Preview Written by Mr @NiallHawthorne
Nice to see you again. Yes, you. You’re looking splendid.
New #FPL accounts may come along with ChattySnaps and Tok-Tiks and Instabook Spaces or whatever, but here at FantasyYIRMA towers, we keep it old school. We’re always here (this is the 135th season in a row providing FPL content) so you can rely on us to always have your back.
We write the tips down for you, we try to make you smile, and we just bloody get on with it. All, as ever, for free.
So welcome back to these pages, best of luck in the FPL season ahead, and let’s all just have fun.
This year for the opening column I will be tipping one player in each position that you should not only start your season with but should look to keep in your team all season long. These are the players I recommend being your spine, your core, your beating heart.
Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool
Less than a third of teams right now are taking a punt on TAA, which is, to put it as politely as I can, absolute bloody madness.
He’s had the summer off. Last season, in a hilariously frazzled and bewildered Liverpool team he contributed 2G, 8A and 10CS. Now he’s got VVD back alongside him and has Norwich, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Brentford in four of his first six games.
15 Clean Sheets
That’s my prediction for this player this season, and if I’m even close to being right then £7.5m will seem like a bargain.
Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United
Oooh, this isn’t exactly sooth-saying stuff is it? First Trent, now Bruno? Tell me something I don’t know!
Well, more than half the teams DON’T have Bruno Fernandes, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
He joined Manchester United in January of the season before last, and racked up 8G, 8A in half a season. In his first full season he plundered 18G, 14A, so that’s a remarkably consistent 32 attacking return quotient per season so far.
It’s Leeds, Southampton, Wolves and Newcastle in the first four. It would be madness not to have him in your team to kick-off the season.
Forward: Danny Ings, Aston Villa
Last year I wrote the following for my GW1 Forward tip:
Did you hear the one about the £10.5m FPL striker that used to cost £13m, has an average of 23 goals over the last six seasons, should now at 27 years of age be hitting his (Amazon) prime years, has lovely fixtures to start the season, and is being ignored by 85% of the FPL community?
That’s Harry Kane, that is.
Food for thought, no?
This season we have no idea where Mr. Kane will spend most of his season, but with a chance he could sulk about for Spurs for a few weeks/months, I think I’ll avoid him for now. If he goes to City however, he could score 1,000,000 goals by Christmas, so that would require a rethink.
The same issue applies this season, with ownership of forwards spread evenly throughout the FPL community. I’m going to plump for a striker with 34 goals in his last two seasons, the last of which was hampered by injury.
A fully fit season, in a creative Villa side, and Ings can replicate and better his 22-goal haul from two seasons ago in a weaker Southampton side.
Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool
Golden Rule #1: Always. Captain. Salah.
Don’t try to be too clever in GW1. 50% of players own him, and a high percentage of those will captain him.
If you don’t, and he bangs, you’re playing catch up straight away.
If you do, and he flops, so does everyone else.
Plus, he started last season with a hat-trick, and I refer you back to Golden Rule #1
Outsider: Nathan Tella, Southampton
Tella has played a very regular part in Saints pre-season, even notching a goal, and has been played out of position as a striker when starting or coming off the bench.
With the departure of Danny Ings, and the rave reviews about his potential, he’s starting the season on my bench, priced attractively at £5.0m and an ownership of 0.2% and I’ll see where that takes us.
I’d advise you to do the same.