The Promoted

Sheffield United’s attack-minded defenders could be budget FPL gems

Having profiled the managers and tactics of Norwich City and Sheffield United, our series on the newly promoted Premier League sides continues with this look at the Blades’ intriguing backline.

We will discuss United’s midfielders and forwards in a separate piece.

You can also read our thoughts on Norwich’s defensive options here.

What is Sheffield United’s clean sheet potential?

United’s defence had a remarkable second half of the season

Chris Wilder’s side came up from the Championship with the joint-best defensive record in the division, having shipped only 41 goals in 46 league fixtures.

No side kept more clean sheets, either, with United registering 21 shut-outs in all – 15 of which came in their final 22 matches.

12 of their clean sheets were recorded on home soil, where they conceded on just 17 occasions. No Championship side shipped fewer goals on their own turf.

Norwich, indeed, conceded twice as many goals at Carrow Road as Sheffield United did at Bramall Lane.

While the Blades won’t record 21 clean sheets in the Premier League next season, Cardiff proved that it was possible to compete with the also-rans on a tight budget in 2018/19 and registered ten shut-outs in 28 matches against teams ranked sixth or below.

Player-by-Player

Dean Henderson

Goalkeeper

Starts: 46 | Clean sheets: 21

No Championship goalkeeper kept more clean sheets than Dean Henderson last season

Signed on a season-long loan deal from Manchester United in June 2018, Henderson played every single minute of the Championship season and was the only ever-present in Wilder’s side.

It remains to be seen whether the Blades can extend the England under-21 international’s stay but reports suggest that all parties involved are keen on a similar deal being struck in 2019/20, with Henderson remaining on the books at Old Trafford but being allowed to spend another 12 months in South Yorkshire.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in mid-May:

Let’s see what we do with Dean. He obviously won promotion with Sheffield United and that’s been fantastic for him.

If he plays a year in the Premier League, for him that might be the best thing.

Wilder said earlier in the month:

We’re in discussions with Manchester United, I went across for the Manchester derby, we’ve got a great relationship with them.

We’re hopeful having spoken with the powers that be at Manchester United that we can agree a deal for Dean to play for us in the Premier League next year.

He’s a talented young boy who came roaring back from a couple of mistakes at Aston Villa, as did the team, because that was a bitterly disappointing night for everyone and the reaction was fantastic to see.

Wilder’s comments above alluded to the 3-3 draw at Villa Park when Henderson conceded three goals (two of them he was partly culpable for) in the dying stages, although mistakes have been few and far between.

Henderson scooped the Young Player of the Year award at the club’s end-of-season awards ceremony, having also landed the Championship Golden Glove award for his 21 clean sheets.

It should be said that United’s shut-out record owed as much to their well-organised defence as it did to Henderson’s abilities between the posts, with the on-loan goalkeeper only being called on to make 111 saves in 46 appearances: that rate of 2.41 stops per match being the lowest of the Championship goalkeepers with 40 or more appearances to their name.

That was still more than John Ruddy (100) and Neil Etheridge (99) made in Wolves and Cardiff’s promotion-winning campaigns of 2017/18, with those two teams having the joint-best defensive records in the second tier that year.

Etheridge’s rate of saves per match rose from 2.2 in the Championship in 2017/18 to 3.7 in the Premier League last season, to indicate how much busier Henderson – if he returns to Bramall Lane – will likely be in the top flight.

John Egan

Centre-back

Starts: 44 | Goals: 1 | Assists: 1

John Egan had more shots in the box than any United defender last season

While there is much excitement and talk about Sheffield United’s overlapping centre-halves, Egan is the rock at the heart of the Blades’ back three.

Having begun 2018/19 in fairly unconvincing fashion and there being question marks over his distribution, the Irish centre-half – a summer signing from Brentford – swiftly improved and was a fixture in the middle of the defence as United racked up 15 clean sheets in the second half of the season.

The only two Championship matches he missed were through injury or suspension.

Strong and dominant in the air, Egan made more clearances (258) than any of his team-mates and all bar two Championship defenders last season.

Egan also had the highest total for blocked shots (29) in the Blades’ squad last season.

Egan’s average of a clearance, block or interception (CBIs being a contributing factor on the Bonus Points System) every 11.30 minutes is someway short of Jan Bednarek‘s rate of a CBI every 8.08 minutes this season, although both the Ireland international and the Blades themselves will very likely be busier at the back in 2018/19.

