Football

1 week ago

FPL: GW1 Game-By-Game Review

GW1 is now behind us, and we can now look forward to normal schedules with Manchester Utd and City back in action. To help you assess where your players and their teams are at, I have given a quick synopsis of each match in this article. The main takeaways, key players and the odd stat or two. 

If you didn’t get 100 points and triple captain Mo Salah like many braggers that you have seen online — fear not. That is a minuscule proportion of the game, with the average points in the game being 50. I heed patience; give your Spurs players another chance, Mitrovic will be nailed and still has great fixtures, and Bamford is not worthy of a transfer. I hope this article helps when strategizing for GW2 of the English Premier League.

 

Fulham v Arsenal

Star Player

Willian (£8.0m)

Takeaways

  • Arsenal looking great
  • Willian outshines Aubameyang (£12.0m)
  • Mitrovic (£6.0m) benched after playing 180mins for Serbia

Synopsis

Aubameyang captainers were left wanting more as the Gabonese international returned a single goal. His yellow card resulted in a 7 point return, although he was extremely close to having a second with Hector (£4.5m) clearing his 79th minute strike off the line.

Willian stole the show though with a 14 point haul. Thanks to 3 assists, a clean sheet and 2 bonus points. At £8m he provides a great gateway into this ever-improving Arsenal squad and allows fantasy mangers to free up a premium spot if they choose to switch to him from Aubameyang. He is on corners which teed up Gabriel for a debutant goal and also free-kicks, hitting the post in the 27th minute. His saved shot also fell to Lacazette (£8.5m), evidencing his many avenues to attacking returns.

Mitrovic’s 23% of owners will be disappointed with his 1 point cameo. But he wasn’t brought in for this fixture alone, was he? Hold onto him ahead of this nice fixture schedule and reassess in two weeks’ time. He has just returned from a hamstring injury and played 2 games in quick succession with Serbia. Fulham and Parker benched him being extremely cautious and knowing this is a 38 game season.

Stat Attack

Xhaka (£5.5m) surprisingly led the way for goal attempts (4). But Aubameyang managed 3 himself, all of which were on target, the most shots on target of any player in this match. He also managed 4 penalty box touches, 2nd to Lacazette (6).

 

Crystal Palace v Southampton

Star Player

Zaha (£7.0m)

Takeaways

  • Zaha playing as striker
  • Hodgson can squeeze the juice out of dried mango
  • Southampton assets warrant patience

Synopsis

Will Zaha scored a goal and played up front alongside Ayew. If he sticks at the club, he could be a great out of position asset. But it was Palace’s defensive assets who swept the bonus points. Mitchell at £4.0 returned a satisfactory 6 points, but if you are not already on him don’t waste a transfer as he will most likely be dropped once Van Aanholt (£5.5m) returns from injury.

Palace have only kept one clean sheet in their last nine. They are also are missing Sakho, Cahill, Tomkins, Van Aanholt and Ferguson in defence. Yet Hodgson still squeezed out a clean sheet. Remarkable.

Ings (£8.5m) came close to ruining this in stoppage time with Guita (£5.0m) having to make a fine save. The 23.5% McCarthy also had his clean sheet wiped early on. A disappointing day for all of Southampton’s fantasy assets. However, they looked extremely lively at the start before this ebbed away. Hasenhüttl moaned heading into the weekend about lack of time with his team, so maybe fitness levels were not at their best. Hence the drop-off. But week  1 is no reason enough to start ditching their players.

Stat Attack

Ings led the way for shots and shots on target with 3 apiece. Zaha managed 2 apiece and Che Adams (£6.0m) managed 1. Ings managed the most penalty box touches (7), with Palace defender Dann (£4.5m) coming in 2nd with 4.

Read more: FPL Value In Promoted Players - Midfielders

Liverpool v Leeds

Star Player

Salah (£12.0m)

Takeaways

  • Always trust Salah
  • Liverpool shaky at the back
  • Leeds came to the Prem to attack

Synopsis

Two penalties helped Salah to a hat-trick and the highest points haul this gameweek with 20 points. His numbers were again outstanding, which I delve into further below.

TAA (£7.5m) and Van Dijk made a mistake each giving Leeds glorious chances which they converted. Klich (£5.5m) was also completely unmarked for his goal. It doesn’t stop there as Helder Costa also scored in the 8th minute only for it being ruled out for offside. Worrying times defensively for a team who also leaked continuously post-restart, which we do not expect from probably the best defence in the league.

Having said that, Leeds have come to the Premier League to play football! Bielsa played his notorious attacking style not caring that they were up against the newly crowned champs.

