We roll out the final instalment in our series of End of Season articles this afternoon. Having previously analysed the Goalkeepers, Defenders and Midfielders over the last week, we now cast an eye over the forwards:
The new poll is on the home page (middle column), with two forwards available for your selection. Once again, please bear in mind that the vote is from an overall Fantasy perspective – overall points, price, performances and value should all come into consideration here.
Returning from suspension in Gameweek 6, the Liverpool forward set the tone for what was to follow with a 13-point haul against Sunderland. Thirteen double figure hauls, including four consecutive 10+ returns between Gameweek 14-17, underlined Suarez’ armband capabilities, with many Fantasy content happy to hand him the captaincy on a weekly basis. The Uruguayan rarely let us down, with attacking points in 27 of his 33 appearances and ended the campaign with 30 goals, 25 assists and 40 bonus points. Runaway winner in the FPL standings on 295 points, with a staggering average of 8.9 points per game, Suarez can be expected to rise considerably from last season’s starting price of 11.0 but if he can continue in the same vein, overlooking him in our 15-man squads could be a very risky tactic.
Overshadowed by Robin Van Persie in the previous campaign, the United striker came in at just 10.5 for the first season of the post-Ferguson era. In spite of his side’s toils under David Moyes, Rooney still managed to produce 17 goals, 12 assists and 38 bonus points in just 29 appearances for the Red Devils. His campaign was frustratingly blighted by injury, though, and with the England star picking up problems six times, transferring him in seemed to became a risky tactic, as his failure to appear in United’s double Gameweek 37 will attest to. Van Persie’s absence helped Rooney benefit from free-kicks and penalties and serve up 10 sets of double figures, though a fully-fit Dutchman may dent his team-mate’s chances next time around.
The top value forward in the FPL game. Rodriguez started the season priced at just 6.0 and with just one goal to his name by Gameweek 8, had dropped down to a bargain 5.7. Rodriguez stepped up in consistency over the next few months and by the time a knee injury ruled him out for the campaign at City in Gameweek 33, had netted 15 times and provided a trio of assists for Southampton – all the more impressive given that he didn’t have set-piece or penalty duties. A hike into the mid-price bracket seems inevitable, though he seems set to be sidelined until October after sustaining ligament damage at the Etihad.
Overshadowed by Rodriguez and skipper Adam Lallana for much of the year, Lambert’s impressive last couple of months ensured he ended as the club’s top scoring FPL player for the second successive season. After serving up 187 points in his debut year in the Premier League, the veteran was handed a 7.5 price tag and with 13 goals and 11 assists, was second only to team-mate Rodriguez for value amongst forwards, yet never rose higher than 7.6 over the entirety of 2013/14.
Three games into Jose Mourinho’s second stint at Chelsea, it became glaringly obvious that the youngster was far down the pecking order. Having starred on loan for West Brom the previous season, Lukaku’s impressive pre-season suggested we could have a bargain on our hands, with an initial price of 8.0 persuading many to snap him up prior to double Gameweek 1. After just 40 minutes’ game time in the opening trio of fixtures, Lukaku had dropped in price to 7.4 but, legging it on loan to Everton, he quickly became Roberto Martinez’ first-choice forward as Fantasy managers came flocking back. A goal on his Toffees debut was followed by a 16-point return on his first start the following week as the Belgian proceeded to fire 15 goals and deliver nine assists – whilst he failed to impress as a captaincy option (four double figure hauls all season), Lukaku was far more consistent than many gave him credit for, producing returns in 19 of 31 appearances for the Merseysiders. Back at Chelsea once again, a loan move seems in his best interests, with Mourinho already confirming he’s on the lookout for a new forward to lead the line.
Quick out the blocks with a goal in eight of the opening nine Gameweeks, Sturridge was to prove exceptional value for a starting price of 9.0, with his displays alongside Suarez dispelling the notion of spreading our coverage across teams. Those who opted for both the Reds’ frontmen were richly rewarded as the England man went on to score 22 times and despite missing nine matches , still finished the campaign on 197 points, fifth in the overall standings. An average of 6.8 ppg was bettered only by Suarez amongst regular forwards and Sturridge is expected to make his way into the premium bracket for the first time next term – with Liverpool set for European duties, though, his propensity for picking up injuries could be a worry, with the threat of rotation perhaps more likely next time around.
