As expected, both Manchester clubs look set to name makeshift line-ups in Gameweek 1 of Fantasy Premier League, as a result of the World Cup.
City are travelling to the USA with very few of their key players following the summer tournament, while United manager Jose Mourinho has actually revealed which of his forward options will likely start against Leicester on August 10.
We’ve updated our list of World Cup absentees now that pre-season training and matches have begun in earnest. This has included adding on the minutes played by players involved in the third/fourth place play-off and the final, and tracking who has returned to training with their clubs.
Very few players who made it as far as the knockout stages have returned yet, while a large number of those eliminated in the group stages are beginning to trickle back to training.
- SEMI-FINALS: Danny Welbeck | 0 starts, 11 minutes
- QUARTER-FINALS: Lucas Torreira | 3 starts, 304 minutes
- LAST 16: David Ospina | 4 starts 399 minutes
- LAST 16: Granit Xhaka | 4 starts 360 minutes
- LAST 16: Stephan Lichsteiner | 3 starts 267 minutes
- LAST 16: Nacho Monreal | 0 starts 0 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Mohamed Elneny | 3 starts 244 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Mesut Ozil | 2 starts 180 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Joel Campbell | 1 start 113 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Alex Iwobi | 1 start 64 minutes
Arsenal look set to be largely unaffected by this summer’s World Cup, furthering their Fantasy appeal in the early part of the season. The last player to return to pre-season training for them will be England’s Danny Welbeck (£6.5m), who made it as far as the semi-finals with England, but only played 11 minutes of football. His absence shouldn’t cause any issues for new manager Unai Emery, who is expected to start both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£10.5m) in the Arsenal forward line, as he did against Boreham Wood.
Hector Bellerin (£5.5m) looks set to benefit from new signing Stephan Lichsteiner’s (£5.0m) involvement at the World Cup. The experienced international started three of Switzerland’s matches as they made it to the last sixteen. Emery’s decision to sign Lichsteiner from Juventus appeared to be focussed on providing cover for Bellerin, so the rotation threat was minimal anyway, but the World Cup has cemented his starting berth for the first few weeks at least.
Nacho Monreal (£5.5m) may miss some training after going to the last sixteen with Spain but he did not feature in Russia so may still be fresh. Likewise, Alex Iwobi (£5.5m) started just one match for Nigeria as they were knocked out in the group stage while Mesut Ozil (£8.5m) was only involved twice for Germany’s shock first-round exit. Goalkeeper David Ospina (not on FPL yet) made it to the last sixteen with Colombia having played every minute for his country, but he is now firmly third choice behind Bernd Leno (£5.0m) and Petr Cech (£5.0m).
The only area of concern for the Gunners appears to be in holding midfield. Mohamed Elneny (£5.0m) and Granit Xhaka (£5.5m) both played every minute of their respective nations’ campaigns in Russia while new signing Lucas Torreira (£5.0m) made it to the quarter-finals with Uruguay. One of them will have to be in the starting line-up for Gameweek 1, without a full pre-season in north London. That is likely to be Elneny who is expected to join up with Arsenal in Singapore next week at the same time as Ozil and Iwobi.
Bournemouth had no players at the World Cup.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
- LAST SIXTEEN: Jose Izquierdo | 1 start, 70 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Mat Ryan | 3 starts, 270 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Leon Balogun | 3 starts 270 minutes
Brighton look set to be largely unscathed by World Cup absences this season. The Seagull that spent the longest at the tournament was Colombian midfielder Jose Izquierdo (£6.0m), who reached the last sixteen. Having left Russia shortly after July 3 after just 70 minutes of football, Izquierdo could still form part of Brighton’s Gameweek 1 first-team but he will, of course, be late back to pre-season training. Last season he was not always a first-team regular anyway, making just 23 starts.
New signing Leon Balogun (£4.5m)’s last match in Russia was on June 27 having played every minute of Nigeria’s Group D campaign. The centre-back left the tournament with enough time to have a break before returning to training on Thursday July 19, so it’s worth tracking our Scout Notes over the coming weeks to see how often he features in friendlies. For now, Shane Duffy (£4.5m) and Lewis Dunk (£4.5m) look the go-to options in Brighton’s defence again.
