With the Premier League fixtures now released for 2022/23, we are able to assess which teams we should invest in and which we should avoid.
We have already taken a look at the top-flight teams with less favourable schedules, and now turn our attention to those sides with the best runs of opening fixtures on paper.
The primary focus in this article will be on a six-Gameweek lookahead but we will scrutinise the shorter and longer-term prospects where appropriate.
Our Season Ticker was updated almost immediately after the fixtures were released at 9am BST on Thursday, with the opening six Gameweeks sorted by difficulty below:
Subscribers to Fantasy Football Scout can use this helpful tool to pick out the best and worst runs of matches for each club, sort by rotation pairings, use their own customised difficulty ratings and more.
You can see a tutorial on the Season Ticker below:
Liverpool are top of our Season Ticker in the first six Gameweeks of 2022/23.
The Reds only face one of last season’s top six in that time and it’s against a far-from convincing Manchester United in Gameweek 3.
Championship winners Fulham are first up for Jurgen Klopp’s side, and given that Mohamed Salah is traditionally a strong starter – he has scored in five successive opening-weekend matches – there’ll be few of us going without the Egyptian in our Fantasy Premier League (FPL) drafts.
Notably, it will be the fourth season in a row which Liverpool have started a new campaign against a Premier League newcomer.
|2019/20||Norwich City (h)||4-1|
|2020/21||Leeds United (h)||4-3|
|2021/22||Norwich City (a)||0-3|
Crystal Palace then follow, with another newly-promoted side Bournemouth, plus Newcastle United and Merseyside rivals Everton, to come in the first half-dozen Gameweeks.
Manchester City are the only Premier League team who avoid a ‘big six’ side in the first six Gameweeks.
The home clashes against Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest in Gameweeks 2, 4 and 5 are particularly appealing, while it’s also worth noting that Pep Guardiola’s side netted a combined eight goals against their first three away opponents in the corresponding fixtures last season.
That opening run suggests Erling Haaland’s ownership in FPL will be sizeable on the opening weekend.
The Norwegian hitman arrives on the back of 49 goals and 13 assists in 52 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Dortmund over the last two seasons, and when paired with Salah, provides an appealing captaincy rotation.
Gameweeks 7-14 are less appealing, but City assets along with Liverpool tend to be fixture-proof regardless.
Arsenal have arguably the most-appealing first five fixtures on paper and, indeed, sit top of our Season Ticker in that period.
The Gunners face two newly-promoted outfits – Bournemouth and Fulham – with Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Aston Villa their other opponents.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side rather stuttered over the finish line at the end of 2021/22, missing out on a Champions League qualification spot. The downside to that is that they will be in UEFA Europa League action, which means they will have to get used to a demanding Thursday-Sunday turnaround between matches.
It’s also worth noting that much tougher tasks await, with the October schedule particularly fierce as they face north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City, plus Leeds United, all in the space of 18 days.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have arguably the most appealing sequence of games among the teams that finished outside of the top five last season.
Granted, there is a tricky meeting with Tottenham Hotspur in Gameweek 3, but two matches against newly-promoted sides plus Leeds, Newcastle and Southampton in the first half-dozen games suggests Bruno Lage’s men can start strongly.
And that has the potential to throw up one or two budget gems, like Rayan Ait-Nouri and Pedro Neto.
However, Wolves’ end-of-season form is a concern – in their final 14 games, they suffered nine defeats and only picked up 11 points – while owners of their assets will need to move them on in Gameweek 7, when they face successive matches against Liverpool, Man City, West Ham United and Chelsea.
Aston Villa (bou | EVE | cry | WHU | ars | MCI) assets will be in demand in the first three Gameweeks, with their run of Bournemouth, Everton and Crystal Palace arguably the best in the division.
Beyond that, though, things stiffen up considerably, as they did in 2021/22.
The Villans meet four of last season’s top eight between Gameweeks 4-7, which includes clashes against West Ham, Arsenal, Man City and Leicester.
Steven Gerrard will be hoping new defensive acquisitions Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara can help tighten them up, but Gameweek 4 seems like a good time to hop off their assets regardless.
Brentford (lei | MUN | ful | EVE | cry | LEE), meanwhile, have the opposite problem: their opening schedule isn’t great but a fixture swing in Gameweek 3 will see them rise up the ticker.
And that might be enough for some FPL managers to pick Ivan Toney, given the fact that many appealing budget/mid-price forwards have been handed tricky opening schedules.
Chelsea (eve | TOT | lee | LEI | sou | WHU) warrant a mention, particularly for their away matches, given that a trip to Fulham follows in Gameweek 7, while Brighton and Hove Albion (mun | NEW | whu | LEE | ful | LEI) sit top of our Season Ticker between Gameweeks 2-8, raising interest in the likes of Robert Sanchez and Leandro Trossard.
Also, a final word on Everton (CHE | avl | NFO | bre | lee | LIV) who have a nice run between Gameweeks 3-5, but do have some tricky fixtures either side against Chelsea and Liverpool, hence not featuring more prominently.
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