Fplmariner’s musings : Midfield

This year selecting the right midfielder looks to be a complete minefield with six ‘premium options’ above 10 million along with a number of unproven players in the Premier League, the young guns and of course the search for the next Lord Lundstram.


Using my data which all of you would have seen by now and with my aim not to create a flexible midfield allowing changes in formation. With this in mind i am looking to select no more than two premium’s, one (maybe two) mid-priced asset and two players under 6.0 M. I am also not adverse to benching one asset for GW2.

As usual I created a short list based on extrapolating last seasons points from minutes played and then factoring in rotation in project restart. I then factored in the fixtures and form after project restart.

10.0 Million + (Choose 1 or 2)

8.0 – 9.5 Million (Choose 1 or 2)

6.0 – 7.5 Million (choose 0 or 1)

Less than 6.0 Million (Choose 2)

So given the aim to maintain flexibility and with my beady eye on value who am I going with and why?

The Premium’s

Given that i am looking at two from this bracket and with my strategy this year of not being adverse to moving between premiums and captaining them (or upside chasing as it has been termed) It is important not to overthink these slots especially as City and United have GW1 blanks.

The two i have selected are in form ‘flat track bully’ Aubameyang (ARS) 22.5 PPMR who looks to benefit to the tune of 30 + points over the season moving into Midfield and who has two juicy captainable fixtures and Salah (Liv) 21.2 PPMR, who, i predict, despite failing the eye test in the charity shield will awaken with the return and subsequent service of TAA.

‘Why not Mane?’ you may ask, especially given my love of numbers – well its nothing more than a gut feeling given parity on price and FOMO, when i inevitably pick the wrong asset!

GW1 Blank Teams

Manchester United offer three fantastic assets in Midfield and whilst Greenwood sits in a lower price category it probably warrants a combined discussion.

Its fair to say that Bruno Fernandes 32.4 PPMR had a quite incredible run last season and if you just used the PPMR metric in isolation he would be a no-brainer. However when you dig further you will see that despite assuming Bruno is on Penalties. his levels seem unsustainable (179.2) and if you adjust his returns, whilst he still looks appealing at 17 G, 8 A, Rashford 27.5 PPMR, 1 Million cheaper appears on par with Bruno given he too will benefit from his move to midfield and his returns, (17 G, 7 A) that are closer to his Non Penalty XG+XA (127.4) despite missing around 20% of the season.

Interestingly these factors don’t seem to have been picked up in the twitter-sphere given the poll results below; predicting Bruno to return most points until GW10 for MNU.

My conclusion however is to swerve Fernandes have a valuable 1 Million and start with Rashford 9.5M (possibly benching him) , who i think has the chance of joining the 200 club this season provided he is not blighted with Injuries.

Mason Greenwood MNU levels (209.8) also seem unsustainable and suggest he’s super lucky or just super good!, however if Sancho arrives at United then this will completely end my interest.

Manchester City

OK, so own up! how many people had at least one city asset in their team prior to the fixtures being released?. Obviously the blank caused the first big rethink of pre-season tinkering with our minds quickly turning to when to introduce them.

Comparing the two premiums Sterling 17.7 PPMR and De Bruyne 23.2 PPMR in Isolation would immediately draw you to KDB. However again looking closer you will see that KDB over-performed against XG +XA (143.9) against Sterling who under-performed against non Penalty XG + XA (73.1)

KDB is amazing of course, and his over performance is probably sustainable, given his ability to score from nowhere and seemingly on set pieces and penalties. Sterling on the other hand had a poor start to the season but then was in Stella form post lock-down – if he continues this form he could easily provide 25+ goals in the season, challenging KDB in the process

This is really too close to call so i’m actually pleased i don’t have to choose now. I will wait till GW3, watching closely in GW2 against Wolves, but i will definitely be onboard for GW3, one way or the other (at time of writing Aubameyang to KDB given his consistency over Sterling)

8.0 – 9.5 Million (Choose 1 or 2)

I’ve already revealed my love for Rashford (& his likely selection) but who else can we compare using the metric and are worthy of consideration.

Pulisic (che) 8.5 M – Injured at present but undoubtedly a great option at 27.3 PPMR once fit. Minutes may be managed especially given the strengthened team but could rival Rashford for returns basis Xg +Xa at a million cheaper, although he is possibly more prone to rotation.

Son (Tot) 9.0 M 25.7 PPMR – I suffered last year from his petulance getting him a red card when i owned him so this is a tough sell for me especially as he seems to be playing wider these days. However Spurs do have some really juicy home fixtures with NEW, WHU, BRI in the first 7 GWs so still under consideration either for the longer term or as a one week punt.

Mahrez 8.5 M 24.6 PPMR – Blanking in GW1 with a tough fixture and in GW2 leads me to steer clear for now given the structure of my team and the perceived value of Foden and the number of Chelsea options (more later).

Notable others;

Willian 8.0 M 22.8 PPMR – One week punt prior to moving to Rashford?, Two week punt then ditch to a Chelsea asset? not out of the question.

Alli 8.0 M 22.4 PPMR – a whole million cheaper than Son and potentially in Mourinho’s thoughts. Showed flashes of the old Dele last season so cannot be ignored.

