The Barclay’s Premiership is all set to kick off this weekend, and football lovers across the globe are busy selecting teams for their challenge in the Fantasy Premier League.
Will Manchester United be able to retain the trophy they’ve called their own for the past 3 years? Will Liverpool finally break the jinx and bring some silverware to Anfield this season? Will Carlo Ancelotti be able to guide Chelsea to more glory? Will the new look Arsenal pose a serious threat to the reigning champions? These questions, and more, are doing the rounds all over the footballing community… And the answers to these questions pretty much affect how the fortunes will turn in the fantasy version of the World’s most watched football league!
Selecting the right team for the Fantasy Premier League can be a difficult task, especially considering the budget caps and the price tags on the best players. How, then, to pick a good team? This section lists some of the things to keep in mind while building a team:
- The amount of money available for building a team is limited. It’s important to realize that you can’t have all the best players, because that will disturb the stability of your team.
- To build a good team, it’s important to only to buy players that fit in. For example, I am a Manchester United loyalist. I’ll have a natural inclination to buy as many Red Devils as possible, but if I stuff my team with United players it will probably disturb the overall balance and ultimately harm the team.
- It is important to have a basic formation in mind while buying the players. I prefer to go with the standard 4-4-2, but many prefer to go with the more extreme 4-3-3 or 3-4-3. It all depends on how you manage your money.
- Once the formation is in your mind, start buying the players. It’s advisable to balance defence and attack (as it is in any football team :D). I suggest start by choosing one attacker, two midfielders, and two defenders and a goalkeeper of your choice. This will leave you with sufficient funds to piece together the rest of the team.
- Referring to last year’s statistics can be a big help in selecting the rest of the team. Looking at the list of players in all position (ordered by points/price) gives you a good idea of who you can get for what price, plus what kind of scores you can expect. (Some useful statistics from the last season of the Fantasy Premier League have been provided later in this article)
- If you are a hardcore and intend to keep in touch with the week by week happenings in the world of the premiership, then selecting a high scoring team won’t be a difficult task for you. Fiddling with your team each week can be particularly useful if you know what you’re doing.
- On the other hand, if you doubt you’ll be modifying your team too much, it’s advisable to buy the highest scoring players from last season who fit your budget. They’re highly likely to perform well again. Of course, making some changes now and again won’t hurt you much.
- An important thing to keep in mind: Players’ values change throughout the season, in accordance with their form, injuries, etc. If a player shows a drastic drop in form or is injured, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to replace him unless you’re absolutely certain he will recover soon. Losing money over bad transfers isn’t a good idea, since you have no source to replenish it.
- Please remember that certain teams play twice on certain game weeks. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have extra representation from these teams…you’ll probably score more.
- Remember that you have only one transfer wildcard. It is to be used only in extreme situations, when you need a complete restructuring of your team. If you need to make 2-3 changes, the use of the wildcard is not advisable. Keep it safe!
Keep these things in mind, and you should be able to build a successful squad!
To help you in your selections, I’ll make a list of some of the top players from last season who’re still a part of the Premier League. Choosing from among them won’t be a bad idea:
- Mark Schwarzer (Fulham) ? Top scoring goalkeeper from last year, and a tad cheaper than the big-4 keepers. A good buy!
- Petr Cech (Chelsea) ? The ever reliable Chelsea man, a better option than Reina for the start of the season (Liverpool have tougher matches).
- Jose Reina (Liverpool)
- Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) ? The big man stepped up after Rio Ferdinand was out due to injury for a large part of last season. His heroics as United’s last line of defence won him the best player award for last season! Presently out due to injury, but do keep an eye on his return dates!
- Joleon Lescott (Everton) ? Lescott has been one of the most consistent defenders in the Premiership over the past couple of years. No wonder Manchester City want him that bad… The price tag associated with him has certainly gone up, but still a recommended buy.
- Jamie Carragher (Liverpool) ? A product of Liverpool’s youth system, he is probably their best defender. Highly consistent and efficient.
- Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea) ? The Portugal man gave some spirited performances last season, and that explains the significant rise in his price.
- Brede Hangeland (Fulham) ? Another consistent performer from last season, and significantly cheaper than the other top defenders.
- Frank Lampard (Chelsea) ? Presently the most expensive player in Fantasy. But well worth his price.
- Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) ? Priced same as Lampard. Worth his weight in gold!
- Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool) ? Significantly cheaper than the top two, but not really close to them in terms of points either. Compared to other options, he is still quite expensive…but definitely not a bad buy.
- Gareth Barry (Manchester City) ? Consistent last season, should play a role this season despite the changes made by City. Quite cheaper than the top 3. Good option!
- Stephen Ireland (Manchester City) ? Again, a good and consistent performer.
- Nicholas Anelka (Chelsea) ? Winner of the golden boot from last season, should play a role this season. Pricey, though.
- Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) ? Fast, powerful, consistent, affordable. Great buy!
- Robin van Persie (Arsenal) ? He’s scored some of the most amazing goals in recent memory. Definitely worth considering.
- Robinho (Manchester City) ? There’s no doubting his talent, but there’s a question mark over how many matches he’ll start considering the horde of strikers City has acquired over the summers.
- Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur) ? Quite cheap compared with other top strikers, but again, a question mark over his role in a team with a number of top rate strikers.
There are things other than stats which matter in football. Listed below are a few players who’re certain to make a huge impact on the upcoming season:
Defenders ? John Terry and Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Aaron Hughes and Paul Konchesky (Fulham) and Phil Jagielka (Everton), among others.
Midfielders ? Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Danny Murphy (Fulham), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Nani (Manchester United), Denilson (Arsenal), Michael Essien (Chelsea), and others.
Attackers ? Who bigger than Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres? Of course, there are others… Tevez, Keane, Adebayor, and more…
This summer’s transfers have placed Fantasy Premiership in an interesting position.
- Chelsea have signed Russian wing man Yuri Zhirkov. He’s certain to bring a new flavour to Carlo Ancelotti’s team, and will certainly be a good buy for Fantasy.
- Arsenal have landed former Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen. He’s certain to add stability to the Gunner’s defence, and should be a good bet.
- Manchester United have signed Antonio Valencia, tipped by many to be the replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. Plus the shock signing of Michael Owen has raised many eyebrows, and not unsurprisingly, Michael Owen features in a significant percentage of Fantasy teams selected thus far! Both these players should be good buys.
No one really knows what the upcoming English season has in store for us, but we can be certain that a few surprises will be thrown up. The title race will be most interesting to follow with a number of strong teams ready to stake claim to the ultimate prize! The fortunes of the numerous Fantasy teams depend on how things turn out on the field, and we can’t really say what’ll happen.
We hope that with the help of these tips, you’re able to select a strong team… but what’s most important is that you enjoy yourself and have fun!
Any comments or suggestions are always welcome…