So, this is my first article for Planet FPL and I wanted to start off by firstly saying thanks to the lads for choosing me & getting me involved to represent my club, Everton. Secondly, I wanted to give a brief detail about my FPL history and then you can decide how much weight you put on my opinions of all things FPL.
I first started playing the game whilst working for Tulip Ltd and a Liverpudlian colleague of mine (Andy) who ran the works mini league invited me to the game.
My first season was spent basically learning as I went and picking up some hints and tips that I would utilise in future seasons. The biggest tip I learnt was probably from Andy himself but it wasn’t an intentional tip he meant to give.
I paid close attention to the teams that were doing well in the works mini league that year and I noticed that Andy’s devotion to his team Liverpool greatly hindered his own performance. He had 3 players from them every week, all season. It was a mistake he would repeat every year thereafter.
Andy was perceived to be a great FPL player but his devotion to Liverpool and their players was to be his undoing – I made sure I didn’t make the same mistake with my team and have a similar devotion to Everton players. For FPL purposes, loyalty needs to go out the window or it will cost you points and mini league / overall rank success. Andy beat me in that first season when I didn’t really know what I was doing but he has never finished above me since.
I’ve since learned though that whilst Andy was a good player of FPL, the game has far more to it than he realised and the FPL community is massive with a wealth of resources available to aid understanding and improvement of the game.
So what is my record in FPL? Well here it is:-
It’s not great but it is okay I would say. If you finish around the 100k mark then I think you have a fair idea what you are doing in FPL.
The 2015/16 season and 2016/17 seasons where nightmares for me. Time constraints and captaincy switching cost me massively. I picked a different captain almost every week and it cost me big time. Football isn’t a game where you can easily predict the outcome, if it was we would all be rich.
There isn’t really such a thing as an easy game and fixtures that look good on paper, “home bankers” and all that, usually end up disappointing or have a sting in the tail all too frequently.
Last season I went back to a method that was working well for me – pick a captain who you think will score well over a season and just captain him week in week out no matter what the fixture because if you have picked a good player then he can produce away at Man United or Man City just as he could at Home to Stoke or Swansea.
Last year I picked out Mo Salah from the start as someone who I thought would do really well being that he had been classified as a midfielder, fitted perfectly into his team’s established style of play and had a great record of scoring and assisting goals. I also left that home club devotion in the bin with regards to Everton. I had watched us in the pre-season Europa league qualifiers and we did not look good at all. We were slow, lacked creativity and there was no standout players for me that leaped out like they would do well in the upcoming FPL season.
Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson were the first two I was considering using but I decided to hold fire given our horrendous fixtures start. By the time the fixtures eased off Everton were in turmoil and Koeman was coming under heavy fire from all quarters. My FPL team was doing really well and so I swerved Everton players up until Sam Allardyce was appointed and Leighton Baines was injured – Cuco Martina at about 4.5 million then suddenly became a gem of a player and I got some great points off him until Leighton Baines recovered from injury several months later.
I thought Davy Klassen would prove to be a great goal threat from midfield too given what I had seen from him at Ajax (admittedly on you tube) but he looked out of his depth from minute 1 and he never recovered. That is another tip I would give, don’t jump on fancy signings that have come from different leagues as they usually do not hit the ground running. For a good start stick with the known performers and “certain” starters but have a watchlist of those you feel could do well and see how they start off.
So, onto the upcoming season and my thoughts on the current Everton players and who should be considered.
My initial shortlist for consideration:
Jordan Pickford £5m
With Marco Silva now the Everton manager and some other great Goalkeeping options around, I almost immediately decided that Fabianski (West Ham) or Ryan (Brighton) at £4.5m, possibly even Patricio (Wolves) too, would be better value than Jordan Pickford. I don’t see many clean sheets coming Everton’s way this season and our pre-season has seen us concede goals at an alarming rate so I wouldn’t even consider Pickford to be honest.
Seamus Coleman £5.5m
Coleman suffered a serious injury last season and missed a lot of minutes but when you look at his history then at £5.5m he offers potential for good value. He has averaged 134 pts over the previous 4 seasons prior to last season and that is a great return for someone priced at 5.5million. I would however have reservations about the number of clean sheets Everton will provide under Silva and would expect it to be less than the average of 9 seen across his last 3 full seasons. However, his attacking output may well increase to offset this given that I would expect him to be slinging over crosses for Cenk Tosun who is good in the air, interchanging with Walcott who will play in front of him and he likes to get shots off plus he always raids up the opposite flank to get himself into the box when the attack is building from the left. There are questions against him defensively but he isn’t under any real pressure for his place and we have no plans to sign a right back so with no European involvement then barring injury, he will start every week.
Other Alternatives: PVA (Crystal Palace), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
Gylfi Sigurdsson £7.5m
Gylfi can deliver big in FPL, he has a record of it. 3 consecutive seasons delivering at least 150 pts mean that the price tag of 7.5 should give cause for consideration. He underperformed last season but he was part of an offensively wretched Everton team and he played far too much of the campaign stuck out on the left wing and missed the last part through injury.
With Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen both gone, Gylfi doesn’t really have too much competition for his starting role. Tom Davies and Kieron Dowell will probably be the options we use should Gylfi not perform or need a rest with Oumar Niasse an option if we want to sacrifice Gylfi to go two up top. Tosun and Niasse both offer little outside of being good finishers however, so I can’t see too many scenarios where Gylfi gets hooked. He will start most games, will play as the advanced midfielder in a 4-3-3 and he will have Walcott and Richarlison making runs and creating space for him so I am convinced he will score a minimum 120 pts this season but has the potential to get up to 150 pts plus should Everton do well under Silva.
The fixtures early on look good for Everton but our pre-season form has been terrible, Gylfi has only just returned to action and played a game and a bit plus there is just one friendly left against Valencia at Goodison so there are question marks over his fitness and ability to hit the ground running.
Other alternatives: Nabby Keita (Liverpool), Arron Ramsey (Arsenal), Diogo Jota (Wolves), Bernado Silva (Man City)
Ademola Lookman £5.5m
Really thought this lad was going to be a star for Everton this season and he may well still be but I now have massive reservations about his status amongst the squad. There are rumours he wants away and wishes to sign permanently for Red Bull Leipzig where he was inexplicably allowed to leave on loan for last season at a time when Yannick Bolasie was stinking the gaff out on a regular basis and Lookman should have been given a chance to impress.
Now Silva is in charge this lad fits the style perfectly but with the signing of Richarlison and ongoing transfer rumours it is difficult to predict what his role will be until the window closes. I think he will be sold to raise funds to strengthen other areas, with Kevin Mirallas and Sandro used as the back-ups for Richarlison and Walcott. I hope he stays as he could provide back up for the injury prone Walcott or cover for Richarlison should he be injured or need a rest. The lad has enough ability to even displace either of those two should their form drop off. Lookman has barely had a sniff pre-season and won’t be ready for the start of the season so I would definitely avoid him…………..for now at least.
Cenk Tosun £7m
Stand out first choice striker, good early fixtures (on paper), scores goals, what’s not to like?
Well he hasn’t looked good in pre-season (nor have the team in general) plus he hasn’t got the best record for assisting. However, with players like Sigurdsson, Richarlison and Walcott around him then you may think he will surely get the ammunition to fire. The problem with Everton is we just do not create enough chances. For me it is down to the central midfielders of Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gana Gueye being generally poor on the ball. They always look for a sideways or backwards pass and slow down Everton attacks. I personally think Tosun could do very well this season if Everton fire but I haven’t seen enough pre-season to suggest that is going to happen.
For £7million pound I think Wilfried Zaha (assuming he stays at Crystal Palace) and Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) will prove to outscore Tosun. Going with Zaha and switching to Arnie when West Ham’s fixtures ease off in difficulity may well prove to be a great points boosting tactic.
Theo Walcott £6.5m
Theo has mysteriously been absent through pre-season and not much has been mentioned about what is wrong with him & when he is likely to be back. One thing is certain though, he will not be fit & ready to hit the ground running & so with that said I would avoid at all costs for now and pay much more attention to the same priced…
Several ridiculous media comments about the transfer of Richarlison and the associated fee (nowhere near £50million in reality) should not put you off a player who I now consider to be the stand out FPL player for Everton.
Everton have not had a consistent performer on the left wing since the days of Steven Pienaar who linked up brilliantly with Leighton Baines. The pair mastered the underlap and it helped give Everton a real threat down their left flank. Richarlison, I believe, will easily at least equal the contributions of Pienaar but eventually he will surpass them. This lad has ability galore and is just 21 years old.
He was flogged at Watford, they should have given him an extended rest and then that ridiculous 28 game barren run may well never have happened as he would have come back fresh from a break and may have resumed his early season form. Pure speculation but in his first start for Everton against Rennes he netted a coolly taken goal that was no tap in. This lad will start, he will create, he will score and he will be the standout performer for Everton in my opinion. The scene is set for him. We love hard workers, he is that. We love players who want to take players on and run at the opposition, he is that and we love players who want to get in the box and have a go, he is that.
Fans have become very frustrated watching the likes of Mirallas, Bolasie and Sigurdsson the last 2 years and so he will become a fan favourite early on too which will help his confidence.
Silva is the coach that Koeman and Allardyce were not and I think Marco will help him improve his finishing so if he does he will potentially be able to deliver double figure goal returns this season as well as crossing for Tosun who is a proven goalscorer or laying it off for Sigurdsson who is very capable of scoring 30 yard screamers on a regularly basis.
At £6.5m I think Richarlison will prove excellent value and I predict he will beat his 125 point haul from last season and be the top points scorer at his price or less.
Other alternatives: Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace), Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)
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