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FPL Prospects: Premium Forwards

August 3, 2015

| The Hype Train |

The recipe for a good FPL team is the right balance between defence and attack, but in recent seasons it is the three forward positions that have come to define the fortune of Fantasy Premier League players. The Hype Train’s Vince McMahon equivalent, Robbo Austin, walks the ramp with his arms flailing as he attempts to enlighten the FPL community about the best expensive forward options for the opening ten Gameweek’s of the season.

 

 

With the clock rapidly counting down before a second successive season opens at Old Trafford, two of the FPL forwards on our lips will be squaring off. Wayne Rooney, a notorious early season riser, and last season’s breakout star, Harry Kane, do battle in the most important week of the FPL calendar. With money thrown at the situation, Louis Van Gaal wants the league title, whilst Spurs have been busy weeding out their many bad eggs, but do either deserve our attention for the opening Gameweek? It’s high stakes, the first match, because it comes and goes in a flash. FPL players can be deflated even before the 3pm kick off knowing that one, maybe two, of their squad have drawn blanks. Even worse if you’ve captained someone in the early kick-off.

 

Kolo Toure would tell us there’s no need to be sad, and he’s right. We’ll be raising the spotlight on pricy forwards such as Diego Costa, who opens up his FPL campaign against Swansea, Liverpool bringing in Bentekkers to Anfield, and Sergio Aguero’s participation during the first GW’s.

 

Question marks will be raised until the final second of the transfer window with the likes of Arsenal looking for striking reinforcements, whilst the Charlie Austin transfer saga seems miles away from resolution, though British media outlets are reporting that he will in fact be going to the club that he’s been linked to all summer: Newcastle.

 

Midfielders have dominated the price scale this season, and we’re about to discover how much an FPL player can realistically spend on their forwards as three million plus players aim to become this seasons Simon March.

 

We begin our search with the aforementioned Red Devil and the man who may be kicking the season off at the halfway line.

 

Wayne Rooney (MUN)

 

Club: Manchester United

FPL Price: £10.5m

Positions: ST/CAM/CM

2014/15 Points: 132

2015/16 Selection: 27.6%

 

 

One in four FPL players have currently put faith in Rooney to spearhead their attack. The general pattern that the Hype Team have noticed in regards to forwards is the selection of one that is just above or below the £10m mark. This puts Rooney in a position of pressure, not that hell know it unless he plays the game, but there will be roughly just under a million players hoping and praying that Man United start the season strong at home against Spurs.

 

Top Five Forwards: FPL Ownership

Since the 2015/16 FPL game relaunched you can check who other players are selecting, and it’s a four horse race at the top.

 

  • Diego Costa (CHE): 34.9%

  • The Hurrikane (TOT): 32.7%

  • Christian Benteke (LIV): 29.2%

  • Wayne Rooney (MUN): 27.6%

  • Sergio Aguero (MCI): 16.8%

 

The top five, it’s no surprise. You’ve got the main forwards from five of the top six teams in the BPL. Arsenal fans reading this will continue to bang the drum that they’re a ‘world-class’ forward away from being in contention of this list, and of the BPL crown come May. In regards to Rooney, this list is thee list to go by when you’re looking at the potential strikers who’ll be in contention for the golden boot. Three of the men on this list scored over twenty goals last season.

 

Rooney, if you believe his own hype about aiming for twenty goals, has suffered in the last 24 months, especially in the FPL. But that hasn’t made FPL players give up faith. In fact, the stats prove that many believe Rooney will be in order for another stellar season, given than United have strengthened their side with two tongue-tying midfielders - Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin - and one of the most exciting talents to make the move from the Netherlands this summer, Memphis Depay.

 

Before we go any further, it’s apt that we look at Rooney’s history in the game.

