Fantasy Football 2011/12 – Who Will Make the Cut?
In the absence of live football during the close-season, the avid football fan is kept entertained by the bi-annual transfer merry-go-round where rumours of unlikely moves and bargain buys are rife as each team looks to build on the past season.
This summer has been no exception and certainly hasn’t disappointed. Manchester United were fast out of the blocks, laying down firm intentions with the acquisition of top young talent such as Phil Jones and David De Gea, whilst on the other side of Manchester, fans have been kept in suspense with the ongoing Carlos Tevez ‘will he, won’t he’ affair.
As well as keeping us entertained during the barren period, as we eagerly await the new season, the ins and outs of the Premier League also give us the chance to have a serious think about who is going to make the cut into our fantasy football teams.
All the comings and goings mean there are new players to consider this season and below I’ve taken a look at 11 players who might just be able to make an impact and earn you those points that can mean the difference between success and failure in your fantasy football league:
1. DAVID DE GEA – Fresh from winning the U21 European Championship with Spain, Sir Alex moved quickly to snap up De Gea who as well as being tipped to be the natural successor to Casillas is also touted as one of Europe’s top young keepers. With the departing stalwart Van Der Sar as well as a £18m price tag on his head, De Gea has some big shoes to fill but with a solid back four in front of him, De Gea is definitely one to watch and a dream team must.
2. KYLE WALKER – Technically not a new signing for Spurs but having proved his worth and ever growing maturity whilst on loan at QPR and Aston Villa last season where a string of solid performances earned the youngster an England call up, Walker and his marauding runs forward, could prove to be a major asset to both Spurs and your fantasy premier league team.
3. KYLE NAUGHTON – Another Spurs youngster who unlike Walker doesn’t quite look set to break into Harry’s first team plans just yet and as such has been farmed out to Premier League new boys Norwich. Plays in a similar mould to his Sheffield born counterpart Kyle Walker, and with an acute eye for Goal which was proved time and again during an impressive loan spell at Leicester last season, Naughton could well carry his eye catching form into the new campaign.
4. STEFAN SAVIC – Another youngster who could break into any Fantasy Team, Savic has been snapped up by big spending Manchester City and looks set to force his way into Mancini’s first team plans this season. Billed as being a similar player to fellow countryman and cross-city rival, Nemanja Vidic, versatile Savic could earn vital fantasy points from both set pieces and clean sheets as part of a solid looking City defence.
5. JONATHAN WOODGATE – Having seemingly put his injury problems behind him, Woodgate has departed White Hart Lane and looked to a fresh start at Stoke as he tries to re-establish himself as one of England’s top defenders. Solid at the back and a major threat from set pieces, a Woodgate and Shawcross central partnership could work could prove vital to Stokes (and your fantasy football team) clean sheet figures. Could prove to be one of the free signings of the summer.
6. JOHN ARNE RIISE – A fans favourite from his Liverpool days, Riise has ventured back to the Premier League following a successful spell with Roma looking to pick up where he left off and establish himself as one of the league’s best left sided players. Having already made his debut and impressing in the Europa League, Riise could gain you fantasy points via his blistering runs and balls into the box as well as a goal or two from that cannon of a left foot he has in his locker.
7. HATEM BEN ARFA – Having initially joined Newcastle on loan last season before suffering a nasty leg break only a few games into the campaign, Newcastle have taken a gamble on Ben Arfa and made the deal permanent. Briefly showing glimpses of pure class, Ben Arfa looks set to inject some real quality into the Newcastle midfield and with an eye for both goals and assists, surely one to consider for the fantasy football too.
8. OWEN HARGREAVES – Although not signed up by anyone just yet, a player of Hargreaves’ quality surely can’t be left on the free transfer list for too long. Should somebody decide to take a pay-as-you-play gamble on the midfielder and with his injury troubles hopefully behind him (according to his YouTube videos), Hargreaves is not only a versatile player but also possess deadly final balls, creative vision and is a set piece specialist.
9. CONNOR WICKHAM – Having struggled with squad depth last season, Steve Bruce has invested heavily during pre-season with no less than nine new signings, one of them being one of England’s most promising young talents, Connor Wickham. In two seasons at Ipswich, Wickham managed a return of 16 goals in 63 games – Not bad for a lad who broke onto the professional scene at 16. With a big frame, natural finishing and a sharp turn of pace, Wickham can surely only get better and could prove to be one of the signings of the season.
10. GERVINHO – After relying heavily on Van Persie to get the goals last season, Mr Wenger has decided to splash out on Ivorian forward Gervinho to sure up his frontline. Having helped Lille to a league and cup double the previous year and with a goal to game ratio of nearly 1 in 2 during two seasons in the French league, Gervinho could excel in an Arsenal team that oozes class and creativity.
11. SERGIO ‘KUN’ AGUERO – If it wasn’t for the pure genius of a certain Lionel Messi, there is no question that Aguero would be the golden boy of Argentina. Having broken onto the professional scene at the tender age of 15, Aguero was most recently plying his trade in Spain for Athletico Madrid where his stock continued to rise. Now recruited by Manchester City, Aguero looks set to fill and emulate the space left by a departing Carlos Tevez. With an eye for goal, a master of the set piece and skill and flair to frighten the most experienced of defenders, Aguero looks highly likely to become a fans and fantasy football favourite.
So there you have it, 11 new players that will be hitting the Premier League this season all of who look set to have some sort of impact. Will any of them make the cut into your fantasy football team?