Friday, August 31, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 3 Fantasy Preview

Can Carlos Tevez continue to fire?
It was Chelsea and Swansea players who bossed the gameweek again with Hazard, Torres, Rangel and Michu all scoring double digit scores. Interestingly though, fantasy managers continue to jump into Hazard and Torres' bandwagon, despite Chelsea will take no part in gameweek 3 due to European Super Cup fixture against Athletico Madrid. Will the price rises worth more than the points sacrificed? Time will tell.

Do take note that Reading will play no part in gameweek 3 as well. My advice: plan your transfer wisely.

  1. Angel Rangel (£5.1m, 14 pts): Scored a rather lucky goal and secured yet another clean sheet. Not bad to own though I believe Ashley Williams (£5.0m) will be a better pick in long run with his tendency to collect higher scores in EA Sports PPI than his defensive teammates (which means higher chances to claim bonuses).
  2. Eden Hazard (£9.9m, 13 pts): Recorded his sixth assist and first league goal. This lad simply dominates and is on his way to become the next C. Ronaldo — the automatic fantasy captain — in FPL.
  3. Carlos Tevez (£9.6m, 12 pts): Continued to dominate in Sergio Aguero's absence. A wonderful pick as I mentioned earlier this week.
  4. Fernando Torres (£10.1m, 11 pts): Hazard simply made him alive. Great great stuff from El Nino.
  5. Benoit Assou-Ekkoto (£6.5m, 11 pts): Pretty good offensively, but I still cannot trust Andre Villas-Boas yet especially in defence.

  • Kevin Mirallas (Olympiakos to Everton): Had a dream debut for Everton against Leyton Orient in Capital One Cup fixture. Worth scouting with his price of £7.5m.
  • Cesar Azpilicueta (Marseille to Chelsea): Could challenge Branislav Ivanovic's (£6.7m) position as right-back. Priced £6.0m.
  • Nuri Sahin (Real Madrid to Liverpool): Great addition for Liverpool, though it remains unknown how effective he will be.
  • Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea to QPR): Available at £5.0m, he will need to deliver offensively to compensate for QPR's fragility in defence.
  • Julio Cesar (Inter Milan to QPR): Another ambitious signing. Perhaps he can give more clean sheets to QPR.
  • Adam Johnson (Manchester City to Sunderland): He will get good playing minutes to show his fantasy effectiveness. Good fantasy price at £7.0m.
  • Ki Sung-Yueng (Celtic to Swansea): Second Asian to join Premier League this season. Hopefully his footwork is as handsome as his k-pop face.

FEATURED: Liverpool v Arsenal @ Anfield
I was wrong last week about Liverpool's chance against Manchester City. They played pretty well offensively, only to be pulled down by their defensive errors. This week they will continue to play at home against Arsenal, who are both yet to score and concede any goals this season.

Nuri Sahin is still not listed in FPL — until we know his price only can we determine his value. He is good in long pass though. Luis Suarez (£9.5m) and Steven Gerrard (£9.5m) continue to be Liverpool's main fantasy force, though their value can only be justified if Brendan Rodgers' tiki-taka starts to flourish.

As for Arsenal, their defence are reaping a lot of points for fantasy managers. Thomas Vermaelen (£7.0m) is the usual luxurious pick to own, while Carl Jenkinson (£4.6m) has provided a super value alternative to fantasy managers. Both are good picks.

While in offence, Olivier Giroud (£8.9m), Lukas Podolski (£8.4m) and Santi Cazorla (£9.0m) should be able to take advantage of the Reds' porous defence, though I believe Liverpool should also make Arsenal concede with home advantage.

Prediction: LIV 1-1 ARS

TEAM FOCUS: Manchester City and Manchester United
Both clubs in Manchester have great fixtures this week, but let's talk about City who will play at home first. Against Queens Park Rangers who are notoriously poor on defence, they have all the chance to score. You can do much worse than getting Carlos Tevez (£9.5m), David Silva (£9.9m) and Yaya Toure (£8.0m) and play them.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will travel to St. Mary's Stadium in their attempt to take 3 points from Southampton. Robin Van Persie (£13.2m) and Shinji Kagawa (£8.6m) are two obvious picks given Wayne Rooney's (£11.9m) injury which will ruled him out for 8 weeks. Not so hype on their defenders though, given their shaky performance against Fulham.

Prediction: MCI 3-0 QPR, MUN 3-1 SOU

PLAYER FOCUS: Adebayor, Ba, Cisse and Michu
Tottenham are going to face Norwich at home this week, so one would expect their attacking pack to shine. I like the prospect of Emmanuel Adebayor (£9.6m) more though, as Rafael Van der Vaart (£8.9m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson's (£8.9m) roles are still relatively unknown in Andre Villas-Boas tactics and Gareth Bale (£9.5m) is struggling to find his form.

Newcastle will deal with Aston Villa who struggle under Paul Lambert's reign, so one would expect the front duo — Demba Ba (£7.7m) and Papiss Cisse (£9.5m) — to contribute fantasy points. Hatem Ben Arfa (£7.6m) should also perform.

Michu (£7.1m) continues to be my weekly pick meanwhile, until his performance suggests otherwise.

  • Wojciech Szcznesny (£5.5m): Unknown (75% playing).
  • John Terry (£6.9m): Muscle injury (75% playing).
  • Rio Ferdinand (£5.9m): Groin injury (50% playing).
  • John Arne Risse (£5.5m): Knock (75% playing).
  • Younes Kaboul (£5.4m): Knee injury (unknown return date).
  • Lucas Leiva (£4.9m): Thigh injury (unknown return date).

