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Fantasy Football

Hello and welcome to the first Ali-nalysis post on the new-look Sport Tipster website! It looks amazing and to celebrate we have a shiny new Fantasy Football league for you all to join! In the following post I will be suggesting some players to keep an eye on if you are wanting to enter and compete with all the resident tipsters writing here as well as your fellow readers and Big Footy Preview writers! The important stuff to start off with is the website and PIN you need to join our league. Go to http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ and create your account and team, then go to Leagues>Join League> Private League and enter this code when prompted: 675275-391111. You should then be entered into the all-new Sport Tipster Classic Cup! I'll be working on getting some prizes if we get enough entries so sign up now! Read on to see who I think the top players this season will be. I've split them into Value (Cheap, unknown quantities to bulk your squad); Safe (Mid-Range players who should start most games); and Must-Buys (The players I feel will give your team the edge). I've avoided your obvious players, so don't come crying to me when Rooney scores a hat-trick on Saturday or Hazard gets 7 assists- you can pick those yourselves! All values are taken from the official site and are correct at time of writing.


Goalkeepers:

Jack Butland, 4.5m (Stoke City)
Butland has been waiting a long time to get his Premier League career going, but with Asmir Begovic moving on to Stamford Bridge the young England stopper will finally get his chance this season. With competition for places coming from ageing Shay Given and an impressive defence in front of him Butland will be hoping he can make the position his own in the coming season and force his way into senior contention for England, having excelled up to under-21 level. He's an unknown quantity but given the way Mark Hughes' team has been progressing he could be a steal if they continue their march up the table. VALUE

Lukas Fabianski, 5m (Swansea City)
Another side that have been solidifying their status as Premier League regulars are Swansea, who just keep getting better under current boss Gary Monk. Fabianski has excelled between the sticks after arriving in Wales and with the Swans looking to push on this season he will be their undisputed number one. Playing regularly behind a very good defence and building that confidence gained from last season will make Fabianski a top pick in 2015-16, assuming his team continue their progress. He'll do well to maintain his top-scorer tag from last season but he looks great value at 5m. SAFE


Defenders:

Aaron Cresswell, 5.5m (West Ham United)
Cresswell had a stellar season last time out and under new boss Slavan Bilic will be looking to go one better, including in the Hammers' European adventure. Racking up 129 points last season under the tutelage of Big Sam, Cresswell was impressive going forward and worked well in a defence that has been strengthened by the arrival of Angelo Ogbonna from Juventus. Bilic will look to make his mark offensively but if he is sensible he won't tinker with the defensive brilliance Sam Allardyce is leaving behind. An unknown quantity due to all the uncertainty around the managerial change. SAFE

DeAndre Yedlin, 4.5m (Tottenham Hotspur)
Spurs signed Yedlin after the World Cup last year but immediately loaned the rapid right-back straight back to the MLS and Seattle Sounders, where he continued developing. Whether he starts the season or not will depend on the fitness of Kyle Walker, but boss Mauricio Pochettino signed Yedlin with the intention of playing him at some point. His rapid speed and ability to get forward all game were exemplified in the World Cup and whilst he would be a risky signing he is also very cheap if he can hit his stride and add to Spurs' attacking threat. VALUE

Jose Fonte, 5.5m (Southampton)
The only surprise with Fonte is that Liverpool haven't bought him yet. The centre back was outstanding in the Saints' run to the Europa League and the organisation and strength of that defence will carry on into 2015-16. Despite missing goalkeeper Fraser Forster for the start of the season, Southampton will have Maarten Stekelenburg between the sticks (a vast improvement on Kelvin Davies...). Despite the losses of Nathaniel Clyne and Toby Alderweirald Southampton have a defence to reckon with. After their performance last season after selling their star players, is it even a risk? MUST-BUY 


Midfielders

Roberto Firmino, 8.5m (Liverpool)
As a lover of the Bundesliga I can tell you that if Brendan Rodgers fits Firmino into the team then he will be a star. The Brazilian international has been lighting the German top flight up over the last few years with his skill, vision and finishing and the master creator/finisher of the Hoffenheim side is now ready for the step up in the Premier League after making his international debut recently. The Bundesliga is arguably as fast-paced and relentless as our beloved top division and whilst the pressure at Liverpool will be huge I have every faith that Firmino will revel in it alongside fellow countryman Phillipe Coutinho. MUST-BUY

