Thursday evening for me in New York , the night before these season starts – the anticipation of a new season is so exciting and I cannot wait for it to get started. What a week it has been though, injuries , transfers is he leaving or staying , I’ve never known a pre-season like it for so many what if’s and constant tinkering to get that team set for not the season…….. just three Gameweeks. So by now you should have a feel of the main players you want as the core of your team for the first 3 game weeks, try your best to maintain that core and leave alone , if you need to tinker right up to the first kick off just make sure you don’t rip up all the planning you’ve done and undo it in the hour before the Arsenal kickoff. If you have a picked an Arsenal or Brentford starter , make sure you have pre-set plan in place in case that player is not in the starting line-up , this will help you to hopefully not make any last minute panic changes without the careful thought you have given up until this point.
I have two teams set up , which I will probably leave in place now unless any of the press conferences cause me to re-think during Friday. I’ll talk you both my teams and thinking.
So this is my ‘low risk’ team , players I believe are pretty much nailed to start , all captain days covered with some contingency allowing for injuries if they occur.
GK: I do need to explain , villa have great fixtures to start with , very solid defensively and it feels like a gift Martinez being only £7.2 million, his my only Villa asset as their are concerns around Buendia who probably would have made my line ups if I knew he was nailed , now I get to see him a make a decision at overhaul.
DeF: I’ve focussed again on starters ,fixtures and potential passing bonuses , Villa had great fixtures but unless they get an assist / goals no real chance of any bonus over and above a clean sheet if they get that. With Brighton I feel they also have good fixtures, passing bonus should be attained with a threat of goals and clean sheet also. With Webster at £7mil he also is an enabler for me to use budget elsewhere. Dias say no more , hopefully plays all 3 games and in all likelihood sits in my team all season. Soyuncu again likely nailed to start , although Leicester losing Fofanna and Evans for the first GW means the defence is a little shakier , but could be that Vestergaard comes in either GW1 or likely GW2. Dias is also a Captain option for Sunday , if Antonio for some reason does not start.
MiD: Bruno is this format is a BruYES , captain option in all three fixtures and can score points big in any of his games, Mahrez and Barnes were slightly riskier picks , with these two they are higher risk unlikely to be captain picks so its hoping first they play , then in 2 of the 3 games they pick up an assist , goal or both if they don’t I’m not sure they are many other picks that would mean I would lose too much ground if other midfielders do better.
Att: Salah has had a quite pre-season, and I do have a concern at not being allowed to play at the Olympics has maybe created some negativity , but he scores and assists and I expect him to be in my team all season , I really expect Liverpool to be challenging for top this year with the players they have returning from injury. Antonio high risk with injuries of course , but he will start GW1 and likely to be captain pick , if his fit he will start up front , unlikely to be in team post overhaul, with no signings at West Ham , a thin squad and European football I expect it to be a flat season compared to last , then lastly Toney – hard to know what to expect , obviously a captain pick for Friday , then following that two games he could easily score in , some promoted teams the last few seasons have it seems started well in the Prem , sustaining second half of the season is generally harder , so maybe Brentford will be a surprise package.
My second team or I prefer alternative picks , Dias , Martinez and Bruno are the only three that I have kept, I’ve gone a little heavier on Liverpool as I think they will come out of the blocks flying. I do worry defensively hence the picks in my defensive team and when VVD is back , I believe that solves a lot of the issues.
DeF: It was TAA alone from Liverpool , but Tsimikis at £6.6mil seems maybe a good opportunity for GW1 to 3 , ww shall see. Pereira is my Leicester guy , again slight risk with Castagne due back , but I think with a strong pre-season its Ricardo spot to lose.
MiD: Xhaka for the Friday game , should get passing , maybe tackles if he does thats job done at £7.5 , Benrahma for West Ham also had a strong pre-season , he could be one to watch if the Hammers get going and he plays the ‘Lingard’ role , he has goals and assists in his game, just hope that he starts for `Leicester game and if he doesn’t Pereira does – their is some doubt from me on that as it could just as easy for neither to start that game hence the risk taken in the 2nd team!!
Att: Up-front Mane instead of Salah , he will score and assist and I’m sure he wants to improve on last season , I feel he is more motivated then Salah and I think could outscore Salah this season. Jota another bargain imo – £9.4 and he will start lots of games , he looks sharp and ready to play , if his down the middle I can see him getting a lot of goals. Lastly Ing’sy love him asa player , but oh my how he has stung me in the past with his injury woes , for 3 game weeks his the perfect pick , especially with the Villa fixtures , natural goal finisher and in a team like Villa he will get even more chances , I sincerely hope he stays fit as he really is an exceptional talent and great to watch.
In addition I have a pool of players I will be watching over the next three weeks, along with teams , Digne of Everton under Rafa could be a good post overhaul pick , Greenwood if he gets gametime -especially through the centre, Chelsea have so many options but Lukaku has to be the pick with the number of chances they create , Kane – where will he end up – if Man City well thats the attack template locked along with Salah. I think Palace under Vierra could be interesting , I think they may change their typical style of play to be more possession based hence Andersen coming in alongside Kouyate, with Mitchell being very attack minded, beware of picking Mitchell tho with Schlupp who can also play at fullback. Watford I also like defensively and for a long while I had Sierralta in , but again too much risk for GW1 to 3 , so will watch and see along with Sarr. Lastly Leeds , they again will push on and I would love to get Raphinha and Harrison back in my team , with Rodrigo also I think this season being a threat up front.
So many choices , but their can only be eleven – good luck everyone for the new season , remember its only a game and we do it out for enjoyment – please someone read this line back to me at some point in the season when a last minute equaliser denies me a clean sheet haul !!!!
Thanks again , and if you read this please like and comment. Follow me on twitter @scheek , this season I will be playing FPL , SDT and TFF for the first ever time along with SkyFF so I’ll share progress on twitter if I can keep up with all the teams and formats , could well bin some off after the first few game weeks . Now to get make that FPL , team 5 more SDT teams and a couple of TFF teams , going to be a late one from the city that never sleeps !!
Steve (Brit in NY)