The new Fantasy Premier League season is nearly upon us and managers are no doubt setting their teams – and then setting them again – in anticipation.
The key to a well-balanced FPL side is the shrewd recruitment of some budget players who could deliver great value.
To begin with, you’d ideally want one low-cost asset in each category.
Here’s a look at some of the players who fall into that bracket.
JORGINHO | CHELSEA | 5.0M
Jorginho comes with the guarantee of a regular starting berth of a top-six side, perhaps even one which will challenge for the title. The midfielder is absolutely crucial to Maurizio Sarri’s system and given his amount of passes per game – he managed 98.6 per game in Serie A last season, more than any other player – he is in the running for bonus points as well.
Fernandinho – who was priced at 5m last term – was relatively popular as he scored five goals and provided three assists for Manchester City. Jorginho could at the very least match the Brazilian having bagged two goals and four assists for Napoli last season.
LUKASZ FABIANSKI | WEST HAM | 4.5M
Swansea City had the worst defensive record last season and were unsurprisingly relegated as a result. Their goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, however, remained impressive between the sticks. He made more saves than any other keeper in the league and remarkably finished as the third-highest scoring in his position, just one point behind second-placed Ederson at City.
The Pole starred with three penalty saves to his name as well and has deservedly shot right back up to the Premier League with West Ham. Fabianski is a reliable option and best to be used in rotation with someone like Jordan Pickford (5m) or Matt Ryan (4.5m).
CEDRIC SOARES | SOUTHAMPTON | 4.5M
Cedric Soares was nowhere near the top defenders last season as Southampton consistently leaked the odd goal to surrender clean sheet points. That has seen his price drop by 0.5m this term. However, towards the end of the campaign, Mark Hughes changed their system to a back three with the Portguese deployed as a right-sided wingback.
With the freedom to get forward, he notched up three assists in the final seven fixtures. Many will have opted for Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels for the same price but with the Cherries signing left-back Diego Rico (also 4.5m) this summer, the 31-year-old’s place is under threat.
MARKO ARNAUTOVIC | WEST HAM | 7.0M
Both Wilfried Zaha and Marko Arnautovic were midfielders playing as strikers last season. Both have had their categories changed this time around and both are showing fine goal-scoring form in pre-season. So how do you split the two?
The answer lies in the players around them. Arnautovic ran riot under David Moyes last season and now with Manuel Pellegrini at the helm and a host of creative players recruited, the Austrian should have plenty of service to feed off. The arrivals of Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko should make up for the absence of the injured Manuel Lanzini.
HELDER COSTA | WOLVES | 5.0M
‘Wait, don’t you mean Diogo Jota?’
Jota is on everyone’s radar having been listed as a midfielder despite frequently featuring as a forward and being Wolves’ top scorer in the Championship with 17 goals. However, he may not get as many opportunities to lead the line this season, or will at least have to earn them.
That’s because Wolves have signed Mexican striker Raul Jimenez on a season-long loan deal from Benfica, handing him the No9 shirt. Instead, pacey winger Helder Costa could prove just as productive as Jota on the other side of Jimenez and is available for a bargain 5m.
Son Heung-min and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou scored as Spurs battled back from 2-0 down at half-time to draw 2-2 before they were beaten 5-3 on spot-kicks, with Anthony Georgiou missing from 12 yards.
On top of Sissoko’s knee issue, fellow midfielder Victor Wanyama suffered a knee injury of his own in training, while youngsters Tashan Oakley-Booth and Kazaiah Sterling as well as Argentina midfielder Erik Lamela are also carrying knocks.
On Sissoko, Pochettino told Spurs TV: “Yes, I think it’s minor. Maybe he was a little bit tired, but I think it’s not a big issue.”
He also confirmed the injuries in the rest of the squad are not major, but that the issues ruled them out of the clash with the Spanish champions.
He said: “Victor in the training session before Roma. I think it was the same problem as last season in his knee. Of course Tashan and then Kazaiah, Lamela of course that is minor, but they cannot be involved in the game.”
Alvaro Morata pressed his claims for being Chelsea‘s first-choice striker after putting in an impressive display in the Blues’ 5-4 win on penalties against Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup in Nice on Saturday.
More importantly, boss Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Morata, who had an unconvincing first season in the Premier League last year, as he was quite influential for the first 30 minutes.
Find out what the Italian coach had to say post-game, below.