Here’s Rob Reid with the 4th article in his Legends of Fantasy Football series. This article looks legends in the forwards category.
Rob Reid with his legends of Fantasy Football part 4 – forwards
Hello again everyone and welcome to the 4th article in my Legends of Fantasy Football series. To celebrate 25 seasons playing fantasy football in one shape or form, I’ve decided to pick a squad of all time Premier League fantasy football legends based on the current FPL template of 2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 3 forwards. In each article there will also be an ‘honourable mentions’ section and these players will be combined with my selections to form a Poll whereby the Fantasy Football Geek readers can also choose their own Legends squad. Here’s a reminder of how the 2 squads line up so far.
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech, Edwin Van Der Sar
Defenders: Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole, Lee Dixon, Ian Harte, John Terry
Midfielders: Eden Hazard, Frank Lampard, Matt Le Tissier, Christiano Ronaldo, Mo Salah
The Readers Poll squad:
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech, Peter Schmeichel
Defenders: Leighton Baines, John Terry, Andrew Robertson, Ian Harte, Nemanja Vidic
Midfielders: Frank Lampard, Mo Salah, Matt Le Tissier, Christiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard
This week I’m selecting my forwards, a tough choice with such a pool of talent that’s been available through the years. This has definitely been the most difficult category to narrow down so here’s who I’ve picked.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Sergio Aguero is one of the most popular current players amongst fantasy football managers. He just keeps producing the goods, all this in spite of competition within the City squad, the spectre of rotation and niggly injuries. Much of this I think is down to his determination, work rate and playing style and an attitude of never giving up in the face of adversity. I’m not a City fan, but I’m not ashamed to admit he’s one of my favourite players to watch and from a fantasy football point of view he’s probably my second favourite player of all time after Matthew Le Tissier. This is all very well of course, but you need returns to back this up. Aguero certainly has these. And in abundance.
2018-19 was the 3rd time he’s passed 200 points in an FPL campaign, the 6th time he’s netted over 20 goals in an EPL season and the 3rd time he’s done the ‘double double’ of over 10 goals and over 10 assists. Overall he has 164 goals at 0.69 goals per match and 43 Premier League assists to his name. He’s also an explosive player capable of huge weekly scores which makes him a nice captain choice, something which I was happy to profit from this season after I played my Triple Captain Chip on him in a week where he scored a hat-trick. Fantasy Football has some kind of unwritten rules. Never captain a defender or a goalkeeper. Use a formation that has 7 attacking players. Never make transfers on a Saturday night. I’m sure that there are many FPL managers out there who would add ‘Always Captain Aguero’ to that list.
I have to confess that when Henry first signed for Arsenal back in 1999, I didn’t really expect that much. His goalscoring record with Monaco hadn’t been great and his season in Serie A with Juventus was a bit of a disaster with him being either stuck out on the wing or on the subs bench. Under Wenger though he was transformed and he soon became one of the greatest strikers to ever play in the Premier League. He wasn’t just a goalscorer, he was a graceful, aesthetic player to watch and it wasn’t only about the number of goals he scored, but the style in which he and his team scored them.
Stats-wise, it’s brilliant reading for the French maestro. He scored over 20 goals in a season in 5 of his 8 Premier League campaigns with his total of 30 in ‘The Invincibles’ campaign his peak. His tally of 175 goals in 258 games at 0.68 goals per match is remarkable, even more so when you add his 74 assists on top as well. Honours wise, he pretty much won it all – The World Cup, European Championships, Champions League, Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1 and multiple Player of the Year and Golden Boot awards. He may not hold the Premier League’s overall goal-scoring record, but for me he is the greatest Premier League striker ever and undoubtedly a legend of fantasy football.
The striking line-up in my Legends squad is completed by the Premier League’s top marksman, Alan Shearer. A true predator, Shearer’s overall record of 260 Premier League goals is going to take some beating and his goals per game ratio of 0.59 isn’t too far behind that of Thierry Henry or Sergio Aguero; all the more respectable when you consider that for the much of the latter part of his career he wasn’t playing for a club that was threatening the top of the table.
