With the new 23/24 Premier League season now officially underway, it’s only right that we take a look at the key denominators for Fantasy gaffers after four days of non-stop footballing action.
Manchester City kicked off their campaign with an impressive and comfortable 3-0 over Burnley, and it was no surprise to see the goal machine himself Erling Haaland (14.0m) with two goals in his first three touches of the match. I think the fact that three Burnley players reportedly captained Haaland against their own team speaks for itself.
On the other hand, highly selected John Stones (£5.5m) missed the game with injury, although I wouldn’t recommend replacing him just yet, as long as you have a solid replacement on the bench, since Stones will be a valued asset after he returns as a City regular. Which is more than can be said for other City players who are often in rotation.
This is why I don’t recommend players such as Alvarez (£6.5m), Grealish (£7.5m), and Foden (£7.5m) who will not always play as often as managers would like, especially if City gets their hands on a shortlisted replacement for recently departed winger Riyad Mahrez.
Arsenal did just about enough with two first-half goals to squeeze past an at times dangerous Nottingham Forest, as fantasy gem Bukayo Saka (£8.6m) looked as essential for fantasy teams as ever. And despite being less popular due to his price this time around, I’d still highly recommend Gabriel Martinelli (£8.0m) as he proved he’s capable of more goal involvements due to the injury of Gunners star Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m).
There isn’t much to be said in terms of West Ham’s 1-1 stalemate with Bournemouth; however, if you aren’t one of the many who own him already, definitely look to get Alphonse Areola (£4.0m) in your side. He, along with Matt Turner (£4.0m), are the only two keepers who look to be first-team regulars at this low price. However, Areola is my personal preference as West Ham has the more assured defence and a better chance of keeping clean sheets.
Watchlist: Ones to Watch
Brentford and Spurs played out an entertaining 2-2 draw, which showcased the talents of new acquisition James Maddison (£7.5m), assisting both of his side’s goals. He also happens to be in charge of corners as well as free kicks, and with six attempted assists, his price tag seems all the more tempting.
Another to keep your eye on is Bryan Mbeumo (£6.5m), who can expect more goal involvements in the absence of Ivan Toney (£8.0m), allowing him to take over penalty duties, as he slotted one away against Spurs.
Fellow £6.5m man Kaoru Mitoma is a bargain at that price, as he picked up an assist in Brighton’s 4-1 thrashing of Luton. The Japanese winger looks set to pick up where he left off and continue his excellent run of form that he had towards the end of last season. Similar can be said for cheap forward João Pedro (£5.5m). However, I’d personally wait to see what unfolds in terms of the manager’s preference with fellow forwards Danny Welbeck (£6.0m) and Evan Ferguson (£6.0m), who may be a threat to Pedro’s game time.
Many Newcastle players impressed in their 5-1 demolition of Aston Villa; however, Harvey Barnes (£6.5m) looked especially impressive, coming off the bench and bagging a goal and an assist. Alexander Isak (£7.6m) also looked fantastic; however, he faces a similar rotation issue to Pedro as his substitute and fellow striker Callum Wilson (£8.0m) also scored, hence why I’d suggest staying away from both forwards for the time being.
A small silver lining for Villa and potential fantasy target Moussa Diaby (£6.5m) impressed on his debut, as he scored and came close to a goal in two other instances. The Frenchman also created two chances, hinting at his potential to creep into fantasy teams later down the line, though for now, I prefer more established options at his price such as Mbeumo and Mitoma.
Chelsea and Liverpool drew 1-1 in a fascinating contest, as defender Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) rewarded his owners with 7 points, once again proving his attacking threat and appeal are superior to most defenders at his price range.
Despite being unable to bag his first goal for the club, Blues striker Nicolas Jackson (£7.0m) had three big chances and an expected goals figure of 1.19 across the game, as he looked very lively throughout. I’d suggest keeping him in your side if owned already, as his team has favourable upcoming fixtures, and it seems only a matter of time before the Senegalese international opens his goal-scoring account.
That concludes our first game week review of the season, and before finishing, something I will always remind FPL newcomers is that you should never be rash with decisions after one week of football. Remember that it’s only been a week, and players who shined this time may never look as good all season, so don’t be too hasty to be getting anyone in or out quite just yet, unless it’s an emergency.