Every season there are plenty of big hitters to choose from and we have to find a way to fund them. Whether you decide to play 3, 4 or 5 in the midfield you need to find a couple of cheap midfielders to enable some value players. Here’s some players I felt were good value options or were underpriced by FPL towers.
Tom Cairney (£5.0m, Fulham)
Fulham’s skipper is one of their most talented players and his impressive season earned him a nomination for Championship player of the year, which went to his teammate, Ryan Sessegnon. Cairney played a crucial role for the promoted side and scored 6 goals goals and managed 5 assists. The most crucial of goals came in the play-off final when he scored their winner.
Fulham scored the second highest amount of goals with 79, only 3 behind Championship winners Wolves. They averaged 1.7 goals per game but as you can imagine this will decrease as they come up against superior opposition. Tom created 64 chances for his side which was second best amongst his team. In the 2016/2017 season he scored 13 goals and 11 assists showing managers that he has the potential to carry some of these goals into England’s top division.
Fulham’s campaign commences at home to Crystal Palace followed by a trip to Spurs. Their opening run isn’t the hardest of starts but it’s never easy adapting to a tougher division. With the addition of Seri in Fulham’s midfield there’s a possibility Cairney might be pushed further forward, but that is still an unknown. They’ve also received a massive boost in capturing Mitrovic on a permanent deal from Newcastle. This bodes well for his assist potential. Don’t expect Cairney to be scoring and assisting every other week, he’s priced at £5.0m for a reason but with some set-pieces to his name and the odd chance of taking a penalty at £0.5m more than from the base price he looks a very promising 5th midfield option.
Jota (£6.5m, Wolves)
The 21 year old has signed for Wolves on a permanent basis after a spell on loan from Athletico Madrid in their Championship winning campaign. He’s been priced the highest out of Wolves’ assets as Diogo finished the season as Wolves’ top goal scorer, netting 17 goals in his 44 appearances. He also chipped in with 5 assists. The youngster comes with experience having taken part in Madrid’s Champions league campaign where he scored against Leicester in a 5-0 drubbing.
Jota has been made a midfield option in FPL but he played much of last year on the left hand side of a front three. He was also deployed as a striker at times and he started up front in one of Wolves’ pre-season friendlies. It’s not often you find a player out of position and being a midfielder will benefit his FPL points output. He had a total of 120 goal attempts last season which was the highest out of any Wolves player and the second highest in the league. Jota also created 53 key passes and shows he definitely has assist potential.
Wolves scored 82 league goals last season, 47 of which came at home (just over 2 per game) which was unsurprisingly bettered by no one else. Their opening set of fixtures aren’t hard, but they’re definitely not easy with a home game to Man City thrown in. Wolves will be full of confidence after a stellar campaign and with a handful of new recruits. We know for sure Jota’s underlying stats won’t look as good as this as he enters the Premier League but he’s going to be a crucial role under manager, Santo. A rather expensive price in terms of promoted teams but I can see him being a bargain in the grand scheme of things.
James Maddison (£6.5m, Leicester)
Leicester have been in the shop window after the sale of their talisman, Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City and his replacement is this 21 year old from Norwich City. He’s priced like Jota of Wolves after an impressive season in the championship, only cheaper than Vardy. Maddison looks set to take the number 10 role under Puel and become Leicester’s new talisman.
Leicester scored 56 goals and the most assists outside of the top 6 clubs, even though their total attempts and attempts inside the box were in the middle of the pack. This tells us they were clinical with their chances and having the joint third best goal conversion confirms this. Maddison had 44 appearances for Norwich last season where he registered 8 assists and netted 14 goals. He averaged 2.6 shots per game and looks like a promising replacement for the Algerian.
Leicester kick the Premier League off with a Friday night football fixture at Old Trafford and then host new boys Wolves. They play three of the top six in their first 15 gameweeks showing off their favourable run. Maddison looks set to take set-piece duties at Leicester but it’ll be a tough ask to dislodge Jamie Vardy from penalty duties after he scored 4 goals from the spot in the Championship last season. He managed a total of 124 key passes which was the best out of any player in the Championship, in comparison to Jota’s 53. He’s definitely one to keep a close eye on.
Pedro (£6.5m, Chelsea)
After Conte’s sacking, new manager Maurizio Sarri is set to shake up things at Chelsea and the Spaniard could be set for a starting spot if all things go to plan. Sarri will switch Chelsea from a back 3 to a more standard back 4 and change from Conte’s counter attacking style to a possession based one. In the 4-3-3 system Pedro is likely to start on the right hand side of the front 3 if Willian departs and at £6.5m he could be a steal.
The Spaniard started 17 games last season and came off the bench 14 times. In this time he scored just 4 goals 2 assists but he averaged a chance every 27.2 minutes better than teammates Hazard and Willian. In 2016/2017 season Pedro registered his highest amount of points with 26 starts and 7 appearances off the bench. He bagged himself 9 goals which was only bettered by Hazard and 10 assists only bettered by Fabregas. If Pedro is given the chance to start more we can see he will repay the faith.
Chelsea start the season with 3 home games in their first 5, they host Arsenal in gameweek 2 which is the only top 6 team they face until gameweek 7 and 9. Investing in a couple of Chelsea assets for the first 6 weeks is wise but the possibility of Pedro being a nailed asset would make him a popular pick. If Willian stays it might be best to avoid him until we see who Sarri prefers. Pre-season has seen Pedro start both games and has showed his new boss what he can do by scoring on each occasion.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£7.0m, Arsenal)
Arsenal’s Armenian midfielder joined the club in January of last season after a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez. By now he’s settled into life at the club with a full pre-season under his belt and no World Cup duties to distract him. In his short spell at the club he’s started just 9 games and been involved 6 goals. Mkhitaryan ranked second best for shots on goal with 21 in which he scored twice and for his 16 chances created earning him 4 assists.
Arsene Wenger’s team scored the joint 3rd most of goals last season with just under 2 goals a game at 74, 16 of which came from set pieces, the leagues joint highest. Arsenal also had the 3rd most big chances, shots inside the box and shots on target in the league out of anyone else backing up their goal threat. With the addition of Aubameyang in January, Arsenal have brought the former Borussia Dortmund duo back together where they linked up to score 59 goals and 31 assists and they’ve already linked together for 3 goals for the Gunners.
Mkhitaryan looks likely to positioned on the right hand side of Arsenal’s attacking midfield which is his favoured positioned. He was placed as number 10 under Mourinho and struggled to adapt to the role so this will benefit his FPL output. Arsenal start the season with two difficult matchups as they play Man City and Chelsea in succession. Managers may feel like it’s best to avoid Arsenal assets in their opening drafts and I can see why but if you’re planning your team for the long run it could be wise to include a couple as the run that follows their opening two games is very tasty. Through gameweeks 3-10 they don’t face a single team from last season’s top 6 and play 2 of the promoted sides on the road. The Armenian lit up the FPL world at the start of previous season and looks criminally under priced.
Written by FPL Junior (@FPL_Junior)