What we learned from the Asia Trophy

25/07/2019 Planet FPL

Last week Wolves competed in the Premier League Asia Trophy for the first time. If you are unaware it is the pinnacle of football, a prize so big it makes the World Cup look like the F.A Vase. Naturally we win this huge prize by defeating Newcastle 4-0 and then defeating Man City on penalties after a 0-0 draw. All jokes aside I was really impressed with how we performed out in China and it reaffirmed some of my thoughts ahead of the season for FPL.

Strong at the back

We started both the games with the familiar faces from last season of Ryan Bennett, Conor Coady, Willy Boly and Jonny. The only difference to the defence being Adama Traore starting in the right wing-back role in place of the injured Matt Doherty. We were reasonably solid at the back last season keeping nine clean sheets and conceding 46 goals in the league, which is very good for a newly promoted side. The experience our players learned from last season I think can help to push for even more clean sheets this season. We looked extremely resolute against Man City and Rui Patricio was in fine form in the match especially earlier in the game and in the shoot out. He could prove an excellent pick for those looking for a set and forget keeper of a high quality at 5.0M.

Jonny really excelled going forward against Newcastle, providing two assists with some strong link up play. He was very reliable defensively last season and rarely made mistakes. While he did get forward a lot it never quite materialised into good attacking returns. He only got one goal and three assists, which is why I was shocked when I saw his price on FPL for 5.5M. FPL must be psychic as there is no real reason for such a high starting price. I think he is one to avoid unless he can up his numbers from last season, if he can do that he can be a cheaper alternative to Matt Doherty who I think will be as good going forward as last season.

My pick at the back this season is going to be Willy Boly. His performance against City was nothing short of excellent. He seems to be ready to step it up a gear to me this season and is looking very sharp. As mentioned last season his style of play will attract bonus points and of course his physicality ensures goals, he scored four last season and I do not see why this cannot be achieved again. So more clean sheets and about the same amount of goals? 5M? Guaranteed to play? Boly could be a very shrewd differential this season it is worth nothing he only scored 24 points less than everybody’s favourite Doherty.

The worse kept secret

The coveted position of best 4.5M midfielder has already been won this season. You only have to go on Twitter and you will plenty of teams with the big Belgian Leander Dendoncker in their midfield. He spent last season on loan from Anderlecht and only made his first start in December but his impact on the team was simply outstanding.  originally thought to be a standard defensive midfielder it soon became apparent the ‘Donk’ as fans call him was a real box to box player.

His presence made us much more solid and able to control games, win the ball back efficiently, commit more bodies in the box and let us play Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota together as a front two and we all know how well that turned out. The Belgian ended the season on two goals and I can really see this improving with a full campaign to come from him. He was brilliant in both of the games and helped to create two goals against Newcastle. A good indicator of his potential is that in the last ten gameweeks of the season he was joint third in the big chances of all midfielders.

Diogo Diogo Diogo

Everybody who has followed Planet FPL knows how much I love Diogo Jota and the lengths I go to back him. Last season he was listed as a midfielder but this has predictably changed and this season he starts as a forward at 6.5m. A bit like Dendoncker, Jota took until December to fully get going and scored his first goal against Chelsea. Which was then followed up with a match winning performance away at Newcastle. This is where everybody started to see why I rate him so much. Tenacious, skilful, direct and a great finisher, this guy has what it takes to go to the very top. His partnership with Jimenez was electric and unlike last season Jota is ready from the get go, he is not carrying knocks and has found his feet in the Premier League.

The second half of last season saw Jota end on nine goals and eight assists in the league, including a hat-trick against Leicester. From January 19th Jota matched Eden Hazard and Raheem Sterling in terms of goal involvement which is some achievement and it is no fluke either, he is that good. He started pre-season like he left season which is on fire. Newcastle could not deal with him at all, he was sharp, direct and lethal in front of goal scoring twice. I sense a really big season ahead for Jota and he is going to easily reach double figures in the league this season. So at 6.5M he is a steal, the only negative being he does love a yellow card picking up eleven last season.