Fantasy Premier League: GW1 preview
Fantasy Premier League is back for the 2022/2023 season, and there’s still time for you to finalise your team before the Gameweek 1 deadline.
James Siow has compiled a pre-season round-up, team guide and GW 1 preview to help you prepare. We will have regular FPL previews throughout the season too.
After the last couple of years of uncertainty, it was great to see an uninterrupted pre-season. Many Premier League clubs travelled across the globe to play matches against local teams, as well as European powerhouses. From an FPL perspective, this is hugely beneficial as you can usually get an idea of a manager’s preferred XI for the start of the season.
We’ll start with Arsenal, who caught the attention of many Premier League lovers, particularly after their 6-0 win over Sevilla last weekend. New signing Gabriel Jesus (8.0m) scored an emphatic hattrick, totalling his goal scoring tally to 7 in 5 games and grabbing 1 assist during this summer’s pre-season. Gabriel Jesus is expected to spearhead Arsenal’s forward line and is the highest owned player in FPL at the time of writing. Bukayo Saka (8.0m) continues to be a pivotal player for the Gunners in attack, and Gabriel Martinelli (6.0m) could be fantastic value if he can cement his spot on the left-hand side of midfield.
Aston Villa managed to get some decent results, with Leon Bailey (5.0m) being the stand-out performer with 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games. After a slow start to his career at Villa Park, Leon Bailey might be fantastic value if he can secure his place on either wing for Steve Gerrard’s side. Competition for attacking positions will be high though, as Ollie Watkins (7.5m), Danny Ings (7.0m), Phillipe Coutinho (7.0m) and Emiliano Buendia (6.0m) are all capable of cementing spots in the midfield and forward positions.
Dominic Solanke (6.0m) scored 2 goals in pre-season for Bournemouth, despite Scott Parker’s side having an alarming number of injuries and departures to deal with. Realistically, Bournemouth don’t appear to have any attractive options for FPL and the team is not looking good for the start of the Premier League campaign. “We’re six days out from the start of the Premier League season and we’re way short of where we need to be,” Parker said. “That’s just the cold, hard facts. We barely have any defenders. We’ve lost eight players at the start of the season. At this present moment in time, this squad is much weaker than it was two months ago when we got promoted. Of course, no disrespect to what we’ve got, but I didn’t anticipate to be where we are this close to the start of the season.” Sorry Bournemouth fans.
Brentford will be looking to build on their successful campaign last season, as they welcomed defensive reinforcements and a new goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha (4.5m), who has yet to play a single minute in pre-season. This may mean David Raya (4.5m) will continue to be Brentford’s preferred goalkeeper for the foreseeable future, but this may change down the line. Ivan Toney (7.0m) and Bryan Mbeumo (6.0m) look to be decent options as forwards, as Brentford have a good run of fixtures between Gameweeks 3 – 7.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton Hove & Albion have a similar team to last season, and they will be looking to solidify their position at the top-half of the table. Leandro Trossard (6.5m) continues to impress for the Seagulls, as he grabbed 3 goals and 2 assists during pre-season. Interestingly, he scored all 3 goals playing at left wing-back, which may or may not improve his goal and assist output if he is to play in this position on a regular basis. It’s hard to believe he would score more goals left wing-back compared to his regular position as a ‘shadow striker’. Lewis Dunk (4.5m) is a reasonable and safe option, and Tariq Lamptey (4.5m) could be an exciting option if he can stay fit.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea used both a back-four and his trusty back three-back system during pre-season. Kai Havertz (8.0m) has been changed from a midfielder to a forward in FPL and looks to the one to lead the line for Chelsea. Raheem Sterling (10.0m) managed to get on the scoresheet in pre-season and Mason Mount (8.0m) continues to be a great mid-priced option in midfield with guaranteed minutes, as he scored 2 goals against Club America and Udinese. Reece James (6.0m) will be a fantastic option in defence as his attacking presence from right-wing back enhances his chances of attacking returns, particularly as Chelsea’s fixtures look decent between Gameweek 1-7.