Given that he only scored one goal and the fact that the centre-halves either side of him are given license to roam, he is – on paper – arguably the least appealing option among United’s first-choice defenders.

That said, there is the sense that the 6’1″ centre-back could be a threat at set plays should there be some improvement in his finishing – Egan having registered more attempts from inside the opposition area (32) than any of his team-mates bar strikers Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick last season.

Only four of Egan’s efforts were on target, however, and the stopper has had a frustrating tendency to head over or wide from close range throughout the campaign.

Chris Basham

Centre-back

Starts: 39 | Substitute appearances: 2 | Goals: 4 | Assists: 1

Chris Basham is one of United’s two overlapping centre-halves

The versatile Basham has played in every division from Conference National up and even has Premier League experience to his name following spells at Bolton and Blackpool between 2008 and 2011.

Shifting between defence and central midfield for much of his career, Basham has spent most of 2018/19 operating as one of the two “overlapping centre-halves” either side of Egan.

There is more on that system in our previous article on Wilder and his strategy but, essentially, these unique tactics allow plenty of scope for Basham and Jack O’Connell to bomb forward and support attacks.

To underline this point, three of Basham’s four league goals this season came from open play.

Wilder’s fluid system allows Basham to push into midfield during matches, too, as BladesPod’s Ben Meakin explains:

Generally, we stick to our way of playing and back our ability to cause the opposition problems rather than worry about them.

That said, we were more pragmatic at times this season and would switch up the formation on the fly, with Basham stepping into midfield if required.

One of Wilder’s senior pros, Basham turns 31 this summer but his stamina is one of his major plus points and the long-serving utility man will no doubt play a significant part next season, even if Wilder strengthens – as expected given that back-up Martin Cranie has now departed – on the right-hand side of central defence.

Four goals from five shots on target suggests he has perhaps overachieved this season, although his goals against Derby and Rotherham illustrate the type of dangerous areas he has been getting into from open play.

It is Basham’s assist potential, as much as his goal threat, that catches the eye from a Fantasy perspective: the experienced stopper’s total of 60 crosses from open play was the best among Championship centre-halves.

A key pass every 116.9 minutes, meanwhile, was only marginally inferior to team-mate George Baldock‘s average at wing-back.

Basham topped the list of chances created (29) among Championship centre-backs last season, too.

No Premier League centre-half could match that rate of key passes in 2018/19, although Basham’s creativity will, of course, likely drop off somewhat next season up against stiffer opposition.

Jack O’Connell

Centre-back

Starts: 41 | Goals: 3 | Assists: 3

Jack O’Connell could be an interesting budget FPL option next season

Much of what we have written about Basham can also be applied to O’Connell, who looks more assured of his starting role next season after an exceptional 2018/19 at centre-half.

Playing on the left side of United’s back three, 25-year-old O’Connell is part of the overlapping/underlapping partnership with Basham.

A 6’3″ centre-half who is good in the air, O’Connell is not your archetypal second-tier clogger.

O’Connell’s crossing has particularly caught the eye, with his assist for Scott Hogan in the final home match of the season an example of the type of wide positions he often takes up from open play.

While O’Connell registered fewer key passes (14 v 29) and crosses (57 v 60) than Basham, he created more “big chances” (4 v 1) and delivered more successful crosses (13 v 7) than his fellow overlapping centre-half.

All of this, it has to be re-emphasised, has come from a starting centre-back position.

With his height he is a threat from corners and free-kicks, with all three of his league goals this season stemming from dead-ball situations.

All 26 of his attempts on goal were from inside the opposition box, too, with all but one coming from a set play.

Ben Meakin said O’Connell and Basham were two names that might appeal to Fantasy managers next season:

I would recommend Fantasy managers take a look at those two wide centre-backs, Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham. Both were among the top chance creators/crossers of the ball among centre-halves last season, and Basham himself scored three times from open play (both also contributed set-piece goals).

O’Connell is just a magnificent player all round and probably the one I expect to adapt most readily to the Premier League.

It’s also worth noting that we were the joint-best defence in the Championship this season on goals conceded and the clear number one on expected goals conceded (xGC).

