Promoted Teams Analysis FPL 2017/18 Brighton
I’m writin’ about Brighton.
As Milburn and Rosco combine to give us the canny lowdown on their local heroes at Newcastle and as Brookyboy runs through his beloved Huddersfield Terriers, it fell to me to write about my local side – 469 miles for those curious! I’m actually closer to Killarney than Brighton but that’s not to say I can’t fall in love and adopt them as my little team this season.
So let me give you a quick meet and greet to ‘my’ Albion before we look at the five players I’ve selected who I think could provide the best value for your fantasy squads this season.
Brighton and Hove Albion to give them their full title were founded in 1901 and this season will be their first ever in the Premier League. Their highest ever league finish was in the old First Division was 13th in 1981-82 (the season I was born – we’re just meant to be together). They play at the Falmer Stadium, or the Amex to provide its sponsored title and things have never been better for the Seagulls. In their chequered past they were once one match away from relegation out of the football league, they were homeless and playing 70 miles away from home at Gillingham, they then had to lease an athletics arena from the local council to play on. Their supporters deserve this Premiership season.
They are managed by the hugely-underrated Chris Hughton and famous fans include Des Lynam, Fatboy Slim and . . . . Jamie Theakston? Their biggest match (which they’ll enjoy twice this season) is the M23 Derby against Crystal Palace. It’s an odd one, look it up!
For fantasy though, I have looked at five guys and these are Mat Ryan, Lewis Dunk, Anthony Knockaert, Pascal Gross and Glenn Murray.
FPL Price: £4.5m
Mat Ryan first came to my attention when he turned down a trial in Scotland with Rangers in 2013 due to the instability at the club at the time but I followed his career since then because I’m kind of a football nerd that way. The Aussie stopper was with Central Coast Mariners at that time and since then he has represented Bruges, Valencia and Genk before Chris Hughton signed him this summer. He undoubtedly has been signed as first choice goalkeeper for the coming season to replace the Birmingham-bound David Stockdale.
This guy would certainly be one for the chalkboard if you are looking at the two £4.5m rotating goalkeepers technique this season. Although Brighton face Manchester City on the first weekend, they have a very favourable fixture list until the end of November and you could pair up Ryan with another goalkeeper for the tough games in weeks one and seven (Arsenal away).
Ryan is a very accomplished goalkeeper with nearly 200 senior professional appearances across three different leagues and supplements this with 35 caps for his country. He will undoubtedly need time to settle but he isn’t shy in communicating with his defenders and is known for being decisive with cross balls and passes and distributes very well.
FPL Price: £4.5m
Local boy Lewis Dunk was a mainstay in the best defence in the Championship last season – they conceded 40 goals in 46 games shared with Newcastle but with 21 clean sheets to the Magpies’ 19 – and is primed to again marshal the Albion backline despite the rise in class.
I won’t pretend that the central defender is some kind of unearthed gem that I’ve found. You’ll find a lot of FPL players and writers will be tipping him this season and that counts for something. Dunk would have actually led the Clearances, Blocks and Interceptions (CBI) total in the Premier League last season based on his Championship stats last season – these CBI stats count towards Bonus Points remember, as do shots on goal – he had 38 last season of which 26 of these were with his head. This points to a defender who is accomplished at both ends of the pitch (he also won more headers (188) than the Premiership’s best last season).
At £4.5m and with the already mentioned fixtures to open up the season, this is going to be one popular selection I’m sure. I wouldn’t be put off by the 3 out of 5 away matches to begin, they had an almost identical spread of home, 12, and away, 11, clean sheets last season and with this step up in class would surely make them only more cautious and organised.
FPL price: £6.0m
Anthony Knockaert is the French midfielder who counted 15 league goals, eight assists and 118 successful dribbles (for those that way inclined!) which all combined to lead to the midfielder to be voted the Championship Player of the Year for 2016/17.
The former Leicester player comes in at just £6.0m and is ideal for that fourth or fifth midfielder role in your fantasy squads. To my mind he would be the best attacking coverage for Brighton and could rotate well with a mid-to-cheap priced forward for the tough games when they come along if you fancy a toggle between 3-4-3 and 3-5-2.
Yes there may be a few league-tested choices at the same price as Knockaert – those such as Shaqiri, Chadli, Phillips, Snodgrass etc. would have their own claims but it may not be a bad idea to get on this guy early to benefit from the surprise factor he will bring to the league and inevitably, the price rises as they come. He has the class and we’ve seen so many players from the promoted teams thrive in the league in their first season and I can see no reason why this midfielder can’t follow suit.
FPL Price: £5.5m
Pascal Gross is getting a mention here due mainly to one outstanding statistic which almost knocked me over when I researched. The Germany youth cap created more big chances than any other player in last year’s Bundesliga with 95. When you consider the talent in this league and the fact he was with Ingolstadt, then that is quite remarkable. Surely this shows he has the quality to find that pass or create that chance and perhaps better finishers might have saved the Bavarians from relegation.
Interestingly, Chris Hughton, his new manager was quoted as saying “he offers something different to our existing midfielders, as an attacking midfielder in a more advanced position, operating behind the forward line”. Could be one for the watchlist or as a punt should you need to save £0.5m here and there.
FPL Price: £6.0m
The big striker only signed permanently for Brighton in January but this was based on 15 goals in 28 games in the first half of the season during a loan spell from Bournemouth so it was really no surprise to see. The Cumbrian finisher is now 33 years old and although perhaps past his peak, has a record throughout his career of scoring goals on top of goals. He was transferred for £4m between Crystal Palace and Bournemouth in 2015 having had a quite reasonable goal every 2.5 game record. Murray is at home on the South Coast and previously played for Brighton between 2008 and 2011 scoring 53 in 118 appearances.
Again I would mention that Brighton have a list of games where they will fancy their chances of getting early wins on the board and Murray, who I think will retain first choice billing ahead of the Israeli Tomer Hemed, is also the penalty-taker for the newcomers.
I hope this has helped you in some small way.
Up the Albion!
Thanks for reading Promoted Teams Analysis FPL 2017/18 Brighton. This article was written by The Gallant Pioneer
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