Mat Ryan (£4.5m) was eliminated in the group stages with Australia which means he returned to club training at the same time as Balogun. As a goalkeeper, he is less likely to miss out compared to Izquierdo and Balogun, although it’s still worth tracking how often he plays in pre-season.
- SEMI-FINALS: Nick Pope | 0 starts, 0 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Johann Berg Gudmundsson | 2 starts, 153 minutes
Nick Pope (£5.0m) is Burnley’s last active World Cup player, his return from Russia delayed as England made it all the way to the third/fourth place play-off. While the Clarets’ goalkeeper did not play any minutes in Russia, he was still heavily involved in England training when he would normally be resting. Tom Heaton (£5.0m) has also worked with the Three Lions over the summer, so the World Cup doesn’t really change the fact that either one of the two goalkeepers could be number one for Gameweek 1. The former Man United man has started Burnley’s friendlies so far.
The most likely to miss out on a place in the Burnley starting XI early on, is Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£6.0m), although he has now returned to training. The Icelandic midfielder only started two matches in Russia, played 153 minutes and was knocked out in the group stage – but he sustained a muscle injury against Argentina which kept him out of the 2-0 defeat to Nigeria. Gudmundsson did return for their final group stage match but it is not known close to full fitness he was, with Iceland’s passage into the knockout rounds riding on their fortunes against Croatia.
Any doubts hanging over Gudmundsson could open the door on the right of midfield for Aaron Lennon (£5.5m). If he is not involved in the first few weeks of the season, Robbie Brady (£5.5m) could assume Gudmundsson’s set-piece responsibilities before his return to the side, although he is still shaking off a pre-season knock too.
- GROUP STAGE: Aron Gunnarsson | 3 starts, 253 minutes
The only Cardiff player at this summer’s World Cup was Icelandic midfielder Aron Gunnarsson (£4.5m). An important figure for both club and country, he started all three group stage matches before being eliminated at that stage, but he has now returned to training with the Bluebirds.
- FINAL: N’Golo Kante | 7 starts 595 minutes
- FINAL: Olivier Giroud | 6 starts, 546 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Thibaut Courtois | 7 starts, 630 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Eden Hazard | 6 starts, 518 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Ruben Loftus-Cheek | 3 starts, 274 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Michy Batshuayi | 1 start, 113 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Gary Cahill | 1 start 90 minutes
- QUARTER-FINAL: Willian | 5 starts, 359 minutes
- LAST 16: Andreas Christensen | 4 starts, 306 minutes
- LAST 16: Willy Caballero | 2 starts, 180 minutes
- LAST 16: Cesar Azpilicueta | 0 starts, 0 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Victor Moses | 3 starts, 270 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Antonio Rudiger | 1 start, 90 minutes
Chelsea have travelled for a pre-season training camp in Australia without a single member of their World Cup contingent. The Blues may rank highly for defence on our season ticker but Russia’s summer tournament looks set to seriously damage their chances of keeping clean sheets in the first few Gameweeks. N’Golo Kante (£5.0m) will surely be absent early on, having won the final with France, and upon his return the former Leicester City man may not be at his absolute best. The defence will certainly struggle without him to provide his trademark protection from midfield.
Several defensive players will also be arriving back in London too; so many in fact, that a fair few will almost have to start Gameweek 1 without full pre-season preparation. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (£5.5m) should be okay to return to the side despite going all the way to the third/fourth place play-off with Belgium, but that’s on account of his position more than anything else. Gary Cahill (£5.5m) went deep with England although he only played in one match, as did Germany’s Antonio Rudiger (£5.5m) on his way to being eliminated in the group stage. Andreas Christensen (£5.5m) looks a risk having played 306 minutes on the way to the last sixteen with Denmark.
