Preview of Gameweek 2 – Fantasy Premier League 2017/18

Preview of Gameweek 2 in Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365

First a Gameweek 1 Review

West Brom’s Ahmed El-Sayed Hegazi was the outstanding player in Gameweek 1, with the centre back scoring a debut goal to secure a 1-0 home victory against Bournemouth. The goal and clean sheet, alongside three bonus points, earned him 15 points this week. Tottenham’s Ben Davies also picked up points for a goal and clean sheet, but his yellow card mean he has one point fewer than Hegazi.

The Dream Team of the Week lined up in a 3-4-3 formation, with Hegazi and Davies joined at the back by Huddersfield centre back Zanka and goalkeeper Lössl, 4 players who would have only cost you a combined £19m. In midfield, Eriksen, Mkhitaryan, Salah and Xhaka were all directly involved in 2 goals each to score a combined 44 points (at a cost of £32m), and up front Vokes, Vardy and Lukaku scored 13 points apiece (for £26m combined) with each getting on the scoresheet twice.

Gameweek 2 Preview

Gameweek 2 gets underway at lunchtime on Saturday with Swansea City hosting Manchester United. The hosts here picked up a creditable 0-0 draw at Southampton in their opener while United started the season impressively with a 4-0 victory against West Ham. The clean sheets for both teams in those games may be misleading for this fixture though, with both teams finding the net in each of the last six meetings between the sides. Romelu Lukaku (£11.6m) looks the obvious pick here, although Anthony Martial (£8.0m) could be a potential midfield purchase, with his 10-minute appearance on Sunday (a substitute for the impressive Rashford) bringing a goal and assist and putting him well in contention for a starting spot this week. For the home side, Tom Carroll (£4.5m) is worth consideration at a bargain price, especially considering his likely deployment on free kicks and corners following the departure of Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton.

Tottenham v Chelsea is undoubtedly the biggest game of the weekend, as last season’s top 2 go head to head early in this campaign. Chelsea started the season in horrendous fashion with a 3-2 home defeat to Burnley and red cards for Gary Cahill (£6.4m) and Cesc Fàbregas (£6.9m) mean that they’ll be suspended for Sunday’s clash. With Eden Hazard (£10.5m), Pedro (£8.0m) and Tiemoué Bakayoko (£5.0m) all ruled out as well through injury Tottenham should be confident of taking three points in their first ‘home’ game of the season at Wembley. Dele Alli (£9.5m) scored the opener in Spurs’ 2-0 victory against Newcastle last weekend and bagged both goals as they ran out 2-0 winners in this fixture last season, so is the man to look to for Fantasy Football points in this one.

The first Monday night game of the season sees Manchester City host Everton at the Etihad. City are undefeated in their last 12 Premier League home games while Everton have failed to win any of their last 8 away, so it’s difficult to make a case for the away side getting much here and they will have played a Europa League qualifier on Thursday evening. Sergio Agüero (£11.5m) and Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) started up front together on Saturday and will be expected to do so again in this game, with either (or both) providing a real goal threat for your Fantasy team. David Silva (£8.0m) was sublime in the 2-0 victory against Brighton and despite stiff competition for starting spots in the City midfield he surely can’t be dropped in this kind of form.

To finish off, one pick from each of the remaining gameweek 2 fixtures:

Bournemouth v Watford – Ryan Fraser (£5.5m)
Burnley v West Brom – Sam Vokes (£6.0m)
Leicester v Brighton – Jamie Vardy (£8.6m)
Liverpool v Crystal Palace – Roberto Firmino (£8.5m)
Southampton v West Ham – Ryan Bertrand (£5.5m)
Stoke v Arsenal – Aaron Ramsey (£7.0m)
Huddersfield v Newcastle – Steve Mounie (£6.0m)

Best of luck for the coming weekend!