Rafael — Williams — Coloccini
Michu — Kagawa — Ben Arfa — Yaya Toure
Adebayor — Van Persie (VC) — Tevez (C)
Subs: Al-Habsi  Hangeland  Kacaniklic  Figueroa

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday Aftermath: From Hero to Zero

Martin Skrtel was influential on both ends of pitch... One of the ends was a wrong end unfortunately.
Dramatic game at Anfield on Sunday as we saw Liverpool fantastic offence got jeopardized by their shabby defence. Here's my notes on yesterday's game:
  • Martin Skrtel (£6.0m). The defender got all the flashlights as he dictated the game with one atomic header and one assist — to Carlos Tevez (£9.4m) unfortunately.
  • Tevez once again became the hero for Manchester City, capitalizing both defensive errors of the Reds and recorded one goal and one assist. Great, great underpriced fantasy acquisition, especially when Sergio Aguero (£11.2m) is injured and QPR are the next team on City's fixtures.
  • Brendan Rodgers started Raheem Sterling (£4.5m) instead of Stewart Downing (£6.4m) on the left flank surprisingly, and that has paid great dividends. The 17-year-old winger played as if he's a Premier League veteran — calm, composed, and low on errors. Might be the best £4.5m player to own if he can squeeze Downing away from starting XI.
  • Luis Suarez (£9.5m) scored the first direct free-kick goal (watch here) of Premier League this season. A very beautiful goal. If and only if he can be more accurate in shooting on open play and provide more in fantasy terms...
  • Yaya Toure (£8.0m) continued his spectacular and scored 9 fantasy points. The lad seems to be a better pick than David Silva (£10.0m) at the moment, who only featured as a substitute and broke his fantasy managers' heart.
  • As for Arsenal, they failed to grab a goal once again and stuck 0-0 against Stoke City. Thomas Vermaelen (£7.0m) continued to shine though, getting yet another clean sheet and 2 bonus points. Still one of the most productive defender in the luxurious line.
  • Meanwhile, Carl Jenkinson (£4.6m) continued to provide super-productive fantasy return for his price, scoring 16 points in aggregate — on par with his new captain Vermaelen. But can he maintain his position when Bacary Sagna (£5.5m, expected to return on 02 September) returns? Big question mark to answer.
  • Michael Kightly (£5.5m) of Stoke also continued his fine form, scoring 5 bonus points in 2 games. Looks like the killer-passer in League Championship years ago (check his historical stats here) is getting back his magic feet.
  • As for late Saturday game, Eden Hazard (£9.8m) combined with Fernando Torres (£10.1m) for both of Chelsea's goals in their win over Newcastle. The duo are attaining the "must have" status in FPL, with fantasy managers continue to jump into the bandwagon to get him despite Chelsea having no game in gameweek 3.
  • Juan Mata (£9.4m), on the other hand, continued to disappoint fantasy wise, having played too deep to contribute any goals or assists.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturday Screamers: RVP Strikes!

Robin Van Persie grabbed his first goal for the Red Devils.
Another great Saturday night with comprehensive victory by Swansea, Everton and Manchester United! Here are some highlights:
  • Robin Van Persie (£13.0m) scored his first goal for Manchester United in his first shot for the team through a wonderful volley. Class.
  • His teammate Shinji Kagawa (£8.5m) also scored his first goal for United with an unmarked rebound. Two men to monitor.
  • Wayne Rooney (£12.0m) only featured as a sub disappointingly and ended the game on a stretcher. The striker is expected to out for 4 weeks. A good news for Van Persie and Kagawa's owners and prospective owners though as it will remove rotation fears.
  • David de Gea (£6.0m) continued to show good form between the post, but porous defence continues to hinder him from reaping good points.
  • Damien Duff (£6.0m) made it 2 goals in 2 games for Fulham, which tallied his record last season. The winger is showing some form lately - a good short-term choice, perhaps.
  • As for Swansea, Michu (£6.8m) did it again and leads the Golden Boot race with 3 goals. His price has already hiked by £0.3m in just one week, and I expect at least another £0.2m increase before gameweek 3's deadline. Grab him fast if you plan to get the highest goalscoring midfielder of La Liga last season.
  • Danny Graham (£6.0m) opened his account for Swansea too as predicted. Most of the Swans' goals will share between Michu and him - a decent third forward pick in my opinion.
  • A surprisingly flying start for Everton, scoring 6 league points out of possible 6. Maruoane Fellaini (£6.6m) scored again, which surprised me. Also on the scoresheet are Nikica Jelavic (£8.5m) and Steven Pienaar (£6.5m) - the usual suspects.
  • Meanwhile, goals from Franco Di Santo (£5.5m) and Arouna Kone (£6.5m) helped to secure victory for Wigan over newcomers Southampton. Victor Moses (£7.0m) is leaving Wigan for Chelsea, so one would expect the duo to take over the offensive burden of the club.
  • Tottenham failed to hold on their lead by Benoit Assou-Ekkoto (£6.5m) at White Hart Lane. Gylfi Sigurdsson (£9.0m) made an assist, but the rest of the attacking pack just didn't look sharp.
  • Norwich and QPR, who both lost by 5 goals last week, shared one goal apiece at Carrow Road.
  • And finally, Reading will have another double gameweek soon as the game between Sunderland and them was postponed because of waterlogged pitch.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 2 Fantasy Preview

Eden Hazard leading the league with 5 assists.
A phenomenal double gameweek saw Chelsea players giving supreme returns, especially from Branislav Ivanovic (24 pts) and new boy Eden Hazard (21 pts). Those who pick Juan Mata over the Belgian would certainly felt heartbroken. But let's move on, as we still have 37 gameweeks to go. Still lots of chance to overtake your rivals!

  1. Branislav Ivanovic (£6.6m, 24 pts): Joint league top scorer with 2 goals. Exceptional for a defender.
  2. Eden Hazard (£9.6m, 21 pts): 5 assists already with only 2 Premier League appearances. Too good for a new boy.
  3. Michu (£6.8m, 18 pts): Top performer so single gameweek players. If his shot on bar went in instead he would hit the 20-point mark as well.
  4. Mladen Petric (£6.1m, 16 pts): Carried forward his pre-season form successfully and scored some great goals.
  5. Nathan Dyer (£5.6m, 16 pts): Still the budget player that I like. Opening his season with 2 goals.
  6. Frank Lampard (£9.0m, 16 pts): Both of his goals this gameweek were from the spot, but still he has shown that he still has fantasy value.


