With new signings, new managers and indeed three new teams clouding the water, anticipating the Gameweek 1 line-ups was always going to be tricky.
Our pre-season coverage helped point us in the right direction and there weren’t as many shocks as there might have been in the various starting XIs.
There were still lessons to be learned, though, so we will discuss each team selection on a match-by-match basis in the article below.
Liverpool v Norwich City
Liverpool were in their tried-and-tested 4-3-3, with Divock Origi patrolling the left flank.
Sadio Mane, late back from the Africa Cup of Nations, emerged as a 74th-minute substitute to replace the Belgian on the wing.
Alisson began the match in goal but budget FPL goalkeeper Adrian – listed above – came on for
As happened in the Community Shield, Joe Gomez was given the nod over Joel Matip alongside Virgil van Dijk at centre-half.
Kenny McLean was chosen over Mario Vrancic and Moritz Leitner in the double-pivot, although the latter came on before the hour-mark.
£4.5m midfielder Todd Cantwell, who has also featured in place of Marco Stiepermann in pre-season, edged out Onel Hernandez on the left flank.
Hernandez came on late in the game, with Cantwell moving inside and indeed completing 90 minutes.
West Ham United v Manchester City
Leroy Sane injured, Raheem Sterling – as happened in the Community Shield – shifted over to the left flank and Gabriel Jesus led the line in a 4-3-3.
Sergio Aguero replaced the Brazilian midway through the second half.
With Bernardo Silva nursing a minor muscle problem, Riyad Mahrez was promoted to the right flank despite not kicking a ball in pre-season – the Algerian having been involved with his country at the Africa Cup of Nations.
There were no great surprises elsewhere, with Oleksandr Zinchencko and Kyle Walker at full-back – Joao Cancelo only match-fit enough for the bench – and John Stones preferred to Nicolas Otamendi at centre-half.
With West Ham without the injured Mark Noble, Jack Wilshere dropped back alongside Declan Rice in the double-pivot.
Despite Pablo Fornals having started the last three pre-season friendlies, it was Michail Antonio who joined Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini in the attacking trident behind Sebastien Haller.
Antonio, who had started the game on the left flank, was hooked at half-time and replaced by ‘number ten’ Fornals, with Lanzini moving across to the
Anderson was again deployed on the right flank in Manuel Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1.
Bournemouth v Sheffield United
Perhaps the biggest formation surprise of the weekend was Eddie Howe opting to go with a 3-4-3 against Sheffield United, although the unavailability of wingers Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks perhaps forced his hand.
Josh King and Ryan Fraser played either side of Callum Wilson, with Adam Smith and £4.0m-rated Diego Rico used as wing-backs.
Goalscorer Chris Mepham joined Nathan Ake and Steve Cook in a back three, with Aaron Ramsdale getting the nod over Bournemouth’s other three senior goalkeepers between the posts.
There were no real shocks in the visitors’ starting XI, with a wing-back system one Chris Wilder used in the Championship last season.
FPL defender John Lundstram was brought in alongside John Fleck and Oliver Norwood to bolster
Burnley v Southampton
It was as you were for Burnley, with Sean Dyche sticking with the 4-4-2 that he has favoured for much of his tenure at Turf Moor.
Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood kept up their ever-present league record in 2019 up top, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson back on the right wing having played second fiddle to Jeff Hendrick for much of this calendar year.
Charlie Taylor still wasn’t quite match-fit enough so Erik Pieters made his Burnley debut at left-back and collected two assists.
Having started pre-season in a 4-2-2-2, Southampton finished the summer in a similar wing-back system that Ralph Hasenhuttl rolled out in 2018/19 and indeed a 3-4-3 was used again in Lancashire.
Che Adams had featured on the right flank over the summer but it was Danny Ings who was moved wide to allow the ex-Birmingham striker to feature centrally, with Nathan Redmond stationed on the left.
Illness apparently kept Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the bench for most of the game, with James Ward-Prowse and Oriel Romeu playing in tandem in central midfield.
Jack Stephens got the nod over Maya Yoshida at centre-half but was sacrificed for Hojbjerg late on as Hasenhuttl reverted to a back four.
Crystal Palace v Everton
Roy Hodgson started this season as he finished last, with Palace in a 4-4-2.
