduate is currently playing on the pre season tour and has yet to be added to the FPL game. Whilst Sam Byram (4.5) started this weeks Europa League qualifier as a ‘makeshift’ left back.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (9.5) comes in with an interesting price tag for someone new to the Premier League. A classy performer across his career he scored an impressive 11 goals with 15 assists last season in 31 league appearances. He is entering the peak of his career and was rather impressive on debut:
“He is magnificent the way he thinks about football, he thinks very quickly and it’s so sweet how he touches the ball. He can play in different positions behind the striker. He doesn’t have the sharpness yet but his performance was very positive.”
Mkhitaryan comes in cheaper then Alexis Sanchez (11), De Bruyne (10.5) and Hazard (10) whilst equal on price with Ozil (9.5) amongst others. He feels underpriced considering his maximum level of performance although you could say the same thing about Ozil.
The risks are potentially high with Mkhitaryan given his moved to a new country and a new team which is undergoing radical change. That is why we see a generous price offering from FPL.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Community Shield it will give us some further insight into Mkhitaryan’s role and how Manchester United will play this season.
Pre Season Forward Form
Be careful about looking too much into pre season performances. A lot of forwards are currently on holiday or just returning to their clubs. The promoted teams have hungry young and ultimately fresh forwards to play during the pre season. Andre Gray (6.5) has 5 goals whilst Jordan Rhodes (6.0) of Middleborough has scored 4.
These two players were top performers in the Championship and have the potential to perform well in the Premier League. FPL has priced them at the high end for promoted strikers not giving us any reasonable discounts this season.
There will be a ‘breakout’ star from amongst this group at the very least a player who starts the season well. Lets not forget that Wilson, Ighalo, Deeney & Mr Jamie Vardy excelled in this price bracket last season.
Remain flexible with your team budget to allow for movement in the third striker position when the season gets underway. It is the most difficult spot to fill in our fantasy squads with so much doubt about the ability of certain teams to score goals.
FPL Addicts will be previewing the promoted sides to help out with the third striker role so stay tuned for those articles as the season approaches.