2015/16 FPL SEASON ANALYSIS: Owner Robert Austin's "Pownage FC"
The 2015/16 Premier League season is over, culminating in one of the biggest sporting shocks in team sport. Leicester City's rise from nothing into something, from chumps to champs, has filtered its way into every crack and drain of life as we know it. In the FPL the Foxes dominated player selection, and were consistently the top performing players throughout the season. In our debut season as pundits The Hype Team was treated to a whirlwind of an FPL season, and each member of our team will take his time to describe his season, as a whole and on a personal level. Last up, Hype Train owner and serial Photoshopper, Robert Austin, gives the low down for his Team of the Season, and provides a short analysis of his now-relegated club, Newcastle United.
About The Hype Team
The Hype Team are the three founding members of the The Hype Train that run its social media accounts, constantly update the website, and do extensive research into the Fantasy Premier League. The expertise we provide in a wide and expansive FPL community is providing cutting edge statistics, up to date developments, beautiful graphics, and picking weekly wildcard 'differential' players. We pride ourselves on our unique, colourful branding, and our persistent endeavour to not just scream to the rooftops the obvious in our realm of fantasy football.
The 2015/16 season was the first for the Hype Train, and we'll be back for seconds in the 2016/17 FPL season.
Pownage: Team of the Season
By Hype Train Owner, Robert Austin
Generally speaking, it took a long time into the season to settle on the reality that you didn’t need to spend a lot of money of your 15 man squad. There usually is a reason is £8m plus on the FPL transfer market, but pretty much every expensive option disappeared, all bar a few of course. Rooney, Costa, Hazard, the entire Chelsea team up until a point, as well as premium defensive options such as Baines and Ivanovic among others, were all laid to waste for budget options that rocketed in price.
Defenders: Alderweireld, Huth, Dann, Daniels, Bellerin
Missing Out: Sagna, Fuchs, Smalling, van Dijk
Toby Alderweireld of Spurs is one such example, starting the season at just £5.0m, steadily rising until he hit a peak of £6.5m just before Double Gameweek 34. It also goes without saying that once the Leicester defence clicked, they were an option until the last day of the season, keeping 15 clean sheets between the Palace game and the recent 1-1 draw with Chelsea to end the season. On a personal standpoint, and at the time Leicester players were being drafted in, Robert Huth was thee affordable option. Christian Fuchs had risen to £5m+ and had lost his budgetary value by the mid-way point of the season, whilst Huth (£4.4m) and Morgan (4.5m) were easy replacements for the value defenders from other teams struggling in the league. The allure of Huth was further added to the goal threat in Leicester’s crunch period when he scored twice away at Man City, and scored the winner at White Hart Lane against Spurs. By the same measure of price, Hector Bellerin makes the Pownage Team of the Season because he was more affordable than the Arsenal centre halves (Koscielny and Mertesacker), and had the greater threat of an attacking return on the right hand side, than that of Monreal on the left. It took Bellerin a long time to get going, but like Monreal was nailed on a place in the main eleven, after a 2014/15 of constant rotation. In truth, Bellerin wasn’t hitting the heights in the FPL until a final 10 game run which saw a goal and 4 assists come his way, which is the attacking returns we expected all the way back at the beginning of the season, but that form was never to come. Nonetheless, it was a rewarding season if you picked your moment right with Bellerin. Not needing any invitation to hit the back of the net, and provide clean sheet and attacking returns, Charlie Daniels and Scott Dann make the bench because even though they provided explosive returns, they were also in risk of rotation due to the reliable clean sheet potential of Leicester, Arsenal, and Spurs, throughout the season.
