The 2022/23 season is upon us!
Crystal Palace host Arsenal this evening and Dream Team managers would be wise to have their selections locked in before the 8pm kick-off to avoid disappointment.
Last-minute tinkering is inevitable and so we thought we’d make a case for a player we feel is being overlooked by the vast majority of gaffers ahead of the curtain-raising weekend.
It’s………. Jamie Vardy (£4.5m).
Now that we’ve got the obligatory Wagatha Christie reference out of the way we can crack on.
At the time of writing, Leicester’s No9 appears in just 3.2% of teams meaning almost 97% of bosses will be without him for the opening weekend.
And that’s significant because Vardy has one of the more favourable fixtures in Game Week 1 in the form of Brentford at home on Sunday, with all due respect to Thomas Frank’s side.
The Foxes’ talisman isn’t just a short-term option for August either since he’s statistically one of the most consistently impressive strikers in the top flight.
In fact, with a total tally of 133 goals to his name he’s one of the Premier League’s most-prolific goalscorers ever.
Of the 13 players above him in the all-time rankings, only Harry Kane (£7.5m) is still currently active.
Naturally, this record has produced a wealth of Dream Team points over the years too, so why are so many gaffers happy to discard him?
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At 35 years old Vardy is no spring chicken but you only have to look at his stats from last year to see that, on recent evidence, he’s still got what it takes to succeed in the world’s most-watched league.
In 2021/22, he scored 15 goals in just 25 appearances at a rate of one every 120 minutes – Mohamed Salah (£7.5m) rattled along at the same rate.
And co-Golden Boot winner Son Heung-min (£6.5m) scored his 23 league goals at a rate of one every 131 minutes.
His quality in front of goal is undoubted but perhaps Dream Team managers are worried about potential fitness concerns.
Vardy was restricted to just 25 league game last season because of hamstring and knee issues, commonplace for an explosive player now in his mid-30s.
However, an allotment of five transfers a month allows gaffers to react to injuries.
When fit, Vardy has proven to be one of the very best strikers Dream Team has to offer and the fact he stats the campaign a full £3m cheaper than Salah and Kane should have earned him a much higher ownership than the one he has currently.
Would it really be that much of surprise to see him bank a double-digit haul at Brentford’s expense this weekend? Is that not a very realistic possibility?
Vardy has made a habit of proving doubters wrong his whole career.