Looking in more detail at one of last seasons great improvers under Brendan Rodgers and with the traditional ‘Top 6’ seeming at their most vulnerable, is this the season Leicester can rediscover the sparkle that led them to the title in 2015/16.
The key questions that need answering are as follows
1) What formation is BR likely to play?
2) What effect has BR had on Leicester assets?
3) Who is the best midfield option?
4) What do the potential transfers offer for both Leicester and FPL managers?
Brendan Rodgers took charge of the final 10 games of last season and in those games 1 main formation seemed to stick out. That was 4-1-4-1 with BR quite consistent on player selection, 7 players being ever present and Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans playing 8 of the 10 managed by BR.
The major variables are the wingers with Barnes, Albrighton and Gray sharing the responsibilities as well as the minutes. Given the new signing of Ayoze Perez it would potentially mean that those wingers are struggling even more for minutes and given the potential of other assets, the extra £1m for Tielemans/Perez over Gray and Albrighton is money well invested.
Also given that defensively last year Leicester kept 10 clean sheets, which was bettered or matched by 9 teams including Bournemouth, Newcastle and Palace. My previous analysis showed unless your CB is from a Top 6 team, defensively the tactic is to get wing backs. Tied in with the uncertainty surrounding Harry Maguire, I have a table below with the key assets to concentrate on -:
Of the 5 assets identified from a defensive point of view, Pereira under Rodgers seems to have remained fairly consistent where Chilwell seems to have increased his attacking benefit to the team. However, neither offers massive attacking potential given, for the price of Pereira (£6.0m) you could have Digne, who offers more regarding set pieces and corners. The same applies for Chilwell (£5.5m) when the likes of Zinchenko and all the Spurs defenders valued at the same price.
So from a defensive point, for me there are no real immediate options. (However, if the rumour mill is to be believed and Dunk comes in for Maguire at £4.5m, he would offer a cheap ever-present route into a team who if they gain clean sheets again would give you 116 points for appearances and clean sheets).
The attacking potential of this team is where I think the value lies. Vardy (£9.0m) was the main beneficiary of Brendan Rodgers last season, scoring as many goals in the 10 games under BR than he did in the previous 28 games. He was an ever present under BR and taking more shots, his value compared to other strikers I think is also fair, it all depends on what strategy and team makeup you are going with for GW1.
Personally I feel with the £2 – £2.5m saving made by going with a midfielder, it might be worth it especially with the mixed start they have in GWs 1-8, but come GWs 9-17 the fixtures really do swing so maybe one to bear in mind at wildcard time.
For me if Ndidi is playing CDM which leaves 4 slots open for the rest of the riches at Rodgers disposal. Tielemans and Maddison seem assured, Perez potentially as well given his move, so the remaining slot is between Barnes, Gray and Albrighton – with for me Barnes being the favourite. But with the uncertainty, they can’t be considered a viable option GW1, again maybe an option for a wildcard when it is a bit clearer what is happening.
Perez has been getting a lot of love recently given his strong finish to the season, however the questions that remain for me are:
1) Will he play in the same position for Leicester as he did last year – For me I don’t think it is likely, I see him playing more on the wing so less effective.
2) Will the style of football BR likes to play suit him – Last year Newcastle had Rondon as a target man for him to work off and 2 out-and-out wingers chucking in crosses. This isn’t Leicesters style so I doubt he will be as effective.
So it leaves a straight choice between Tielemans at £6.5m and Maddison at £7m. For me Maddison was one of the stand out players from 2018/19 and was relatively consistent both before and after BR took over. However I think Tielemans seems to have that something extra about him, he seems to have built up an excellent understanding with Vardy last year and I was somewhat surprised a top 6 team didn’t come in for him (could have seen him take over from Eriksen at Spurs). So for the extra £0.5m saved (it all counts before GW1!) I think it is the smart play.
As stated, the defence is a no-go for me given the high price for wing backs and uncertainty regarding Maguire teamed with the average clean sheet returns, I just think there are better options for the early weeks (Dunk transferring in aside).
For me the 2 options are either Vardy or Tielemans, I think the double up is too much to start with and from a personal point of view I am locked in to taking the cheaper route in via Tielemans at least until my first wildcard is activated.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article for more analysis follow me on twitter @FPLThinker.
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