 

Rooney’s FPL History

 

2006/07: 184 (14 goals, 12 assists)

2007/08: 148 (12 goals, 13 assists)

2008/09: 135 (12 goals, 7 assists)

2009/10: 224 (26 goals, 6 assists)

2010/11: 142 (11 goals, 11 assists)

2011/12: 230 (27 goals, 8 assists)

2012/13: 143 (12 goals 10 assists)

2013/14: 190 (17 goals, 12 assists)

2014/15: 132 (12 goals, 5 assists)

 

Analysis of Rooney’s history is potentially good news for this upcoming season. The 2014/15 is not kind to his goal-scoring ability, and his overall presentation in the FPL, simply because for a large chunk of last season the England captain didn’t operate in the striker’s position. Thin in midfield, Rooney was used as cover for Michael Carrick during spells of injury. Add in to the mix that van Gaal was new to the hot seat, United were in a transition period. His involvement in 17 goals last season is his worst return in the FPL.

 

It’s a record that should be considered as the absolute lowest that Rooney can reach. Playing in the forward role, Rooney’s point’s contribution should easily outmatch his 2014/15 haul of 132 points. Van Gaal’s also been able to significantly bolster the position that Rooney played, central midfield. Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin aren’t exactly known for having a clean bill of health, but it should allow the depth in the middle to keep Rooney at the tip of the team.

 

Van Gaal’s also been making statements about his striking options. Rooney is almost assured of the main striking role, and he usually sees out the minimum requirement that FPL players seek: playing 60 minutes. With a supposed lack of ‘depth’ in the position, we envision that United will do everything in their power to keep Rooney fit all season. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the United medical team will be crossing their fingers when Rooney goes on international duty with England.

 

Rooney’s First Ten

With Old Trafford once again being the setting for the BPL kick-off, Rooney has discovered his goal scoring form in pre-season, scoring a header in a 3-1 win against a Messi-less Barcelona. Rooney outshined Luis Suarez, whose last appearance against Rooney was at Old Trafford in the 2013/14 where Gerrard scored 2 out of 3 penalties in a famous 3-0 win. Rooney wouldn’t have to be embarrassed though, the club that openly wishes doesn’t win the league, didn’t on that occasion. Gerrard’s slip ensured that.

 

We mention Rooney first and foremost because of their opening run of games.

 

 

  • Rooney has scored 8 goals in his last 9 Premier League starts against Spurs.

  • Rooney scored his 13th goal against Villa – which is more than he has managed against any other opponent in England’s top-flight before.

  • Rooney has scored 12 goals against Newcastle – he has only scored more against Villa, Arsenal, and Portsmouth.

  • Rooney has scored 13 goals against Arsenal – his joint favourite club to score against

 

When we previewed the opening day of the season, we were not surprised to see Rooney on the score sheet 6 times on the opening weekend. This bodes well for Rooney believers as he faces three of the teams he’s most prolific against – Spurs, Villa, and Newcastle. Home ties against Man City and Liverpool will also favour Rooney, if you believe United will win the title this season. Away games between GW’s 5-10 against Southampton, Arsenal, and Everton, might scare some FPL players into banking trust with Rooney, especially as they end the run against City.

 

Rooney’s Verdict

Sources of goals and points look a lot more handsome between GW’s 1-5, whereas United face 3 away days out of 5 in the second set of GW’s. We’re going to suggest putting Rooney into your teams from day one, and if you’re not happy with him, rotate him out after Gameweek 5 for Sergio Aguero (if the funds or wildcard is available). Man City face an extremely handsome set of home fixtures, and to elaborate even further we’re going to get on Aguero’s hype train right now.

 

 

Sergio Aguero (MCI)

 

Club: Manchester City

FPL Price: £13.0m

Positions: ST

2014/15 Points: 216

2015/16 Selection: 16.8%

 

 

The first question that FPL players are asking about Aguero is about his availability for the first game of the season away at West Brom. Manuel Pellegrini has seemingly (and finally) answered the question, but it hasn’t stopped over 16% of FPL players risking Aguero’s inclusion from the get-go.

 

Below is an extract from the Official Manchester City website whilst on their pre-season tour. You can read the full article right here.

 

Players within City's squad are at different stages of pre-season, with some later back after internationals and four key men are still recuperating from their Copa America exertions, with Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis and Fernandinho set to return next week.