We defend superbly as a team and went on a run of seven straight clean sheets in February and March, which included wins over West Brom and Leeds. Naturally, we’ll have a harder time of it in the Premier League but if we end up getting decent attacking output from our two wide centre-backs then they’ll be good Fantasy value.

Crucially for Fantasy managers, O’Connell is a near-certain starter: he has played 40+ league matches in each of his last three seasons and the five fixtures he missed in 2018/19 were through injury.

After Egan he has the best rate of CBIs in the United backline, while only influential midfielder Oliver Norwood (68.8) averaged more passes per game than O’Connell (54) last season among the Blades’ squad – these underlying stats being pivotal on the Bonus Points System.

A pass completion rate of 77.2% would require improvement from a Fantasy perspective, ideally, but it is also perhaps a reflection of just how advanced he often is (i.e. he isn’t bolstering his pass completion rate by completing simple five-yard balls in inoffensive defensive positions).

Richard Stearman

Centre-back

Starts: 3 | Substitute appearances: 13 | Goal: 1

Back-up stopper Richard Stearman celebrates scoring against Middlesbrough

The 31-year-old centre-back will be a name familiar to experienced FPL managers following his three seasons with Wolves in the Premier League from 2009 to 2012.

These days Stearman is very much playing second fiddle to Egan at the heart of the United defence and only started three Championship matches in 2018/19, with just one coming from November onwards.

Not really equipped to be one of the “overlapping” centre-halves either side of Egan, Stearman’s first-team opportunities are essentially limited to when the Irish stopper is unavailable – something that hasn’t happened much in 2018/19.

The former Wolves centre-half was sent on as a substitute on 13 occasions last season, mostly to help bolster the backline when United were defending a narrow lead.

Goalscoring isn’t his forte, with his one strike of the season – the winner against Middlesbrough in February – coming from his only attempt on goal of 2018/19.

Stearman has only six league goals to his name in the last nine seasons.

The former England under-21 international has one year of his contract remaining and may be kept on at the club for his experience but Wilder will surely add to his options in defence over the summer and pitch-time will likely be limited.

A £4.0m price in FPL beckons, so he could be in “bench fodder” territory should he remain at Bramall Lane.

George Baldock

Right wing-back

Starts: 26 | Substitute appearances: 1 | Goals: 1 | Assists: 2

George Baldock doesn’t quite offer the attacking threat that Enda Stevens does on the opposite flank

A right wing-back who is perhaps more Javier Manquillo than Matt Doherty, Baldock is an all-action defender with plenty of heart and energy but who arguably lacks the same end product that team-mate Stevens offers on the opposite wing.

After a stop-start beginning to 2018/19, Baldock established himself as a first-team regular on the right flank in early November and has kept Kieron Freeman out of the side since.

Defensively sound, Baldock registered clean sheets (14) in over half of his 27 Championship appearances.

One goal and two assists says much about his attacking output, however, with 2018/19’s meagre tally coming off the back of two attacking returns (one goal, one assist) in his debut season at Bramall Lane.

Three United defenders had better rates of shots in the box, while fellow wing-backs Stevens and Freeman created more chances per appearance on average.

With plenty of attack-minded options for FPL managers to choose from in the United defence, Baldock’s Fantasy appeal is somewhat diminished.

Baldock even fares poorly when it comes to underlying defensive stats, with his rate of a CBI every 32.2 minutes the worst among the Blades’ backline last season.

BladesPod’s Ben Meakin reckoned that right wing-back might be an area that Wilder strengthens in this summer but Baldock will likely be in the United squad, at least, for their first Premier League campaign in 12 years.

Kieron Freeman

Right wing-back

Starts: 20 | Goals: 2 | Assists: 4

Kieron Freeman’s first-team chances might be limited next season

The only Sheffield United player to hit double figures for Championship starts in 2018/19 and not be a regular come May, Freeman was Wilder’s first-choice option at right wing-back for much of the first half of the season.

The 27-year-old Wales international, who has been on United’s books since 2015, lost his place to Baldock at the beginning of November and has barely featured since, starting only four league matches in the final six months of the season – all of which were either because his positional rival was injured or handed a rest.

The perception seems to be that Freeman has more of an end product than Baldock and indeed that panned out in the attacking returns, with Freeman registering twice as many goals and assists as his challenger for the role on the right flank.

Freeman’s chance creation rate (a key pass every 91.9 minutes) was also the best among United defenders.

