A guide to picking your FPL attack ‘17-’18

by Samarth

With the 2017–18 Premier League season about to get underway on the 11th of August, diehard Fantasy Premier League (FPL) fans have begun to tinker with their squads for the new season. With almost no information to go on except performances in seasons past, choosing a set of nailed-on point scorers is a difficult task. One strategy is to focus on teams from the top 6 — who usually have the best attacking statistics.

Keeping that in mind, let’s review the best choices from each of the top 6 sides, sorted in order of priority within each team.

Arsenal

  1. Lacazette (10.5) : The former Lyon striker comes in at top billing. With an early Friday kickoff, expect his price to rise lightning-quick if he gets a goal and bonus points. With service coming in from the likes of Ozil and Alexis, and possibly being on penalties — Lacazette is the attacker of choice from Arsenal.
  2. Alexis (12.0) : Alexis is something of an FPL legend — he was last year’s top scorer and saved many patient FPL managers who put the armband on him for Triple Captaincy last season. But with his high price, news of him being unsettled, and low FPL scores when he starts on the wing — he drops to second choice among Arsenal’s players. Also it seems unlikely that we’ll captain him in first few weeks, further reducing his appeal.
  3. Ramsey (7.0) : The Welshman was a disappointment for most of last season, but towards the end, it seemed like Wenger’s new 3–4–3 favors his late runs into the box. At 7.0, his cost is friendly on the budget too.
Alexandre Lacazette could be the star of FPL 2017–18

Chelsea

The big news from Chelsea is that their main man Hazard is going to be injured for the first three gameweeks, and pantomime villain Diego Costa has been told by Conte that he must take his talents elsewhere this upcoming seasono. As a result, we’re left with some interesting budget options :

  1. Alonso(7.0) : Yes, yes I hear you pointing out a glaring mistake — Alonso is a defender and this post is about top 6 attackers. However, last season the Spaniard was often the most advanced of Chelsea’s players, making late runs into the box and creating chances for others — even scoring or hitting the bar from set pieces. With a nailed-on position in Conte’s preferred 3–4–3 set up, I believe Marcos Alonso is the best choice of “attacker” at Chelsea.
  2. Willian (7.0) : The best player for the Blues from the season before last, Willian faced a difficult 2016–17 campaign with a deep personal loss in the family, and subsequent loss of his position in the team. But now with Hazard ruled out and a new chapter beginning, the creative burden falls on the Brazilian — and he might just be the best value player of the opening few weeks.
  3. Pedro (8.0): At a shade more expensive than Willian, the former Barcelona midfielder is tipped to overcome rotation problems from last season and put on a showing more in-keeping with his 8.0 price tag.
Will Alonso get the chance to set up his mate Costa again ?

Liverpool

  1. Firmino (8.5) : The shake-up in terms of Liverpool’s fantasy assets is that Firmino has been reclassified as a Forward by FPL. At first glance it seems like this move is full of downsides — he now gets fewer points for scoring and no bonus if Liverpool keep a clean sheet. But on closer examination, a case can be made for Firmino to be a very good 3rd striker in your team. His closest competition comes from Benteke and Defoe both priced at 8.0, who both play for significantly worse teams than the Reds. If Roberto can continue to operate as a false 9 for Klopp, there definitely is some excellent potential for FPL returns.
  2. Mane (9.5) : The importance of the Senegalese international to Liverpool’s fortunes was clear when he left in January 2017 to take part in the African Cup of Nations. With an eye for goal and a propensity for explosive returns dating back to his Southampton days, Sadio Mané will be in a significant number of FPL teams if he can recover from an ongoing injury that has ruled him out of Liverpool’s pre-season tour.
  3. Coutinho (9.0) : The Brazilian wizard’s price tag seems fair. However, Liverpool’s last few games of the season past saw Klopp trial an experimental formation with Coutinho dropping deeper in midfield — this new role might reduce his appeal in FPL.
If only FPL awarded points for pirouettes

Man City

  1. Kevin de Bruyne (10.0) : The ongoing confusion between Pep’s choice of striker : Gabriel Jesus v Kun Aguero could mean that de Bruyne is the safest route into Man City’s attack. If he starts this season the same way he finished the last one — expect a deluge of points for KdB owners.
  2. Gabriel Jesus (10.5) : The Brazilian is Pep’s acquisition and his manager’s favorite. An explosive introduction to the EPL midway through last season resulted in a very high Points Per Match (PPM) in FPL, although Jesus was ruled out through injury for a significant part of the season. Expect him to get more minutes than Kun, at a lower price — Gabriel Jesus is the second best option into the Sky Blues’ attack.
  3. Kun Aguero (11.5) : What does one say about Kun that hasn’t already been said ? Every FPL manager worth his salt has ridden the Argentine’s coat-tails to massive hauls in the past. But with a steep price and better options available in his team, Kun needs to show us something special to be in our teams.
KdB receives his blessings from all FPL managers

Man Utd

Man Utd has traditionally been an FPL powerhouse — giving us consistent point scorers like Ronaldo, Rooney and even the likes of Nani in the past. Since the departure of Robin van Persie however, the Red Devils have been a poor source of FPL points, with the exception of Ibrahimovic in bursts last season. But with the signing of Lukaku, there are high hopes on Utd returning to their former heights.

  1. Lukaku (11.5) : Man Utd consistently finished high in the tables when looking at chances created last season, but were among the poorest at chance conversion. Lukaku at Everton was the kind of player to put clubs from the bottom-half of the PL table to the sword — expect him to be an excellent fantasy asset at his new home. Unlike other clubs which have multiple options up top, the Belgian is expected to be the main source of goals for the Red Devils. Add to that his high ownership and good set of opening fixtures — Romelu Lukaku is a great captain choice going into Gameweek 1.
  2. Pogba (8.0) : While it is true that dabbing and fancy flicks do not translate to FPL points, Paul Pogba was somewhat unlucky last season to see many of his attempts bounce off the woodwork, or watch his teammates fluff excellent chances set up by him. With the arrival of his mate Lukaku, and Man Utd pursuing a holding / defensive midfielder, the French sensation can finally deliver on the promise of goals and assists. While Pogba in real life has an eye-watering price tag, FPL towers has priced him kindly at 8.0 — and he makes this list as the second-best attacking option at Utd.
Under Mourinho’s watchful eyes — the fearsome two might be the answer to Man Utd’s woes

Spurs

  1. Alli (9.5) : With his advanced position as a second striker, constant goal threat, and penchant for explosive returns, Dele Alli is a solid FPL option. At a kind price tag of 9.5 compared to Kane at 12.5, it seems like Alli’s ownership will remain higher than his English strike partner — going into Gameweek 1.
  2. Kane (12.5) : The lad from North London emphatically silenced his doubters in 2016–17, proving that he is no one-season wonder. Consequently he has been given a steep price increase and is now the most expensive player in the game. With penalties in his locker, he can easily net a hattrick — but will you captain Harry in the first few weeks ? If so, and if Spurs can settle quickly into their new stadium — then having a fire-and-forget captain option might be worth the 12.5 M.
  3. Eriksen (9.5) : The Dane is at a good price and on set pieces as always. But with more explosive options available at Spurs, its more of a wait-and-see with Eriksen at the start.
Things we can expect this season : More ridiculous handshakes from the Spurs duo

So that gives a 6 of :

Alonso
deBruyne Alli
Lacazette Lukaku Firmino
A 3–4–3 set up with the 6 attackers from this post

With a couple of budget midfielders and another premium defender added to this list of top six attackers, one can have a formidable team with a flexible 4–3–3 or 3–4–3 formation.