It is the area of a Fantasy team that is arguably the most rewarding but it is also often the hardest to decide on due to the sheer magnitude of options. With so much talent available in the midfield area these days, and often at a premium, it is difficult to fit them all into one squad especially if you also want some of the top strikers. With more points available for goals than strikers, as well as the availability of an extra point for a clean sheet, it is definitely worth investing in some of the best.
With so many potential options and combinations possible in midfield alone, the list of suggestions could be endless. I will try my best, however, to limit it down to a list of ten but as a result it will not be exhaustive.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea, £11.5 million)
Leave Eden Hazard out of your team at your peril. You have been warned.
At £11.5 million, Hazard is amongst the most expensive in the game, but well over half the Fantasy players are aware of the impact last season’s highest point-scorer can make. In fact for the past two seasons the Chelsea midfielder has scored 14 goals and got 10 assists on both occasions; Talk about consistency. Last season, however, Chelsea’s increased number of clean sheets and Hazard’s extra haul of bonus points made all the difference and he is expected to do the same again in the up-coming season.
At an increased price of £11.5 million many will be looking at his fellow Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas (£9 million). His partnership with striker Diego Costa was particularly rewarding last season and saw Fabregas get an impressive 19 assists. Having scored only 3 goals though, Hazard is definitely more of a goal threat. People who watched the Community Shield may be somewhat wary of how quiet Hazard was during the game, but come the start of the season I’m sure he will soon remind us of why he is one of the best in the world.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal, £11 million)
Last season Alexis Sanchez certainly introduced himself to the Premier League in style. Scoring 16 goals and getting 8 assists, he finished in the top three Fantasy point-scorers behind Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero. If Sanchez can recreate his form of last season then he will definitely be one to have.
This being said, it would be advisable to not have him from the beginning. Due to his appearances with Chile at the Copa America, Sanchez has been ruled out for at least the opening game of the new season. It may also be risky having him in the first few game-weeks as he gets back up to speed.
Due to his attacking prowess and ever impressive ability, Sanchez is a player that has the potential to be even better this season than last. As a result, he is someone that many will be aiming to get in their team as soon as possible.
David Silva (Manchester City, £10 million)
While the headlines regarding Manchester City will be focussing on new arrival Raheem Sterling (£9 million), it is his ever-consistent colleague that is the better option for me. David Silva had an impressive season last year, equalling Harry Kane’s points haul of 191. At £10 million he is amongst the most expensive players but he is one that has the potential to get a large number of both goals and assists.
Last season the Manchester City midfielder managed to get 12 goals and 12 assists, making him one of the best options in midfield. If pre-season is anything to go by Silva is also ready for the new season, with two goals to his name. Manchester City’s biggest test in the first few game-weeks comes in the form of Chelsea, but there will be plenty of opportunities for Silva to get his name on the score-sheet.
Santi Cazorla/ Aaron Ramsey/ Mesut Ozil (Arsenal, £8.5 million)
This may be deemed as cheating, but Arsenal’s midfield is looking strong going into the new season and therefore it is difficult to decide which one you want in your team. Alexis Sanchez is the stand-out player for Arsenal and subsequently he will certainly take preference. For £2.5 million less, however, his fellow Arsenal midfielders are definitely tempting. The issue is distinguishing between them.
All priced at £8.5 million, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil all have the potential of scoring and assisting goals. Last season Cazorla led the way with 7 goals and 11 assists, followed by Ramsey with 6 goals and 6 assists then Ozil with 4 goals and 6 assists. If you opt with one of these three it is highly likely that you will be rewarded. With all three of them liking to get involved in attacks, however, there is the risk that goalscoring opportunities will be split between them and subsequently there will be no outstanding candidate.
There is another option from Arsenal’s midfield in the form of Theo Walcott. At £9 million he is more expensive than the other three and there are rumours that he may be tried up front this season. Yes this gives him a greater opportunity to score goals, but you also run the risk of him being alternated with Olivier Giroud. Subsequently he may not be worth his price-tag but only time will tell.
Memphis Depay (Manchester United, £8.5 million)
Manchester United’s revamped midfield is certainly looking stronger going into the new season. The new arrivals Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger will hopefully provide a new sense of stability while Memphis Depay has the potential to make a major impact on the attacking front.
