Hello again, welcome back! In the second part of Nailed On, If you missed Part 1 then check it here but now in Part 2 I will look at the remaining teams. So without further ado…
Now we come to the king of rotation – Pep, who will be looking to put a piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet having ended last year’s campaign empty handed!
New goalie Ederson (5.5) is Nailed On. In terms of the defence Pep switches between three and four at the back but when fit, Kompany (6.0) definitely starts; they looked so much more assured at the back at the tail end of last season with him in the team. Walker (6.5) with his pace and attacking attributes is also Nailed On and if you can afford him represents a sound investment.
As for Stones (5.5) and Otamendi (5.5) both will play a lot (depending on formation and when Kompany gets injured) but I couldn’t dare say either are Nailed On!
– Awaiting an expensive LB, whoever it is will be Nailed On!!
And the City midfield is anyone’s guess!
Gundogan (5.5) who has just come back from a long injury lay off has been overlooked by most of us (only selected by 1% currently) and was one of Pep’s original signings – he could make a good differential and will get ample game time.
I think the following are all highly likely starters – De Bruyne (10.0), Sane (8.5), Sterling (8.0) and David Silva (8.0), and due to their attacking prowess will score handsomely.
Pray for him! Yes Jesus (10.5) will rise from Aguero’s (11.5) shadow and become Nailed On, not to a ‘cross’ though, the team sheet!! Aguero is a bit of a mystery these days – previously the first pick in our teams whatever his cost, he now only commands a place in just 9% of our teams – who would have thought!!
Bottom line – get some City players in your team, they have favourable opening fixtures!
A big squad with plenty of options and plenty of choice, which gives us plenty of headaches!
Let’s start off with the goalie, de Gea (5.5) – 26% of people have selected him, which makes him the number one pick. I keep reading how he wants to move to Real Madrid, so that high number surprises me! Probably Nailed On, although interestingly Romero (5.0) has just signed a new contract – surely he was promised more than just cup action?!
The defence is easier. Nailed On will be Lindelof (5.5), Bailly (6.0) and Valencia (6.5). Who will take the LB slot? Darmian (5.5) or Blind (5.5), but in fairness they’ll probably be rotated.
The midfield is a lot less certain. I think the only player you can ‘hang your hat’ on is Pogba (8.0) – very reasonably priced (in FF not real life) in my opinion!!
Herrera (5.5) is also a very likely starter. The rest – Mata (7.0), Martial (8.0), Mkitaryan (8.0), Lingard (6.0) and Fellaini (5.0) will all get good game time but be rotated and are therefore all represent fairly unpredictable picks!
Upfront is simple – Lukaku (11.5) starts! He’s scored a few in pre-season already and looks quite settled. He played 3266 minutes last season, that’s a lot – no rest or rotation required here, nothing to see, please move on!
It does mean Rashford’s (7.5) game time could be less, unless he gets pushed out wide and plays both, which is quite likely; not Nailed On, but still a good shout though!
A new manager muddies up the water for yet another team, but Southampton have plenty of good players to choose from and probably the kindest (and by that I mean easiest) opening fixtures! To quantify that statement, 9 of their first 10 fixtures have a Fixture Difficulty Rating (FDR) of 2 (out of 5)!!
Pellegrino’s first friendly fixture continued where last season ended, with a stale 0-0 draw with St Gallen… yawn!! He played a different eleven in each half, so no early clues!
Forster (5.0) is Nailed On in goal. Bertrand (5.5), Cederic (5.0) and Yoshida (5.0) will all be Nailed On in defence. Van Dijk (5.5) is injured and hankering for a move to Liverpool, so like a sleeping baby, best left well alone!
In the middle of the park, Redmond (6.5) is definitely worth a look as he plays in a very advanced role and is Nailed On, along with Tadic (6.5), who is another worth a look and Oriol Romeu (4.5) who probably isn’t, due to being a ‘water carrier’!
Ward-Prowse (5.5) and Davis (5.0) will get plenty of game time but I’m not committing to a ‘Nailed On’!
Gabbiadini (7.0) is the most likely of their three strikers. It’s just whether he is going to get any kind of service from the midfield?!
Ah, finally an easier team to critique with regards to team selection, but still bl**dy tricky to play against!!
Surely another good season is in store for Tottenham. Some challenging early fixtures may make you think twice about including them in your pre-Wild Card team, but we all know by mid-season you’ll have two or three Lilywhites!
Lloris (5.5) Nailed On. Joined by four solid defenders – Vertonghen (6.5), Alderweireld (6.0), Rose (6.5) and Trippier (5.5), who is finally stepping out of Kyle Walkers shadow. I predict a good season for him, as unlike Walker, he can cross the ball, I can smell the assists already!!
Alli (9.5) and Eriksen (9.5) are two high scoring Nailed On midfield choices. Dier (5.0) is a Nailed On low scoring midfield option – what’s the point?!
Dembele (5.0) and Wanyama (5.0) will get plenty of game time, but again not be high scorers, so perhaps disregard! Son (8.0) is interesting; he had blistering form and FF scoring in the final third of last season. If he plays he’ll score well proportionate to his price, I had him for much of last season but to my distress, I just can’t give him the Nailed On tag!!
Kane (12.5) is the games most expensive player – there’s a reason for that!! Labelled a ‘slow starter’, coupled with Spurs opening fixtures provides a dilemma! I left him out of the end of season run-in last year and I still regret it to this day! Dare I make the same mistake again? – He ruthlessly punishes the hesitant!! Nail him On!!!
