It’s felt like an age since the end of last season with no international competition to keep us busy. FPL has had it’s longest pre-season with an earlier than expected launch this season, so there’s been plenty of time for tinkering but it all comes down to tonight!
I’ve opted for a 4-4-2 as I’m looking to invest heavily in defence and lighter up top. I’ve also opted for 2 premium players instead of 3 to give the side a better balance and both of these have come in the midfield. I’ve also decided to minimise risk by picking only a couple of punts from the get go as I’ve gone cheap as possible on the bench. I don’t plan a wildcard but I’m open to playing it early on but I’ll be playing it by ear.
In between the sticks is new Villa signing Tom Heaton. The newly promoted side will face a lot of shots even though they’ve strengthened at the back and there’s not too many better to stop them than him. His fixtures aren’t bad either with 2 only 2 top 6 sides in his first 9 games.
The Liverpool defensive duo were one of the first few names on the team sheet with their fixtures and attacking potential. While there comes a bit of a risk Trent Alexander-Arnold I think he’s definitely worth the extra £0.5m over van Dijk even with the chance of the odd benching. VVD’s threat comes at corners but was quiet for the first half of the season apart from a big spell at the end of the campaign whereas I expect Trent to tick over with assists. Lucas Digne gets a spot in the side with his great fixtures and creativity for assists (spot a trend?). He faces just 2 top 6 sides in his first 14 games which means he could be a fantastic long term option. I prefer him to Coleman at an extra £0.5m and the new signing Sidibe could cause rotation for the Irishman. Final spot goes to Man City’s Zinchenko. He’s a short term pick to get in on the Man City defence while Mendy isn’t fully fit and I’m hoping I can get 4 games out of him till the international break.
Mo Salah and Sterling make up just under ¼ of the budget and are the sides 2 premium spots. These two will be captained most weeks and I feel they pip their similarly priced teammates Mane and Aguero. Lucas Moura is our second punt. With Son suspended he looks set to play the first two games without question. Opening home games for Spurs are brilliant but sandwiched in between are tough away games. I’m hoping to get AVL and NEW out of the Brazilian before looking at other options in the £7m-8m range. Perez at £6.5m looks good value under Rodgers and it looks like he’s altered his formation to accommodate him. His change of position looks like he’s potentially OOP. Leicester’s fixtures aren’t terrible but The Foxes should be looking to outscore their opponents than keeping them out.
Wilson takes his place in the side as a mid priced option. Ideally I would have liked to stretch to Vardy but Wilson’s opening two games (SHU / avl) make him a very tasty option. He looked sharp in pre-season too but that should always be taken with a pinch of salt. The final spot goes to fellow Cherrie Josh King. The £6.5m price point was tough to choose but I’ve opted for King for the time being with the plan to reassess in GW3. I like Jota but his Europa League commitment is a bit of a worry (even though he assisted thrice).
Bench: Woodman warms the goalkeeping spot in the hope he doesn’t lose value and I’ll never need him. Lundstram is my £4.0m defender and I’m not overly hopeful. Fingers crossed he can keep starting games like he did in pre-season but there’s not too much choice in this bracket with a lot touch and go for minutes. Dendoncker looks a solid £4.5m midfielder to come into the side incase one of my punts get dropped or an injury crops up. Wickham get the 3rd forward slot and I’m hoping he stays at 3rd sub for the time he stays in the team. Greenwood is tempting but I’m worried we could see a massive sell off if he fails to get minutes.
Captaincy: It looks like a straightforward pick this gameweek with the armband going on last season’s top scorer with Norwich at home on Friday Night Football. With Mane’s minutes doubtful he looks like he’s going to be heavily captained. The other standout game is Spurs against Aston Villa but I’ve purposely picked Salah and Sterling ahead of Kane. Salah’s a popular pick and a safe pick but I think he’s definitely the right choice.
Any changes between now and the deadline will be updated in the members WhatsApp group and Slack Channel. There’s still a lot of team news to come out that could affect the side. You can use code “FPLJUNIOR” for 20% off membership to access said groups and the £1,000 cash league. Join here.