Mike’s FanTeam Blog – PRE-SEASON #3 – THE TINKER MAN COMETH…

A slightly quieter few days in the transfer market so it almost feels safe to start nailing down some options in my squads, but we just can’t help tinkering, looking for that elusive player that no one else saw coming. This sort of unicorn event happens once in a blue moon, Lundstram and Dallas have been prime examples of this over the last couple of seasons.

There has been one quite relevant piece of news with Robertson looking like he’s out of action with an ankle injury for a few weeks. This has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons with the potential of a £4.0m attacking defensive option in one of the strongest teams in the league. Tsimikas doesn’t make the list today… that’s not saying he won’t sneak into my team this week.

In searching for an early ticket for the next hype train, I’ve looked through the squads in a bid to identify any potential Out of Position Players (OOP) and any gaming changing differentials that’ll hopefully get you ahead of the template.

Here are a few that I’ve been looking at…

OUT OF POSITION PLAYERS

Havertz

Struggled early last season, adapting, and suffering with Covid. Havertz really become a focal point for Chelsea and their charge to European glory. He also started to look more settled in the Premier League. During pre-season he’s continued where he left off in a false 9 position, taking his goal well vs Arsenal. However, the recent signing of Lukaku may change things a little, he will still be a key component of the Chelsea attack this season. With that opening game against Palace looking too tempting to turn down and a good price point to move around to other midfielders.

Zaha

Every year he teases me, and he ends up in my team, the main man at Palace again and the most likely source of goals. The fixtures offer a difficult start, under a new manager with a much-changed squad. One to wait and see. However, he’s as close to a 90minute man for that extra point as you can get.

Jota

Liverpool has some great opening fixtures to target, most will have Trent, Salah, and Mane well and truly on the radar. But as we saw last season, if he gets a run in the team (and can keep fit) he has a eye for goal no doubt. We’ve also seen Klopp play the four (Salah, Mane, Firmino & Jota) together, but still very much a rotation risk and very rarely completes the 90 minutes. The injury to Robertson may see him overlooked with the introduction of Tsimskas.

March

Onto one of my favourites. March was having a great season until a knee injury cut it short in February. Listed as a Defender but is essentially a left winger he offers a creative threat and may potentially benefit from a hopefully more solid Brighton defence. If they can match their defence stats, cut out the mistakes and deliver as we all hope a few hauls could be on the horizon. With favourable fixtures to start, and pre-season minutes in the bank, he could be the hero we’ve been searching for!

Greenwood

With a few injury and fitness issues at Utd to start the season, and some great fixtures to start Greenwood is listed as a Midfielder again this season, but we could see him playing more centrally this season. Unlikely to get through the full 90, but a potential for a haul.

Son

Not much to say about this guy. Elite finisher, 90-minute man, returns whether Kane is playing or not. Could even be on pens to start if Kane doesn’t appear for the first couple of games ahead of a potential move. Tough start vs City but GW2-GW4 are more than favourable fixtures regardless. The only issue is fitting him, with a price tag of £9.5m.

DIFFERENTIALS

Pepe

Underwhelmed when he first arrived, weighed down by an inflated transfer fee, but towards the end of last season we started to see glimpses of the player Arsenal paid so much money for. Finishing the season with a double figure goal tally. Arsenal come up against two of the promoted teams in the first few games, but also find themselves up against Chelsea and City but definitely has the potential to outscore other options over the opening fixtures at a price point where there are plenty of options to chop and change as the season goes on.

Wood

His involvement in the Olympics and the fact he plays for Burnley, Wood seems to be the forgotten mid-priced striker, with the focus being on Watkins and Wilson respectively. Wood, however, offers 90 minutes and double figure goal returns. Burnley looked more attacking (for Burnley) at the end of last season and if they get back to keeping clean sheets at home, Wood is the man to make sure they take home the points. Definitely being considered, will wait for the press conferences to see if he’s in contention for GW1.

Willock

Had a stormer for Newcastle on loan last season and looks like he’s returning to the toon for the 21/22 season, no doubt his goals helped ease the pressure on what looked at one point a season ending in relegation. One to keep an eye on, maybe not be available for GW1 initially, but at that price point not too much money to sit on the bench.

Maddison

There has been a lot of talk over a potential Arsenal move, this seems to have died down over recent days. Again, had a season disrupted by the odd injury and ultimately ended up missing out on the England squad for the Euros. When fully fit he’s a creative force for the foxes and is surely looking at double digit goal and assist returns. The only issue is he doesn’t tend to get through the full 90.

Martial

Like with the Greenwood option, Martial looks set to get significant minutes up front in the opening fixtures due to fitness concerns across the squad. He’s previously been a player that’s a bit hit or miss but has had his purple patches in the past. It also feels like he’s running out of chances to prove himself at Utd. Big performances needed if he gets the nod.

Benrahma

Showed fantastic form in pre-season, some strong opening fixtures to target with West Ham, many of us are expecting him to fill the Lingard shaped hole in our heart this season. Definitely the hype player of the week on Twitter and very rarely gets the full 90. Can he continue his form and nail down his spot to open the season with a bang!

CONCLUSION

I’ve not covered a few obvious options, there are so many other differential options to consider and like I said these are the ones I have my eyes on. Who really knows at this stage, it will all become clear in the coming weeks? What is clear though is your midfield and forward differentials are less likely to pick up that much treasured extra point for the 90 minutes!

Regardless, I can see Solly March definitely appearing in my team, while I’m going to continue to tinker with Havertz and Benrahma up until deadline.

Speaking of deadlines, I’ll be releasing my First Team, Algo Team and Differential team at some point on Friday so keep an eye out for that. Until then don’t tinker too much, that’s where madness lives! Stay sane people!!

Feel free to reach out to me on anything Fanteam, FPL or Football related on Twitter @FPL_Harriers I’m always up for a chat!

Thanks for reading! Likes, Comments & Retweets all appreciated.

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