FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 2 Preview

“City’s Raheem Sterling got off to a blistering start and is facing Spurs at home next”   (CC by 2.0) by Brad Tutterow

With an average score of 65, the 2019/2020 FPL season got off to a flying start. Some of this season’s most premium assets just needed one game to show why they are worth the investment. The likes of Mo Salah (12 points), Raheem Sterling (20 points) and Harry Kane (13 points) returned big, but they weren’t the only ones. Budget central defender Lewis Dunk (11 points), new Bournemouth recruit Chris Mepham (10 points) and Burnley’s star forward Ashley Barnes (13 points) (who we highlighted last week as a differential) defied their low price tags by delivering big hauls as well. With the star players being priced as high as they are this season, the search for consistent scorers in the lower and budget brackets is going to be crucial for a successful season. Gameweek 1 has shown that there are plenty of points potential outside the premium category, now Gameweek 2 will hopefully reveal a bit more about consistency and early purple patches.

Don’t forget: the deadline for Gameweek 2 is set at 12h30 (BST), on  Saturday, August 17th.

How did our picks for the previous gameweek fare?

PICK PLAYER OPPONENT POINTS
Premium Mo Salah Norwich (home) 12
Premium Harry Kane Villa (home) 13
Non-premium Callum Wilson Sheffield (home) 5
Non-premium Gylfi Sigurdsson Palace (away) 3
Differential Kyle Walker-Peters Villa (home) 2
Differential Ashley Barnes Watford (home) 13
Captain Salah Norwich (home) 24

Premium picks

We chose Salah and Kane as our premium picks last weekend over Raheem Sterling (£12.1m), as the young Englishman had an away game. Our picks brought in 12 and 13 points respectively, but Sterling took home the Player of the Gameweek award by scoring a hat-trick, winning 3 bonus points and recording a total score of 20 points. After such a performance and with Leroy Sané out injured while Pep seems to be easing Aguero into the starting eleven, Sterling is highly likely to start again this Saturday when City host Spurs. It’s not an easy game by any stretch (remember last season’s Champions League quarter-finals?), but on a good day, Pep’s men can demolish any kind of opposition, especially at home. As far as Sterling is concerned, he has played 14 times against Spurs in his career, with a current record of 7 goals and 3 assists. Miss out at your own peril just like with pokies syndicate.casino

We were considering Mo Salah as our second premium pick for gameweek 2, but seeing as the Egyptian just played an intense 120 minutes against Chelsea for the European Super Cup on Wednesday evening, we’re going with Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m). The Gabonese forward ended last season as the joint-top scorer with 22 goals and he continued his fine goal-scoring form against Newcastle. The Gunners found it difficult to break down the Magpies, but a single strike from PEA in the 58th minute was enough to take the three points back to the Emirates. Next opponents Burnley are one of Aubameyang’s favourite Premier League opponents, as underlined by his record against them: 6 goals, 1 assists and 42 FPL points in three encounters. With just two shots on target and three attempts off target, the Gunners failed to really impress against Newcastle, but we expect them to turn up in more convincing fashion for this season’s first home game.

Non-premium picks

Bournemouth somewhat disappointed in their opening game of the 2019/20 campaign by drawing 1-1 against newly-promoted Sheffield United at the Vitality Stadium. Thanks to their opening fixtures (Sheffield home, Villa away), several attacking Cherries assets were popular in the build-up to gameweek 1. Their meagre three shots on target will have caused some FPL managers to doubt their choices, but we would recommend sticking with your Cherries at least one more round. One of the players who disappointed a bit was Josh King (£6.5m). The Norwegian forward took one shot at goal and created one key chance, while he also completed three dribbles, the most of any players on the pitch. Bournemouth will be looking to redeem themselves at Villa Park and even though the Villains put on a more than decent display at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last weekend, they might well concede again against the Cherries on Saturday and King might well be involved. And cherries are sometimes involved in new slots games Australia.

Our second non-premium pick is actually on the border of higher-end mid-priced assets and lower-end premium assets. Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) came on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in Wednesday’s European Super Cup final and his impact was immediately noticeable. He set up the equalising goal a few minutes into the second half and then provided another assists for the second goal five minutes into the extra time as well. The Brazilian attacker was unplayable for the Chelsea defence at times, and Salah (and especially Salah) benefited enormously from his introduction. In the Premier League’s opening game last weekend, Firmino also provided an assist to end the game with 5 FPL points. He had four attempts at goal that game, which is double the amount Mo Salah had (who recorded 12 points) and he also completed four dribbles, which is also double the amount of dribbles completed by his Egyptian team mate. Against a leaky Southampton back line, Firmino is expected to start and, if all goes well, rack up a few more attacking returns.

A differential pick or two

Norwich were welcomed back to the Premier League by a pretty rampant Liverpool side that put four goals past them in the first 45 minutes. In the second half, the Reds eased down and the Canaries managed to get back into the game which eventually resulted in a consolation goal by Teemu Pukki (£6.5m), last season’s Championship top scorer (29 goals). The Finnish forward recorded 7 FPL points, courtesy of his goal and 1 bonus point, and it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see him book attacking returns again coming Saturday when Norwich host Steve Bruce’s Newcastle. While it remains to be seen if the Canaries are defensively sturdy enough to survive in the Premier League, their first game of the campaign has shown that they can create chances and score goals. At his current price, Pukki could be a very decent budget option and a real differential pick.

Brighton impressed in their first official game under new manager Graham Potter. The Seagulls swept away an admittedly disappointing Watford at Vicarage Road three to nil and this weekend West Ham are rolling up to the AmEx. The Hammers were hammered by Man City in gameweek 1 and even though  that game might not be entirely representative of their true quality, it can’t have been too good for their confidence. Brighton, on the other hand, will be brimming with confidence and Dutch forward Jurgen Locadia (£5.5m) will be hoping to be involved in the action from the start again. Before being taken off in the 63rd minute, he made two attempts at goal, one of which was on target, and he generally looked lively on the left wing and up front. Competition is fierce in the Brighton attack, with new signings Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard vying for starting spots as well, but it looks like Locadia will start again against West Ham on Saturday. His current price tag makes him an interesting option for the position of third striker in your squad.

The captaincy

Our suggestion for the armband this week is Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling. The sky blue dribbler had some serious competition from the likes of Aubameyang (home against Burnley), Mo Salah (away to Southampton) and this coming Sunday’s opponent Harry Kane, but his hat-trick away to West Ham last weekend convinced us. City did not seem to need any time to get their goal-scoring machine running and a 0-5 away victory will have definitely boosted their confidence. Facing Spurs at home is never an easy task, but the Cityzens can beat anyone at the Etihad at any time.

The FISO FPL GW2 Captain Poll does put Salah well ahead of Aubameyang and then Sterling but these are the 3 leading contenders for the armband this gameweek.

Looking to make your FPL season more exciting? – We might have something for you..

Pre-season is heating up and I am sure you are already busy creating your first FPL drafts. We know you all love the official Premier League fantasy game. It is great fun, but you can’t really win any prizes, as there are only a few, and you are up against millions of opponents! So, for those, that might seek an extra amount of thrill, we did some research and found an interesting tournament with a better prize structure – FanTeam.

This is a premier league season game that pays out prizes to more than 15% of the entries. Real money prizes of up to 50,000 euros to the winner! Of course, there is a buy-in too, so it is not as if they are giving away money for free, but having big, real prizes really increases the excitement with premier league season-long fantasy football! We have been testing FanTeam’s platform in the last few weeks and can recommend it. It is fun, easy to understand, clean and backed up by a stock-listed company, based in Norway.

A first look at Fanteam’s  Premier League Season 19/20

At the first glance, Fanteam’s season tournament and the official premier league event are quite similar. This allows for regular FPL players to quickly get started.

But of course, some differences exist, so let’s have a look at the season game in detail.

Prize Structure

As previously mentioned, Fanteam has a completely different prize structure. This year they offer a minimum guarantee of 250.000€ to win amongst the players. The prizes for the main event are spread among the first 15%, which ensures that even newer players will have a good chance of recovering their buy-in. The first prize is 50.000€ and should be easier to reach with the 12,000 player entry cap, than on the official FPL tournament, with millions of participants. The most important facts for you shortly summarised:

  • 250,000€ minimum guarantees
  • 50,000€ for the first prize
  • 1,250 prizes in total!
  • Prizes to the best monthly manager
  • Prizes to the best gameweek manager

Additional Side-Events

Fanteam offers additional chances to receive prizes even if you did not perform so well in the first few gameweeks. This is why Fanteam has a manager of the month award, with a prize of 1,000€ for first place. In addition to that, Fanteam will introduce a manager of the gameweek prize this year, which gives out 400€ every week to the top performers.