Accordingly, Emerson Palmieri (£5.5m) and Davide Zappacosta (£5.5m) could be favoured by new manager Maurizio Sarri early on, amid suggestions he wants to do away with a three-man defence and wing-backs like Marcos Alonso (£6.5m). Azpilicueta is renowned for his durability and will probably slot straight back into central defence alongside either Cahill or Rudiger, with Christensen is unlikely to feature at least initially. With Antonio Conte now out of the job, David Luiz (£5.5m) may even get a look-in, given he’s had more rest than Cahill, Rudiger and Christensen this summer.
Further up the pitch, Eden Hazard (£10.5m), Willian (£7.5m) and Olivier Giroud (£8.0m) all going deep into the tournament opens the door for Pedro (£6.5m), Ross Barkley (£6.0m) and Alvaro Morata (£9.0m). The two midfielders feel more likely to be involved with Morata potentially on his way out of the club. Gonzalo Higuain has been linked with a move to Chelsea, and if that is completed before the start of the season than Giroud’s absence will mean he’ll slot straight in, having played just 132 minutes in Russia.
- GROUP STAGE: Luka Milivojevic | 2 starts, 171 minutes
Crystal Palace will be largely unaffected by the World Cup with just one player involved in this summer’s finals. Luka Milivojevic (£6.5m) started just two matches in Russia and played 171 minutes before coming home after the group stages. He should be back with Palace next week, affording him enough time to not miss much Premier League action. In the unlikely event that he does miss a game or two at the start of 2018/19, Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) might assume his penalty-taking responsibilities. Palace currently top our season ticker for attack in the first six Gameweeks so it’s worth investing in their midfielders and/or forwards.
- SEMI-FINALS: Jordan Pickford | 7 starts, 699 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Gylfi Sigurdsson | 3 starts, 270 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Idrissa Gueye | 3 starts, 270 minutes
England World Cup hero Jordan Pickford (£5.0m) will have a very late return to the Everton camp this summer, although as a goalkeeper, he could be involved from Gameweek 1. In the unlikely event that Pickford does not play in the first few Gameweeks, Maarten Stekelenburg is available at £4.0m – so it’s worth seeing what happens in the Toffees pre-season matches.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m) and Idrissa Gueye (£5.0m) played every minute for their respective countries before both being knocked out in the group stages. The pair are expected back in either the third or fourth week of July and could be with the group when Everton fly to Portugal on July 20. That should mean neither of them misses Gameweek 1. Davy Klaassen (£6.0m) currently looks the only alternative to Sigurdsson and was not used much last season.
Fulham had no players at the World Cup.
- LAST 16: Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen | 2 starts, 229 minutes
- LAST 16: Jonas Lossl | 0 starts, 0 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Aaron Mooy | 3 starts, 270 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Ramadan Sobhi | 0 starts, 56 minutes
Two of Huddersfield’s defensive players went to the second round of the World Cup with Denmark, although one looks more prone to rotation initially. Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen (£4.5m) made two starts in Russia playing 229 minutes of football, while Jonas Lossl (£4.5m) remained an unused understudy to Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m).
Further up the pitch, Aaron Mooy (£5.5m) was a key player for Australia and feels more likely to be affected by his World Cup campaign than new signing Ramadan Sobhi (£5.0m), who didn’t make a single start and only played 56 minutes. But neither one is particularly likely to miss involvement in Gameweek 1 as a result of their exploits, as they return to training this week.
- SEMI-FINALS: Harry Maguire | 6 starts, 654 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Jamie Vardy | 1 start, 166 minutes
- LAST 16: Kasper Schmeichel | 4 starts, 400 minutes
- LAST 16: Adrien Silva | 2 starts, 156 minutes
- LAST 16: Shinji Okazaki | 1 start, 67 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Wilfried Ndidi | 3 starts, 270 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Ahmed Musa | 2 starts, 207 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Kelechi Iheanacho | 2 starts, 147 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Yohan Benalouane | 0 starts, 49 minutes
England World Cup hero Harry Maguire (£5.5m) looks set to miss the first few Gameweeks of the Premier League campaign, having racked up 654 minutes with England on the way to the World Cup’s final weekend. That probably leaves the door open for Jonny Evans (£5.0m) and Wes Morgan (£4.5m) to start at centre-back from Gameweek 1 to 3.