 

"I think in football it's so important to work hard but also resting has the same importance," the boss declared. "You have so many games throughout the year, that if you don't give them 30 days after they've finished their internationals, it's very difficult for them to work hard. As you say they started one week later but they should arrive in their best shape for the start of the Premier League.

 

"It's more difficult for the South American players because Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho, they finished later, the first days of June, so they won't have 30 days.

 

“I think when we return to Manchester they will start their pre-season, maybe they will not be involved in the first game but I am sure they will work hard and will be involved as soon as they can."

 

Sergio Aguero’s FPL History

 

2011/12: 211 (23 goals, 9 assists)

2012/13: 121 (12 goals, 3 assists)

2013/14: 156 (17 goals, 11 assists)

2014/15: 216 (26 goals, 10 assists)

 

Despite not scoring in a run of five games towards the tail-end of the 2014/15 season, Aguero finished with a mightily impressive 26 goals. Not up to the level of an Alan Shearer or Luis Suarez, but had the Argentinian stayed fit all season, he could have been at that pinnacle.

 

Aguero was a part of the deadly trio of FPL strikers last season, with Kane and Austin. That front-line was not only affordable because of Kane’s sudden rise and because Austin was at QPR, it allowed funds to secure Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard into FPL sides. But this season, that won’t be the case. With both Sanchez and Aguero likely to miss GW 1, expect a void of South American talent scoring FPL points until after the first international break at the beginning of September.

 

There is no need to play Aguero in the first game if he’s reeling from Copa America, and losing another major final in the space of a year. Even if Dzeko is eventually sold, Bony is injured, and there is no faith in Jovetic, they can do what Liverpool did last season. Play Sterling up top with a host of attacking midfielders supporting his pace and trickery. We’re talking about a team with a massive depth in their squad, and rightly so for a team backed by masses of money from the Middle East.

 

Aguero’s First Ten

Playing or not, FPL players should be at a general level of understanding that when he is finally nailed into the starting 11 for City, he’s un-droppable. Much like Hazard, Aguero is just behind him in the list of essentials.

 

 

When Man City score 80+ goals in each of the last three BPL seasons, goals can come at any time, which make’s predicting City’s run oddly irrelevant because they’ll be odds on to score in every game of the season. So goals are a must, but that doesn’t always means points on the board. West Brom away, and an encounter with Chelsea mean that players might be hesitant clicking on Aguero’s name when selecting your initial teams. Not only is he not going to play, with games away at Palace and Everton to follow, with Watford sandwiched in between, there is no rush to get Aguero into your starting sides.

 

The opening run of game’s, in our opinion has led FPL managers to Costa and Rooney, who have it easier in the first five.

 

If Aguero does play however, he’ll score. As we’ve previously mentioned when looking at the opening day, Aguero and Silva have a stellar record together, but this year might be a miss.

 

 

Aguero’s Verdict

With a trio of home games against two of the newly promoted sides (Watford, Bournemouth), and the team they loving facing, Newcastle, all at home between GW’s 6-10, with Spurs and United away, this is the ideal period to change Rooney or whoever your pricy striker is, for Aguero.

 

Tacticians will be looking at this window as ideal for Sergio’s inclusion, but all depends on who is on the proverbial ‘hype train’ before Aguero’s taken into consideration. Enter Diego Costa, the third costly striker, the most selected forward to date.

 

 

Diego Costa (CHE)

 

Club: Chelsea

FPL Price: £11.0m

Positions: ST

2014/15 Points: 150

2015/16 Selection: 34.9%

 

 

Diego Costa’s FPL History

 

2014/15: 150 (20 goals, 3 assists)

 

One season wonder? We think not. There’s not even a scent that Chelsea’s feisty forward is going to potentially wobble, unlike the weight of expectation on Harry Kane’s shoulders leading into his second proper season in the BPL. Costa, unlike Kane, unlike anyone, has the best team in the league supporting him. That’s not Chelsea bias, it’s a fact. Costa’s 20 goals and a meagre 3 assists point to even further proof that Costa was being fed, rather than being the feeder. Hazard, Willian, Fabregas, and Oscar were instrumental at working space and teeing up Costa for the final touches.

