We conclude our Sun Dream Team selection guides by turning to the options up front. A crucial component of our lineups – just as we saw in midfield – we’re talking big money and big points.
Only strikers capable of scoring 20 plus goals need apply, with our sights narrowed somewhat by Robin Van Persie’s dominance. Whether you’re opting for a two or three-man attack, the Dutchman looks almost irresistible in the Dream Team reckoning, with a talented supporting cast left to vie for our attention alongside him.
The Sun Dream Team – Top Ten Forwards – 2012/13
|Name||Team||Starts||7+ Ratings||Star Man||Goals||Hat-Tricks||Points|
|van Persie||Manchester United||40||33||7||30||2||286|
|Lukaku||West Bromwich Albion||23||22||7||17||1||188|
Just as Gareth Bale and Juan Mata left other midfielders in their wake last term, there is a clear gulf between last season’s top two strikers and the rest of the field; if anything it’s a chasm.
Luis Suarez and Robin Van Persie were simply dominant last term, with Suarez topping 300 points and the United man just missing out. With 30 goals apiece, the key factor is obvious, although Suarez’s Star Man awards and Van Persie’s consistency helped gain 7+ ratings in 33 of his 40 Dream Team starts.
The chasing pack, led by Carlos Tevez, never got close to the top two and underline the importance of spending big to get the top names in this area of our lineups.
Even in a 4-3-3, much emphasis has to be placed on finding and locking in the big scorers and, while we can take an initial punt going into Transfer Window 1, in the long term it pays to bank on reliable goalscorers who can also provide European fixtures and perhaps domestic cup runs, to supplement league returns.
The presence of Fernando Torres in the top ten strikers underlines the role that cup competitions can play. The Chelsea man earned 40 points from his Europa and Champions League campaign and it’s clear that some strikers such as Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski (44 Champions League points) and Shola Ameobi (34 Europa League points) can become cup specialists, selected for European or domestic cup duty, adding a new dimension to their Dream Team scoring capabilities.
The flipside of that is that first choice strikers can often be rotated, particularly in the domestic cups, as they are preserved for league duty and European action. The likes of Van Persie and Tottenham’s Roberto Soldado would seem primed for rotation in the Capital One Cup and perhaps early FA Cup rounds – Soldado may even be rested for the Europa League campaign – depending on Andre Villas-Boas’ priorities.
The Champions League is a different animal. First choice strikers will be utilised in most matches, bar any academic group matches, thus putting strong emphasis on players from teams who offer this additional platform to earn points – United, City, Chelsea and, perhaps, Arsenal.
As we’ve mentioned in previous guides, the Gunners have a play-off with Fenerbahce that immediately hands them two additional matches prior to Transfer Window 1. That signposts the in-form Oliver Giroud for consideration, particularly if, for some reason, you’re overlooking Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla in midfield.
Should the Gunners qualify, they, along with United, City and Chelsea will enjoy four group matches before Transfer Window 2 – a significant factor when considering striking options both initially and in the first Window.
However, we should consider that, while Van Persie will likely be given the European stage to impress, there is every chance that he could be rested in the league around European fixtures. We shouldn’t automatically presume that Champions League football will grant a striker extra fixtures – we have to consider that, with options available, managers will look to use their squads.
As an example, snapping up Romelu Lukaku on the promise of Champions League matches would be folly; there’s every chance that either Fernando Torres or Demba Ba will see European action or that Lukaku will be rested in league matches should he feature in Europe.
As mentioned, we could see Spurs rotate Soldado up front in Europe should they qualify for the group stages of the Europa League. They, like Swansea, face a two-legged play-off match before Transfer Window 1 opens. It remains to be seen what priority this is given but perhaps both Michu and Wilfred Bony are more likely to benefit from the extra fixtures with Michael Laudrup putting more emphasis on Swansea’s European campaign.
With the forward line so vital to a Dream Team’s potential, we clearly need to assess our transfer strategies over the four available windows.
As mentioned in our previous guides, Transfer Window 1 opens with just three Premier League fixtures played out, on September 3. With three trades available, you can carry out immediate surgery on your front line and we can therefore select strikers with the opening few weeks in mind.
When considering our moves in Transfer Window 1, league fixtures between Gameweeks 3-11 are the concern, although, with four European matchdays played out in this period, strikers in action in those tournaments have a clear advantage over those restricted to domestic duties – providing they do not suffer rotation.
