Final Team: With a few hours until kick off this is the final team I’ve decided to go for. Should this change before kick off this evening, I’ll be sure to post an update. I can’t see this happening unless there are any last minute injuries.
Foster (West Brom – 2.5m) – its took a long time but I’ve eventually done a U turn on having Pickford. The 0.5m difference between keepers has helped significantly in improving my defence. It’s taken me from a few half decent options at 3m (non in Europe) to a lot of good options at 3.5m. Foster also has good fixtures to start at West Brom. Although I still think Pickford will score higher, the point difference between keepers is usually fairly minimal due to them historically scoring lower.
Valencia (Man Utd – 4m) – same reasons as below. Playing in a stronger Man Utd team who have Champions League football and good fixtures to start.
Baines (Everton – 3.5m) – despite a tricky start in the Premier League, Everton have additional Europa League fixtures in August. Without Pickford I wanted some Everton representation for these games. Baines looks a good option at 3.5m. I’m only likely to keep him to squeeze the most out of the additional games. As a result I’m likely to transfer him out after game week 2.
Matip (Liverpool – 3.5m) – same reasons as below. Pretty much only for the additional Champions League qualifiers. I’ll look at potentially swapping him after these games depending on how Liverpool start the season.
Ogbonna (West Ham – 1.5m) – same reasons as below. Cheap option to accommodate better (higher scoring) striking options. Also reasonably high percentage selection with other people.
De Bruyne (Man City – 6m) – same reasons as below. Good coverage as a regular starter for a team in the Champions League. Also gives the chance to see selection regarding Aguero and Jesus.
Mane (Liverpool – 6m) – same reasons as below. Liverpool have extra Champions League fixtures in August and Mane is sure to play a big role going forward.
Salah (Liverpool – 4m) – same reasons as below. Doubling up on Liverpool for extra Champions League fixtures. Also Salah comes in at a bargain price.
Lukaku (Man Utd – 6m) – same reasons as below. First name on my team sheet: bargain price, almost certain to score lots of goals and has Champions League football.
Kane (Spurs – 8m) – same reasons as below. If he picks up where he left off it would be too risky not to have him. He’s also the 2nd most selected player on the game so don’t want to fall behind early on. Could be one to watch if Spurs fail to perform at Wembley.
Lacazette (Arsenal – 5m) – same reasons as below. He’s the 3rd most selected striker in the game. Looks sharp and could get off to a good start at Arsenal. Potential price riser but also easily replaced with good options at 5m.
To summarise, I’ve aimed for the principle of spending big on the front 6 and doubling up on players from teams with extra fixtures. I think this works well with Mane and Salah. I’ve also got the three most selected strikers in the game – spreading risk. My front 6 also all play for the top teams in the league and all have European football, 5 having Champions League. This left me a little short at the back, however I’ve still managed to get 3 defenders in who should have European football. Most importantly these 3 players are all 3.5m or above meaning I’ve got options should I want to make transfers. This meant I was left with no option but to go for Ogbonna who’s a bit of a risk but could do OK for his value if he’s a regular over the season and a cheaper option in goal.
Areas for concern
– Ogbonna not being a first team regular
– Pickford becoming one of the highest scoring keepers over the season and exceeding Foster by 75 points or more.
– Certain players are missing from the team who could get off to a flyer:
Aguero, traditionally the first name on my team sheet. At 7m it would take a lot of reshuffling to get him in.
Alli/Pogba, as I’ve gone for Lukaku and Kane, I decided not to double up on Man Utd or Spurs. Both are selected by around 30% of other people, if they both get off to a good start I could fall behind.
Jesus, looked good last season, if he hits the ground running could hit some big points early on.
Morata, bargain at 5m and could be among the goals straight away.
Hazard, won’t get off to a flyer because he’s injured but having no Chelsea players in my front 6 is a concern. When he’s fit again he could be difficult to accommodate at 7m.
Potential transfers for August
– Baines out. This is almost a certainty. Even if Everton start well I’m likely to replace Baines after game week 2. Everton won’t have any additional fixtures after this point and have a terrible run in the Premier League. I’ll be monitoring other 3.5m defenders closely such as Kompany, Kolasinac, Rudiger and Davies.
– Mane/Salah out. Again after game week 2, I can’t see the value in doubling up on Liverpool midfielders. Could potentially look at Alli/Pogba. Or have a big reshuffle if I want a different striker.
– On a side note. Price increases won’t come into play for the first few weeks. There could be value in transfers in some players whose price is definitely going to rise. Easy way to grow overall budget.
These are only rough plans at this stage, with football things can change very quickly should a number of injuries or suspensions come into play. If anyone thinks I’ve made any glaring mistakes with team selection or has any further suggestions feel free to leave comments below. There’s still time to address any issues before kick off this evening.