Maguire’s compatriot Jamie Vardy (£8.5m) has a better chance of making into the side to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Friday August 10, having only registered 166 minutes in Russia. However, the 31-year-old struggled with a muscle injury and was later still involved in full training while on England duty and may require extra-time to rest before returning to Premier League action.
Unfortunately for Leciester, the alternative centre-forwards were also involved for their countries at the World Cup, although to less of an extent than Vardy was. Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.0m) made two starts and played 147 minutes for Nigeria before leaving at the end of the group stages while Shinji Okazaki (£5.5m) made it to the knockout rounds with Japan playing just 67 minutes. Neither one of them will be fully fit for Gameweek 1 but may be in better shape than Vardy.
Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m) was ever present for Denmark on their journey to the last sixteen but as a goalkeeper he may find it easier slotting back in for Gameweek 1. If not, Eldin Jakupovic (£4.5m) would be the alternative choice between the sticks.
- FINAL: Dejan Lovren | 6 starts, 670 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Jordan Henderson | 5 starts, 483 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Trent Alexander-Arnold | 1 start 79 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Simon Mignolet | 0 starts, 0 minutes
- QUARTER-FINALS: Roberto Firmino | 0 starts 82 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Sadio Mane | 3 starts, 270 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Mohamed Salah | 2 starts 180 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Marko Grujic | 0 starts, 0 minutes
Several important Liverpool players could see their early Premier League starts and performances limited by the World Cup. Competing in the final will almost certainly rule Dejan Lovren (£5.0m) out of Liverpool’s first two Premier League fixtures. Any one of Joel Matip (£5.0m), Joe Gomez (£5.0m) or Ragnar Klavan (£4.5m) could fill the void alongside Virgil van Dijk (£6.0m) while he takes extended leave and returns to pre-season training very late. Gomez and Klavan have rotated around each other in friendlies so far, both playing 45 minutes in each of Liverpool’s two matches so far but Matip has registered some minutes now.
New signings Naby Keita (£7.5m) and Fabinho (£6.0m) both have a strong chance of starting in the initial Gameweeks for Liverpool, with club captain Jordan Henderson (£5.5m) still in Russia by the final weekend. The central midfielder was a key player for England en route to the semi-finals, playing 483 minutes and picking up a knock against Croatia.
The typically ruthless front-three of Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) and Sadio Mane (£9.0m) could begin 2018/19 a little out of sorts. Neither one of them really played enough minutes in Russia to jeopardise starts but Salah may still be recovering from the knock sustained in the Champions League and Firmino was still with the Brazil squad well into July. Salah and Mane are expected to link up with the Liverpool squad ready for the US tour but the pair will have already missed four pre-season fixtures by that point. Adam Lallana (£7.0m) has impressed in pre-season friendlies so far and could come in for any of them while Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings (£5.5m) and Dominic Solanke (£5.0m) are also waiting in the wings.
- FINAL: Benjamin Mendy | 0 starts, 40 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: John Stones | 7 starts, 654 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Kyle Walker | 5 starts, 448 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Kevin De Bruyne | 6 starts 540 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Raheem Sterling | 6 starts, 454 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Vincent Kompany | 4 starts, 376 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Fabian Delph | 2 starts, 220 minutes
- QUARTER-FINALS: Gabriel Jesus | 5 starts, 406 minutes
- QUARTER-FINALS: Fernandinho | 1 start, 155 minutes
- QUARTER-FINALS: Danilo | 1 start, 90 minutes
- QUARTER-FINALS: Ederson | 0 starts 0 minutes
- LAST 16: Nicolas Otamendi | 4 starts, 360 minutes
- LAST 16: David Silva | 4 starts, 327 minutes
- LAST 16: Bernardo Silva | 3 starts, 238 minutes
- LAST 16: Sergio Aguero | 2 starts 178 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Ilkay Gundogan | 0 starts, 59 minutes
Just two of Manchester City’s players who went to the World Cup have been named in their pre-season training squad for their trip to the USA, namely Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) and Benjamin Mendy (£6.0m). That means the Citizens look set to struggle with both team selection and fitness in the early part of the 2018/19 season, with Russia’s finals claiming 16 first-team players. Seven of those made it as far as the last four while all but one of that contingent got through to the knockout stages.
