Gameweek 1: Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne
As a lovely young man named Marshall Bruce Mathers III once wrote:
‘Guess who’s back. Back again. YIRMA’s back. Tell a friend’
Oh yes indeed, we are very much back and salivating at the thought of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
This is the best moment of the season when everything is possible, no matter how unlikely. Fans of every team outside of the ‘Top 6’ are pointing to Leicester City and saying that anything is possible. Fans of every team inside the ‘Top 6’ are pointing to Leicester City and saying that it bloody better not happen again.
The sun is shining almost as brightly as your sparkly new signings (except you Spurs fans, this doesn’t apply to you). You’ve been mentally preparing for this weekend for weeks, and if you’re reading this it’s very likely that your FPL team is on draft #4593297 and you haven’t had a settled nights sleep since June 28th.
In fact your other half has warned you that if you wake them up at 3am once more asking whether Salah should be in your squad or not, they’ll leave you, yet they’re still constantly asking why you seem moody and withdrawn…they just don’t get you dear reader, but we do.
We understand, and for the next 38 game weeks we’ll be here with a preview to help guide you to green arrow.
(Disclaimer: Green Arrows not a guarantee).
Defender: Luke Shaw, Manchester United
Every authoritarian despot requires a ‘bogeyman’. Trump has Hillary and every media outlet in the world that isn’t Fox ‘News’. Jacob Rees-Mogg has the European Union. Kim Jong Un has the rest of the world, and Jose Mourinho has Luke Shaw.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have heard Jose moan about a lack of transfers and how this season is already a disaster before it has even begun. He’s setting his stall out to make himself as bullet-proof as possible should this season follow the usual Mourinho third-season narrative of discontent, discord and ultimately divorce.
This is why you should choose Luke Shaw for the start of this season. We know how badly Jose has treated Shaw over the past couple of seasons, so it stands to reason that he’ll start him for the first few weeks to ensure he has a ready-made ‘patsy’ in the event of a stumbling start. If things go well he’ll claim that he’s had a mind-control chip implanted into Shaw and has been controlling his every touch from the touchline, thereby taking all the credit.
But Shaw costs just £5.0m, and at the time of typing has an ownership of just 2.2%, making him a differential worth considering. Seeing as David De Gea costs £1.0m more and has an ownership of 29.4% this makes sense to me, but I have a pretty unique take on the world in general, so y’know….
Midfielder: Diego Jota, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Tipping a midfielder from a newly promoted team in GW1 is utter lunacy. Now that you understand where I’m coming from, I’ll explain why I’m right. He’s only £6.5m, 6.3% owned, he’s going to play up front, he’s handy, the whole Wolves team is a Football Manager experiment by some Portuguese geezer, and they’re playing Everton who are terrible.
Well, I say they’re terrible before they’ve started but this is based on their pre-season results. A recent UEFA congress voted on whether it is possible to relegate a team based on their pre-season results alone, and it was called ‘The Everton Amendment’.
A fired-up Wolves at home on a Saturday evening live on the Tele Box is likely to see Molineux bouncing with Diego caring not a Jot(a) about anything other than chewing up the Toffees and spitting them out.
Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
If you have Salah in your squad (and over half of you do) you’re likely looking at a single premium forward in your squad (don’t @ me if you have two, your squad balance is all wrong and you’re doomed), and the list of those strikers that cost £10.5m or above is as follows:
Kane – £12.5m – He ran himself into the ground (and injured himself) all summer. It’s August. The jinx is real. You have been warned.
Aubameyang – £11.0m – He has two stinkers to start with, although I think he could be dynamite this season, not for GW 1 for me Clive.
Big Rom Lukaku – £11.0m – He ran himself into the ground this summer and he plays for Mr. Negativity who seems to be creating a crisis before one has started. Very much a wait and see situation.
Jesus – £10.5m – Meh. Sorry, he’s not ‘done it’ yet in this kind of company. Plus he played a lot during the summer.
Aguero – 11.0m – Money In The Bank. A Premier League legend. Certain to start up front with some delicious looking ‘boot-filling’ fixtures from GW2 onwards, and I fancy him to score this Sunday. He won’t let you down, City score bucket loads and the list above shows why you just have to start with Aguero.
Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool
Obviously. Always Captain Salah.
It’s not a saying. It’s not a belief. It’s a mantra. 52.3% of players own him, and I’d wager that 52.2% of those will captain him.
He’s playing West Ham at Anfield, Liverpool are scoring goals for fun in pre-season, Salah has got a few, and I just cannot in any good faith tip anyone else for GW 1. If you don’t and he scores a couple, you’re behind the 8-ball against over half the players already. If you do and he blanks, you’re behind the 8-ball against just a small percentage of the 47.7% who captained somebody else.
It’s a numbers game here, a damage prevention strategy. You can’t win your mini-league in GW1 but you can make GW2 – GW38 bloody stressful if you fall behind early doors.
Outsider: Josh King, Bournemouth
Take 30 goals, throw in 10 assists, add a dash of £6.5m, stir in 34 BPS, fold in home games against Cardiff City and Everton in GW1 and GW3 and sprinkle with 5.9% ownership.
Right there guys and gals you have a recipe for a delicious budget striker cake where you CAN have your cake and eat it.
Draft: Naby Keita, Liverpool
Ah the draft pick – my favourite…
This kid is going to run roughshod over the Premier League this season. He’s going to do it all. Goals, Assists, Tackles, Interceptions, the works.
Other Liverpool players will attract all the attention, but if you want a player who will chip in consistently throughout the season, trust me on Keita.