Today we continue our FPL comparisons with two of last season’s very best, Dimitri Payet of West Ham and Mesut Özil of Arsenal, as we try and settle one of social media’s hottest topics and one of the biggest FPL Dilemma’s. As two of last season’s top performers they will be looking to replicate the form that took both to Euro 2016, gaining much praise in the process.
Despite both player’s performances of last season, many will be only be able to select one of these stars in their Fantasy Premier League teams. Here we take a look at this FPL dilemma and which is the better option for your FPL side…
Dimitri Payet (9.5m)
West Ham fans haven’t taken to many as well as they have to Frenchman Dimitri Payet. His skilful play on the ball combined with deadly end-product meant he was able to light up the Premier League last season in a superb debut season which saw him rack up 9 goals and 13 assists for a West Ham side that seemed on course for Europe for much of the season. His free-kicks were a particular highlight in an exciting season that saw several sides really come to the fore. Payet continued his form at Euro 2016 with France, where he scored another 3 goals, including a last minute thunderbolt to defeat Romania in the tournament opener. After the tournament there was much interest in Payet’s services from Europe’s elite, as West Ham would no doubt have expected and the London club have reported that Payet has no intention of leaving Upton Park, however it may be interesting should anyone lodge a significant bid.
West Ham face tough outings to both Chelsea (A) on the opening day and Manchester City in gameweek 3, however given West Ham’s track record against the so-called bigger sides last season, you FPL managers with Payet in your side may have nothing to fear. West Ham’s complete first five consists of Chelsea (A), Bournemouth (H), Man City (A), Watford (H), West Brom (A). Despite the off-putting sides here, games against Watford and Bournemouth provide ample opportunity for Payet to show that he wasn’t just another one season wonder.
Mesut Özil (9.5m)
One player who impressed in what was labelled a do-or-die season was Arsenal’s Mesut Özil. Always known to have talent, it took Gunners fans until last season to see the best of the man they brought to the Emirates from Real Madrid for £42.5 million. His overwhelming impact came in the assist department, leading the league with a massive 19 assists! His ability to control the game in the final third proved incisive as Arsenal finished 2nd in the Premier League after their title hopes collapsed late on, as they all so often do. Despite this, the German only managed 6 goals, a tally he will be hoping to improve on. Euro 2016 ended in disappointment for Özil as well, as Germany laboured to an under-whelming defeat against Payet’s France, the losing finalists.
Arsenal’s opening run of games seems easier than most, although an away trip to champions Leicester City does place a blemish on an otherwise simple start. Even then, after last season one would be daft to judge sides before the season has begun. Nonetheless, they begin with Liverpool (H), Leicester (A), Watford (A), Southampton (H) and Hull (A). Özil proved last season that he has the ability to be world class, and it remains to be seen whether he can replicate this in the coming season. Sometimes labelled as lazy, it will be up to the German to prove his doubters wrong and follow-up on a season that showed real promise for Arsenal, and a couple of signings may mean a big season is on the horizon for the North-London side.
Who to pick?
The FPL Dilemma of Payet vs Özil creates a very odd scenario, with both players leaving little to be desired. I think in this case your choice for FPL pick may live and die on the basis of the forwards each team signs respectively. Arsenal made their intentions clear early on by activating Jamie Vardy’s release clause, while it doesn’t take a genius to see that West Ham are clearly trying to increase their firepower ahead of what will likely be one of the most competitive Premier League seasons yet. Should Arsenal be able to sign a world-class forward that compliments their style of play they may be on to a winner, while should West Ham be able to secure a deal for the likes of whom they hope to, they will no doubt be in a similar position come May.
In terms of straight comparison, you’ll get more goals from Dimitri Payet, as you may well be expecting for the 9.5m pricetag that both players sport. Özil finished last season on 200 points while Payet finished 29 behind on 171. However, Payet did miss three months of last season after a controversial challenge from Everton’s James McCarthy in November. He would likely have finished on at least similar points had he played the extra 500 odd minutes that the German has over him. This discrepancy has to be considered when comparing the two players, such as when looking at Özil’s 30 bonus points to Payet’s 25. Payet’s higher ownership however may prove a case for Özil’s inclusion, provided you are willing to take the hit should the former display more of the same form.
Overall, I would probably start the season with Payet, while being prepared to switch for Özil fairly quickly, due to Arsenal’s string of four low difficulty fixtures (rated 1 by FPL). Of course, ideally, you could have both, but with the extra competition in midfield with higher prices, FPL managers may find this a struggle. Howver, to do this FPL managers may have to miss out on players such as Hazard, De Bruyne and Mkhitaryan, who will be looking to impress for their respective sides in a similar price bracket.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RyanNevin7)