Different Rules

For you players, there are some minor changes, which you should note before you get started. First of all, Fanteam has no chips. They preferred to keep things more simple, and the only thing similar to a chip are the two wildcards for transfers, which the official FPL also applies.

Considering the time of the price changes, you might want to know that they happen at random times, whenever a drastic demand increase or decrease happens.

There are also some slight points scoring differences. At Fanteam, the midfielder and forward receive 1 point more if they play the entire game. There are also no bonus points, instead they implied an “impact” factor, which is awarded to the player with a positive or negative point, depending on whether the team was winning or losing while he was on the pitch. The entire rules can be found at Fanteam.

Conclusion

We believe that the season long FPL game at Fanteam is an excellent option for those, who are looking to raise the stakes a bit. It can be played easily alongside the official FPL game, since the main concept is very similar and the prices don’t vary too much either.

We, at FISO, are definitely looking forward to play tournaments at Fanteam this season and we will keep you updated along the way.

What Will Sbobet Games Be Like in the Next Decade?

The international online bookmaker Sbobet is the biggest in Asia. They are known for their high betting limits compared to their European bookmaker competition as well as their unique stance on handicap betting odds.

What does the future look like for this company in the long run? Here are a few things we can expect to see for Sbobet in the next decade:

Even Better Customer Service

Sbobet’s customer service is nothing to laugh about, offering full 24/7 phone support to all of their customers. This alone goes above and beyond what many of their rivals offer in terms of customer care.

While customers can currently get support by live chat, Skype, and email, we will likely see an increase in customer service quality as their company team grows and updates their process for supporting their clients.

More Mobile Friendly

As of right now, Sbobet’s mobile website is alive and well, although it is definitely on the more basic side – comparatively speaking. This company’s mobile site does indeed offer the usual services as far as performance and features, although it does not offer the optimal convenience that some competitors do provide. For example, Sbobet is currently lacking a mobile app, which can cause performance issues for some mobile devices.

Fortunately, the normal mobile website does get the job done without any issues for most portable devices. This leaves Sbobet at a great starting point for growing their mobile presence in the future. Within the next decade, we can expect a more advanced mobile setup from this company.

(Possibly) Lower Betting Limits

Rules and regulations that are enforced by licensing entities can be difficult, if not impossible to predict. However, one thing we should not be surprised to see is a lower betting limit being enforced. Up until now, Sbobet has been the go-to place for high rollers looking to place their bets, and who knows how drastically this can change.

Larger Variety of Wager Options

The current betting markets of this website are not terribly impressive. Sbobet covers about 500 events every week, which pales in comparison to some of their larger competitors. Outside of their Asian handicap wager options, they have a lot of room for improvement. Over the next few years we will see an increase in market coverage for this site to attract a larger client base. The primary focus of this site is football, but they also cover more diverse options as well including boxing, cricket, water polo, tennis, and more.

All in all, it is undeniable that this company is the fruit of the loom when it comes to placing a bet in the Asian handicap market, whether it be now or within the next decade. A few small aspects may be changing for the worse, but their overall trajectory is certainly on a positive rise. This popular online gambling site is sure to only grow and expand as they adapt to modern web wager technology to maximize their user interface convenience.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 1 Preview

Welcome back to the Fantasy Premier League! After our series of club previews to open the 2019/2020 season, we are now back with our first gameweek preview of the campaign. It’s possible that we say this every year, but this year, it looks more difficult than ever to put together a decent 15-man squad within the limits of our £100 million budget. In an effort to  help you during the build-up to gameweek 1 as well as throughout the season, we have made some minor changes to the structure of our weekly gameweek preview pieces. Instead of providing you with three premium picks, two differential picks and two captain picks each week, we will recommend two premium picks, two non-premium (say £9.5m or lower, more or less) picks, two differential picks and a general piece on our captaincy recommendation before the start of each gameweek. Considering the hefty price tags of many of the promising FPL targets, we figured it will be interesting to place a bit more focus on those non-premium, possibly budget-enabling picks this season that allow you to bring in as many premium assets as possible without ruining the price and points balance in your squad too much.

Don’t forget: the deadline for the first gameweek of the 2019/20 season is set at 19h00 (BST) tomorrow Friday, August 9th.

Premium picks

It’s hard to pick another premium asset than Liverpool’s Mo Salah (£12.5m) for gameweek 1. After a disappointing AFCON run, the Egyptian wizard has been back with the squad for some weeks already and everything points at him starting coming Friday as the Reds host new boys Norwich. Last season’s highest scorer in terms of FPL points (259, courtesy of 22 goals, 12 assists and 18 bonus points) is once again listed as a midfielder in the official game, while he is expected to turn up in Liverpool’s number nine position more often than not this season. Salah performed extraordinarily well against promoted teams last season, recording an average of 7.66 FPL points in those games. Add to that the facts that Norwich boasted just the seventh-best defence in their league last season (57 goals conceded in 46 games) and have kept just one clean sheet during their pre-season campaign, and Liverpool’s star man becomes something of a no-brainer.

With players like Raheem Sterling (away to West Ham) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (away to Newcastle) also lining up for favourable fixtures in the opening gameweek, there’s plenty of choice in this bracket, but our second premium pick is Tottenham’s very own, Harry Kane (£11.0m). Spurs are facing newly-promoted Aston Villa at their brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and they will be raring to go in front of their crowd. Due to injuries, Kane had his statistically least successful season since 2013/14 last year, but he still recorded 160 FPL points from 2423 minutes of Premier League football, thanks to 17 goals and 6 assists. The Villans finished fifth in the Championship last season and were promoted after winning the play-offs. During the regular season, they conceded 61 goals in 46 games, meaning that no less than ten other teams in the league could boast a better defensive record. Villa spent a whopping €148 million on new players already, so the team is going to a whole lot different to last year’s, but you can’t expect it to glue together perfectly from the get-go. It’s hard to see Spurs not putting a few past them on Saturday and when they do, Kane will most likely be in on the action.

Non-premium picks

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Bournemouth assets in the build-up to gameweek 1, thanks to their favourable opening set of fixtures and the way they hit the ground running at the start of last season. Cherries forward Callum Wilson (£8.0m) had an incredible season last year, as he scored 14 goals and gave 12 assists for a total of 168 FPL points. In combination with his price tag of £6.5m at the time, he quickly became as close to essential as a player can get in FPL. For the 2019/20 season, his price was increased by £1.5m, but he can still be more than worth it in our opinion. In the first gameweek, Bournemouth are hosting promoted Sheffield United before visiting Aston Villa in gameweek 2, both of which are games they are expected to win (comfortably). Wilson looks like he’s in form after scoring his third goal of the pre-season against French side Lyon last weekend, a game in which he also provided 2 assists, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him net on Saturday as well.

Everton’s creator-in-chief Gylfi Sigurdsson (£8.0m) has been an FPL favourite since his 2014/15 season with Swansea and he looks like a promising pick again this season. The Icelandic midfield maestro racked up a nice 182 points last season after recording 13 goals, 6 assists and 15 clean sheets for the Toffees. The acquisition of highly-rated players like Juventus striker Moise Kean and reigning world champion Djibril Sidibé should only boost Sigurdsson’s appeal, as he is a key part of Marco Silva’s set-up. He is also on penalties as well as on plenty of corners and direct free-kicks, so his current price tag could turn out to be something of a steal. With Crystal Palace (away), Watford (home) and Villa (away) as Everton’s opening three fixtures, Sigurdsson could start the 2019/20 campaign in spectacular fashion.

A differential pick or two

Our first differential could be a big one, at least in the opening gameweeks. Talented Spurs right-back Kyle Walker-Peters (£5.0m) looks set to feature from the start at home to new boys Aston Villa on Saturday, a fixture in which Spurs will definitely dominate and a clean sheet is a real possibility. With last season’s first pick at right-back Kieran Trippier gone, and both Serge Aurier and Juan Foyth currently out injured, it’s difficult to see how KWP would not be part of the starting eleven. That being said, even when fit, neither Aurier nor Foyth has the starting spot at right-back nailed down right now, which means that Walker-Peters could make the position his permanently if he performs well in the first few gameweeks of the season. Should that be the case, then we have got a relative bargain at our hands as part of last season’s third-best Premier League defence.

