The 133rd FA Cup Final takes place this weekend, with two clubs desperate to get some long-awaited (by their own respective standards) silverware added to their trophy cabinets, and as a result many Fantasy Football managers will be keen to get as many of those players into their own lineups as possible – especially those who have enjoyed a nice, point-laden season for the fantasy bosses out there.
For the favourites, Arsenal are likely to name Wojciech Szczesny as the stopper, and the 24-year-old has indeed established himself as Arsene Wenger’s no.1 this season, with his 370 fantasy football points placing him only marginally behind the club’s top pointsman, Olivier Giroud. He also has the fourth best points to value rating of the entire squad, behind only Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny and Tomas Rosicky – at €8.50m, the Poland international surely represents great value.
Frenchman Giroud goes into the game only 10 points ahead of his side’s custodian, earning himself 10 points in the final league game of the season against relegated Norwich. His 16 goals from 36 starts surely make him one of the first names on Wenger’s Wembley teamsheet, especially with eight assists, tying him in second place alongside Ramsey and Santiago Cazorla, and behind only club record signing Mesut Özil.
Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen spoke earlier this week about seeing the Hull game as a potential catalyst for the north Londoners to return to trophy-winning ways, but the Belgian has not had a great season by any standards – while his 45 points earned this season represent a marked improvement over last term, where he scored -15, fantasy football managers would surely be mad to move him into their squad at this stage. This omission from the first team owes largely to the fantastic partnership Koscielny has formed with Per Mertesacker in the Arsenal defence this season – Mertesacker’s 245 points thus far will have helped managers who picked him early on massively, and of course also helped the club qualify for Champions League football next season.
Moving the attention over to Hull now, the fantasy points totals are understandably much lower overall – after all, Hull scored the third fewest goals in the Premier League this term. On-load star Jake Livermore has been the Tigers’ best performer this season in fantasy football competition, and while his 170 points may pale in comparison to many of the competition’s top players his value of €2.50m give him a P/V ratio of 68 – better than any player in the entire Arsenal squad. His influence will be ignited by the fact the opponents are Arsenal – bitter rivals of his parent club, Tottenham.
Shane Long has had a great time since joining Hull in January, the Republic of Ireland international becoming a regular and popular figure in the striped shirt. He is second only to Livermore in Hull’s top points scorers as far as fantasy football is concerned, though he has failed to add to his 150 points in two games this month.
Allan McGregor’s debut season for the club looks set to climax in a Wembley start, though his 105 fantasy football points total leaves him sitting 70th among the goalkeepers in this season’s list.
Arsenal, on paper at least, look set to claim a win and send an echoing sigh of relief among their supporters, but one need only look as far back as last season when Wigan beat Man City in this fixture to know that surprises are still more than capable of being sprung. Overall, however, Arsenal have enjoyed the better season – the likes of Mertesacker and Giroud especially should be considerations for any fantasy team moving into the 2014-15 campaign.