- Expected formation: 3-4-3
- Expected line-up: Hennessey, Tomkins, Dann, Riedewald; Ward, Milivojevic, Puncheon/Cabaye, PVA/Schlupp; Townsend, Benteke, Zaha
- Penalties: Milivojevic, Benteke, Cabaye
- Direct free kicks: Milivojevic, Puncheon, Cabaye
- Indirect free kicks: Puncheon, Milivojevic, Cabaye
- Corners: Puncheon, Milivojevic, Cabaye
- Opening fixtures: HUD (H), Liv (A), SWA (H), Bur (A), SOU (H), Mci (A), Mnu (A), CHE (H), New (A), WHU (H)
An assessment of Frank de Boer was extensively covered by us soon after his appointment, but with more information now under our belts regarding player prices and players/formations used in pre-season, we now have a near-complete picture of how things could shape up for the new season.
With all that now in mind, lets take a look at the players we might look to consider for our teams.
Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m)
Zaha is arguably the most exciting prospect in this team from an FPL perspective, off the back of his impressive season for the Eagles last year, scoring 7 goals and providing 11 assists for his team-mates, amassing a total of 149pts that included 13 bonus points – for a player who started the season at £5.5m, that is brilliant value for money.
He comes in at £7.0m for the new season and could be on for an even bigger total this year looking at his position in FdB’s new 3-4-3 system. From the pre-season games I’ve watched to date, it appears that Zaha is playing on the left of the front 3 forwards, similar to the role of Eden Hazard, who’s given the freedom to roam about as he pleases, choosing how and where he wishes to devastate the opposition. It’s not only Zaha’s position that looks enticing, but he looked extremely sharp, gliding past the Liverpool defenders like they weren’t even there.
Zaha was isolated for the majority of the time out on the wing for big Sam where he also had defensive responsibilities, but under FdB in this new system, he could be given the freedom to attack without the concern of having to remember his defensive duties. This could allow Zaha to fully express himself and I believe it could end up being devastating for the defenders he faces.
Christian Benteke (£8.0m)Embed from Getty Images
Benteke could be another one set to flourish under the new system. He scored an impressive 15 goals for Palace and accumulated a total of 136pts in doing so. With an understanding already established with Zaha, these two working even closer together could mean even more goals this time round.
Crystal Palace also have Jason Puncheon, who has a great dead-ball delivery on him, which means plenty of continued service for the big and powerful Benteke. At £8.0m he seems a bit overpriced for me though, finishing last year on £7.2m after starting it at £7.5m – how the guys over at Official FPL got to the £8.0m price, is beyond me.
Palace have a decent first 5 games to get themselves into gear that include some favourable home games. There are some problems however, the first of which being price.
Most of the defensive assets are 0.5m more than we would have liked; Joel Ward (£5.0m) a prime example of another baffling price tag – the guys at FPL must not want us to own Palace players or something. That being said, if he gets the RWB spot, which isn’t guaranteed, he may then be worth that £5.0m price tag, but he’s one that needs to be viewed in this role as he only managed 1 assist from a full back role last year.
The cheapest way in, is to go with Hennessey (£4.5m) and use him in rotation with another cheap goalkeeper. Other than that you’re gambling on Tomkins (£4.5m) starting, who isn’t 100% nailed on.
Then we have Scott Dann at £5.0m. I like him, but I wouldn’t really be comfortable rotating him as he can score against anyone. The last thing you want, is 8 points sitting on the bench every now and then if you get the rotation wrong.
Lastly we have PVA (£5.5m). His ability should prevail over Schlupp (£5.0m) in the end, but both have been playing in pre-season, so it appears FdB hasn’t completely made his mind up just yet on the LWB spot. This one needs to be monitored because we all know the potential PVA possesses from a full back role, never mind a wing back role.
The New Capoue? – Luka Milivojevic (£5.0m)
The above picture were the scenes in the PL Asia Trophy after he scored his beautiful 25 yard free kick. This was the moment that made me sit up straight in my seat and where I began to actually consider the big man as a potential FPL option. On penalties and direct free kicks, not only that, but actually good at them both too? I think that’s potential right there.
With Zaha in the team, they should pick up plenty of free kicks and penalties and this is why I’m genuinely considering Milivojevic for my FPL team. He’s starting at £0.5m higher than Capoue did last year, which puts him at an awkward price – not quite a 4th mid and definitely not a 5th mid. He kind of sits in-between the two, rather awkwardly, but I don’t think that should put us off playing him. He’s certainly too good for the bench thats for sure and I think I may just give him a chance as my 4th midfielder.
I would personally stay away from PVA until we see who FdB prefers for the LWB spot, although my gut and a Palace fan I know, tells me PVA will start. It might also take Palace a while to adapt to their new style of play, as I allude to in my article assessing FdB, so we might not see clean sheets straight away. If Palace start looking solid defensively and PVA is nailed on, then he could be a great option as he’s always got goals in him.
I like Dann as an option, as he’s always a goalscoring threat from set-pieces regardless of who the opposition is, so even without clean sheets you have the chance for some points and £5.0m is a decent price for him. I would heavily advise against using him in a rotation however, as you could see that go horribly wrong with the attacking threat he possesses.
I would also steer clear of Tomkins/Delaney and go with Hennessey if you want a cheap route into the Palace defence.
As I mentioned earlier, I think Benteke is overpriced. Not only that but I think there are much better options at that price; Chicharito (£7.0m), Defoe (£8.0m) and Rooney (£7.5m) just some examples – even Firmino (£8.5m) is just an extra £0.5m!
Zaha and Milivojevic look the most investable assets to me however. Zaha in particular, who looks to have a role similar to that of Hazards at Chelsea. I think we could see a big season from the irrepressible Zaha, mark my words.