Goalkeepers: Butland, Hennessey
Missing Out: Hart, Cech, Schmeichel
Further back in the goal, Jack Butland is the only real contender we at the Hype Train ever considered for a place in our Team of the Season. Not only is he is our pundit’s teams, he is in the overall Team of the Season ahead of Cech, De Gea, and Gomes (we don’t even think De Gea was an option for the most part until the last 6 Gameweeks, most good FPL players avoid him, and went straight for Smalling instead). Jack became an FPL darling almost immediately and provided such good value for money (£4.5m) at the beginning of the season. Memorable performances against Newcastle at St James’s Park, picking up 11 points in the process, is one of the reasons my beloved Magpies will be gracing the Championship next season. What made Butland an essential right up until his injury against Germany in an international friendly was his reliability in goal. My team in particular faced no dilemmas with the Stoke shot stopper, and since his departure there was multiple transfers for Goalkeepers. The keeper slots are positions that shouldn’t be changed unless absolute necessary, but Butland’s injury opened the flood gates for months of misery and wasted points. My team had the ordeal of going through Gomes (injured briefly against Aston Villa), Petr Cech (injured his hamstring at home against Chelsea), Joe Hart (injured at the Etihad before the international break), whilst Mignolet and Robles, the Double Gameweek options, were both heavily rotated quite often at the same time, leaving my team on the final day for GW38, and on another occasion during GW36, without a Goalkeeper. Though not guaranteed, there was a good chance that my faith in Butland’s services would have been retained for a greater period of time, preventing a tragedy of Goalkeeping injuries and rotations. Backing up Butland, despite not heavily relying on his services, Wayne Hennessey is the second Crystal Palace defender in my Team of the Season. Sounds crazy given that they only kept a handful of clean sheets throughout the season, but given his £4.1m price tag for much of the season, the Welsh stopper was one of the most highly selected keepers in the FPL, and when thrown to the sword for GW33’s two home games against Norwich and Everton, Hennessey rewarded his loyal subjects with 18 points and the honour of being the Dream Team player of the week.
Midfielders: Mahrez, Payet, Ozil, Dele Alli, Arnautovic
Missing Out: Ayew, De Bruyne, Firmino, Sigurdsson
In the middle of the field, the Pownage selection is perhaps the most predictable. Riyad Mahrez is the undoubted Player of the Season, so much so I've point blank refused to put a poll on our Twitter to decide. Jamie Vardy is a close second, but nothing comes close to the impact Mahrez had. Finishing the season with 240 points (beating Hazard's 233 from 2014/15), involved in 28 goals, and finishing as the most selected player, barely begins to scratch the surface of Mahrez's success this season. It's a no brainer really. Similarly, an easy selection is Dele Alli. Beginning the season at £5.0m, Alli went from promising Spurs prospect to the England international that could very well decide his countries fate at Euro 2016. 10 goals and 12 assists is a brilliant return for a BPL frenchmen.
Despite injury during the Xmas period, Dimitri Payet makes the team. West Ham have turned into a new monster with Payet pulling the strings in midfield. As a set-piece specialist, the only element missing from Payet's game is taking penalty kicks, but is far down the pecking order behind Noble and Carroll.. With 9 goals and 13 assists, the Frenchmen is most likely going to continue that good form next season should the Hammers adapt quickly to the Olympic Stadium.
Unlike my fellow Hype Train compatriot, "SweatyMongoose" Phil Jones, who has selected Alexis Sanchez ahead of Mesut Ozil in his Team of the Season, the choice for sane players is most likely going to be the German international. Last season Coutinho made the PFA Team of the Year because of a handful of decent appearances, and unjustly so, many are placing Sanchez in this same bracket, even when the leading midfielder behind Mahrez, has been easily managed for pretty much the entire 2015/16 season. Yes, Alexis was a brilliant end of season performer (it is in fact one of the crucial elements that led the SweatyMongoose to dethrone me in our main mini-league as champion), but it irks my statistical, season-long mind, to believe that Alexis is deserving of a place in any 5 man midfield this season. Especially over Ozil.
Where was Alexis over Xmas? Injured.
Where was his FPL potential at the beginning of the season? Nowhere.
Where was the consistency? At large, there was only one brief stint.
Before I dig myself a hole, I'm aware that Ozil managed only 1 assist from the final 12 BPL games of the season. I get that. I'll just leave some statistics below that hopefully say my point better than I ever could.
Who has more points? Ozil (200)
Who has more goals? Sanchez (13)
Who has more assists? Ozil (19)
Who has more Clean Sheet points? Ozil (17)
Who has more BPS? Ozil (861)
Who has more Bonus Points? Ozil (30)
Who has more points-per-game? Ozil (5.7)
Who has been better value throughout the season? Ozil (21.7)
Who obtained the least yellow cards? Sanchez (1)
Who had the better ownership %? Ozil (34.7%)
Who played more minutes? Ozil (3,036)
Who was transferred in more? Ozil (2,277,952)
The biggest price riser? Ozil (£0.7m)
Times in the Dream Team? Ozil & Sanchez (4)
Who blanked more in the FPL (Matches in which players get 3 points or less)? Sanchez (26) compared to Ozil (19)
Who provided more single-game FPL returns? Ozil (19)
Ozil isn't the only one who deserves his place. The reason that Marko Arnautovic finishes with a Team of the Season place is due to a long-stretching run of good home form. Firmino, Ayew, KDB, and Sigurdsson all miss out on this 5th spot (yes, no spot for Alexis). Only Riyad Mahrez was more prolific at home than Arnautovic, and the Austrian was more deadly in front of his home fans than Barkley or Wijnaldum. Ultimately, Marko was a casualty of Double Gameweek 34, but by that time, his very affordable service had been done. With 165 points, and 11 goals (8 of them at home), should Stoke continue to build on their mid-table prowess, Marko is going to be another FPL hit for 2016/17.
