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FPL: Five lessons learned from GW1

In the first of a weekly addition to 90MAAT’s FPL content, Josh (@whatthebiggsee) , an FPL manager for the last four seasons, takes us through five lessons learnt from GW1 in 2018/19’s FPL.

  1. Cheap defenders galore

As with every year during pre season, potential 4.0 defenders popped up in various teams across the Premier League. Normally these bargains get booted so far from the first team by the time gameweek one rolls around you have entirely forgotten about their heroics in the pre-season game against league one opposition a month before. This year, however, we have not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR PLAYING 4.0s!

Great news for those thrifty managers who love to spend less on defence to fit the likes of Salah, Sanchez and Hazard into one team. Without further ado lets look at who they are and who they play for:

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Crystal Palace – 12 points

Lee Peltier – Cardiff – 0 Points

Ryan Bennett – Wolves – 1 Points

Ben Hamer – Huddersfield – 1 Point

Now I know what you’re thinking, with the exception of Wan-Bissaka, those aren’t overly encouraging points totals and you’d be right. However, you pay pound shop prices you get pound shop quality (nothing against a pound shop you can get anything in there, it’s amazing).

The encouraging aspect of the playing 4.0s is bench fodder, as I said if you have your eye on an expensive forward line, these guys can help you achieve it. They may however not keep their places so keep an eye on that. Encouragingly with the transfer window closed there won’t be new signings to take their place which is certainly a positive.

Of the four, I’d say Wan-Bissaka is the safest. Roy was understandably impressed with his performance and will most likely keep him firmly in his plans. Hamer will most likely lose his spot to Lossl in the next few weeks when he’s fit and sharp again after featuring on the bench in the World Cup. The Cardiff backline moved around a fair bit last season with Manga playing both as centre back or right back so could displace Peltier there. Bennet could be safe, but Romain Saiss may replace him in the starting line-up at some point.

Overall, if you do invest in some of these guys, perhaps have them be your bench fodder rather than being relied on in your first XI.

  1. Struggling new boys

The new boys to the Premier League, Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham, haven’t had the best of starts to this season. Both Cardiff and Fulham lost 2-0 to Bournemouth and Crystal Palace respectively while Wolves drew 2-2 to a 10 man Everton side.

Cardiff looked very poor against Bournemouth with 10 shots and only 1 on target. Similarly, conceding two goals doesn’t bode well for the team many expected to be an organised source of clean sheets. There was some joy however, with keeper Etheridge saving a penalty as well as making two saves. While maybe not keeping the most clean sheets he could become this seasons Fabianski. In my opinion Cardiff are a team to avoid, at least until they get accustomed to the Premier League again.

Meanwhile in London Fulham also lost to Crystal Palace. Having spent £100 million many expected great things this season and expectations were high for the opening weekend. The 2-0 defeat to Palace perhaps sounds worse than it was. They registered 15 shots with six on target and, if not for some heroics by Hennesy in the Palace goal, Mitrovic could have made their weekend a lot better. Another issue could be that £100 million spent, a host of new signings can take time to gel together and we could see Fulham meeting the expectations of many. In my opinion we will have to wait and see how it goes for them and perhaps avoid them for the time being.

Finally of the promoted sides we come to Wolves, they fared best this weekend coming from behind twice to draw with Everton 2-2. The two goals, one from Ruben Neves and the other from Jimenez, both came after Jagielka had been sent off. The much-anticipated Wanderers looked a touch off in their first game, probable first day nerves which should settle. However, star man Neves proved he can be valuable at 5.0 and, with a 12 point haul, the Wolves man is likely to rise through the week. Although more traditionally a defensive midfielder, he certainly showed why he can be a bargain for the season ahead.

From an FPL perspective the only insight gained here would be to potentially avoid their players for the time being until they look more settled. If you already have some then major panic isn’t required, but perhaps it might be wise to keep them on the bench.

  1. World Cup players

A lot has been said over the summer about the dangers of having World Cup players in your squad. They won’t play if they’ve come back late, they won’t have proper match fitness, they’ll miss the first three weeks.

Turns out this was mostly false.

The likes of Alli, Pogba, Sterling and Kante all featured heavily in the World Cup, yet all played from the start and all scored goals. The fear we all had was maybe misplaced and if you had plans to wait on any World Cup player maybe this is the clearance you need to get them in quickly.

Not all the players who went late into the World Cup played from the off, De Bruyne, Vardy, Hazard and Lukaku only made cameo appearances but with all coming off the bench you can probably expect them to be playing at some point next week.

  1. Mo Salah – simply essential?

The 13m man from Egypt was a huge talking point all summer. His mammoth price tag put many off while some saw it as a necessary evil to owning the point hungry player. With over 50% ownership at the start of the season and a home game against West Ham, he was a prime candidate for the captaincy.

He didn’t let us down as 19 minutes in he coolly slotted in the opener. Owners would probably be a touch upset as he didn’t do anything else points wise, with Mane grabbing two goals and three bonus to give himself double the Egyptian’s score. If you went Mane over Salah hats off to you. I, however, think that even with the one goal he’s shown how valuable he is. I don’t think he will replicate his 300+ points this season but I don’t think it will hurt to own him.

  1. Manchester City: the Champions of change

Manchester City played amazingly last season and breaking 100 points and scoring over 100 goals is mind boggling. A lot of managers take issue with the problem of Pep rotating his squad extensively and the opening game showed this to an extent. As mentioned earlier Sterling played despite his World Cup exploits. Sane, who many assumed would be nailed on to start, was found sat on the bench.

A 2-0 win against Arsenal in the opening game showed however that there is value to be had in City assets. A particular stand out was the social media loving Benjamin Mendy who managed two assists, a clean sheet and three bonus, a sight of things to come hopefully. At 6.0, a price he probably only has because he was injured all of last season, he could be huge value to fantasy squads and with their easy run of fixtures maybe trying to avoid City players just because they might get rotated might not be the most sensible option.

Thanks for reading and I hope any of these lessons help you in the future!

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