Of the Manchester City options available in FPL, only Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m), Leroy Sané (£9.5m), Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m), Phil Foden (£5.0m), Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.0m) and Brahim Diaz (£5.0m) were not involved in the World Cup in some way.
While it would make sense to invest in those players initially, it is entirely possible that the tiredness of their team-mates may reduce their output anyway. After all, of those six World Cup-less players, only three of them look likely to start (Laporte, Sané and Mahrez) so a large portion of City’s Gameweek 1 starting XI will be taken from those who have had a busy summer.
Ederson (£5.5m) should retain his starting berth in goal having not registered a single minute with Brazil but in front of him, only Laporte looks a sure starter. John Stones (£5.5m), Kyle Walker (£6.5m) and Vincent Kompany (£5.5m) all lasted the full tournament with England and Belgium respectively, while Nicolas Otamendi (£6.5m) got to the last sixteen with Argentina. Aside from Mendy, full-back could be a serious area of struggle with Fabian Delph (£5.5m) and still in Russia by the final weekend while quarter-finalist Danilo (£5.5m) picked up an injury at the tournament.
Fernandinho (£5.5m) may be able to feature from the beginning of the campaign having only played 155 minutes largely as a substitute with Brazil. Alongside him Ilkay Gundogan (£5.5m) should feature after just 59 minutes played in Germany side knocked out in the group stage.
In attack, Kevin De Bruyne (£10.0m) and Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) shouldn’t be involved for a few weeks, presumably allowing Sane and Mahrez to get some minutes behind Sergio Aguero (£11.0m), who managed just two starts before Argentina were eliminated by France in the second round, although he will be absent from the US training camp. David Silva (£8.5m) may also be a doubt for early inclusion having been an important figure for Spain until the round of sixteen.
- FINAL: Paul Pogba | 6 starts, 539 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Jesse Lingard | 5 starts, 536 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Ashley Young | 5 starts, 448 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Romelu Lukaku | 6 starts, 476 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Marouane Fellaini | 3 starts, 316 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Marcus Rashford | 1 start, 220 minutes
- SEMI-FINAL: Phil Jones | 2 starts, 180 minutes
- QUARTER-FINAL: Victor Lindelof | 4 starts, 360 minutes
- LAST 16: David De Gea | 4 starts, 397 minutes
- LAST 16: Marcos Rojo | 3 starts, 225 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Nemanja Matic | 3 starts, 270 minutes
Alexis Sanchez (£10.5m), Anthony Martial (£7.5m) and Juan Mata (£6.5m) are set to lead Manchester United’s forward line in the first few weeks of the season, according to manager Jose Mourinho. He admitted this week that he is unwilling to involve any player who went to the World Cup early on.
Both Romelu Lukaku (£11.0m) and Marcus Rashford (£7.0m) were in Russia until the penultimate day of the tournament. Paul Pogba (£8.0m), Jesse Lingard (£7.0m) and Marouane Fellaini (£5.0m) are also expected to be missing from the United midfield initially with Fred (£6.0m) another of the likely beneficiaries. Nemanja Matic’s (£5.0m) group stage exit may not see him miss too much football, but he will remain a selection risk initially, especially in light of Mourinho’s comments.
The absence of England defenders Ashley Young (£6.0m) and Phil Jones (£5.5m) could justify investment in either one of Luke Shaw (£5.0m) or Diogo Dalot (£5.5m) and Chris Smalling (£6.0m) or Eric Bailly (£5.5m) at centre-half early on.