Shearer’s best days were definitely at Blackburn where he passed 30 goals in 3 consecutive seasons with the 34 goals he netted in 1994-95 helping his club win the Premier League title; his only major honour. It was hoped on Tyneside that his then world record £15m move to St James’ Park in 1996 would catapult The Magpies to the elusive major trophy that they coveted. Alas it wasn’t to be, but Shearer still kept on scoring, netting 20+ goals in a campaign a further 4 times. He was also a great and popular servant for his country with a fine international record of 30 goals in 63 caps. Sadly injuries took their toll in his later years but for his goal record alone, Shearer will always be an English footballing great and a fantasy football legend (even if he is an absolutely terrible pundit!)
The forward who was closest to ousting the other 3, I really was very torn between Kane and Aguero. Having just talked about Alan Shearer, Kane is the guy who I think has a chance of surpassing his overall Premier League tally. So far he has 125 goals and four 20+ goal seasons at an average of 0.69 and he’s aged just 25, there’s a great chance it could happen. In my opinion, his breakthrough 2014-15 season was his best from an FPL point of view as he was still priced as a budget striker – what a squad filler he turned out to be! I’m sure there is plenty more to come from Sir Harold and provided he can stay injury free, it won’t be long before he’s homing in on Shearer’s 260 goal mark.
Love him or hate him, this guy was a shoe-in many FPL managers squads provided he wasn’t serving one of his bans! He averaged a strong 0.63 goals per game, netting 69 goals with 23 assists across 3 seasons for Liverpool, before his form won him a big money move to La Liga. 2013/14 was his best, when he bounced back from his ban for biting to win the Golden Boot with 31 goals, a run which pretty much made him a set-and-forget captain that campaign and also led to many strikers doubling him up with fellow Anfield forward Daniel Sturridge, also in fine form that year. A divisive player for sure, but certainly a good FPL asset.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
One of 2 Dutch strikers in this section, Van Nistelrooy was lethal in his 5 seasons at United, hitting the 20 goal mark in 4 of these at an average of 0.63 goals per game. He didn’t offer so much in terms of assists (only 14 during his time in the Premier League) but there was absolutely no doubting that predatory goal instinct. It was a shame that he fell out with team-mates at the end of his United career as surely even more Premier League goals was a given and although he netted 25 goals at Real Madrid the following season, he never really hit the heights after this.
Robin Van Persie
The other Dutch striker to make this section, Van Persie’s Premier League career I guess was a bit of ‘what might have been.’ He was plagued by injury through his stay at Arsenal, but his last season brought a fantastic 30 goals and 9 assists, giving a taste of what a fit RVP was capable of. This was then followed by 26 goals and 9 assists during his first season at Old Trafford, with managers who bought him at the start of the season cashing in, with his price becoming near unaffordable later on. Sadly, he struggled with injury again after that, but his overall record of 144 goals (0.51 per game) and 53 assists is still highly creditable.
Again I’m keeping up my theme of trying to offer a budget choice in each section and I’ve put Jamie Vardy in as the more budget-friendly option here. He’s been a fine FPL player over the last few seasons, most notably during Leicester’s winning 2015-16 campaign – he netted 24 goals, which included scoring in a record 11 games in a row having started off priced in the budget range. He was simply a must-have (along with team mate Riyad Mahrez) that season! He also netted 20 goals in 17/18, 18 goals in 18/19 and has 24 EPL assists to his name. Great reading for a player who came fairly late to Premier League football where he’s certainly outperformed his expectations, often getting returns at a fairly low FPL ownership level.
So that’s it for my forwards selection, a tricky selection with such a large pool of talent – especially when you consider I’ve not managed to find room for the likes of Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Andrew Cole. Please also don’t forget to vote in the Readers Poll at the bottom to make your selection for the Fantasy Football Geek readers team. I’ll be back again next week with a final article that summarises the selections in both squads. Happy voting!
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