@CraigHazell runs through his tips for the opening week of the 2015/2016 season......
Defence: Now, it would be easy to start this GW 1 prediction with something outlandish, something eyecatching, something you could bring up at work to a chorus of gasps, something that isn’t PHIL JAGIELKA.
He’s your Wednesday night comfies, he’s beans on toast, he’s IKEA and Volvo all rolled into one, but by God is he reliable. At 5.5m, Jags is 0.5m and 1m cheaper than his teammates Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines respectively, yet he outscored them both in the 2014/2015 season and at 25% picked the only question to ask is….why not more? Everton have Chelsea, Southampton and Manchester City in their first 5 gameweeks but Jagielka represents such good value you don’t feel loathed to keep him on the bench and he is probably worth a clean sheet or two against the likes of Watford or Spurs.
If you do fancy being a bit more beneath the radar then Matt Target at Southampton has filled in for Ryan Bertrand in the Europa Qualifiers and gives you the possibility of a Southampton starting berth for only 4.0m.
MIDFIELD: The obvious answer is of course Eden Hazard. He is arguably the most gifted player in the entire league and one can only presume the 46% people who haven’t picked him are those who haven’t done their team yet, QPR fans or Juan Mata’s friends and family. If you fancy something slightly less obvious though then MEMPHIS DEPAY is proving a pretty decent option. Everyone knows that the holy grail in FPL is a player classed as a midfielder, playing in an advance position and Memphis could well be that guy. At the risk of making a terrible Cher pun, I will leave it at that, besides Depay should be Strong Enough for any side. Damn it…
A slightly less obvious choice is Swansea’ Ayew. He could find himself playing up front during the season and Swansea have a reputation for getting their money’s worth. He could be a big hit for this season, forgiving him a tough start against Chelsea.
ATTACK: The story of last year was the “Will they? Won’t they?” of Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero and their injury problems. The story of this year seems to be…….the “Will they? Won’t they?” of Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero and their injury problems. Sigh. While those two give Ross & Rachel a run for their money, the rest of us are left wondering who to sign as our marquee striker up front. Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney are proving popular but my hunch is for ROMELU LUKAKU. Everton open with a home game against Watford and 8m seems good value for their main attacking threat. Lukaku has had a strong pre season, including a hat trick against Heart of Midlothian and I wouldn’t rule one out on opening day.
The underappreciated Olivier Giroud is always worth considering and with Stoke, Palace, Newcastle & West Ham making up 4 of Arsenal’s first 5 opponents, quite why he is only 12.5%picked is beyond me. Plus, he has lovely hair.
The Outsider: I want you for a second to imagine the person I am going to pick isn’t a Liverpool signing. He’s got 4 goals in 10 games for Brazil. He has successfully played in Europe for several seasons and he is an absolute assist machine. It is of course. FIRMINO. He is 3.6% picked and represents a risk given last year’s Anfield additions such as Markovic or Lovren who both also looked great on youtube. Everything about him says you should steer clear. His name is even an anagram for “Firm NO’ sort of, but he really does look the real deal.
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