Marcus Rojo (£5.0m) and Victor Lindelof (£5.0m) went to the knockout stages too and are unlikely to be selected during the first few Gameweeks.
David De Gea (£6.0m) played 397 minutes for Spain as they were surprisingly knocked out by Russia. As a goalkeeper he may be fine to slot straight back in. Keep an eye on our pre-season Scout Notes though as one of Sergio Romero (£5.0m) or Lee Grant (not yet on FPL) could feature in De Gea’s place.
- GROUP STAGE: Aleksandr Mitrovic | 3 starts, 268 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Ki Sung-yueng | 2 starts, 180 minutes
Newcastle look set to be largely unaffected by the World Cup with just two of their players in Russia, neither of whom has returned to training yet. The one who played the most minutes Aleksandr Mitrovic (not on FPL yet) may not even be a Newcastle player much longer after a successful loan spell at Fulham has already raised suggestions he may move there permanently. Either way, he was back home soon after Serbia were knocked out in the group stage.
New signing Ki Sung-yueng (£5.0m) started two World Cup matches, missing out on South Korea’s final match of the tournament with an injury. Accordingly, he may be absent from the first few Premier League fixtures, with Jonjo Shelvey (£5.5m) and Isaac Hayden (£4.5m) set to benefit.
- LAST 16: Maya Yoshida | 4 starts, 360 minutes
- LAST 16: Cedric Soares | 3 starts, 270 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Jan Bednarek | 2 starts, 225 minutes
Southampton’s World Cup absences will only be in defence, with two centre-backs and one wing-back set for an extended summer break.
The probable absence of right-back Cedric Soares (£4.5m) in Gameweek 1 (maybe 2) will be the bigger issue for Mark Hughes to solve. Nathan Redmond (£5.5m) and Shane Long (£5.0m) have been tested on the right-hand side of a 3-5-2 during pre-season so far, which could continue until Cedric returns.
At centre-back, the signing of Jannik Vestergaard should tide Southampton over while Maya Yoshida (£4.5m) misses a Gameweek or two. Jack Stephens (£4.5m), Wesley Hoedt (£4.5m) and Ryan Bertrand (£5.0m) have operated as the back three so far. With that new signing, Jan Bednarek (£4.0m) was unlikely to feature even if he hadn’t gone to the World Cup with Poland.
- FINAL: Hugo Lloris | 6 starts, 540 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Kieran Trippier | 6 starts, 558 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Harry Kane | 6 starts, 582 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Toby Alderweireld | 6 starts, 540 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Jan Vertonghen | 6 starts, 540 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Dele Alli | 4 starts, 364 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Danny Rose | 2 starts, 212 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Eric Dier | 2 starts, 257 minutes
- SEMI-FINALS: Mousa Dembele | 2 starts 178 minutes
- LAST 16: Christian Eriksen | 4 starts, 400 minutes
- LAST 16: Davinson Sanchez | 4 starts, 399 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Son Heung-min | 3 starts, 270 minutes
Tottenham will find themselves with some selection and fitness problems at the start of 2018/19, especially in central defence and attacking midfield. No Premier League side has more players still in Russia by the final weekend than Spurs’ nine.
Toby Alderweireld (£6.0m) and Jan Vertonghen (£6.0m) made it to the last four with Belgium, playing every minute of the tournament aside from the 1-0 win over England in the group stages. Meanwhile, Davinson Sanchez (£6.0m) racked up 399 minutes with Colombia as they were knocked out in the second round. The only first-team cover for those three individuals is Eric Dier (£5.0m), another long-term resident in Russia during the World Cup. So, barring any defensive additions over the summer or promotions from the youth ranks, they are probably all going to have to start in Gameweek 1, and are unlikely to be completely ready for the new season.
The full-back areas are an easier problem for Mauricio Pochettino to solve with Kieran Trippier’s (£6.0m) heroics with England and Danny Rose’s (£6.0m) inclusion in the England squad paving the way for Serge Aurier (£6.0m) and Ben Davies (£6.0m) to have the monopoly on each flank for several weeks. They started and performed well in Spurs’ first pre-season match of the season, a 6-0 win over Southend United.
