FPL Ramblings Part 3 The Midfield Minions
Thanks for reading FPL Ramblings Part 3 The Midfield Minions : In previous seasons the budget midfielder has more often than not been a player who was priced at £4.5m or below who sat on your bench week in week out and would hopefully deliver you 2pts when called upon. For some of you that may also be the case this season but with the way this season has panned out many of you will undoubtedly be placing much more emphasis on your budget midfielder. 3-5-2 has emerged from the wilderness this season meaning that your 5th midfielder needs to be someone who is capable of scoring points on a semi-regular basis. Those of you who continue with the tried and trusted 3-4-3 formation may be deploying a budget player as your 4th midfielder, particularly if you’re attempting to squeeze three of the big four forwards into your side. Budget midfielders have scored quite well over the course of the season with Etienne Capoue and Joe Allen performing well in the early part of the season and the likes of Matt Phillips, Robert Snodgrass and Wilfried Zaha taking up the baton in more recent weeks. So what is a budget midfielder? For the purposes of this article I’m going to stick to midfielders currently priced under £6m.
The top scoring budget midfielders over the course of the season are as follows;
Matt Phillips (£5.7m) 100pts
Robert Snodgrass ((£5.8m) 94pts
Wilfried Zaha (£5.8m) 88pts
Etienne Capoue (£4.8m) 83pts
Joe Allen (£5.3m) 78pts
James McArthur (£4.8m) 66pts
Nemanja Matic (£5.1m) 65pts
Leroy Fer (£4.9m) 65pts
Junior Stanislas (£5.1m) 64pts
Nathan Redmond (£5.8m) 63pts
To be honest I wouldn’t be basing a transfer decision on the above info as it can be somewhat misleading. While Phillips has scored once and picked up four assists in his last six games someone like Capoue hasn’t registered any returns since GW12. So while it highlights how someone has done in the past it’s not necessarily a good indicator of their current form.
If we now sort the top 10 by form we get the following;
Robert Snodgrass (£5.8m) 6.0
Matt Phillips (£5.7m) 5.5
Wilfired Zaha (£5.8m) 5.3
Alex Iwobi (£5.8m) 4.2
Charlie Adam (£4.7m) 4.2
Ryan Fraser (£4.8m) 4.0
Daniel Amartey (£4.5m) 3.5
Kevin Mirallas (£6.0) 3.3
Marten de Roon (£4.4m) 3.3
Joe Allen (£5.3m) 3.3
While this list is unquestionably more reliable you shouldn’t rely on it solely as the basis for your decision. On first glance a player’s form can appear to be better than what it is. Take someone like Daniel Amartey for example. Thanks to a goal and maximum bonus points in GW17 he appears to be a decent option, but take a closer look and you’ll see that these are his only returns this season!
When buying any player not only must we consider their form but we also need to consider their upcoming fixtures and on paper some of those who are listed in the top 10 by form have some great fixtures. Let’s take a quick look at each of the players listed in the top 10. As Zaha and Amartey are currently away on international duty (hopefully they don’t get eaten!) we won’t bother with them.
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[/three_fifth]Hull currently sit rock bottom of the table with just three wins and four draws from their opening 20 games. They’re doomed! If they somehow pull off a miracle and survive it will be thanks to Snodgrass. The Tigers have scored just 17 times this season with Snodgrass scoring seven of them and assisting two of them, meaning he’s been directly involved in 53% of their goals. He currently features in just 8.5% of teams which makes him a great differential. The problem is Hull’s upcoming fixtures. Following the visit of Bournemouth in GW21 their next four fixtures are against Chelsea, United, Liverpool & Arsenal! This should be enough to send you running to the hills but Snodgrass is Mr Hull, he literally does everything…he takes penalties, direct & indirect free kicks, corners, he even washes the chairman’s car every Saturday morning. Unsurprisingly his underlying stats are also quite impressive. Over the past six game-weeks he’s put in 59 crosses, if only Hull had a striker. While his successful final third passes (84) are bettered only by Iwobi.
