Playing with a Shadow Striker, as my system does, means that the attacking midfield position is one which demands a level of athleticism and technical ability that can sometimes tire players faster than other roles on the pitch. As a result of this, despite only playing with one attacking midfielder on the field, i’m heading into the new season with four of them in the squad.
#32. Ricardo Rodrigues
Since his £950k move from Guimarães in 2018, Rodrigues spent the season developing in our youth system, and has come on in leaps and bounds. He featured 44 times for our youth teams last season, and while he is yet to make his competitive debut, he has helped the team to honours at both U18 and U23 level in the last 12 months. Quick and technically gifted, Rodrigues looks to have a bright future ahead of him, and is hopefully the first of many academy products to make the step into the first team.
Last Season (Youth): P: 44 | G: 20 | A: 22 | Avg: 7.96
#7. Eden Hazard
Signed from Chelsea this summer, Hazard could well turn out to be another player that Chelsea let go just before truly hitting his prime. At 28 he is at the peak of his career, and will probably be the key man in the Attacking midfield role, although I anticipate he will see some competition from the others as well. Hazard was named Chelsea’s Supporters’ Player of the Year last year, and for good reason, netting 20 goals in 53 games for the club. I’m hoping to see more of the same from him this year, as we aim to break our European Hoodoo.
Last Season (Chelsea): P: 53 | G: 20 | A: 11 | Avg: 7.44
#22. Marco Asensio
Signed as our long-term replacement for the outgoing Coutinho, Asensio cost us a bargain £56m following his transfer-listing at Real. Still only 23, he has plenty of time to develop, and I can see his technique and long-range abilities being really important for us this year. I would prefer to see a better work-rate and team-work attribute from him, but that should come good in time, and with the right training. Asensio took home the Champions League goal of the Season award last season, and lifted the La Liga title with Real Madrid. He brings a real winners’ pedigree to the club, and I’m hoping he can build on his last season in Spain.
Last Season (Real Madrid): P: 47 | G: 13 | A: 6 | Avg: 7.19
#21. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
I’ve written about my love for this guy before: Ox is one of the team’s unsung heroes, and he’s been integral to our success over the last two years. He’s not the most gifted player in terms of attributes, and if truth be told he’s playing out of position in the attacking midfield role, but the results last year were nothing short of spectacular. He’s probably 3rd choice this season, and will share the rotational spot with Ricardo Rodrigues, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a dark horse, and could well displace Hazard and Asensio like he displaced Coutinho last year.
Last Season: P: 31 | G: 16 | A: 14 | Avg: 7.59
We’ve got plenty of competition in the attacking midfield unit, and I think that competition will drive this talented bunch to new heights this season. Rodrigues is a phenomenal talent, while Hazard and Asensio bring real quality to the table, with Oxlade-Chamberlain looking to be Mr. Reliable as always!