Forwards: Kane, Vardy, Lukaku
Missing Out: Aguero, Deeney, Giroud
We recently ran a poll to decide between Romelu Lukaku and Aguero for our Team of the Season, and Aguero ultimately won (he always wins a Twitter poll). My pick lays with Lukaku, for pretty much the same reasons my side favoured Ozil over Alexis. Lukaku didn't score as many, but got more assists and more bonus points. More of everything else other than goals. Lukaku also scored in more games, for a longer period of time. Just like Aguero, he was an option for Double Gameweek fixtures, and enjoyed a brilliant first half of the season (whilst Aguero's only claim to fame was scoring 5 in one game).
The other 2 spots are pretty much straight forward. Golden Boot winner Harry Kane (with 25 goals) and Leicester's leading man Jamie Vardy (24 goals) were indispensable to teams when they were on form. Those who took the pair out of their Double Gameweek sides were made to pay a hard price for culling the two best strikers in the league.
There is also a special mention for Watford captain Troy Deeney, our Wildcard King! When Odion Ighalo stopped scoring, Deeney's rate of FPL returns didn't diminish. He was always tempting to put in, and should any of the 4 major forwards get injured or suspended, Deeney was always on the radar. Below is the Pownage Team of the Season in full.
Newcastle Season Analysis
By Hype Train Owner, Robert Austin
Simple questions, deserve simple answers. Did Newcastle deserve to be relegated to the Championship? Yes, yes, and yes again. Without any doubt, the club was always doomed, and after two transfer windows of heavy spending, and very little actually on offer, it has been an uncomfortable ride from August knowing full well that your club was going to be revoking its Premier League status.
I'm routinely in conversations and the firing line of football fans supporting the supposed 'big' clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal, etc.) who all whine and moan about the state of their football teams. My Liverpool loving twin-brother @SamAustin45 at times is the biggest critic of the Reds, and especially after their Europa League defeat to Sevilla, a lingering sense of genuine disappointment crashed hard in an expectant household. The reality of two cup final in 4 months came crashing through the walls like a bullet to the head, and that to some is the biggest form if disappointment. Big teams, cruising to finals because of their bulging wealth and international influence to attract Europe's elite players, only to lose on the big stage. That is not a reality that most live with.
Most football fans have to live with the humbleness of relegation and mid table mediocrity. Years of absolutely nothing, with an unexpected cup run along the way (Newcastle don't even have that). There are 92 teams in the Football League, and only 11 celebrating winning a league crown or promotion. Only 10 revel in promotion. Only 4 bask in title glory, and yes those teams are Leicester, Burnley, Wigan, and Northampton. Imagine the odds on those four winning the title at the beginning of the season? Yet 12 teams in the Football League are doomed with relegation, and 61 clubs are marooned, each and every season. Take Sheffield Wednesday as a recent example, they'll be playing Championship football for a 17th consecutive season. Blackpool and Portsmouth will be reunited, no not in the Premier League, but the scrapheap of League Two.
There is a lot to be fearful of with relegation, especially from the Premier League. Losing star assets, downsizing a club's staff and wage bill, and losing masses of revenue and exposure. Having some of the most loyal and tested fans turn on the ridiculous policies and procedures (restricting media access, employing a former England international we all knew was going to fail, not because of the man, but because he became a puppet to all that had become revolted) of a club caught not heading the warning of relegation. That is Newcastle. A club careless and flashy with its money in two years, outspending Roman's Chelsea empire, importing fine and exotic talent from across Europe, only to quickly have its grapes sour in the English sun.
Newcastle paid the price of believing its shoes be too big to fail. Fail it did, and dramatically so. Sunderland once again made a mockery of the club, and what was made apparent when the final hammer blow took place (Sunderland's 3-0 home victory over Everton), wasn't a grudge towards Sunderland, no, we knew the club had failed. Sunderland had only done what was asked of them, show a hunger and fighting spirit when the the chips were down. What did Newcastle do? They endured 9 months of utter torture, compounded by a dismal 0-0 draw that all but ended our Premier League survival.
