After the 2018 FA Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea, another roller coaster season of English football has come to its end. It was a record-breaking season in many aspects, both on team and individual level, and in the real world as well as in the wonderful parallel universe of the Fantasy Premier League. Before looking over the past FPL season, here are just a few of the records that have been broken this season in the English Premier League:
• Champions Man City are the first team to reach 100 points
• They also broke the record for goals scored in a season: 106
• For the first time since the PL has 38 games, 2 players have reached the 30-goal mark in the same season: Harry Kane with 30 and Mo Salah with 32
• Mo Salah has scored the most goals in a 38-game PL season: 32
• Burnley achieved European qualification and their highest-ever finish in the 21st century as true “best of the rest” (7th)
We could go on for a while, this season truly was remarkable, but we’re moving on to what really matters. Mo Salah didn’t only break records on the pitches, but also on our computers, tablets and phones. With a grand points total of 303, he broke Luis Suarez’ 295-point record for points in a single season, and that’s hardly surprising. The Egyptian EPL Player of the Year just didn’t stop scoring, assisting and winning. Unfortunately for him the Champions League Final on May 26th proved to be a let down due to a tangle of arms with Sergio Ramos and a fall that damaged Salah’s shoulder so much he was unable to continue.
We’ll go over some of the best Fantasy assets of the past season, including Mo Salah of course, but first we want to mention Yusuf Sheikh, FPL’s 2017/2018 champion. With his Yusuf’s Team he managed to hold off Paul Gee’s My Little Kone, beating him to the punch by just 8 points. With a triple captained Salah on the final day, he added another 93 points to end with a total of 2512 points. With a total team value of £105.6 and just 41 transfers made, this season got another deserved winner. Congratulations Yusuf! And if you want to be a winner then you do need to keep an eye on the betting odds when selecting your double points captain to help guide you on which player is most likely to score.
Now, for an overview of the past season’s best FPL players, we’ve mainly looked at the point totals in the official game and some of the underlying reasons for which the highest-scoring players reached their scored.
Before Ederson came to Man City, the former Benfica shot stopper was largely unknown to a majority of the English public. It just took him one season to change this situation. The City keeper has proven to be one of the world’s best goalkeepers, one who not prevents goals but actually contributes to City’s much-praised attacking kind of football.
He probably would’ve been the game’s best goalkeeper, if it hadn’t been for United’s PL veteran De Gea (172 points compared to Ederson’s 158). The Spaniard was a certainty in the United goal (18 clean sheets!) and he’s shown that he’s a true lock on the door for a Mourinho side that rarely impressed this season. De Gea is a goalie who wins points for his team, both in FPL and in real life.
An honourable mention goes out to Fabianski, the game’s third-best goalkeeper (157 points) who relegated with Swansea. Unlike many of his team mates, the Polish goalie consistently performed on a PL level and has shown that he belongs in the elite.
Despite Chelsea’s disappointing run this season, the two highest-scoring defenders this FPL season are Blues. First is Cesar Azpilicueta (175 points), who barely missed a minute and accrued 15 clean sheets, 6 assists, and 2 goals. Second comes the Premier League’s most scoring (and the FPL’s most expensive) defender Marcos Alonso, with 13 clean sheets, 2 assists, and 7 goals. He had a bit of a dip towards the end of the season, but like his team mate and compatriot, can look back on an excellent season in terms of FPL performances.
Scoring defenders are FPL gold, something that is also confirmed by City’s Nicolas Otamendi. As one of the few mainstays in Pep’s sometimes heavily rotated footballing machine, the Argentine central defender accrued 156 points, 15 clean sheets, and 4 goals. His rotation risk after clinching the title was a bit of a headache for FPL managers, but Otamendi’s season has been nothing short of spectacular.
An honourable mention goes to Man United captain Antonio Valencia, who got 146 points this season. As part of the League’s sturdiest defence, he still managed to score 3 and assist 1, which confirmed his status as an FPL legend.
Salah. The man who scored 32 goals, assisted 15, and won 3 Player of the Month awards in a single season (another record, by the way) was registered as a midfielder this season, which only increased his already enormous FPL appeal. We’ve talked about him before, we’ve talked about him during the season, and we’ll be talking about him for a while. He was, simply put, this season’s best.
In second and third place, two City midfielders who’ve had more than impressive seasons. Raheem Sterling blossomed under Pep’s guidance and ended up scoring 18, assisting 17, and accruing a total of 229 points. It looks like he’s living up to the promise of his talent and all English eyes will be on him during this summer’s World Cup. With just 20 points less, City’s Kevin de Bruyne finished the season as arguably the best all-round footballer of arguably the best team to have played in the modern Premier League. The Belgian played anywhere on the midfield and even helped out at left-back a few times, showing that he’s the engine of the current champions. He’s scored just 8 goals, which could be better considering his quality and his team’s form, but he’s the PL’s assist king with 18 assists. This is a personal opinion, but had it not been for Salah, KDB would’ve probably racked up the individual awards this season.
The honourable mention goes to FPL legend Christian Eriksen. Season in, season out, the Danish creative genius performs at the highest level, making some people and pundits wonder whether it’s time move the absolute top in England and Europe. The former Ajax man is still only 26, so arguably his best years are still to come. If Spurs manage to keep him on board, medals might be on the horizon.
21, 25, 29, 30. That’s the number of goals Harry Kane scored in the Premier League over the past 4 seasons, which is, quite frankly, crazy. He has his ups and downs during a season, but just like Pocchetino, FPL managers can count on him to deliver. He could improve still in the assist department (just 2 this season), but his points total of 217 is impressive. He had a bit of an injury scare towards the end of the season, but it now looks like he’s set to make his mark on the World Cup this summer.
Second is Jamie Vardy, who just keeps on scoring and proves that he’s not just a one-season man who guided Leicester to one of the most unlikely success stories in modern football two seasons ago. The Foxes finished at a respectable 9th position in the league and Vardy played a huge role in that result. With 20 goals and 2 assists, he finished 4th in the top scorer chart, behind Salah, Kane and Kun, but in front of big names from big teams like Sterling, Lukaku and Firmino.
Third is Roberto Firmino, the tireless Liverpool nr9 who runs, assists and scores as if it was his last day on the pitch. The Brazilian has proven to be the perfect striker for Jurgen Klopp’s so-called heavy metal football, and the perfect partner for Man of the Season Mo Salah. With 15 goals, 8 assists, and 181 FPL points, it looks like Firmino is ready to shine one last time this season, come May 26th against back-to-back European champions Real Madrid.