Having already taken a look at both goalkeepers and defenders we now turn our attentions to the minefield that is the midfield! Get your midfield right and there’s a good chance that you will do well, although that’s much easier said than done as most FPL managers are currently finding out! Last season we were spoilt for choice as the midfielders racked up the points, but obviously that created its own problems in itself – i.e. getting the right ones in our teams at the right time! So with all of these issues to hand we have pulled together a few player ideas that we feel could really deliver over the coming weeks.
The Spurs Boys
Realistically every FPL manager wants / needs to get 5 attacking midfielders into their squad and let’s be honest, they don’t come much more attacking than Gareth Bale. From an FPL point of view the Welsh mans returns have been improving over the past 3 seasons and last season saw him finish with 10 goals and 14 assists. At £9.5m Bale is hardly cheap but he is a guaranteed starter and that is something which we can’t say about quite a number of the big money midfielders from the top 6 clubs.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (to be known as Siggy for the rest of the season!) took the FPL by storm after Christmas last season, scoring 7 goals and picking up 3 assists in 18 appearances for Swansea and as a result he was snapped up by Spurs during the Summer. Spurs were known as an attacking side under Harry Redknapp and this is not likely to change under Villas-Boas.
If Siggy is given the opportunity to play in the hole, he could be a great addition to any FPL team but for now we’re a little unsure as to how Spurs will line up in their opening game against Newcastle. Therefore we feel that for now Bale is a better option to Siggy, although it should be noted that Bale is currently owned by over 18% of FPL managers whereas Siggy is only owned by under 4% so Siggy could offer a differential, albeit at £9.0m an expensive differential.
The City Lads
We imagine that most FPL managers will want to get some City coverage into their midfield and in our opinion there are 2 options – David Silva & Yaya Toure. Up until Christmas of last year David Silva was the ‘must have’ midfielder as he seemingly picked up assists for fun. In fact Silva picked up more assists than any other player in last season’s FPL. When you consider the fact that Silva picked up 6 goals and 17 assists it’s easy to see how he managed to amass a total of 184 points last season.
Yaya Toure’s stats are not as impressive as Silva’s for last season, he scored 6, picked up 9 assists and finished on a total of 139 points. Now when you just look at those figures you will probably assume that out of the two we’re going to go with Silva, but you’d be incorrect! At £8.0m Toure is £2.0 cheaper than Silva and in our opinion he’s the only one of the City midfielders who are guaranteed to start. At this stage of the season picking a nailed on starter is one of the most important things to an FPL manager. While Silva will start the majority of games, we feel that there’s a chance he will share some game time with Samir Nasri.
The New Kids On The Block
In Eden Hazard, Shinji Kagawa and Santi Cazorla, Chelsea, United and Arsenal have each added quite an exciting prospect to their respective squads. However, unless you are feeling brave, we are going to recommend a watching brief on each of them.
In Hazard Chelsea have secured one of the most sought after prospects in Europe, but Roberto Di Matteo has already insinuated that Hazard will be given time to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League which would suggest to us that he may be rotated in the opening weeks.
Kagawa has been quite impressive for Man United in their pre-season friendlies and has at times operated in the hole behind Wayne Rooney. However with increasing media speculation that United are about to sign Robin Van Persie we believe that this will see Kagawa play in a deeper role, but only time will tell.
With Regards to Cazorla, Arsenal have signed him, Podolski and Giroud while it appears as though Robin Van Persie’s departure is imminent. All of this upheaval coupled with a difficult start to the season means we’ll wait and see how Cazorla settles in, although in the long run we expect him to do quite well.
The Welsh Contingent
As we mentioned in our feature on defenders, Swansea were one of last season’s surprise packages. The way in which they kept the ball on the ground and passed the ball with such ease took many by surprise. Since last season Swansea have lost their manager, as well as two of their star midfielders, so many might expect them to slide down the table this season. However in Michael Laudrup the Swansea board have appointed a manger who FPL mangers hope will adopt similar tactics to the Swansea of last season. If this is the case (and we expect it will be) then you might want to cast your eyes over Miguel Perez Cuesta (a.k.a. Michu). Michu joins Swansea from Spanish side Rayo Vallecano for whom he scored 15 goals last season from midfield and we fully expect Michu to play in the hole behind Danny Graham this season. Currently Michu is owned by less than 1.5% of FPL managers, representing a great early season differential for all FPL managers willing to take the risk on the Spanish import.
The Newly Promoted Guys
West Ham’s Mark Noble is currently owned by less than 5% of FPL managers. This we feel is a staggering statistic given the fact that the 25 year old is the recognised penalty taker (he converted 7 in the championship last season) for the Hammers as well as taking free-kicks and corners. While Noble is likely to play just in front of the back 4, meaning he is unlikely to push too far forward, it must be remember that he is valued at only £5.0m, which we feel makes him excellent value. Noble feels like a great option for any FPL manager who is looking for a cheap midfielder that will start every game.
The Cheap Dates
Hands up how many have picked 14 players and then realised you’ve only got £4.5m left to spend on a midfielder?! A nightmare scenario when you then start searching for a decent midfield option with just £4.5m to spend! Having spent some time scouring the midfielders valued at £4.5m we believe we might have come across two who are certainly likely to feature for their respective teams in the opening weeks.
The first is Alex Kacaniklic of Fulham who joined from Liverpool in August 2010 as part of the disastrous Paul Konchesky deal. He has only featured 4 times for the Fulham first team and spent the second half of last season on loan at Watford. However the absence of Clint Dempsey from Fulham’s pre season friendlies has seen Kacaniklic start on the left side of Fulham’s midfield in 6 of their friendlies. Fulham have scored 15 goals during their pre-season and with a relatively easy start to the season Kacaniklic might just pick up a few assists or even a goal. Oh and he’s currently owned by only 0.2% of FPL mangers, now that’s what we call a differential!
The second midfielder worth £4.5m that we would like to highlight is Hal Robson-Kanu of Reading. Reading currently have injury concerns over both Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe, which means that Kanu may well get a run in the team at the start of the season. Kanu featured 35 times for Reading in the Championship last season, notching up 4 goals along the way.
Ok so that’s the Midfielders dealt with, hopefully we’ve given you some interesting options to ponder over. Having already released our Goalkeeper tips article and Defenders tips article, that leaves just Forwards to come, which will follow on Friday.
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This article was written by Kop Warrior