Christmas and New Year is a time for family, food and football. It can also be a time to reflect on the year and at the halfway point of the season we decided to get some FPL related prizes handed out before Man City receive the Premier League title in March. Welcome to the FPL Draft Boss Midseason Awards! Here we focus on Part 1 of the Awards: THE GOOD
< You can read PART 2: THE BAD & THE DE GEA here>
🏆 BEST BRITISH MALE (Sponsored by BeIn Sports*)
FPL Robinson: Hard to pick this as British players are almost second class in their own country and have their paths blocked by sexy foreigners. Brexit, sexy, sexy foreigners, Brexit, Brexit, Brexit! (Just because it’s Christmas you thought I’d leave my Allardyce vendetta alone?!)
RAHEEM STERLING. Wonderful run of form from a wonderful player. Scoring a lot of points and scoring vital goals for a City team that is wiping the floor with everyone. Hopefully this means he will be a key cog in England’s World Cup team but more than likely he’ll be shifted from position to position score 3 goals in the group stage,miss a half chance in the second round, be dropped for Ashley Young and come home to be abused by the Sun for buying his mum a nice dinner.
FPL Draft Don: Not a huge amount of competition here and so RAHEEM STERLING, despite being vertically-challenged, stands head and shoulders above the rest. An early-season ‘Pep roulette’ victim, he nevertheless regularly got in the points and having become a fixture in the City side, at the midway point has an excellent 12 goals and 7 assists and ranks second in standard scoring. Harry Kane only entered contention here after his hat-trick against Burnley but it’s too little, too late and I’ve already got him earmarked for another award…
FPL Draft Boss: HARRY KANE: One season wonder Kane’s goalscoring record is comparable to anyone alive who doesn’t own 5 Ballon D’Ors. The boyhood Spurs fan scored 29 League goals last year and is currently on course for his 3rd consecutive Golden Boot in England’s top division, a feat only matched by Thierry Henry (2004-06), Alan Shearer (1995-97) & Jimmy Greaves (1963-65). With scarcity of top level forwards a real issue in draft leagues Kane was top of my draft board and the safest possible first overall pick. The best player at the most important position in the game he now has 90 goals in his last 120 Premier League games.
🏆 BEST GROUP (Presented by the Premier League’s independent review panel*)
The Nominees are
Arsenal (U2) and their attacking triangle up front of Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette. At their best irresistable, but can anyone ever be bothered with them? Neither as bad as their detractors would say but not as great as their advocates would have you believe. Everton away was their Achtung Baby, Huddersfield at home was their All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
Liverpool (Take That)
The Fab Four. Or are they better with Adam Robbie Williams Lallana who sometimes tours with them? Phillipe Gary Barlow Coutinho has been stunning this season and Mo Mark Owen Salah is on course for one of the great FPL returns. As great as the Fab Four is its hard to shake the feeling that it is soon to be a three after Barlow goes to Barcelona. Mane is fast becoming Jason Orange and Firmino is very clearly Howard Donald, no one is really sure what he does but he’s always there making sure it all works.
A defence of gritty northerners capable of moments of brilliance before embarking on runs of mediocrity.
Man Utd (Blondie)
Defence. Everyone thinks Blondie is just Debbie Harry. Everyone should think that Uniteds defence is actually just David de Gea. No keeper has saved more shots and with Mourinho in the beginnings of his meltdown de Gea could become must own soon.
The winners are of course Manchester City midfield (Arctic Monkeys)
Still at the start of their careers so feels a bit early to call them one of the greats but all the signs are clearly there. De Bruyne 2nd, Sterling 3rd, Silva 4th and Sane 8th occupy half of the top 8 point scorers in the whole league. Guardiola ignored Stan Collymore and doubled down on his philosophy created and ludicrous run of form. Get as many City players as you can.
🏆 BEST PLAYER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (Sponsored by Greggs sausages*)
FPL Draft Boss: NICK POPE: When Tom Heaton went off injured in Gameweek 4 Burnley’s prayers were answered by up relative unknown Pope, who hadn’t played any League football since getting relegated from the Championship with Charlton Athletic in 2016. A God-like 8 clean sheets later and he is the second highest scoring Goalkeeper in the game behind the divine David De Gea. An incredible free agent pickup in draft leagues he may end up as one of the most profitable half season wonders of all time with the second coming of England squad regular Heaton pencilled in for the New Year.
FPL Robinson: COUTINHO a lovely conductor of the rampaging forwards around him, the Johnny Marr to Morrisseys Salah. Coutinho is actually outscoring Salah in the games they’ve played together. Still not worth 150 million to Barcelona though and if anyone thinks he’s the next Iniesta then Noel Gallagher is the next Gary Neville.
FPL Draft Don: I had to try and fit him in somewhere because after a slow start, he’s been red hot for weeks now (especially in my Togga team). Incredibly, he’s joined at the top of the assists table on 8 by teammates Leroy Sane and David Silva but this is, of course, the man known as KDB. He’s also weighed in with 6 goals and were it not for the guy below would be a strong contender for all the midfield and scoring awards.
