Gameweek 1 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is almost upon us and we’re profiling all 20 Premier League teams before the season starts.
From our top picks from each team to a predicted line-up for the opening weekend, we’ll be covering each top-flight side in detail.
Up next are Chelsea, who are about to embark on a new era under the ownership of Todd Boehly.
Data in this article comes from our Premium Members Area, which you can access with a discounted subscription for as little as £2.49 a month today.[anon_only id="snack_dex6"] [/anon_only]
LAST SEASON: ATTACK
|Total||Rank v other Premier League clubs|
|Shots in the box||383||3rd|
|Shots on target||209||3rd|
|Expected goals (xG)||72.16||3rd|
Chelsea are hard to play against but they were far behind the Premier League’s top two attacks last season, as they finished 18 goals behind Liverpool and 23 off Manchester City.
Scoring 76 goals isn’t a bad return, but it’s telling that Thomas Tuchel was often left frustrated with the number of chances his team wasted.
And given how far behind they were in all of the key attacking metrics, it’s hard to see them bridging the gap in 2022/23.
The club don’t have a traditional centre-forward to get them 20 Premier League goals, although they have strengthened with the addition of Raheem Sterling (£10.0m), whose ability to make dangerous runs in behind should make their attack sharper.
However, they’ll also need others to step up, given that only Mason Mount (£8.0m) reached double figures for goals scored in the Premier League with 11.
LAST SEASON: DEFENCE
|Total||Rank v other Premier League clubs|
|Shots in the box conceded||214||3rd|
|Shots on target conceded||115||3rd|
|Big chances conceded||49||4th=|
|Expected goals conceded (xGC)||39.30||3rd|
Chelsea ranked third for goals conceded last season, with 33, which was only seven fewer than top two Man City and Liverpool.
Now, they are once again expected to be one of the better defences in the division.
Kalidou Koulibaly (£5.5m) is an important signing in defence following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, given that he is a real leader at the back.
His understanding with compatriot Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) is also important and should ensure he settles quickly alongside the experienced Thiago Silva (£5.5m) and Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.0m) in Tuchel’s back-three system.
Chelsea are near the top of our Season Ticker for fixture difficulty in the first seven Gameweeks, meeting only Tottenham Hotspur of last season’s top six.
Their away trips particularly standout, with visits to Everton, Leeds United, Southampton and Fulham in that time, which has potential given that they picked up more points and scored more goals on the road in 2021/22:
PREDICTED GAMEWEEK 1 LINE-UP
Edouard Mendy is a sure starter in goal, with new signing Kalidou Koulibaly expected to be deployed in the left-sided centre-half spot vacated by Antonio Rudiger.
Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.0m) and Marcos Alonso (£5.5m) should start at Everton, although longer-term, their prospects look less assured: the former continues to be linked with a move away to Barcelona, while Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) will surely oust Alonso once he has regained match fitness.
Central midfield pairing Jorginho (£6.0m) and N’Golo Kante (£5.0m) hold little interest for Fantasy managers.
However, further forward, attacking trio Mount, Sterling and Kai Havertz (£8.0m) does look pretty tasty on paper and carries potential in FPL, with a fluid set-up expected which could also see Havertz through the middle.
Tuchel has previously suggested the Blues’ could evolve into a back-four system. In fact, he did experiment with the shape during pre-season, but ended the summer in the same 3-4-2-1 set-up he used for much of 2021/22. Recent recruitment also suggests a move to a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 isn’t happening anytime soon.
BEST FPL OPTIONS
Mason Mount has had a minor price rise to £8.0m, having racked up 22 attacking returns in 27 Premier League starts and five substitute appearances last term, averaging 5.3 points per match.
In fact, the academy product ended the season as Chelsea’s top goalscorer in the Premier League, with his 24-pointer against Norwich City in Gameweek 9 – courtesy of a hat-trick and an assist – a particular highlight.
A total of 15 of his 22 returns came against sides in the bottom six, the kind of flat-track bullying we Fantasy managers love when we are targeting players with favourable fixtures.
His manager loves him, too, which means he is one of the first names on the teamsheet, while he’s also impressed in pre-season, bagging a couple of goals.
Reece James starts the season at a very generous £6.0m, suggesting he can offer real value if he can stay fit and remain as a wing-back in the coming season.
Despite starting just 22 Premier League games in 2021/22, the England international produced five goals, nine assists, seven clean sheets and 26 bonus points, averaging a very impressive 6.3 points per start.
He’s a particularly explosive asset, too, having returned 18+ points on three occasions, something Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) failed to achieve once.
We have occasionally seen James at centre-half, which does dent his attacking potential, but when playing regularly as a wing-back, he’s absolutely one of the best assets in the game.
Further recruitment at the back would help boost his clean sheet potential, too, as the departure of Rudiger and Christensen did leave the Blues looking more vulnerable at the rear.
Chelsea should benefit from the arrival of Raheem Sterling, who at 27, still has his best years to come.
The England international found playing time harder to come by last season, as he made just 23 starts in Pep Guardiola’s title-winning XI.
However, he still netted 13 goals and assisted a further seven, averaging a very decent 6.4 points per start.
He may have finished with a negative expected goals (xG) delta in each of the last two seasons, but this is a player who has hit double figures for goals in five successive Premier League campaigns, and with his minutes now looking more assured, he has the potential to thrive.
Edouard Mendy has dropped one million pounds from last summer to just £5.0m, and as a result, is currently the most owned goalkeeper in FPL at 22.2%.
The Senegalese stopper racked up 14 clean sheets and 130 points in 2021/22, but it’s worth noting that budget ‘keepers like David Raya (£4.5m) and Vicente Guaita (£4.5m) averaged more points per match (4.0) than Mendy (3.8), with his cause not helped by just 14 save points and three bonus points.
However, with Koulibaly and further defensive reinforcements expected at Stamford Bridge, there is potential to top last season’s clean sheet count, while he is also currently the cheapest ‘nailed on’ route into Chelsea’s backline.
DIFFERENTIALS AND PLAYERS FOR THE WATCHLIST
Ben Chilwell made only six starts and one substitute appearance in an injury-ravaged 2021/22, but still managed three goals, one assist and four clean sheets.
The wing-back still looks to be struggling for fitness and wasn’t part of what looked to be Chelsea’s first-choice XI in Saturday’s friendly against Udinese, but once up to speed, his potential is clear.
Elsewhere, Kai Havertz (£8.0m) is now a forward in FPL.
A dozen Premier League goals and 10 assists across his previous two campaigns is a tad underwhelming, but he could be the one to step up following Lukaku’s return to Inter Milan on loan.
At this stage, there are superior forward options available to FPL managers in Gameweek 1, and it may be others who benefit most from Havertz’s ability to create space in the final third, but he is certainly one to monitor in the opening weeks, and worth adding to the Watchlist.