Our second differential pick had a pretty great 2018/19 season, his bargain price did not increase for the coming season and he should be on (most) penalties again this season. Burnley’s Ashley Barnes (£6.5m) scored 12 goals, gave 3 assists and recorded 13 bonus points for a more than decent total of 122 FPL points, which comes down to 18.77 points per million. The Clarets open the season by hosting Southampton, an outfit that conceded a worrying 65 goals last season, though it should be noted that the Saints have shown remarkable improvement since the appointment of manager Ralph Hasenhüttl at the start of December 2018. After the Southampton game, Burnley face Arsenal (away), Wolves (away) and Liverpool at home, which is not an easy run by any stretch (though there could be goals for Barnes in the first two games), but after that, the schedule clears up considerably until gameweek 12. Amongst others, they face Norwich at home, Villa away, Sheffield away and West Ham at home over that period. At his current price, Barnes could be an excellent option as your second or third striker, allowing you to spend budget elsewhere while he records some attacking returns as a nailed-on part of Sean Dyche’s Clarets.

The captaincy

For the first gameweek of this Premier League season, the most popular options for the armband will probably be Liverpool’s Mo Salah (at home to Norwich), Man City’s Raheem Sterling (and possibly Sergio Aguero, away to West Ham) and Spurs striker Harry Kane (at home to Villa) as demonstrated by the FISO Forum FPL GW1 Captain Poll. Each of these players represents a high probability of a big haul in the opening weekend, and they are all reliable candidates for the captaincy. If we have to choose, we would go with Liverpool’s Egyptian talisman, as he is last season’s top FPL points scorer facing off against a newly promoted team that wasn’t exactly known for its defensive solidity last season in the Championship. The same would go for Harry Kane though, in terms of opposition, while Sterling is facing a transformed Hammers side that could positively surprise us this season.

Three New Premier League Signings to Consider Including in Your 2019-20 Fantasy Football Team

Fantasy football is warming up ahead of the new Premier League season which begins on Friday, 9 August.

One of the big decisions any participants must make when budgeting their squad is which players who are new to the top flight are worth considering? Can foreign signings adjust to the physical demands of the Premier League? What about footballers stepping up a level from the Championship?

With this in mind, here are three new Premier League signings to consider including in your fantasy football team for the 2019-20 season.

Pablo Fornals (West Ham)

Pablo Fornals” by soccer.ru (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini went back to former club Villarreal for Spain’s Under-21 European Championship winning attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals. He was also in the Malaga youth setup with the Chilean was in charge of the Anchovies.

Still only 23, Fornals has made 15 assists in La Liga during the last two years. As he’s already got senior caps for Spain, his £24,000,000 move to West Ham is something of a coup. While Fornals could do with adding goals to his game, he’s already being talked of as the next Santi Cazorla.

Comparisons with some of Spanish soccer’s silky midfield greats may be a little premature but, while Fornals had the daunting prospect of facing Premier League champions Manchester City first up, there are winnable games for the Hammers coming up thereafter.

Brighton and Watford away, then Norwich City at home round off August. West Ham are 27/20 chances for a top 10 finish with 888Sport this season and Fornals certainly has all the attributes to make an impact in England.

Che Adams (Southampton)

File:Che Adams.jpg
Che Adams” by Birmingham City FC (CC Public Domain)

Che Adams” by Birmingham City FC (CC Public Domain)

Last season was a real breakthrough for English forward Che Adams. He hit 22 goals for Birmingham City and that arguably helped the Blues punch above their weight under former boss Garry Monk.

Adams’ journey from non-league to Premier League is an inspiration to all hopeful footballers. He was spotted tearing things up at Ilkeston by dozens of scouts. Sheffield United won the race for his signature and the pacey forward caught the eye as an impact sub in the later stages of their League Cup run in 2014-15.

Southampton had longstanding interest in signing Adams and have finally got their man for a reported £15,000,000. Fellow bottom half side Burnley are about as good a first opponent he could hope for on what could be his Premier League debut.

This versatile attacker isn’t afraid of running at opponents, so he could easily give Sean Dyche’s hosts a headache at Turf Moor. Saints are 37/20 on online betting sites to begin the new season with victory over Burnley.

Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham)

Spurs broke their transfer record to land Lyon and France midfielder Tanguy Ndombele ending a well-documented 18 months without signing anyone in emphatic fashion. This highly promising deep-lying engine room operator now has a €60,000,000 price tag to live up to.

While a defensive midfielder isn’t exactly going to get the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium crowd off their feet, Ndombele has been curiously effective for club and country. He made seven assists from deep in Ligue 1 last term and got voted into the division’s team of the year.

Mauricio Pochettino had injury problems in midfield last season, particularly with England duo Eric Dier and Harry Winks. Spurs start their Premier League campaign off at home to newly promoted Aston Villa and are 1/4 favourites to make a winning start.

Ndombele appeals because this is a great potential introduction to life in English football. Marking Villa skipper Jack Grealish, who still has to prove he can cut in the Premier League, makes for a fascinating tactical battle that the Frenchman could well win.

FPL 2019/20 Club Previews – West Ham and Wolves

In anticipation of the 2019/2020 Premier League season’s kick-off between Liverpool and new boys Norwich, at 20h00 tomorrow on August 9th at Anfield, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the 20 squads that’ll be competing this year. In this tenth and final instalment, we’re continuing the series with a promising West Ham United and a Europe-bound Wolves.

West Ham United – The team

Traditionally, West Ham United are one of the more tumultuous regulars in the Premier League when it comes to both on-field and off-field news. This summer started off pretty much following this trend with Marko Arnautovic kind of publicly forcing a big-money transfer to China, but the Austrian was let go and the chaos that it could have caused was nipped in the butt by manager Manuel Pellegrini and the rest of the club’s management. The Hammers now actually look ready to seriously compete for the European spots after an active transfer window. As usual, a lot will come down to how well Pellegrini and his coaching staff can glue the team together in a way that brings them points on a regular basis. One thing is certain though, the West Ham roster contains plenty of footballing talent, perhaps more than most contenders for title of “best of the rest”.

Generally, Manuel Pellegrini likes to have his Hammers turn up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, in which the line is led by a powerful, but mobile striker. This role will very likely be filled by new £45-million signing Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt. While the Frenchman is one of the less selfish strikers you will see in top-tier football, as he has a tendency to drift out to the wings as well to create space for the other attacking players. He will find himself playing with three very attack-minded players to help. With the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals, Felipe Anderson, Robby Snodgrass and the finally fit-again Andriy Yarmolenko at his disposal, the Chilean manager can count on an abundance of creative attacking players to play off Haller. While the double pivot in the middle protects the team’s balance, especially in moments of transition, the full-backs often get the freedom to push up the pitch and support the team’s attacking efforts from the flanks. With the amount of agility between West Ham’s forward players, this can result in quick moves and inter-positional changes that are hard to track for opposing defences.

A few times, the Hammers displayed some of their attacking prowess last season, but in terms of defending, they were pretty mediocre on too many occasions. They conceded a total of 55 goals in 38 Premier League games last season. Only eight teams boasted worse defensive numbers. West Ham full-backs Ryan Fredericks (right) and Arthur Masuaku (left) are quite young and dynamic, which allows them to bomb up and down the pitch at will, but they are not always the most defensively sound. The team’s lock on the door in midfield will likely be composed this year of the talented Declan Rice and the fit-again Jack Wilshere. This is a double pivot that breathes footballing quality, but on the purely defensive side, it can be fragile. While Rice is young and improving, Wilshere is known for many qualities, but winning back balls is not necessarily one of them. The centre of the back line will be formed by Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena, which is possibly one of the best central duos outside of the top six. They possess the physical presence to dominate their own area, they provide an attacking threat from set-pieces and they have the technical qualities to build up attacks from the back. In goal, the Hammers have one of the top performers in the league in the shape of Lukasz Fabianski. Looking at West Ham’s defensive set-up as a whole for the coming season, it’s definitely an attractive one, but not necessarily the most solid from a purely defensive point of view. One of Pellegrini’s focal points during the pre-season will have been to solidify defensive displays on the wings and on the midfield in order to seriously have a go at a European spot coming season.

In terms of transfers, West Ham have been prolific this summer by signing a few exciting prospects, some of which might slot into the starting eleven straight away. These direct reinforcements include Villareal’s Pablo Fornals (€28 million) and Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller (€45 million), both of whom could be fantastic additions to the Premier League this season. The likes of problematic star Marko Arnautovic (€25 million to SIPG), central midfielder Pedro Obiang (€8 million to Sassuolo), goalkeeper Adrian (free transfer to Liverpool), and forwards Lucas Perez (€2.30 million to Alaves) and Andy Carroll (released) all left the club, but at first sight, it looks like the Hammers have not diminished in strength and quality this season. A top-10 finish should be more than possible for West Ham.

