With the season almost upon us, it’s time for us fans to imagine we can make this managing malarkey look easy, by picking our own teams of 15 individual players and going against each other for bragging rights.
Today, we’ll look at some Villa players who’ll prove to be value for money for the upcoming season and hopefully nab some points in order for you to claim the top spot.
First of all, lets start with the goalkeeper:
Despite conceding 61 goals and only keeping 5 clean sheets last season, Brad Guzan was still in the top 10 goalkeepers’ list last season, in terms of points.
Guzan racked up 106 points, despite our leaky defence. He made one penalty save and 131 saves during the season, which made him one of the busiest keepers in the league. He stood tall though and his work did not go unnoticed.
At only £5 million, he would be an excellent back-up goalie. But if you are concentrating on other areas of the pitch, then Guzan would still be a great choice. Paul Lambert has signed a few players in defence to shore up the back line but it remains to be seen if the Villa can concede fewer goals in the coming season.
Arguably our best defender last season, Matt Lowton has been a consistent performer. Often the bright spark out of the leaky defence last season, most fans will agree that Lowton has improved enormously and has made himself the number one right back in the Villa side. In terms of numbers, he amassed 93 points last season.
He scored 2 goals, both spectacular finishes. He has proved he can hit a ball from long range and that’s why I’m recommending him for your team. Again, he could be an excellent back up, at £5m, or could turn out to be a very astute purchase. He could turn out to be a gem this season, as I can see him creating goal scoring opportunities down that right flank as he will look to bomb forward and put crosses in.
Last season, he had 4 assists and helped Villa achieve 5 clean sheets. One thing to be wary of is yellow cards – he picked up 10 yellow cards last season, which isn’t unusual for a defender to be honest but can cost you points in the long run. It’s -1 point for every yellow card a defender gets.
Looking at our midfield, there is not one player over the price of £6m. This means that any one of our current midfielders would be good to have if money is short. For your 4th/5th midfield choice, you could get value for money looking at Ashley Westwood, at only £5.5m. Westwood did brilliantly in his first season in the league. Coming from Crewe, he settled in very quickly and took to the Premier League like a duck to water.
In my opinion, Westwood has already nailed down a starting 11 spot and will get a lot of playing time. As fans have also seen, he can pick out a blinder of a pass to create a goal scoring opportunity from deep in midfield (that pass for Agbonlahor at Norwich) so the potential for assists is there. Westwood got 7 assists last season and will definitely be looking to better that number in the coming season.
Westwood is also our designated set piece taker – offering even more opportunities for himself to get assists from corners and the potential to score goals from free kicks.
Next week, we’ll look at our most dangerous weapons – the attack.
*Please note, all players’ valuations were taken from the Premier League Fantasy League. Other fantasy league valuations may differ.
If you would like to join the AVillaFan fantasy league, I will post the code to join the league next week.