  • Emmanuel Adebayor (Man City to Tottenham): Great move on the paper. The forward has achieved great success with the same club last season and is expected to continue such momentum.
  • Louis Saha (Free agent to Sunderland): Finally a veteran forward for the Black Cats. Has good potential with the price of only £5.5m, provided that he stays away from injury.
  • Steven Fletcher (Wolves to Sunderland): Another veteran forward for the Black Cats. At the price of £7.0m he is hardly tempting - Mladen Petric could easily outperform him at cheaper price.
  • Matthew Jarvis (Wolves to West Ham): His arrival complicates West Ham's midfield line-up and might deteriorate the whole midfield unit's fantasy value. His price of £6.0m represents a good bargain though, provided that he plays regularly.

FEATURED: Manchester City v Liverpool @ Anfield
After a big scare by Southampton last gameweek, Manchester City will continue their title defence with a tough visit to Anfield this Sunday.

The Citizens have lost Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) through injury, while David Silva (£10.0m) was mediocre in his last game against the Saints, having missed a penalty. Fortunately though, that was compensated with Carlos Tevez (£9.2m) heroics. He is definitely looking sharp and is very affordable in FPL. Strongly recommended.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have sufferred a big loss last week against West Brom, with Daniel Agger (£6.5m) being sent off for a last-man challenge. Big blow for the Reds as Jamie Carragher (£5.5m) is too old to keep up the pace, while  Sebastian Coates (£5.0m) still lacks the experience to cope with teams as strong as City.

City might have lost here terribly a year ago, but I believe things will turn around this time and the Reds will suffer two consecutive defeats in the opening stage of their season.

Prediction: MCI 2-1 LIV

Fantasy managers will need to pay more attention to Swansea after their 5-0 victory against QPR last week. They will face promoters West Ham at Liberty Stadium this week as it represents a great opportunity for them to grab 6 points out of 6.

Michu (£6.8m) started his first Premier League game spectacularly, and could be the star again against West Ham. Consider him as the new Sigurdsson - cheap and super-productive. On the other hand, Danny Graham (£6.0m) was silent against QPR but could be the man this time - he is the first choice forward of the Swans and scored 12 goals last season after all.

No disrespect to West Ham but the Hammers are one class lower than the Welsh Barcelona in my opinion.

Prediction: SWA 3-1 WHM

PLAYER FOCUS: Hazard, Adebayor and Cazorla
One simply cannot ignore Eden Hazard (£9.6m) after his 5-assist gameweek 1 showdown. He is very very penetrative and though he will play Newcastle - a much better Premier League team - this week, I believe with his quality he can continue to deliver.

Meanwhile, with Emmanuel Adebayor's (£9.5m) permanent move to Tottenham being finalized, fantasy managers can expect him to lead the front line of Spurs and bang in lots of fantasy points. At £9.5m, he is one of the undervalued forwards in FPL.

I like the immediate influence of Santi Cazorla (£9.0m) at Arsenal. He has great vision and is not afraid to shoot from far range - both are important to beat big-men teams like Stoke City.

Mladen Petric (£6.1m) is one player that you should not forget about as well, but he's playing against Manchester United at Old Trafford this weekend - not a good time to bring him into your fantasy team in my opinion.

  • Demba Ba (£7.5m):  Shin injury (75% playing).
  • Rio Ferdinand (£6.0m): Groin injury (expected to back on 2 September).
  • Fabricio Coloccini (£5.0m): Knock (75% playing).
  • Jose Enrique (£6.0m): Knock (75% playing).
  • Phil Jones (£6.0m): Back injury (expected  to back on 2 September).
  • John Terry (£7.0m): Muscle injury (50% playing).
  • Daniel Agger (£6.5m): Suspended until 2 September.
  • Clint Dempsey (£9.5m): Lack of match fitness (expected to back on 1 September).
  • Sergio Aguero (£11.3m): Knee injury (expected to back on 15 September).

Vermaelen — Clyne — A Cole
Michu (VC) — Hazard — Cazorla — Yaya Toure
Graham — Adebayor (C) — Tevez
Subs: Given  Jenkinson  Kacaniklic  Barnett

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday Mirror: The "Fell" of the Red Devils

Maruonne Fellaini celebrating his goal with teammates Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar.
A shocking Monday night football saw Premier League runners-up Manchester United lost comprehensively to Everton, who are usually slow starters. Here are some brief notes:
  • Marouane Fellaini (£6.5m) shone by scoring the only goal of the game. Not the usual fantasy suspects,  but he played very well and could be a good short-term acquisition.
  • Also playing well was Leighton Baines (£7.0m). He was linked with a move to Old Trafford before, but it still doesn't materialise yet currently. He almost scored a goal through a free kick, which was tipped off by David de Gea (£6.0m).
  • The Spanish goalkeeper looked much more like a top goalkeeper yesterday, making numerous fine saves. Can be a good season-long hold in your fantasy line-up.
  • Wayne Rooney (£12.0m) played an unspectacular game to be honest, while Robin Van Persie (£13.0m) had too little time to make a good debut.
  • I have emphasized a lot of times on United's central midfield weakness, but it seems like Sir Alex Ferguson is actually avoiding that issue and focused on building his already saturated forward line-up. What's the point of getting another forward when what you need is really a Lucas/Fellaini/Parker type of player? Time is irreversible, and Paul Scholes (£5.5m) won't get any younger by playing on the pitch.
  • The Red Devils can consider themselves unlucky though, with so many centre backs (Ferdinand, Jones, Evans and Smalling) out injured, forcing Carrick and Valencia to fill the void at the back.
That's all for today. Don't forget we still have Chelsea v Reading tomorrow for gameweek 1. Stay tuned!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday Aftermath: Aguero Injury Woes

