New teams, managers, players.
In just eight days time the greatest competition in the world returns to our screens. As the transfer market rumbles on, and on, further down the path of that-means-he-earns-£1000-a-minute ridiculousness, managers everywhere are scouting for that one gem, that one hit-the-ground-running bargain that will light the spark on their championship charge, sail to safety or – spare me Arsenal fans – fumble to fourth.
But like a South American recruit taking his first steps onto British shores, appetites doth change. As the millenial generation come increasingly of age, viewing habits have shifted from TV TV TV to just about any device hooked up to the world wide web. Sports are consumed everywhere. This wider move towards digital is well demonstrated by the increase in popularity of Fantasy Football, the official Premier League version of which claimed over 4 million players world wide last year.
Much like its real life older brother – or sister – the start of the Fantasy League season is a critical period. Make the wrong choices now and you could be forced into drastic rearrangements which incur multiple 4-point deductions: How many swiftly escorted Pogba out of the building last September?
Many, I suspect. But with the dab hand of #moxeystips, together with my trusted inner circle of vetted Fantasy experts, you can now navigate those frantic Saturday morning, deadline looming stress-a-thons and relax in the knowledge that my simple tips for success will guide you to the top quicker than you can say “Lacazette or Lukaku?”
Here are three players every squad should have.
Asmir Begovic – £4.5 million
This is an absolute no-brainer. Whilst sometimes unstoppable, Boruc guaranteed a clanger every now and again but still ranked 7th across all keepers in total points, keeping nine clean sheets across 35 games.
More than one of the 63 goals that the big Pole conceded last year raised eyebrows. If £10 million Begovic can stay clear of those clumsy mistakes then, with Nathan Aké now signed on a permanent deal and back marshaling the defence, £4.5 million is just too good to miss for a bloke who remains highly rated from his Stoke days.
The only negative to all of this is that the cherries do face Arsenal and City in their first four games. I’ve signed up Ben Foster at the same price to transfer into that week’s XI – Pulis teams rarely leak goals and I can’t imagine why 2017/18 will be any different.
One question which might be asked is – what about last season’s top keeper Tom Heaton, at just £0.5 million more? Firstly, it’ll be a struggle for Burnley to recreate last season’s excellent home form but, secondly and more importantly, the Clarets have a gaping Michael Keane shaped hole in the centre of their defence. “Dogfight” and “relegation” come to mind.
Matt Ritchie – £6.0 million
From humble Swindon Town origins, Ritchie has tasted Premier League action before with Bournemouth. Now at Newcastle he was widely seen as being the club’s player of the year last season, chipping in 12 goals and 7 assists as the Magpies clinched the title on the final day of the season against Town’s rivals Bristol City.
He’ll likely play every game and his performances at Bournemouth two seasons ago prove he can cut it at this level. With a 100% record last year he’ll probably be kept on penalty duties and unless Mike Ashley pulls a rabbit out of his £1.50 Sports Direct baseball cap the 27 year old is going to remain their best player going forward when the fixtures kick off next weekend.
At £6 million this is a player who you can trot out when its Swansea at home but doesn’t cost the earth to keep on the bench for tougher games. Overall, a handy addition to compensate for the likes of Sanchez, De Bruyne, Kane etc.
Romelu Lukaku – £11.5 million
Question the price tag all you like but Lukaku is just what United need – a bully. Yes he’s rubbish against big teams. Yes he’ll go missing in the Champions League and no, he won’t score a last minute winner when you need it most. But these aren’t United’s issues, not really. Finding the net at all is.
The 24 year old is this season’s answer to Zlatan only the big Belgian surely comes to Old Trafford knowing he has something to prove. The same couldn’t be said for Ibra. What the former did so well at Everton was score goals against sides he was expected to score against and that’s something which, with Pogba being unshackled by the arrival of Matic, is likely to continue this year.
He’s already bagged a couple of confidence filling goals in pre-season and with Mkhitaryan also beginning to find his feet, last season’s second-top scorer can call upon a midfield well suited to his through-the-middle style. With £12.5 million Kane playing at Spurs’ least favourite North London stadium Wembley for the year this could be Rom’s best chance yet to win the golden boot. Show me the dotted line.