Stoke have scored 5 goals in their opening three pre-season games – they’ve conceded 6 though!! In fairness, you can’t read too much into pre-season fixtures.
A fit again Butland (5.0) is Nailed On. He’s joined by Pieters (5.0) and Shawcross (5.0) who between them amassed a whopping 6301 minutes of playing time last year!
Recent acquisition Fletcher (5.0) from West Brom, Allen (5.5) and the mercurial Shaqiri (6.0) are the only Midfielders that stir any tangible interest; all are pretty much Nailed On.
Due to a real apathy toward them, I’m almost tempted to by-pass the strikers, but that would be disrespectful! So if you want a great robot dancer – Crouch (5.0), sulking baby – Berahino (6.0) or Man Utd reject – Diouf (5.5) then fill ya boots! Can’t Nail On any though I’m afraid.
Stoke have a horrendous opening five fixtures – three have a FDR 4! I’m hedging my bets that Stoke players are largely overlooked for the first squad selection! Let’s move on…
There is some excellent value to be found in the goalie and defence of Swansea, which is worth considering.
Fabianski (4.5), Mawson (5.0), Naughton (4.5) and Fernandez (4.5) are all Nailed On, these are the type of players you need to counter balance those big outlays on marquee players!
In midfield Leroy Fer (5.5) is Nailed On and again represents value – he knows where the goal is! Sigurdsson (8.5) is 100% Nailed On for sure! In a struggling team last year he delivered 181 points! He was the 6th best FF scoring midfielder!! Imagine what he’d do in a good team, like… Everton!!!
Upfront is all about Llorente (7.5) – Nailed On and a credible ‘third’ striker choice!
Only three Watford players scored over 100 points last season!
They were – Gomes (4.5), Capoue (5.5) and Deeney (6.5); all will be Nailed On.
The rest of the squad is cheap (see the first line)!!
The only other worth a look is Holebas (5.0) as he plays as LWB and likes to get forward, and in fairness is another likely to be Nailed On.
Sorry Watford fans, slim pickings from your team!
When you consider Baggies players for FF you’re only really interested in their goalie / defence due to the ‘forget entertainment, keep West Brom in the Premiership’ tactics adopted by Pullis! These ‘tactics’ provide plenty of clean sheets.
This goes some way to explaining why Foster (4.5) is the second most selected goalkeeper, appearing in over 20% of teams. He’s Nailed On and a snip at that price!
Being solid and reasonably priced players, coupled with encouraging opening fixtures means most people will consider one of the following – Nyom (5.0), new club captain Evans (5.0), Dawson (5.0) and McAuley (5.0) who despite his advancing years is in over 11% of FF teams, which is quite a lot! I’m not sure whether this is due to nostalgia, as he’s brought FF happiness to many players over the past years. I think this year he will be rotated more, and will accommodate new signing Hegazi (4.5).
Previously a good defender buy, Brunt (5.5) has been classified as a midfielder this year. With so many better midfielder options this explains why less than 1% of people have him in their team!
Chadli (6.0) and Phillips (6.0) are worth looking at, both will be Nailed On. Phillips burnt a few fingers at the tail-end of last season! If you don’t hold grudges he’s worth considering.
Rondon (6.5) finally has some competition upfront (Robson-Kanu (5.0) doesn’t constitute competition) in new boy Rodriguez (6.0). I think both will be Nailed On, with Rondon playing up top and Rodriguez slotting in just behind him. That’s what’s happened in pre-season anyway!
Now this is a team that confuses me! When I watch them, I’m not really sure what they’re doing; their tactics are baffling! I’m further puzzled as to what their positions are, as everyone bombs forward and leaves gaps everywhere – it’s like watching school playground football!!
New boys Hart (4.5m) and Zabaleta (5.0) will be Nailed On. These are joined by Fonte (5.0), Cresswell (5.0) and Reid (5.0). The question is will they get defensive cover from the midfield?
The best midfield options include Lanzini (7.0) and Antonio (7.5), who’s returning from injury. Both will be Nailed On. They will be joined by Arnautovic (7.0), who’s arrival will surely worry Snodgrass (6.0) and negatively affect his game time.
Up top we have a ‘little n’ large’ combo developing! With the pending acquisition of ‘little’ Hernandez (TBC) teaming up with the ’large’ Carroll (6.0) we might see a formidable strike partnership forming. Hernandez is surely Nailed On, having played in the Premier League before and being an accomplished ‘finisher’, Carroll is the new Darren Anderton, enough said!
Phew, that’s all 17 teams done; please use / disregard my ‘advice’ as you will!
I’m going to throw in a caveat to finish, just to be belligerent!!
It’s mostly, but not all about Nailed On players! If we all went for the same ‘safe’ bets, we’d all have reasonably similar teams – who wants that? There is an element of FF that involves being ‘brave’, taking ‘risks’ and doing something different to the ‘enemy’ to give you the edge and act as a differential.
It’s getting this blend right that will act as the catalyst for success.
There will also, no doubt be plenty of new signings in the coming weeks, there’s a bubbling undercurrent in the transfer market – the ‘big teams’ certainly aren’t done and Everton, with money to burn are hell-bent on getting into the upper, upper echelons of the league, which will obviously effect current players ‘Nailed On’ status!
Anyhow, happy squad picking everyone!
DISCLAIMER: these are the opinions of Stu Allen, and are not necessarily the opinions of FFUK, Arsene Wenger, or Alan Shearer. If any of Stu’s opinions are incorrect, well that’s life, ask Arsene.