With the new season inching closer, Goal takes a look at the best midfielders available to virtual coaches, including some bargain buys
The 2017-18 Premier League campaign is just around the corner and all the fantasy football managers out there will be weighing up their options ahead of the new season.
It’s all about getting the biggest possible points haul, so virtual coaches have to pick the players who contribute goals and assists, keep clean sheets and stay out of the referee’s notebook.
You will be happy to hear that Goal Fantasy Football is already up and running — and it’s free to play. The mobile app can be downloaded through this link so that you can create and update your squad wherever you go.
The Fantasy Premier League game on the Premier League’s official website is also a popular choice for fantasy managers, but whatever game you use, we’ve taken a look at some of the best fantasy football midfielders, including a few bargains, to help get you started!
BEST FANTASY FOOTBALL MIDFIELDERS
Midfielders who both create and score goals, naturally, are the most valuable when it comes to the world of fantasy football, so playmakers are usually priced somewhat higher than their more defensive-minded counterparts.
So, for example, while N’Golo Kante was the undisputed best individual player in the league last season, he may not necessarily be the best choice when it comes to collecting points.
While creative midfielders are desired, it is also important to take into consideration a midfielder’s disciplinary record, with points deducted for yellow cards and whether they play in a team that is likely to keep clean sheets.
Here is a run-down of the best midfielders to pick in fantasy football.
|Kevin de Bruyne||Man City||£10m|
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal – £12m)
Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is the most expensive midfielder available, and it is easy to see why. With 24 goals and 10 assists last season the Chile international was quite simply one of the most potent attacking threats in the division.
He continued his goal-scoring form throughout the season, despite playing in an inconsistent Gunners side, showing that he is well worth the asking price. However, with suggestions that he is unhappy at the Emirates surfacing last season and rumours of a switch to Bayern Munich circulating, Sanchez could arguably be seen as a risky choice at this point.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea – £10.5m)
Much of Chelsea’s attacking play hinges on the work of Eden Hazard, who was involved in just under a quarter of the Blues’ goals as they reclaimed the Premier League title last season. The Belgium international helped his side hit the back of the net 21 times in the league, scoring 16 and creating five.
Last term, Hazard was second only to Alexis Sanchez and Dele Alli in terms of the number of points he accumulated and the 26-year-old is sure to be among the highest scorers this season too.
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City – £10m)
No player provided more assists in the Premier League last season than Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and his attacking potency ensured his place in the top five scoring midfielders in fantasy football as a result.
As well as teeing up his team-mates 18 times, De Bruyne found the net on six occasions himself. With new faces such as Bernardo Silva arriving at the Etihad Stadium, it will be interesting to see how City line up this term, but their Belgian playmaker certainly stands on a solid record.
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal – £9.5m)
He may have been overshadowed by Alexis Sanchez, but Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil still chipped in with his fair share of goals and assists for the Gunners last season. The Germany international was not firing on all cylinders and may have been affected by criticism, but he appears to be much more positive heading into the new campaign, which bodes well. At £9.5 million, Ozil is slightly cheaper than the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard, but on his day, he is just as devastating in front of goal.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool – £9.5m)
Despite missing a considerable chunk of the season due to the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool winger Sadio Mane finished the campaign with an impressive tally of goals and assists. The former Southampton star was the Reds’ talisman in the early part of the year and ended up with an admirable goal-to-game ratio, scoring 13 times in 27 league appearances. He also popped up with five assists.
With the likes of Mohamed Salah joining the ranks at Anfield, Mane will have more assistance and could very well improve upon his showing from his maiden campaign this coming season.
Dele Alli (Tottenham – £9.5m)
Of all midfielders in the Premier League, only Alexis Sanchez gathered more fantasy football points than Tottenham’s Dele Alli last season as the England international bagged 18 goals and set up seven more. Remarkably, despite rivalling Sanchez’s points tally, Alli is a whole £2.5 million cheaper than the Chilean, which will surely entice virtual managers.