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[/three_fifth]When West Brom signed Phillips from QPR last summer many of us suspected that he was a decent FPL prospect. The Baggies struggled at the beginning of the season winning just one of their first four games with Phillips failing to register any returns in these games. To be honest he failed to shine throughout the opening 10 game-weeks, picking up just two assists. The subsequent 10 game-weeks have seen a notable improvement and he’s weighed in with four goals and seven assists in that period. He’s clearly a player in form. In seasons past the idea of investing in a Tony Pulis attacker would have been frowned upon, but not this season. They’ve managed just three clean sheets but have scored 28 goals. He’s not the set piece king that Snodgrass is but he does take his share of corners and indirect free kicks. Surprisingly his underlying stats are not as impressive as some of the other discussed here but with a goal and four assists in his last six games he’s proof that stats aren’t everything. It’s also worth noting that following their trip to Spurs this weekend they have a superb run of fixtures.
When I first noticed that Iwobi was 3rd on the form list I fully expected that this was going to be due to one good game-week. He’s actually scored twice in the last six game-weeks. Although he’s featured in each of the last six games he is yet to play the full 90 minutes this season and has started just 12 games. His underlying stats when compared against the others in this article are impressive. Over the last six game-weeks he’s had 24 penalty area touches a figure only bettered by a number of FPL heavyweights, while he’s also had five shots on target. Despite these stats, he’s too much of a risk due to the imminent return of Ozil & Walcott as well as the form of Giroud up top.
Hands up if you remember when Chaz was the dream budget midfielder? Ok it was that long ago. Back in the 2010/11 season he scored 12 goals and picked up nine assists. Unfortunately, those days are long gone for poor old Chaz. This season he has just one goal and three assists to his name, although the goal and two assists have come in the last six games. Let’s call a spade a spade, despite his recent form he’s no longer FPL material.
Outside of a few Bournemouth and Scottish fans I doubt anyone else had heard of Ryan Fraser before this season. Having joined the Cherries as an 18-year-old when they were in League One Fraser has worked hard and there are high hopes for him on the south coast. He’s only made five starts this season and has come off the bench on five occasions. He has however impressed when given the opportunity and has played a starring role in their win over Liverpool and again during the 3-3 draw with Arsenal on Tuesday night. Bournemouth have some great fixtures over the coming weeks but despite this I feel Fraser is one to watch rather than invest in as Eddie Howe has a plethora of midfield options at his disposal.
Kevin Mirallas, Marten de Roon & Joe Allen
There’s no denying Mirallas has talent. Conversely there’s also no denying he’s one of the most frustrating footballers in the PL as more often than not he chooses the wrong option! The Belgian has had 12 starts this season and has come off the bench on another seven occasions. The Toffees are set to embark on a great run of fixtures but for £6m you need someone who is guaranteed to start.
For those of you playing 3-4-3 and want a cheap midfielder to sit on your bench de Roon is for you but that’s about it.
For a time earlier in the season Allen was undoubtedly the budget midfielder to own. Unfortunately, his returns as well as his underlying stats have dipped of late. He’s one of those players who I wouldn’t recommend you buy but if you already own you could easily hold onto him.
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[/three_fifth]One noticeable omission from the form list is Bournemouth’s Junior Stanislas. This is due to the fact that he only returned to the side off the bench in GW18 having missed the previous three games due to injury. Since his return, he has picked up two assists to bring his returns for the season to three goals & six assists. His underlying stats in the last two game-weeks are quite impressive including four shots on target as well as creating four big chances. There’s no questioning the fact that when Stanislas plays he will chip in with regular returns. Unfortunately, he has had fitness issues this season and this has seen him start just 11 games to date. Assuming he stays fit he’s a good bet for some attacking returns in the short term given Bournemouth’s immediate fixtures. Currently featuring in just 1.4% of teams he represents an excellent differential meaning he really does have the potential to fire you up the rankings.
After all that waffle there really are only three players worth serious consideration…Snodgrass, Phillips & Stanislas. Of the three my first preference would be Phillips. West Brom are playing well and they’ve got some great fixtures coming up. It’s also worth noting that he’s as consistent away from home as he is at home. His four goals are evenly split home & away while four of his nine assists have come on the road. Long-term I’d probably go with Snodgrass over Stanislas since he’s on all of their set pieces while we can’t rely on Stanislas not breaking down. However, if you just want a short-term pick Stanislas is probably the better bet. It is worth noting that both Snodgrass & Stanislas are homers!
Thanks for reading FPL Ramblings Part 3 The Midfield Minions. This article was written by Kop Warrior