West Ham United – Potential FPL targets

Thanks to performances in his last two seasons as part of a leaky defence, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) is our first pick from the West Ham roster. Over the past few years, the Polish shot stopper has developed into one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the Premier League. Last season, at a price of £4.5m, he conceded 55 goals and kept just 7 clean sheets, but still recorded a more than decent 143 points, courtesy of 148 saves and 15 bonus points. The year before that, he scored 157 FPL points (56 goals conceded, 9 clean sheets, 137 saves, 14 bonus points). This season, Fabianski is priced at £5.0m, but we believe he could still be a bargain, especially if the Hammers finally gain some more defensive solidity for the 2019/20 campaign.

Our second pick is a slightly unusual one for us, as it concerns a player new to the Premier League. It’s kind of risky to go for a newcomer from the very start, but Hammers striker Sebastian Haller (£7.5m) looks like he could be the real deal real quickly. West Ham splashed a cool £45 million to bring the Frenchman in from Eintracht Frankfurt, where he scored 15 goals and provided 9 assists in the Bundesliga last season. He also reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, scoring 5 goals and providing 3 assists in the process. With Arnautovic gone, Haller looks like the nailed-on starting number nine for Pellegrini, and he could be in for a big debut season. The Hammers are looking more like a team with an idea behind it than they have in a long time and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Haller’s price tag turning out to be a real bargain as the season advances.

At a price of £4.5m in the official game, Hammers right-back Ryan Fredericks could be a good pick as fourth or fifth defender in your squad. After a sort of unremarkable season last year, the Englishman seems to have made the right-back position his over the ageing Pablo Zabaleta. Pellegrini will allow him plenty of freedom to get further up the pitch and get crosses into the box for Haller to work with. He played just 1038 minutes of Premier League football last season, in which he scored a goal and recorded a total of 38 FPL points, but the expectation is for him to get much more playing time in an improved defence this season. Fredericks could be a pretty valuable budget-enabler, but do keep in mind that West Ham’s first game is at home against reigning champions Manchester City.

Molineux
“How are Wolves going to cope with their added Europa League obligations after their surprising finish in seventh place last season?” (CC by 2.0) by Dave Pitt

Wolves – The team

Both in terms of the Premier League and its official Fantasy equivalent, Wolves had an excellent debut season last year. With a clear and successful style of play, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men battled their way to an impressive seventh place, which means Europa League football for the Wolves this season. Players like Raul Jimenez, Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota proved to be real bargains in FPL last season. Considering the fact that Wolves have not lost any of last season’s decisive names in combination with the club’s acquisition of some new and exciting talent, they will probably be competing for at least a European spot again coming season.

Wolves generally line up in a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-2-1 formation with which they aim at building up from the back, starting with the centre-backs. The left and right central defender will take up wider positions to push the two wing-backs further up the pitch, with either one of the two central midfielders (usually Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho) dropping a bit deeper when the opposition is pressing hard. This approach provides Wolves with width on the pitch that allows them to pass the ball out from the back, thanks to their back line’s technical and passing abilities. Either the dropping central midfielder (in case of an aggressive press by the opposition) or the central defender (usually Connor Coady when the opponent is not pressing forward very much) will try to move the ball up the wing-backs in their advanced positions when possible.

In combination with the wing-backs and the central midfielders, Wolves’ attacking three players will provide several options for short passes and quick combinations. Also, while the wing-backs stretch the opposition’s defensive line, the forwards are expected to find and run into the gaps that inevitably are created. The constant movement of the forward players and the frequent switching of sides require a certain amount of tactical discipline, but can cause a lot of disruption in enemy’s defences when executed well.

When defending, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men tend to drop back into a close-knitted 5-4-1 formation that employs a medium-high press, starting in the middle of the pitch. Simply said, they keep the centre of the pitch overloaded and force the opposition wide. On the flanks, passing options back into the centre are cut off, which forces opponents to pass backwards. When Wolves recuperates the ball in these areas, they can strike on the break straight-away. Usually, the ball is crossed diagonally to the attack-minded wing-back on the other side, while the forward as well as one of the central midfielders make runs forward to support the counter.

As far as transfers go, Wolves have had a more than decent summer so far. The club has not lost any of its most influential assets from last season, while managing to bring in some very interesting prospects. Top scorer Raul Jimenez (€38 million) and Anderlecht midfielder Leander Dendoncker (€13.50 million) were signed permanently after their loan periods at Molineux last season, while the talented 19-year old winger Pedro Neto came over from Lazio Roma for €18.30 million, together with his team mate, central midfielder Bruno Jordao (€9.20 million). Wolves also splashed the cash on AC Milan attacking talent Patrick Cutrone (€18 million) and brought Real Madrid defender Jesus Vallejo in on loan for the coming campaign. With these signings, the club has created the type of squad depth that can see them seriously compete in the Premier League, the domestic cups and the Europa League.

Wolves – Potential FPL targets

After his incredible debut 2018/19 season, Mexican striker Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) is still going to be a very popular FPL asset in the build-up to this season’s gameweek 1. In 3112 minutes of Premier League football, he scored 13 goals and provided 10 assists for a total of 181 FPL points. He started that season at a price of £5.5m. Just let that sink in for a moment… With United at home, Everton away and Chelsea at home in the first five gameweeks, Wolves have a difficult opening set of fixtures, but last season’s number seven has shown a certain fixture immunity. In regard to Jimenez, there is no reason to think he could not replicate his stats from last season or indeed improve on them as a result of Wolves as a whole improving. At his current price tag, that would be he’d still be very good value.

Possibly even better value could be found this year in the form of Jimenez’ partner up front, Diogo Jota (£6.5m). The Portuguese forward was listed as a midfielder last season, which meant that each of his 9 goals was worth five points. On top of that, he provided 8 assists, which brought him a total of 139 from a total of 2352 minutes of Premier League football. This season, Jota is listed as a forward in the official game, but he could still be of great value to your team as a second or even third forward. He is expected to get the bulk of the minutes as a partner of Raul Jimenez up front, so it’s wise to at least put him on your watchlist.

Our final Wolves pick is midfielder Leander Dendoncker (£4.5m). As a more defence-minded player, the young Belgian scored 48 FPL points while on loan from Anderlecht last season. This was the result of 1465 minutes of PL football, 2 goals and 3 clean sheets. He is expected to form a midfield with Neves and Moutinho this season, which would mean that his current price tag represents an incredible bargain. He could be a starting midfielder who regularly plays ninety minutes for a side competing for a European spot, who can record the occasional attacking return and is an absolute budget-enabler. Dendoncker is currently selected by just over 14% of the teams in FPL and if your team is not amongst those, he’s worth considering.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with all the latest news on FISO’s FPL forum.

Sports clothing at attractive prices? Now it’s possible

Do you value an active lifestyle? Do you love sport and you can’t imagine life without it? Do you ensure that you keep the right comfort while exercising? If at least one of these statements suits you, you should consider buying adequate sports equipment. This usually involves high costs, but does it really have to be this way? Take advantage of discount codes and enjoy lower prices.

Use Sweaty Betty discount codes and buy cheaper

Nowadays so many people are interested in the sport. The basis for proper exercise is good footwear and special clothing. Branded products are the best, but are usually associated with a very large expense. You can lower it now if you use the Sweaty Betty discount codes. They are available to anyone who wants to stay in good shape and can’t imagine his life without moving. Sweaty Betty is famous for celebrating female empowerment.

Where and how can you get Sweaty Betty discount codes?

Information about attractive discounts for customers is very often available on the store’s website. However, this is not the only way to get a discount code. More and more people use particular services that specialize in collecting and sharing information about discount codes for online stores. One of these websites is Buykers.com. All current Sweaty Betty discounts can be found at https://buykers.com/uk/coupons/sweaty-betty.

What reduction can you receive with Sweaty Betty discount codes?

Online stores such as Sweaty Betty offer their customers various discount codes. Some of them offer a discount of 10-20%. Sometimes, there are higher discounts – eg 50-70%, however, in this case, usually, the promotional action applies to a selected category from the store’s offer. 

Can anyone use Sweaty Betty discount codes?

In most cases, discounts offered by Sweaty Betty apply to all customers. However, there are situations in which they are available only for:

  • customers who shop for the first time in an online store,
  • people who have decided to subscribe to the newsletter,
  • customers who shop for a certain amount, e.g. over £50.

You can also notice a rule related to discount codes. The higher the discount, the shorter the time to use it. If you have been thinking about buying certain products for a long time and an opportunity has presented itself, don’t give up on it. Don’t hesitate unnecessarily – buy your dream sports clothes for a fraction of their original price. Take care of your comfort at the highest level and choose only the best quality products, while saving.