I take two things away from this. One, against the big clubs they will concede many chances and goals. Two, their cheap attacking players may be the best of the bunch. Having said that, I advise against jumping on the Bamford bandwagon, as the new signing Rodrigo (£6.0m) is primed to take his spot.

Stat Attack

Salah shot 9 times, 8 of these being in the box. First by a distance, with Mane in second only managing 5 and 3 respectively. Salah also created 4 chances, the same as Mane.

Liverpool conceded 4 shots, 2 in the box and had an xGC of 0.32. Yet they still conceded 3 times!

 

West Ham v Newcastle

Star Player

Wilson (£6.5m)

Takeaways

  • West Ham in disarray
  • Newcastle looking good
  • Andy Carroll played 88mins and did not get injured

Synopsis

Hendrick racked up a goal and assist in this game. That puts him halfway to his career-best of 2 goals and 2 assists in a FPL season! For that reason, as well as Fraser biting at his heels to play, I turn my attention to Wilson. Playing in a front two with Andy Carroll (£5.5m) he looked dangerous throughout, both did in fact. Wilson bagged the goal from a Hendrick flick on and looks a great option in this Newcastle team that looked settled and assured across the whole 90mins.

New signing Lewis also got up in the attack often, setting Wilson up early on with a delightful cross. While the Newcastle defence looked comfortable throughout.

The 22.8% owned Allan Saint-Maximin only managed 1 shot which was off target and created 0 chances. At £5.5m we can’t be expecting returns weekly, give him a couple more weeks before looking elsewhere.

Conversely, West Ham looked awful and have a horrendous fixture schedule alongside this. I would not recommend holding onto their assets.

Stat Attack

Wilson, Antonio and Carroll managed 4 shots each with 3, 2 and 4 of these coming in the box respectively.

Flying fullbacks Fredericks and Lewis (both £4.5m) created the most chances, with 5 and 3 respectfully. Although none of these were considered big chances.

West Brom v Leicester

Star Player

Vardy (£10.0m)

Takeaways

  • Vardy may be deceiving
  • Barnes looks lively
  • West Brom were dull

Synopsis

Vardy bagged 2 goals and all 3 bonus points, the talisman of Leicester. But check out my stats below before you start transferring him in. Vardy and Leicester in this game are symptomatic of the idiom "don't judge a book by its cover". Vardy and Justin (£4.5m) were both felled for penalties helping Leicester, who struggled to break down West Brom for large parts, to a win. While Leicester’s other full-back and new signing Castagne (£5.5m) also grabbed a debutant goal.

However, it was Barnes (£7.0m) who performed best for Leicester. He continuously drove into the box and picked off shots but, frustratingly for his owners, managed no returns. He may be one to consider given Leicester’s kind fixture run till GW4. In the meantime, we can assess his minutes now that Maddison (£7.0m) has returned creating more competition in midfield.

Maddison’s return will prove whether Leicester are worth investing in. Without him, they lacked any real bite and relied on two penalties. I will be looking at them again before investing in their assets after their flattering 3-0 win. Meanwhile, West Brom assets did little to showcase they are worth investing in.

Stat Attack

Vardy managed 3 penalty box touches, 2 shots and 2 shots in the box. 2 of these being penalties. Offering nothing from open play.

Barnes however had 5 shots, all in the box and had 1 big chance.

West Brom had just 1 shot on target, courtesy of Pereira.

 

Spurs v Everton

Star Player

Rodriguez (£7.5m)

Takeaways

  • Rodriguez (£7.5m) can play a pass
  • Spurs looked sluggish
  • Don’t pick your FPL team based on a TV show

Synopsis

Those eyeing up Rodriguez will be pleased to see he started upfront in a 3, where he and Richarlison (£8.0m) flanked Dominic Calvert Lewin (£7.0m). He also had his share of set pieces alongside Digne (£6.0m) who got an assist, clean sheet and all 3 bonus points.

Richarlison looked menacing throughout, playing further forward than Rodriguez. He racked up many shots and should have come away with a return. For those interested in the Brazilian, it may be worth waiting a week to see if he justifies the extra £1m over DCL.

Doherty (£6.0m) owners will be disappointed with his blank and early substitution. But should be encouraged by his attacking runs into the box have not disappeared under Mourinho. Darting into the box twice in the first half and pulling a fine save from Pickford.

Those with a bit more cash in Spurs may have cause for concerns though. Alli (£8.0m) was subbed at half-time for tactical reasons. Kane (£10.5m) looked off the pace. Son (£9.0m) was the best of the 3 but many may not give him a chance with Bruno (£10.5m) returning and Willian rising from the dust.

Stat Attack

As mentioned, Richarlison shot plenty. Managing the most shots and shots in the box with 7 and 5 respectively. Rodriguez came 2nd with 3 and 2, while DCL managed 2 apiece.

