Overall score, points per match and value are all factors to consider as we invite you to vote on the candidates listed below.
FPL has been something of a midfielder’s game for the last few years, with the last six highest-scoring Fantasy assets all being classified in this position.
The three players with the most FPL points in 2019/20 were midfielders, as were the top six players with the best points-per-match averages.
We might have even more to choose from next season, with Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang and Marcus Rashford possible candidates for reclassification.
2018/19 Team of the Season Review – Midfielders
- Goalkeeper: Alisson
- Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Matt Doherty
- Midfielders: Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling, Ryan Fraser, Eden Hazard
- Forwards: Raúl Jiménez, Sergio Aguero
Three of last year’s Team of the Season are up for nomination again, with Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane all matching their achievements in 2018/19 by cracking the 200-point mark.
We’ll discuss their credentials in detail below.
With regards to the other two, their follow-up acts have been rather less celebrated.
Eden Hazard has long since ceased to be an FPL asset, of course, with the former Chelsea winger moving to Real Madrid last summer.
The Belgian has scored only one La Liga goal in what has been a stop-start, injury-ravaged campaign.
As for Ryan Fraser, the fact that his FPL price dropped £0.7m over the course of 2019/20 pretty much tells its own story.
The Scotland international managed less than a third of the attacking returns he had delivered in the previous campaign, registering just one goal and five assists en route to his lowest points tally in four years of being a Premier League player.
His time at Bournemouth ended in acrimonious circumstances, too, with the winger having refused to sign a contract extension beyond June 30 and thus playing no part in the Cherries’ ill-fated attempt to beat the drop.
Now a free agent, it’ll be interesting to see where the Scot ends up in 2020/21 and how much his starting price falls – which seems inevitable – in FPL.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE
While there is plenty of debate elsewhere, it’s difficult to imagine Kevin De Bruyne not making our end-of-season XI.
The Belgian was the highest-scoring FPL asset in any position in 2019/20, racking up 251 points and finishing some distance ahead of Mohamed Salah thanks to his final-day haul.
Starting the season off at a now-unthinkable £9.5m, De Bruyne’s ownership had almost quintupled by the season’s end (he finished the campaign as the most popular asset in the game) as he broke Salah’s two-year hold on top spot in the overall points table.
The City midfielder had a torrid time with injuries in his previous campaign (hence the price drop) but missed only two league matches for fitness reasons this time around, starting 32 of the 36 fixtures he was available for.
This included an unbroken run of starts from Gameweeks 9 to 27, with rotation only really affecting him when City were faced with a glut of dead rubbers following the mid-June resumption.
De Bruyne began the season with attacking returns in each of his first six starts, returning three double-digit hauls over that run.
There were a pleasingly symmetric 10 returns of 10+ points over the course of the campaign, with his hauls in Gameweeks 17+ and 38+ representing high points.
Only two midfielders – both of whom were at the budget end of the scale – represented better value for money than De Bruyne (23.7) based on points per million, despite his end price of £10.6m.
And only Bruno Fernandes (9.0) averaged more points per match than the Belgium international (7.2) in 2019/20.
If 233 FPL points represents a ‘poor’ season in some people’s eyes, then you must be a special player.
Mohamed Salah‘s total of 29 attacking returns was his lowest since moving to Merseyside in 2017 but only De Bruyne outscored him on the points front this season and even then, the Belgian only pulled clear in Gameweek 38+.
There were parallels with 2018/19, with a decent start giving way to more middling returns in the autumn and then an explosion of points around Christmas.
After registering just two double-digit hauls in the first 15 Gameweeks, Salah then delivered five such points bonanzas in his next ten appearances – one of which came in Double Gameweek 24.
As had been the case against Huddersfield the previous season, the Egyptian saved one final massive score for the run-in, registering 18 points against Brighton in Gameweek 34+.
Salah enjoyed home comforts more than most and he was a reliable pick for the captaincy when at Anfield, with 15 of his 19 goals arriving on Merseyside.
In only four of his 18 home appearances did he blank.
Salah began the season at £12.5m and ended it there, and he’ll surely be in a similar bracket next season.
Whether he’s as widely owned, given the wealth of premium midfield options that are set to be available, is another question.
Finishing only 12 points behind his Liverpool teammate above, Sadio Mane ended up as the third-highest-scoring FPL asset of the season.
There was only one fewer attacking return than Salah, too, with the Senegal international supplying 18 goals and 10 assists despite playing over 100 fewer minutes than his fellow premium midfielder.
Removing penalties (and any bonus that came from it) from the equation, Mane actually outscored Salah in terms of attacking returns and FPL points – although we Fantasy managers care little for how our hauls arrive.
Mane turned out to be the better-value pick based on starting prices (£11.5m v £12.5m) but, ending the season less than half a million behind his teammate, there was little to separate the pair come Gameweek 38+.
The Senegalese winger racked up eight double-digit hauls in all, just two of which came this calendar year.
From an underlying stats perspective, there were similarities to 2018/19 with Salah dominating the shot count (over 50 more than Mane this season) but his goal conversion rate being significantly inferior.