FPL 2019/20 Club Previews – Spurs and Watford

In anticipation of the 2019/2020 Premier League season’s kick-off between Liverpool and new boys Norwich, at 20h00 on August 9th at Anfield, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the 20 squads that’ll be competing this year. In this ninth instalment, we’re continuing the series with Spurs at their new stadium and Javi Gracia’s Watford.

New stadium Tottenham
“The 2019/20 season will be the first full season for Spurs in their brand-new stadium after a long wait” (CC by 2.0) by Matt Brown

Spurs – The team

The 2019/20 season is a big one for Spurs, as it will be the first full season at their magnificent new White Hart Lane. The first months of last season were marked by the the finalisation of the new stadium dragging on longer than initially planned, whilst the costs of the whole ordeal also had an influence on Tottenham’s transfer activity. Spurs were unique in England, and indeed the top of European football, in the sense that the club did not have an incoming transfer during two consecutive transfer windows. Despite the uncertainty off the pitch, coach Mauricio Pochettino managed to guide his men to a fourth place finish last season, as well as the Champions League final that was eventually lost to Liverpool. With their new stadium now completely ready for action and few squad mutations this summer, expectations will be high amongst the Spurs faithful.

After five seasons at the Spurs helm, most FPL managers are well aware of Pochettino’s preferred playing style. The Argentinian manager is a firm believer in the 4-2-3-1 formation and his squad has been built step-by-step to make the most out of that system. You will rarely see Tottenham use long balls, as he likes his team to build up attacks from the back, a tactic that requires technically sound and confident defenders, such as Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. In the middle, Pochettino often employs a double pivot which this season will likely consist of new acquisition Tanguy Ndombélé and any of Harry Winks, Mousa Sissoko or Eric Dier. The three positions behind star man Harry Kane up top will most often be filled by any of creator-in-chief Christian Eriksen, Korean dribbler Heung-Min Son (who won’t start initially due to a red card at the end of last season), Champions League semi-finals hero Lucas Moura and the talented Dele Alli (currently out with a hanstring injury). The sheer abundance of technical ability and speed in the Spurs, combined with Pochettino’s tactical wisdom, allows for a lot of movement, quick passing and frequent crossing of the ball around the edges of the opposition’s penalty area. In some ways, it sometimes does remind of Arsenal under Wenger during the good days. The forward lines will often be mixed up, depending on the specific characteristics of the opposing team.

Defensively, Spurs are traditionally sound under Pochettino. Though sometimes resorting to a line of five in the back with the wing-backs further up the pitch, the manager usually goes for a four-men defence. They boasted the third-best defence in the league last season (shared with Chelsea, both with 39 goals conceded), a result that is in great part thanks to the familiar Belgian central duo of Vertonghen and Alderweireld. They have played together for years at Spurs and the national team, which creates the automatisms that are so crucial to top-level defending. On the flanks, we were used to seeing Kieran Trippier (on the right) and Ben Davies or Danny Rose (left), but with the Trippier leaving to Atletico de Madrid and Danny Rose hoping for a transfer as well, it remains a bit unclear how Poch will fill these positions coming season. A reasonable guess would be Kyle Walker-Peters on the right and Ben Davies on the left, but we wouldn’t be surprised either to see a reinforcement arrive at White Hart Lane before the summer transfer deadline.

In terms of transfers, French midfielder Tanguy Ndombélé has been this summer’s marquee signing for Spurs. They paid €60 million for the Lyon man and he is expected to have an immediate impact on the team’s playing style, much like Moussa Dembele had in the past. Though probably not a great FPL asset, it will be exciting to see if he can elevate Spurs to the next level. Young English winger Jack Clarke was also welcomed after paying Leeds €11 million, but he was loaned straight back to the Whites. As far as outgoing transfers go, last season’s starting right-back Trippier was somewhat surprisingly sold to Atletico for €22 million, while super-sub Llorente was released. It could be that one or more players are brought in before the window closes, but the current balance might just as well be it for Spurs, at least until the January window.

Spurs – Potential FPL targets

The first name on the Spurs roster most FPL manager will immediately look for is superstar striker Harry Kane (£11.0m). The lethal but somewhat injury-prone Englishman featured in only 28 games last season, in which he scored 17 goals and provided 6 assists to reach a total of 160 FPL points. This was actually the first season that Kane did not score at least 21 goals since the 2014/15 campaign. In other words, he’s not a Premier League and FPL favourite for nothing. With a points-per-match average of 5.71, he was the second-most valuable forward in the league and none of his team mates provided more than his 23 goals involvements. With home games against Villa and Newcastle squeezed in between away games versus City and Arsenal in the opening four fixtures of the season, Kane is likely to feature in plenty of teams from the start.

Our second pick is a personal favourite, namely playmaker Christian Eriksen (£9.0m). The Dane is one of those players you need to be patient with, as he will deliver points (totals in his past 5 seasons for Spurs: 162,178, 218, 199, 161), but he will often deliver them in patches. Last season, he scored 8 goals and provided 12 assists, which is decent but not magnificent for a player with his price tag. Eriksen is a key cog in Pochettino’s system though, and one of the most technically-gifted, all-round attacking midfielders to grace the Premier League in the past years. On top of that, he’s practically fixture-proof. Competition in his price bracket is tough though, while the likes of Sigurdsson, Bernardo Silva and Pogba are all available for less. This will probably turn Eriksen into something of a differential pick this season, but if you ask us, he will most likely be worth it for those less nervous FPL managers amongst us.

Young right-back Kyle Walker-Peters (£5.0m) is our third and final pick from the Spurs roster, and a bit of a risky one at that. Last season’s first choice at right-back Trippier has left the club and rumour goes that chairman Daniel Levy is not going to splash for a direct replacement. Instead, Pochettino will place his trust in the youngster who played just 374 minutes of Premier League football last season (0 goals, 3 assists). What makes him so appealing from an FPL point-of-view is the fact that his price tag provides us with a relatively cheap way into last season’s third-best defence. He does face stern competition from Frenchman Serge Aurier (who is currently injured), but Pochettino is not afraid to give young players a serious chance and it looks like he will stay true to character when it comes to Walker-Peters for the coming season.

Watford – The team

Since the appointment of Malky Mackay all the way back in November of 2008, no less than 13 managers have been at the Watford helm, including current head coach Javi Gracia. That’s why the extension of Gracia’s contract during last season’s campaign was such big news for Hornets fans and Premier League followers alike. The ever-calm Spaniard has quietly built a team with a firm foundation, based on a mix of creative talent and physical strength, and a clear playing style. After a fantastic start to last season, Watford’s results diminished a bit during the second half of the season, but a finish at 11th place is not bad in the end, especially not when you consider that they also reached the FA Cup final (6-0 loss to Man City). This season, Gracia and his men will be hoping to compete for a European spot until the end, but competition will be tough with clubs like Leicester, Wolves and Everton vying for the same spots.

Javi Gracia has his Watford playing in a very recognisable but nonetheless somewhat unorthodox 4-4-2 formation that in reality plays out more like a 4-2-2-2. The Spaniard is not known for frequent rotation, which is a blessing for FPL managers. The defence this season will likely consist of Jose Holebas (left) and Daryl Janmaat or Kiko Femenia (right) on the full-back positions, and Craig Cathcart and new signing Craig Dawson (yes, that FPL favourite Craig Dawson) making up the centre of the defensive line. Though not the most agile of central partnerships, these two provide a wealth of experience, physical strength and tactical discipline to the back line. The full-backs are allowed to support attacking moves when possible, with Holebas especially known for his involvements in the final third (3 goals and 7 assists last season), in part thanks to his frequent set-piece duties. The back line is covered by probably one of the finest midfield duos outside of the top six in Doucouré and Capoué. They are essential to Gracia’s preferred way of playing, as the provide enormous energy and drive in the centre of the pitch. They form the lock on the Watford door by closing gaps and keeping the spaces small on their side of the pitch just as much as they try to push forward in order to get a shot on goal.

In attack, much revolves around veteran striker Troy Deeney and second-in-command Gerard Deulofeu. They formed a partnership up front most of the time last season, though players like André Gray and to a lesser extent Isaac Success provide serious competition. While Deeney injects the forward line with physical strength and grit, Deulofeu generally gets more freedom to play off and around his partner in crime. On the (inverted) wings, Gracia usually posts Argentinian dribbler Roberto Pereyra (left) and nimble Englishman Will Hughes. Both of these players like to come inside and have a go at goal, with Pereyra especially being successful at this last season (6 goals, 4 assists). He will also at times switch positions with Deulofeu during games in order to confuse the opposition.

