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Season Reviews

PL Position Review: MIDs

by Matt Nesbitt
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

In the third of a series of four features, Matt Nesbitt breaks the PL player pool down position by position. Taking a look at the key stats from last season to highlight every teams’ top performers and give us a steer for the upcoming campaign.   

 

Let’s have a gander at the midfielders…

  

All players must’ve played 15 matches to be considered and have been measured in the following categories: Appearances (Apps), Goals (Gls) and Assists (Ass). Players are listed per team, in recommended order of Fantasy value, or appeal for next season.

 

Chelsea

Apps

Gls

Ass

Hazard

38

14

9

Fabregas

32

3

18

Oscar

26

6

8

 

Thoughts: Last season’s PFA Player of the Year Edin Hazard is an obvious standout and will be many managers’ first pick. Cesc Fabregas won’t be far behind, but expect a drop-off in the second half of the season – in the last five campaigns the Spaniard has averaged 14.2 assists in the opening half, but just 5.4 in the second half. Some transfer speculation and the presence of Juan Cuadrado might steer some away from Oscar.

 

Man City

Apps

Gls

Ass

Silva

32

12

7

Toure

27

10

1

Nasri

19

2

6

 

Thoughts: David Silva is the outstanding City pick. Consistent and largely injury-free he is a must for your midfield shortlist. You can’t argue with Yaya Toure’s goals return but he had a moody season. If Sterling arrives as expected, he will relegate Toure to third in the pecking order. Elsewhere, Nasri and Navas (nine assists last time) might struggle for game time giving Fernandinho (28 Apps, three goals and four assists) as much appeal.

 

Arsenal

Apps

Gls

Ass

Cazorla

34

7

11

Ramsey

23

6

6

Ozil

21

4

5

 

Thoughts: The quandary at Arsenal is who will get the game time. Santi Cazorla’s excellent season benefited from injuries to Theo Walcott (just five starts), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (17) and Jack Wilshere (nine). So Aaron Ramsey’s consistency over the last two seasons perhaps makes him the value pick (ten goals from 23 in 2013/14). 

 

Man United

Apps

Gls

Ass

Mata

27

9

4

Di Maria

18

3

10

Herrera

22

6

4

 

Thoughts: Likewise, how United will set-up is no clearer than at the start of last season. Juan Mata is a solid one-in-three scorer and – De Gea aside - was probably United’s best player last season. Di Maria’s numbers hint at his extravagant talent, but there remains an element of risk. And Ander Herrera’s eye for goal could make him a decent wildcard. Memphis De Pay’s 25 goals in 41 matches last season is sure to tempt plenty of managers.

 

Tottenham

Apps

Gls

Ass

Chadli

29

11

5

Eriksen

38

10

2

Lamela

27

2

7

 

Thoughts: Not the most fashionable name in the PL, but Nacer Chadli’s numbers should not be ignored. Christian Eriksen didn’t miss a match and looks an increasingly reliable PL performer. The same cannot be said for Erik Lamela. Seven assists hint at his ability, but he remains unconvincing and a distant third choice pick at Tottenham. Neither Andros Townsend (two goals and two assist from ten) nor Aaron  Lennon (two assist from three) did enough to give us a steer.

 

Liverpool

Apps

Gls

Ass

Sterling

34

7

7

Henderson

36

6

9

Coutinho

32

5

5

Milner*

18

5

7

 

*Playing for Man City

 

Thoughts: Raheem Sterling’s transfer to Man City shouldn’t diminish his appeal, but potentially less game time might not enhance it either. In his absence Philippe Coutinho could step up, but new skipper Jordan Henderson will be a mainstay so probably gets the nod. James Milner’s specific role remains to be seen, but he will play more than 18 matches. Adam Lallana’s numbers weren’t far behind Coutinho’s (24 Apps, five goals, three assists) but might struggle for time on the pitch. And then there is new boy Roberto Firmino. Liverpool signings haven’t been great in recent history, but seven goals, ten assists (in 33) and that magical ‘Brazilian’-ness will prove tempting to many.

 

Southampton

Apps

Gls

Ass

Mane

23

10

3

Tadic

24

4

7

Ward-Prowse

18

1

6

 

Thoughts: Again, we are forced to wonder whether Southampton will diminish as a force due to Saints marching out. But Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic arrived with little fanfare last summer and delivered creditable number. Plus, being attacking players classed as midfielders does them no harm at all. Elsewhere, James Ward-Prowse’s set piece threat is worthy of note. He will figure more regularly this season.

 

Swansea

Apps

Gls

Ass

Sigurdsson

32

7

10

Ki

30

8

1

Shelvey

28

3

5

Montero

15

1

7

 

Thoughts: Gylfi Sigurdsson’s outstanding goals and assist return (in a mid-table team, let’s not forget) should put him high up on your wish list. Ki Sung-yueng’s eye for goal ranks him above Jonjo Shelvey at Swansea. With Jefferson Montero earning a fourth place ranking for an exceptional seven assists from just 15 starts.

 

 

Stoke

Apps

Gls

Ass

Walters

28

8

4

Adam

18

7

1

Moses

17

3

3

Arnautovic

21

1

5

 

Thoughts: Jonathan Walters will never rank as a ‘marquee’ Fantasy signing, but his stats consistently stand up as a value one. He is head-and-shoulders Stoke’s midfield pick, with Charlie Adams’ seven goals from 18 reflecting a purple patch at the end of last season. Difficult to know where, or how often Victor Moses will play next season and the mercurial Marko Arnautovic is also best left alone until his makes good on his obvious talent.

