EPL Studs and Duds

terry

Don’t look now friends, but there are only 11 games (for most teams) left in the Premier League this season. We’ve seen not only one of the most enthralling title races in recent memory this season, but arguably an even more exciting battle to see who can stay out of the dreaded bottom three places and avoid relegation. We have seen players emerge from nowhere to look like world beaters, we have seen players take the next step in their development to look like they may be on a par with the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s of the world, and we have seen players who have been models of consistent production fall by the wayside this season. Here, we take a look at this season’s studs and duds, and their outlook for next season.

 

STUDS

 

John Terry

John terry

telegraph.co.uk

Surprisingly, John Terry has the most fantasy points of any defender, per http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ scoring. Since his return, Jose Mourinho has turned Terry into his defensive muse, and Chelsea’s “Captain, Leader, Legend” has led his team to the meanest defense in the Premier League, with 11 clean sheets in his 25 games played. Terry has hardly been prolific, with 3 goals and 1 assist for the season, but his defensive solidity combined with Chelsea’s consistency mean he has been a productive fantasy asset. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to forecast as much fantasy, or indeed real life production, from Terry next season, simply due to his age. He will still be a vital part of Mourinho’s squad, but may need more frequent rest periods. With the signing of Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill’s recent improvments, Terry may not be called on quite so much. Chelsea’s back line also has talented players in Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta, meaning that, in theory, Terry should not need to shoulder the burden of work. (As a side note, Branislav “Goal Machine Best Player In The Premier League” Ivanovic is a favourite fantasy asset here, and should continue to be so for some time yet.)

 

Seamus Coleman

This season, Seamus Coleman has been the best right-back in the league (except possibly that man Ivanovic). The arrival of new manager Roberto Martinez has helped Coleman elevate his game to another level, injecting power and pace down Everton’s right flank, chipping in with enough goals to take second place in Everton’s scoring chart. 5 Premier League goals, 1 assist and 9 clean sheets are a testament to both Coleman’s individual prowess and Everton’s impressive record as a whole. His impressive season could look even more so in the end, with homes matches against West Ham, Cardiff, and Swansea, and away matches against Fulham and Sunderland looking like potential points on the board. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Coleman’s game is that he still has room to improve. The spectacular goals Coleman has scored this season show he has plenty of attacking ability, but with more Premier League and international experience Coleman’s defensive play should take the next step. He has the ability, and the environment to be the best real-life and fantasy full back for another 6-8 seasons.

 

Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure is a force of nature. Capable of exquisite power and breathtaking skill, he is unquestionably the driving force at the heart of Manchester City’s midfield (although the addition of Fernandinho has certainly helped him). This season in particular, Toure has also deployed an array of dazzling free kicks to help himself to 13 goals in the Premier League, as well as 4 assists and 9 clean sheets. As Chelsea proved last month, to stop Toure is to stop City. Unfortunately for everyone else, that is much easier said than done, as Toure proved to Chelsea and Nemanja Matic in their FA Cup rematch just 12 days later.  While he didn’t appear on the official stat sheet that day, Toure was a colossus in the midfield, facilitating David Silva and James Milner’s (yes, really) impressive performances. Toure has the ability to hurt defenses with his pace, strength, and range of passing, as well as his dead-ball prowess. He looks to keep up this impressive level of performance for a few seasons more, and should be one of the first names on any fantasy team sheet. (For additional reading, this piece by Bleacher Report’s Paul Wilkes is highly recommended).

 

Adam Lallana

7 goals, 8 assists, 11 clean sheets, and his first England appearances. This season has born witness to the meteoric rise of Adam Lallana, and it seems he has Mauricio Pochettino to thank. Last season, Lallana registered 3 goals in 30 league appearances. Many queried the Saints’ decision to fire Nigel Adkins, but in his season and a half in charge, Pochettino has vindicated the decision, getting impressive and consistent performances from the likes of Lallana, Luke Shaw, and Jay Rodriguez. Pochettino has reserved special praise for his in-form winger, even comparing him to Eden Hazard. While Pochettino has unquestionably been terrific for Lallana, their close relationship also raises the question of what may happen if (or when) Pochettino leaves the Saints. Lallana clearly has an abundance of talent, but will a new manager’s style help bring out the best in him like Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 has? It’s an interesting dilemma, particularly with the presumption that Lallana’s cost in fantasy leagues will be bloated after this year (to this point in the season, he price has gone up 33% from £6mil to £8mil on fantasy.premierleague.com).