A loan move to Newcastle allowed the Frenchman to display his top-flight credentials after he tasted relegation with parent club QPR in the previous campaign. Slapped with a 7.5 price tag, Remy wasted little time in delivering for Alan Pardew’s side and served up eight goals and an assist in his first 10 appearances. Injuries and suspension somewhat limited his game time but he still managed to end the season with 14 goals and a trio of assists supplemented by 27 bonus points – Pardew’s side scored just two goals in the 12 league games Remy failed to feature in, a clear sign of just how crucial his acquisition was for the Magpies.
Whilst most of Arsenal’s main midfielders were hampered by injuries over the course of the campaign, their first-choice forward afforded Fantasy managers a real security of starts. With a goal in each of the first four Gameweeks, Giroud’s opening 8.5 price tag persuaded many to get on board, though a lack of explosive potential saw him register just three sets of double figures over his 36 appearances. After serving up 16 goals and nine assists, the Frenchman finished 30 points clear of any Emirates team-mate in the FPL standings and ended the campaign in seventh place overall – a price hike looks on the cards and may well deter many next time round, particularly if the likes of Aaron Ramsey or Theo Walcott can steer clear of injury amongst Arsene Wenger’s first-team.
Over the first few months of the campaign, the City forward was matching Suarez step-for-step. By Gameweek 16, Aguero had delivered 13 goals and eight assists and with five 10+ hauls also thrown in, had even offered us a valid captaincy alternative to the Liverpool striker. The Argentine’s season then tailed off dramatically, with just four goals and three assists in the final 22 rounds of fixtures as injury restricted him to eight league appearances from mid-December onwards. An average of 6.8 ppg was bettered only by Suarez amongst frontmen but with Yaya Toure delivering consistently in midfield, Aguero’s constant injury worries may persuade many to steer clear from snapping him up in 2014/15 – a run of 10 successive appearances was the most he could muster in Manuel Pellegrini’s first year at the helm.
The Bosnian ended the campaign as City’s top scoring FPL forward, bettering Aguero’s score by a single point. Dzeko’s season was the polar opposite of his fellow forward’s – handed just five starts in the opening 18 Gameweeks as Pellegrini opted for Alvaro Negredo alongside the Argentine, he’d managed just four goals and two assists by the turn of the year. With Aguero hampered by injury and Negredo struggling for form, Dzeko started all but three of the champions’ final 20 fixtures and, with his form flourishing due to a consistency of selection, served up 13 goals and four assists over that period. He started and finished the season at 7.5 in FPL but a price rise now seems inevitable after he picked up 157 points – his highest return since arriving at the Etihad.
The departure of Andre Villas-Boas brought the Togo international back onto our radars in mid-December. Adebayor had appeared just once in the opening 16 Gameweeks for Tottenham before a home hammering by Liverpool allowed Tim Sherwood to take the reins – immediately installed to the starting line-up, he delivered a 13-point haul on his first start in an impressive comeback win at Southampton. Over 20 appearances, Adebayor produced 11 goals and six assists and, with 19 bonus points also thrown in, averaged 5.7 ppg – only Suarez, Sturridge, Aguero and Rooney managed more – but with Sherwood departing the club earlier this week, the striker’s Fantasy future once again looks in doubt.
Swansea’s summer signing was slow to adapt to his new surrounds and by the turn of the year, had mustered just four goals and a single assist. In a sign of intent, Bony bagged a brace against United on New Year’s Day and never looked back, going on to score against the likes of Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and Arsenal and finish the season on 17 goals – a tally bettered only by Suarez and Sturridge. With no European fixtures on the horizon next term, the Ivorian could thrive once again – having started at 8.0 last summer, a similar price would make him a very popular pick as Garry Monk’s men look to improve upon a twelfth-place finish.