Rodriguez and Everton’s other new signing Doucoure (£5.5m) created the most chances, with 5 and 4 respectively. 1 of these being a big chance by Rodriguez.

Matt Doherty created no chances. Although he had 2 penalty box touches and 1 shot in the box. Patience for his owners is key, but they will need to see an uptick sooner rather than later.

Read more: A Trip Down FPL Memory Lane

Sheffield Utd v Wolves

Star Player

Saiss (£5.0m)

Takeaways

  • Wolves defence continue to show strength
  • Jimenez = Mr. Consistent
  • Wolves give ASM a challenge in £5.5m bracket

Synopsis

Saiss stole the show here from a fantasy perspective, scoring, keeping a clean sheet and getting all 3 bonus points in a 15 points haul. More impressively is the fact he could have had a hat-trick! Heading a glorious chance wide and piercing through the Sheffield defence and failing to convert from Jimenez’s (£8.5m) layup. Although the Mexican striker owners would have been comforted to see his consistent returns have not diminished, scoring yet again.

Vianagre owners will be disappointed to see the £4.5m wing-back out of action with new signing Marcal being preferred on the left. Traore started on the other flank but was pushed further up with the introduction of Burr (£4.0m) in the 68th minute. The possibility of a £4.0m wingback at Wolves is too good to be true, so we will have to wait and see more here. Those on Traore may also be concerned that he is now burdened with defensive duties. Even with these changes, Wolves looked solid defensively, keeping their 10th clean sheet in the last 14 gameweeks.

Jota (£6.5m) didn’t even come off the bench heating up competition in the £5.5m midfielder department. As Neto and Podence (both £5.5m) started and grabbed an assist. A strategy I am considering in seeing Wolves line-up in GW2 against City before potentially swapping ASM for one of these players.

A quick note on Sheffield Utd, they looked poor. Owners should be concerned of their defensive solidity based on this showing.

Stat Attack

Jimenez topped the shot charts with 5 shots, 4 of them being in the box. Joint second was McBurnie and the brilliant Saiss with 3 apiece.

Traore managed 3 shots, none of which were in the box. In fact he managed 0 penalty box touches. He also created 0 chances.

Brighton v Chelsea

Star Player

James (£5.0m)

Takeaways

  • Pulisic & Werner doubts for Liverpool
  • Chelsea still great attacking wise, but Kepa still weakens defense
  • Lamptey looks menacing

Synopsis

Youngster Reece James got an assist, a wonder-strike goal and all 3 bonus points in a man of the match display. He could have had a clean sheet too for an even bigger haul had Kepa (£5.0m) kept out a relatively straightforward shot from Trossard (£6.0m) from outside the box. With Lamptey’s (£4.5m) owners benefitting from the assist here. The young fullback looked dangerous throughout, putting a delightful cross for Dunk (£5.0m) who somehow missed the target from the brilliant opportunity.

Pulisic did not make the squad as his hamstring injury flared up again after training. He is now a doubt to face Liverpool Sunday. Werner, who took a blow to win a penalty, earning him a fantasy assist, is also a smaller doubt. Interestingly, with Jorginho (£5.0m) on the pitch, it was the Italian who took the penalty and not Werner. He also got an assist helping him to 12 points, although I fear rotation for this asset.

Next up for Chelsea is the champions, I believe we will be treated to another feast of goals!

Stat Attack

The xG for the match was tighter than the scoreline. With an xG of 1.05 for Brighton and 1.22 for Chelsea. James screamer would have had a low xG. But I have been forecasting Chelsea assets to score more and outperform the data suggestions this year thanks to their new signings and so far they are bearing fruit, with Ziyech and Pulisic yet to return.

Although he didn’t score, Werner’s 47% ownership will be pleased to see he topped the shots chart with 5, all of these coming in the box. He also had the most penalty box touches with 7. Allaying any fears that he will be filling in for Pulisic on the left or dropping deep.

Lamptey was the joint-most creative player on the pitch, creating 2 chances and 1 big chance which could only be matched by Trossard.

 

Wrap Up

Hopefully, these short synopsizes and stats helped you wrap your head around the opening gameweek. There’s not much to add to that but again, be patient with your players – for at least 1 more week anyways! (unless they play for West Ham!)

As always, best of luck to everyone, and if you want to reach out to me with any questions DM me on Twitter or create a thread on the website.

FPL_Pup
Author

FPL_Pup

Sports fan and FPL addict from Ireland (still has not forgiven Thierry Henry). Loves numbers in both studies & profession and has incorporated this into FPL in recent seasons. Has played FPL for 8 seasons, finishing in the top 40k 5 times, with the best finish of 8k. Find on Twitter @FplPup if you have any questions