Freeman’s fitness and positional discipline seem to be an issue at wing-back, though, and with the Blades likely to be on the back foot more in the Premier League, that will surely count against him.

The former Derby County defender was even struggling to make the bench in the final half of 2018/19.

If he stays at Bramall Lane, he may be second or third-choice at right wing-back (depending on United’s activity in the transfer window) and, like Stearman, could well be another £4.0m FPL option.

Enda Stevens

Left wing-back

Starts: 45 | Goals: 4 | Assists: 6

Enda Stevens was directly involved in ten league goals this season

Perhaps the most eye-catching Sheffield United candidate in FPL next season based on their output in the campaign just gone, wing-back Stevens was directly involved in ten of the Blades’ league goals in 2018/19 and registered 20 clean sheets along the way.

All four league goals that Stevens himself scored came in the final half-dozen matches of the season and the nature of three of these strikes – goals against Birmingham, against Forest and against Stoke – were typical of the all-action wing-back: the Ireland international getting well forward to support the United attack from the left flank, overlapping against Forest and Stoke and underlapping against Birmingham.

The goal against Hull was slightly different in that it was a header from a Baldock cross but it again came courtesy of a dart from Stevens into the Tigers’ box: all four of the United left wing-back’s goals came from inside the opposition area, as did 28 of his 36 shots.

As is the case with Baldock and Basham on the opposite flank, the presence of overlapping centre-half O’Connell means that Stevens is often pushed infield into more threatening positions during open play.

Of United’s first-choice “back five” (if we can call it that) at the end of the season, Stevens had the best minutes-per-shot (111.8) and minutes-per-key-pass averages (103.3).

Those figures are not overly eye-catching when put in context, though: Matt Doherty averaged a shot every 68.4 minutes and Sead Kolasinac created a chance every 64 minutes, to give two examples of similar Premier League players from 2018/19.

Should FPL be consistent and list Stevens as a defender (as is the case with Doherty), it might be that his attacking threat sees him priced up at an off-putting £5.0m (as was the case with Barry Douglas and Ryan Fredericks in 2018/19 and Tommy Smith in 2017/18).

Smith is a cautionary tale, having registered 14 attacking returns in Huddersfield’s promotion-winning season and then gone on to record only one assist in 2017/18.

Should Stevens be priced up at £4.5m then he would be an interesting prospect for when United’s fixtures turn for the better.

If the Irish wing-back is a more expensive proposition, then O’Connell might be the go-to route into the Sheffield United backline given his assist potential from open play and goal threat from dead-ball situations.

Other Options

Martin Cranie, who deputised at right centre-half in the second half of the season and started nine Championship fixtures for the Blades, was among five players released at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

Left-back/wing-back Daniel Lafferty, who played only 18 minutes of Championship football for Sheffield United last season before joining Peterborough United in January, was the other defender among that quintet to be let go.

Centre-backs Jake Wright and Ben Heneghan remain at the club (at the time of writing) but have both been transfer-listed.

Heneghan has just spent a year on loan at Blackpool, while veteran stopper Wright didn’t even make the bench once all season.

Kean Bryan, a signing from Manchester City in August of last year, was a substitute on just two occasions in the league in 2018/19 and wasn’t used in either match.

The left-sided centre-back’s one senior appearance was a fairly disastrous one, with Bryan part of a United side that slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to non-league Barnet in the third round of the FA Cup.

Marvin Johnson was brought in on loan from Middlesbrough in August 2018 and went on to make three Championship starts plus a further eight appearances as a substitute.

A winger by trade, Johnson has deputised for Stevens at left wing-back this season but hasn’t particularly impressed and it looks extremely unlikely that Wilder will revisit a move for the 28-year-old Brummie over the summer.

57 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Foozeball
    • 2 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Dean Henderson (if he gets a new loan deal with Sheffield) seems like an excellent prospect for a cheap gk. There almost always seems to be at least one from the promoted sides in recent seasons. O'Connell and Stevens are both also very tempting though and doubling up on a promoted side's defense usually isn't very wise

    1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Agreed - have him earmarked since they got promoted

    2. Make America Greta Again
      • 5 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Will Henderson have to sit out the 2 games against his parent club? Be a deterrent if he has.

