Premier League Draft 2020

Sweeting

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https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FKFt0FeFITRfB5DeiAQib20KEDz5qxpc/view?usp=sharing

Hi all,

Since it is draft season over in the USA, for the NFL at least, I have created a draft spreadsheet to use for the Premier League (and created a scenario to use it in that I will discuss below). The idea of this for us to rate and evaluate players in an interesting way and something that we can look back on and discuss in years to come also - checking on whether those draft picks worked out. I am asking that anyone interested complete the spreadsheet with their draft selections and let me know their results. I plan on collating the results to produce a full draft result for us to come back to in a few years and laugh at how stupid we all are.

The above link is the spreadsheet - I recommend downloading it and running it on Microsoft Excel as I am not sure if the formatting with be messed up on other programmes.

The Scenario
Following the pandemic of 2020, the Premier League and FA decide to cancel the 2019/20 season with immediate effect (or they decide to finish the season and by remarkable coincedence all the teams end in the same position as they are now, whatever you prefer).

For some ungodly reason the boffins at FA HQ also decide that what the Premier League needs is a root and branch restructure to mimic that of the NFL. They suspend PL relegation and promote twelve additional clubs to the top division - forming the English Super League. This is a franchised league where teams are judged on a three year cycle to decide relegation and promotion. The top eight sides face off in the Play-Offs and the final is the Super Bowl Cup, the winners of which are declared champions of England - and therefore World Champions (because Brexit).

One of the first things the FA decide to do is force all football players under the age of 23 to go to University, where they will play until selected in a draft. Luckily enough the first such draft is approaching rapidly. In this universe all English football clubs have been stripped of the registrations of any player under the age of 23 - unlucky lads.

Intrepid Universities such as Harper Adams, De Montford and Bath Spa have stepped up to take on the registrations of these players for themselves ahead of the draft.

Draft Eligibility
  1. Players aged between 21 and 23 on 1st September 2020, who were previously registered to a Super League club, are entered into the draft process.
  2. Any player aged 23 on 1st September is in their final year of eligibility and will not be able to enter the 2021 draft.
  3. Any player aged 21 or 22 on the 1st September, and is not selected, will be reentered in the 2021 draft.

Draft Structure
  1. This is a two round draft, 32 selections per round, with teams selecting in reverse order based on their final position in the 2019/2020 league season.
  2. All contracts are now centrally held by the FA and salaries are graded to produce equality (basically, the players get told where to play and they just have to like it - tough luck).
  3. Trades are not recommended.
  4. You can approach the draft in any way you like - like most usual approaches are to pick players based on their talent ("Best Player Available"), based on Team Needs or based on Tactical Fit. A real draft will have teams taking all of these approaches but that's not really the goal here, so just whatever you feel is most enjoyable.
  5. Predicted Grades: I have provisionally given some round selection predictions to come players. By no means should you feel the need to follow these, it is simply to highlight some of the more high-profile players as it is easy to forget about a name or two when you are scrolling through 400+ players.

Appreciate any feedback anyone has on this and whether you think it is fun or useful. I think it will particularly good to look back on over the years as our ratings and knowledge of players change.

Please do send back any drafts (even if you don't finish it I can still use the data you enter) and I'll publish the results in future if/when we get some responses.

You can DM me or post in here etc - up to you guys.
 

Sweeting

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So I've gamed out the first round and came up with the below. Would be keen to know what results everyone else got!

1.01 Sunderland - Dean Henderson (GK): Coming up from League One, Sunderland need support all over the pitch but ultimately I've decided to build from the back and install the best young goalkeeper ahead of incumbant Jon McLaughlin.

1.02 Middlesbrough - Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB): Middlesbrough don't have a natural right back and the choice basically came down to AWB or TAA. Despite Trent being the more talented, I've decided to go with Wan-Bissaka who is better in defensive minded teams and could even fill in at CB.

1.03 Stoke City - Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB): Stoke have options upfront and some decent central midfielders including Joe Allen. They need better supply to their front line, especially with physically gifted forwards like Sam Vokes ready to take those chances. Trent is the logical choice.

1.04 Birmingham City - Marcus Rashford (LW): Listed as a winger but I intend to use him as a centre forward here where Birmingham are weakest. Rashford is the best forward in the draft and has room to improve.