The most vice-captained fantasy player, Sergio Aguero, ended up with only 1 point.
After such a fascinating Saturday matchday, Sunday games came with equal excitements as well. Here are some big scenes:
  • Sergio Aguero (£11.5m) went injured with only 11 minutes of action against Southampton (1 point). Big, bad news for about 30% of fantasy managers as they will need to make a forced transfer following his injury. A wildcard may as well ready to be used for some of the managers.
  • Also failing to deliver was David Silva (£10.0m), who missed a penalty in a terrible fashion. He scored nothing for this gameweek, which is definitely a big butthurt to his owners.
  • Meanwhile, Aguero's teammate and compatriot Carlos Tevez (£9.0m) proved to be as pivotal as before at Manchester City. He scored the opener goal against the Saints and with Aguero injured, his starting spot is pretty much secured for the next few weeks.
  • Samir Nasri (£8.5m) was the star performer with 12 fantasy points (which include 3 bonus points). He might as well lock a place in Mancini's starting XI with such performance.
  • I am greatly impressed by Nigel Adkins - he brought in 2 substitutes who brought immediate goals. Almost beaten the Premier League Champions last year. Splendid. Rickie Lambert (£6.0m) did not start, which surprised me, but scored a goal nonetheless.
  • On the other game we saw Eden Hazard (£9.5m) provided all 2 assists in Chelsea's victory over Wigan. It's Hazard 1-0 Mata (£9.5m) then.
  • Branislav Ivanovic (£6.5m) got 15 points thanks to his opening goal, while Frank Lampard (£9.0m) scored from the spot - he is still an important player for the Blues.
  • As for the late Saturday game, Andre Villas-Boas had a poor start as Demba Ba (£7.5m) and Hatem Ben Arfa (£7.0m) combined to send Tottenham Hotspur in misery.
  • Jermaine Defoe (£7.5m) scored only goal for the visitors though, and that is an encouraging sign to own him.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday Screamers: Swans and Cottagers on Fire

19 points in his Premier League debut? Dream start.
The first round of Premier League games this season have ended, and what an incredible start we have! Here are some highlights:
  • Swansea won 5-0 against QPR. It looks like the Swans will continue to impress under Michael Laudrup's regime as new signing Michu (£6.5m) marked his name with 2 goals and 1 assist. Don't say I didn't tell you about Michu's fantasy potential before as he should become one of the super bargain this season. Nathan Dyer (£5.5m) also delivered 2 goals, which was impressive.
  • Also winning 5-0 are Fulham against Norwich. Mladen Petric (£6.0m) carried forward his fine form since pre-season with 2 goals and 1 assist, just like Michu. I've also covered him in my pre-season previews and he should become a season bargain as well. No Dempsey, but who cares?
  • Liverpool seem like a cursed team as they lost woefully to West Brom by 3 goals. Zoltan Gera (£5.0m) scored a goal of the season candidate, but it was Liverpool's unorganized offence and porous defence that caught my attention more.
  • The first Premier League game of Arsenal in post-RVP era has ended goalless. Santi Cazorla (£9.0m) has impressed the fans though with his footwork.
  • Reading's first of the two games for this gameweek ended with a draw thanks to Adam Le Fondre's (£5.0m) penalty in the ending minutes. Pavel Pogrebnyak (£5.0m) failed to score, which is disappointing.
  • West Ham won 1-0 with Kevin Nolan (£6.0m) scoring. The midfielder should be the club's main fantasy contributor as expected.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 1 Fantasy Preview

The dream partnership.
I am sure sports lovers have undergone a great summer with Euro 2012 and London 2012 Olympics around. But nothing brings excitement and passion as much as Premier League action and managing your own Premier League team at Fantasy Premier League! And here we go, the gameweek 1 of 2012/13 Premier League season! Live up the game!

In case you have no idea on how to play the game or improve your game, feel free to read FPLZ 2012/13 Fantasy Season Preview Series by clicking this link.

FEATURED: Manchester United v Everton @ Goodison Park
Great season opener awaits as league runners-up Manchester United set to travel to Liverpool with a new striker in the name of Robin Van Persie (£13.0m).

The Dutch is set to start with Wayne Rooney (£12.0m) and form possibly the best strike partnership in earth's history. It remains unknown though whether the team-up will flourish both in reality and fantasy or falter.

There are other things to unveil for fantasy managers in this game as well, such as Shinji Kagawa's role in the team, Sir Alex Ferguson's favourite defensive line-up for the season and the complicated battle between the wingers of United. Big questions to answer.

The Red Devils should have no trouble to win though.

Prediction: MUN 3-1 EVE

TEAM FOCUS: Chelsea and Reading's DGW (Double Gameweek)
Interestingly the double gameweek this season begins so early - at gameweek 1 itself! Chelsea and Reading will play twice each, but of course emphasis will be placed on the defending UEFA Champions League Champion who have done so many big moves this summer.

Fernando Torres (£10.0m) will surely grab the spotlight - he is the Blue's most senior and experienced striker currently and has found some good form since the end of last season. He scored in the Community Shield against Manchester City, which may give more reason to fantasy managers to land him in their line-up.

Getting Chelsea midfielders which consist of Eden Hazard (£9.5m), Juan Mata (£9.5m), Frank Lampard (£9.0m), Ramires (£7.0m), Oscar (£8.5m) and more is a pretty risky move right now - Roberto Di Matteo needs more time to conduct his experiment after landing so many new players. The defenders, on the other hand, are more reliable in my opinion so landing Ashley Cole (£6.5m) into your team can be a good choice.

As for new boys Reading, Pavel Pogrebnyak (£5.0m) represents a great investment. The Russian has been doing pretty well in the Royals' pre-season, so fantasy managers can consider giving him a shot. You can consider getting Danny Guthrie (£4.5m) in too with his very affordable price.

It can be very risky to put all eggs into Chelsea and Reading's basket, but you can always use your wildcard to tweak your team if things go badly.

Prediction: WIG 1-2 CHE; RDG 1-1 STO; CHE 2-0 RDG

PLAYER FOCUS: Aguero and Silva
It's only gameweek 1 and pre-season is hardly an accurate indicator, so let's just focus on fantasy-proven players.

It's hard to keep your eye away from Sergio Aguero (£11.5m) and David Silva (£10.0m) as they are facing new boys Southampton this week. Aguero is one of the top fantasy forwards last season with 23 league goals last season, while Silva is one of the most consistent fantasy player I  have ever seen in my career as a fantasy manager. Both are reliable, if not great, fantasy picks.

I also like the prospect of new Arsenal ace Lukas Podolski (£8.5m) at home against Sunderland and Fulham new signing Mladen Petric (£6.0m) at home against Norwich, but it's always risky to pick new fantasy players without any Premier League exposure before.

