It feels like we’ve had a half-term rather than a summer holiday – Gameweek 1 is upon us already!
During the break Fantasy Football Scout has been busy producing absolutely tons of exciting content. The aim of this guide is to distill that knowledge into a digestible format. As Andy’s recent guest Simon succinctly put it when explaining his use of stats: “it’s almost impossible to watch 20 hours of football per week”.
The first piece of advice given by three-time top 200 finisher Lateriser is:
Read up about football more and then tinker… What happens when you are doing this is that you are strengthening your instinct, your subconscious… and then you tend to be more decisive.– Lateriser
The most important news for you to read first is the team news.
Neale reported the headlines from Thursday’s press conferences: Chelsea’s new-signing Hakim Ziyech is out for a couple of weeks; Christian Pulisic is ahead of schedule and could feature this weekend; Mason Holgate will miss Everton’s trip to North London with a toe injury; and Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed that budget ‘keeper Alex McCarthy is his No 1.
If you want to quickly look up a particular team or player, the easiest way to find the information you need is via The Complete Guide to Pre Season. This section of the website lists all the articles associated with each club.
Pay Attention to Captaincy
Another of Lateriser’s rules – pay attention to captaincy. It can make up 25 per cent of your score and it’s the biggest decision you make each week. Our upside-chasing Pro Pundit advocates, on occasion, bringing in a player for a hit – even for one Gameweek.
The first Captain Sensible article of the new season has, for a change, been written by Jan Sienkiewicz. Jan finished in the top 100 overall last season and mustered 657 captain points, the second-most in the world.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the popular choice with a clear lead in the captain poll, but Jan is not convinced by the underlying stats:
[Aubameyang] has been in a rich vein of form lately and the spirits are certainly high at the Emirates. However, the underlying data shows us that Arsenal’s attack has been underwhelming, creating very little from open play.– Jan
For the double-points maestro, Liverpool are the more attractive proposition:
The Liverpool attack looks set to fire against Leeds United in a game in which suits them tactically, even if they have been lacklustre in pre-season. Both Salah and Mané will look to start the season strongly and maintain their brilliant goalscoring records at home.– Jan
Mohamed Salah scored in 15 home matches last season, more than any other player.
However, in our Captaincy video Joe and David took a different view. A reminder that David went on a successful 17-Gameweek captain run back in 2018/19:
Aubameyang is my choice at the moment… the eye test is looking good, he made Liverpool look distinctly average [in the Community Shield]… and when he plays smaller teams he tends to look better.– David
Joe concurred, highlighting the Arsenal man’s excellent record against the minnows (teams outside of the top six): his expected goals is doubled, his number of big chances is doubled, even his shooting accuracy is doubled.
When in doubt back the odds.– Lateriser
It’s notable that Arsenal and Liverpool’s opponents, Leeds and Fulham, have the worst odds of recording a clean sheet. Thank you as ever to G-Whizz for posting his regular summary.
I’ve been sharing a splattering of Lateriser’s tips in this article, but we are lucky enough to have several excellent managers to call upon. The days when I used to write articles on the Top Five managers in the Hall of Fame are no longer needed – the top three are now all signed up as Pro Pundits.
So far we’ve heard from number three on the list, Darren Wiles, who recently finished 140th in the world and has three top 1,000 finishes in the last four seasons. He’s found that going ‘big at the back’ has served him well:
A strategy that threatened to take off at the start of last season, going big at the back has been the key to a lot of my success over the last four years.– Darren
Darren’s FPL draft includes four premium defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Matt Doherty, and Aymeric Laporte.
He’s also managed to squeeze in Salah, Aubameyang, and Werner! Somehow he’s done this with the same £100m budget as the rest of us.
Up front the Southampton fan has picked Che Adams and Aleksandar Mitrovic, giving him the same front three as Joe, who was roundly ridiculed on the Scoutcast by Az and Andy for having two £6.0m forwards.
Interestingly, Pro Pundit Az has revealed a very similar front three, with the exception of Ings for Adams. The debate would clearly seem to come down to whether you think Ings is worth the extra £2.5m over Adams.
To be fair to Az, it’s worth pointing out that Ings is just a placeholder for Anthony Martial his team. The co-host of the revamped FPL BlackBox podcast is set on owning the Manchester United forward for Gameweek 2.
Joining Az on the podcast is the legendary FPL manager and this website’s founder, Mark Sutherns. Mark has returned to Fantasy Football Scout and will be contributing his thoughts and insights over the coming season. Commenting on the proliferation of stats and content available to FPL managers, Mark reflected:
These days everyone can get a glut of knowledge, information and data in their timeline with relative ease. But to work out how best to process it, how you learn to separate luck from skill and focus on improving the input, not dwell on the output, that might just be the new marginal gain.– Mark
Don’t be surprised if Mark adds to his four top 1,000 finishes.
Another manager looking to join Az with Martial in his Gameweek 2 squad is Lateriser, although the upside-chasing manager is starting with him on his Gameweek 1 bench! India’s two-time FPL champion outlined his thinking in his latest Pro Pundit article.
Meanwhile Pro Pundit Tom Freeman has been scouting the Red Devil’s summer signing Donny van de Beek. The new addition gives Ole Gunnar Solskjær an extra dimension to his already gifted attack. Although Tom feels he may have to settle for a place on the bench, at least to start with.
Intriguingly, Tom’s headline differential pick is Christian Pulisic, who, as mentioned earlier, is in contention for Monday’s trip to Brighton. And he’s got the potential to deliver even if he’s named among the substitutes:
An appearance off the bench might not be the end of the world for owners, considering his ability to haul from limited minutes, as evidenced at Anfield last season.– Tom
Costing the same price as Chelsea’s Captain America is the Blues latest recruit from the Bundesliga, Kai Havertz. Chelsea fan and Pro Pundit Zophar, ran the rule over the former Bayer Leverkusen star. The German’s impressive goal conversion ratio of 19 per cent led the six-time top 5,000 manager to describe him as an “ice-cold finisher”.
Another player singled out by Tom as a differential ahead of the new season is Dele Alli. Indeed he is a player I highlighted when examining Mourinho’s attacking formation. Spurs have been much debated this pre-season both in terms of their attack and defence.
Pro Pundit Sam Bonfield shared her thoughts on the improved backline during the restart period, explaining how it bodes well for the coming season. While community member FPL Octopus argues that their defenders have been underpriced. And I took a look at the potential offered by Matt Doherty.
Join in the fun!
The Head-to-Head leagues and Last Man Standing are back, and we’re dishing out £2,500-worth of giveaways in the Community Members mini-league, plus there are a plethora of competitions for you to take part in: perhaps you fancy yourself against Greyhead’s The Great and The Good?
Take a moment to read this article to find out the League Codes – watch out for those Gameweek 1 deadlines. And thank you, as ever, to RedLightning for administering a number of our community mini-leagues.
Enjoy the new season.
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- Midfielders: Mid-Price
- Midfielders: Premium
- Forwards: Budget
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- Forwards: Premium
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