Jordan Ayew was paired alongside Christian Benteke in attack, with Wilfried Zaha brought on alongside the Belgian midway through the second half.
Scott Dann and £4.0m defender Martin Kelly saw off the challenge of Gary Cahill at centre-half.
Everton were also in a familar shape to last season, with Richarlison and Bernard on the right and left respectively of a 4-2-3-1.
All of the players in the starting XI were on the books last season, although Moise Kean replaced Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front midway through the second half and Jean-Philippe Gbamin was brought on for the injured Andre Gomes just before half-time.
Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off and will miss Gameweek 2.
Watford v Brighton and Hove Albion
Gameweek 1 featured something we hadn’t seen last season: Gerard Deulofeu starting a Premier League match on the wing.
Now an FPL forward, of course, Deulofeu was sacrificed for Roberto Pereyra at the break, with the Argentina international still working his way back up to full match-fitness after the Copa America.
Craig Dawson was included at centre-half and was the only starter on either side who wasn’t at his club in 2018/19.
Graham Potter had trialled a 3-4-3 in the final two games of pre-season and that was indeed the formation that he deployed on Saturday.
Leandro Trossard remained an unused substitute as Pascal Gross and Jurgen Locadia flanked Glenn Murray in attack.
Florin Andone and Neal Maupay replace the latter two players in the second half and both scored.
Solly March and FPL defender Martin Montoya were used as wing-backs.
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa
Spurs started Saturday’s game in a 4-4-2 diamond, with Erik Lamela playing just off Harry Kane and Lucas Moura in attack.
The introduction of Christian Eriksen for Harry Winks saw Lucas and Lamela pull wide and Kane lead the line in a 4-2-3-1.
Villa were in their familiar 4-1-4-1 shape, with Conor Hourihane starting at the base of the midfield but later replaced by new recruit Douglas Luiz.
Trezeguet was preferred to – and eventually replaced by – Jota on the right.
There was a surprise in the full-back department, with last season’s first-choice pairing of Neil Taylor and Mohamed Elmohamady preferred to 2019 signings Matt Targett and Frederic Guilbert.
Only Targett made the bench, with Guilbert not among the substitutes.
Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Brendan Rodgers opted for a 4-3-3 as he attempted to put pressure on Wolves’ back three.
Ayoze Perez played on the right of a front three with Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.
Hamza Choudhury was sacrificed in the second half as substitute Harvey Barnes took over on the left flank, with Maddison moving infield alongside Youri Tielemans in a 4-1-4-1.
Wolves were as they were for much of last season, with Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez stationed up top in a 3-5-2.
Patrick Cutrone replaced Jota for the final 15 minutes.
Newcastle United v Arsenal
Matt Ritchie recovered from injury to take up the same left wing-back role he occupied last season, with Newcastle United in a 3-5-2.
Ritchie moved infield when Jonjo Shelvey limped off, with Jetro Willems taking over on the left.
An ‘out of position’ Miguel Almiron partnered Joelinton up front, with substitute Allan Saint-Maximin joining them in a front three late on.
Unai Emery mostly used a 4-2-3-1 in pre-season and indeed that was the formation favoured on Tyneside, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the line after a stint on the right flank this summer.
Alexandre Lacazette, only just back from an ankle injury, was an unused substitute.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson started in the attacking midfield positions behind the Gabon international, with summer signings Gabriel Martinelli, Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe replacing them in the second half.
Pepe took up a left-wing role.
With new signing David Luiz also not called upon on the bench, Calum Chambers started at centre-half.
Manchester United v Chelsea
United and Chelsea both lined up in a 4-2-3-1, as they had ended pre-season.
FPL midfielder Anthony Martial led the line for the hosts, with Marcus Rashford stationed on the left.
Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard started the game in the hole and on the right respectively, although interchanged on occasion.
Paul Pogba was positioned on the right of a central midfield two, having played almost exclusively on the left last season.
Frank Lampard sacrificed Christian Pulisic to fit both Mason Mount and Ross Barkley into the same starting XI, with Barkley occupying the left-wing role and Mount playing just off striker Tammy Abraham.
Pulisic replaced Barkley on the hour-mark, with Mount finishing the game.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic lined up in the double-pivot, with N’Golo Kante replacing the former in the last 20 minutes.
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea