Ladies and gentlemen… the time has come.
This evening in London, Crystal Palace will host Arsenal to kick off the new Premier League season. Coupled with this, we are approaching the first deadline to form our FPL teams. And, as per tradition for the first round, there is a frenzy in the FPL community today as managers continue to fiddle with their sides trying to come up with another smart move to get their squads right.
Today I am doing something that I have never done before. While it is my duty as a sword to give a better idea of the players and their fantasy potential, I am not one to reveal my own powers. But I felt relevant to this new season, which is about to begin, because I came to the conclusion that although there was little external influence on the decisions I made regarding who to include and who not, I I can’t help but notice that my side is very similar to a lot of other people’s as squad screenshots populate my Twitter feed today.
So, I decided to put my team in full force. The point of this column is not to wave your arms and say, “Hey, this is the best team.” Instead, I want to offer a definitive rationale for all of my choices. Yes, my squad may be considered by some to be “template” or even “extremely formulaic,” but by no means do I lazily follow a herd with made pikes. I have my reasons and I am here to share them with you. So, if there’s a spot or two on your side that you can’t decide on, or if you want more confirmation about a player you and I agree with, there’s a lot to digest in these final hours before the opening deadline.
I decided to present my side in order of player priority. In other words, I’ll start with the first name that goes into my team, no questions asked, and work up to the 15th and final pick. Please keep this in mind. It’s not a ranking of players from best to worst, it’s a ranking of players in the order that made sense to me when building the whole team. So sit back and enjoy some more content to prepare you for the madness that is FPL.
Pick 1 – Mo Salah – Midfield (13m)
Some people are willing to give a chance to the FPL Week 1 team without Salah, and let me just say right off the bat that I am not one of those brave people. Yes, he saw a decline in form in the second half of last season, but the results he showed in the first half were absolutely insane. Yes, he is the most expensive player in the game, but I can’t factor that into my thoughts. As far as I understand, I was not given a budget of 100 million. They gave me Mo Salah and a budget of 87 million. I am quite satisfied with the assembled team, I don’t feel a pinch of his price tag at all. Almost every week, he is a good captain option and looked good in the Community Shield.
Choice 2 – Trent-Alexander-Arnold – Defense (7.5m)
Liverpool’s options are FPL gold and there is no doubt about making room for the game’s most expensive defender in Alexander-Arnold. There is no doubt that the Reds and Manchester City are the two best teams in the league and there is a significant gap between them and the next level players. What makes Liverpool such a treasure trove of FPL assets compared to City is that the surplus of FPL points comes from a smaller group of people. Basically, all points are scored by defenders and wingers. Their three midfielders rarely score goals and we’ll see how quickly Darwin Nunes can make an impact, but one thing that will remain unchanged is the lucrative relationship between Salah and Alexander-Arnold on the left flank. They are a deadly tandem and I must have them both by my side. Yes, its price is the highest in its position, but take a look at its profitability in recent seasons. Last season, he was one of four players to score 200 points. If he had scored the same number of points as a designated midfielder or striker, his price would certainly have been 10 million or more. Pounds for the pound guys is a philosophy to follow when building your team and Trent is probably the best player in the game.
Choose 3 – Gabriel Jesus – Forward (8m)
While I felt that Jesus’ prospects would increase in his favor with a move to Arsenal, I have to admit that I didn’t immediately agree to him as an FPL option when the game went live this summer. Bukayo Saka was actually an early choice as I found Arsenal matches quite attractive and Saka was a consistent source of points last season. But two factors make Jesus one of the first names on the command list. First, he had a monstrous preseason. You tend to take preseason results with a grain of salt, leaning more towards positional fighting and players moving up the ranks, but this summer Jesus has been so explosive in every appearance that his appeal has continued to grow and grow. So, the second reason that comes into play is the price is the same as the Saki. I came to an early conclusion that Jesus makes more sense as an Arsenal representative because he takes up a forward position, an area of the field that was very difficult to find a reliable option from last season. With a record +70% holding just before the deadline, he MUST go over to your side. If he struggles, the pain is minimal because many others will have the same result. But to go without him, and he carries his form into the season, well, you can fall behind the pack very quickly, spending the next eight months or so to get back in the ranks.
Choose 4 – Andrew Robertson – Protection (7m)
Almost every experienced FPL manager will have a maximum of three Liverpool players on their team. This summer, the debate has mostly flared up about whether to double down on defense or offense. Popular attacking choice to partner with Salah Louis Diazwhich could be great value on 8m, basically taking on the role left behind Sadio Mane. However, in the end, I couldn’t ignore a more established product that Andrew Robertson. Despite Alexander-Arnold being generally regarded as the better option of the two (hence the $0.5 million more price tag), Robertson was virtually even with his fellow quarterback in points per game. What makes this decision pretty easy for me is that Robertson walks 1 meter less than Diaz and more importantly offers what should be seen as a difference on a rather formulaic side. As of this writing, only about one in eight managers will be with Robertson, while Diaz is close to appearing on one in four teams. I enjoy spending 1 million elsewhere and I’m willing to bet that Robertson can equal or surpass Diaz’s result. Less ownership means bigger, more positive gains in the ranks if I bet on the right horse.
Pick 5 – Andreas – Midfield (4.5m)
It may seem a bit silly to give Andreas such a high priority when building an FPL team, but part of building a team is looking for cheap players who can offer you something, because some players will simply take up space on the bench. There have been 4.5 million midfielders in the past who have appeared in solid FPL options at some point in the season, but in my memory, I can’t think of a midfield player as attacking and as well suited to start as Andreas. is. I believe Fulham will be struggling to survive in the top flight this season and I don’t expect Andreas to do much but he can still make it into the XI from time to time when Cottagers have very good performances. while one of my first starters can be tough. Oddly enough, I think I settled on the 4-4-2 setup simply because I felt that Andreas was too good a low cost option to not have as a backup weapon.
Select 6 – Joao Cancelo – Protection (7m)
Actually, it was a bit tricky to make this choice, but the most important thing is that I definitely wanted Manchester City to represent the defence. I think there are two ways to do this: spend more and get the best option out of the lot, i.e. Cansela, or spend less, sacrifice the potential recoil on the attack that Cansela offers, and go with Kyle Walker 2m less. I can’t blame people for going in either direction, especially with City going into the season without any competition for their full-back positions, but at the end of the day, having a core group of premium a class of three defenders Trent, Robertson and Cancel were too juicy to resist. Now I have three of the four players who scored 200 points last season, and three of them are worth less than 8 million. This is good business.
Select 7 – Neko Williams – Protection (4m)
This pick is pretty much in line with Andreas’ pick in terms of priority in that once I figured out that I was picking Andreas and definitely ruled out the idea of having three starting hitters, the 4-4-2 pretty much took shape on its own. That meant I needed a fifth defender to be on the bench. This is where the natural inclination is to find the lowest priced option that really paves the way for regular playing time. This is what you get with Neko Williams. At least not many expect clean sheets from Nottingham Forest after the jump, but Williams is one of their biggest signings this summer and he will play at full back, so there is some hope for the occasional attacking player. come back to go along with the odd blank slate. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is indeed another 4m option that is at least in all likelihood to start the first week and that is Everton. Nathan Patterson. I understand why some might want to go with him instead, but when Seamus Coleman in good shape (and, apparently, he has already returned to training), there will be a positional battle between a veteran and a kid. Given that I use this slot to receive funds elsewhere, I would prefer to support a player who has no competition, so Neko Williamsthis is.
Select 8 – Harry Kane – Forward (11.5 m)
This choice is one of…