  • Joe Hart (£7.0m): Back injury (75% playing).
  • Phil Jones (£6.0m): Back injury (short-term).
  • Laurent Koscielny (£5.5m): Calf injury (short-term).
  • Clint Dempsey (£9.5m): On the verge of transfer (short-term).
  • Yohan Cabaye (£7.0m): Lack of match fitness (75% playing).
  • Demba Ba (£7.5m):  Lack of match fitness (75% playing).
  • Bobby Zamora (£6.0m): Knee injury (50% playing).
  • Theo Walcott (£9.0m): Thigh injury (75% playing).
  • Stephane Sessegnon (£8.0m): Ankle injury (75% playing).

Vermaelen — Hangeland  — A Cole
Silva — Guthrie — Nolan — Mata
Pogrebnyak — Torres (C) — Aguero (VC)
Subs: Jaaskelainen  Allen  McCartney  Fabio

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: Post-Updates

Lucas Leiva may uplift Liverpool players' fantasy scoring potential to the next level.
This post serves as a complement to our FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview Series and updates the latest fantasy relevant news to you until the season starts.

Santi Cazorla (£9.0m) joins the Gunners from Malaga CF. Extraordinary move by Arsene Wenger whereby he spent as much as £16.5m on a senior player. Cazorla should become a decent fantasy player, and is expected to hurt Mikel Arteta's (£8.0m) fantasy value a lot by stealing his set pieces.

On the other hand, Robin Van Persie's (£13.0m) move to Manchester United is a  done deal as the Red Devils offerred £24m for the Dutch forward. Olivier Giroud (£9.0m) and Lukas Podolski (£8.5m) should become great fantasy stocks then.

Thomas Vermaelen (£7.0m) meanwhile has been promoted as the Gunners' new captain. Hopefully no more captain curse for them.

So Joe Allen (£5.5m) says goodbye to Liberty Stadium and goes to Anfield. A very interesting move which can make the young English a big fantasy hit, thanks to his fantasy price of £5.5m, though he is expected to play a little deeper - somewhere between Lucas Leiva and the skipper Steven Gerrard.

Also going to Anfield is Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi from Dutch side Heerenveen. He is still not listed in FPL so we will need to wait and see before we can evaluate on his value.

Manchester City
Mancini finally got his first player this summer in the name of Jack Rodwell (£5.0m). Not much of fantasy relevance though, as Rodwell plays deep in the midfield - a very unpopular position in fantasy world.

Interestingly, it seems like Carlos Tevez (£9.0m) has gained back Mancini's trust and has now become the manager's primary choice upfront. With his calibre, his fantasy valuation of £9.0m is a steal.

Manchester United
As Van Persie goes to Old Trafford, things become very unsettled at Manchester United. Will RVP and Wayne Rooney (£12.0m) complement each other well and produce even better fantasy points or hurt each other fantasy potential instead? One thing for sure is that Danny Welbeck (£8.5m) and Javi Hernandez (£8.0m) are useless in fantasy terms now, unless either of the two aforementioned big guns suffer an injury. Shinji Kagawa's (£8.0m) value hurts as well with more bench time to be expected.

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FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview Compilation

Carlos Tevez is back on track and may become a major fantasy force again.
I have released the full set of Fantasy Premier League 2012/13 Season Preview to you, but the journey doesn't end here. Latest updates especially on transfer movements and injuries and of course our gameweek 1 preview will be published later this week, but before that, let me just compile everything under one page so that you can view the preview series hassle-free.

FPLZ 2012/13 Season Previews (in chronological order):
  1. How to Play Fantasy Premier League 2012/13 Edition
  2. Introduction
  3. Team Data Summary
  4. Individual Data Summary
  5. Arsenal F.C.
  6. Aston Villa F.C.
  7. Chelsea F.C.
  8. Everton F.C.
  9. Fulham F.C.
  10. Liverpool F.C.
  11. Manchester City F.C.
  12. Manchester United F.C.
  13. Newcastle United F.C.
  14. Norwich City F.C.
  15. Queens Park Rangers F.C.
  16. Stoke City F.C.
  17. Sunderland A.F.C.
  18. Swansea A.F.C.
  19. Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
  20. West Bromwich Albion F.C.
  21. Wigan Athletic F.C.
  22. The Promoters: Reading, Southampton and West Ham
  23. Post Updates
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FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: The Promoters

The Promoters: Reading, Southampton and West Ham
The promoters with their new kit this season.
From left: Mikele Leigertwood (Reading), Rickie Lambert (Southampton) and Kevin Nolan (West Ham).

It's good to see them back, honestly. Reading, Southampton and West Ham are all old brands in English football and have large fan bases. Southampton fans will be extremely happy after being away from Premier League since 2005.

Survival will definitely be their primary objective this season, but it is hard to see the likelihood of each of them so survive with so many new faces around, though West Ham are still mainly composed by old faces such as Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Carlton Cole.

Reading: Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre, McAnuff, Guthrie
Reading have acquired some interesting players this summer, and one of them is Pavel Pogrebnyak (£5.0m). The Russian joined Fulham last season and recorded an astonishing record of 6 goals in just 943 minutes of action. With his ridiculously low price of £5.0m, he is definitely a steal.

Adam Le Fondre (£5.0m) is Pogrebnyak's partner upfront, and was the key in bringing Reading back to the top-flight league with 12 goals last season. A value for money forward, though I believe he is more susceptible to rotation especially when Brian McDermott decides to play 4-5-1, since Pogrebnyak is a more natural lone striker.

Jobi McAnuff (£5.5m) is another key man who brings the Royals to the premiership this season, contributing 5 goals and 11 assists in the process. His price seems a little bit pricier than his Pogrebnyak and Le Fondre when their fantasy value seems similar, though he is the best Reading midfielder to get in my opinion.

Danny Guthrie (£4.5m) did not get a lot of playing time at Newcastle, but I think he will get it at Madejski Stadium. Though not flashy, the midfielder is dependable, and can deliver goals and assists occasionally. A good choice as your fifth midfielder.

Southampton: Lambert, Lallana, Clyne
Scoring 25 goals last season, Rickie Lambert (£6.0m) is the ace of the Saints, and has scored 78 goals in 132 appearances for Southampton. The lad has great physical build and exceptional penalty taking ability (he still has 100% record with the club), so one would expect him to deliver some good value from his price.

