Sports Writer, Alex Davis, looks at the must-have players for your fantasy football team this season.
Bojan (Stoke City – £5.5m):
The diminutive Spaniard boasts an impressive history in terms of clubs played for; having donned the colours of Barcelona, Roma, Milan and Ajax. It almost seemed too bizarre that the forward rocked up in Stoke-on-Trent at the start of last season to kick-start a flailing career. For £3m, Stoke City boss Mark Hughes thought he’d got himself a bargain and 5 goals in 16 starts for the Potters by February seemed to prove him right. However, a serious knee injury against League One side Rochdale in the F.A Cup ruled Bojan out until the end of the season. Still not fully fit and doubtful to be when Stoke kick off their season at home to Liverpool, this one is certainly a risk, but at just £5.5m on the official Barclays Premier League Fantasy Football page, he could be a snip.
Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace – £6.5m):
Having made over 80 appearances for Newcastle United, Yohan Cabaye is no stranger to the Premier League. Sold to free-spending PSG for £19m in January 2014, one may find it somewhat surprising to see the Frenchman back in the Premier League so soon – even more so with Crystal Palace. Manager Alan Pardew knows all about Cabaye having worked with him at Newcastle and this, combined with the midfielder’s previous experience of Premier League football means that he should be a safe bet for any fantasy football team. Sure to be first on the Palace team sheet, his creative ability should see goals and assists aplenty. Costing £6.5m, Cabaye seems a sure bet for some cheap points this season.
Callum Chambers (Arsenal – £5m):
Arsenal finally have a goalkeeper of real class in the shape of Petr Cech, so expect to see the Gunners towards the top end of the clean sheet charts this season. In fantasy football terms, Arsenal defenders seem a good buy, and they’re surprisingly cheap in the fantasy world. Callum Chambers signed for Arsenal from Southampton last season and was thrown into the first team from the word go. However the 20-year-old defender struggled to settle and found himself benched towards the end of the season. Despite this, Chambers has shown enough to suggest that he’ll be in and around the Arsenal first XI this season and should he nail down a first team place, he and Arsenal could rack up a whole host of clean sheets and fantasy points.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea – £11.5m):
This one sounds a no-brainer, right? With 233 points last year, Eden Hazard was the official Barclays Premier League Fantasy Football’s highest scoring player. Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane got most of the headlines throughout the season but it was the tricky Belgian midfielder who came out on top, largely due to his alarming consistency. His price of £11.5m makes him the most expensive midfielder in the game, however an impeccable injury record and previous starring performances mean that Hazard is a must have. 37 goals in his 101 premier league starts so far tell only half the story and the 24-year-old is nailed on to have another successful year at champions Chelsea this season.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa – £5.5m):
Jack Grealish burst on to the scene in the second half of last season and became one of the key players in the Sherwood revolution which saw Aston Villa move away from the Premier League relegation zone. Those performances earned the midfielder high praise and he became so important to Villa that he played the full 90 minutes of their F.A Cup final defeat to Arsenal. Grealish is a wildcard for this list without a doubt, however at £5.5m he may well be worth the risk. Like Harry Kane last year, there is always a surprise package in the fantasy game and Grealish could well be this year’s bargain buy. Benteke’s imminent departure could see the Villains struggle for goals this season which would be a concern but with the right replacement, we may well see Grealish racking up the assists and consequently the fantasy league points.
Want to know how to fit all of these players in to one squad?
Jack Butland ( Stoke City – £4.5m), Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace – £4.5m)
Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea – £7m), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal – £5.5m), Joleon Lescott (West Brom – £5m), Micah Richards (Aston Villa – £4.5m), Callum Chambers (£5m),
Eden Hazard (Chelsea – £11.5m), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace – £6.5m), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool – £8m), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa – £5.5m), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City – £9m),
Christian Benteke (Aston Villa – £8.5m), Bojan (Stoke City – £5.5m), Harry Kane (Tottenham – £9.5m)