Resident Fantasy Football Expert Barry Robinson is Excited For The Return of FPL!!!
As the final whistle blew on July 15th in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the curtain came down on what was surely one of the best World Cups in history.
Hugo Lloris lifted the Jules Rimet trophy, sparking celebrations that would last long into the coming nights across the streets of France. They had done it; a nation who fell at the final hurdle in the previous major tournament had gone one better at the next time of asking.
Whilst I sat watching, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “That’s it now! No more football for a few weeks.”
As that harsh reality sank in, my attention turned to something else. Something far more important. How would these celebrations affect me? What would Paul Pogba’s ‘Night of the Dabbed’ mean for Barry Robinson.
I was all too aware that many of the men I watched that day would have a deep impact on my sub-conscious over the course of the next nine or ten months. After all, the start of the Fantasy Premier League season was upon us.
To those who play it (and I mean seriously play it!), Fantasy Premier League is a religion.
As an avid Arsenal fan, do you think I give a sh*t if James Tarkowski takes a knock in training? Or Alvaro Morata picks up his fifth yellow card of the season for doing a bit of mouthing at a ref? You’re damn right I do! For it is attention to detail that sorts the men from the boys in this game.
Ladies, I know giving birth may be hard, but have you ever had to watch Leighton Baines be subbed in the 59th minute against Watford whilst Everton are cruising? Now that, is agony!
FPL 18/19 is shaping up to be a big one. There are new teams to pick from, new signings to peruse, and more importantly some positional reclassifications to come to terms with. Is Wilfried Zaha really a striker? Is Ashley Young a £6m defender? Not in my book.
Fulham, Wolves and Cardiff bring fresh headaches to managers around the world. The question we are all asking is can the new boys mix it with England’s elite at the first time of asking? If so, surely some of their cheap assets are worth taking a risk on.
Fulham and Wolves especially have been very active in the transfer market and have done some shrewd pieces of business that are worth considering, when coming to pick a Fantasy XV. Ex-Chelsea man Andre Schurrle looks a tasty midfield option at £6m, but can he find the form that saw him help Germany lift the World Cup in 2014? – one of many questions that will keep me awake at night from now until August 10th, when that first deadline looms large.
No FPL team is complete without your big hitters. Every team has them, and if the big hitters in your team are performing, you are half way to a winner.
Last season, Eden Hazard was like a Holylands shower – hot one minute, freezing the next. Transfer rumours surrounding a move to Real Madrid and a £10.5m price tag might have me tempted to look elsewhere, however. Rest assured, there are no shortage of options.
Would-be-managers sat with bated breath watching Mo Salah over the Summer. The highest scoring FPL player of all time was deployed as a centre forward for Egypt in the World Cup following a nasty shoulder injury that cut short his Champions League Final.
Would Liverpool’s star man be reclassified as a forward? Could all those clean sheet bonuses disappear? Would his goals become less valuable?
Thankfully he remains a midfielder, albeit, punters will have to fork out £13m for the privilege of owning him.
Now, when it comes time to choosing my own team I try to look for value where I can, but it’s something that can be found in abundance throughout this season’s spread of players, I feel.
I am toying with the idea of Baines again, but at £5.5m and with the imminent arrival of Barcelona full back Lucas Digne on Merseyside, he may come out of my team as quickly as he went in.
Premium strikers are a hot topic every year, with this season being no exception and although I am yet to decide on my prized striking asset, I like the look of Arsenal’s Alex Lacazette and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino at a crisp £9.5m each – just under the bracket of what I would class premium standard.
Lacazatte has had a full pre-season under his belt with Arsenal following his omission from the France World Cup squad and, under a new manager, will be looking to improve on his first season in the Premier League. As for Firmino – well, you don’t need me to tell you what he can bring to your forward line.
My midfield is largely undecided still, but if he’s fit, you can guarantee the Egyptian prince will be in there. Yes, all thirteen rocks of him.
So, watching Hugo Lloris and his Premier League compatriots pass the World Cup between them, I allowed myself a chuckle.
“Enjoy it, because not one of you will be in my team come August 10th. World Cup Final makes you all very tired boiiiiz!”
And despite the realisation of no football for three weeks, I couldn’t help myself from becoming a little giddy at the thought of another year of FPL thrills and spills.
I drink to the last week of freedom friends!
‘Cause once the mini-leagues are erected, the prize money collected, and the teams selected – the FPL juggernaut will take over your life!