One of the latest phenomena in the official Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game is ‘reclassification’, whereby players are switched between defence/midfield and midfield/attack, and vice-versa.
It is a reflection of how wingbacks have been increasingly instructed to maraud into the final third, while also honouring the trend of attacking midfielders and wingers now being more akin to secondary strikers at top clubs.
One of the most high-profile switches of this summer was that of
, who has spent much of the last two seasons at Arsenal supporting principal striker Alexandre Lacazette: Despite this newfound role, Aubameyang has won the golden boot (albeit shared) as recently as 2019, which was a year of resounding change in North London:
In a word, yes. 2019/20 saw him retrospectively rank as the fourth-best midfielder overall, behind the podium of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah. He was also one of just five midfielders to breach the 200-point mark, and only those with the sort of assist and goal rates that often win FPL leagues single-handedly generally get beyond that hallowed number.
Those same rankings see Aubameyang finish as the highest goalscorer, with 22 to his name. In the 2020/21sports betting
, he ranks as the favourite at 9/2 to make the Golden Boot his own this year.
He also began 2020/21 as the most popular midfielder in the entire league, being selected by 43.8% of FPL users, with the second-most popular (De Bruyne) way behind at 31.8%. Additionally, if again including reclassified midfielders into last season’s stats, the Gabonese star finished with the sixth-highest average of points per game.
Aubameyang’s achievements are all the more remarkable, given the turbulent nature of both his and Arsenal’s 2019/20 campaign. Arsenal’s campaign was overshadowed by an appalling run of away form in the autumn, culminating inUnai Emery’s sacking
, while Aubameyang was linked with a dream move to Barcelona or a return to old club Borussia Dortmund.
Having already won Arsenal’s 14th FA Cup single-handedly, it seems assured that Aubameyang can only continue to flourish under the management of rookie coach Mikel Arteta. Despite being afforded just half a season, the Spaniard has steadied the Gunners and they're fifth-favourites - albeit by a margin - to win the Premier League this season at 33/1, with Aubameyang’s differential role in the final third being a key part of that.
Most notably, he has improved on his‘Expected Goals’ return
, meaning that he converts the easier chances with greater regularity, though this is likely a reflection on team chemistry as much as personal improvement. With Aubameyang at an age where relying solely on pace is ill-advised, his repurposing as a man in the number ten ‘hole’ – with a view to drifting wide on the counter-attack – has proven to be a shrewd move.
By being granted such license to experiment, 2020/21 promises to be a season in which Aubameyang again returns a healthy mix of assists and goals. While 12.0m is a marquee FPL price, it is still possible to accommodate perhaps three more ‘A-list’ players in the upcoming season and maximise on a golden chance to gain bragging rights amongst friends and rivals.