      1. Brosstan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Shame to miss out on one of the tastiest fixtures of the season

    3. Jacky boy
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      No cs tho

    4. Giggs Boson.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      When de Gea leaves and Romero retires he's going to be fantastic for United. Getting a season or two in the Premier League with Sheffield beforehand will do him good.

      1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Does the keeper they loaned to Villa/WBA still belong to united? Johnson or Johnston.

        1. avfc82
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 9 Years
          5 months, 3 days ago

          Nope, West Brom signed him permanently last summer.

          1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
            • 3 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Thanks

  2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    The whole thing is "madness" from Chelsea's perspective, the tabloid added.

    They say Dortmund have once again profited from the "irrationality" of the Premier League, as Chelsea splashed out 64m euros on a "positionally limited" player that, as a substitute more recently, has "stagnated".

    Poor Chelsea 🙁

    1. Witty Pun: Not good at this…
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      They seriously have profited. Brandt and Hazard + cash in exchange for their backup winger.

  3. Brosstan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    These recent articles are great

    1. Geoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Good to hear 🙂

  4. Giggs Boson.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Sheffield are a fascinating team. Harry Maguire has shown how effective an overlapping centre-back can be. May well start with a wingback/centreback/keeper if the price and fixtures are right.

    1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Absolutely - will be interesting and some good defensive options for us.
      On a non fpl note I want them to get relegated though

  5. Goodnight Kiwi
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Greetings fellow FPLers,
    What is the best site you use for xG and xA.
    Preferably for teams and players. Also, not just EPL.
    Much appreciated

    1. The Rumour Mill
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      understat.com

      1. Goodnight Kiwi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Thank you friend

  6. Giggs Boson.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    I see what Ole's trying to do with Daniel James, and I like it.

    Fast, hard-working, and young. This new United team is going to be as quick as Liverpool on the counter, and just as fit. No more overpriced mercenaries like Di Maria, Sanchez, Falcao, Schweinsteiger etc. This is more of a Robertson signing. A step in the right direction.

    Hopefully he can snap up Pepe too. Another pacy, hard-working winger. Sanchez and Martial don't work hard enough, and Mata isn't quick enough.

    1. Geoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Agree with this completely, even though I love Mata

    2. Amey
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Yeah
      Good to see that tbh

    3. Gravless are for Kinnear
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Like a kid playing FIFA. Just look for pace

  7. Norwich City's approach
    avfc82
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Reposting this as a new article landed soon after I uploaded it yesterday, hopefully one or two of you find it useful!

    Following on from last week’s post about Sheffield United and their approach under Chris Wilder (linked in Hot Topics if you missed it), I’ve now had a look at Norwich City and have recorded some thoughts below.

    Norwich City’s manager is Daniel Farke, formerly of Borussia Dortmund reserves. They play a possession based 4-2-3-1 system with lots of short passes, which has seen them score an impressive 93 goals this season.

    29 of those have come via Championship Player of the Season Teemu Pukki – not bad for a free transfer from Brøndby! Having watched him a few times this season, he’s one of those players who can do a bit of everything. He can run the channels, hold the ball up and bring others into play, has a good work ethic and scores all types of goals. Many on here seem sceptical about his ability to step up to the Premier League, pointing to his poor returns at previous clubs Celtic and Schalke, but these quotes from Brentford head coach Thomas Frank, who worked with him in Denmark, are encouraging…

    "I believe in him in the Premier League. I don't think he can score 29 goals, but I'm convinced he'll score goals. He has a tremendously good ability to time deep runs, and he has a good speed, and that is crucial in the Premier League. Norwich will not dominate so many battles so his skills will come even more into play. We have a Finnish goalkeeper coach, and I told him I was sure Teemu would score over 20 goals in the Championship. He came from a good year in Brøndby, and has become mature as a player. When you have worked with Teemu, you know that it has taken him time and hard work to reach his current level, but now he has hit it. He fits perfectly into Norwich. I didn't think he would score 29 goals, but it's incredibly nice. He has had a tremendous season and I have great respect for him."

    In another interview Teemu admitted he was probably a bit lazy before, but is now a more grown up and professional individual. If the fixtures fall kindly, I could be tempted if priced at 5.5m.

    Operating on the right of the front 3 is Emiliano Buendia, Norwich’s star man who created more chances and made more final-third passes than any other player this season. Comfortable on either foot, his movement and technique have been really notable, chipping in with 8 goals and 12 assists. His defensive efforts shouldn’t go unnoticed too. It’s fair to say he’s lit up the Championship this season.