 

Arsenal fans believe they don’t have a world class striker, but they have the backbone. Spurs have the striker, but they don’t have the support. Manchester City have the striker and support, but aren’t defensively mean enough to sustain a title challenge, as proven last season at home when they conceded two goals at the Etihad against Sunderland, Burnley, and Aston Villa. Liverpool now have the striker, but the internet believes he has the wrong form of delivery behind him. Man United, they’ve got the striker, and all the attacking talent and money they can throw at the situation, but much like Man City, they collapse underneath the bulk of their attack. They have Phil Jones holding up Di Maria, Rooney, Mata, and now Depay.

 

Chelsea, they proved with 17 clean sheets, and finally in possession of a 20 goal-a-season front man that they’re the finished article. As we previewed with Chelsea’s, it’s going to be another season of building on their successes, largely with the same team as last season, albeit with a few minor changes, and a striker that flopped at United. If this prophecy is to be proven true, Costa is going to be up for an even bigger season in the FPL.

 

To increase his points tally he’ll need to stave off his niggling-injury concerns throughout the season, stop the suspensions, and curb his tendency to draw yellow cards from referees. These tendencies led Costa to only 18 bonus points – very low for a striker finishing 3rd on the list for the golden boot.

 

Has Costa cleaned up his act though? This Hype Train author watched Costa spat with the PSG team during pre-season on more than once occasion, leading us to believe that the Brazilian turned Spandiard will once again be leading from the front in an age-old tactic used by the club – waste time when in the lead by pulling back the play in the oppositions half through needless altercations and faked injuries.

 

Costa’s First Ten

When discussing Chelsea at this period in history, we have to be talking about them as if they’re potentially going to win every game. Costa, in essence, is good for a goal at any time. Chelsea’s stability in their selection means they’re a tough nut to crack, but on paper, as you’re about to see, there are plenty of banana skins on the road, and at home.

 

 

Chelsea didn’t actually manage to beat three of the teams they visit in the first 10. They suffered losses to both Newcastle (2-1), and West Brom (3-0), whilst they could only manage a 1-1 draw against City. You know the game, the one with Lampard. Chelsea’s other opponents are not push-overs either. West Ham might not be at Chelsea’s level, but under Bilic they possess the ‘wildcard’ tag, and Everton, if they find their form of two seasons ago, could be a menace.

 

At home, Costa starts against the team that he scored 5 goals against last season. Swansea. Bogey teams are real, and Costa has already proved a thorn against the Swans backline. Costa also scored on his competitive debut for Chelsea, away at Burnley in a 3-1 victory, so Costa’s proven he can get off the mark quickly.

 

Chelsea also face Arsenal and Southampton at home, the latter being a side that Chelsea couldn’t beat last season. Home games against Palace and Villa will have FPL managers stacking the deck in Chelsea’s favour, but it isn’t straight forward like Aguero’s run between GW’s 6-10, or Rooney’s in the first 5.

 

Costa’s Verdict

Due to the £11.0m price-tag, if you’re going to have Costa in your teams, you’ve got to keep him throughout the first ten. Chelsea’s fixtures means that goals could come at the most unlikely of times. We’d suggest to relent on taking Costa out at all, or rotating. If you’re part of the 1 in 3 that has faith in Chelsea as an attacking unit, just have faith that he’ll pull through.

 

Costa’s only flaw is potential rotation or substitution with Falcao/Remy, whilst Rooney, and Aguero when he plays, on the most part do not have this worry. When Mourinho knows a game is dead and buried, he usually likes to protect his main striking outlet. If you’re sceptical of Costa, then there are plenty of other Chelsea options available, leaving the likes of Kane, Aguero, and Rooney to become your main man up top.

 

A recent injury in pre-season shouldn't put you off Costa's inclusion. He'll play through any pain barrier, with broken bones. So just expect if he does not play in the Community Shield that it'll just be a precautionary measure.