Crystal Palace continue to have healthy competition in the forward positions, as Wilfried Zaha (7.0m) managed to grab 5 goals and 3 assists and Eberechi Eze (5.5m) got 2 goals and 2 assists during pre-season. It would be smart to stay away from the forward options of Christian Benteke (5.5m), Odsonne Edouard (5.5m) and Jean-Philippe Mateta (5.5m), as they all appear to be fighting for the No.9 position. Realistically, Wilfried Zaha is the only player at Crystal Palace who is most likely to start every game and to play 90 minutes. The Eagles have several tough fixtures until the World Cup break, so I would stay away from their defensive options.
Frank Lampard saw mixed results over the last month in his first pre-season with Everton. Nathan Patterson (4.0m) received the most minutes out of any Everton defender and could be a good enabler for your FPL team if he can cement the right-back position. Vitalii Mykolenko (4.5m) grabbed 1 goal and 1 assist from left-back and new signing Dwight McNeil (5.5m) will have to compete with Anthony Gordon (5.5m), Damarai Gray (5.5m) and Alex Iwobi (5.5m) for the wing/attacking midfield positions.
Alexander Mitrovic (6.5m) is a reasonably priced forward, as he continues to be the man up top for newly promoted Fulham. New signing Andreas Pereira (4.5m) appears to be an extremely popular enabler option, as the cheap midfielder is likely to be one of the only regular starters at his price. Even better, he has been playing in an advanced position and has shared set piece duties.
Leeds United will have to cope with the loss of Raphinha this season, as Jesse Marsch looks to avoid another relegation battle. Rodrigo Moreno (6.0m) was busy with the goals during pre-season and Jack Harrison (6.0m) appears to be on set-pieces. Daniel James (6.0m) is suspended for the first game of the season and new signing Luis Sinisterra (6.0m) limped off with a hamstring injury during the second last game of pre-season, who is doubtful to play in Gameweek 1.
Leicester City had a quiet transfer window, as we saw familiar faces get on the scoresheet. Jamie Vardy (9.5m) is overpriced given he’s likely to have minutes taken from and in-form Patson Daka (6.0m) and the versatile Kelechi Iheanacho (6.5m). These players were all very productive during pre-season, so it will be hard to guess who gets the nod in the forward positions. Danny Ward (4.0m) may have just become the only viable 4.0m starting goalkeeper available in FPL as Kasper Schmeichel is on his way out to OG Nice. Competition is high for all the defender and midfielder positions.
Liverpool celebrated an emphatic 3-1 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield, and they continue to have players who are fantastic (if not essential) FPL options. Mohammad Salah’s (13.0m) increase in price and high ownership shouldn’t deter any manager from getting him, and defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold (7.5m) and Andrew Robertson (7.0m) are undoubtably the best defenders to have in your team. The full-backs are incredible value, and any good FPL team wouldn’t have at least one of them. Luis Diaz (8.0m) is the most attractive attacking option other than Mohammad Salah, given his price and chances of starting every game. Darwin Nunez (9.0m) is more expensive and will have to compete with Roberto Firmino (8.0m) in the No.9 position.
Manchester City have bolstered their star-studded squad by signing prolific striker, Erling Haaland (11.5m), who is likely to lead the line in most matches ahead of Julian Alvarez (6.5m), another new addition. Erling Haaland will undoubtably receive incredible service from the talented players around him throughout the season and the game against Bournemouth in Gameweek 2 is likely to be fruitful. Statistically, Manchester City have had the best defence in England for multiple years now, and it is unlikely much will change this season.