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham – £9.5m)
While Dele Alli got all the plaudits last season, his midfield partner-in-crime Christian Eriksen was equally as effective for Tottenham. The Denmark international got eight goals and was second only to Kevin de Bruyne in the assist charts, laying on 15 strikes. As such, he was one of the top five scoring midfielders in last season’s fantasy football season, coming just a fraction behind Alli and Eden Hazard.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool – £9m)
Liverpool’s new signing from Roma returns to the Premier League with a point to prove and arrives in England clutching an impressive campaign under his belt, scoring 19 goals in all competitions. The 25-year-old struggled in his two years at Chelsea, but he really made his mark in Italy and last season he scored 15 Serie A goals, chipping in with 11 assists.
He will be expected to take the creative pressure off the likes of Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho, so is sure to be deployed regularly by Jurgen Klopp. However, it is one to pay close attention to, as new signings usually take time to gel with their team-mates.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool – £9m)
Brazil international Philippe Coutinho scored more fantasy football points than the likes of Mesut Ozil and Sadio Mane last season, but he is still valued less than them in this year’s edition of the game. Coutinho was arguably Liverpool’s main attacking force last term, scoring 13 times, including a number of free-kicks, and assisting seven goals. If he can stay injury-free, the 25-year-old should surely improve upon his point total this year.
BEST BARGAIN MIDFIELDERS
When looking at midfielders, it is a good idea to have a variety of players who are stars for their particular teams and sometimes you can unearth a gem that hasn’t been considered by the majority of fantasy football managers.
We’ve taken a look at some of the midfielders in this season’s Premier League who could be considered bargain buys, if you want to avoid splashing out on the marquee players.
Anthony Knockaert (Brighton – £6m)
Brighton have a tough task on their hands in their first ever season in the Premier League and one man they will be relying on to help secure their status is Anthony Knockaert. The French midfielder was directly involved in 23 of his side’s 74 goals and his efforts resulted in him being crowned the Championship Player of the Year. At £6 million, Knockaert is a decent alternative to the more expensive creative players available for selection.
Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea – £7m)
He started just 13 games for Chelsea last season, but Cesc Fabregas made his worth felt any time he entered the fray from the bench. The former Barcelona star set up 12 goals and scored five himself, even though he had a relatively low amount of minutes on the field. The effectiveness of Fabregas, particularly towards the end of last season, should have done enough to earn him more minutes on the pitch this term.
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool – £7m)
Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum is an all-action midfielder who actually set up more league goals for the Reds than Philippe Coutinho last season. The Netherlands international also found the back of the net on six occasions, meaning that he is one of the best £7 million rated midfielders available.
Etienne Capoue (Watford – £5.5m)
France international Etienne Capoue finished last season with more points than Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva. The midfielder scored seven league goals and, if he can continue that form in 2017-18, he will prove a massive bargain at £5.5 million.
Nathan Redmond (Southampton – £6.5m)
Southampton landed an exciting player in Nathan Redmond when they signed him from Norwich City last season and the winger showed exactly why he is so highly rated with seven goals for the Saints. The 23-year-old knows how to find the net and he will be desperate to kick on to another level after featuring for England’s Under-21s this year.
BEST OF THE REST
There is no shortage of top midfielders to choose from in the Premier League and fantasy football bosses can populate their teams with highly rated, but mid-priced performers.
After a disappointing season last term, Manchester City’s David Silva will cost just £8 million, as will Pep Guardiola’s new signing from Monaco, Bernardo Silva. Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan enjoyed a scintillating season once he forced his way into Jose Mourinho’s plans and he will cost £8 million too, while Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son commands the same fee.
Raheem Sterling, Pedro and Paul Pogba are all £8 million players, while Swansea star Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was one of the best points getters last season, costs £8.5 million, putting him in the same price bracket as Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez and Man City’s Leroy Sane.