Fantasy Premier League
At 101, we are aiming to bring you extensive, detailed analysis of Fantasy Premier League over the course of the 2021/22 campaign, including best captain choice, injury news, players to pick and who to sell.
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Best midfielders on FPL
In this article, we will highlight the top 10 midfielders worth picking up in your Fantasy Premier League side for the 2021/22 campaign.
10) Jack Harrison, Leeds (6.0m)
One of the best budget midfield options on FPL this year has got to be Jack Harrison.
Harrison was on loan at Leeds United last season, with that move having since been made permanent ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Last time out, Harrison would score a very respectable eight goals and provide 10 assists.
This total made him the 6th best midfielder on FPL, with the only players to have outscored the winger well above his current price.
And with Leeds once again expected to be a fairly attack-minded side under Marcelo Bielsa next season, Harrison should have little issue in notching a similar return, provided he stays fit.
9) Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City (12.0m)
Kevin De Bruyne is, of course, one of the best midfielders in world football, and will no doubt go down as one of the Premier League's greatest ever players.
However, there are a couple of reasons that the Belgian finds himself fairly low down this list.
Firstly, every Man City player comes with the baggage of Pep Guardiola's ruthless rotation policy. And whilst KDB is one of the few City players who is not rotated that often, it still happens to him. As such, as the Belgian would likely be one of two premium midfielders in your side, you are probably better served going with someone who is nailed on to start every single week.
De Bruyne has also had some fitness issues over the last couple of years, which has limited his minutes slightly.
And with KDB priced at 12.0m, you must essentially decide if he is a better option than Bruno Fernandes, also priced at 12.0m.
Whilst De Bruyne is probably the better player all told, Fernandes is the superior FPL option, because he basically plays every minute of football for Manchester United.
Fernandes is also the nailed-on penalty taker at United, whilst City's spot-kicks are shared around a bit more. And if Harry Kane does sign for Man City, then he will surely usurp De Bruyne as the Sky Blues' no.1 spot-kick taker.
8) Emi Buendia, Aston Villa (6.5m)
Emi Buendia is a great budget option for your midfield, especially in the opening three fixtures.
The Argentine had previously been plying his trade with Norwich, with whom he once again won promotion in 2020/21.
Buendia scored 15 and assisted 16 in England's second-tier last term. And whilst you may be concerned about him translating that form into the top-flight, the Argentine notched one goal and seven assists back in 2019/20, when Norwich finished bottom of the Premier League.
So, in a much better Aston Villa side, there is an expectation that Buendia will improve on his tally from two seasons ago.
The Villans also have a very favourable start to the campaign, facing Watford, Newcastle and then Brentford.
7) Kai Havertz, Chelsea (8.5m)
Kai Havertz is an interesting option on FPL this year. If Chelsea end up signing a new striker in the summer, the German probably won't be that great a pick.
However, if the Blues do not sign anyone, Havertz could be a great out-of-position option.
After taking over, Thomas Tuchel used Havertz in a false-nine role on a regular basis, and it worked quite well.
Havertz did only score four goals and provide six assists in the Premier League across 2020/21, which is not a great return.
But if Chelsea do not sign a striker, and Havertz is given the full campaign as a false-nine, he could be a serious bargain in midfield. The German should, in theory, be scoring similarly to a striker but with the added points midfielders are handed for scoring goals.
And if Havertz starts to match his xG and xA, we could end up seeing a lot of returns from him in 2021/22.
From February 1st 2021, essentially when Tuchel took charge of Chelsea, Havertz boasted the highest non-penalty xG and xA per 90 minutes of any Premier League player who managed at least 500 minutes between February and May (0.87).
To highlight how impressive this is, in the same period, Harry Kane's NPxG and xA per 90 minutes was 0.80.
6) Raphinha, Leeds (6.5m)
At just 6.5m, Raphinha does seem pretty under-priced this year.
The Brazilian had a great debut campaign that saw him score six and assist 10 in 30 outings, the earlier of which only saw him used sparingly as the winger adapted to Leeds following his arrival from France.
But over the course of a full 38 game campaign, now that he is used to the Premier League, it is hard not to envision Raphinha hitting double digits for both goals and assists in 2021/22.
Leeds are a very attack-minded side and would accumulate the 4th highest non-penalty xG and xA per 90 of all 20 sides in the Premier League last season.
Raphinha, meanwhile, had the 15th highest NP xG and xA per 90 in the division. The only midfielders who finished the campaign with a higher NP xG and xA per 90 were Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Heung-min Son, Bruno Fernandes, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – all of whom are considerably more expensive than Raphinha.
5) Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City (9.0m)
As already discussed, Pep Guardiola can often be something of a nightmare for FPL players due to his constant rotating.
However, one player who should be close to a nailed-on starter for the Citizens, at least in the early stages of the campaign, is Riyad Mahrez.
Whilst the likes of Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Ferran Torres spent their summers at the Euros, the Algerian had a fair amount of time off to rest, meaning he should be the freshest of City's attackers and, therefore, all but nailed for that right-wing spot for at least the first few gameweeks.
And though he did not start the season that well last time out, Mahrez was in fine form in the final few months of the campaign both domestically and in Europe.
So, as he is 3.0m cheaper than De Bruyne, Mahrez represents a great option for covering City's superb attacking threat, with very little risk of rotation early on in the season.
4) Jadon Sancho, Manchester United (9.5m)
Typically, when selecting your FPL team for the first gameweek of the season, it is best to avoid players who have never played in the Premier League before.
This is, of course, because it is very hard to predict how well they will perform at the highest level in England.
Most FPL users no doubt still have Timo Werner's debut Chelsea campaign fresh in the memory. The German netted 28 and assisted eight in 34 Bundesliga outings for RB Leipzig in 2018, before then finding the net on just six occasions in the PL in 2020/21.
Despite the risk, though, Jadon Sancho may just be worth a punt early on. The winger reached double figures for both goals and assists in the previous two seasons, and a similar return for Manchester United would make him well worth his price of 9.5m early on.
Signing Sancho would also allow you to cover United's attack without having to splash the 12.0m on Bruno Fernandes.
Another thing to consider when looking at Sancho is that Marcus Rashford could miss the start of the new season if he decides to undergo surgery. This would likely see Sancho used as the Red Devils' main left-winger for the first few months of the campaign.
Historically, the 21-year-old scores a lot more goals when deployed on the left, which is of course great for FPL players, as midfielders earn five points per goal.
3) Heung-min Son, Tottenham (10.0m)
Heung-min Son is on the pricier side for a midfielder, but he is certainly a player you should consider.
17 goals and 11 assists marked a slight over-performance in 2020/21, owing to the way in which Jose Mourinho forced all of Spurs' attacks through Son and Harry Kane. But even in previous seasons, the South Korean has generally scored over 10 goals and either provided just over or just below 10 assists.
Son is also one of the more deadly finishers in the English top-flight. This can be seen from looking at his xG over the course of several years.
Last term, for example, the South Korean found the net 17 times in the PL, despite having an xG of just 10.3. In itself, this may suggest that Son significantly over-performed, and that his goals tally will drop next time out.
However, as is often the case with the best finishers, Son has outperformed his xG for many years now. In 2019/20 he scored 11 goals with an xG of 8.9, and in 2018/19 the winger netted 12 from an xG of just 7.7.
So, even if Kane does leave Spurs this summer, Son should still be one of the Lilywhites' best attacking picks in FPL.
2) Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United (12.0m)
Bruno Fernandes has been a must-have on FPL since his arrival from Sporting CP in January of 2020.
The Portuguese notched eight goals and eight assists in his first half-season at Manchester United.
This was followed by Fernandes being awarded 18 goals and 14 assists by FPL in 2020/21, making the midfielder the highest-scorer in the game.
And whilst his price has since gone up slightly, Fernandes should still be worth it this season.
The main reason for this is his excellent penalty record. Fernandes is United's main spot-kick taker, and the Red Devils win a very high number of penalties every season.
In 2018/19, they scored nine, the second-most in the league. In 2019/20, they scored 10, the most in the PL. And this past campaign they netted 10 from 12 yards, the joint-most along with Leicester.
The number of spot-kicks United earn should only increase following the signing of tricky winger Jadon Sancho, too.
So, as long as Bruno remains on pens and continues to act as United's main attacking midfielder, he is a must-have on FPL.
1) Mohamed Salah, Liverpool (12.5m)
Finally, the no.1 midfielder you should have in your FPL side is Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian is the most expensive midfielder in the game once again this year, but there is a very good reason for this.
Since he signed for Liverpool, Salah has been one of the best FPL options, and he is likely to be in the top two or three for points scored again this season.
In 2017/18, the winger scored 32 and assisted 12. In 2018/19 he scored 22 and assisted 12. In 2019/20, Salah scored 19 and assisted 10. And last time out he scored 22 and assisted six, in what was a weakened Liverpool side.
Such consistent numbers over a four-year period is incredibly impressive, meaning if you do not have Salah again this year, your FPL rank will suffer.