Season Pick and Punt - Shiva


It’s time for the third 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 and Sleno, it’s now Shiva’s turn…

It is not normal when you see Arsene Wenger bidding 40 million pounds for any player. You know he is feeling the need to go and win something. I can see them having a good season with their player of the season for last year shining again. Santi Cazorla is indeed my Season Pick.

When you think of a punt you do want it to be a cheap option so that even if it fails you haven’t invested too much money.

My punt choice is not a cheap one but the one who certainly can end up being the season’s must have sooner or later. The Brazilian young player Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior or Oscar is my punt for the season.

Season Pick – Santi Cazorla

The first thing many people noticed after the new Bonus Point System (BPS) got launched was that Cazorla would have been top bonus point scoring midfielder last season had the new BPS been introduced then.

He was 34 points ahead of Gerrard who finished second and just 16 points behind RVP who had a dream season.

As the new BPS takes into account passing accuracy, number of opportunities created etc, a busy player like Cazorla is likely to be a more important FPL player than ever.

There were some Fantasy managers last season who lost faith in the player after he was moved to the left wing by Arsene Wenger but every now and then he kept on scoring important goals and assists and finished the season on a high.

With 13 goals and 12 assists last season, he created a chance almost every 30 minutes and only Juan Mata was better than him in this department.

I think Arsenal cover is necessary looking at their decent opening fixtures. If Arsenal do manage to get either of Suarez or Rooney, we can see his assists tally only going up.

If you are worried by the inconsistency of the likes of Walcott and Giroud, then Cazorla seems to be the answer.

Many of us will not be risking him as he will be involved in an international friendly just 48/72 hours before the game against Villa and faces a long journey after the game.

But with game time of 90 minutes assured week in week out, I think he is the one to stay in your team for the longer term and bring you the glory.

Season Punt – Oscar

With Chelsea starting with a Double Gameweek and most FPL managers looking to get the likes of Hazard and Lakaku, Oscar might be the way to start the season with good differential points.

Oscar was a regular starter under Roberto Di Matteo (RDM) and his performances were improving per game. Soon after RDM was sacked, Oscar found himself out of favour by the interim manager, Rafael Benitez.

But he had a wonderful Confederations Cup and I think he is all set to impress Jose Mourinho and make his mark in that heavyweight Chelsea midfield.

Interestingly, Oscar was Chelsea’s third top tackler last season with his 2.5 successful tackles per game, with only Ramires and Cesar Azpilicueta completing more tackles per game than Oscar.

This is a very impressive statistic for a naturally attack-minded midfield player who made fewer starts than some of the midfielders he out-tackled. Again with the new Bonus Point System this season he will be rewarded for his defensive work despite being an attacking player.

Last year Oscar was mostly used on the right of the three attacking midfielders, but this year Mourinho has said he wants to use Juan Mata on the right of a front three, cutting in to impact the play.

As a result Oscar will probably (as he has been in pre-season) be used as the attacking midfielder behind the striker. For Oscar this is potentially the best position as he can effectively get back and win the ball, as well as then break out and link up with Hazard and Mata.

On a number of occasions last season he effectively sat on the opposition defensive midfielder in order to halt their influence. This is something he could regularly do if he is deployed as a no.10. His ability to break on the ball, score goals and create chances make this his best position.

At 8.5 he obviously isn’t a bargain punt but certainly one with potential of being one of the stars of the season.

If he can step up his performances a gear or two then this could be a real breakthrough year for Oscar, who could be at the heart of any Chelsea success in 2013/14.