FPL Differential XI: Pre-season

Goalkeeper: Emi Martinez (5.0m) – Aston Villa – 4.7% TSB

Edouard Mendy’s new FPL price tag has a lot to do with Emi Martinez’s low ownership but I still feel like the Villa stopper is a decent differential pick if you’re looking to gain something via the Goalkeeper slot.

My own preference is to stick to the 4.5 crew (Dean Henderson to be specific) but if you’ve got a spare 0.5m hanging around and already have the Chelsea full backs in your squad, Martinez could be your man at 4.7% ownership.

Defender: Lucas Digne (5.0m) – Aston Villa – 4.0% TSB

My defender picks consist of those in the 5.0m range, starting with Villa left back and regular FPL troll Lucas Digne. Plenty were burned by Digne last season in an injury hit season but fancy him to hit the ground running this season now he is settled at Villa Park.

The Frenchman completed a handy 52 key passes last season (four more than Reece James) but came away with just four assists, (five less than the Chelsea man). A little more luck should see Digne fill up the stats columns much more effenctively this time around.

Defender: Matt Targett (5.0m) – Newcastle United – 1.5% TSB

From the current Villa left back to the guy he has succeeded. Matt Targett hit the gound running last season at Newcastle and was a big part of their hot form towards the end of last season.

A nailed on starter with a share of set pieces and plenty of chances to fly forward for a mid-table/Europa League challenger could see him become a low ownership bargain at £5.0m

Defender: Matt Doherty (5.0m) – Tottenham Hotspur – 2.0% TSB

There’s plenty of question marks surrounding Matt Doherty with rotation and fitness a worry. However, all of these are present for team mate Ivan Perisic who is priced £0.5m more expensive and is currently selected by 43.7% of managers!

Doherty enjoyed a spell where he was on fire under new manager Antonio Conte before picking up a season ending injury. I’d be surprised if he isn’t the first choice right wing back at Spurs if they don’t sign Djed Spence or another valid replacement.

Defender: Ibou Konate (5.0m) – Liverpool – 2.2% TSB

This is a risky one but a very cheap way into the Liverpool defence if Ibou Konate claims a regular starting place alongside Virgil Van Dijk. The young powerhouse was favoured over Joel Matip in plenty of the big games towards the end of last season, potentially signalling a changing of the guard at the heart of the back line.

Midfielder: Jadon Sancho (7.5m) – Manchester United – 4.0% TSB

If you’re a Twitter use then you’ll see that Jadon Sancho is already a popular pick. At the time of writing, the United man was only selected by 4% of teams but you;d expect that to rise if he continues with a good pre-season.

Sancho was undeniably a flop in his first season at Old Trafford but you’d expect things to get much better for an undeniably talented player, even if the new regime under Ten Hag takes time to gather momentum.

Midfielder: Harvey Barnes (7.0m) – Leicester City – 5.0% TSB

Harvey Barnes was an early season troll for a lot of FPL managers 12 months ago, myself included. I’m a glutton for punishment though as I’m very tempted to have him in my GW1 squad once again.

He’s great to watch, explosive at his best and his tendency to haul every now and then will endure he’s an excellent differential at certain points this season! No European football either…

Midfielder: Harry Wilson (6.0m) – Fulham – 1.3% TSB

He’s waited patiently for his shot at the big time and he’s back once again, but can Harry Wilson finally deliver what he’s so often promised?

The gifted Welshman lit up the Championship last season (again) and has everything needed to be a bargain FPL asset, albeit one who is probably priced £0.5m too high.

Midfielder: Michael Olise (5.5m) – Crystal Palace – 1.1% TSB

Every FPL draft I see has Pedro Neto in while none seem to have the equally talented, similarly priced Michael Olise.

The Palace man is just as likely to start (if not more), plays for a more fluid attacking outfit and has already demonstrated his eye for an assist. This could be his big break out season and I cannot for the life of me work out why it’s Neto and not Olise who everyone is going mad for in this pre-season!

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes (10.0m) – Manchester United – 3.4% TSB

He’s pricey (overpriced) but he’s still Manchester United’s main man. At £10.0m, many have quite rightly steered clear of Bruno Fernandes in favour or a Salah/Son and Diaz combination. However, I have no doubt that the inevitable Bruno will make it into most manager’s teams at some point this season.

If you fancy a talented differential right off the bat, Fernandes is your man.

Forward: Jamie Vardy (9.5m) – Leicester City – 4.2% TSB

Is this Jamie Vardy’s last season at the top? Probably. Therefore, we need to enjoy him while he lasts!

Vardy will be in very few first drafts but it’l only take two goals in his first two games to have everyone scrambling around to find him a place in their team. No Europe, a full pre-season and Jamie Maddison on hot form…all signs point to a hot start for the Vardy Party!


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