 

You won’t be able to afford Costa and Aguero, together in one team (if you want to be competitive), so you’re essentially choosing between favourable fixtures, or longevity in points.

 

 

The Hurrikane (TOT)

 

Club: Spurs

FPL Price: £9.5m

Positions: ST

2014/15 Points: 191

2015/16 Selection: 32.7%

 

 

Kane’s FPL History

 

2011/12: 0 (unused squad member)

2012/13: 5 (appearance points only)

2013/14: 28 (3 goals)

2014/15: 191 (21 goals, 7 assists)

 

Kane’s come into that period of his career where every pundit that thinks he’s worth £3.50 jumps on the Hurrikane’s case about whether or not he can ‘do it even better next season’. Statistically speaking, Kane’s only got green arrows. Fair enough, his first official season in the FPL finished on literally zero points, and then on 5, and then onto 28. But in that time Kane’s been farmed out, and was even playing in the infamous Championship play-off semi-final between Watford and Leicester. Moments after Deeney scored and the play eventually resumed, Kane is seen charging into the Watford goal, but taking out former Arsenal stopper Manuel Almunia. So the basis for comparison is pretty much null and void. Last season was Kane’s first real season in the BPL, but that shouldn’t undermine the continued upswing of one of Spurs’s own.

 

The Premier League will have you believe that Harry Kane can only get better. Yes, at £9.5m he is now one of the elite few (alongside the three we’ve just talked about), but he’s the cheapest, and arguably the best selection based purely off finances. There is a £1m difference between Kane and Rooney, £1.5m between Costa, and £3.5 between Aguero and the Hurrikane.

 

Finishing as one of the top scorers from last season, the argument for Kane is simple. He’s still got room to grow, on the pitch, and in price. There’s not much higher Aguero can realistically go with his £13m price-tag, whilst the same partially applies to Costa as well. FPL tactics have always circled around getting the hype players into your team so your squad can grow in value, so eventually you’ll be able to have more premiere talent in your side as the season progresses. Kane is a smart strategy if he hits some early season form, and his price sky-rockets, which is almost definitely will. To put in Kane, you’ll most likely have to drop another pricy striker, or a premium midfield option, so you’ll not be sacrificing any funds, just freeing up more money in other departments in your team. It could be the difference between having the attacking Ivanovic or the man-marking Azpilicueta in your team.

 

We’re predicting that he’s got such high ownership for the reasons outlined above. If Kane’s to fulfil his potential this season, and prove all the £3.50 pundits right, then the extra million or two could benefit the general balance of your FPL squad.

 

Hurrikane’s First Ten

The only downside to any Spurs team is its back four. At times last season, even with Kane’s lethality in front of goal, against all comers Spurs looked euthanized. A randomness in Spurs’s scoring and clean sheet patterns were so haywire that Kane, and to a very small extent, Eriksen, became the only source of FPL points. Chadli to an even smaller extent.

 

So what that means heading into the first ten is simple. Spurs are like a chicken without a head. A ghost without a spooky voice. Scooby without Shaggy. The Undertaker without his Wrestlemania streak (oh yeah we went there). Liverpool without Luis Suarez.

 

 

Last season on the opening day, Harry Kane actually managed to get an assist to his name, setting up Eric Dier for a last minute winner at West Ham.

 

Looking at this batch of ten, Spurs in last season’s fixtures lost to United away, lost to Stoke at home, beat Everton, beat Leicester away, drew 2-2 away with Sunderland. So that’s 2 wins, 2 losses, and a draw. Typical of Spurs’s form.

 

To Mauricio Pochettino’s credit, he’s been weeding out the bad eggs at Tottenham – Stambouli, Capoue, Adebayor (hopefully), with more to come. Coming in are defensive reinforcements that might give Spurs an edge of steel at the back. The club has been crying out for a level of improved consistency for years, but each year they find themselves losing to Stoke, West Brom, and Newcastle at home. These are teams that are considered chump-meat to teams regularly featuring in the top four, and unless Pochettino solves the leaky defense, it’ll be hard for Kane to surpass what he achieved last season. Kane needs to be seeing more of the ball at the right end of the pitch, not watching as his team mates capitulate at the back over and over.