In four of Mane’s last five seasons has he hit at least 20 attacking returns and he’ll surely be priced around the £11.5m-£12.0m mark again next season.
The inclusion of any January transfer window signings in an end-of-season poll will be greeted with derision in some quarters but late arrivals have forced their way into contention in the past, with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Papiss Demba Cisse having previously made our team of the year.
And few mid-season captures have quite made the impact that Bruno Fernandes has.
No FPL asset in any position averaged more points per match than the Manchester United midfielder (8.4) this season and while that mean would surely have dropped had he played the entirety of the campaign, 14 appearances is no tiny sample size.
Fernandes scored more points (117) from his Gameweek 25+ debut onwards than the likes of Diogo Jota, Ismaila Sarr and Nicolas Pepe did all season, with only three blanks arriving in his 14 starts.
Six double-digit hauls were registered in that time, too, a total that no other Manchester United asset could beat across the whole of 2019/20.
Half of his goals came from the penalty spot but there was plenty to like besides that, with assists arriving from all quarters and his mere presence galvanising the rest of the Red Devils’ attack.
Fernandes’ ownership increased by 2000% following his arrival and his price ballooned from £8.0m to a high of £9.1m; it’d be a major surprise to see him priced up below £10.0m in 2020/21.
This season will almost certainly have been Anthony Martial‘s swansong as an FPL midfielder, with a positional reclassification looking very likely this summer.
While Manchester United’s attack is one of the more fluid in the division, the Frenchman played ‘out of position’ as a central striker for much of 2019/20 as FPL forward Marcus Rashford took up a role out wide.
This was by some distance Martial’s best-ever FPL season, with the 24-year-old striker racking up 17 goals, nine assists and 200 points and finishing a clear fifth among FPL midfielders in the overall points table.
The arrival of Fernandes and later return to fitness of Rashford and Pogba seemed to invigorate him, with 15 of his 26 attacking returns coming in the final 13 Gameweeks.
Martial averaged 8.0 FPL points per match over this period, which elevated his season mean to 6.2 – the joint-fifth-best in the division.
Having previously had something of a reputation as being injury-prone, he also became a reliable starter after an early-season spell on the sidelines, missing only one of United’s final 29 league matches.
The imminent rebrand will come at a cost: he would have scored 31 fewer goal/clean sheet points as a forward this season, although would have admittedly recouped a handful of those due to the quirks of the Bonus Points System.
Also finishing on 6.2 points per match was Raheem Sterling, who endured a rollercoaster 2019/20.
No FPL midfielder scored as many goals as the Manchester City winger (20) and yet for large chunks of the season, he was persona non grata with Fantasy managers.
Having started the season with a hat-trick against West Ham and goals in his next two outings, the returns started to dry up.
Between Gameweeks 4 and 29, Sterling recorded just six goals and two assists and averaged a fairly dismal 3.95 points per match.
The enforced break from March to June seemed to work in Sterling’s favour, however.
Five of his nine double-digit hauls for the season came from Gameweek 30+ onwards, with Sterling racking up 86 points in the run-in despite beginning three of City’s final ten league fixtures on the bench.
A total of 206 points was his lowest in three seasons – a lack of assists accounting for that – but he nevertheless passed the 200-mark for the third straight year.
That end-of-season flurry may have put paid to any hopes of a price drop in the coming campaign (he started and finished 2019/20 at £12.0m) but he significantly underachieved based on expected assist data – suggesting his teammates’ poor finishing hampered his returns – and there is every chance of an even better year in 2020/21.
A poor 2020 from an FPL perspective blotted Jack Grealish‘s copybook, with the Aston Villa talisman registering only two attacking returns in his final 15 appearances.
It shouldn’t be forgotten how impressive he was before that point, however.
Grealish racked up seven goals, six assists and 14 bonus points in the first 23 Gameweeks of the campaign, averaging a very respectable 5.0 points per match over this period.
Double-digit hauls against Brighton (twice) and Burnley were individual highlights, with Dean Smith’s decision to move him into a front three in Gameweek 7 sparking a real purple patch.
Despite the barren run in the final third of the campaign, Grealish still finished first for overall score (149) and points per match (4.1) among sub-£7.0m midfielders.
Crucially, given the different criteria we’re assessing in this piece, he was also the best-value midfielder of the season based on FPL’s points-per-million metric.
Only De Bruyne created more chances than Grealish in 2019/20 and, with a better finisher than the limited Wesley, Mbwana Samatta and Keinan Davis on the end of his crosses and passes, there would have been more points to show for his efforts.
For Grealish, see Todd Cantwell.
After netting against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day, Cantwell didn’t manage anything other than a blank in the remaining 17 Gameweeks of the season as the Canaries struggled for goals.
Despite that shortage of points in 2020, Cantwell still finished as the highest-scoring sub-£5.0m midfielder of the season.
Grealish was the only midfielder who provided better value based on points per million, meanwhile.
