Guest Post Provided by @mustafa__saeed
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Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich – Fantasy Potential?
The wait is nearly over and with our patience running out of steam we are raring to embrace the excitement of the Premier League and of course our weekly fix navigating fantasy football selection dilemmas. With the Copa America and the Women’s World Cup unable to reach the heights of the World Cup 12 months ago we are all possibly more eager than usual for the start of the season!!
It’s not the same in terms of transfers though, a busy window with speculation all over the place and some unexpected moves out there naturally attract everybody’s attention. But when you look to the other side of table away from the top teams you can see something that is worth thinking about.
Yes, we are familiar with Arsenal, United, Chelsea etc… but what about the new teams in the league?? Can their presence in the league benefit our fantasy teams?
With a limited budget potentially stretched to a breaking point and a squad yet to be completed new territory will have to be explored! One or two fantasy gems from a newly promoted side may just give you the edge.
It’s a risky method to pick your whole squad from the bargain bin but a well balanced squad is what we are searching for and therefore it’s important to try and scout the differentials. There are many questions that pop up straight away – who makes Watford’s starting 11 with a new manager at the helm? Where exactly is Bournemouth? Can Norwich stay in the league now Suarez plays in Spain?
First up Bournemouth. The Miracle
The team that narrowly avoided relegation from the football league at 2008-2009 gained automatic promotion to the Premier League by winning the Championship in 2014-2015 season after a very exciting battle with the teams below, to mark a sensational achievement and an incredible transformation at the club.
The real test is yet to come though, it will be a very long season for them, they will have to lean on their key players who may surprise us all with great performances and maybe with points. Seeing almost all the team cost no more than 5.5 million, there is undoubtedly bargains to be had.
Let’s begin with the only exception for this team, Matt Ritchie at 6.0 million at first glance can seem a bit risky for a player in a promoted side but looking back to his impressive performances from last season he really can surprise a few. The 25-year old winger managed 11 goals and 13 assists and was a consistent key performer for them. Callum Wilson is another player for consideration. The 23-year old striker was the top goal scorer for the team netting 20 league goals and managed to score in all 3 domestic competitions – at 5.5 million, he could free up much needed funds for your squad.
Their most familiar name might be Christian Atsu. The on loan Chelsea player is perceived to have a lot of potential and this could be the chance to shine if he gets more game time than at Everton last season. At 5.5 million he could be worth a look.
With Artur Boruc between the sticks in this newly promoted team you may not be able to guarantee many clean sheets here but there’s potential for him to pick up some points if the Bournemouth defence isn’t up to scratch. Save points could be key!
Next up, Watford
The second team to gain automatic promotion to the Premier League finally made it after a tough and exciting battle with the teams below finishing only 1 point ahead of them to mark their return after 10 seasons away.
The team that has the lowest average prices among all other teams in the league can really include some great picks.
Troy Deeney is the first name that comes to mind. The Watford Fans favourite proved his consistency by becoming the first player in the club history to score 20 goals or more in 3 consecutive seasons. Now of course you cannot guarantee that record to be broken next season but at 5.5m he has shown consistency and great potential if he can make the step up and hit the ground running.
In defence you may consider Paredes and Layun, both are regular starters since their arrival from La Liga last season and played a vital part in the promotion campaign. At 4.5 million it is a cheap option for a nailed on starter a bit risky though and surely more of a squad pick than first 11.
Finally we can see Norwich City
Norwich City, the most familiar name to the Premier League in recent years from the promoted sides did not take much time to come back after they finished third in the Championship then won the play-off final against Middlesbrough at Wembley to spend only one year away from the Top Flight.
John Ruddy is a name which will be familiar to many Fantasy Managers. A very talented goalkeeper who could score you some save points and is a potential rotation option with another 4.5m goalkeeper if you are trying to claw back some budget to be used elsewhere in your squad.
Nathan Redmond, one of the most talented young English players and you can only wait better things from him; he got 6 goals and 13 assists and was a key player for the team with his outstanding dribbling skills. 5.5 million is not that much for such a promising player who might snap the chance to shine this season.
Another midfield option is Hoolahan who is 0.5 million cheaper pick than Redmond, the Irish-attacking midfielder netted 5 goals and assisted his team mates no less than 10 times last season. Back when Norwich were promoted in the 2009-2010 season he even managed to score 13 goals. At 33 now, if he still can repeat such performances he could be an unbelievable bargain.
All in all, to achieve a high finish at the end of the Fantasy Premier League season you have to try and create a balance from the beginning. That balance between the household names and the cheaper ones who are offered especially in the promoted sides, paving the way for your budget to handle the high prices of the household names the likes of Aguero , Hazard , Sanchez etc…
Bournemouth seem to be the side that offer the better picks, the better side. Norwich players have the highest level of experience at Premier League level among the promoted teams, something you should consider. While Watford may offer the cheapest picks they have players who could make the difference if they handle the pressure early on and get you more points than expected.
There is a steep learning curve for these clubs to familiarise themselves with the Premier League. We all know this game can be won and lost taken calculated risks, so consider one or two of the new players from the Championship and those differentials could help make the difference in your squad in terms of budget and finding that elusive differential to help set your team apart!
My name is Mustafa Saeed.. Honestly it is one of the first writing experiences for me hopefully not the last. I am a complete FPL fanatic. That’s @mustafa__saeed my twitter handle would be very pleased to hear from any of you. Thanks!