With the new season rapidly approaching thoughts are turning to fantasy football yet again and what players to choose for my team. As an Arsenal I want to get the full quota of three Arsenal players in my squad, but it's not always easy to know which Arsenal players to choose. Last season's scores are always a good indicator, but average points per game can be far more useful than overall points.
When it comes to points per game Aaron Ramsey was right up there last season with the very best of them and everything leads me to believe he will be again. If he can stay fit for the whole season he is a must have for fantasy managers in my opinion and there won't be many midfielders who score more points than him this coming season. His price might have increased a fair deal from last season, but he's still a good buy at £9 million and I wouldn't be surprised to see his price rise rapidly once the season starts.
Along with Ramsey new boy Alexis Sanchez is another Arsenal player fantasy managers have to seriously consider picking. He costs a little more than Ramsey at £10.5 million, but he's more than likely going to play a very attacking role in the team and he's listed in Fantasy Premier League as a midfielder. It's players who get listed out of position who can make a real difference for fantasy managers and it always has been since day one. When I played the original game in the early 90s I won my league in 5 out of 6 seasons, but Dwight Yorke stopped me from making it a clean sweep when he was a striker listed as a midfielder for Villa. Sanchez scored 28 goals for Barcelona last season and there's no reason to believe he won't get his fair share of goals and assists this season.
The final choice isn't quite so easy with a few candidates to choose from including Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Debuchey and maybe even Theo Walcott when he comes back from injury. It's not easy to know which of those players is the best choice, but once he's back it would probably be Walcott for me. He's available for £9 million at the moment which is not a bad price, but he will take a little while to settle back into the side when he returns.
The thing is for both Sanchez and Walcott to do well somebody has to pull the strings in midfield and Ozil is ready made for that role. If the other two are to succeed them Ozil is going to run up an awful lot of assists and he's available at £9 million too. Due to his World Cup final duties Ozil will probably miss the first three league games of the season though and it might be a good idea to leave him out for the first few weeks too.
Giroud did very well last season and he was a pretty consistent performer for fantasy managers. With Debuchey providing crosses for him Giroud might do even better in his third season at the club. Arsenal have the potential to score a lot of goals this season and I would imagine Giroud should be able to help himself to a fee of those goals. He's not a bad choice at £8.5 million and is well worth considering too.
Arsenal's defence had it's bad moments last season with capitulations in a few high profile games, but they managed to keep a lot of clean sheets too. There's every chance for Mertesacker, Koscielny and Debuchey to get their fair share of clean sheets as well as getting in on the scoring at the other end occasionally with goals and assists. Szczesny had his moments last season too with only Tim Howard scoring more points than him among the Premier League's goalkeepers. It has to be remembered that defensive players score less points than attacking ones usually and it's always a good idea to look for a few defensive bargains. None of Arsenal's first choice defenders or goalkeeper are cheap by fantasy standards and it's not a good idea to have more than one of them in any team at one time. It also had to be remember that Mertesacker could be late back into the team too just like Ozil after his World Cup exploits.
At a push I would say Sanchez and Ramsey are two best choices from day one with Debuchey possibly to join them. When Walcott is back he might be a better option than Debuchey but it would surely be a mistake to have three midfielders from the same team in any fantasy side. I might just be tempted to keep Debuchey in my team and hope he can add a few assists to the clean sheets to make him a good buy.
Finally for today I'm running my league in Fantasy Premier League yet again this season and there will be a prize of €50 for the winner once the league reaches 1,000 teams. It's already over half way there and I'm very confident it will surpass the magical 1,000 mark. To join just go to the site and use the code 13125-4843 to join my league once your team is set up.
Absolutely finally for today I'm also running my predictor league again this season. I'll be previewing every Premier League game every week throughout the season too. You can make your predictions here and then join my mini league with the code FD20D-AVD after you have set everything up.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.