 

For this reason alone, we think Spurs will fare better away from home. Leicester, Sunderland, Bournemouth, Swansea, and an opening day at United on paper fair easier than home ties against the Merseyside teams, Stoke, Man City, and a Crystal Palace side that will be looking to mean serious business this season.

 

Kane’s Verdict

Games after the opening day favour Kane’s pursuit for goals. Stoke, Leicester, Everton, and Sunderland are the perfect arenas for the Hurrikane’s storm to strike again. Remember that Spurs will score goals throughout the season (they have to right?) and they’ve the man for the job. The team is strengthening in the right areas, mainly at the back, to convince 1 in 3 FPL players to take a punt on Kane.

 

Burnout from the U21 European Championships may dent Kane’s early season points returns, especially if the striker come’s back off his late holiday’s worst for weat.

 

Kane follows the rule of Costa, in which when he’s in, he’s in for the long haul. With Kane, you may be able to squeeze Aguero into your teams after GW 5, but in doing so you’ll create a conflict for GW 7 when Spurs host City. You’ll have to sacrifice cost from the midfield, but with Kane reuniting with Aguero in FPL line-ups, it may be worth it.

 

 

Christian Benteke (LIV)

 

Club: Liverpool

FPL Price: £8.5m

Positions: ST

2014/15 Points: 127

2015/16 Selection: 29.2%

 

 

The fifth and final striker analysis focuses on a striker that we’d not have paid much attention to if he had stayed at Aston Villa, but the step up in class by joining Liverpool means that the Belgian has rapidly become hot property in the FPL. The number one question regarding Benteke long before, and since his arrival, is whether or not he can play in a team that is typified by possession football in the oppositions half. Pundits and fans alike are split on Benteke’s position in the team because he isn’t the free-flowing Luis Suarez type that the club has relied on in the Rodgers era, and even the Dalglish era before.

 

The biggest lunacy in all of this, as FPL players, is that no matter the injuries, no matter the fact he was at Aston Villa for three seasons. Strip it all down, and out of the five strikers profiled here, he’s the lowest points scorer.

 

2014/15 Points

  • Aguero: 216

  • Kane: 191

  • Costa: 150

  • Rooney: 132

  • Benteke: 127

 

Take this as you will. Aston Villa was built around Benteke, and perhaps a full season under Sherwood would have seen a greater yield in points for the Belgian, but there is a reason he’s cheaper. Injury concerns have been persistent with Benteke in his last two seasons, and when he does play, there are spells when the big guy up top is invisible. We can argue the same for Liverpool. Raheem Sterling craved Champions League football, but we’ve got to remember that he got that last season, but nobody remembers a damn thing the new City signing did because he vanished in the games. Not just Sterling, but no Liverpool player was consistent last season.

 

Mignolet was benched and dropped for a time. Sakho and Skrtel had injury problems. Can played in every position. There was no proper full backs. Lambert didn’t see game time. Balotelli did more for his Instagram account than he did on the pitch. Liverpool’s centre of the park was ever-changing. Gerrard couldn’t break into the team for a spell. The captain, thee Liverpool legend, wasn’t deemed good enough to break the spell of the ‘Welsh Xavi’ Joe Allen. Coutinho had a single hot flush of form, without once having a memorable moment in the first half of the season. The squad in general was massive in terms of size and depth, but the club severely lacked in quality on the pitch against teams like Sunderland and Hull that defended doggedly, and against possession based teams such as United and Arsenal.

 

Damage from Liverpool’s European exploits didn’t help matters either. A relatively easy group stage with Basel and Ludogrets as the teams they had to realistically conquer would have been achieved by another English club. Then they were dumped out of the Europa League by Besiktas at the very stadium they won the Champions League in 2005.

