Bravehearts Forward Look – GW1

Introduction

This season FPLbet will have a weekly series of forward look articles designed to try and improve your points and profits. Whether you are an avid FPL player or whether you like to dabble in Football Index, Footstock, Sportstack or traditional betting, this article should be your first port of call before picking your teams or placing any bets.

Last year Braveheart, an FPL veteran with 3 top 5k finishes in the past five years, hosted the FPLbet podcast which included a fixture-by-fixture forward look. That forward look returns in article form for the 2020-21 season. All data and information is correct as of 03 September 2020.

The forward look – Gameweek 1:

FulhamvArsenal
18.2%Win %64.5%
16.7%Clean sheet %42.2%
Mitrovic(2.2 shots in box pg)Most big chances
(last season)
Aubameyang(28)
Cairney(1.9 key passes pg)Most big chances created(last season)Willian(13)
Crystal PalacevSouthampton
34.8%Win %40.8%
30.8%Clean sheet %33.3%
Ayew(11)Most big chances
(last season)
Ings(22)
Van Arnholt (5)Ayew (4)Most big chances created(last season)Ward-Prowse(7)
West HamvNewcastle
47.6%Win %29.4%
36.4%Clean sheet %26.7%
Antonio(22)Most big chances
(last season)
Almiron(11)
Antonio(7)Most big chances created(last season)Saint-Maxim(8)
LiverpoolvLeeds
80%Win %10%
52.6%Clean sheet %9.1%
Salah(30)Most big chances
(last season)
Bamford(2.3 shots in the box pg)
Alexander-Arnold(19)Most big chances created(last season)Hernandez(2.3 key passes pg)
West BromvLeicester
27.8%Win %51.3%
22.2%Clean sheet %33.3%
Robinson(1.7 shots in the box pg)Most big chances
(last season)
Vardy(36)
Pereira(2.8 key passes pg)Most big chances created(last season)Vardy(12)
TottenhamvEverton
55.6%Win %23.1%
40.0%Clean sheet %22.2%
Kane(20)Most big chances
(last season)
Calvert-Lewin(27)
Son(12)Most big chances created(last season)Richarlison(13)
BrightonvChelsea
20%Win %60.6%
18.2%Clean sheet %40.0%
Maupay(17)Most big chances
(last season)
Abraham(32)
Gross(10)Most big chances created(last season)Azpilicuta(9)
Sheffield UnitedvWolves
30.3%Win %44.4%
30.8%Clean sheet %40.0%
McGoldrick(17)Most big chances
(last season)
Jimenez(23)
Stevens(9)Most big chances created(last season)Jimenez(13)

Braveheart’s Team Reveal:

  • McCarthy (4.0m goalkeeper),
  • Alexander-Arnold,
  • James,
  • Vinagre (Lamptey, Struijk),
  • Salah,
  • Aubameyang,
  • Barnes,
  • Pereira (Stephens),
  • Werner,
  • Ings,
  • Mitrovic
    • Funds kept in reserve: 0.5m

Braveheart’s Thoughts:

The above team is my current draft and I’m very keen on much of the team. The team is not set in stone until the deadline so @FPLBraveheart on Twitter for any updates.

Flexibility

Every year the main thing I look for when preparing my GW1 team is flexibility – the ability to move quickly onto emerging bandwagons cannot be understated. Last year I was very slow to react to the quick starts of Mount, Cantwell and Pukki. This meant that when deploying my chips at the end of the season I was playing catch-up with squad value and ended up having one of my worst seasons. And I missed out on their points hauls at the start of the season so I was playing catch-up in terms of points as well. I’m keen not to make the same mistake twice this year. With that in mind, I’m making sure to keep at least 0.5m in reserve to bring in the likes of Martial or Greenwood (for example) in GW2 without needing to sacrifice elsewhere. It will also act as a buffer in case there are any early price moves which would otherwise scupper my planned optimal transfers in the early weeks where there is 0.5m between price points.

Flexibility is key but the main thing to remember is that your GW1 team is only a starting point. Over the course of a season with wildcards, other chips and free transfers, you will be able to change your starting eleven 6.1 times.  And as it is easier to move down than up in player value, I will start my season with at least one of the highest valued players in each position. Welcome to my team Alexander-Arnold, Salah, Aubameyang and Werner.

What am I looking for?