Adam Lallana (£6.0m) is the second most important man behind Lambert for Southampton's return to the Premier League, recording 11 goals and 10 assists. Nothing too impressive, but a good figure nonetheless, although his £6.0m valuation doesn't seem like a good bargain compared to Lambert who is valued at the same price.

Named as a member in League Championship 2011/12 Team of the Year, Nathaniel Clyne (£4.0m) has shown great talents in the age of just 21. Though he has no great goal and assist statistics, but he is still very young, and the price of £4.0m fits perfectly as your fifth defender.

West Ham: Nolan, Vaz Te, Noble, McCartney, Maiga, Cole
We have a lot of old-time fantasy favourites at West Ham. Kevin Nolan (£6.0m) hit his prime when he was Newcastle, and was then bought by West Ham, which relegated during the time. Nolan is a great attacking midfielder - 12 goals last season at the Championship shows that.

Ricardo Vaz Te (£5.5m) has shown great efficiency last season, scoring 12 goals in just 18 appearances for the club. A good budget forward to get, though he threatens to quit the club should the right offer comes as he is unsatisfied with his wage.

Mark Noble (£5.0m) is a good candidate for 5th midfielder, with a track record of 8 goals and 9 assists last season. He played consistently under Sam Allardyce last season, you need not to worry about him rotting in the bench.

The Hammers acquired the service of George McCartney (£4.0m) this summer, and you can acquire his service too at a bargain price of £4.0m. One of the best £4.0m defender you can get in FPL this season.

Forward Modibo Maiga (£5.5m) is another man that Big Sam landed this summer. The forward has a decent track record at Sochaux (24 goals in 59 appearances), you one would expect him to challenge for the forward spot at Boleyn Ground.

Carlton Cole (£5.5m) is an old name in fantasy, and has a decent goal record, though not really impressive. His playing minutes is hindering him from getting good fantasy scores, but to include him in your fantasy team can be beneficial when the time is right.

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FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: Wigan Athletic F.C.

Wigan Athletic F.C.
Victor Moses promoting his club's new kit for 2012/13 season.
You can download the full analyzed squad data here.

Last Season: Safe
Struggle - this has always been Wigan's situation every season, and the last one was not an exception. Poor conversion rate especially by Victor Moses in first half of the season had almost sent the Latics to hell, though they fired up in the late stage of the season and saved themselves with still a little bit extra league points for survival.

This Summer: Lack of Excitement
Many players are going away from DW Stadium this summer, with names such as Hugo Rodallega, Mohamed Diame, Steve Gohouri and Chris Kirkland; heading the opposite direction are highly rated young midfielder Fraser Fyvie and Mallorca defender Ivan Ramis. Not very flashy here, as usual.

Upcoming Season: Escape the Cycle
Stuck in relegation battle, barely survived. Stuck in relegation battle, barely survived. The unhealthy cycle has been on and on every season for Wigan, and surely this is not something the players and the fans like. They definitely need to bring their skill to the next level and pull themselves up to the mid-table position to avoid such scare again.

Moses' indices last season.
N'Zogbia V2: Moses (FI: 0.634)
He wouldn't like to be recognized that way, but that's the way he is. Victor Moses (£7.0m) is the new ace of Wigan after the departure of Charles N'Zogbia last season, though he did not look like at first. The lad failed to score for a streak of 60+ shots before scoring his first goal on December last season - an embarrassing record for any players. But he marched on from there and ended the season with 6 goals and 6 assists - certainly not bad for a player from a club which constantly troubled by relegation fears.

His £7.0m fantasy valuation might stop you from getting him, but I do believe he has the quality to meet his asking price. The bigger doubt though is his highly possible move to Chelsea, which can be done in these few days. Stay alert for the development.

Budget Pick: Di Santo (FI: 0.434)
There are hardly any fantasy talents at DW Stadium other than Moses, but Franco Di Santo (£5.5m) can be the next hit at Wigan after Moses.

At the age of 23, the Argentine still has a lot of room to grow, not to mention he played only 2025 minutes last season - 150 points should be an attainable target for him this season with less competition upfront and higher reliance on him, should Moses leaves.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: West Bromwich Albion F.C.

West Bromwich Albion F.C.
Gareth McAuley with West Brom's 2012/13 season home kit.
You can download the full analyzed squad data here.

Last Season: Impressive
Being a team who go through the promotion and relegation cycle regularly, West Brom managed to change the situation this time, finishing at glorious tenth place last season. A big part of the credit goes to ex-manager Roy Hodgson though, and with him left the club for England international team, it is a doubt whether they can reach the same height again this season.

This Summer: Clarke's Debut
Steve Clarke has been appointed as the new manager of the Baggies. A risky move as this is Steve Clarke's first stint as a club's head coach.

As for players, Ben Foster's move to the Hawthorns become a permanent one, with midfielder Claudio Yacob, young Belgian Yassine El Ghanassy (loan), free agent Markus Rosenberg and Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku (loan) joining the team. Five players were being released, namely Keith Andrews, Marton Fulop, Paul Scharner, Nicky Shorey and Somen Tchoyi.

Upcoming Season: Uncertain
As mentioned this will be Steve Clarke's first time as a manager - things can go everywhere honestly. The pre-season record is neither good nor bad at the moment. Maybe the first few gameweeks will reveal Clarke's ability to mange a club.

Odemwingie's fantasy stats.
Wet Gun?: Odemwingie (FI: 0.454)
Peter Odemwingie (£7.0m) was an instant fantasy hit during his first season at the Hawthorns, but his performance somehow declined to an unappealing level last season.

Still, the Nigerian forward managed to score double figure goals last season. The lad does have good fantasy potential, so do keep an eye on him and get him when the right time comes.

Ridgewell's fantasy
indices last season.
Great Return: Ridgewell (FI: 0.924)
It really caught me when I saw Liam Ridgewell (£5.0m) scored such a high FPLZ Index last season, which aroused my curiousity to analyze him further.

The defender scored 61 points in just 1170 minutes of action, which he managed to score one goal, one assist, and six clean sheets. Impressive.

He now costs £0.5m more than last season, but nonetheless he should be the first man to consider among West Brom defenders, if Steve Clarke can keep the back as tight as when it was during Hodgson's era, or even tighter.

