Gameweek 1 is finally upon us and the time has come to finalise those squads and let the FPL gods decide our fate. Like many managers, we have spent the past week frantically chopping and changing players in the side. With only a few hours remaining, we have to be honest and say that the squad still has a couple of decisions to be made.
The squad we have selected is as close to finished as it has been over the preseason. The majority of the team are locked-in and have remained so for the majority of the past month.
Here is the current gameweek 1 squad:
A lot of discussion has been about whether to adopt a 5-man defence for gameweek 1, with last season highlighting their value. While we created a number of drafts with 5 starting defenders, we felt that it didn’t provide the flexibility we like in our squad.
Instead, we decided to go for a classic 4-4-2 formation. The main reason for this is balance, it feels like we have better value spread throughout the team.
We have decided to go with the budget £4.5m goalkeeper strategy, with a non-playing £4.0m reserve. It has been a tough decision regarding which goalkeeper to go for, a topic discussed in a recent video:
We decided to go for Nick Pope (£4.5m) as our goalkeeper, who was side-lined throughout last season due to injury. With the sale of Tom Heaton to Aston Villa, we feel that Pope is now the number 1 goalkeeper. Dyche hasn’t shown any love towards Joe Hart, and Pope proved his quality during the 2017/18 season scoring 152 points including 11 clean sheets.
On the bench we have gone for Norwich’s McGovern. No £4.0m goalkeeper option expected to start for their side, so we chose this based on lowest ownership.
The big debate has been around the Liverpool defenders and which offer the best FPL value. We spoke in detail about whether to choose Alexander-Arnold or Robertson in our Guest Q&A article.
We decided on Robertson and Van Dijk as our double up for the opening gameweek. Their home fixture against Norwich was too good to ignore along with their great long term fixtures. Both have guaranteed gametime along with attacking potential, reduced risk that we try to keep within our sides.
Zinchenko (£5.5m) gets the nod in the Man City defence. A long term risk in the side with the future return of Mendy, he is owned with a short-term view. An early wildcard is a strategy we have used in the past, and this could be the same this season with the likes of Zinchenko possibly getting rotated.
Digne (£6.0m) completes the starting defenders, mainly due to his attacking threat and Everton’s great fixtures. A worry over Everton with the loss of Zouma and Gueye, seemingly not addressing the centre back void over the summer.
His set piece responsibilities are enough for us to justify paying £0.5m more than going with Coleman. Their purchase of right-back Sidibe adds risk to the ownership of Coleman, whereas we see Digne as a guaranteed gametime.
Lundstrum (£4.0m) is our budget, bench defender who has featured in midfield over preseason. Fans have suggested he will be a bench player over the season, but with little option in this price bracket, he is our pick.
The first name on our team sheet since the game launched was Mo Salah (£12.5m), and that has remained. The highest scoring player the last 2 seasons along with back-to-back golden boot winner makes his inclusion a no-brainer in our eyes.
Another big decision for the team was whether to go with Sterling or De Bruyne. We think that Sterling (£12.0m) will be the highest scoring City midfielder, however at £2.5m cheaper De Bruyne offers potential FPL value.
Sterling has been in brilliant form over preseason, topped off with an impressive performance in the Community Shield. At £12.0m, although expensive we think he is good FPL value and will be our second premium midfielder in the squad.
As mentioned Everton have brilliant opening fixtures, which leads us onto their top points scorer last season, Sigurdsson. Priced at £8.0m, it remains a competitive price bracket with plenty of options available at or below this price. He is a proven FPL player, set piece responsibilities and goal threat – factors we consider important in midfielders.
Leicester’s new signing Perez (£6.5m) completes the starting midfield and we think he has great FPL potential this season. Now reclassified as a midfielder, we expect him to play in an attacking role alongside Vardy if preseason is anything to go by.
Dendoncker fills the last midfield spot as arguably the best £4.5m option. Wolves recently signed a new centre midfielder however with the formation we are playing, the risk doesn’t affect the decision to go with Dendoncker.
With the brilliant opening fixtures for Bournemouth, we have currently opted for a double-up. Both Wilson (£8.0m) and King (£6.5m) make the squad with their tasty home fixture against newly-promoted Sheffield United.
While Wilson has been a main-stay in the side for a while, King has been the big decision with the £6.5m forward options. I recently spoke about the best £6.5m options that you can watch here:
While we are still on King, this is one of the positions that could well change before the deadline. The other likely candidate is Jota however their opening fixtures are slightly off-putting.
Greenwood makes the squad as the £4.5m bench-fodder. With the sale of Lukaku and recent comments from Solskjaer, it does sound like he could gametime throughout the season.
For us, there is only one option in our squad and that is Mo Salah. He looked sharp in the Community Shield and with a home match to start, he gets the armband.
Here is the full squad for GW1:
As mentioned, there are still possibilities for the side to change, with gameweek 1 arguably the hardest choice over the season. To keep fully up-to-date, follow the account on Twitter for our final team.
Good luck everyone!!
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