 

Crystal Palace

Apps

Gls

Ass

Puncheon

31

6

7

Bolasie

31

4

6

Medinak

24

5

3

 

Thoughts: If Johan Cabaye arrives, he will instantly top the pick-list. Jason Puncheon gets the nod over Yannick Bolasie for consistency – three of Bolasie’s four goals came in a chaotic ten minute spell at Sunderland. And it should be noted that Mile Medinak’s five goals and two of his assists were chalked up before Alan Pardew arrived and gave him a more defensive role. Wilfried Zaha’s four goals and two assists (from 23) make him a better option.

 

Everton

Apps

Gls

Ass

Mirallas

17

7

1

Naismith

22

6

0

 

Thoughts: Not a vintage season for Everton’s midfielders. Kevin Mirallas’ delivered a decent goals ratio, but 17 is not enough matches. Likewise Steven Naismith. Gerard Deufoleu and Ross Barkley will attract gamblers, but the latter’s two goals and two assists in 23 matches was matched by Leon Osman in ten matches fewer.

 

West Ham

Apps

Gls

Ass

Downing

37

6

8

Kouyate

30

4

2

 

Thoughts: The sometimes derided Stewart Downing delivered a consistent (and 37-match) season for the faithful and was West Ham’s best attacking option by a distance. That said, new £10m signing Dimitri Payet posted an eye-catching 17 assists (and seven goals) in 37 matches for Marseilles last season. Might be worth a punt.

 

West Brom

Apps

Gls

Ass

Brunt

33

2

10

Gardner

30

3

4

 

Thoughts: Only Chris Brunt really delivered any figures worthy of your attention, with an excellent ten assists in a largely struggling team. But the thing to note there is, he was playing at left-back for most of the season. If he is categorized as a defender next season he will be significantly more interesting.

 

Leicester

Apps

Gls

Ass

Mahrez

25

4

3

Cambiasso

29

5

1

 

Thoughts: Estaban Cambiasso’s influence at Leicester extends much further than his five goals and single assist, but Riyad Mahrez is probably the pick. It will be another difficult season though and with a new manager coming in there are no guarantees who will play. Marc Albrighton only played ten matches, but managed two goals and three assists.  

 

Newcastle

Apps

Gls

Ass

Colback

35

4

7

Sissoko

34

4

2

 

Thoughts: Jack Colback is the only player to emerge with any credit or Fantasy appeal from Newcastle’s shambolic season. It has to be better this time, so you’d expect Colback’s stats could improve too. But enough to be of interest? Not sure.

 

Sunderland

Apps

Gls

Ass

Gomez

22

4

2

Johnson

23

4

1

Larsson

36

3

3

 

Thoughts: Sunderland’s season was equally poor. Only Jordi Gomez and Adam Johnson providing anything like a threat from midfield. Like Newcastle, any new signing of any quality is likely to instantly be the most appealing option.  

 

Aston Villa

Apps

Gls

Ass

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts: And then there is Aston Villa. Not one midfield player earns the right to even have his name in the box. If you are determined, Fabian Delph managed four assists but failed to score. Scott Sinclair scored once in five and Jack Grealish provided two assists in eight. And the artist formerly known as Joe Cole has been missing in action for some time.

 

Promoted teams:

It would be remiss of us not to have a sneak peek at what the three promoted teams have to offer next season. Goals won’t be as easy to come by playing with the big boys, of course. But their last season stats will give us a few clues about what we can expect…

 

Bournemouth

Apps

Gls

Ass

Matt Ritchie

44

15

17

Harry Arter

43

9

3

Marc Pugh

35

9

5

 

To ponder: Bournemouth’s ‘total football’ means goals are spread throughout the team. With Harry Arter, Marc Pugh and especially Matt Ritchie posting excellent totals. Ritchie’s outstanding 17 assists are likely to make the winger the pick of all the promoted teams.

 

Watford

Apps

Gls

Ass

Odion Ighalo

22

20

3

Matej Vydra

31

16

5

Almen Abdi

28

9

2

 

To ponder: Whether Odion Ighalo, Matej Vydra and Almen Abdi are categorized as forwards or midfielders will have a big impact on their perceived value for Fantasy managers. Additionally, Adlene Geudioura only played 13 times but hit three goals and four assists.  

 

Norwich

Apps

Gls

Ass

Bradley Johnson

43

15

2

Nathan Redmond

36

6

13

Johnny Howson

35

9

6

Wes Hoolahan

29

5

10

 

To ponder: Bradley Johnson’s 15 goals tops the list but eight of them came in Norwich’s final 14 matches and he has never been prolific, so could be put down as a ‘blip’.England Under-21 international Nathan Redmond probably carries as much appeal. Veteran Wes Hoolahan has PL experience and a left foot of PL quality. 

 

Next up we’ll be turning the spotlight on the men at the sharp-end, the strikers.

 

Matt Nesbitt is a one-time player, long-time tipster and full-time fan of the beautiful game. He is a regular guest and the driving force behind Premier League Match Predictor. Email: mattnesbitt