João Cancelo (7.0m) is incredible value and a no brainer. Kyle Walker (5.0m) and Ruben Dias (6.0m) are good options if you can manage to convince yourself that they are going to start most games. Pep-roulette won’t be going away anytime soon. The same goes with the midfielders, they are all capable of scoring a lot of points when they are on the pitch. Getting the right one at the right time is a high-risk, high-reward situation. You wouldn’t want to constantly find out an expensive asset in your team is on the bench. Kevin De Bruyne (12.0m) is the most attractive midfielder of the lot. However, there may be better options around his premium price.
Erik Ten Haag will look to get Manchester United back into the Champions League in his first season managing in the Premier League. Anthony Martial (7.5m), Marcus Rashford (6.5m) and Jadon Sancho (7.5m) excelled during their pre-season tour and are all hungry to make an impression. Anthony Martial has been playing as a striker, Marcus Rashford is really good value and Jadon Sancho is likely to get the most minutes out of the three.
It’s still unsure whether Manchester United are going to bring in attacking reinforcements and whether Cristiano Ronaldo (12.0m) will be staying at the Theatre of Dreams. He played 45 minutes in their last friendly match against Rayo Vallecano, so this situation will need to be monitored to be more confident the attacking options are desirable. New signing, Christian Eriksen (6.5m) only played 2 games and a total of 82 minutes in pre-season, so there’s no guarantee he will start for Gameweek 1. Competition for the defender positions is high and there isn’t really an option that stands out.
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United will be expecting a big season after the change in ownership last year. Kieran Trippier (5.0m) is a popular defender option as he will be on most set-piece duties, and Allan Saint-Maximin (6.5m) is a decent option in midfield. Bruno Guimaraes (6.0m) is unlikely to play in an advanced role in midfield, despite being an essential player for the Magpies. Chris Wood (6.0m) and Callum Wilson (7.5m) will be battling it out for the No.9 position, making them less desirable as they are likely to share minutes.
Nottingham Forest have had the busiest transfer window in the Premier League, as they welcomed the arrival of 11 new players. Their pre-season results were mixed, and it will take time for many of the new signings to settle down at their new club. Jesse Lingard (6.0m) started against Valencia in their last pre-season game last weekend and will be looking to find his West Ham form from 2021, and Dean Henderson (4.5m) is a decent 4.5m goalkeeper option as he started every pre-season game. New signing, Nico Williams (4.0m) is looking like the best 4.0m defender option as he cemented his spot at right wing-back during pre-season.
Southampton have a tough run of fixtures between Gameweeks 1-5 and Ralph Hasenhüttl will hope to distance himself from the relegation spots this year. James Ward-Prowse (6.5m) is a popular choice in midfield for the Saints due to his impeccable set-pieces, and new signing Joe Ayodele-Aribo (5.5m) scored a fantastic goal against Villareal last weekend. Competition for the No.9 position is high and there are no standout options in defence.
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur have had a busy transfer window after they secured Champions League football last year. New signing, Richarlison (8.5m) is suspended for the first game of the season and will have to fight his way into the starting XI, as Harry Kane (11.5m) and Heung Min-Son (12m) continued their prolific goalscoring records during pre-season. Dejan Kulusevski (8.0m) is usually the first attacking player to be subbed off and his price has significantly increased. Matt Doherty (5.0m) appears to be ahead of Emerson Royal (5.0m) at right wing-back and Ivan Perisic (5.5m) managed to get 95 minutes over 2 games at left wing-back, which means he may be fit enough to start the Premier League season.
West Ham United
West Ham United had a fantastic campaign last season under David Moyes as they qualified for the Europa League. However, West Ham and striker, Michail Antonio (7.5m) struggled to score goals in pre-season, and Jarrod Bowen’s (8.5m) price has been significantly increased. The new addition of Gianluca Scamacca (7.0m) could solve this problem, but the Italian wasn’t involved in pre-season so it’s too early to tell. Vladimir Coufal (4.5m) has been playing right-back consistently for the Hammers and is probably the most reliable value option in defence.