Tough Battle: Long (FI: 0.344), Rosenberg (FI: N/A), Lukaku (FI: N/A)
Interesting competition upfront for West Brom where we will have three equally good candidate to fight for the second forward spot alongside Odemwingie - Shane Long (£6.0m), Markus Rosenberg (£6.5m) and Romelu Lukaku (£6.5m).

All of them are priced in the same band, so it really takes time to observe and see which player actually plays more and brings good value to fantasy managers.

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FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Spurs with their new home and away kit for 2012/13 season.
You can download the full analyzed squad data here.

Last Season: Unlucky
They got the fourth place, but without the qualification for Champions League. Tottenham Hotspur can consider themselves unlucky as Chelsea won UEFA Champions League for the first time, which effectively blocked their way to the top-flight European tournament this season. It was still a good season anyway, as they had gone very close to the leading duo at one point, showing great competitiveness and potential as title contenders.

This Summer: Massive Changes
Harry Redknapp was sacked for some unknown reason and replaced by Andre Villas-Boas, who failed a big time at Chelsea. A very questionable move by Daniel Levy seriously.

Swansea's successful loanee Gylfi Sigurdsson and former Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen are the ones who have joined the club currently, with players such as Vedran Corluka, Niko Kranjcar, Louis Saha, Ryan Nelsen and Steven Pienaar all heading the opposite direction.

Upcoming Season: Insecure
With such a big change in the management, it is hard to predict Tottenham's new season. The change in manager will certainly bring in a lot of uncertainty, especially when Redknapp had brought so much of stability and achievement at White Hart Lane. The first month will surely give us an indication whether Villas-Boas will succeed or flop for the second time in Premier League.

Bale's stats last
Speedy Speed Boy: Bale (FI: 0.699)
Aged 23, Gareth Bale (£9.5m) is definitely one of the best talent across the European continent right now, thanks to his excellent speed and explosiveness, precise ball delivery, and his decent aerial threat.

Having played 3216 minutes last season, Bale managed to record his best fantasy record so far with 195 points. Don't be surprised if he breaks the 200 point milestone this season - he still has plenty of room to grow.

The bad news unfortunately for Bale is that he limped off during the pre-season game with Liverpool, after a dangerous tackle from Charlie Adam, who is renowned for his sloppy defence.

Van der Vaart's historical P90.
Super Poacher: Van der Vaart (FI: 0.547)
Rafael Van der Vaart (£9.0m) actually has the ability to achive a 200-point season easily, but his injuries were limiting his potential to do so.

The Dutch has P90 of 6.50 last season which ranked first among his teammates, but playing minutes of only 2314 meant that he only ranked third in terms of aggregate scores. During the season before the last one he played 2222 minutes, which was even lesser.

I have no doubts about Van der Vaart's flair and goal poaching ability, so let's hope that he can be less injury-plagued this season and score more fantasy points. His price tag of £9.0m resembles a good bargain when compared to his scoring ability.

On Fire: Sigurdsson (FI: 1.240)
It was just half a good season, and Glyfi Sigurdsson (£9.0m) has become freaking expensive at the price of £9.0m, on par with his new teammate Rafael Van der Vaart.

However, the Icelandic is on sublime form during Tottenham's pre-season tour, scoring 2 goals and 3 assists in his first 4 games for the North London club. His set piece ability is a marvelous addition to Andre Villas-Boas's squad, and that really justifies his high price tag.

Defoe's FPL historical data.
Affordable: Defoe (FI: 0.340)
Jermaine Defoe (£7.5m) spent more time on the bench than on the pitch last season, but with Villas-Boas struggling to find a new forward for the team, he should become the team's first choice forward this season.

His best fantasy season record is 150 points - not too great, but good enough for his price, as long as he doesn't injure that often. Tottenham's offensive approach will definitely help him to rack up a good amount of points.

Super Budget Prospect: Kane (FI: N/A)
Tottenham manager is struggling to find a new striker for the team, but that may become a great fortune to fantasy managers as he will need to deploy Harry Kane (£4.5m) more often than not in this coming season.

The 19-year-old English scored 8 goals for Milwall last season, and can be a hit this season with his ludicrous price of £4.5m.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: Swansea A.F.C.

The Swans on fire with their new away kit.
You can download the full analyzed squad data here.

Last Season: Fantastic Debut
Swansea are the first Welsh team to play in the Premier League, and they did not disappoint. Superb tiki-taka play, wonderfully acrobatic Michel Vorm and great loanee Glyfi Sigurdsson have all made the season at Liberty Stadium a happening one. An 11th placed finish have certainly far beaten out fans' expectations.

This Summer: Few Additions
Michael Laudrup has marked his takeover with three new players currently - former Genoa defender Jose Manuel Flores, youngster Jonathan de Guzman from Villareal (loan) and attacking midfielder Michu from Roya Vallecano. Decent players.

Joe Allen meanwhile has gone to Liverpool recently, bringing £15m to the Swans. Great, great business.

Upcoming Season: Continuation of Tiki-Taka?
Clearly the club owners do not hope to disrupt much of the current system inherited from Brendan Rodgers, and the appointment of Michael Laudrup proves that. Laudrup has gained a lot of Spanish football experience during his time at Getafe and Mallorca, and is a big admirer of one-two passing. But can he maintain or even escalate the Swans' tiki-taka to the next level? Time will tell.

Sinclair's FPL stats
last season.
Good Value: Sinclair (FI: 0.548) 
Scott Sinclair (£7.0m) resembles a good value to fantasy managers last season, thanks to outstanding offensive ability, and most importantly, his role in taking set pieces.

The lad played over 3000 minutes last season - no issue of rotation - and was the primary penalty taker of the team. Unless these change, I see Sinclair as a value buy who can deliver consistency to your team.

Flying Man: Vorm (FI: 0.674)
I think Michel Vorm (£5.5m) is the first ever fantasy goalkeeper who tops the team's scoring table, and he deserves it thoroughly after recording a whopping 143 saves last season.

The Dutch was one of the excitement of Premier League last season, thanks to his wonderful reflexes and exhilarating flying saves (click here to watch some of his best saves last season). He is one of the greatest goalkeeper in the making.