Having looked at some of my mistakes from last season. The main one that jumped out at me was my decision to go with Ayoze Perez in GW1. He ended the previous season very well with Newcastle, but this was a new season and a new team. He went from being the big fish in a small pond, to a smaller fish in a bigger pond. I won’t be making the same mistake twice.

In the forward look, I have focused on the players who are presented with the most big chances or create the most big chances for their team. My goal is to have a team made up only of talismen and key playmakers for their team. This strategy has served me well in the past and led to me identifying Michu and Payet in their golden seasons, before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.


Goalkeepers

I do not want to waste any transfers on a goalkeeper. The ceiling is too low for them. I intend to be more of an upside chaser this season with my transfers. So I’m looking for a set-and-forget. If money was no object, I’d be looking at Ramsdale. At 5.0m he will be part of a solid team and his save-rate last season at a porous Bournemouth team was pretty good. However, money is an object, and so I’m looking at the 4.5m bracket and can’t look past McCarthy

 as my starting keeper (at least until I wildcard – which I anticipate doing around GW9 unless I need to earlier or my team looks good). At the point of my first wildcard, I’ll hopefully have built up enough squad value to get a playing sub goalkeeper (as coronavirus protection), but for now, any 4.0m keeper will do. 

Defenders

In defence, I want Robertson to go alongside Trent. However, at this stage, I can’t really afford to do that without going for Calvert-Lewin instead of Werner or Ings. So James is my second defender. Chelsea were not very good last season defensively but I expect them to have improved significantly once their signings bed in. For 5.0m without having a poor run of fixtures until about GW14, I think he’s worth giving a chance in my team. There are a lot of options in the 4.5m bracket.

I like the looks of Walker-Peters, Lamptey, Vinagre, Justin, Thomas and Saliba. However, there are questions about the Leicester full-backs given the signing of Castagne and imminent return of Pereira. Saliba has not yet nailed down a place in the Arsenal defence so the choice is between Walker-Peters, Lamptey and Vinagre. I’m going for Lamptey and Vinagre as I don’t want to go double Southampton in defence.

There are few genuine options at 4.0m. Van Arnholt has started back in training and so the Palace boys are unlikely to be viable for very long so I’m avoiding them. Unless and until Leeds sign a new centre back, I think Strujik looks like the best option for regular game-time as a 4.0m defender. Leeds had a very solid defence in the Championship last year. Although their fixtures are poor until around GW6, for a 4.0m defender, all I look for is regular gametime and the ability to be subbed into my team if required (we were blessed with Lundstram last season, we really were.

Midfield and Forwards

Planning ahead is also key. The Manchester clubs do not play in GW1 and I will want a United asset from GW2 and a City asset from GW3 (likely to be Aubameyang to KDB). You have two options as to how you set up in GW1: get the players you want in now, and bench them. Or make use of “placeholder” players with good fixtures and the potential to score well.

I’m going for the latter option as I’m not entirely sure which United asset I want most right now. Which one I go for will depend on which of my place holders performs best in GW1. My place holders are Ings (if I want Martial) and Barnes (if I want Greenwood). Fernandes and Rashford remain in my plans but to get them I’d need to do a bit of hokey-pokey in and out with my premium assets (Salah to Fernandes in GW2, before making moves to bring him back in GW4). I generally don’t like making such moves as it means using two transfers to end up where I originally started. 


As mentioned earlier – I want my team to be made up primarily of “the guy” or “the guy who sets up the guy” players. In the mid-priced bracket, the players worth considering who fall into this category are: Calvert-Lewin, Mitrovic, Antonio, Ayew,  Pereira and Maupay. These players are the focal point of their team’s attack, or are the player most likely to set up any goals. In the case of Pereira and Antonio – they statistically ticked both boxes last season! However, I do not like the look of Antonio’s fixtures and so will likely plump for Mitrovic as my budget forward to start the season. 


Well, there we have it, my thoughts and likely team for GW1. I’m fairly relaxed about this team as I think it has very solid foundations to react to the new information we’ll be getting with each match. Transfers are there for a reason so don’t try to worry too much about getting the ideal squad from the off. Pick talismen and playmakers, pick nailed players and maintain flexibility and you’ll be off to a good start at achieving your FPL goals this season.

All the best and I hope everyone reading has a great first gameweek. FPL is back!

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