The Impact of new Managerial Appointments on FPL
As Euro 2020 occupies centre-stage in Europe’s footballing theatre, a spate of managerial appointments in the Premier League might feel more like a mobile phone ring distracting the key actors from their scripts rather than major news.
But for FPL managers, these new signings could have significant implications. I’ll take a look at what FPL managers can expect from Rafael Benítez at Everton and Nuno Espírito Santo at Spurs.
Rotation in Fantasy Premier League
I’ll start with the bad news.
Benítez is famously prone to rotating his players, whether it’s his team selection or substitutions.
This is a fact that Steven Gerrard had to learn the hard way after he was deployed on the right-wing for the majority of the 2004/05 season. Incidentally, this was also the season in which Liverpool won the Champions League. There’s certainly method to Benítez’s madness.
This penchant for moving key players out of their favoured positions might bode well for some Everton assets, but it’s difficult to say who is likely to benefit at this point.
One thing is certain: Benitez tends to make use of any squad depth afforded to him. His dogged desire to protect the fitness of key players could be a blessing in disguise for FPL managers looking to swerve the pitfalls of recurring injuries. However, this will likely yield plenty of frustration along the way too.
Nuno, on the other hand, has historically extolled the virtues of a smaller squad of players. He’s a manager in pursuit of total cohesion amongst his starters, making him far more reluctant to rotate.
This “small squad mentality” was a comfort blanket for FPL managers in search of Wolves assets, particularly in the season following their promotion.
Don’t get too excited, though. After key injuries – including to the talismanic Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) – Nuno was forced to acknowledge that squad depth is essential for Premier League survival.
This was perhaps most clearly reflected in his propensity to rotate attacking players in the wake of Jimenez’ injury. The likes of Daniel Podence (£5.5m), Adama Traore (£6.0m), Pedro Neto (£6.5m) and Fabio Silva (£6.0m) were all affected.
The Spurs Players That Could Benefit From Nuno’s Appointment
To identify which FPL assets might benefit from Nuno’s appointment, we must first understand his managerial style.
Nuno is still a relatively inexperienced manager. He’s also one of the few managers who played as a goalkeeper. These two facts have dictated the narrative around his potential as a managerial heavyweight.
Much of Nuno’s tactical nous is attributed to the opportunities he was given to watch the full game unfold from between the sticks. However, questions remain over his ability to manage top sides.
Given his smaller managerial portfolio, it’s fair to say that Nuno is still experimenting with different styles. One tactical attribute that has become synonymous with the Portuguese coach, however, is the use of attacking full-backs.
This is no secret to FPL managers. The once-essential Matt Doherty (£5.0m) was reared on Nuno’s staunch philosophy that the full-back could be an attacking threat and provide support to the three centre-backs simultaneously.
Nuno has proven that a good full-back can thrive under his tutelage – a fact that Doherty, now at Spurs, will surely have considered.
He faces stiff competition, though. Serge Aurier (£5.0m) has shown enough potential to threaten Doherty’s starting berth and Japhet Tanganga (£4.5m) could yet realise his potential at Spurs.
On the left side, Sergio Reguilon (£5.0m) must be considered a decent option for FPL managers.
Looking towards the goal-scoring end of the pitch, a lot hinges on whether Harry Kane (£12.5m) stays at the club. If he leaves, it creates a void that needs filling.
Could we see the much-loved Jimenez join the North London club? Or might the Portuguese-speaking Carlos Vinícius join Spurs on a permanent deal?
Either way, we know from his time at Wolves that Nuno tends to gravitate towards Portuguese assets.
Oddly enough, that would mean Eric Dier (£4.5m – defender) is the most likely Spurs player to benefit from Nuno’s appointment. The Englishman spent much of his childhood in Portugal and speaks the language fluently. His role in the side will surely benefit as a result.
The Everton Players That Could Benefit From Benitez’ Appointment
Benítez, meanwhile, has enjoyed a managerial career long enough to draw more certain conclusions.
He prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation. This is good news for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m), who has been successful as a lone forward at Everton. Richarlison (£7.5m) might be less enthused. If he’s to play behind Calvert-Lewin, it’s unlikely he’ll merit his £7.5m price-tag as a forward in FPL.
Another important Toffees asset that might be impacted is Lucas Digne (£5.5m). The Frenchman has been a popular mid-priced FPL defender this pre-season but may find himself playing as part of a back four under his new gaffer.
Whilst Carlo Ancelotti would often deploy him in this way too, his FPL impact is undoubtedly more substantial when he’s granted more attacking freedom.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Digne is a bad FPL asset. We don’t know precisely how Benítez will approach his tenure at Everton. Even if he does stick to his preferred 4-2-3-1, his reputation for repurposing key players might well play into Digne’s hands.
Perhaps most crucially, Benitez’ sides are known for their resoluteness at the back. Not only does this suggest Digne could benefit from more clean sheets next season, but it also gives cheaper defensive options – like Michael Keane (£5.0m) – a renewed intrigue amongst FPL managers.
Less notable, but still worth mentioning, is that Benítez is notoriously hard to please.
This could be an issue for younger players in the squad, as well as players that thrive on confidence. Though Benitez has endeavoured to support youth development at the clubs he’s managed, he isn’t known for rearing untapped talent. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on that front.
Though the reaction from both sets of fans has been mixed, FPL managers might consider themselves fortunate that both managerial appointments are known entities in the Premier League.
In Benítez, Everton can boast one of the most decorated and experienced managers in the sport. In Nuno, Spurs have a manager with plenty of potential and the ability to get the best out of a limited transfer budget.
Ultimately, we can only speculate as to how their signings will impact our FPL choices next season.
But isn’t that what makes FPL so fun?
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