Ziyech 8.0 M *27.3 PPMR based on Ajax 2019 returns – which will probably not correlate. He is also Injured at time of writing and would have been my GW1 punt to move to Rashford had he been fit (which is looking increasingly doubtful now).

6 to 7.5 Million

There are obviously two enormous stand outs in this section, Greenwood MNU 35.8 and Foden MCI 31.2 , however both are not without their risks if selected. We have already mentioned Greenwood‘s possibility of regression basis stats and of course Foden has been a victim of Pep roulette being benched 40% post lock-down. That said i think he will get more game time this year so my projections are based on 30% rotation, similar to the other city assets.

I don’t think its out of the question for Foden to score 12 to 15 goals this season given a run and natural progression and as a result i expect any early season double up will include him.

For now though they both miss out given my preference for Rashford.

Notable others;

Bowen (WHU) 6.5 M 22 PPMR looks to be in great form, scoring twice v Bournemouth last weekend. He passed the eye test at the end of last season and with West ham playing on the break will be involved given his pace. Tough Fixtures aside he could be worth a punt (1% owned) before moving to Chelsea assets for example. Food for thought and not discounted.

James Ward Prowse (SOU) 6.0 M 20.0 PPMR Nailed and In an in form side, on Penalties and Free Kicks. I really like JWP but to be honest i also like Redmond, Armstrong, KWP, Ings and Adams. Given my structure i will most likely start without him unless i can find 0.5 Million from somewhere.

Redmond (SOU) 6.0 M 19.3 PPMR Same as JWP above but not on Penalties or free kicks. Discounted.

Less than 6.0 Million – Who will breakout?

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Podence (Wol) 5.5 M 40.0 PPMR – I am very hopeful that Podencio will be that man! The diminutive Portuguese looked lively in project restart and in the Europa league and appears now to have the jersey, according to Wolves correspondents. He is competing of course with Jota, who seems to have gone off a cliff recently and Neto. Wolves first two fixtures are tough but once we know Nuno’s plans – and if he’s in them, then he will be straight into my team at that price given his potential for double digit returns. News of further Wolves transfers expected – watch this space!

Keita (Liv) 5.5 28.0 PPMR – nothing like as exciting but might be a cheap way into the Liverpool team. Indeed when researching i came across a recent quote on twitter by @Liverpoolcom_ who said “If Keita can nail down a consistent starting role and stay injury-free, he could be an FPL steal this season. It’s a gamble to begin with, and the safer bet would be to sit tight and see how he starts off, but the rewards could be plentiful”. You may have to sacrifice other Liverpool assets to bring him in but one to watch for sure.

Armstrong (SOU) 5.5 M 26.0 PPMR. Again a Southampton asset but this time at the right price point and firmly on my radar. Redmond is nailed however and therefore he appears to be competing for one spot with Smallbone and Djenepo so by no means completely nailed. However my stats take that into account with his value so its entirely possible i stomach the risk.

Soucek (WHU) 5.0 M 25.3 PPMR. Would have been nailed in my team but now will wait for West Ham fixtures to ease up before bringing him in given we may have to put other COVID fires out too.

Saint Maximin (NEW) 5.5M 21.4 PPMR. I fondly remember ASM‘s three assists against Bournemouth last season, having made the call to bring him in the week before. This stand out performance was really the last we saw of him, picking up a knock in the process. That said, Newcastle are now strengthening their team with the arrival of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser and both may provide upside for ASM, Wilson to finish chances created and Fraser to take some heat off the main man!. West Ham were shocking last weekend in defence and whilst his fixtures are not as good as Armstrong he gets the nod on that alone but will need some cover for rotation if keeping for the longer term. Bonjour Allain!

Notable Others;

Sander Berge (SHU) 5.0 M 21.4 PPMR – Seems to have wrestled the starting spot from the Lord and is 0.5 Million cheaper. SHU have some reasonable fixtures and given Soucek’s covid woes may indeed be my 5th Midfielder unless i need that extra 0.5 million and i have to dip my toe into the 4.5 M fodder. Irritatingly now flagged as would have rotated well with ASM.

Harvey Barnes (LEI) 7.0 M – Rotation killed his metric post lock-down but if as it is likely, he gets a run in the team then he offers more PPMR appeal than for example Bowen at 25.1 PPMR but is that 0.5 million more. I have a sneaky suspicion about him that this might be his year.

So to conclude, and as it stands The Brothers Grimsby will set up as follows with 3 out of 5 places fairly locked in. The possible changes, mainly to my 3rd and 5th Midfielders at time of writing are numerous, Fernandes could become Rashford (freeing up cash elsewhere) and also be benched or i may be tempted to have a one week punt down as far as Bowen in value (Son, Alli, Barnes, etc) and then bring a united asset in. Ceballos is only a placeholder for now.

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Next up, Forwards in a couple of days… stay tuned

Chris Turner aka FPL MARINER

Published by fplmariner

Grimsby Town fan exiled in Singapore since 2017 Oil Trading by day, FPL and family (plus a good bottle of wine) by night.

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