So far my preseason analysis of the choices that FPL managers need to make has relied heavily on player form from previous years but what if you're new to the Premier League and have little or no prior points tally to work from?
This post then will consider players who had no impact in the Premier League last season simply because they weren't playing in it but who could be in line to be important buys in 2022/23.
The Premier League Newbies XV
The first squad are the most popular picks for players who have little or no recent Premier League stats to draw upon. Clearly managers here are picking these guys for their FPL squad based on form in competitions other than the Premier League. Are they right to do so?
In fact, the only player to score any FPL points in this squad last season was Neco Williams who as I've alluded to in a previous post, managed to score 4 points last season for Liverpool when he came on for the last 7 minutes of the 5-0 thrashing of Watford and managed an assist before being shipped off on loan to the Championship.
The Welsh right back got a further 2 goals and 2 assists plus 6 clean sheets in the 14 starts he made for Fulham last year. Even without bonus points that equates to an average of 5 points per game and with Williams transfer to Notts Forest this summer a permanent deal he's likely to get plenty of game time especially given the loss of Djed Spence who played in the wing back role for them last season.
While it's unlikely that Williams will be able to deliver quite as consistently as he did in the Championship last season, his £4.0 million price tag means that he's a very popular pick indeed!
I'll go onto consider some of the other players who excelled in the Championship last season later on but let's focus on a few of the marquee signings that appear in the squad above and who'll be featuring for sides who you'd assume will be challenging at the top of the league. What might their Fantasy League points haul have been last season playing in their respective leagues?
|Player||Starts||Goals||Assists||Clean Sheets||Estimated Total|
Of course the above is really just an estimation, I'm unable for example to include 'bonus points' and you'd imagine that a few of these guys would have scored heavily in that regard. To balance that out I've therefore chosen to exclude minus points received from yellow and red cards and 2+ goals conceeded.
You can certainly see why Perisic is such a popular pick with the experienced Croat delivering the kind of numbers from defence that we saw from the likes of TAA and Cancelo last year and at just £5.5 million he is far more affordable than those 2!
By contrast, United's new wing-back signing Malacia struggled to put up decent offensive numbers playing in the Eredivisie and is by no means an automatic starter for his new club. Nearly 3% of managers have decided that the £4.5 million price tag makes him worth a punt but I'm not sure he'll get the minutes or make enough of an impact when he is on the pitch to justify being picked.
Another player out of the Eredivisie is Leeds' new Columbian winger Sinisterra. The former Feyenoord man was instrumental in helping his side reach the Conference League final last year but can he step up to the rigours of the Premier League?
The departure of Raphina certainly means that Leeds need a creative spark and Sinisterra's arrival might see Jack Harrison switched to the right flank to cut in on his left foot while the Columbian mirrors him from the left. Given that Harrison has Premier League experience and scored in 4 out of Leeds final 9 matches last year I'd say picking him at £6.0 million over the Columbian who is £6.5 million makes more sense if you do fancy a Leeds wide man in your squad.
The big question for everyone else on the list is fitness and game time! Koulibaly's relatively low return of 27 starts can be explained primarily by his involvement in the AFCON and you'd assume he'll be an automatic starter for Chelsea who are still shopping for centre-back signings.
Meanwhile Darwin Nunez will need to battle for minutes at Liverpool who already possess a talented forward line. The Uruguayan hit 4 goals in a recent friendly match but Klopp was quick to suggest that he'd need time to adapt to the Premier League suggesting that he might not be an automatic starter in the early part of the season.
Finally Haaland and Botman both suffered multiple injuries last season that limited their league appearances. Haaland is the 2nd most picked player at the moment in FPL 22/23 and the near 60% of managers who have selected him at the princely sum of £11.5 million will certainly be hoping for more than just 21 league starts this year!
The Big Money Movers XV
Forget playing with fake money, the squad below are the most expensive Premier League transfers of the summer to date. Clubs around the country have forked out hundreds of millions to get them into their squad for this season, how many have you got in your team?
Other than the big names that we've already mentioned above, the players that stand out in this squad are the 2 Arsenal signings as well as Raheem Sterling and Gavin Bazunu.
Zinchenko has played most of his Premier League football to date as a left-back at Man City and while in many ways, Guardiola's use of inverted wing-backs makes them essentially central midfielders, it seems likely that the Ukrainian will get more game time in the role that he usually plays for his national team now that he's moved to the Gunners. In fact, Zinchenko started just 1 Premier League match for Man City in central midfield in a game they lost 1-0 to Leeds in April 2021...