One of the reasons for which expectations of a finish in the European spots is tempered this season is Watford’s inactivity on the transfer market, especially in comparison to teams that compete for Europe as well, like Leicester and Everton. The Hornets spent €6.10 million on West Brom defender Craig Dawson and €2.50 million on 18-year Brazilian forward Joao Pedro from Fluminense, while talents central midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru was brought in for free from Man City’s U23 squad. The positive thing about this summer window for Watford is that they haven’t lost any of last season’s important names either despite bids for Doucouré.

Watford – Potential FPL targets

We like Troy Deeney (£6.5m). Why? Because he fights, he grinds, he scores and he brings home FPL points. Not loads and loads of them, but he does get them (in his last four seasons: 166, 130, 73 and 116). The English veteran striker is a nailed-on pick for Javi Gracia and he’s on penalties as well, which certainly adds to his appeal. Last season, he scored 9 goals and provided 5 assists in 2542 minutes of Premier League football. At his current price of £6.5m, that’s not bad at all. As a starting striker in a pretty stable and relatively attack-minded mid-table team, Deeney is a more than decent option for the third or even second forward spot on your team.

Our second Watford pick is Deeney’s strike partner up front, ex-Barcelona man Gerard Deulofeu (£6.5m). The Spaniard had his best season to date last year, as he scored 10 goals and provided 5 assists for a total of 133 FPL points. This makes him last season’s most prolific Watford player and his numbers could have been better had it not been for an injury that marred the first quarter or so of his season. Deulofeu seems to have secured his spot in Gracia’s starting eleven as a perfect agile complement to Deeney’s more robust profile, which makes him an interesting FPL prospect at his current price tag. Considering he got 133 points from 2064 minutes of Premier League football, it’s not crazy to expect him to exceed that performance is he can stay injury-free this season and he’s expected to recommence training with the Watford squad today after a slight muscular strain.

Finally, we have gone with Spanish right-back Kiko Femenia (£4.5m) as our third pick. The Spaniard provides an interesting budget-enabling option, despite the competition for his spot from Dutchman Daryl Janmaat. Femenia played 2043 minutes of Premier League football last season in which he kept 4 clean sheets, and scored a goal and provided an assist as well. This is not particularly special for a full-back in an outfit that likes to attack, but if he can nail down a starting spot, his totals should be affected positively. On top of that, Javi Gracia likes to post the diminutive Spaniard on the right side of the midfield at times, which obviously increases his FPL appeal. He might not be the most adventurous pick of the bunch, but keep an eye on him, because he could provide decent value at his current low price tag.  

Don’t forget to keep up to date with all the latest news on FISO’s FPL forum.

FPL 2019/20 Club Previews – Sheffield United and Southampton

In anticipation of the 2019/2020 Premier League season’s kick-off between Liverpool and new boys Norwich, at 20h00 on August 9th at Anfield, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the 20 squads that’ll be competing this year. In this eighth instalment, we’re continuing the series with new boys Sheffield United and Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton.

Sheffield United – The team

With Sheffield United, we have come to the third and final promoted side in this series. Under manager Chris Wilder, the Blades finished second in the Championship last season to mark their return to the English elite after a 12-year absence. The Sheffield manager, a Blades fan since he was a boy, was labelled a genius by Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa, in great part thanks to his meticulous, though sometimes under-rated, tactical work. Coming season, it will be very interesting see to what extent Wilder and his men can and will stick to the specific tactical approach that has brought them so much success in the Championship.

Wilder usually lines his men up in a very attacking 3-4-2-1 formation that can easily switch to a 3-5-2 when they need to put the opponent under real pressure to score a goal. In attack, the role of the central defenders is particularly important and one the main reasons why Sheffield’s game approach differs from so many other teams. That’s because Wilder wants to overload the midfield in order to completely overwhelm the opposition. Basically. The right and left centre-back take up wider positions when starting the attack, this way forcing the wing-backs further up the pitch, essentially converting them into wingers. As a result, the opposing team is more or less forced to commit more players to the defensive wing positions, which will inevitably lead to more space in the centre of their defence. With a clinical striker like Billy Sharp up front and a quick-thinking playmaker like Oliver Norwood in the middle, the Blades create a lot of danger this way. Last season, Sheffield scored an average of 1.7 goals per game.

You might think that committing so many players forward in an attempt to overload the midfield will leave the Sheffield defence open to plenty of threatening situations as well, but that’s far from the case. In fact, the Blades boasted the joint-best defence in the entire Championship last season, with just 41 goals conceded. Combine this with their total of 78 goals scored and their goal difference (+37) was beaten by none. Defensively, Sheffield was known last season for their ability to switch formations during games and to sit out games to take home the three points if needed. In those cases, Chris Wilder instructs his men to switch to a deep-lying 5-3-2 formation in which the wing-backs, though remaining available for quick breaks, mostly focus on defending. The midfielders will usually stick closely to the defensive line and in the more dire situations, the striker besides Sharp (usually McGoldrick last season) will drop back into midfield to help break up the opposition’s play. This defensive approach requires a certain (high) amount of tactical awareness and discipline, but the big advantages is that it allows Sheffield to neutralize attacks through the centre as well as over the wings. The three central defenders plus the central midfielders can stay in position to form a solid block, while the wingers can either stick to their central defenders or push up the pitch a bit to intercept attacks over the wings.

In terms of squad transformations, the newly-promoted has been relatively active during this summer transfer window. Their biggest purchase so far has been the 23-year old forward Oliver McBurnie, who came over from Swansea for €19.10 million. The Scotsman scored 22 goals and provided 4 assists in the Championship last season and is expected to get plenty of Premier League minutes this season. Bournemouth’s Lys Mousset (€11.11 million) and Preston winger Callum Robinson (€7.80 million) were brought in to further bolster the Blades attack. The 27-year old attacking midfielder Luke Freeman was bought from QPR for €5.60 million, while Everton’s veteran defender Phil Jagielka was brought in to add some much-needed Premier League experience to the squad. The signing of the controversial Ravel Morrison, once hailed by Alex Ferguson as the biggest talent he had ever seen, on a free transfer can be seen as a low-risk punt. As far as outgoing transfers go, the Blades have managed to keep the core of last season’s team intact.

Normally, the newly-promoted teams face a 38-game long battle for survival in their first season of Premier League football. Sheffield will most likely face the same challenge, but we don’t expect Chris Wilder to change his game approach much. The Blades could be a unique edition to the English footballing elite and it will be interesting to see where they stand at the end of the 2019/20 season.

Sheffield United – Potential FPL targets

Picking FPL assets before gameweek 1 is risky business, picking them from promoted sides is even riskier. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be value in some of the players central to these sides. Sheffield’s Oliver Norwood (£5.0m) is one of those players. The Blades playmaker was a crucial cog in Chris Wilder’s machine last season and he likely will be the coming season as well. The 28-year old English midfielder scored 3 goals and provided 9 assists in 43 games last season, which is not an enormous amount, but decent for a central midfielder in FPL terms, especially considering his current price tag. On top of that, he created 97 chances in the Championship (one per 39 minutes on average), a total that was only bettered by Leeds forward Pablo Hernandez (122). With his playing time pretty much guaranteed and most of the set-piece duties in his pocket, Norwood could be a decent budget-enabling fifth midfielder in your squad.

Left wing-back Enda Stevens (£5.0m) is one of the Sheffield assets who has attracted most attention in the FPL universe. As a defender, he scored 4 goals and provided 6 assists last season in the Championship, while his 39 created chances ranked behind just three other Blades (Fleck, Norwood and Duffy). It’s unrealistic to expect the Irish defender to record similar stats coming season, as Sheffield more often than not will be forced to focus on defending and counter-attacks, but it does show the kind of role Chris Wilder ideally wants his wing-backs to operate in. Stevens’ price tag is a bit heavy, but he could be worth placing on your watchlist for the first few games of the new season.

Our final pick from the Sheffield roster is young goalkeeper Dean Henderson (£4.5m), who has recently extended his contract at Manchester United and was immediately loaned back to the Blades after a great 2018/19 campaign. He helped them keep 21 clean sheets last season in order to record a goals conceded total of just 41, the joint-best in the league. Henderson’s save percentage (73.5%) was the second-best in the league last season, which is especially interesting considering the highly likely possibility that he will be put to work even more coming season. He could be an interesting budget-enabling punt, for example as your second goalkeeper, but a small word of caution: he is ineligible to play against Man United this season.

Southampton – The team

Southampton went through a bit of a roller coaster season last year, as the Saints found themselves amongst the bottom three by early December before manager Mark Hughes was replaced by RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl. The Austrian had a direct impact on both the playing style and the results of the club, and by the end of the season, Southampton were placed five points above the relegation zone. The upcoming 2019/20 campaign will be his first season in charge from the start and expectations are cautiously optimistic around Saint Mary’s.

