With the Premier League return nearly upon us, Friday and Saturday morning will undoubtedly see Fantasy Football managers tinkering their teams on a scale that would have even Claudio Ranieri wincing.
To RVP or not to RVP? To pick a rotation-prone player from the top four, or opt for a cast-iron starter from a newly-promoted team? To go for two alternating keepers or cash in big on one from the top two? There are but hours left to decide on these perennial Fantasy Football conundrums.
There is, however, one top four club that can be relied on. Partly because their manager largely prefers a settled side to one of constant rotation, partly because they have not strengthened their squad as strongly as others, and lastly of course, because they score plenty of goals.
It is of course Arsenal, who boast some of the game’s most prolific Fantasy Football scorers. Only Gareth Bale and Juan Mata bagged more points than 12 goal Santi Cazorla last season, while Theo Walcott – with 14 goals and 13 assists – was just behind on the list in fourth.
Barring injuries, both are certain starters for the Gunners, and it’s therefore no surprise that they top the list on which Arsenal player will score the most points this season, Cazorla at 6/5 with Walcott at 6/4.
And then there’s Olivier Giroud. The French striker bagged a respectable 11 goals without really pulling up too many trees following his move from Montpellier last summer, yet big things are expected of the forward this time round following a successful pre-season in which he’s bagged eight goals, including a hat-trick in Vietnam.
With Walcott and Cazorla again providing the ammunition and after a season getting up to speed with the rigours of the Premier League, Giroud could well challenge his teammates for the title of top points scorer, at 7/2. And, unlike some of the league’s other top strikers, he is unlikely to be rested during the league campaign due to the size of Arsenal’s squad and relative lack of competition for places.
But Arsene Wenger’s side offers value in defence too. German giant Per Mertesacker was the pick of Arsenal’s backline last term, with his three goals adding to 14 clean sheets seeing him finish as the game’s sixth best defender. At £5.5m, he appears to be a veritable steal.
Fellow centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is currently injured, but given his renowned ability offensively as well as at the back, should he make a quick return it wouldn’t be unfeasible for him to overhaul Mertesacker, providing something of an outside punt at 66/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.