Fabio Vieira meanwhile had a hand in 20 goals (scored 6, assisted 14) in the Portuguese top flight last season. He'll be competing with Martin Ødegaard for a starting spot at Arsenal this season but a broken foot sustained while on international duty this summer means he's missed the entire pre-season so don't expect to see him get too many minutes early on. Still, if he can begin to establish himself in the side then £6 million for an attack minded midfielder playing for one of the big 6 clubs looks very appealing.
A couple of years ago you'd have needed to part with £11.5 million to get Raheem Sterling in your fantasy squad and the England international's starting price has dropped another million pounds since the start of last season. Still, he is a seasoned campaigner at this level and will surely be given far greater opportunities this season at Chelsea than he received at times with City last year.
What's more, Sterling will be desperate to cement his place in the national team's starting XI for this year's World Cup. He's a player who throughout his career has shown he can rise to a challenge and while at £10 million he certainly isn't cheap, he has the pedigree to put big points on the board.
Gavin Bazunu is one of several youngsters that Southampton have picked up from Man City's academy this summer with the Saints also chasing a move for young Liam Delap who would certainly be worth a look at as far as cheap forwards should he depart the Ethiad even if just on loan. Bazunu meanwhile is a very highly rated young Irish keeper who could well be Southampton's number 1 for this season and many to come.
To be honest, the Saints' defence looked a bit shaky at times last season so don't expect too many clean sheet bonuses but at £4.5 million Bazunu could prove a very good back-up in your squad, particularly if you're not splashing out on one of the big buys in that position and will therefore need to rotate your keepers.
The Championship Champions XV
The final squad looks at the players who excelled in the Championship last season and now find themselves looking to take the next step in their careers by putting in similar performances in England's top flight.
Philip Billing has Premier League experience with both Huddersfield and Bournemouth but since we last saw him in the top flight, he's added goals and assists to his always impressive work rate. In last season's Championship, Billing managed 10 goals, 10 assists and the Cherries secured 19 clean sheets while he was on the pitch. At £5.5 million he could prove to be an astute signing especially as he's owned by just 0.3% of managers - if he does continue to perform then those points are going to be all yours...
Another Bournemouth player worth a closer look at is Lloyd Kelly, a footballer I know well from his time at Bristol City, my dad's club and therefore one I follow with added interest. Kelly came through the youth levels at Bristol City and was involved in the England age group teams before moving to Bournemouth for £13 million in 2019. The then 20-year-old, played just a handful of Premier League matches as the Cherries were relegated but has become a mainstay of the defence in the 2 seasons since.
At the tender age of 22 he was named club captain for Bournemouth having previously captained England under 20s. At a time where footballers are often portrayed as pampered and out of touch, his rise from a foster child to Premier League captain in the space of just a few years is one of the most inspirational sporting stories out there. At just 23, he's only going to get better and I wouldn't bet against him getting his full cap for England sooner rather than later.
A former Cherries star in Harry Wilson is also worth a look at. The Welsh winger has had successful loan spells at Championship clubs Hull, Derby, Cardiff and last season Fulham having also spent the 2019 season scoring 7 goals for Bournemouth in the Premier League.
He was arguably the best attacking midfielder in the Championship last year with an incredible 19 assists and 10 goals. He's now made his move from Liverpool to Fulham permanent and presumably given his success over the years in England's 2nd Tier, he'll want to make his stay in the Premier League more lasting this time around. Wilson's link up play with Mitrovic who also features in this squad will be crucial to Fulham's chances of staying up.
Of course not everyone who excelled in the Championship last year has stayed with the club they enjoyed success with. Djed Spence and Fábio Carvalho have joined Spurs and Liverpool and while they are now undoubtedly surrounded by a higher calibre of teammate, their opportunities to impress will be harder won.
Meanwhile, Morgan Gibbs-White enjoyed a breakout season on loan to Sheffield United last year with 11 goals and a further 10 assists from midfield. He's since returned to Wolves but looks increasingly likely to move on, this time on a permanent basis, with Notts Forest keen to sign him up and keep him in the Premier League.
While the start of the Premier League is just 10 days away, the transfer window itself doesn't shut for another 5 weeks. Undoubtedly we'll see a few more deals that FPL managers will want to take advantage of in that time but hopefully the above gives you food for thought for next week's opening round...
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