Fantasy Premier League: pre-season clues to guide your picks

As we approach the start of the 2022-23 Fantasy Premier League season, Premier League clubs have had their first full pre-seasons for several years.

This allowed The Athletic an opportunity to scout players and positions with some indication of their likely performance.

We head into the new campaign with some questions to answer, but hopefully most of them will offer clues to our picks.

Haaland hopes

in Manchester City, Erling Haaland (£11.5m) is the most owned player in the game, but it remains to be seen whether he will quickly adapt to the demands of the Premier League and hit the pitch.

We’ve had a few hints about the Community Shield clash with Liverpool on Sunday. For the most part, he played well and missed a few chances, but Pep Guardiola said it was “good” for Haaland to “see reality in a new country”.

There are some intriguing options in Manchester City’s midfield too, in particular Riyad Mahrez (£8.0m). A likely increase in playing time could see him emerge as an FPL star this campaign, so it’s worth looking back at his minutes during pre-season and how he linked up with Haaland.

Liverpool’s new front three

Liverpool have done a good job this term but will look very different in attack following the transfer of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich. Liverpool’s pre-agreed front three will experience an upheaval.

There are options to consider for Jurgen Klopp, with a new signing Darwin Nunez (£9.0m) ready to compete with Diogo Jota (£9.0m) and Luis Diaz (£8.0m). Interestingly, Diaz is the only one of this trio listed as a midfielder, and he is cheaper, so he should be your pick.

We know Klopp trusts Diaz who started him in the latter stages of Liverpool’s Champions League last season. Jota is also nursing an injury, which is worth keeping an eye on.

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) started last season in phenomenal form, with just one clean sheet in the first 16 games. We saw a drop in 2022 after a punishing schedule for club and country that included seven games at the Africa Cup of Nations.

However, with a full pre-season under control and a new contract signed, he should start 2022-23 with a bang – especially if his showing in the Community Shield is anything to go by. A decision needs to be made on whether to use your Triple Captain chip against Fulham in Gameweek 1.

One notable departure from Merseyside is Neco Williams (£4.0m), who signed for Nottingham Forest. He was valued as a bench player for Liverpool but could now play a major role in Forest’s defense and is well known for his attacking attributes. He is a £4.0m defender.

Tuchel’s system

There have been some notable arrivals at Chelsea this summer including Raheem Sterling (£10.0m) and Kalidou Koulibaly (£5.5m). There has been plenty of speculation that Tuchel will change formation to a 4-3-3, but we have yet to see much evidence of that from their pre-season games.

Sterling could be an important FPL option at Chelsea – a lack of minutes has been his biggest obstacle at Manchester City in recent seasons.

Sterling is likely to make more appearances at Chelsea (Photo: Ettore Griffoni/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

However, switching from a back three to a back four would limit the effectiveness of wing backs Reece James (£6.0m) and Ben Chilwell (£6.0m).

If the three-man defense remains, James and Chilwell will be popular signings, especially if Chelsea bolster their centre-backs with a new signing after losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Another thing to look out for is the fitness of Ben Chilwell, who returned on the final day of last season after recovering from a knee injury. His sharpness could be the deciding factor when choosing between Chelsea wing-backs.

Conte’s wing backs

There have been plenty of new signings at Tottenham Hotspur as they look prime contenders to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool. With additions from Clement Lenglet (£5.0m) and Yves Bossouma (£5.0m)expect their clean sheets to improve.

The wing backs will be the key beneficiaries here Ivan Perisic (£5.5m) looking for now be the choice. He arrived with an injury and missed the first few pre-season games, but was impressive on the left against Roma on Saturday. If he’s deemed fit enough to start for Gameweek 1, he could be Fantasy gold.

The competition is also on the opposite side, with Matt Doherty (£5.0m) and Grandpa Spence (£4.5m) fight during the game together with Lucas Moura (£6.0m)who played at right back during the preseason.

Arteta’s Arsenal

It has been an incredibly busy transfer window for Arsenal, with Fabio Vieira (£6.0m) and Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m) the most notable income. This means increased competition for places among Arsenal’s attack, with Eddie Nketiah (£7.0m) potentially missing out.

The biggest question of all is who will be on penalties: Gabriel Martinelli (£6.0m) took one in front Bukayo Saka (£8.0m) on the final day of the preseason, but his playing time is less guaranteed and Saka has taken over the role in the preseason. Jesus could also be in the picture.

Looking further back, Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.0m) could be a potential prospect out of position: played left-back at Manchester City but played in midfield for his national team. FPL have marked him as a defender for the 2022-23 season.

In this Arsenal team, he could be used as a left-sided defensive midfielder and occupy a prominent role in set-pieces.

Ben White (£4.5m) he was an FPL legend last season due to his budget price and clean sheet, but with William Saliba (£4.5m) returning from a loan spell at Marseille, they could be in contention for minutes.

Ten Hague options

One of the biggest shocks to the price of an FPL player has been the savings on Manchester United’s assets, with four of the five biggest price drops coming from Old Trafford. If Erik ten Hag could work his magic, then these players could be fantastic value this season.

Hints of pre-season form could be enough to encourage FPL managers to break through in Gameweek 1 and there have been some intriguing performances so far, particularly from Jadon Sancho (£7.5m), Marcus Rashford (£6.5m) and Anthony Martial (£7.0m).

Manchester United’s asset headache surrounds the future Cristiano Ronaldo (£10.5m), who wants to make him move away. His departure would allow FPL players to jump into mid-priced strikers with more confidence.

When it comes to creativity, Christian Eriksen (£6.5m) joins Bruno Fernandes (£10.0m) in the middle of the field. We have to keep a close eye on whether this means a deeper role for Fernandes and less of his dominance in the situations that arise.

We saw Andreas Pereira (£4.5m) leave Old Trafford for Fulham: he is another player who was cheap as he was not expected to feature as a regular, but he is an attacking midfielder who will play a key role at Fulham. He is the most popular £4.5m midfielder in the game.

(Top photo: Getty Images)

There will be plenty of FPL content from myself and other top fantasy writers throughout the season The Athletic, including The Athletic FPL Podcast. We’ll aim to bring you all the latest news and strategies on how to navigate the season smoothly. Stay with us.

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