🏆 BEST INTERNATIONAL MALE (Sponsored by FedEx*)
FPL Draft Don: Has to be MO SALAH really, doesn’t it? Top goalscorer despite not being an out-and-out striker and as I write this he’s on 145 points in standard, 20 more than Sterling in second place and averages a huge 18 PPG in Togga. Phenomenal first half of the season from the ‘Chelsea reject’
FPL Robinson: SALAH as mentioned not Liverpools best football player but an unbelievable run of form since day 1 has put him half way to having a Suarez of a season. Already must own in normal games. He somehow slipped to pick 18 in my league where a handsome guy with a Sam Allardyce vendetta shrewdly picked him up.
FPL Draft Boss: Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, commonly known as SHEIKH MANSOUR, is the lead figure in Manchester City’s well financed rise to dominance. It’s difficult to imagine now but in 2007 a City team managed by Stuart Pearce finished 14th in the Premier League with Joey Barton as their top goalscorer with 6 goals. After a brief cameo as owner from former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shiniwatra the Abu Dhabi money arrived and City are now managed by Pep Guardiola, have won 18 out of 19 matches (the only game they didn’t win they drew after having a man sent off in the first half) and have 5 separate players with 6 or more League goals before Christmas (Sterling 12, Aguero 12, Jesus 8, Sané 6, De Bruyne 6). With so many fantasy studs in one team this season’s FPL simply wouldn’t be the same without Mr Mansour, the Godfather of some of the best football played in Premier League history. What? We couldn’t all pick Mohamed Salah could we?!
🏆 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: (Presented by Mark Hughes’ agent*)
FPL Robinson: AGUERRROOOOOOO. 102 goals and 36 assists and THAT 20 minute five goal haul in the five seasons before Guardiola arrived meant Aguero was a bona fide FPL legend anyway. Peps arrival was supposed to usher the end of this era. While it’s true City look better with Jesus pressing, Aguero has still mustered 30 goals and 8 assists in the season and a half since Guardiola took charge and currently boasts this seasons best weekly score with his 20 against Watford. If and when he leaves he will have been both consistent and explosive and arguably the greatest FPL player ever.
FPL Draft Don: Shared between Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew. Foreigners aren’t ruining the Premier League – having dinosaur, over-50-year-old English managers on a never-ending merry-go-round of clubs outside the Top 6, whose main claim to fame on their CV is they ‘avoid getting relegated’ is what ruins it.
Is there another job in the world where you get paid millions for being crap and getting the sack, then walk into another gig paying you over £50k a week a few months later?
These lot surely deserve a lifetime achievement award, for managing to con so many chairmen into a job over the years.
FPL Draft Boss: WAYNE ROONEY. It won’t be until he retires that Rooney will garner the acclaim that he deserves for his incredible career. After starting out for his boyhood Club Rooney packed his bags for Manchester United and won every single trophy it is possible to win with an English team on his way to becoming the Clubs all time record goalscorer. A former England captain he is the most capped outfield player in the nations history and nobody has ever scored more goals for the 3 Lions. To complete the fairytale he has now returned home to Everton and scored 10 League goals before Christmas. He ranks second all time for Premier League goals with 208 and 3rd all time for assists with 103. He’s got an eye for the spectacular with some stunning goals and passes including perhaps the greatest strike in Premier League history with his outrageous overhead kick in the Manchester Derby. Heck, he’s even scored from inside his own half twice.
Yet Rooney gets booed everywhere he goes. The scapegoat for England’s failures in major tournaments he has been denied the hero’s status enjoyed by compatriots Steven Gerrard & David Beckham. Routinely criticised for his weight and looks Rooney is just one of those guys that people love to hate. He is a bona fide legend of English football and is still producing the FPL Points today. It’s a shame that fully statistical based Bonus Points on Official FPL (2011) and Togga’s advanced scoring system (2014) arrived too late capture Wazza through his peak years as he would have been a beast in both formats with his hard work & production.
🏆 BEST NEWCOMER (Presented by Frank De Boer*)
FPL Robinson: RICHARLISON edges out Groß here. A wonderful talent destined to be a great bargain pick this year before going to sit on Tottenhams bench next year to the frustration of all FPL players.
FPL Draft Boss: My shortlist for this award contained 2 guys who I expected to do well this season and one who I didn’t. Sead Kolasinac in my top 10 defenders after researching him in the summer when he was linked with a free transfer move to Everton from Schalke and I picked him up in 2 different drafts. Pascal Groß had come up during that same research into the Bundesliga but he found himself in my 40th-50th Midfielder bracket and went undrafted as I don’t like having too many newcomers to the League in one team in case they don’t adapt well. The guy that found himself dismissed out of hand was RICHARLISON and that was clearly an error on my part. Registered as a Midfielder on the Official site there were just too many safer options and being a striker on Draft Fantasy it was hard to make a case for a young Forward new to the country, playing for a team that had struggled last term, under a new manager, with Hornets captain Troy Deeney & Club record signing Andre Gray also at the position. Well done to anyone who picked him up early, and well done to the man himself for making an impact in the League. 5 goals & 6 assists before Christmas (+1A on Boxing Day) is a fantastic return.
