Arsenal’s five most value-for-money players in fantasy football

The Premier League finally gets back underway this weekend and for over 3m people, that also means the start of a long season of tinkering, changing and managing their fantasy football side. The official fantasy football game of the Premier League has grown in popularity over the years and with so many players to choose from and budgetary constraints as well, choosing your squad is serious business. On the eve of the new season then, now is as good as time as any to consider which Arsenal players represent the most value for money and deserve a spot in your team. 

Also, if you are entering a team this year, be sure to join the official Gooner Ramble league – the code to join is 68563-326061.

5. Alexis Sanchez – £11m

Whilst many Arsenal fans will likely include Alexis Sanchez as their first pick for their fantasy squads, the £11m fee the Chilean costs – making him the most expensive midfielder in the game – means there is a heightened risk that must be considered. After an incredible debut season in English football back in 2014/15, Alexis definitely endured more of a subdued season last time around, with his overall performances dropping off slightly in his sophomore year. There are also concerns about the amount of football he has played and the risk of serious injury that that factor carries, with Arsenal fans often fearing that their star man is often playing in the dreaded “red zone”. However, if you have some money to spend and want to invest it in a star, Alexis still boasts some incredibly impressive stats – he scored 13 and assisted 4 in 30 appearances last year, even if he did drop off somewhat. It might be a risk at that price but, in spite of that, if the 27-year-old stays fit and plays close to his potential, it might end up seeming like a bargain.

4. Olivier Giroud – £9m

He’s by no means everyone’s favourite player but at £9m the bustling Frenchman offers a nice middle-ground between the big-hitters such as Sergio Aguero (£13m) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.5m) and some of the “best of the rest options” such as Odion Ighalo (£7.5m) and Jermain Defoe (£7m). Giroud  looks set to be Arsenal’s main man up top going into the new season with Danny Welbeck out until 2017, Theo Walcott suffering from poor form and no new strikers looking set to come in during the current transfer window, and aside from a leg injury suffered two years ago, he also has a good habit of staying relatively injury-free over the course of a season – no mean feat for an Arsenal player. He might not be the star name to lead the line, but as a slightly cheaper second-choice, there aren’t many better. Expect around 15 league goals and a few assists as well.

3. Alex Iwobi – £6m

With the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell also vying for a spot on the Arsenal flanks, picking Alex Iwobi for your squad might seem like something of a risk, but at £6m I’d wager that he’s well worth it. The Nigerian international unexpectedly broke into the Arsenal first-team towards the back end of last season and made an instant impact, and by all accounts his form in pre-season suggests his run of stellar performances should continue – 3 goals and 2 assists over the summer made him one of Arsenal’s best pre-season performers. Arsene Wenger has consistently shown his willingness to put faith in youth when they make their breakthroughs and Iwobi looks set to be no different. It’s no guarantee that he will start throughout the season but if you’re looking for a cheaper midfielder who might be able to chip in with a fair few goals and assists, Iwobi looks like a good bet.

2. Mesut Ozil – £9.5m

Going into his fourth season in the Premier League, German superstar Mesut Ozil finally proved last campaign why Arsenal shelled out £42.5m to bring him to north London in 2013 with string of displays that won round many of his former critics. Whilst his contributions tailed off slightly as Arsenal’s title challenge faltered in the final months of last season, Ozil still managed to notch an impressive 19 assists – the most in the league – whilst his 6 goals took his overall direct contributions to goals to 25 in 35 appearances. The £9.5m fee he commands this season definitely isn’t cheap, that’s for sure, but with doubts over Riyad Mahrez’s desire to stay at Leicester and the amount of game time Anthony Martial will be afforded under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, Ozil remains one of the surest bets amongst those elite midfielders who cost the most of all.

1. Hector Bellerin – £6.5m

Arsenal’s speedy full-back might be the joint most expensive defender in the game (alongside Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld) at £6.5m, but he’s still worth every penny. He was the highest-scoring defender in the entire league in 2015/16, scoring a seriously impressive 172 points – even more than the likes of Sanchez and Dimitri Payet – and he benefitted from being such an attack-minded player whilst also picking up plenty of clean sheets as well. With there being smaller differences in price between the best defenders and the average ones than there is between the best midfielders and strikers and their more middling counterparts, investing £6.5m in Bellerin is well worth the investment. With Carl Jenkinson injured until November and neither Calum Chambers or Mathieu Debuchy looking even close to being able to challenge the Spaniard, you can bet on him to start virtually every game. For an elite defender, Bellerin really does tick all the boxes – he’s a nailed-on starter, he rarely gets injured, he’ll pick up plenty of clean sheets and as Arsenal’s full-backs always push high up as well, he’ll be good for a few goals and assists this season too. If you only pick one Arsenal player in your fantasy side this season, make sure it’s Hector Bellerin.

Callum Perritt

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