Season Pick and Punt - Aaron
It’s time for the sixth and final instalment in our series of articles that offer up a Season Pick and Punt from each of the FPL Dugout Contributors. The Season Pick is a free choice whereas the Punt is limited to players with ownership of under 4%. Following in the footsteps of Marco, Sleno, Shiva, Kevo and Mesh, it’s now Aaron’s turn…
Season Pick – Daniel Sturridge
While the other Contributors have picked their Season Picks from Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, I turn towards another of England’s finest clubs, Liverpool, and their new talisman, Daniel Sturridge.
After turbulent spells at Man City and Chelsea, where Sturridge was never able to nail down a regular place, he looks set to lead the line for Liverpool in his first full season as a regular starter in the top-flight.
Sturridge wasted no time in rewarding Liverpool’s faith, scoring 10 goals in 14 appearances since his January move, including a first career hat-trick against Fulham at Craven Cottage in May.
With the likes of Coutinho, Gerrard and Aspas (who knows, maybe Suarez at some point) supplying the bullets, I’m backing Sturridge to hit 20 goals this campaign. And with a favourable set of opening fixtures, he’s got the ideal platform to get off to a flying start.
The only caveat could be fitness, with the England striker picking up several knocks since moving to Liverpool in January. Indeed, he’s only just returned to action after suffering an ankle injury while on international duty in May, with little over 90 minutes of pre-season action under his belt.
However, I’m backing Sturridge to overcome his fitness worries and fire Liverpool into Champions League contention, with his 9.0 valuation about to look a bargain.
Season Punt – Adel Taarabt
It had to be, didn’t it? Relegated with QPR, Taarabt is back for a second bite of the cherry with Fulham, under his former boss at Spurs, Martin Jol.
The Moroccan is what the word “punt” is made for. On his day he’s unplayable, weaving in amongst opposition defences, firing off shots and creating chances aplenty for team-mates. More often than not, though, it isn’t his day, and he looks, well, not very good.
Back under the guidance of Jol, I’m willing to stick my neck out and say we’ll see a more productive Taarabt this season, a player with new surroundings and a point to prove.
Indeed, Taarabt will relish being among better players, including his idol, Dimitar Berbatov, whose languid game should be on the same wavelength as Taarabt.
Likely to be fielded on the left-flank or the role in “the hole”, Taarabt will be given license to roam and hurt the opposition, especially at Craven Cottage, and I’m expecting him to eclipse his 5 goals and 5 assists from last season.
Away from home, Taarabt may be more of a peripheral figure, much like the whole Fulham team. I don’t think I can even convince myself that Taarabt and Berbatov can be relied upon away from home on a cold and wet December night!
It’ll take a brave Fantasy manager to select Taarabt from the off, particularly with his lack of match fitness, but one sparkling performance could soon see the bandwagon rolling once again.