 

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge

footballaustrailia.com.au

footballaustrailia.com.au

If you’re reading this article, you’re interested in the Premier League. And if you’re interested in the Premier League, you know just how devastating this duo has been. Suarez has 23 goals and 9 assists, Sturridge has 18 goals and 5 assists. Suarez has slowed his terrifying goalscoring pace of late, and Sturridge has picked up the slack with a goal in each of his last league starts. In our opinion, Suarez still holds a considerable edge in terms of value, with a pricetag of £13.3mil compared to Sturridge’s £10.3. He is still outscoring Sturridge by 57 points in fantasy.premierleague.com scoring, in spite of Suarez scoring in only one of his last 6 league games. The main takeaway from this is that both players are very, very good, and with the team structure and their relatively young ages, they should continue to be so for quite some time. For what it’s worth, we love Suarez to be the top fantasy points scorer next season as well as this. His blend of pace, trickery, confidence, vision and accuracy have no peers in the Premier League at the minute.

 

DUDS

 

Willian

A caveat here – in real life, Willian has been fantastic for Chelsea. His work rate has allowed the more creative players around him to wreak havoc on opposing teams, while he has transitioned between and attacking and defensive phases of the game seamlessly. However, as a player in arguably the most offensively talented midfield in the Premier League, as a player with a price tag of £8.5mil to open the season on fantasy.premierleague.com, as a player who cost THIRTY TWO MILLION POUNDS ($53.25mil to our American friends) he has scored just 53 points. His price has now dropped to £7.5mil, and we have a word of advice – DO NOT TOUCH HIM AT THAT COST! Willian, Matic, Ramires and Mikel will all prove to be terrific assets to Jose Mourinho’s team, but they won’t be to your fantasy team.

 

Jesus Navas

While it seems like I’m going out of my way to pick on players in their first season in the Premier League, that’s really not the case. Navas had high expectations placed on his shoulders this season, under the proviso that he could provide Manchester City with the natural width that players like David Silva and Samir Nasri could not offer. While he has 4 goals and 6 assists to his name, Navas’ production has been spotty at best. His 2-goal, 1-assist performance against Spurs apart, he hasn’t come close to living up to his £9mil price tag to open the season (which has now at £8.3mil after dropping to £8.1mil). Since the start of the calendar year, Navas’ fantasy.premierleague.com point totals have read as follows – 2, 1 ,7, 2, 2, 3, 1. Navas has the talent and pace to give defenders fits, and it will be interesting to see if he can live up to the promise next season, hopefully at a discounted rate.

 

Mesut Ozil

football365.com

football365.com

Ozil’s first 12 games of the season – 85 fantasy.premierleague.com points. Ozil’s last 9 games of the season – 28 fantasy.premierleague.com. He has been next to anonymous over the last couple of months, and will be even moreso if he continues to be benched after his penalty miss in the Champions League against Bayern Munich. His fantasy.premierleague.com value peaked at £10.8mil, and has now dropped all the way down to £9.7mil. He is unquestionably one of the most gifted footballers in the Premier League, but questions are now being raised about his mental make-up. If he can put this bad spell behind him, he may be a difference maker for your fantasy team available at a discounted price.

 

Roberto Soldado

The season started so well for Soldado, with goals in each of his first two Premier League starts, and two in his first Europa League game for Spurs. However, with a grand total of 5 goals in 22 league games, including just one from open play, Soldado has found himself playing second fiddle to Emmanuel Adebayor under new manager Tim Sherwood. While Adebayor has found a new lease of life, Soldado seems to be moving further and further away from the player that convinced Spurs to shell out £26 million to Valencia for. His disappointing first season is best expressed in this shocking miss against Dnipro in the Europa League.

 

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