Ibrahim Affelay, 5.5m (Stoke City)
The Dutch winger is the second of the Stoke players in this list, and the second ex-Barcelona star to arrive under Mark Hughes in two summers. After a productive few years in the Netherlands after leaving the Nou Camp, Affelay is following Bojan to the Britannia Stadium. Whilst it is unknown how much he will play and whether he will be able to adjust to life in the Premier League, Afellay could be a slow burner with the potential for a lot of points as the season really gets going. Whilst he isn't a guaranteed point scorer he could make an impact to your team. SAFE

Jordan Ibe, 5m (Liverpool)
The youngster has caught the eye both towards the end of last season and in pre-season for Liverpool. With the departure of Raheem Sterling the need for a pacey wide-man can be felt on Merseyside and many see Ibe as the man to do it. With his small price tag and his skills filling a gap in the armoury he could be a risk worth taking for your bench. VALUE

Matt Ritchie, 6m (Bournemouth)
If anyone is going to be picking up points for the Cherries this season it is going to be Ritchie or team mate Yann Kermorgant (5m, striker). Ritchie has been climbing his way through the divisions and was instrumental in Bournemouth's race to the Championship title. Whilst it is worth avoiding the minnows' defenders at all costs, Eddie Howe has got the south coast side playing good football that could upset some of the more established names. He isn't the cheapest but he could be good value for a few bonus points if he continues picking up man of the match awards. SAFE


Forwards

Diafra Sakho, 6.5m (West Ham United)
Sakho scored some good goals and impressed in his first season in claret and blue, with the signs indicating that he can push on again this season. His physical and aerial ability make him difficult to contain, but his ability on the ground is what stands him out from the likes of Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole. He can also finish more clinically and is much less likely to get injured than his fellow strikers and looks certain to start most games with Enner Valencia also sidelined. SAFE

Wilfried Bony, 8.5m (Manchester City)
Bony began to hit his stride at the Etihad towards the end of last season and with Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko all but out the door he will become the second striker in sky blue behind Sergio Aguero. That in itself justifies selection, with Aguero's injury record and the talent that will be supplying him. But at Swansea he created goals from nothing for himself and his physical presence gave them another dimension up front. Expect the Ivorian to be a huge hit in Manchester (the blue half at least!) this season. MUST-BUY

Shinji Okazaki, 6m (Leicester City)
I was torn between Okazaki and Andrej Kramaric for this spot, but the Japanese international is new to the Premier League and was one of my favourites on my Bundesliga previews. His scoring record for average sides (Mainz 05 and Japan) speaks for itself in recent years and given the progress made in the latter stages last year the Foxes will be much better again this season. Under new boss Claudio Ranieri there is the real potential for Okazaki and Kramaric to make waves in front of goal. I personally suggest the Japanese international, but at 6m they could both be a steal. SAFE

Worthy Mentions:
GKs: Stekelenburg, 5m (Southampton); Myhill, 4.5m (West Brom)
DEFs: Debuchy, 5.5m (Arsenal); Zouma, 5.5m (Chelsea); Schlupp, 5m (Leicester); Alderweirald, 5m (Spurs)
MIDs: Andre Ayew, 7m (Swansea); Siem de Jong, 6.5m (Newcastle); Redmond, 5.5m (Norwich); Mutch, 4.5m (Crystal Palace)
FWDs: Kramaric, 6m (Leicester); Bojan, 5.5m (Stoke); Gestede, 6m (Villa)

With the launch of the new Sport Tipster site comes the realisation that the season starts this weekend! For those Bundesliga fiends like myself there is slightly longer to wait but after the intriguing Pokal final the season is well set up! Check back later in the week for more previews to the new season and don't forget to give myself @AliHaggis and the rest of the team a follow on twitter for all your betting needs! 

 

 

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