Welcome to PaulT, our new preview columnist sharing his throughs for what’s in store for #GW1. Selections include a few familiar faces, mixed with some new arrivals for your consideration.
Gameweek 1 – Pinky and De Bruyne?
The football season is upon us once again after a quite spectacular World Cup (I think England may have done well, but news does travel slow up here in Scotland!) and whilst the welcome return of Bovril and suspicious meat pies is very appealing, we are all much more excited by the prospect of the return of FPL and the trials and tribulations that brings us all.
The weekly dilemma – who to pick, who to leave out, who to give the captain’s armband to and who gets their marching orders. We’ve all got a story to tell. Remember that time you were about to triple captain Salah but opted for Sane instead, only to watch Mo destroy Watford with a four-goal haul, pure agony! We wouldn’t have it any other way though. Would we? It’s the thrill of the game and when those decisions go your way, well – pure ecstasy. Unfortunately, for me. I seem to have a knack for blowing my wad on Jamie Vardy then watching him fail to score for weeks on end. Welcome back #FPL, we’ve missed you.
The pitfalls are all too familiar and for those with miles on the clock, you know the dangers that lurk around every corner. As I write this, we are 48 hrs away from the transfer window slamming shut with a yellow tied Jim White screaming, “DEALS ARE STILL BEING DONE” and the joys of that manic day (it always slams shut, never closed carefully by a mild-mannered janitor!). The squads are being finalised and with this not tied down, you run the risk that you could be caught out by Courtois or puzzled by Pogba. The early closure of the window in England means that your star man could still bugger off to Barcelona up until the end of the month so picking your players is not a straightforward as it could be.
Game week 1 is upon us and looking at the fixtures there are some tasty games to kick off not least the big clash at the Emirates with the visit of last seasons champions looking to emulate their extraordinary form of last season. New boys Fulham, Wolves and Cardiff come into the season hopeful of making the magic 40-point mark and staying in the league for another year. Spurs are moving into their brand spanking new stadium, and expectations are as always on the bigger teams to deliver success.
When picking my squad, I generally prefer to pick players I know are consistent and already proven in the league. However, given the relative success of Huddersfield, last year and the fact that most of them were untested and unknowns did buck the trend. With that in mind, I have selections in each of the 4 categories for a proven performer and someone new to the league who, I think, could make an impact for the season ahead.
David De Gea – Manchester United – Value – £6m
The ever-reliable Spaniard in nets for United may not have had the best World Cup but his prowess in the FPL cannot be denied. Last year’s top scoring goalie with 172 points. With Jose’s focus as always on being tight at the back and solid in midfield, David is sure to bank clean sheets over the course of the year
Allisson – Liverpool – Value £5.5m
Big money Brazilian, Allisson has been brought in by Klopp to solidify what has been a problem position for the Reds for many seasons. A lot is expected of him this season, as Liverpool look to finally end their wait for a championship win. Going by his form at Roma the past few seasons, he may be the man for the job. He boasted an impressive 22 clean sheets from 49 appearances last season and was no1 for Brazil at the World Cup, showing he could be worth every penny. Selected by 13.9% of players across the game, this would suggest that there is some agreement.
Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea – Value £6.5m
Surprisingly, the versatile defender at the Bridge was the highest point scoring defender last season with 175 points, in what was ultimately a disappointing season for Chelsea. “Dave” is Mr. Reliable and dependent on how he is used by Sarri this season, could be a smart buy once again for your defence.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – Arsenal – Value £5.5m
The man with the longest name in football comes to Arsenal with a reputation as a reliable and solid defender who is good in the air and strong in the tackle. He had a 72.3% tackle success rate in the Bundesliga last year and won 67.5% of aerial duels. His signing addresses a weak area of The Gunners team. With Koscielny out injured for a few months, the Greek international should establish himself early on.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City – Value £10m
The obvious talisman in Midfield for most bosses will be Mo Salah (record top scorer on 303pts last term) and the Egyptian will, of course, be 1st name on a lot of people’s team sheets. However, I reckon KDB represents real value in the game at only £10m for such a consistently high performer. Guardiola builds his team around the talented Belgian and should Citeh repeat last seasons frankly, awesome form; this man could allow you to help yourself to many game points over the next 9 months.
Joao Moutinho – Wolves – Game Value £5.5m
This season Wolves have spent a good bit of money and brought in genuine quality players who could make them this year’s surprise package. The pick of these is in my view Moutinho, who has come in from Monaco for a measly £5m. Capped 113 times for Portugal, the midfield maestro should be the man to make Wolves tick and could be a shrewd man to have in your squad if he shows his class over the season.
Harry Kane – Tottenham – Game Value £12.5m
What more can you say about this man? England’s captain, World Cup Golden Boot winner, and the top scoring forward in FPL last season with 217 points. Kane will no doubt again be the main man and captain for many FPL bosses; it’s money in the bank in terms of goals but will he break the dreaded curse of August. Time will tell. 32.4% of players have selected him in their squads and it would not surprise one bit if he smashes a brace in one of the opening game weeks. If anyone can, Harry can. If Spurs stand any chance of winning trophies this season, they will need Kane to be at his brilliant best.
Aleksandar Mitrovic – Fulham – Value £6.5m
I know, I know! I said I would be talking about players new to the league, but giving myself some leeway, Mitrovic is coming to this season at a new team and having played the 2nd half of last season in the Championship with Fulham. He scored 12 goals in 20 appearances during his loan spell and the West London club have moved to make him a permanent addition. The Cottagers need him to score the goals to keep them up, and at £6.5m he could represent a money-saving option that is going unnoticed by many.
That all for this week, and we’ll see where the season takes us. Hold onto your hats, its all about to get lively. Next week, we’ll look at those players who have started the season well, as well as reviewing anyone that has come in on deadline day that you should be looking to add to your squad.
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