1.05 Derby County - Joe Gomez (CB): Not only is Gomez one of the best players available he is also a player in Derby's weakest position at CB. No downside with this pick.

1.06 Swansea City - Tammy Abraham (CF): Abraham has come a long way since his poor loan to Swansea in 2017. Now a legitimate PL striker he strengthens Swansea in their biggest position of need.

1.07 Blackburn Rovers - Wilfred Ndidi (DM): He has been astonishingly good this season and was a key part of Leicester's short lived title challenge. His injury coincided with them falling off the pace. A big time shield for a defence that will need it.

1.08 Cardiff City - James Maddison (AM): There is some residual Premier League quality in the Cardiff squad, such as goalkeeper Etheridge, but they do not score goals. Maddison alleviates some of those worries.

1.09 Nottingham Forest - Youri Tielemans (CM): Leicester's entire midfield disappears in three straight picks. Tielemans is arguably the most talented of all of them and fits in well with Forest's stylish team.

1.10 Fulham - Richarlison (LW): Similar to Rashford, listed as a LW but is brought in to play as a striker. Mitrovic's strength will balance nicely with Richarlison's pace and skill. He is however a little inconsistent which pushed him down the board.

1.11 West Bromwich Albion - Gabriel Jesus (CF): A superb young goalscorer but needs a team capable of proving him with chances. West Brom are the first team who feel capable of doing that at this level. He has not developed as expected but starting every game for West Brom could give him a kick start.

1.12 Leeds United - Dominic Calvert-Lewin (CF): Physical and with an eye for goal, DCL offers Leeds the goal scorer they are desperately lacking and gives them a reason to drop Patrick Bamford.

1.13 Norwich City - Ruben Neves (DM): Ever true to their principles of attacking football, Norwich take a midfielder capable of stitching everything together.

1.14 Aston Villa - Tanguy Ndombele (CM): Imposing central midfielder gave some lacklustre performances towards the end of last season which pushes his value down but on his day he can run a Premier League game.

1.15 AFC Bournemouth - Fikayo Tomori (CB): With current Bournemouth players on the board there is a big decision to make here but the most pressing need is to get Steve Cook out of the team. With Tomori they add an athletic defender to pair with star Nathan Ake.

1.16 Watford - Mason Mount (CM): One of the youngest players in the draft with plenty of room to grow. Mount has shown great potential and Watford can place him infront of the solid base of Doucoure and Capoue, allowing him a free role.

1.17 West Ham United - Declan Rice (DM): Even Karen Brady would know better than to pass on the prodigal son of East London. There are better players available but not better players for West Ham.

1.18 Brighton & Hove Albion - Diogo Jota (LW): Underrated winger is a little sloppy in possession but has undeniable cutting edge. His pace will be a massive asset in Graham Potter's system.

1.19 Southampton - Ben Chilwell (LB): With Ryan Bertrand starting to look past it, Southampton replace him with the best young left back in the league. His form has definite peaks and troughs but the peaks are worth it.

1.20 Newcastle United - Allan Saint-Maximin (LW): Already familiar to the Newcastle faithful, Saint-Maximin has shown himself to be a key X-factor for them and essential to their system.

1.21 Everton - Christian Pulisic (RM): He is probably surprised to still be available at 21 but his up-and-down form for Chelsea reduced his stock slightly. Talented player who it still feels has lost his way. At Everton he assumes the tough task of replacing Richarlison.

1.22 Crystal Palace - Ismaila Sarr (RW): Dynamic winger really found his feet after Christmas and would form a devastating duo with Wilfried Zaha.

1.23 Burnley - Scott McTominay (DM): Probably the most predictable pick of the entire draft. McTominay slots in like a Brexit-glove for Sean Dyche. Man Utd's most consistent player in 2019 and a future captain for Burnley in this universe.

1.24 Arsenal - Matteo Guendouzi (CM): No reason to look for anyone else here. Arsenal see Guendouzi as a captain and take him straight back.

1.25 Tottenham - Steven Bergwijn (LW): Another player who returns to his club. Bergwijn is a recent signing who fits Spurs' system and has been impressive in limited outings.

1.26 Sheffield United - Aaron Ramsdale (GK): Having lost Dean Henderson to Sunderland, Ramsdale is the next best option. Far from perfect and probably a reach to take him in the first round but Sheffield United have few options here.