    Mario Vrancic (10 goals, 7 assists) and Marco Stiepermann (9 goals, 6 assists) should also be monitored, but my early thoughts lead me towards Emiliano Buendia as Norwich’s midfielder of choice.

    Another key area for Norwich is the full-back positions, where they use the energetic Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis. They get very high and are strong in 1 on 1 situations. My preferred pick, Young Player of the Season Max Aarons has contributed 6 assists (more than any other Championship full-back), is very strong with his distribution and is also creative. Add to that his pace and stamina and there is a lot to like here.

    My concern though, and it’s a pretty big one, is that Norwich conceded 57 goals this season, 18 more than Wolves in 2017-18.

    However, it’s also worth noting that 8 of the last 10 title winners from the Championship have gone on to retain their top-flight status. More encouraging still, is the fact that the last five teams to win the trophy – Wolves, Newcastle, Burnley, Bournemouth and Leicester – have all established themselves as Premier League clubs.

    Thanks again for reading. I’ll write something on the Play-off winners next week, and if it’s my club Villa, expect it to be in depth!

    1. fclackless [RoboKlopp]
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 3 days ago

      V good content again ... keep em coming!

      1. avfc82
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 9 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Thanks, its appreciated!

    2. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Nice

      That 57 goals is a bit off putting though - as it’s hard to see them not being punished even more in the PL. Most teams at that level defensively sink. In fantasy if they start shipping goals for fun it’s going to be very hard to keep the team on an even keel and that can have a knock on effect on attacking assets too. I’m looking at Mitro here who started brightly but then became an avoid.

      I want him to succeed but that’s one of my concerns about Potter at Brighton - his Swansea side also shipped a fair few. I’m almost treating them as the 4th promoted side this season.

      A decent start could be all.

    3. Christina.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      5.5m? Think again.

      1. avfc82
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 9 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        You're probably right, more likely that he'll be 6, or even 6.5m.

        My initial thought was Jimenez started at 5.5, but he wasn't coming off the back of a strong Championship season. Jota and Sessegnon are probably better examples to look at, who I think both started at 6.5?

        1. The Rumour Mill
          • 2 Years
          5 months, 3 days ago

          Yeah Pukki 6.5 for me. Which is why I think Buendia could be the better value option if he comes in at 5.5m. More easily benchable too if you want to play the fixtures and rotate your squad and formation accordingly.

      2. Andy'81
        • 1 Year
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Agreed, he'll be a 6 at minimum if recent top scorers coming up from the Championship is anything to go by (Murray/Wood/Gayle/Gray).

    4. GARY AND JAMIE
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Vrancic looked hot on the set pieces...

      1. otbcwill
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        5 months, 1 day ago

        A season ticket holder at Norwich for as long as i can member - we've been thoroughly entertained this past year.

        Buendia is on corners which helps with the assists. Vrancic tends to dominate the freekicks.

        A couple of others for consideration:

        Stieperman - his link play at number 10 is vital. He is the clever pass, the fulcrum of where a lot of movement goes through. Buendia is rightly identifed but Stieperman is more nailed and more important to teh team (from the game, not necesarily an FPL perspectove)

        Hernandez - he runs at players, has pace and causes havoc as he doesn't go down. he is a bit wasteful with his final ball, but as the year went on it got better. It will improve again over the summer and i can see him being a real problem for teams next year. he is teh dark horse in teh current setup in my opinion.

        1. avfc82
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 29 days ago

          Interesting, thanks for that. Looks like there could be a few options in midfield when fixtures fall kindly.

  8. avfc82
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Just wanted to say the quality of articles coming out of FFS in recent days has been superb. Best things I've read on here all season - keep em coming!

    1. Geoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Great to hear! I'll pass that along.

      Having both Neale and David around to write them and to organize other writers to come in to write some has been massive, and we're getting more Members Articles out now than we ever have 🙂

  9. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
    • 3 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Weirdly quite excited about the idea of Rondon at West Ham, both in fpl and real life. Probably not a lot in it, they are linked with everyone from Wesley to Maxi Gomez.

    1. Giggs Boson.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Mitrovic at Everton would interest me more. Digne and Coleman would keep him well fed.

      But Idrissa Gueye staying is a big factor for all Everton assets imo, both in defence and attack. It looks as though PSG have dropped interest, but we'll see.

