The penultimate day before fantasy football game week 1 deadline and like many managers we are still playing around with our teams to find the perfect formula. One problem we have had, is choosing which player to have in our squad from a selection of players at the same price. We’ve decided to take a look at the midfield £9.5m bracket and show who is the better option: Sane, Mane or Eriksen.
Firstly, can we please just have all three of these? Unfortunately, Salah says no.
Each valued at £9.5m, the low-premium midfield options have become one of the toughest decisions this year for fantasy managers. Below is a table looking at the performance of each player last year:
As you can see from the graph, Eriksen played by far the most minutes in the campaign but it was Sane who edged it on points per match. As fantasy football managers, points per match is a great indicator on the consistency of a player and the impact they have. For example, rotation at Man City restricted the minutes for Sane and although Eriksen scored the higher points, it clearly shows that Sane was the more consistent out of the 3. Liverpool’s Champions League run had a negative impact on Sadio Mane’s minutes in the Premier League and could be argued that his stats would of been even better.
Pre Season Analysis
Looking at this campaign, and the pre season that all 3 have had, it is clear that Sane is currently not at the level that Guardiloa wants. Preseason comments about Sane along with the half time substitution at the Community Shield suggested that Sane may be far away from last seasons form. Coupled with the purchase of Riyad Mahrez, it could prove to be a risk opting for him regardless of the impact he had last season.
Eriksen is coming into the new premier league season off the back of a heartbreaking last 16 exit to Croatia. Thankfully for FPL managers, he has played in Tottenham’s pre season matches and should be coming into the season match fit. The concern for owners of Eriksen will be the fitness of a certain Mr Harry Kane, and when his return date will be. Playing in a team in the opening fixtures without one of the leagues most deadly strikers is only going to have a negative impact on the team, and in turn on Eriksen. Although it provides him with the opportunity to take all set pieces, we can’t help but think his chances of assists could be limited until Kane returns match fit.
Lastly, Sadio Mane completes the headache for us who will be playing in a formidable front 3 once again. Mane didn’t seem to get the praise that he deserved due to the incredible form of Salah, and looking at the stats he had by all accounts a great season. During this pre season he has scored 2 goals and more importantly was first choice penalty taker, which has raised a few eyebrows at the potential for additional points this season.
We have taken a look at the opening four fixtures of the campaign for each player before the international break:
Arsenal (A) proves to be a difficult opening fixture for Man City, with a new manager at the Gunners and some smart signings an upset could be on the cards. After that however, you can’t look past the fixtures with some easy home matches that could see plenty of goals scored against poor defences. If Sane finds his form and starts the opening fixtures, there is a potential for some early high scoring points for the German. The big ‘if’, is finding his form.
Man Utd (A) stands out in the opening fixtures for Spurs, and although United have had a poor pre season they will prove to be a difficult team to beat. 3 away matches also doesn’t send an instant appeal to an FPL manager, however Spurs were the second best team on the road, which could provide some good news.
Liverpool avoid the so called ‘top 6’ in their opening fixtures, with a brilliant opening fixture against West Ham at home. Although West Ham have been big spenders in the transfer window, you would fancy the Liverpool front 3 to put a few goals past them. Another home match to Brighton could prove to be another opportunity for Mane and a high scoring points total.
What a FPL headache.
All 3 players are brilliant and from the initial graph it shows that they are separated by only fine margins. From the above analysis, we feel that either choice is justified in its own way and a pick out the hat could be the best way to choose. However, that said we can’t help but lean towards Sadio Mane. Liverpool’s fixtures alone are a good enough reason to choose him, but its also the team that he is playing in with the goal-threat they posses. It was evident last year and with the additional signings of Keita and Shaqiri, we believe that Liverpool could be the team to watch out for and Mane in particular to be the shining light in the team.
Check out our current draft team for GW 1, which also includes Sadio Mane in our starting 11, along with a few other controversial picks.