By Neil Leverett
- Get ahead of your rivals with Britwatch Sports’ weekly Fantasy Premier League picks
- Every Gameweek we name our proposed XI for the weekend designed for your best points haul
- GW1 sees all three newly-promoted sides in Norwich City, Sheffield United and Aston Villa on the road
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – With the 2019/20 Premier League campaign begins on Friday, who should you be considering for your Fantasy Premier League XI for Gameweek 1?
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Goalkeeper & Defence
The tendency when we pick our initial squads is to look at not only the opening game of the season, but farther afield also. In the case of AFC Bournemouth, the Cherries face a double against the newly-promoted boys in both Sheffield United and Aston Villa, so we are leaning towards putting a Bournemouth stopper in goal. The question is, which one?
With four men vying for a spot in Eddie Howe’s Starting XI, Mark Travers has again impressed in pre-season, and whilst picking him is a risk, neither Aaron Ramsdale, Asmir Begovic or Artur Boruc are likely to usurp the Irish international. As the Blades visit the Vitality Stadium, it could be a baptism of fire for Chris Wilder’s men, and a shutout on the South coast is more than possible. With Travers valued at just 4.5 also, he could free up space in your budget.
In the back line, Lucas Digne was a regular for many Fantasy Premier League players in the second half of last season, and with the full-back’s corner kick-taking duties, whipped crosses and and eye for goal, the Frenchman is in from the start here away to Crystal Palace, who could suffer the after effects of Wilfried Zaha-gate.
Having been a huge success for his many owners last season, Andrew Robertson‘s value has risen to a steep 7.0, but the Scot is still worth the investment and against a Norwich City who, whilst will arrive on Merseyside with no fear, Daniel Farke’s charges could eventually wilt in front of the Kop. Known for his searing runs from the left, Robertson could make early profit here, and his many deliveries are sure to test the Canary back line.
With Kieran Trippier’s move to Atletico Madrid in the summer, and Serge Aurier barely used by Mauricio Pochettino, Kyle Walker-Peters has a golden chance to cement his spot at right-back for Spurs in the opening weeks of the season. Only a bit-part players last term, the full-back earned a triple assist haul against Bournemouth on Boxing Day last year, and as Villa arrive at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the English defender at just 5.0, is superb value with a distribution from the right, and a pre-season where his stock has steadily risen.
Watford will again outstanding value for clean sheets this season, and which new signing Craig Dawson a serious consideration, for our final pick in defence Jose Holebas is our man. The Greek full-back – like Digne – is also assigned to corner detail, but from free-kicks also is adept at finding his man. As a Brighton side who we feel are prime candidates for the drop this season under Graham Potter travel to Hertfordshire, Holebas could provide the spoils at both ends of Vicarage Road on Saturday.
For the majority of the season, we will be sticking with a 4-3-3 formation, with the emphasis fully on attack. Number one on the list in midfield this season is Raheem Sterling. Quite simply, the Manchester City forward is must-have this year, despite a hefty 12.0 price-tag. Having played as false number nine also in the close season, the England star could be amongst the goals in even greater measure this term. An opening trip to West Ham United is a tricky task for the Citizens, with Manuel Pellegrini having assembled an attack to fear, spear-headed by Sebastien Haller. However, with the issues still existing at the back for the Irons, and with Sterling’s scintillating pre-season form, it could be an early flush of points in the offing for GW1.
Christian Pulisic‘s move to Chelsea in January rose many a eyebrow at the beginning of the calendar year, but in the wake of Chelsea’s transfer ban, the American’s addition now looks to be excellent business. Under Frank Lampard, the Blues are showing a greater penchant for offense, indeed Chelsea have scored at least twice in all of their last five pre-season outings – with Pulisic netting three times. With Eden Hazard having departed, the West Londoners will be looking to alter their dynamic, and as they travel to a Manchester United side who have had a rather worrying transfer window, Pulisic’s pace should cause the Red Devils all manner of problems for the hosts.
Leicester City’s attack will feature heavily in our fantasy side throughout the season, but with three better striking options than Jamie Vardy this weekend, we are punting on Ayoze Perez to impress in his first Premier League game for the Foxes against Wolves. As one of the most consistent performers for former club Newcastle United, the Spaniard’s £30m switch to the King Power should see Perez and Vardy form quite the tag-team this term. Having impressed in his early weeks the East Midlands, we are betting on Perez to star in his opening game.
In truth, the options for the opening weekend are plenty, but should all else fail, we are hedging our bets on three of last season’s hot-shots – two of which shared the Golden Boot last season. Whilst Liverpool have been in far from encouraging early form in preparation for their opening salvo, we would be a fool not to pick Mohamed Salah, if the price allowed. That being a 12.5 value that will take a large chunk of a fantasy budget away, but the Egyptian can surely be relied upon here?
Harry Kane having seen his price drop to 11.0 does require serious consideration for your XI not just for GW1 but for the whole term. Spurs have again been in the goals in the lead-up to the opening day, and Kane just has the knack to find the net. This season should be no different, and with Villa set to face an attacking Lilywhite wave to signal their top-flight return, Kane will be licking his lips.
Arsenal look like the real deal at the front this season. With a trifecta that could match anyone in the land, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gets our nod to open the season. Newcastle may not roll over in the fashion that many expect, but keeping the Gabonese, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette quiet will be a huge task, which Aubameyang should be the beneficiary of.
GW1 Fantasy XI: Travers; Walker-Peters, Holebas, Digne, Robertson; Pulisic, Sterling, Perez; Salah, Kane, Aubameyang.
The opening game of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign sees Liverpool hosts Norwich City at Anfield, kick-off 8pm UK time.
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