With just 13 fixtures left of the current campaign, we’ve reached that point where we start to roll out the End of Season polls. As of tomorrow, these will appear in the middle column of the homepage – we’ll working our way through the positions and begin with the goalkeepers, allowing you the chance to nominate your favoured Fantasy Premier League (FPL) protagonists from the 2013/14 campaign. Your assessment should, of course, be from an overall Fantasy perspective – initial price, overall points and value should all come into consideration.
Prior to our first poll, we thought we’d have a look back at your selections from last season, with arguably only two of our line-up excelling themselves once again:
2012/13 Team of the Season Review
Goalkeeper – Jussi Jaaskelainen
Defenders – Leighton Baines, Jan Vertonghen, Pablo Zabaleta, Ben Davies
Midfielders – Juan Mata, Theo Walcott, Michu, Gareth Bale
Forwards –Luis Suarez, Robin Van Persie
After earning 11 clean sheets and 144 points and playing every minute of the previous campaign, Jussi Jaaskelainen started the season priced at 5.5 in the Fantasy Premier league (FPL) game. The West Ham stopper was quick to replicate his heroics in goal, producing eight shut-outs by Gameweek 16, and looked on course to outdo his 2012/13 tally but Sam Allardyce’s decision to install Adrian as his number one midway through the season killed off the veteran’s prospects. The Spaniard has started every match since Gameweek 20 and looks poised to retain his spot next term, forcing Jaaskelainen – who averaged an impressive 4.9 points per game – into the role of back-up keeper at Upton Park.
A great budget option last time around, Ben Davies leapt on price from 4.0 to 5.0 in the FPL game after delivering a goal, two assists and eight clean sheets in his first full season at Swansea. The left-back has offered far less value this season, though, and currently sits on just 98 points as we head into the final Gameweek, with a couple of goals, an assist and six shutouts under his belt. The club’s Europa League schedule had a major knock-on effect on their league form – indeed, it was only last week that they secured their top-flight safety. The Swans have managed just two clean sheets in 13 matches under Garry Monk and if, as expected, he is handed the job permanently, they may struggle to earn our interest.
Jan Vertonghen’s attacking forays served up five goals and three assists in his debut campaign at White Hart Lane and earned him a premium starting price of 7.0 this season. Hampered by injuries, he’s featured just 23 times for the north London club and has failed to replicate his offensive threat, delivering just a single assist all season. Having delivered seven clean sheets in the first 10 Gameweeks under Andre Villas-Boas, Spurs were outstanding at the back in the first few months but have registered six more shut-outs in the following 27 matches (21 of those under Tim Sherwood). With rumours of another change of manager, we’ll be hedging our bets next time round, though a drop in price certainly look on the cards for the former Ajax man.
Pablo Zabaleta served up 124 points in 29 starts for City last season, with two goals, a couple of assists and 12 clean sheets to his name. Priced at 6.0 this time around, the Argentine has missed just three matches so far yet has notched just two more points that his 2012/13 tally, with a single goal and five assists. Whilst the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini has clearly boosted City’s attacking potential, they’ve lacked the grinding resilience instilled by Roberto Mancini and with a change in the bonus points system, Zabaleta trails Martin Demichelis by 4.5 to 3.8 in terms of points per game amongst the Etihad defensive regulars this season.
Despite a change in manager and playing style at Everton, Leighton Baines has been as reliable as ever. After racking up 178 points in David Moyes’ final year at Goodison, Baines was slapped with a 7.5 starting price and whilst he’s mainly been overshadowed by the cheaper option of Seamus Coleman, has still delivered five goals, five assists, 12 clean sheets and 24 bonus points – an average of 5.3 ppg is greater than any regular defender this season.
Gareth Bale’s final season in English football was a memorable one for FPL managers. The former Tottenham man racked up 249 points, with 21 goals, nine assists and 50 bonus points helping him average 7.2 ppg – more than any other player in the 2012/13. Just when we thought we had a midfielder to rival Cristiano Ronaldo in his heyday, Real Madrid splashed the cash and acquired the Welshman for a record fee last August – Bale has since delivered 14 goals and 12 assists in just 25 league appearances for the Spanish outfit, as his star continues to rise across Europe.
Michu’s first season in the Premier League was one of the most memorable in recent times. Arriving at Swansea from Rayo Vallecano, the Spaniard started the season priced at 6.5 and took the top-flight by storm, netting 18 league goals for the Welsh side and helping them to the Capital One Cup. Suffice to say, this year has been the reverse opposite – blighted by ankle and knee injuries, he’s scored just twice and featured 17 times, with new boy Wilfried Bony stepping up as the Swans’ goal hero in his absence. We can expect this season’s starting price of 9.0 to drop considerably in light of Michu’s minimal impact.
An outstanding, consistent Fantasy performer during his two seasons at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Stamford Bridge proved the undoing of Juan Mata. Having served up 212 points in his last year at the London outfit, the Spaniard was handed a 10.5 price tag but minutes under the Special One proved sporadic – Mata started only 11 of the Blues’ first 22 league matches and managed a mere two assists before David Moyes took him to Old Trafford. Since then, he’s started all but one of United’s subsequent 14 fixtures and produced 85 points – an average of over 6ppg suggests he’ll be back on our radars next time around.
The season started slowly for Theo Walcott, with just two assists in the opening four Gameweeks before a pelvic problem placed him on the sidelines. Returning to action in mid-November, the Arsenal midfielder was tentatively eased back into the action before firing five goals and an assist in five starts towards the turn of the year. Stretchered off in the FA Cup third round win over north London rivals Tottenham with a knee injury back in January, he’s failed to feature since – Walcott’s eye for goal was missed by Arsenal fans and Fantasy managers alike and will surely be pencilled in by many once he proves his fitness again.
Suspended for the first five league fixtures, Luis Suarez has ran amok from Gameweek 6 onwards. The Uruguayan has easily surpassed the level of consistency afforded by Robin Van Persie in the previous couple of campaigns and delivered an extraordinary 9.2 ppg, courtesy of 30 goals, 25 assists and 40 bonus points in the FPL game. Whilst the majority of his forward rivals have missed game time through injury, Suarez has started every one of Liverpool’s last 32 fixtures and, for the majority, has been the default captain in any given Gameweek of a season that has seen him snap up the Players’ Player of the Year and Football Writers Player of the Year awards over the past fortnight.
After a couple of outstanding seasons, Robin Van Persie’s Fantasy star came crashing down this time around. In what has been a tumultuous first year of the post-Ferguson era for the Old Trafford outfit, the Dutchman has played a part in 19 of United’s first 36 matches (17 starts, two sub appearances), though, despite his lack of minutes, has still chipped in with an impressive 11 goals and three assists. Hampered by injuries throughout David Moyes’ ill-fated stint at the helm, Robin has been anything but “reliant” in 2013/14 – a priced drop from this term’s 14.0 looks certain, though it remains to be seen whether Van Persie can oust Suarez as our preferred premium forward of choice when the next season gets underway.