The 2015/16 premier league campaign was a dogged one for West Brom. Tony Pulis playing Tony Pulis football was the tale of the ever familiar story. Hopefully, this article provides more entertainment than the Hawthorns did last season, in fact, I am sure it will! Having said that, The Baggies are 1000/1 to win the premier league outright, worth a flutter? It goes without saying that many Fantasy Premier League managers steered clear from choosing any WBA players in their FPL squad during the 2016/17 season, especially the attackers who accumulated a mere 248 points collectively. The defense received a bit more attention simply due to Pulis playing 5 at the back and seemingly changing players positions from attackers or midfielders into defenders. Dawson the stand out name with 124 points.
Looking ahead to the 2016/17 Premier League season, or the Fantasy Premier League season as I like to call it, nothing much has changed at the Hawthorns. The only notable alteration has been the capture of Matty Phillips for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around the £5.5m mark. Pulis was delighted with this coup and stated that Phillips would be the first name on the team sheet, at centre back. Only joking, I hope! It seems that WBA are destined for a similar season, therefore I would suggest contemplating picking a defender or goalkeeper at certain points of the campaign, specifically home fixtures against mid table teams. Amidst the outrage of inflating FPL player prices, the WBA squad have remained very cheap which could help managers to free up cash for more expensive players.
STAR MAN – Craig Dawson (5.0m)
It seems very strange to choose a defender as star man, but I don’t feel as though I need to justify it. Despite being a defender in a defensive team, Craig scored 4 goals last season and is a constant threat from corners and set pieces. Dawson may play at right back, he might play left back and he could play centre back, but he will definitely play. Priced at a reasonable 5.0m, Dawson helped his team keep 10 clean sheets and played more minutes than anyone in the WBA squad. Before signing for West Brom, Craig enjoyed scoring an incredible 11 goals not just in the 2009/10 season, but in the following campaign also. Admittedly in league two and league one playing for Rochdale, but this proves Craig has a keen eye for goal and will also pick up all the clean sheet points that WBA are likely to get.
HIDDEN GEM – Matty Phillips (5.5m)
Bought in the summer from championship team QPR for £5.5m (strangely the exactly the same as his FPL price), Matty Phillips scored 8 goals and recorded 5 assists in the 2015/16 campaign. We’ve seen him play in the premier league before with QPR, his stand out moment being the utterly outrageous goal he scored against Crystal Palace from all of 45 yards. The boy has raw talent, that is clear to see. If he fits in with the squad and has a good relationship with Pulis, Phillips has the potential to be a high scoring 5th midfielder for us FPL managers. From what has been documented pre-season, Matty looks focused and hungry for a second bite at the premier league!
BARGAIN OPTION – Jonathan Leko (4.5m)
A name that appeared from nowhere at the tail end of the 2015/16 season, Jonathan Leko is a young English attacking midfielder. Jonathan was born on 24th April 1999. Making his debut weeks before his 17th birthday, Leko is one of the youngest ever players to play in the Premier League. During his uprise into the first team, Leko showed great ability and natural talent and did not look out of place on the biggest stage. It has been reported that Pulis admires his attitude as a professional footballer and is likely to have an opportunity to cement his place in the first eleven. Watch this space.
By Opi (@FPL_Opinion)