Attacking midfield will provide a real puzzle, though. Dele Alli (£9.0m) and Christian Eriksen (£9.5m) both registered over 350 minutes of football in Russia, the former staying in the country until the competition’s final matches. Son Heung-min’s (£8.0m) involvement with South Korea didn’t go beyond the group stage but he will now participate in the Asian Games in August, hoping to win the tournament to avoid two years of military service, although he is now in training with Spurs. Erik Lamela (£6.5m) and Lucas Moura (£7.0m) look to be the chief beneficiaries here with selection doubts over Alli, Eriksen and Son. They were another duo to impress against Southend, the former netting a hat-trick and an assist.
Up front, Spurs may have no choice but to start Fernando Llorente (£6.0m) if they don’t sign another centre-forward, with Harry Kane (£12.5m) may not start a league match until Gameweek 3.
Finally, Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) may miss some of the early season after winning the World Cup with France. Michel Vorm (5.0m) is currently the understudy who could get some minutes, and did so against Southend.
- GROUP STAGE: Nordin Amrabat | 3 starts, 256 minutes
Watford’s World Cup absentee is unlikely to cause too many problems for manager Javi Gracia. Nordin Amrabat was knocked out in the group stage with Morocco and there is plenty of cover for him at Vicarage Road too. He was even loaned out to Leganes last season so is clearly not an important figure. Assets such as Gerard Deulofeu (£5.5m), Richarlison (£6.5m) and Roberto Pereyra (£6.0m) will all have easier routes into a Gameweek 1 line-up with Amrabat’s later than usual return to pre-season training.
WEST HAM UNITED
- LAST 16: Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez | 4 starts 330 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Cheikou Kouyate | 1 start, 118 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Lukasz Fabianski | 1 start, 90 minutes
Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) could retain his role as a centre-forward for West Ham at the beginning of 2018/19 after all, after starting up front in their latest pre-season friendly. Javier Hernandez (£6.5m) will miss some pre-season training and maybe Gameweek 1 having gone to the last sixteen with Mexico while Andy Carroll (£5.5m) is now out for three months after ankle surgery. The only other alternative is Jordan Hugill (£5.0m), who is clearly not up to the same level as Arnautovic.
If Cheikou Kouyate (£5.0m) misses out for West Ham then Jack Wilshere (£5.0m) will find it easier to work his way into the Gameweek 1 team, as will Mark Noble (£5.0m) and Pedro Obiang (£4.5m).
- LAST 16: Rui Patricio | 4 starts, 360 minutes
- LAST 16: Raul Jimenez | 0 starts, 54 minutes
- GROUP STAGE: Romain Saiss | 2 starts, 180 minutes
John Ruddy (£4.5m) may get a few extra weeks as Wolves number one goalkeeper if new signing Rui Patricio (£4.5m) arrives at training late. He and Portugal were knocked out in the second round by Uruguay.
Romain Saiss (£4.5m) started two matches for Morocco in Russia but left the country after the group stage. He may be back in contention by Gameweek 1, although a whole host of central defensive and midfield will benefit if he is in not.
Raul Jiménez (£5.5m) returned to training this week having played just 54 minutes for Mexico this summer. He may be competing with Leo Bonatini (£5.0m) and Rafa Mir (£4.5m) to start early on.
Read more with Scout
Pick your FPL team for 2018/19 using our list of best available players, sorted for your convenience by position and price:
- Defenders: Budget
- Defenders: Mid-Price and Premium
- Midfielders: Budget
- Midfielders: Mid-Price
Also check out our detailed statistical analysis articles on every team comparing data for the last two seasons to highlight the players to sign and the players to avoid:
- Brighton & Hove Albion
- Cardiff City
- Crystal Palace
- Huddersfield Town
- Leicester City
- Manchester City
- Read them all in one place
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the 2018/19 campaign are now available for the pre-season price of just £12.50. This will increase to the regular price of £15 after the first Gameweek of the season.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 130+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.