All were new signings in 2011/12, and all impressed in Yirma, but can the five players below keep up that form heading in to 2012/13??
Demba Ba, Newcastle, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £7.5m
Few players had more schizophrenic seasons than Ba last time out, as the arrival of a man we’ll mention below saw his goalscoring form at first dry up and then evaporate completely.
It was tougher to find a Fantasy manager without the Senegalese in his team in the first half of last season than one who did have him, as Ba’s goals shot Newcastle up the table and kept several Fantasy bosses scratching their heads over captaincy selections on Saturday mornings.
Then the forward headed off the Africa Cup of Nations in January, returned with his international team-mate alongside him and suddenly the goals dried up.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew had of course decided to alter Ba’s position slightly, and although it must be said that he did still weigh in with some assists, the forward’s impact was seemingly reducing game by game, so much so that the summer of transfer rumours surrounding his exit from Tyneside were hardly surprising.
He stayed of course, but a repeat showing from last year’s dazzling first few months looks unlikely.
Nikica Jelavic, Everton, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £8.5m
Up in Scotland, Jelavic is now merely a substantial if solitary profit in the Rangers accounts, but the happy memories that Gers’ fans had of him are now being shared in the Blue half of Merseyside.
Jelavic’s predatory instincts have unsurprisingly gone down well amongst Everton fans who have arguably not seen a finer forward in Blue since the early days of Wayne Rooney, and the Croatian will be determined to shine in his first full campaign at Goodison Park.
Much was made last season of Jelavic’s instant, one touch finishes, and so whilst you may want to avoid him if you prefer your forwards to be more involved in the play and frequently able to contribute with assists, as an out-and-out goalscorer in a team who will play to his strengths there can’t be many better picks.
After a summer away at the Euros, this campaign will be the ultimate test to see if the Croatian can produce it consistently in Fantasy Premier League.
The early signs are all encouraging ones.
Papiss Cisse, Newcastle, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £9.5m
It can’t possibly go as well for Cisse as it did from January to May. Can it? CAN IT???
The Senegalese’s impact at Newcastle following his transfer from German club Freiburg was nothing short of extraordinary, as goals were scored and records tumbled all over the place.
A clinical, almost effortless forward, Cisse’s performances at St James’s Park (sorry Mike Ashley) have drawn comparisons with Andy Cole’s, and there is no doubt that Newcastle will once again look to play to his strengths as they did so well during the latter half of last season.
However, what with the demands of the Europa League, yet another Africa Cup of Nations coming up in January and now that defenders know his threat a little more, it will be extremely difficult for Cisse to repeat last season’s heroics again this time around.
At £9.5m he’ll have plenty of takers, but expecting him to produce the same fireworks as he did in 2011/12 might just leave you disappointed.
Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £11.5m
The moment that Aguero secured the league title for Manchester City in May will be burned into the brains of his club’s supporters’ for a lifetime, and probably the minds of Manchester United fans for even longer.
It was deserved too, both for the club and a player who made the transition from La Liga to Fantasy Premier League with ease ever since he scored twice on his debut against Swansea in City’s opening match of the campaign.
Aguero is a livewire; a player who never gives defenders a second on the ball and leaves them wondering for hours just what they can do to stop him.
Bar Robin van Persie he was the best forward in England last season – that Kyle Walker took the PFA Young Player of the Year award ahead of Aguero isn’t a good advert for the decisions of footballers – and the Argentinean looks more than ready to help his side defend their title this time.
He is a simply brilliant attacker, and one that you need to find room for in any team – Fantasy or otherwise – whatever the cost.
Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle, Midfielder – Fantasy Price Tag £7.0m
As this column indicates, Newcastle bought pretty well last season, and there is an argument for saying that Cabaye was the best addition of the lot.
A lively midfielder, the Frenchman showcased more than a keen eye for goal the longer 2011/12 went on, and after a year of getting used to playing against the big-hitters of the league he’ll now have to understand that he is one.
One of the lesser discussed qualities of Cabaye, however, is his toughness. He can mix it in the middle with pretty much anyone, and so seeing as he is highly unlikely to become overawed by the new challenges he faces as he becomes a marked man, there is nothing to suggest that he won’t prove to be a success on Tyneside again.
As discussed above, the rigours placed on Newcastle this season might ensure that they don’t reach the highs they did in the last campaign, but their French midfielder can still impress.
A bargain buy? Oui.