Hasenhüttl was already known as a tactically strong coach at his previous clubs Ingolstadt and Leipzig, and he has confirmed that status during his first half year in the Premier League. He likes to employ a 5-3-2 formation most of the time in which the wing-backs play an important role, as well as the left and right central defender. The Austrian manager wants to execute an aggressive press that starts from the back. While the wing-backs position themselves quite high up the field to break up attacks over the wings early, the left and right central defender are instructed to press aggressively higher up the pitch, creating a high defensive line. This way, the opposing attackers get very little time and space to receive balls and continue play. This approach obviously brings some risks with it, which is why it requires certain tactical discipline. Where the Hasenhüttl press was working with ups and downs still last season, the expectation is that the 2019/20 pre-season has provided the manager with a lot of time to instil his tactical ideas in detail.

The attacking tactics are based on a central midfield block of three, raiding wing-backs and an agile striking duo up front. Last season, wing-backs Ryan Bertrand and Yann Valery were often instructed to keep the pitch wide in order to create space for some of the central defenders to advance with the ball at their feet. This results in a numerical superiority on the midfield that forces the opposition to cover both the wide wing-backs and the advancing central defenders, as well as the three midfielders. These midfield positions were often filled by Pierre-Emil Hojbjerg, Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse, of which the latter took up the role of playmaker. Hojbjerg and JWP can often be seen pressing high up the pitch in order to win the ball back early and advance towards the enemy goal from advancing positions high up the field. The forwards are constantly on the move, making early runs in and around the opposing area in order to create space for the advancing midfielders. This, in combination with the advancing wing-backs, forces opposing teams to make defensive choices. It’s up to the technical abilities of the likes of Nathan Redmond and Ward-Prowse, to name two names, to recognize and exploit these choices. The result is a dynamic form of team play in which short passing and inter-positional changes are key elements.

As far as transfers are concerned, the Saints have largely focused on a problem area from last season: the unlocking of teams that defend with a deep backline in order to limit space in their defensive third of the pitch. Injury-plagued Liverpool striker Danny Ings was on loan last season (7 goals and 5 assists in 1650 Premier League minutes last season) and has been contracted until the summer of 2022 for €22.20 million, while the promising 22-year old striker Che Adams was brought in from Birmingham for €16.70 million. Left winger Moussa Djenepo was bought from Belgian side Standard de Liège for €15.70 million. This signing is especially interesting in regard to our previous point about Southampton’s issues with very defensive teams last season: the Mali international completed more than three successful dribbles on average last season, while he was also fouled just over three times on average per game. It’ll be interesting to see how these stats will translate to Premier League football this season. Dutch central defender Wesley Hoedt, Euro 2016-winning right-back Cedric Soares, Moroccan winger Sofiane Boufal and Argentinian forward Guido Carrillo have all come back from loan, and Hasenhüttl might see a place for them in the squad this season. Apart from selling 23-year old left-back Matt Targett to Aston Villa for €15.50 million, the Saints have not lost any other player who played a significant role last season. They are not expected to fight against relegation again this season, but a lot of their success will depend on how well Hasenhüttl has managed to implement his ideas during the pre-season period.

Southampton – Potential FPL targets

Our first pick from the Saints roster is one of the players who has blossomed most under Ralph Hasenhüttl, Nathan Redmond (£6.5m). Considered an FPL favourite by some and an FPL troll by others, the English forward saw his output increase dramatically after Hasenhüttl took over from Mark Hughes in December 2018. Of his 6 goals and 5 assists last season, just 1 assist was recorded while Hughes was in charge. Redmond plays up front under the Austrian manager, but is classified as a midfielder in the official fantasy game. This makes him an interesting “Out-of-Position” player, especially if Southampton can hit the ground running this season. On top of that, he’s a nailed-on name in Hasenhüttl’s starting eleven and with the investments in attacking assets, like Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo, that have taken place at St. Mary’s, one could hope for a season equal or even better than last when he recorded 137 FPL points. His modest price tag and decent opening set of fixtures only add to Redmond’s appeal.

Our second pick is Southampton goalkeeper, Angus Gunn (£4.5m), because he could provide great value at his current price. Despite playing just 1080 minutes of Premier League football last season (mostly due to the managerial switch at the club) in which he kept 3 clean sheets, the former-England U21 goalie has now established himself as Hasenhüttl’s number one. His price tag makes him a starting budget-enabling FPL asset in a team that might surprise a few people this year. In rotation with another budget-friendly starting goalkeeper, like Tom Heaton or Mat Ryan for example, betting on Gunn could pay off handsomely this season. After a first full pre-season under Hasenhüttl, many expect the Saints to turn up with more defensive solidity this season, which obviously benefits the goalkeeper. In his price bracket, Gunn is definitely one of the better options.

Like the earlier mentioned Nathan Redmond, Saints midfielder James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) is a player who flourished after Ralph Hasenhüttl took over at St. Mary’s. Before the Austrian manager was contracted, JWP had not been involved in any goal. What’s more, he wasn’t even sure of a spot in the starting eleven sometimes. From December 2018 onwards though, when Hasenhüttl was put in charge, the English attacking midfielder scored 7 goals. The fact that he recorded zero assists can be considered a bit odd, seeing as he did create 46 chances for his team mates. To further his FPL appeal, Ward-Prowse is a set-piece specialist, probably one of the best in the league. He is on most corners and free-kicks on the half of the opponent, both direct and indirect, and he hits the occasional penalty as well. Last season, Danny Ings was on spot kicks, but seeing as the striker only played 21 games due to injuries, JWP got one chance from the spot and converted it with aplomb. If Southampton manage to improve on last season’s results, which is kind of expected, a price of £6.0m for a player like James Ward-Prowse could end up being a bargain.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with all the latest news on FISO’s FPL forum.

FPL 2019/20 Club Previews – Newcastle & Norwich

In anticipation of the 2019/2020 Premier League season’s kick-off between Liverpool and new boys Norwich, at 20h00 on August 9th at Anfield, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the 20 squads that’ll be competing this year. In this seventh instalment, we’re continuing the series with a boiling Newcastle United and last season’s Championship champions, Norwich City.

St James' Park - East Stand
“Is Newcastle manager Steve Bruce going to convince the critics at St James Park this season?” (CC by 2.0) by Rich Watts

Newcastle United – The team

Over the years, the Premier League has undergone a lot of changes. Bigger television deals, lots of private investments, record-breaking transfers, etc… At least one thing has remained the same: the troublesome relationship between a large part of Newcastle United fan base and controversial owner Mike Ashley. The appointment of Champions League-winning coach Rafa Benitez in March of 2016 was a master stroke though. Despite being unable to save the Magpies from relegation that season, the Spanish manager grew enormously popular amongst the Newcastle faithful, especially after he decided to stick with the club in the Championship. He was often described as probably the best thing at Newcastle since his appointment. Benitez’ myth at Tyneside only grew after promotion right back to the English football elite the next season and keeping them there since.

Rafa is now gone, much to the dismay of the Toon Army, and Steve Bruce has been signed as his replacement, again, much to the dismay of the Toon Army. Bruce is not a bad manager by any stretch and he has plenty of Premier League experience, but it doesn’t show much ambition on the part of Mike Ashley, especially not in combination with the loss of last season’s best forwards (Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondón) and very little other impressive activity during the summer transfer window. From the outside, the atmosphere feels negative at St. James’ Park at the moment and even though we will need to see how Bruce and his men will click over the course of the season, as it stands currently, it looks like the Magpies have a season of struggles ahead of them.

Now, about football. New manager Steve Bruce is well aware of the fact that his side might be outclassed footballing-wise more often than not this season, so the first point on the agenda was fitness. A lack of quality can, up to a certain point, be compensated by being fitter and more aggressive than your opponent, and that’s what Bruce has emphasised during the pre-season. He will be looking to field a dynamic eleven that, in the first place, forces opponents into a physical battle.

The expectation is that the battle will continue from there onwards. Bruce is known for a cautious approach when it comes to football, and he has had a penchant for counting on crosses and direct balls into danger zones at his previous clubs. He doesn’t have a reputation for playing particularly attractive football, but his direct, physical style can book results.

That’s also why the English manager’s first focus has been on figuring out Newcastle’s defensive structure. In order for his men to take the battle to the opponent, they need to be able to count on a sturdy defensive unit. Usually basing the game approach on a 4-4-2 formation, with a pretty rigid backline and a mostly defensive block in the centre of the pitch, Steve Bruce is not afraid to take a defensive approach to games, especially when faced with stronger opposition. In that regard, it makes sense that he has decided to leave the captain’s armband on central defender Jamaal Lascelles’ arm.

