Who are the power midfielders this season, and in what order do they rank? Here’s my opinion…
Premium Face Off: Best of the Rest
Salah – Salah is extremely unlucky to not make the top 5, and if I had a top 5 for GW1 then he would certainly be there. Just how successful he will be in the Premier League itself is yet to be answered. He’s in my team and I think he’ll score 10+ goals this season, whether he can produce anything like the figures he did last year (15 goals 11 assists) is another question. Fantastic pick.
Alli – Controvertial! Last seasons second top scoring midfielder misses out on my top 5. What do I know… Nothing that you don’t, however I think teams finally started to realise he needs to be marked out of the game! He managed just 2 goals in his final 8 games last season, I shouldn’t have to tell that to the managers who owned him instead of Kane! Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a great pick and he’ll score well. He’s a good chance to push for 15 goals again this season. Can he match or even improve on last season? Sure he’s capable, but I think teams are going to focus on shutting down his influence. The Bonus Points are also a worry, with 18 goals and 11 assists he only managed 17! That was 13 less than Eriksen, a significant difference. I’m happy to be proven wrong, but at the moment he sits sixth for me…
Ozil – 9.5 is a steep asking price for a player who was nowhere near his best form last season. I would have thought 9.0 would be a much fairer asking price for Mesut. Looking at the alternatives around him it’s a pass.
Pedro – There’s plenty of potential in the 8.0 bracket this season, so much so that one of them could easily find themselves in the top 5 scorers (Similar to Eriksen and Alli last season). Despite the Community Shield confusion, Pedro is available for Gw1. How that works exactly I’ve got no idea, but FPL managers should consider it a blessing. He looked far more dangerous than Willian or Fabregas and I think he’s value! His home form far outweighed his away form last season, he’d want to become a little more consistent to reach the next level.
Mkhitaryan/Pogba – These two United midfielders are nearly impossible to split. On one hand you have a player who created 26 goals (11 goals 15 assists) in the Bundesliga just 2 seasons ago. Mhki’s back in form and now a first team regular, ready to take the Premier League by storm. On the other you have the second most expensive signing ever, hopefully released by the signing of Matic. Pogba’s prospects come down to a couple of factors. Firstly, he needs to be the furthest advanced United midfielder. With Matic and Herrera likely to sit behind him, this should be the case. Secondly, he needs to remember how to finish! His shots seem to have a magnet for the post, which sounds promising until you watch him hit the bar three weeks in a row for your team. The fact is Pogba’s career best season (At Juventus) included 8 goals and 12 assists. That would just about match Zaha and fall behind Sigurdsson. He’d need to produce something special to become a true FPL premium.
Man United have the easiest fixtures amongst the ‘top 6’ and should get off to a flyer. I’m not picking either as I know I’ll get it wrong, however I think both have potential to thrive this season. Both are great picks, if I had to start with one it would be Mkhitaryan. His pre-season form is outstanding.
There could plenty of value elsewhere once the transfer window closes. The fact is for now we have no idea how a few players fit in! Coutinho, Mahrez and Sigurdsson all face uncertain futures with regards to where they’ll be playing football this season. Sane and Sterling are both potential bargains, but will either start? With Man City signing wing backs and three at the back becoming a possibility, I’m unsure. I’d be avoiding all these players until we know more.
Premium Face Off: Top 5
3. De Bruyne
Let’s be honest, the first three pick themselves. From the information we can rely on (Not The Sun or Metro) Alexis is set to stay this year. He’s unlikely to play as a striker this season, but that’s not a major concern for me. He was playing just off the striker at the end of last season and continued to score. He’s always a threat, both creating chances and scoring goals. He created 35 goals last season! Sanchez was clearly the highest scoring player in 16/17 and is odds on to top the mids again if he stays. 12.0 is a fair price, luckily he’s set to miss the first couple of games so it’s not a dilemma we have to worry about just yet. My number 1.
Hazard is just so consistent. Aside from Chelsea’s trainwreck 15/16, Hazard has created 25, 24, 24 and 25 goals in those 4 Premier League seasons. Unreal. He scored a personal best 16 goals last season and will become immediately relevant when he returns from injury. His penalty duties should be safe and I’ll be bringing him in with my first wildcard!
De Bruyne is pure class. He is a creative machine, pulling the strings all day for Man City. His pre-season form has been red hot, I’ve lost track of how many assists he has. With set pieces and a license to roam behind Jesus and Aguero, KDB is an easy pick for me. Bank these points to start the season, he’s every chance to push Hazard and Sanchez if he can find a couple more goals this year.
This is where it gets hard. I opted for Eriksen in fourth place, perhaps crucially ahead of Alli. Owning both was the way forward last season, but that becomes a little harder this season, especially if you want Kane. Spurs at Wembley is a slight concern, their pressure game is key to success and the bigger pitch has caused them problems at times. I wouldn’t let it worry you too much. Eriksen is on set pieces and will feed Alli and Kane all day. Just like De Bruyne he will rack up assists and be a consistent scorer for you all season. I feel safe owning the Dane and he should score 200+ again in 2017/18.
I have to admit I’ve got a massive soft spot for Mane. After seeing his goal against Arsenal live last season I have a new found respect for how good he really is. The stats speak for themselves. His 13 goals and 7 assists came from just 27 appearances last season. In his previous two seasons at Southampton, he still scored 11 goals each year playing similar minutes. A knee injury cruelly ended his campaign last year but he’s back and good to go. When fit this guy is a purely bred racehorse, he’s lightning quick and clinical in the box. Liverpool will score plenty of goals. Mane will be creating a lot of those goals. He comfortably makes the top 5 for me, I think he can even match Hazard! Thanks to his injury he’s actually a POD to start the season. The Champions League qualifiers are a concern, but I love Mane as an option. Gun.
Agree/Disagree? Let me know in the comments. The forwards are up next! Only 24 hours to go…