The Cherries are now preparing to enter their fifth consecutive season in the top flight having attained a very respectable 14th last season, finishing 11 points clear of the drop.
Last season started off extremely positively with 20 points from the first 10 games, with several value picks emerging from the AFCB ranks almost from day one. Unfortunately, due to a mix of harder fixtures and injuries to key players, as well as a notable ‘keeper crisis, saw us plummet out of European contention.
As an attacking prospect however with 56 goals, the most from any team outside the “big 6”. What added to the attraction from a FPL point of view as well was the distribution of aggressive points being relatively small with Calum Wilson netting 14 times (9th highest, 2nd highest of the “other 14”) as well as being awarded 9 assists (8th highest, 2nd highest of the “other14”)Fraser 7 goals (38th) with 14 assists (2nd highest, top of the rest). As well as the budget option of Brooks with 7 goals and 5 assists.
From a defensive view point, however the traditional wisdom has been to avoid our defence as it has been leaker than a rusty sieve, conceding an average of 1.84 goals a game last season with 70 goals total. It is worth nothing however that we kept 10 clean sheets last season, despite a very unclear goalkeeper position. Worth noting is that 31 of those goals were conceded against the “Big 6”, with 7 more from Burnley.
Key highlights include a fantastic 4-0 win over Chelsea at home, several big away wins (Watford, Fulham and Brighton), plus the immergence of Brooks and Travers at the end.
Looking forward, Bournemouth have had an exceedingly exciting transfer window, with; Lloyd Kelly, LB (Bristol City – £13m), Jack Stacey, RB ( Luton Town – £4m), Philip Billing, CM (Huddersfield – £15m), Arnaut Danjuma, AML (Club Bruges – £13.7m), Harry Wilson, AMR (Liverpool – Loan) joining. With no key players lost as of writing this, which after the season Fraser, Wilson and Brooks had last year is equal to a new signing. Lewis Cook is also likely to return in the middle of the park at shortly which will be a huge boost.
But what does all this mean for Fantasy football players?
Well if you follow me on twitter (and I hope you do!) you will have seen that I have been asked 3 main questions this summer; Wilson or King? Who’ll start in Full back roles? Who’ll start in goal? To answer this, I will start with a breakdown of our depth.
Starting at the top we have C. Wilson at the top of the spear, to answer the first question straight off for me Wilson is the best choice for FPL. Out of the forward options at Eddie’s disposal, when fit, he will be the first name on the team sheet and will be the target for all the new creativity we have added this year. He has just signed a fresh, long term deal and will have his sights set on next summers England squad. I can see absolutely no reason he cannot provide a further 15 or so goals this season with another strong haul of assist to the players around him. With the additional depth behind him as well there is every chance, he may take the odd penalty as well.
King may suffer somewhat with additional minutes that Solanke is likely to get as well as the changes of shape that may happen due to the abundance of creative wingers. He still offers good value if you cannot reach the extra £1.5m and I certainly expect him to score his fair share of goals, he is also likely to play slightly further forward which may see returns.
Should one of the above become unavailable for a period of time Solanke at £5.5m could be fantastic value after a very strong pre-season.
Next onto the attacking portion of our midfield, the initial debate was Fraser vs Brooks, unfortunately due to a long-term injury to Brooks (~3months) we have lost one clear creative option from our team. However, what do our new signings mean for the FPL community?
- Arnaut Danjuma – £6m.
- Personally, extremely excited about this lad, perhaps best known for scoring a long-range effort for Bruges vs Athletico. Fully capped by the Netherlands, with a goal scored. Looked the real deal in the preseason friendly and could be very much one to watch. May take a bit of time to adapt to the premier league however. Watchlist.
- Harry Wilson – £6m.
- Derby fans who play FPL will need no advice on what this lad can do, as well as the widely shared wonder goal for Liverpool in the pre-season. Good chance this lad will be on set-pieces once settled. Rumoured that there is a minute’s clause in the deal (as well as a buy option) which would be a great comfort for FPL managers. Let him settle but a lot to like about his addition in FPL. I’ll be likely looking to bring him in around about my 1st wildcard, I think.
- Jordan Ibe – £5m.
- Lots of people have asked me if he’s a realistic option with Brooks out. Short answer I doubt it, lots of noise saying we’d like to move him on, as he has never really settled on the south coast. If he’s not sold, I expect him to be a bit part player at best unless something finally clicks. Avoid for now.
- Ryan Fraser -£7.5m
- The main man last year, very much a known quantity now in FPL. My only worry is the contract situation. He is now into his last year of his current deal and there has been a lot of talk about interest from elsewhere. May be at the back of his mind but if no offer comes in, I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs for us again and pushes on. May struggle to equal the value of last year with the options around him, especially if H.Wilson takes a few of his set pieces. Not a bad GW1 pick but maybe be prepared to trade in for H.Wilson once settled to free up £1.5m.
Behind the attacking midfield options, perhaps nothing to note for your teams directly. The signing of Billing, however is likely to offer more steel in the centre of the park which will certainly offer a further defensive boost.
Onto the defence and the real speculation on my part, as this is not an easy due to a few injuries. First the full backs:
- Adam Smith – £4.5m.
- Mr Reliable, if fit will start in a full back role. He’s in my team while we wait to see who else starts as I personally like to have an AFCB full back for value.
- Jack Stacey -£4.5m.
- I have had glowing reports from Luton fans around Jack and he has had a reasonable pre-season including a goal. League one to the premier league is a big jump so may need some time. Certainly, has the right attributes to be a great full back option with plenty of goals and assists last year. Good chance to start GW1 however as a natural RB.
- Lloyd Kelly – £4.5m
- Looked good for Bristol City last season and has done well for England u21s. Picked up an injury in the pre-season so unlikely to start. Likely to be a long-term option for the left back. Watchlist for most I think
- Diego Rico – £4m
- Been a lot of interest in Rico at £4m as he is the only fit natural left back in our squad going into GW1. Flattered to deceive in the previous year but had a good game in our “First team” back line vs Lyon and looked very good. Expect Kelly to overtake him once fit. Depending on your squad there may be worse options if you don’t need him to be guaranteed starts, good option as a £4m enabler that will add the odd point however.
With centre backs I expect Cook and Aké to be first choice, so I don’t see huge value outside them unless there are injuries.
Finally, the goalkeepers! There are 4 real options here and until the season gets going it is pure guess work here. Best advice I can offer here is AVOID!
For those that want a bit more info please see below;
- Artur Boruc – £4.5m
- The old warhorse, he ended last season as 1st choice bar the last two games due to welcoming a new child into the world. I expect him to start again in this role, perhaps moving over for one of the young guys towards the end.
- Asmir Begovic- £4.5m
- The fallen hero seems to have lost all confidence from nowhere and lost all confidence. Looks like we’d like to move on if we can.
- Mark Travers – £4.5m
- Came from no-where to keep a clean sheet vs Spurs last year, one of two options Eddie has for the next generation and has had a fair few minutes this pre-season. Perhaps could benefit from a loan to play regularly first.
- Aaron Ramsdale – £4.5m
- The saviour of AFC Wimbledon last year, very highly rated and capped by England u21s. Looked ready in pre-season so may be the natural option for our longer term #1 shirt.
In summary lots of interesting players to consider and don’t write off our back line just yet!
Predicted AFC Bournemouth finish: 9th