His early-season exploits led to a price rise of half a million, with attacking returns arriving against Newcastle, Chelsea and Manchester City in the first five Gameweeks.
Originally selected by little more than 20,000 FPL managers, Cantwell featuerd in over 1.8 million squads by Gameweek 7 and four more goals followed between then and Gameweek 21.
The drought that followed has tarnished his legacy but he was the go-to fifth midfielder for many of us in the first half of the season and is deserving of an honourable mention at the very least.
Finishing as the sixth-highest-scoring FPL midfielder but a damn sight cheaper than all bar Martial above him, Riyad Mahrez made big strides following a slightly underwhelming debut campaign at Manchester City.
Mahrez’s total of 25 attacking returns was the same he recorded in his final season at Leicester City but he managed it in over 1,000 fewer minutes, having started only 21 of the Citizens’ 38 league fixtures.
While the Algerian did make a further 12 appearances off the bench in 2019/20, his achievements were all the more commendable given how relatively little pitch-time he was afforded: Sterling, for example, managed just one more attacking return than Mahrez despite racking up over 700 more minutes.
Only Fernandes and De Bruyne averaged more attacking returns per 90 minutes than Mahrez among FPL midfielders this season.
Three of his six double-digit scores arrived in the first seven matches of the campaign, with a 17-point haul against Aston Villa in January representing his zenith in a single Gameweek.
It was his contribution in Double Gameweek 30+ that really stood out, however, with the Algeria international scoring 21 points across City’s games against Burnley and Arsenal.
On the negative side, there were 12 scores of exactly one point, with Pep Guardiola’s in-game rotation affecting Mahrez more than most.
Son’s tally of 24 attacking returns was his best ever since moving to the Premier League and he would have gone close to his 2017/18 total of 178 points had he not missed a penalty and been dismissed twice.
His exploits merit special praise as he sat out eight Spurs games through injury or suspension.
Half of Son’s six double-digit hauls arrived in Jose Mourinho’s first four matches in charge in north London.
Under the Special One, the South Korea international’s points-per-match average rose from to 5.1 to 5.9.
While there are more explosive players out there, Son was remarkably consistent throughout 2019/20: on only one occasion did he make more than two consecutive appearances without registering a goal or assist.
One of the most infuriating players to own in the final third of the season due to Nuno Espirito Santo’s propensity to change shape and personnel in attack, Adama Traore was nevertheless one of the best value-for-money assets in FPL up until Gameweek 25.
Indeed, he finished the season as the fifth-highest-scoring midfielder – behind Grealish, Cantwell, De Bruyne and Martial – based on points per million.
It’s easy to forget that Traore began the season as a £5.0m bargain buy.
No midfielder with a starting price of less than £6.0m racked up more FPL points than Traore, who ended the campaign with four goals and nine assists to his name.
From Gameweeks 4 to 25, the winger started all but one of Wolves’ Premier League matches.
Whether many of his owners enjoyed his hauls is another question, given his ‘benchable’ price: his two highest scores of the season both came against Manchester City, with another double-digit return arriving away at Spurs.
From Gameweeks 6 to 24, he averaged a very creditable 5.0 points per match.
Like a number of the cut-price midfielders listed above, Harvey Barnes‘ season petered out somewhat towards the end.
Eight blanks in nine post-restart fixtures (five of which were as a substitute) slightly tarnished his earlier work, with the Leicester City winger finishing the season on six goals and 10 assists.
No FPL midfielder priced up at less than £7.0m registered as many attacking returns (16) as Barnes this season.
His 19-point haul against Aston Villa was a real stand-out moment, with his pre-lockdown form (he averaged 8.5 points per match between Gameweeks 24 and 29) representing his best spell of the campaign.
Five assists across four matches in the autumn was another high point.
Game-time was a bit of a problem, it should be said: he made only 24 starts across the whole of 2019/20 and was substituted off in 20 of them.
NOT QUITE MAKING THE CUT
We’ve limited the number of midfielders up for nomination to 12 in this piece, with the heavy hitters (De Bruyne, Salah, Mane, Sterling, Son) accompanied by slightly cheaper alternatives (Martial, Fernandes, Mahrez) and some budget assets (Barnes, Grealish, Cantwell, Traore) thrown in for good measure.
There were others who had strong cases for inclusion, however.
Richarlison finished only four points behind Son after another 13-goal campaign, while only two midfielders scored more bonus points than Willian this season.
Chelsea assets are perhaps a little hard done by in this piece, with Mason Mount another contender from the £6.0m bracket but ultimately finishing with fewer attacking returns than both Barnes and Grealish in the same price point.
Many of you may be wondering where Christian Pulisic is, too.
The American had a superb end to the campaign, with nine attacking returns in as many post-restart fixtures, but that more than doubled his total for the rest of the season.
Pulisic had started just 12 league matches before his late-season flurry from Gameweek 30+ onwards.
Similarly, Michail Antonio ended 2019/20 on a real high note and made a late push for nomination.
From Gameweeks 1-27, however, the West Ham United attacker had registered just three attacking returns in what had been an injury-ravaged campaign.
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