Nonetheless, spending £5.5m on him when Swansea have just changed their manager is a risky move, so I suggest to wait at least 2-3 gameweeks and see Swansea's defensive performance before you decide whether to get the superman.

Budget Pick: Dyer (FI: 0.611)
Nathan Dyer (£5.5m) was one of the hit at Liberty Stadium last season, as he hit his career high with 5 goals and 4 assists.

Given his price of £5.5m, you can hardly find any better fantasy midfielder than him. Definitely a good pick for your fourth or fifth midfielder.

Next Sigurdsson?: Michu (FI: N/A)
Michu (£6.5m) went through a successful season last term with Rayo Vallecano, scoring 15 La Liga goals in the process and got Laudrup's attention to sign him.

He is yet to prove himself in the Premier League, but given his stats, don't be surprised if he becomes the next Sigurdsson of the team.

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FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: Sunderland A.F.C.

Sunderland introducing their new away kit and new kit sponsor.
You can download the full analyzed squad data here.

Last Season: Decent
13th place is honestly a so-so position, but it is considered good enough in such a fiercely-battled Premier League environment. A string of good performances especially from Stephane Sessegnon, Nicklas Bendtner and James McClean have given Sunderland a respectable finish, though they could do a little bit better.

This Summer: Exit Wave
Carlos Cuellar is the only newcomer at Stadium of Light so far, while five players who include goalkeeper Craig Gordon and defender Michael Turner have gone the other way. Certainly very opposite from their usual activity in the transfer market.

Upcoming Season: Needs Magic
It looks like the Black Cats are in the bottleneck, and Martin O'Neill will need to do something to break that. He has a good crop of young players to utilize, and if he can grow them fast, Sunderland can well be in the position to push for a spot in Europe.

Sessegnon's stats
last season.
Pivotal: Sessegnon (FI: 0.622)
Stephane Sessegnon (£8.0m) was unarguably the most important chess piece of Martin O'Neill as he contributed 7 goals and 12 assists last season.

With no big guns upfront this season, the Beninese is expected to play in the advanced role again and be as productive as last season. Still a good pick in your midfield lineup.

Wanting An Injury-Free Season: Campbell (FI:0.217)
Fraizer Campbell's (£5.5m) has been constantly plagued with injury, but he is match-fit currently as he prepares for the new season.

The 24-year-old lad has some impressive footwork under his boots, and should be Martin O'Neill's current first pick in his forward lineup. So if Campbell can stay free from injury, he has the potential to become a fantasy hit.

Underpriced: Ji (FI: 0.270)
It's funny to see Ji Dong-Won (£4.5m) to cost as low as £4.5m, especially when he is now at worst the third choice forward of Martin O'Neill.

With Campbell very prone to injury and Connor Wickham (£5.5m) even younger than him, Ji can be a great fantasy prospect at times over the course of next season. The timing must be right though to reap a good value from him.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

FPLZ 2012/13 Season Preview: Stoke City F.C.

Stoke City F.C.
The Potters new away kit in conjunction with the club's 150 years celebration.
 You can download the full analyzed squad data here.

Last Season: Quiet
Compared to the time where they have just joined the Premier League, Stoke City really looked anonymous last season. They played boringly, and had always been in the "unfocused" region of the league table (they finished the campaign 14th). Their trademark long throws were not as "fresh" as before as well.

This Summer: Quiet
The Potters signed Michael Kightly from Wolverhampton Wanderes and 21-year-old former Rangers midfielder Jamie Ness joined as a free agent, but otherwise things have been very quiet at Britannia, with no other new signings going in and only fringe and young players heading out. Ricardo Fuller is possibly the only man that Premier League fans may know in Stoke's exit list.

Upcoming Season: Quiet?
There aren't any big changes happening at Stoke City, so it's really hard to expect something special to happen there next season. With more and more midtable clubs spending money like nobody's business, the Potters have to be careful to not fall into the quicksand of relegation.

Walters' historical stats.
Gun In the Hole: Walters (FI: 0.506)
Being just a semi-starter two seasons back, Jonathan Walters (£6.5m) was fully entrusted by Tony Pulis to play in the hole last season. He did not disappoint, and went on to become the team's second top scorer with 7 goals, behind Peter Crouch (£6.5m).

With Crouch remain to be the only reliable striker they have, Walters should continue to play at his best position behind the towering lad. He may be the next Dempsey in the making - the American also start his career at Fulham from zero to hero.

Bright Start: Kightly (FI: N/A)
Michael Kightly (£5.5m) was tipped by FPLZ as the next fantasy hot pick during when Wolves first promoted to the Premier League, but things had gone oddly and he failed to shine, registering not even 2000 minutes over the last 3 seasons.

He only needed 134 seconds on the pitch to declare himself as a Stoke City player though, as he scored his first goal for his new club against SpVgg Greuther Furth in pre-season friendly. It's still hard to say how he will do in the league this season, but as one of the Championship best player seasons ago, he surely has the quality to shine.

Source of Creativity: Etherington (FI: 0.475)
Although not showy, Matthew Etherington (£6.5m) has been very consistent in FPL for the last 3 seasons, thanks to his high quality passing especially in set pieces. In fact, becoming the primary set piece taker of the team is a big factor for him to score for at least 120 points for the last 3 seasons.

With not much of good firepower upfront, the Potters will need to continue to rely on him to deliver. A dependable man who can deliver a good amount of fantasy points.

Tough Man: Shawcross (FI: 0.443)
Ryan Shawcross (£5.0m) was a hit when Stoke first joined the Premier League, but his price surge have made him a less popular figure in FPL.

The English defender is an tough man to beat, and is good at winning headers to score goals. Stoke will need to better their defensive record though, to make Shawcross a good fantasy defender to own.

Towering Presence: Crouch (FI: 0.467)
Peter Crouch (£6.5m) has always been a iconic figure in the Premier League ever since his time at Southampton, thanks to his height. Though not at a very prolific rate, the lad has a dependable goal record at every club he has played for, which is what Stoke sickly need.

Crouch ranked 10th last season in terms of fantasy points in the list of forwards. Not too bad with his price, but with the front pack of forwards all scoring crazy amount of points, fantasy managers may not feel comfortable to satisfy with a budget performer in their line-up.

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