When digesting the season as an FPL player, the only real option was Gini Wijnaldum, but his was form away from was atrocious, even worse to be frank, non-existent, considering the Dutch international was so prolific at St James's Park (you can see below for the exact stats). Karl Darlow was an overlooked option for Double Gameweek 34, and Rob Elliot was a fancied back-up Goalkeeper due to his £4.0m price tag, and I myself foolishly put in Mitrovic, believing the capability for a big points return is there, only to remove the Serbian and in turn for him to subsequently live up to his credentials 2 weeks down the line when you least expect it (when we beat Spurs 2-1 for instance).
On the whole, the Toon where a club that I tried avoiding having in my squad, but one that I loved pitting players against. Aguero was my captain for the five goal rout at the Etihad. It was always a safe feeling having your FPL players line-up against the club, and it is such a shame that it has been like that for two seasons, but knowing your club best has its advantages in the FPL. You kind of expect the downfalls and surges throughout the season.
Newcastle's surge came too late in the season, with Rafa Benitez not given enough time to steer the ship to tide. If he had chosen Newcastle over Real Madrid at the beginning of the season, I could have well and truly been talking about a top half side, if our end of season form is anything to go by. Our 5-1 demolition of Spurs isn't a blip. We've only lost once at home to Spurs in 7 years, and we always beat them at White Hart Lane. Even under the Brolly there was signs of a promising squad. We could Arsenal to the limit on two occasions, the first of which we played with 10 men for 85 minutes. We took points at Old Trafford (drawing 3-3 at home, also) and Anfield (beating Liverpool at home, too), and made a laughing stock of Spurs home and away. That's right, Newcastle are the only team to do the double over Spurs in the 2015/16 season.
Promise and mismanagement aren't chemicals that mix well, and any promise we had was too ill-fated to matter in the end. The Championship it is, but am I or any Newcastle fan truly worried? Promise is the word of the day, and with Rafa at the helm the club has made its first step in restoring the club's image. As previously mentioned, most Football League teams live with mediocrity as the only reality. Newcastle fans have gone a whole two generations without a major trophy, and though the second tier won't help end that craving, it could be a start.
Player of the Season (Newcastle): Alexsander Mitrovic It's been a miserable season with a hint of optimism for my beloved Magpies. If there is any player in our squad that shows that sense of loyalty and passion for Newcastle, not only to get the Toon back up to the big time, but to establish themselves as a Premier League force, it's Alexsander Mitrovic.
Sure, the Serbian international got sent off on his first home appearance against Arsenal, and his last against Spurs, but us Newcastle fans find something very endearing about a forward that battles and puts his body on the line as much as those watching in the rafters of St James's Park. Having already seemingly pledged his allegiance to the club that Mitrovic too supports, the 9 goal striker can, and will, only get better under the guidance of Rafa Benitez. Up top with Ayoze Perez, and the League One goal machine Adam Armstrong, the trio is the perfect strike force to get Newcastle automatically promoted at the first time of asking. Not only that, it's a young trio that will develop grit and a hardened shell should (and hopefully when) Newcastle gain promotion this time next May. It bodes well for the future of the club should (and hopefully he will) Mitrovic stick to his contract with Newcastle, and not jet off for the money, a move that is more likely to happen with bigger foreign imports Florian Thuavin and Gini Wijnaldum.
What has been lacking for Mitrovic this season?
Consistency with game time, and a more direct style of play that suits Mitro's style of play. What the Championship will provide Mitrovic is a real test of his physicality and overall belonging. He is the forward the club need carrying the weight of the Toon's goal threat.
Should he stay? He hopes, and so do we.
A Thank You from The Hype Train
This first season for us as a team has been a rewarding experience. We've grown from nothing into a growing part of a vast FPL community. We've not the exposure of some other wonderful FPL sites and social media accounts, but we are confident that if we stay true to our values of quality and differential expertise, there is no bar too high for The Hype Train. Throughout the season we believe that we provided some of the best written, graphically appealing fantasy football articles that you'll find on the world wide web. We even had a brief period as guest writers for the heavily popular Fantasy Football Pundits (@FFPundits).
In our first year alone our Twitter account has 1400+ followers, and since May 2015 we have amassed more than 1 million unique views. Our ad-free website has been visited by 5,000 unique visitors, and above all else we have enjoyed speaking to the many FPL addicts and football enthusiasts that interact with us. Our Hype Team always has room to grow, so if you are a football or review writer looking for some decent exposure, get in touch with us today. We're not hard too find, and friendly on the eyes.
So thanks for those who have boarded our vision, and we look forward to growing even more next season, with old and new faces alike.