🏆 BEST BREAKTHROUGH ACT (Sponsored by Chelsea’s Academy*)
FPL Draft Boss: Considered giving this to Abdoulaye Doucouré but HARRY MAGUIRE has been one of my favourite players in the Premier League this season. Regular attacking returns from a centre half are rare but the former Sheffield United man has 2 goals & 4 assists so far. A strong defender with an eye for a pass he could line up alongside John Stones for England in the World Cup next summer. An absolute steal for Leicester at just £17M Maguire has played every minute of every game following his summer mover from relegated Hill City.
FPL Robinson: Sane probably showed too much form in the second half of last year to be considered a breakthrough. Would love to give it to Pogba but Garth Crooks doesn’t like his hair and Souness thinks he’s not as good as Fellaini and they’re real experts so will give it to NICK POPE. There’s a school of thought in American Football that Tom Brady is a system quarterback and only flourishes due to Belichick’s system. There’s a school of thought in music that Ringo Starr isn’t a very good drummer and was lucky to be in the Beatles. There’s a school of thought that whoever stands in goal for Burnley will rack up save points and clean sheets. And to that I say Brady has 5 Superbowls! Ringo WAS IN THE BEATLES and Pope has 9 clean sheets in 15 games before Christmas.
🏆 MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER: (Presented by Ryan Giggs*)
FPL Draft Don: I’ve already mentioned him – NICK POPE. With a bargain £4.8m price tag I’m amazed he is still only owned by 6.4% in standard FPL – he’s second only to David de Gea among keepers with a 84 point haul so far despite missing the first 3 games while Tom Heaton was fit. Pope’s time in the sun will end when Heaton returns but he’s still got a few weeks left before the latter is back from his dislocated shoulder.
FPL Robinson: HARRY KANE 18 goals in 19, highest goal scorer, highest points scoring forward, seven double figure returns, 96 goals in 3 and a bit seasons what more do people want?
FPL Draft Boss: JUAN MATA. There is no place in United’s lineup for the diminutive Spaniard when they play their Top 6 rivals (he’s only played 8 total minutes Vs “Top 6” teams this season). If you had Mata in your squad from the start and benched him every time they played a Top 6 team he would have given you 64 points across 15 games for an average of 4.3 Per Gameweek with just one zero. That’s not bad considering he was on average the 30th Midfielder taken in the Draft.
🏆 COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: (Presented by Pato Banton*)
FPL Draft Boss: The most amazing comeback in footballing terms has been Fabian Delph’s transformation from forgotten man of Manchester City’s midfield to first choice left back for the best team in the country. He doesn’t cut the mustard at FPL level though due to his negative Out Of Position situation. I’m sure he won’t lose any sleep over that when he counts his medals at the end of the season. Riyad Mahrez has already scored the same amount of goals this season as in the entirety of 2016/17, and also has double the assists. But despite his heroics for Leicester when they became champions he’s not coming back from such a perceived decline as WAYNE ROONEY who gets the nod from me.
FPL Robinson: Mahrez looks back to his best but the suspicion remains that this will change as soon as his January move falls through. ROONEY has gone from a 350k a week player who can’t run, who can control it further than he can kick it who was a liability off the pitch. Now he scores penalties and goals against Joe Hart. I joke of course. Rooney wins this as his re-emergence as a viable FPL option was so unlikely.
FPL Draft Don: Pains me somewhat to say it, but WAYNE ROONEY. He looked finished languishing in midfield last season at United but has been somewhat revitalised since returning home to Goodison Park. Who thought he’d have 10 goals already, be in the top 15 in scoring and have a hat-trick to his name as well?
🏆 BEST YOUNG PLAYER: (Presented by Roger Milla*)
FPL Draft Don: If it wasn’t for the fact RICHARLISON is staggeringly only 20 years old, I’d have probably gone with Dominic Calvert-Lewin. However, the Brazilian’s five goals and six assists (seemingly coming out of nowhere) rocketed him into most standard teams and had draft managers scrambling to grab him off waivers only a few weeks into the season.
He’s going through a sticky patch at the moment with no goals in his last 8 games but you have to think that a well-earned rest at some point over the festive period will help him get his early season sparkle back.
FPL Robinson: ASHLEY or Neil. Ashley has rediscovered his Aston Villa form and his FPL performance v Watford was the biggest surprise of the season. However NEIL YOUNG wrote this https://youtu.be/pO8kTRv4l3o
FPL Draft Boss: Renato Sanches 😂😂😂😂😂 (falls off chair laughing shouting “I told you so”)
Read PART 2 of the Awards “THE BAD & THE DE GEA” here>
*All sponsorships & presenters come with a heavy dose of artistic license & are subject to change.
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