Aided, perhaps, by the absence of Aubayemang and Lacazette from the Arsenal side,
one of the writer’s five teams –
a mix of Brentford defenders, value midfielders and top scorers –
is sitting pretty in 72nd place with 83 points before Sunday’s matches.
Just 43 points behind leader Allan Swann’s haul of 126 points with Bee Babes.
The following are all rated at least doubtful for the opening fixtures. With transfers coming into effect from tonight’s game, managers may wish to jettison the following
Arsenal – Partey, Gabriel, Nketiah
Aston Villa – Trezeguet, Sanson, Traore
Lamptey, Scherpen, Caicedo,
Welbeck (to miss first three games)
Andone (back after serious knee injury)
Ziyech (shoulder injury)
Eze, Olise, Ferguson
Castagne – to be assessed
Justin, Evans, Fofana
Foden, De Bruyne, Delap (all doubtful)
Henderson and Lingard – both tested positive for coronavirus – Henderson hit hardest, still feeling affects
Cavani, Bailly (to be rested after Copa and Olympics)
Dubravka, Dummett, Darlow, Shelvey
Wilson, Saint-Maximin and Almiron (all doubtful)
Hanley, Cantwell (both doubtful)
King, Pedro and Chalobah
Hughes (out of contract) Perica, Success, Gray (all linked with moves away)
Lanzini, Ogbonna and Masuaku (all question marks)
Boly, Jonny, Neto (all out)
Podence – doubtful
Looking for an edge over your mates in the mini-league. With just two days left before the big kick-off on 13th August, look no further for some food for thought.
A selection strategy.
Firstly the easy (easier!) part. Seasons past have shown that the top scorers in TFF are, in the main, drawn from highly-valued forwards and attacking midfielders.
Casting his eyes away from an in-limbo Harry Kane, until his future is resolved at least, the writer is hoping for
a rejuvenated Aubameyang
a proven goalscorer in Danny Ings, who’s swapped Southampton for a more potent-looking Aston Villa,
Bruno Fernandes – his stats for a midfielder are on another level –
allied to the
cheaper Mason Greenwood, who should get more minutes in the absence of the injured Rashford and Martial.
Combine these with under-valued players on the cusp of a rapid improvement and….
Aston Villa and West Ham transformed from relegation-threatened to contenders for Europe last season whilst the season before Sheffield United defenders provided outstanding value for TFF managers.
All the promoted sides are, as ever, tipped to go straight back down. But Watford’s Sarr and Toney at Brentford could well follow in the footsteps of Pereira at West Brom (141 points for £3.7m last season) to provide value.
A fast start.
Everton and Watford arguably have the easiest opening six fixtures of the campaign.
The defensive-minded Rafa Benitez will be overseeing matches against an Ing-less Southampton, Burnley and Norwich at Goodison and a low-scoring Brighton away, and should be able to avoid the fate which befell Ronald Koeman, out of the door in October 2017 after facing four of the previous season’s top six.
Ben Godfrey had a slow start to his Everton career but was the top scoring defender in the last six weeks of last season and can supplement points for clean sheets with goal assists.
Conversely, managers may wish to give Norwich defenders a wide berth for their first three fixtures – Liverpool (h) Man City (a) and Leicester (h).
The introduction of a point for every two successful tackles has now made defensive-minded midfielders enticing low-value options. See the box-to-box Soucek as a nice combination of offensive and defensive, whilst Ndidi (Leicester) and Bissouma (Bri) have been amongst the top tacklers according to the official Premier League website.
From back to front
Inspiration can be drawn from TWO time winner, Adrian Frost, and his winning line up from 2018-19. (analysed in depth on the FISO website)
Built on players exclusively from Liverpool and Man City bar one, Southampton’s Redmond, the following team found themselves in the top 1000 in December with zero transfers made:
Allison, Van Dyke, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez (all Liverpool); Mahrez, Sterling, Sane, Salah, Redmond; Aguero.
But with £50million to spend on 11 players, how could he afford such a team?
Whilst City had finished the previous season as champions, the Reds – with van Dijk signed mid-season – had trailed 25 points behind in fourth.
Hence the entire Liverpool back line of Allison (3.7m) Van Dyke (4.3m) Robertson (3.8) Alexander-Arnold (3.6m) and Gomez (3.3m) totalling £18.7m (now a combined £23.7m).