 

The humbling truth for Liverpool was that they’d been found out by all measure of opposition, and it was a season when it needed to be hammered into them at what they were doing was never going to be good enough. The FPL was not shy of Liverpool points scorers: Henderson, Skrtel, and Mignolet were among favourite selection during Double Gameweek’s and when Liverpool went on a thirteen game unbeaten run. In regards to Benteke, unless the faults are corrected, there is a realistic chance that all of the money the Reds have spent ant recouped from the Sterling money, could be blazed in smoke once more.

 

On paper Danny Ings, Christian Benteke, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, and Robert Firmino are incredibly exciting signings, but so was Lallana and Lovren last season. The new recruits are all young, all ambitious, and three out of the four have crucial BPL experience. Football fans (unless you’ve a red devil or a blue cottage on your logos) will want to see Liverpool do well. Not only do they boast a large portion of the England team, but in Clyne and Benteke they possess two potentially essential FPL players.

 

The critical matter is not so much on Benteke’s inclusion – it’s ludicrous to think he won’t score in a team with a substantially improved 10 around him – it’s about the fate of the entire club going forward. Faith in Liverpool after a season scripted by Man United’s most scathing keyboard warriors, is at an all-time low, and it makes the proposition of banking trust in the same team to deliver the numbers, a hard prospect. Even more so when you look at their first run of fixtures.

 

Benteke’s First Ten

Liverpool face 3 of their 5 five away from home, and it might not get harder than an immediate return to Stoke. We don’t need to repeat the score, you’ll all remember it. Gerrard and his former team and manager will never forget it.

 

It’s safe to say that Liverpool’s opening ten, by the measure of their own fans, is a tough run.

 

 

Man United and Arsenal away from home. Now that’s where the FPL strategist in you will be looking at and wondering whether or not to throw your FPL finances at Benteke. Newcastle also face United and Arsenal away in the first five and it’s fair to say that you’d rather put in Arsenal and United players over Liverpool and Newcastle. Even without the Toon in this equation, knowing that United have seemingly strengthened, and Arsenal has always been a hard ground to go to as a Red, only the most optimistic Liverpool believer will bank faith in Benteke on a run like this when you could upgrade for 1m and have Kane in your team in a much more favourable run.

 

The flipside to so much negativity is that Liverpool entertain Bournemouh, West Ham, Villa, and Norwich in their first 4 home games of the season. We’d suggest that at his 8.5m price-tag, Benteke is too costly to rotate, and is going to be invaluable for them as an FPL prospect for any hardened player to put him on your bench of 4.

 

Benteke's Verdict

We’re all aboard Benteke’s move to Liverpool. The three of us at the helm all believe that should he stay fit and play, he’ll do Liverpool a good job. All you need to do is watch a simple YouTube highlight reel of Benteke’s goals to realise that he’s just as good as a target man, as he is at charging through defensive lines, scoring from set-piece situation and being able to score from any position. Our only concern is the run Liverpool face in the opening five. At his price, there are better options in the short term. As premium options, we’d bank our faith with Rooney ahead of Benteke, and potentially Kane, but the 1m price difference is the killer factor. Liverpool and Spurs are at a similar level in terms of a league finish last season, and expectations this season, but Benteke’s cheaper and at a club that’s taken more strides forward in the close-season in terms of the team it’s developing from day-one.

 

Benteke will best operate as a second striker in a team, alongside Rooney, Kane, or Costa. We’d suggest not to have him as ‘thee’ forward option in your team, even if it does free up money. This is a kindly reminder not to put too much money into your back five. This game still is about midfield and forward returns. With Benteke and another premium forward, you’ll have to have a third value striker, and one midfielder that falls below the 8.5m price-tag. It means sacrificing the likes of Depay or Fabregas for Milner, Cabaye, or Newcastle’s wildcard Wijnaldum. That, or having only 4.5m – 5.0 defenders in your team, no premium options such as Ivanovic or Terry.

 

In regards to forwards at his price level – Giroud or Lukaku – Benteke is the best option. Giroud might suffer from rotation, especially if Arsenal fans get their wish at a world class forward. Lukaku and Everton, like Liverpool, have a difficult opening run.

 

To see every team’s first ten, head over to our ‘Weekly Hype’ page and click through our gallery.

 

All aboard.

 

 

 

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