Again, the full Members Ticker can be used to analyse the fixtures between Transfer Windows 1 and 2, with the “attacking” filter revealing those most likely to score goals in this spell.
As we mentioned in our Midfielders Guide, it demonstrates that Liverpool face a run of favourable Anfield encounters leading up to Transfer Window 2, with Southampton, Palace, West Brom and Fulham all visiting Anfield. Should you decide against investment in Philippe Coutinho, you may well be tempted to look to Daniel Sturridge, despite the lack of European fixtures on offer.
The Capital One Cup reaches the fourth round by October 28, so, by the time Transfer Window 2 comes around, you will have some idea whether this is a concern for your choice of frontline.
As we’ve mentioned previously, the FA Cup Third Round does not take place until January 4, so progress here only becomes a factor for Transfer Window 3, which opens on January 21.
A huge 62% of Dream Team managers have brought in Van Persie and, quite frankly, it’s very difficult to doubt that decision. With Suarez perhaps out of the equation, theres no clear rival for the top-ranking striker this term, given the likely rotation at City and Chelsea. Van Persie looks set to be a dominant force across the games and, while his price is perhaps an obstacle elsewhere, a Dream Team price tag of £8.0 is still palatable and hardly a reason to overlook a player who is well capable of getting close to 300 Dream Team points once again.
Having said that, given United’s tough opening fixtures (swa CHE liv), there’s a clear case for reserving the acquisition of Van Persie for Transfer Window 1. Prior to that, focus can be given to those with kinder fixtures and the prospect of European playoffs.
Soldado fits the bill and is a clear temptation. At just £4.5 million, can be kept in our squads as a suitable partner to the United man. Selection in our initial lineups may be a gamble given he’s unproven on the Premier League stage but the Spaniard’s credentials are hugely impressive. He looks assured of his start, may have Europa League fixtures and Spurs are also blessed with a strong schedule in the early Gameweeks. The one caveat here – just how will the Gareth Bale saga end and can Tottenham adjust to life without him, should he leave for Madrid?
The aforementioned Swansea strikers are also worth a glance – both Michu and Wilfred Bony are mid-price options, with the Ivorian available for a paltry £3.5 million. At that price and with the promise of regular starts both in the league and perhaps in Europe, he has to be on the radar.
Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud could also come into the frame. He’s a clear risk, given that Arsene Wenger may elect to field either Lukas Podolski or Theo Walcott in the central striker role but, given his pre-season form, Giroud will surely get the opportunity to stake a claim. With a Champions League play-off with Fenerbahce on the horizon, the Frenchman may get four or even five appearances before Transfer Window 1, at which point Van Persie can be snapped up prior to his home clash with Crystal Palace.
The likes of Christian Benteke (£5.5m) and Daniel Sturridge (£5.0m) are long term as potential partners to Van Persie. Proven Premier League goalscorers, the Villa man is perhaps better placed, given Sturridge’s injury record and the joker in the Anfield pack that is Luis Suarez.
Elsewhere the likes of Romelu Lukaku (£4.0m), Dimitar Berbatov (£4.5m) and Rickie Lambert (£3.5m) all have merits for consideration as we plunge the price brackets. Perhaps it’s West Brom’s Nicolas Anelka, priced at just £3 million, who provides the best value, however. He looks set to be the protagonist in the Baggies attack following Lukaku’s return to the Bridge. Andy Carroll, also priced at just £3 million could also come into the equation once his fitness is proven for those forced to shop in the budget end of the market.
The Sun Dream Team Scout League
The Sun Dream Team is long established as one of the biggest players in the UK Fantasy Football market, attracting a huge audience wowed by the most substantial prizes on offer. Once again, this season, there’s a huge £500,000 prize pool to be divided up. Registration for teams and leagues opens on August 1 but you can select your lineups right now.
We also have our own Fantasy Football Scout League with a £1000 top prize on offer to the winner.
Once you register and create your team or teams, simply use the following PIN and password to enter.
League Name: Fantasy Football Scout
For Gameweek 14
- De Guzmán
Next Six Ticker
|Up||De Gea||MUN||C, Vs|
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|Up||Pantilimon||MCI||A, VsX, Rest, £|
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“I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the Club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go.”Paul Lambert revels in convincing Christian Benteke to revoke his transfer request