As far as the current transfer window goes, Newcastle has been underwhelming so far, to say the least. The signing of Hoffenheim’s Joelinton for a massive fee of £44 million is promising in several senses, but one with serious risks as well. The physically strong Brazilian striker could be well fitted to Bruce’s preferred style of play, but he is not (yet) used to playing in a defensive set-up after serving under a much more technical and attack-oriented coach in the form of Julian Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim. Also, he has never played in the Premier League before. Last season in the Bundesliga, the forward scored 7 goals and 7 assists in 28 games, while also scoring and assisting once in five Champions League games. He obviously has loads of talent, but the question is whether it’s smart for club owner Ashley to count on the young Brazilian to compensate for the loss of Ayoze Perez, Salomon Rondón and Joselu. Because simply said, that’s the task ahead of him. There is a week to go before the transfer window closes in England, so Newcastle could be making some moves still, but it’s been quiet so far. With or without further signings though, it looks like the 2019/20 season is going to be a difficult one for the Magpies. What’s not going to be difficult is using https://www.newzealandcasinos.io/online-pokies if you play online casino.

Newcastle United – Potential FPL targets

A new coach and a negative atmosphere around the club don’t necessarily mean that there are no attractive Newcastle FPL assets to be found. One of those more attractive options amongst the Magpies is converted wing-back Matt Ritchie (£5.5m). In 2927 minutes of Premier League football, the dead-ball specialist scored 2 goals and provided 8 assists, 4 of which came from set-pieces. That’s as many as premium assets like Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. Ritchie’s performances earned him a total of 110 points, but do take into account that he was listed as a midfielder last year, while this season he’s a defender in FPL. That means that he’ll get an extra point for goals and a three more points per clean sheet. At a price of £5.5m, the Englishman is definitely not cheap and competition is fierce in his bracket, but considering he’s on set-pieces (including penalties) and a nailed-on starter, he could be worth a punt but do just check he’s recovered from the hamstring issue which forced him off in pre-season friendly earlier this week.

Our next pick is English midfielder Isaac Hayden (£4.5m), who brought home a modest 69 FPL points from 1857 minutes of Premier League football last season, courtesy of 1 goal, 4 assists and 7 clean sheets. Still, considering his position as a defensive midfielder playing in a team that faced qualitatively better opponents most of the time, 69 points is not that bad. The main reason for including him in our picks though, is his price tag. With Hayden, you’re bringing in a starting midfielder for an absolute bargain price. Don’t expect double-digit hauls from him, but he could be an excellent budget-enabler. As a matter of fact, in the most budget of midfielder categories, in which players like Wolves’ Dendoncker and Brighton’s Stephens find themselves as well, Hayden is probably your best bet.

Finally, a goalkeeper. Newcastle players are not likely to be very popular picks in the build-up to FPL’s gameweek 1, but goalkeeper Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) is worth watchlisting. The Czech shot stopper was one of the Magpies’ best performers last season as he scored the third-most FPL points of all players on the team (131), behind forwards Rondón and Perez, thanks to 11 clean sheets and 10 bonus points. Newly appointed Newcastle coach Steve Bruce is not exactly known for his attractive, attacking brand of football and is expected to base coming season’s game approach on a solid defence, which could be good news for Dubravka. With reputed goalies like Fabianski, Patricio and Schmeichel all part of the same price bracket, it will be difficult for him to find his way into many FPL rosters, but you should know that last season, out of all the goalkeepers in this category, only Fabianski outscored the Newcastle goalie (143 vs 131 points).

Norwich City – The team

With Norwich City, we have arrived at last season’s Championship champions. The Canaries dominated the second tier for large parts of the season, winning 27 games and losing just 6. Under German coach Daniel Farke, they play an attacking brand of football, which is more than illustrated by the 93 goals they scored last season. While this could be a sign of Norwich being an exciting addition to the Premier League, it should also be taken into account that they conceded 57 goals last season and booked just 13 clean sheets in 46 games. No less than seven teams conceded less goals than last season’s Championship champions. That kind of defensive porousness has to be definitely improved upon if the Canaries want to avoid becoming this season’s Fulham.

Last season, Farke took a moment to find his preferred formation for his men until he settled on a dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation. The double pivot, which will certainly include Mario Vrancic and likely include Tom Trybull, protects the team’s balance and allows the front four to exhibit their creativity without having to worry about their defensive duties too much. The two full-backs, left-back and EFL Young Player of the Year Max Aarons and young right-back Jamal Lewis, get a lot of freedom to get more up the pitch to create a numerical superiority on the midfield. With both being available for £4.5m in FPL, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the first Premier League minutes of their careers when the season gets underway.

Direct promotion to the Premier League wasn’t so much a result of defensive performances as it was of attacking excellence, though. Striker Teemu Pukki played a huge role in the club’s ascension by scoring 29 goals and providing 10 assists in 43 games. The Finnish forward was generously supported by the attacking trio of attacking midfielder Marco Stiepermann (9 goals, 8 assists last season), and wingers Onel Hernandez (8 goals, 10 assists) and Emil Buendia (8 goals, 12 assists). For the moment, it looks like Farke is going to storm the Premier League with this attacking block intact, so it will be fascinating to see to what extent last season’s best Championship attack can raise their game and perform at the very highest level.

Transfer-wise, the Canaries’ summer window has been interesting so far. Contrary to many other (promoted) clubs over the past few years, Norwich have not been splashing millions on new signing. Instead, they have worked hard on keeping last season’s core intact and adding a few players with Premier League experience that can either slot right in or provide the undoubtedly necessary squad depth. Experienced Schalke 04 goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann was loaned for €3 million and is expected to replace last season’s mostly outstanding number one, Tim Krul. On the goalkeeper front, the Canaries seem more than set. Man City striker Patrick Roberts is the other loanee this season, as the young forward will be providing stern competition for both Pukki and new signing Josip Drmic (free transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach). The 26-year old Swiss international had a lost 2018/19 season (5 games, 2 goals), but with 31 goals and 7 assists in 107 Bundesliga games, as well as 10 goals in 32 games for his national team, Norwich have brought in an experienced forward who could be very useful in coming season’s battle for survival. Apart from the above names, West Ham’s right-back Sam Byram was also brought in for a modest fee of €830,000, again to provide squad depth and a quality relief for star right-back Aarons. There seems to be a real idea behind Norwich’ transfer policy and even though it’s likely going to be a tough one coming season, the Canaries have some strong points and might be a surprisingly attractive addition to the Premier League. Building on your strong points should also be part of your sports betting strategy when you are looking at winning against the odds.

Norwich City – Potential FPL targets

In an attacking sense, there was no Canary more valuable last season than striker Teemu Pukki (£6.5m). The forward scored 29 goals and provided 9 assists to crown himself top scorer of the Championship, which represented a direct involvement in 41% of all of his team’s goals. On top of that, the 29-year old had a total of 57 efforts on target (the third-highest in the entire league), while only three players in his own team created more chances than his 54. These statistics are also the main reason for his price tag, which is the shared-highest in the Norwich squad, together with midfield maestro Mario Vrancic. The likes of Wolves’ Jota and Bournemouth’s King provide strong alternatives in Pukki’s price bracket, but if Norwich can maintain some of last season’s attacking flair this season, he could be a pretty good differential.

We mentioned Norwich’ defensive fragility already, so investing in their defenders comes with some risk, but considering the relative scarcity when it comes to decent budget defenders this season, talented right-back Max Aarons (£4.5) is worth considering. His 13 clean sheets in 41 Championship games is not a particularly impressive feat, but his 2 goals and 6 assists are. The 19-year old provided the third-most assists in the league and created the sixth-most chances out of all his team mates. Yes, it looks like the Canaries are going to suffer defensively at times coming season and yes, it’s likely that Aarons will have less opportunities to bomb forward, but he is nailed-on and could be an interesting punt as a fourth or fifth defender in your squad.

Our third pick from the Norwich roster is right-winger Emil Buendia (£6.0m). He was the assist king amongst the Canaries last season, providing 12 successful final passes while also scoring 8 goals himself. Only Brentford’ Said Benrahma provided more assists (14). The tenacious Argentine winger created a total of 91 chances for his team mates, a total that was bettered by only two players in the Championship, Sheffield United’s Oliver Norwood (97) and Leeds United’s Pablo Hernandez (122). The fact that Buendia got his share of set-piece duties as well last season only adds to his appeal. His price is a bit steep, but he’s nonetheless worth watchlisting.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with all the latest news on FISO’s FPL forum.