Two seasons ago Ronaldo had a dream season for all us Fantasy Football managers. In the 2007-2008 season he scored 31 goals and was the highest point scorer in all fantasy football league games. Last season, he did not reach the same dizzying heights, and now with his departure to Real Madrid – is there anyone who would automatically qualify as your captain, without much thought? Let’s look at the possible candidates:
1. Frank Lampard – has been an easy choice for managers since the 2003-2004 season in the EPL. Regularly finishing in the top three midfielders for 6 seasons, and an unbeatable appearance record of 3 consecutive seasons, where he played every match, makes him a very dependable choice. Carlo Anchelotti has identified him to play at the top of Chelsea’s midfield diamond formation, so his goal scoring tally should continue – as proven in the Community Shield last week.
2. Steven Gerrard – is Liverpool’s captain and one of the best midfield players in the world. When he plays, Liverpool are a different team. He has continually delivered magical performances when his team needed it. For the last couple of seasons, he has regularly finished in the top 3 midfielders in most fantasy football games. But now with the loss of Alonso to Real Madrid and with Rafael Benitez not able to field Alberto Aquilani for a few months – Liverpool’s midfield has significantly weakened. Also with a groin strain making him doubtful for the first game of the season, it may be worthwhile, waiting and picking him up in the upcoming weeks.
3. Wayne Rooney – with the departure of Christiano Ronaldo and with Alex Ferguson saying he’s going to use Rooney in the middle, this could well be the year he blooms into the player he has always promised to be. We have seen glimpses of his talent when he was deployed in the central position for England. If he could replicate his displays for England he would be a ‘must have’ player for all managers. Manchester United first 3 games are against Birmingham, Burnley and Wigan, so I fully expect Rooney to be accumulating a lot of points early on.
4. Andrei Archavin – scoring 4 goals on his Anfield debut for Arsenal last season was sensational. No one doubts he has talent and could be prolific if he adapts to the physical nature of the EPL. After last season I can see him excelling this year. He looked good in the pre-season as well, when he came on as a substitute against Athletico Madrid and scored 2 goals. Anyhow with Arsenal missing gameweek 2, it may be worthwhile waiting before committing to him on your team.
5. Fernando Torres – currently injury free, and arrived late for Liverpool’s preseason training, because of his commitment to the Spanish national team at the Confederations cup. Currently one of the best strikers in the world, who made a mockery of Nemanja Vidic when Liverpool played Manchester United last year. With the exception of that game, Vidic had an amazing season, which shows the quality of Torres. He will consistently score goals for Liverpool, when he is playing, but with Gerard possibly missing from game week 1and Alonso at Madrid, Liverpool’s midfield look pretty ordinary. He would a gamble to begin with, with a decidedly tough tie away to Spurs. Another player worth waiting for would be my suggestion.
6. Cesc Fabregas – Arsenal’s midfield captain who was sidelined for a long time last season because of injury. The previous season saw him score 7 goals and 20 assist for Arsenal in the league, which made him one of the top ranking midfield players in the EPL then. With Archavin playing alongside him, I can see him having a very good season, if he keeps fit. With Arsenal missing game week 2, he is another choice I would wait to pick up.
7. Didier Drogba – when he is playing well, he is literally unplayable for defenses. His strength inside and outside the area, make him deadly when he is on form. Judging by his preseason form and his performance in the Charity Shield, I can see him making an impact very early on in the season. Also his partnership upfront with Nicolas Anelka seems to have matured since Guus Hiddink had them playing together. With Chelsea’s easy early run of games, he would be a good pick for early on in the season. But be warned – he will off to the African Nations Cup later this season, for a short period of time.