Bruno Lage’s Wolverhampton Wanderers will look to improve from last year’s end of season form and get the most out of his squad. Pedro Neto (5.5m) is a fantastic enabler option at such a cheap price and he is also likely to start most games in an advanced position whilst Raul Jimenez (7.5m) is out with an injury. Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence (5.5m) both scored 3 goals each in pre-season. Jonny Castro Otto (4.5m) and Rayan Aϊt-Nouri (4.5m) are decent value options until Nelson Semedo (5.0m) returns from his injury. The three full-backs/wing-backs are likely to rotate throughout the course of the season.
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Here are a few things to consider ahead of a long season…
The World Cup
The World Cup break interrupts the season after Gameweek 16, and FPL managers will have unlimited transfers before starting Gameweek 17. Therefore, everyone will have a wildcard to use between Gameweek 1 – 16. Take this into account when looking at player fixtures. You won’t need to look too far ahead on the fixture list, as you can always push the button when it’s the right time to do so.
Select your premium options (10.0m+) based on who you’d like to captain over the short to medium term. If you have a premium player who you’re not looking to captain over the next few weeks, you’re probably better off investing that money into other parts of your team. It’s common to rotate the captaincy between two premium players so you can target good fixtures.
Your bench matters
Particularly if you’ve selected one or more players in your starting XI that are a minutes risk or injury prone. Ideally, you should have at least one player who is guaranteed to start most games on your bench. That being said, you don’t want too much money spent on your bench, as that will weaken your starting XI. Find the right balance so you can be flexible if changes are needed after Gameweek 1.
Fixtures are important
Fixtures are important. Great players can still score points in tough fixtures but targeting weaker teams provides a higher ceiling for points, particularly with captaincy. Bringing in players who have a good run of fixtures will always give you a chance of scoring more points, and it also puts less pressure on you to get rid of them after one or two bad scores or performances.
Don't base decisions on ownership
Sometimes, it’s better to make a decision without looking at what the ownership is, as it can often cloud our judgement. At the end of the day, you’re selecting a team who you think will score the most points. If you think Mohammad Salah is the FPL goat, pick him. Selecting a player with low ownership is a niche strategy for situations where you have two extremely similar players to choose from or if you’re competing in a small league with friends.
GAMEWEEK 1 PREVIEW
Best captaincy options
Outside options: Luis Diaz (8.0m), Bukayo Saka (8.0m), Kai Havertz (8.0m), Darwin Núñez (9.0m) and Raheem Sterling (10.0m).
Mohammad Salah is my preferred choice for Gameweek 1, as Liverpool will be raring to go after their Community Shield victory. The Tottenham pair are great alternative choices as both of them are fully fit and in form. Harry Kane still retains penalty duties.
Players to watch
James' team selection
There’s been a lot of tinkering over the last few weeks and as you can see, I’m still thinking about a few positions. I think Oleksandr Zinchenko (5.0m), Kyle Walker (5.0m) and Ivan Perisic (5.5m) are all attractive options as mid-priced defenders, but I’ll need to make a decision and pick one of them. I’m backing Manchester City to have another good year for clean sheets, so I’m leaning towards Ederson (5.5m) due to his guaranteed minutes. I don’t usually select premium goalkeepers, but I think he may be worth the small outlay to guarantee that I’ll get clean sheet points if Manchester City don’t concede. That being said, Kyle Walker (5.0m) should be starting for the foreseeable future as Manchester City are yet to sign another full-back.
I’m quite optimistic that Marcus Rashford (6.5m) could start the season well, and he’s incredible value if Manchester United can get off to a good start. Pedro Neto (5.5m) is my favourite budget midfielder, but Leon Bailey’s (5.0m) game against Bournemouth this week looks extremely appetising. Mohammad Salah will 100% be my captain unless something unexpected arises.
You’ll have to wait till next week to see the team I settled with. I hope this has been helpful and don’t overthink it too much. Good luck!