EVERTON FANTASY PREVIEW
By Isacki & Doosra
As fast out the blocks as a snail faced with a salt trail. Everton’s poor starts have been a source of immense frustration, but there is hope of improvement, for several reasons. Firstly, they have a proper strike force to START with, rather than turning up in January.Secondly, they have a settled squad, with no nasty Lescott-shaped surprises to be sprung. Thirdly … well …”Hope springs eternal, in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest”! Everton FPL prices are slightly high, but we hope to unearth a bargain or two. But where to look?
Doosra’s fixture rating: after a dodgy start, game weeks 4 to 13 are excellent! Good buys for a game week 3 wild card!
Everton have Tim Howard and Jan Mucha, their dependable stand in. Howard is reasonable value, and as the only goalkeeper to have scored a goal last Season, Howard would not be the worst pick! Two penalty saves to his name amongst a lowish save total of 88, helps, as does a high PPI score of 428. Sadly this good score was not often converted to bonus, last Season.
Rumours are still swirling around the head of Johnny Heitinga, but I do not seriously expect him to move. He seems to have cemented his place ahead of Distin, and at 5.5 for an assist and a goal in his 115 points, would seem a reasonable buy. Jagielka is a class act, and I would expect him to surpass last Season’s score of 107 easily. Two goals and 2 assists sees him priced at 6.0, but with an ownership of 6.6%, he would be a handy differential …
Our familiar friend Leighton Baines has seen his price drop from around 8.0 to 7.0, making it easier to include what may be the most attacking fullback in the league. Two points of caution though: firstly, the left-sided Pienaar is anticipated to give Everton another go this year. His attacking presence on the left flank reduces the need for Baines to go forward. Secondly, club favourite Tim Cahill has just left. Being a regular target for Baines’ crosses, the loss of this partner-in-crime should be considered. Still, let’s not forget that Baines should keep penalties, free kicks, and at least a few crosses. After a generally disappointing season, he may be on the rebound.
Tony Hibbert is priced 5.5m at rightback and may be a dark horse for attacking points. With 5 assists last year in a respectable total of 110 points, he may not get as far forward as Baines but still pushes up an impressive amount on the right flank.
Club stalwart Leon Osman was the highest-scoring Everton midfielder with 113 points and is placed at a very reasonable 6.5, the same as Fellaini. Playing on the right wing but drifting centrally towards the hole, Osman offered decent goal and assist threat with 4 of each. The departure of Cahill may allow him to move into more dangerous central positions, although new striker Naismith could equally take up the mantle – more on that later.
Perhaps Fellaini is not what you expect, but with the way the cards have fallen at Everton, he just could be a star purchase for your team. He had his second most productive Season last year, and Naismith will add to the danger of his late runs, while also possibly helping Jelavic finish off his flick-ons.He is also a real contender for bonus.
Steven Pienaar had a great loan return to Everton in the second half of last Season, begging the question of why he left in the first place. At 6.5, he is terrific value, having scored 4 goals and 7 assists from left midfield in 14 appearances. The only doubt over Pienaar is whether, as widely expected, he transfers to Everton from Spurs. The sale of Cahill may help Everton to stump up the cash.
Finally, what about Darron Gibson? As a late developer, he is just coming through, and had a fine end to the Season with a goal and 2 assists in a short run of 11 matches, after signing from United. Everton were unbeaten while he was in the team.
Little need be said about Nikica Jelavic. Arriving with Pienaar in a superb January window for Everton, the lethal target man blasted 9 goals from 13 appearances. Extremely single-minded, he produced no assists as he presumably was too busy tearing the opposition to shreds himself. Of course, there is a price – and that is 8.5. This still looks like good value for the main striker at a team that finished in superb form. Particularly given the arrival of his club comrade Naismith…
Naismith is a recent acquisition from Jelavic’s old club Rangers, where he scored 28 in 98(Jelavic 30 in 45), so they are old sparring partners. That partnership has already shown signs of gelling, so at 6.5 he may be your budget man. Everton have never in recent memory been endowed with a reasonable attack – SO NOW IS THE TIME!