FPL managers always like to spend big upfront but it’s not economical to choose 3 big hitters as your forwards. In recent seasons midfielders have given managers better bang for your buck than most forward options, so if you’ve decided to spend most of your budget in the midfield or need to save money on a 3rd striker here’s some forwards to balance the books.
Marko Arnautovic (West Ham, £7.0m)
The Hammer’s main man has been converted to a striker in this season’s game after an impressive campaign as he spearheaded the West Ham attack. After leaving Stoke City in July of last year, the Austrian has been clinical after been pushed further up the field. In his 28 starts and 3 substitute appearances he scored 11 goals and bagged himself 7 assists. With his re-classified position he is set to lose a point for every goal and a point for every clean sheet, although he’s going to make some of that back from the increased amount of bonus points for a striker scoring.
Marko averaged a chance every 32.7 minutes and tallied 14 big chances which was better than all his colleagues. He also managed the 7th most shots on target out of any other midfielder with 33 in only 28 starts. The Austrian has been fully rested during the summer and is in form throughout pre-season. He’s scored 5 goals in the 5 games he’s played and has been positioned in the number 9 spot. You can’t look too much into pre-season but what we do know is he’s going to start upfront and he’s been clinical and confident.
West Ham have recruited well under new manager Pellegrini, breaking their transfer record signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for £42m, along with Yarmolenko from Dortmund who both look set to flank Arnie. They’ve also signed Jack Wilshere who looks set to be part of a midfield trio. West Ham look stronger than ever, but we have to be cautious on how long it takes for them to gel. West Ham have a tough opening run playing 5 of last season’s top 6 in their first 9 games but they’ve a couple of easier games sandwiched in between. It’s going to be the usual dilemma of form or fixtures?
Chris Wood (£6.5m, Burnley)
The New Zealand International was troubled with injury throughout the last season. He missed 2 months from a knee injury and a foot injury kept him out for 2 weeks. In this time he only started 20 times with Ashley Barnes benefitting from his absence as the striker was in and out of the team all through the season. He scored 10 goals, picked up a single assist and picked up a massive 20 bonus points in this short period. The striker’s now fully fit and ready to start the new season and should have the number 9 spot.
After Burnley finished 7th last season they earned a spot for Europa league qualification and therefore had to start pre-season early. This is both good and bad for FPL prospects. Later down the line we’ll see fatigue and therefore rotation in the Burnley squad if they progress through the tournament with their Thursday night games. On the flip side we’ll see Burnley match fit and fitter than their competitors for the opening part of the season. Last season Burnley scored 36 goals in their 38 games, 20 less than the highest non top 6 side. Their attacking stats didn’t stand out and they were one of the few clubs who didn’t earn a single penalty, but this means Wood is likely to rack up the bonus points if he scores which happened last year.
Burnley’s season has already begun after they’ve beaten Aberdeen over two legs to advance in the Europa league qualifiers. Wood bagged himself a goal in both games after Aberdeen brought them all the way to extra time. Their opening run of games are one of the best as they face 1 top 6 team in their first 8 games along with all 3 newly promoted clubs away from home. If you’re looking for a Burnley player, the time to pick them is early. Wood is a key player for Dyche and he finished the season well scoring 6 in 10 games after returning from injury. We should know what their first team looks like through their past two European games.
Ayoze Perez (£6.5m, Newcastle)
The Magpies supporting striker was in and out of the side with Diame taking away some of his minutes in the previous campaign. He started 28 games under Rafa Benitez but came off the bench 8 times. Rafa has recently decided to move Diame further back which leaves Ayoze with the number 10 spot. Newcastle have brought in Muto from Mainz who’s suited to a similar position so keep a look out and see how he settles in, but it’s Spaniard’s position to lose. There’s another spot up for grabs further up the field between Gayle and Joselu which might see rotation, making Perez Newcastle’s man to have.
Newcastle had a top half finish last season, finishing in 10th place. They scored just over a goal a game with 39 and averaged a chance every 8 minutes, only bettered by Crystal Palace and Bournemouth outside of the top 6.
Perez went through a massive dry patch for the majority of the season, scoring just 2 goals in the first 30 gameweeks. In the final 7 fixtures Perez had more attempts on goal than any other striker and in that time went on a hot streak scoring 6 in 7.
I’ve yet to see a single draft on twitter include Ayoze Perez and there’s a very valid reason why. Newcastle has the toughest opening run out of any team facing 4 of the top 6 in their first 5 fixtures. With this start there’s not many reasons to choose a Newcastle player from the get go and therefore managers should reassess when their schedule turns for the better.
Joshua King (6.5m, Bournemouth)
The bargain of the 2016/2017 season didn’t perform as well last season after his position was moved to a forward, but he’s still one to look at. He started 27 games, scoring 8 goals and creating 4 assists. The Cherries forward has come in cheaper this season and won’t break the bank for your second or third striker slot but will the Norwegian go big again?
Bournemouth recorded the joint least amount of clean sheets last season with a measly 6 in their entire campaign, letting in the second highest amount of shots inside the box and conceding the 3rd highest big chances. What I’ve gathered and most people already know, Bournemouth CAN’T defend so they have to attack. The Cherries scored 45 goals last season creating a chance every 7.8 minutes and had the most shots on target out of any team outside the top 6. With this knowledge King is a crucial part to the Howe’s side and also comes with the potential of taking penalties.
The opening set of fixtures they’ve been dealt have been rather kind as they face a top 6 side just once in their first 10 games. They start the season hosting new boys Cardiff and finish their kind spell away to Fulham at Craven Cottage. King looks set to start the new season alongside Callum Wilson in a 4-4-2 formation as a second striker with the latter most likely to be hooked off around the 60 minute mark. Will he pick from where he left off last season scoring 4 in his final 7 appearances? The explosive striker is definitely to be considered.
Charlie Austin (£6.0m, Southampton)
Every season Charlie Austin is on FPL managers watch list at one stage in the season and for once he’s fully fit for the start of season. The injury prone striker only started 10 games and came off the bench 14 times which is a worry for his long term FPL prospects. Every manager dreams of a fit and nailed striker with the quality of Austin at this price point, but will this be the case?
Chaz scored 5 goals in his 10 starts along with another 2 goals in his appearances off the bench. We know how prolific Austin can be after his 18 goal season back in 2014/2015 for QPR. Southampton scored 37 last season creating a chance every 8 minutes. Only Palace and Watford had more shots inside the box than the Saints outside of the top 6. Austin was only bettered by Kane, Aguero and Giroud scoring a goal every 147 minutes he played. He also topped the table alongside Kane for the shots on target per minute.
The Saints start the season facing 1 top 6 team in their first 7 fixtures along with 3 home games in the first 5. Your best time to invest in a Southampton player is early in the season while their fixtures are kind but it’s not so simple with Charlie. Since Mark Hughes arrival in gameweek 31 Austin started 5 games while Long and Gabbiadini started 3 and 1 respectively. Austin has had a number of starts in pre-season but is it worth the risk to spend £6.0m on the Englishman for your second or third striker spot? If you’re not brave enough to start with him keep your eye on him because a fit and nailed Austin can be a must own.
Written by FPL Junior (@FPL_Junior)