      1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Agreed with Mitrovic and Everton - good fit. I'd be interested see his pricing. Whereas Mitrovic at say West ham doesn't work, Pellers doesn't like slinging them in so much.

        1. Berbinho's Forehead
          • 9 Years
          5 months, 3 days ago

          Mitrovic at any team with attacking full backs would be a great FPL pick. Really hope he goes Everton in that case. Digne -> Mitrovic would be a theme.

          1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
            • 3 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Well surely they can upgrade on cenk or calvert lewin...

          2. Amey
            • 1 Year
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Azpi - Morata ??
            😉

            1. EMBOLOFAN
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              5 months, 3 days ago

              i still believe

    2. EMBOLOFAN
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 3 days ago

      one of the only things less exciting than the prospect of rondon at newcastle

  10. Geoff
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    I recently asked for input about future site changes; that's still open:
    https://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/2019/05/20/the-lessons-learned-from-2018-19s-midfielders-of-the-year-candidates/?hc_page=1&hc_sort_by=comment_date#hc_comment_20376632

    I'd like to get nearly all of what was mentioned implemented, meaning they're just a matter of time and resources. One of the top things for me are some exciting updates to the way comments will be able to get separated out, to help people find the conversations they want to have. The Members updates mentioned are a priority and we'll hopefully be getting started on some of those this week. Also, a few small features are close to being live; they just need a bit more testing behind the scenes.

    I was looking back at the last bunch of months and put together a quick list of things that I can remember we pushed through. This list doesn't include a whole lot of things that most users shouldn't actively notice, and I'm not sure this list is complete.
    Feel free to leave comments if the points below aren't working optimally or you want clarification on anything!

    1. Widgets - fixes for the Twitter widget, linking in the Twitter widget, and the price changes widget was added
    2. Profile - Default box for reply notifications, default box for Sort By choice, user badges
    3. Members Area - double members login, RMT algorithm updates, new columns in members, RMT navigation
    4. Comments section - ability to remove accidental votes, frozen comments notification, Members Only Hot Topics and comments
    5. Other - fix for auto-signout, ad removal improvement, sorting for injury tab

    1. EMBOLOFAN
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 3 days ago

      strange one but when sorting columns with big datasets there's often errors. for example if i search mins per Xgi for defenders and order from highest to lowest the sorting doesn't work properly. dropdowns for each club in player comparison tool would be handy also. and the ability to compare more than 2 players in one go would be great.

  11. GreenWindmill
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    I say this every season but these articles on the newly promoted teams are great.

  12. Lizardprime
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Egan had much more goal threat at Gillingham I can tell you that much. I assume this system I've been reading about limits that more, so if Wilder ends up switching up his tactics at all in the PL then he might emerge as a better option.

  13. Pompey92
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Loved Enda Stevens running down the line at Pompey, will be in my team for sure!

      1. Berbinho's Forehead
        • 9 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Even at 5m? Don't think FPL Towers will be as kind given the exposure these potential gems get in pre-season.

        1. Pompey92
            5 months, 3 days ago

            I think at 5M he'll still be good value. If they get an experienced premier league striker in I can see him raking up quite a few assists, he pretty much ends up in the LM spot. With people spending most of their defensive budget on TAA and Laporte next season he could be a handy differntial.

          • Brosstan
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Seems obvious he will be 5.0

            1. Douglas for Wolves was 5.0 last season after a similarily hyped championship season
            2. They dont want another Doherty situation with a clearly underpriced player becomes template

        2. Bury94
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          5 months, 3 days ago

          Can see Stephens being 5m after reading the article. O'Connell or Henderson could be the way to go at probably 4.5m

      2. Berbinho's Forehead
        • 9 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        If you're as bored as me, you can create next season's fixture list.

        https://www.fixturelist.com/createlist

      3. FPL Pillars
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Anyone whipping boy status next season we reckon?

        1. Bury94
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          5 months, 3 days ago

          Man Utd

        2. Andy'81
          • 1 Year
          5 months, 3 days ago

          Probably these or Norwich, not many had either of them to be automatically promoted and they'll both likely start next season off as favorites for the drop along with Derby/Villa.

        3. EMBOLOFAN
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          5 months, 3 days ago

          any of the 3 coming up unless they improve their squads significantly