Team Selection: Third Draft
Update: With less than a week to go I’ve made a few changes to my team. I’m sure this will change again before Friday but this is where I’ve got to so far:
Clyne Out (Liverpool 3.5m), Matip In (Liverpool 3.5m) – like for like swap really. Clyne is injured and I still want some Liverpool defensive representation for the additional fixtures they have in August. Matip is available at the same price and should be certain to start. If I felt that Robinson was certain to start I’d have opted for him at 2.5m but I think it’s too risky as I want to get off to a good start.
Soares Out (Southampton 3m), Martina In (Everton 2m) – I’m still not 100% sure about this one but Soares has only featured in one of Southampton’s pre season friendlies. This suggests to me he’s unlikely to be match fit for the start of the season. Southampton also won’t have the prospect of European football. As a result I’ve gone for Martina who looks likely to be cover for Coleman. Everton kept two clean sheets in recent Europa League qualifying games and have two more of these fixtures in August. He’s also 1m cheaper than Soares. This would leave me 1m in the bank. My concern is that Martina isn’t certain of the right back spot, Holgate could also be in with a shout. And of course when Coleman does return he’s likely to take this position for the rest of the season. I’d be very interested in other people’s thoughts on this one as I’m really struggling with this final defensive position with 3m in the bank to spend.
Coutinho Out (Liverpool 6m), Mane In (Liverpool 6m) – there’s a lot of speculation around Coutinho moving to Barcelona. This could potentially affect his selection and form regardless of the move going through or not. If he does go this would also mean an early transfer would be required – not ideal. Mane has looked sharp pre season and is an easy option in terms of a replacement. I’ve got a feeling that Mane will play in a more advanced role than Coutinho this season. I’ve also noticed there percentage selection is getting closer and closer. Mane is at 15% and Coutinho 17%. This is a trend in terms of Coutinho dropping and Mane gaining popularity. It seems a safer bet to go with Mane at this stage.
Team Selection: Second Draft
Having had some time to study player prices, I’ve decided to make a couple of tweaks to my first rough draft team. I’m sure these won’t be the only changes before the start of the new season but I think the team is in a stronger position than it was previously:
Saltor Out (Brighton 2m), Soares In (Southampton 3m) – Saltor was initially selected by a lot of other managers, this has since dropped massively. Soares is proven in the Premier League and strengthens the team massively. Southampton also have a really good run of early fixtures.
Pieters Out (Stoke 2m), Ogbonna In (West Ham 1.5m) – this is a risky move but the only real move available with the budget I had left. I’m hoping Ogbonna will get game time for West Ham and he could pick up a decent level of points for a very cheap defensive option. He’s also got a high percentage of other managers who have selected him.
Firmino Out (Liverpool 5.5m), Lacazette In (Arsenal 5m) – I had doubts over Firmino despite the additional Champions League fixtures. Lacazette coming in at 5m was a complete game changer and he’s already the 4th most selected player in the game. I think he’s worth the risk and could well be a player who’s value rises quickly.
Team Selection: First Draft
With team selection and player prices launched earlier in the week, this gave me the first opportunity to start building a team around the 50m budget. Values of premium players were much higher than I expected and there are also no real bargains as there were last year. As a result team selection has been the toughest I’ve ever seen for Dream Team. Below are my thoughts on team selection to date. This is likely to change dramatically before the start of the season, I’ve also rated each player out of 10 based on how happy I am to include them. This takes into account the player’s value, August fixtures and likelihood to score well over the season.