1.27 Wolves - Douglas Luiz (DM): Ruben Neves was picked by Norwich and leaves a gaping hole in Wolves' midfield. Luiz has some of the qualities of Neves, to a lower level.

1.28 Manchester United - Emi Buendia (RW): Having lost Rashford to the draft Man Utd ideally would like a pacey forward option. However with all of the good options off the table they instead plump for Norwich's standout Buendia to form a technical partnership with Bruno Fernandes.

1.29 Chelsea - Kelechi Iheanacho (CF): Chelsea are even more desperate for a striking option than Man Utd given that Abraham has joined Swansea. Iheanacho is a poor consilation prize but he does have some qualities such as pace and strength that are always valued at Chelsea.

1.30 Leicester City - Todd Cantwell (LM): A fit for Brendan Rodgers, he is a perfect replacement for James Maddison although his lightweight frame and poor decision making are areas of signifcant improvement for him.

1.31 Manchester City - Olexander Zinchenko (AM): Pep Guardiola brings back his favourite utility man, already acustom to the system and comfortable in several roles.

1.32 Liverpool - Ben Godfrey (CB): Liverpool have lost Gomez and Alexander-Arnold so they need immediate upgrades in defence. Godfrey won't start ahead of Matip but he is a PL proven defender with the potential to take a starting role in future.


... I posted this on the soccer subreddit and a moderator removed it after 2 minutes then sent me a message saying "We don't have drafts in football. Don't post your ridiculous American shit on here. We live in reality, not fantasy."

Lovely fella. Also thought it was funny that he assumed I was American because I referenced a draft and that he was hostile towards "Americanism" on a subreddit called "Soccer"....

Anyway, I understand why they wouldn't want this posted on their subreddit given all the important things they are discussing on there such as *checks* "Jose Mourinho says Ronaldo is better than Messi", "Henderson refused to swap shirts with Messi because Roy Keane told him to", "Six years ago Gerrard slipped against Chelsea"and "Rafael criticises Man Utd's transfer policy". Truely important stuff.
 
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costared

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Whilst I agree the Reddit action is stupid I am afraid I find the whole " Draft" idea to complicated . At my age a draft is something you get from an open window :)
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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I just can't get myself emotionally into something that would lead to us losing our best 21-23 year olds! Even if we do get to pick a couple ourselves. Trent is on his way to being the best RB in the world and Gomez and Van Dijk are settling in to be the best CB partnership around, they're literally a brick wall, practically impenetrable. So can't act out a situation where we lose those two. Sorry guys, looks like a good idea and hope it works just not for me.
 

Sweeting

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Whilst I agree the Reddit action is stupid I am afraid I find the whole " Draft" idea to complicated . At my age a draft is something you get from an open window :)
Just take the draft concept out of it and rank the best young players in the league. The idea of the "draft" was just to facilitate that discussion.

I think Alexander-Arnold is the best young player in the league in terms of talent but Henderson could arguably be the most "important" in terms of individual contributions if he does eventually take over from De Gea.

Todd Cantwell is the most overrated youngster in my eyes.
 

Zinedine Biscan

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Just take the draft concept out of it and rank the best young players in the league. The idea of the "draft" was just to facilitate that discussion.

I think Alexander-Arnold is the best young player in the league in terms of talent but Henderson could arguably be the most "important" in terms of individual contributions if he does eventually take over from De Gea.

Todd Cantwell is the most overrated youngster in my eyes.
Wan-Bissaka at no2 tho :eek:

I'd probably place Pulisic and Rice higher up than they are, some good players in there though.
 

Sweeting

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Wan-Bissaka at no2 tho :eek:

I'd probably place Pulisic and Rice higher up than they are, some good players in there though.
Ha, yeah the AWB pick comes as a reflection of a draft process. He's a "safer" choice for a bottom feeder club with no natural full back.

If we are just grading on talent alone then he would probably be in the 12-16 range for this age group.

I find the 21-23 age group to be the most interesting one, you get quite a nice mix of players who are established stars next to players making a late break through into Premier League squads. In five to ten years time we will probably find that one or two players none of us would even mention in our top lists end up becoming better than a fair chunk of them. I'm coming to the conclusion that trying to predict the career paths of teenagers is bloody impossible.