Top 5 FPL picks – Arsenal
Disclaimer: The Transfer Window is still open and things could dramatically change for some, or all players mentioned in the Article. The content is however of substance at the time of publishing.
Arsenal is an intriguing team, and has been, ever since the tail end years of Arsene Wenger’s time at the club, which finally ended in 2018. Since then, there have two permanent managerial changes (coincidentally, both Spaniards) with Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta.
The former had a roller coaster time at the club that saw Arsenal win 11 consecutive matches in the first few months, further extending the run to 22 games unbeaten. Despite this, Arsenal somehow managed to finish outside the top-4 and missed out on the crucial Champions League spot. Route 2 to Champions League was blocked by Chelsea, as Arsenal lost the Europa League final in the same season. Arsenal then went on to splash the cash on multiple players, including Club record signing, Nicholas Pepe from Lille for a gigantic £72m. The intriguing nature of the team continued, and after a run of poor performances, Emery was sacked in November, 2019, replaced by current manager Mikel Arteta.
Whether the team has progressed under Arteta is still up for debate (or maybe not), but the intriguing nature has still remained. The club won the FA Cup 19/20 to finish another season full of ups and downs. Further, Arsenal had a season to forget last year with multiple and regular embarrassing defeats throughout the season. The Gunners also missed out on European qualification berth this year as they finished 8th in the table, their joint lowest finish since 1992-93.
However, intriguingly, do you know which side boasted the third best defense in the league behind only Manchester City and Chelsea? No spoilers, it was Arsenal. The Gunners had a GA of only 39 goals in the 38 games played this season with many of them coming in individual games like conceding thrice to West Ham, Aston Villa and Liverpool (conceding three goals to them twice this season). It is also to be noted that many of these 39 goals were due to individual errors and therefore do not reflect on Arsenal as a defensive unit.
We will first analyse the opening set of fixtures and the proceed with the top 5 picks from Arsenal as per our team in order of preference –
1. K. Tierney: £5M (DEF)
Arsenal provide decent value in the defensive assets and Tierney is pick of the lot. A slight premium over the other Arsenal defenders at £4.5M, Tierney presents excellent value when fit. The Scottish full back has shown glimpses of the potential that he has, which perfect crosses and intelligent play to provide Arsenal the much needed width on the left side. Tierney has also occasionally started at the LCB role when Arsenal play 3 CBs and has shown impressive defensive awareness.
His injury record however is a matter of concern, with Tierney only putting on 2299 minutes and therefore only being able to amass 96 FPL points despite his 4 assists and 8 clean sheets. Speaking purely on potential, and an assumption that Tierney is able to maintain fitness, clean sheets and assists, both, could very well run into double digits. Without the distraction of European football, this could be the year Tierney establishes himself in the FPL folklore.
2. B. White: £4.5M (DEF)
Having recently secured the transfer of Ben White from Brighton, Arsenal have added a solid option to their anyway potent defensive set-up. Having started the FPL listing as a Brighton player, White was only priced at £4.5M, which makes him a true catch while at Arsenal.
With David Luiz gone and other Arsenal defenders not being able to cement their position at CB; Ben White could mount a serious campaign while cementing his position in the heart of the Arsenal defence.
As discussed earlier, Arsenal defence has a good potential to return Clean Sheet points and therefore a cheap entry into the set provides a great opportunity that needs to be taken if and when the fixtures align themselves kindly.
3. B. Saka: £6.5M (MID)
Saka had a brilliant summer with the Three Lions as they finished Runners-up in the Euro 2020 with Saka playing a vital part in the tournament. The Final was however a day to forget for the Arsenal man as he missed the crucial penalty that won Italy the Championship. The youngster truly came to life starting 3 matches for the England team during the tournament while also making attacking contributions. Now, Arsenal Fan TV will tell you that Saka is the best player to grace the planet Earth, but you have to be cautious with the expectations there.
Saka had an up and down 20/21 season, finishing the FPL season with 114 points from his 5 goals and 5 assists in the 2554 minutes he could play. The downsides of owning Saka as a fantasy asset are that –
(a) he plays a wide player and takes the role of stretching teams rather than cutting in and making direct attacks, thereby limiting his FPL worthiness;
(b) Arsenal as an attacking unit under Arteta are just not fluent enough for any attacked to have a meaningful FPL season. Further, the slightly higher price also has its downsides.
(c) Was used at multiple positions in the previous season due to injuries to other squad members.
However, Saka has developed himself through the last couple of years and could finally have the season where he sees himself on the team sheet regularly, and more consistently on the left attacking side. Regular game-time is bound to affect the Saka’s form positively, that could see him reach double digits for both Goals and Assists.
4. E.S. Rowe: £5.5M (MID)
The London born youngster came to life in the latter part of the season, and propelled Arsenal to winning matches with his performances. He finished the FPL season with 74 points from his 2 goals and 5 assists with only 1438 minutes. However, if he sees his minutes go up, there is absolutely no reason why his attacking contributions cannot double.
The comparison puts a perspective as to how effective Smith Rowe was in the limited time he was able to spend on the pitch. Despite being a target of transfer speculation, Smith Rowe will be a useful player whichever club he plays for.
5. B. Leno: £5M (GK)
Every good defence needs an able goal-keeper to marshal the defence. Leno is that man for Arsenal. As a guaranteed starter, the German is looking like a potentially good pick at just £5M. Having finished the previous season at 131 points and 11 clean sheets on account of his 86 saves and 11 bonus points, we could easily see a repeat this season with double digit clean sheets.
The only downside of B. Leno is that there are better and cheaper alternatives available from his defence line, who will be sharing his clean sheet points while securing their own points from attacking returns. Save points aren’t a big contributor to his tally as Arsenal concede fewer shots than most other teams.
With that, we conclude our discussion on the top Arsenal assets. We wish you luck and hope you make good choices with our help!