With Depay able to play on the wing or off the striker, he will operate in an area where he will have the opportunity to contribute offensively. The ex-PSV man has already found the net in pre-season having scored against San Jose Earthquakes and will be keen to get his first season in the Premier League under-way. If his performances thus far with Manchester United are anything to go by, he could get off to an impressive start.
Dimitri Payet (West Ham, £7.5 million)
In recent years there has not been a player to really get excited about at West Ham. This season, however, they have potentially found themselves a star. Dimitri Payet was one of several new arrivals at the club and has already made his mark with many goals and assists in pre-season.
Priced at only £7.5 million, and despite currently being in less than 5% of teams so far, Payet could be one of the revelations this season. The midfielder will provide West Ham with the creative spark they have been crying out for and is a player that is already exciting fans at the club.
Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace, £6.5 million)
Yannick Bolasie is a player that had a highly impressive season at Crystal Palace last year and subsequently has drawn the eye of several suitors this summer. The London club are adamant that they will be able to hold onto their man, however, and if they do he will be hoping to have an even better season this year.
Renowned for his pace, Bolasie has incredible potential to be a key man for Palace. Last season he managed to get 4 goals and an impressive 12 assists (an assists figure that put him on a par with David Silva and Angel Di Maria and was better than Eden Hazard). At only £6.5 million he is also available for at least £3.5 million less than the likes of Silva; A huge amount in Fantasy Football terms. As a talent who has the potential to run even the best defences ragged, Bolasie is one to look out for.
Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth, £6 million)
People who don’t follow Championship football or who aren’t Scottish probably won’t have heard about Matt Ritchie prior to this season. Amongst the newly promoted teams though he is definitely one to take a look at.
After a highly impressive season in the Championship with Bournemouth last year, Ritchie will be hoping to continue his form and help his team to safety. At £6 million he is one of the more expensive newly-promoted players but he is one that has every potential to justify his price-tag.
No midfielder managed more attempts on goal than Ritchie in the Championship last season and he is not afraid to have an effort from long range. Ritchie also managed the most assists in the league with 17 and is the club’s number one for dead-ball duties. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option with the potential to still make an impact, Ritchie may be your man.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester, £5.5 million)
Leicester pulled off an almighty escape last season to survive for another year in the Premier League and will be hoping to better their 14th place finish this time around. One player available on a budget that has the potential to have an impressive season is Riyad Mahrez.
The winger managed 4 goals and 5 assists last season and finished with over 100 points. He has also found the net on several occasions in pre-season and looks to be a tricky customer. As Leicester’s most creative player he will be vital for the new campaign. At only £5.5 million, Mahrez also has the potential to increase in value over the period of the season.
Jordon Ibe (Liverpool, £5 million)
When looking at Liverpool’s extensive midfield options you’re spoilt for choice. The likes of Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, James Milner, Adam Lallana and new arrival Roberto Firmino are all potential options and are available for around £7-8.5 million. Anyone available for less than that is likely to be a substitute. One exception to this could be Jordon Ibe.
Listed at only £5 million, Ibe has the potential to be a bargain addition to a Fantasy squad especially if he continues the form he has demonstrated in pre-season. Last season’s statistics will probably put a lot of people off with the young midfielder only managing 21 points. Following the departure of Raheem Sterling, however, Ibe could be exactly what Liverpool need.
The 19-year-old has been playing with an ever increasing confidence and Brendan Rodgers has said himself that Ibe will feature heavily this year. As someone who is also exciting Liverpool fans, Ibe has clearly already made an impression. There will probably be rotation especially with the number of midfielders that Liverpool now have at the club, but if Ibe can make an early impact in the Premiership then he could be a great addition to any Fantasy team.
As you have probably worked out for yourself already, there are plenty of promising options when it comes to the midfield. There is just the issue of trying to get them all into one team (an impossible venture). If you are anything like me, my midfield has changed the most before the season has even begun and will probably involve the vast majority of transfers over the season as a whole. With such a vast selection of quality players to choose from, however, it is an area that is difficult to get horribly wrong.