Pickford (Everton – 3m) – at 3m this was an easy choice. He’s cheaper than most keepers from teams in the top half of the table and Everton also have Europa League football. 10/10
Clyne (Liverpool – 3.5m) – Clyne should be first choice right back at Liverpool who have two additional games in August with Champions League qualifiers. This one was an obvious choice for me as he’s one of the most reasonably priced defenders who will be playing in Europe. 9/10
Valencia (Man Utd – 4m) – great to see Valencia as a defender this season and he should also be first choice right back with Champions League football. He’s a little high in terms of value than I’d hoped for but still a solid choice. 8/10
Saltor (Brighton – 2m) – due to very high prices on premium players this season I’ve had to take a risk with two cheap defenders. 2m for a club captain appears to be a bargain but at this stage it’s hard to tell how well Brighton will perform in the Premier League and if he will be a regular at the age of 36. 5/10
Pieters (Stoke – 2m) – Stoke can be fairly solid defensively and Pieters played a lot of games for them last season. He’s available at a bargain price but I would question his point scoring credentials with only 65 points from 39 games last season. 4/10
Coutinho (Liverpool – 6m) – I was a little surprised to see him starting at 6m, but I think he’s essential for August with the Champions League qualifiers in mind. 8/10
De Bruyne (Man City – 6m) – he scored well for me towards the end of last season but is a little pricey compared to other midfielders. I’ve opted for him purely for some early Man City coverage. 7/10
Salah (Liverpool – 4m) – once again comes back to Champions League qualifying games. Salah is also a bit of a bargain at 4m. My doubts would be if he doesn’t get off to a good start he may not be a regular with tough competition in attacking midfielder at Liverpool. 7/10
Kane (Spurs – 8m) – incredibly high priced but I think it would be too much of a risk to not include him. He picked up the golden boot after missing a quarter of the season last year. Could well be the highest scoring player this time around. My only doubt around Spurs is playing all their home games at Wembley. 9/10
Lukaku (Everton – 6m) – could be an absolute steal if Lukaku moves to Chelsea or Man Utd. Still a good price if he remains at Everton. With so much uncertainty over his future it’s difficult to judge how well he will perform just yet. 7/10
Firmino (Liverpool – 5.5m) – Firmino is likely to be my first transfer out, I’m purely including him for the Champions League qualifying fixtures. I’d rather go for someone like Jesus, Aguero or Sanchez. 6/10
As always please leave comments below regarding your own team selection. We can then share ideas and hopefully create the best team possible.
Initial thoughts on team selection
The most important part of any Dream Team season is getting off to the best start. As a result I always plan in advance when it comes to picking my starting eleven. I’ve already started jotting down some names for a potential team for the 2017/2018 campaign. I thought it would be useful to document this process in this blog. This could become a lengthy article as I’m going to update it every time I make a decision. The blog will cover the very early stages of noting down players who did well last season, who may have potential for next season, all the way through to a fixed final team.
Key principles for team selection
– Players from teams who finish in the top 7 score more points. Pick players from these teams over players for clubs who may be in the bottom half of the table.
– Strikers generally score more points than other positions. I build teams from the front, investing as much budget as possible in strikers, then midfielders, then defenders and finally a budget keeper.
– Always look ahead at upcoming fixtures. Securing players who may go on a run of form against easier teams not only draws in big points but also increases the overall budget of your team should their value rise.
What we already know
– Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Liverpool and Man Utd will play in the Champions League.
– Arsenal and Everton will play in the Europa League.
– Liverpool and Everton both face a qualification game at the start of the season for their European slots. It’s worth including players from both teams to make the most of these additional early fixtures.
Potential players for next season
At this stage, no player values have been released. As a result this list is likely to change significantly before the start of the season.
I’m rarely left with much budget for a keeper, I’m only considering ones who may be available at a good price.
1st choice: Pickford (Everton) – will hopefully be the cheapest out of all the keepers in Europe. The additional qualification games make him an obvious choice.
2nd choice: Forster (Southampton) – always scores well but could be a little pricey.
3rd choice: Butland (Stoke)
Again I’m trying to be realistic about defenders who may be available at a reasonable price. I’ll generally overlook the premium defenders.
1st choice: Clyne (Liverpool) – almost hit the 100 point mark last season and played the most games out of any Liverpool defender. Purely first choice due to Liverpool’s Champions League qualification games. In practice this could be any Liverpool defender.
2nd choice: Williams (Everton) – scored very well last season. Also has qualification games for Europe. Again could be a cheaper Everton defender.
3rd choice: Bailly (Man Utd) – should be a regular at Old Trafford and was reasonably valued last season.
4th choice: Monreal/Bellerin (Arsenal) – both scored over 100 points last season and could be cheaper with no Champions League.
5th choice: Azpilicueta (Chelsea) – highest scoring defender last season and was relatively cheap at the end of the season. Price is likely to be hiked up.
6th choice: Yoshida (Southampton) – good last campaign. Could be a good price.
7th choice: Keane (Burnley) – may be a good budget option.
1st choice: Coutinho/Mane (Liverpool) – important for Champions League qualifiers.
2nd choice: Hazard (Chelsea) – highest scoring midfielder last season and now has additional Champions League games.
3rd choice: Alli/Eriksen (Spurs) – a case could be made for both players.
4th choice: De Bruyne (Man City) – ended the season at a reasonable price and consistently scores well.
1st choice: Lukaku (Everton) – should he remain at Everton and also start in the Europa League qualifiers.
2nd choice: Firmino (Liverpool) – only for the Champions League qualifiers.
3rd choice: Kane (Spurs) – consistently scores goals which leads to a high return of points.
4th choice: Aguero (Man City) – if he remain in favour at Man City he will always score well.
5th choice: Sanchez (Arsenal) – doubts about his future at the club but it’s impossible to overlook the highest scoring player of last season.
As always, share your thoughts/ideas in the comments below.
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