The new Premier League season is fast approaching and with it comes the return of Fantasy Premier League.
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As an FPL manager, there’s nothing quite like a goal-scoring phenom in midfield.
How you pick your players in the middle of the park has a huge say on where you end up at the end of the season.
Midfield provides you with loads of options for goals and assists.
It’s important to make sure you secure one or two of the game’s big-hitters so you don’t get left behind while it’s often a less popular player who can put you ahead.
Here are a few picks to guide you ahead of the new campaign.
DELE ALLI | Tottenham | £9.5m
Alexis Sanchez (£12.5m) was by far the highest scoring midfielder last season, clearly helped by the fact that he played a huge chunk of the campaign as Arsenal’s centre forward. However, given the uncertainty surrounding his future at the club coupled with a suspicious injury that has ruled him out of the opening two weeks anyway, Dele Alli has emerged as the most popular midfield option.
The Tottenham star has been selected by 38.3% of FPL managers and with good reason. He scored a whopping 225 points last season, registering 18 goals and 11 assists as he operated as almost a second striker behind Harry Kane.
While Christian Eriksen would be a good differential at the same price and with just 14.7% ownership, Alli has the edge over his teammate because of his proximity to goal. The England international is simply better placed to have chances fall for him and he capitalises on those opportunities more often than not.
MOHAMED SALAH | Liverpool | £9.0m
At AS Roma last season, Mohamed Salah enjoyed his best campaign yet, scoring 15 goals and providing 11 assists. It was a year in which the Egyptian truly came into his own and this summer seemed to be the perfect time for a big move.
Boasting plenty of pace, an eye for goal and the ability to pick out a pass, Salah seems tailor made for a Liverpool side moulded by the counter-attacking tactics of Jurgen Klopp. With Sadio Mane priced at £9.5m on the opposite flank, the former Chelsea winger offers a slightly cheaper option.
That does indeed appear to be the school of thought with 20.7% of FPL managers opting for Salah while 19.5% have gone with Mane who is still an excellent option having scored 156 points last season despite spending time away at the African Cup of Nations.
PAUL POGBA | Manchester United | £8m
Okay, we’re playing it fast and loose with the term ‘bargain’ when discussing a midfielder priced at £8m but for the points potential he represents, Paul Pogba may turn out to be just that.
With all the options Jose Mourinho has at his disposal, the Frenchman seems untouchable in the starting line up. Despite an underwhelming campaign last time out, he still managed a decent tally of five goals and four assists.
Given that he hit the woodwork six times in the league last season and consistently saw a rather wasteful attack fail to convert the chances he created, the midfielder can feel aggrieved not to have scored more points.
With a full season under his belt and having shed the title of ‘world’s most expensive player’, Pogba should excel this time around. With Nemanja Matic covering behind him, he will have the freedom to play in a more advanced role while a clinical Romelu Lukaku should see him notch up a few more assists as well.
RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK | Crystal Palace | £4.5m
It’s almost an unspoken rule that you must have a £4.5m midfielder in your team to accommodate a couple of premium picks. It’s just the done thing. That player can spend most weeks on the bench but if you pick the right one with decent returns, it gives you the option to go with a five-man midfield and not just use him when one of your other midfielders face a difficult fixture.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be the perfect buy at that price this season. The exciting young midfielder has been been explosive in the limited playing time he’s seen during pre-season and looks as if he could play in an advanced attacking role under Frank de Boer this campaign.
The Chelsea loanee is a significant goal threat and creative force as well. At just £4.5m, he definitely challenges Wilfried Zaha (£7m) for value.
ALEX IWOBI| Arsenal | £5.5m
At 21, this is the season Alex Iwobi needs to establish himself in. He has impressive in pre-season and put in a good performance in the Community Shield against Chelsea as well. With Sanchez sidelined for the time being and possibly on his way out of the club, Iwobi is taking his opportunities on the left of Arsenal’s front three.
Should the Chilean leave the club this summer, the young winger could make the spot his own. Iwobi is a quick and tricky customer, regularly making in-roads in the opposition’s defence and is starting to find an end product more often as well.
The gamble in his case though is the possibility of a new signing like Thomas Lemar coming in. That could well stunt his progress and limit his playing time.
HOW MIDFIELDERS SCORE
1 – For playing up to 60 minutes
2 – For playing 60 minutes or more (excluding injury time)
5 – For each goal scored
3 – For each goal assist
1 – For a clean sheet
-2 – For each penalty miss
1-3 – Bonus points for the best players in a match
-1 – For each yellow card
-3 – For each red card
-2 – For each own goal