You can’t win an FPL title in the first five weeks of the season, or lose it, actually. But you can put yourself in a very strong position or leave yourself playing catch up before your campaign has even begun.
A whole summer of excitement and numerous squad drafts sketched on a sun lounger can immediately go to waste without the right preparation. No one wants that.
One way you can get one step ahead of your mini league rivals is by looking into which Premier League teams look set to get off to a hot start and stacking their best options while avoiding those who look certain to endure a torrid start to their campaign.
Here are the teams I’ve got my eye on.
Get them in
Hardly a hot take on this one but you can’t go wrong with stacking Manchester City’s attack into your FPL team at the start of the season. Last year’s runaway champions are hot favourites to retain their Premier League title but, just to add to their optimism, the fixture computer has even given them a kind start to get them on their way.
Granted, an opening day trip to The Emirates to face a new look Arsenal isn’t one that Pep Guardiola would have chosen but the following four weeks should ensure that the Champions come away from their opening five fixtures with 12 points at the very least. Huddersfield are the first victims to visit the Etihad this season before City take on newly promoted Wolves, Newcastle and Fulham.
Much has been made of a fresh, determined Leroy Sane and rightly so, while a similarly rested Riyad Mahrez will be determined to prove why one of the richest clubs in the world made him their record signing.
Nothing less than a serious title challenge is good enough for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool this season and their opening fixtures represent an excellent chance at gaining some crucial early momentum. There’s such a buzz around their transfer activity this summer that it’s hard to log into Twitter without seeing Liverpool strongly linked with a top class player.
Strength in depth (or a lack of it) was their big undoing at the tail end of last season but the arrivals of Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri show that The Reds mean business this time around.
Trips to Leicester and Tottenham in GW4 and GW5 will represent tough tests but fixtures against West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton present a very good chance of 9/9 at the start of the season.
While new signings represent good news for fans of Liverpool, it gives FPL managers an unnecessary headache. The Liverpool team almost picked itself last season but be prepared for a lot more rotation this season, particularly with the arrival of Shaqiri who will be looking to disrupt that formidable front three.
Andy Robertson is a must have for me. Roberto Firmino remains a firm favourite but may take two or three weeks to get going after a long summer. Sadio Mane and Mo Salah also spent a couple of weeks in Russia with the latter still recovering from that famous shoulder injury.
Who am I kidding? Pick Salah.
Worth a punt
Following the least surprising managerial departure of the summer, Chelsea are now a completely unknown quantity. New man Sarri may even do the unthinkable and revert back to a four at the back formation, leaving Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses almost completely fantasy irrelevant.
Add to the equation that the whereabouts of Alvaro Morata, Thibaut Courtois, Willian and (most worryingly) Eden Hazard in August is completely uncertain then steering clear of Chelsea would probably be a good idea.
However, Sarri has a great chance of excelling at Stamford Bridge from the off thanks to some kind fixtures. Hosting Arsenal in GW2 will be a baptism of fire for the Italian but that is sandwiched in between games against Huddersfield, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Cardiff.
In summary, nobody has a clue what’s going on at The Bridge at the moment but their fantasy assets are well worth looking at in the opening weeks of the season. Whoever they may be…
We’ve been here before. Everton fans go into this season with a real sense of optimism, no because of a whole host of new signings this time but more owing to the fact that it simply can’t be worse than last time.
Marco Silva is finally in charge of The Toffees and with his arrival brings a fresh enthusiasm around the club after a torrid 2017/18. Big Sam did his job but his departure was (once again) met with relief as a new, sexier name comes in to take charge of the club. We’ve heard that sentence before.
At the time of writing, Brazilian winger Malcolm is on the verge of signing from Bordeaux to join a squad that score 22 goals on Saturday. He could be an incredible FPL asset if his YouTube videos are anything to go by. Cenk Tosun looks like he could also be the real deal while old fantasy favourite Seamus Coleman is back to his best and may be a great differential pick at the start of the season.
I really don’t like the look of Huddersfield coming into the season. Apart from the fact that Steve Mounie is still probably their best FPL asset, they start the season by hosting Chelsea followed by a trip to the home of the champions.
The fixtures get slightly better after that (mainly because they can’t get any worse) but games against Everton and Crystal Palace could easily turn into two more tricky days at the office, especially if confidence has been damaged by an early season thumping or two.
There’s a lot of expectation surrounding the Hammers going into this campaign after a very productive summer in the transfer market.
Marko Arnautovic has been joined by other FPL relevant players such as Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko, all of which should produce good numbers this season.
However, you may want to hold off on getting them into your lineups straight away. The Hammers start with trips to Liverpool and Arsenal while Everton away in GW5 signals the end of a very tough start for Pellegrini’s men. I’m definitely looking to get West Ham players into my team(s), just not yet…