FPL Striker Guide – Part Two
We move on to part two of our comprehensive FPL striker guide (you can view part one here) with a look at over 10 alternatives to last seasons most successful strikers. There is plenty of potential on this list so make sure you leave no stone unturned.
Let’s dive straight in so you are prepared for game week 1.
Olivier Giroud - £9m
It looks like Arsene Wenger is going to remain as stubborn as ever in the call to sign a striker to support Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck. With the ex-Man United man struggling for fitness and Giroud unlikely to feature from the start of the season due to his European Championship exploits it will leave Arsenal light up front and will also give FPL managers a headache as many would happily take a £9m priced Giroud in their team.
Giroud performed pretty well in the Euros with 3 goals and 2 assists in 6 appearances. Add this to 16 goals and 6 assists in 26 Premier League appearances last season and you have a solid striker option here. Sadly, we expect him not to feature until at least game week 3 and he is a player that blows hot and cold so we will be watching and waiting with Giroud. If Arsenal don’t sign another striker (and they are putting most of their efforts in to signing a defender right now) then he is likely to be a top option at his modest price tag for 2016/17.
Shane Long - £6.5m
Shane Long had a very decent second half of last season and when Pelle was rested for a long period of time he took his chance of an extended first team run very well. In total he bagged 10 goals and provided 4 assists in 23 appearances which is not a bad return for a £6.5m striker. You won’t get much for less than £6.5m this season and now that Pelle has departed Shane Long will be much more popular than last season.
A major question mark is provided by the outgoing transfer of Sadio Mane but with Tadic ready to step up both he and Long could be in for a decent season. Charlie Austin provides the competition for the starting place and it remains to be seen who Claude Puel will opt to play up top – so it might be worth playing the long game with Shane and waiting a few weeks to see how the ex-Monaco manager’s team perform and who he puts his faith in.
Andre Gray - £6.5m
Andre Gray played 3410 minutes of football last season in the Championship which is just 10 minutes shy of a full Premier League season. In that time he scored 23 goals and gained 8 assists and that sort of form makes savvy FPL managers sit up and take notice. Burnley were crowned Champions of the Championship and also had the joint best attack in the league (with Sam Vokes also chipping in with 15 goals) playing a 4-4-2 for much of the season.
Andre Gray is certainly a top talent but will he be able to cut the mustard in the Premier League? It remains to be seen whether Burnley will play with two up front but with Leicester City and Watford doing so well with the system it may well make sense to stick to a winning formula. The big question mark over Andre Gray is his ability to hold the ball up, something that you would expect to be an important skill for a striker of a newly promoted club. Gray has not been proficient in this regard and should Burnley move to a formation that does not have two strikers he may well find himself isolated.
Gray has huge potential this season but remains one to watch for the first 2-3 weeks.
Diego Gosta - £9.5m and Michy Batshuayi - £9m
Diego Costa and Michy Batshuyai look to be a potent combination up front for Chelsea the reports coming from Stamford Bridge are that Costa looks as sharp, lean and strong as ever whilst Batshuayi’s form from Marseille looks strong with 17 goals and 9 asissts in Ligue 1 last season. Cost had a poor campaign by his own standards but still managed 12 goals and 6 assists and at just £9.5m the Spanish striker will be looking to give FPL managers a better return this season.
Conte looks like he will get these Chelsea stars firing this season and he could opt for his favoured 4-4-2 meaning that both of these guys would play together with Remy most likely providing the squad depth.
Costa has the Premier League pedigree and looks to be an excellent option from day one of the season. No European football means that Chelsea have every chance in the league and the smaller number of games should lead to an increase in game time for Costa in the league – we like both of these guys but it has to be Costa in the early stages.
Charlie Austin - £6.5m
Charlie Austin never really got his chance once moving from QPR to Southampton last season but with the 27 year old moving in to his prime years we cannot imagine that he will be content with a place on the bench. Just one goal coming from 2 starts and 5 substitute appearances last season hardly inspires confidence and the truth is that we just cannot put him in our teams unless he gets a good run – even then… at the moment £6.5m is a stretch too far.
Liverpool Strikers - £6m-£10m
There are a plethora of Liverpool strikers to choose from and with Benteke, Sturridge, Ings and Origi (Balotelli is officially still there too) it is almost impossible to choose a striker from the Reds. Origi has look unplayable at times whilst Benteke has been the biggest Merseyside flop since Andy Carroll. Danny Ings was desperately unlucky with injury last season and has looked decent in pre-season and Sturridge is perhaps the most reliable in terms of FPL but weighs in at £10m.
Unless there is some transfer business done or Klopp comes out and states who his number one striker is then we just cannot advocate one of these players. Imagine having a £10m Sturridge sat on the bench – no thank you!
Ighalo and Deeney - £7m-£7.5m
Two of the top performers last season were Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney. With 15 and 13 goals respectively, one of the duo were in most managers’ teams at some point last season and it was actually Deeney who finished the season the strongest. They represent excellent value in the £7m-£7.5m price range although it remains to be seen how Watford perform under new coach Walter Mazzarri.
Watford have a very tough opening 3 fixtures so this duo may be worth watching in the first instance.
Ibrahimovic - £11.5m
38 goals and 13 assists for Zlatan last season and he shows no signs of slowing down as his age starts to catch up with him. He looks set to be the number one striker for Mourinho and the Sweden superstar with an ego that can only be likened to our very own Podcast star Quigliano, looks set to light up the Premier League.
Depsite an £11.5m price tag and despite playing in a team that was insipid at best last season in front of goal, the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks like an inspired move and a partnership that could prove very fruitful for the new duo. We don’t usually like to push unproven Premier League players too much but an exception has to be made for Ibra. It is a slight risk to put him in just based on his price – but put it this way, he will either be worth £12m by Christmas or £11m.
Go for him and Aguero and you can kiss any kind of balance goodbye so it might have to be one or the other – in that case, we are sorry Ibra but it has to be the Argentine.
So who should you choose up front?
Based on a budget of £29m our selection (at this stage of pre-season and is likely to change) would have to start with Sergio Aguero. Unless you want to have nightmares every single week you simply need him in your team and under Pep, this could be his greatest ever season.
So that leaves us £16m to split between two players. I’m going to go for Shane Long in the cheapy spot at £6.5m but will be keeping a very close eye on Gray at Burnley.
My remaining £9.5m is going to be spent on Diego Costa who looks to have some decent fixtures at the start of the season with Chelsea and he looks like he could hit the ground running this season. If Conte gets him fired up the right way then his value could be rising sharply at the start of the season too.
We would love to hear your thoughts on which strikers to opt for… let us know your combo in the comments box below.