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Premier League News – from Bet365 on 9th August 2017

Hornets swoop in for Gray

Watford have completed the signing of striker Andre Gray after he turned down the offer of a new extended contract with Burnley. The 26-year-old has signed a five-year contract at Vicarage Road, joining the Hornets for a club record fee which is reported to be in the region of £18million. Gray moved to Turf Moor two year ago and scored 32 goals in 73 league appearances for the Clarets, helping the win the Championship title at the end of the 2015/16 campaign. Last term he netted nine Premier League goals in 32 appearances as Burnley finished in 16th place in the table – six points clear of the relegation places.

A statement from the Clarets confirmed: “Burnley can confirm the sale of striker Andre Gray to Watford for an undisclosed fee that ranks as one of the biggest in the club’s history. “The Clarets gave Gray the chance to extend his stay at Turf Moor with the offer of a substantially improved new contract earlier this summer. “However, he made it clear he would not be looking to renew a deal which had just 12 months still to run. “Burnley therefore took the decision to accept an offer from Watford and move forward with their own plans going into the new Premier League season.”

The Clarets open their league campaign on Saturday afternoon with a tough trip to reigning champions Chelsea. Meanwhile, Watford play host to Liverpool in the lunchtime kick-off and are 5/1 with Bet365 to claim a victory, with the draw available at 3/1, while Gray can be backed at 3/1 to score at any time.

Sanchez faces short lay-off

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Chile international Alexis Sanchez will miss the first two games of Arsenal’s Premier League season. The Gunners star will miss Friday’s home match against Leicester City, which Wenger’s side are 1/2 to win, and the game at Stoke City on 19th August. Wenger hopes Sanchez, who continues to be linked with a transfer this summer, will be fit enough to feature in the game at Liverpool on 27th August.

“Sanchez will not be available,” he said ahead of the game against the Foxes. “He had a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training. “He had the scan two days ago. He’s out for two weeks. He will not play against Stoke.”

Sanchez recently reiterated his desire to play in the Champions League this season – Arsenal will be involved in the Europa League after finishing fifth in the Premier League last term – with Manchester City and Paris St-Germain interested in snapping him up.

Howe upbeat over Defoe injury

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe remains hopeful summer signing Jermain Defoe will be fit to feature in their
Premier League opener against West Brom. The 34-year-old England striker missed the pre-season friendly against Napoli at the weekend due to a groin problem, but Howe expects Defoe to be available to face the Baggies on Saturday afternoon. He told the Daily Echo: “Jermain just felt some tightness in his groin after the Valencia game. He hasn’t trained since, but we are confident he will be fit for West Brom.”

Defoe scored 15 goals for Sunderland in each of the last two Premier League seasons and with Bet365 is 4/7 to be top goalscorer in the top-flight for the Cherries this term, with Joshua King priced at 5/2 and Callum Wilson 7/1.

Meanwhile, Jordon Ibe is determined to improve on a poor first season at Dean Court, with the former Liverpool winger having failed to score in 23 appearances for Bournemouth last term, following his £15million arrival from Liverpool. He told The Sun: “Last season I was poor and didn’t even get a goal. It’s time for me to buck up my ideas, because I want to help the team and get some goals. “I know Eddie Howe put a lot of trust in bringing me here for that price tag. I have a lot to prove to this club and, hopefully, I can be ten times better than last season. “I don’t know why it’s happened. I don’t really have an answer for that, I just know it wasn’t as good as it should have been.”

Premier League News – 8th August from Bet365

Ambitious Van Dijk asks to leave

Southampton central defender Virgil van Dijk has made clear his wish to ‘challenge for major honours’ by handing in a formal transfer request at St Mary’s.

The 26-year-old Netherlands international is widely reported to be a target for a number of top Premier League clubs, but the Saints remain adamant that they are not willing to sell.

“I want to play European football again and challenge for major honours”. Virgil van Dijk

However, Van Dijk, who is nearly fully recovered from an ankle injury which has seen him out of action since January, has now decided to take matters into his own hands to try and secure the move he desires.

A statement from the player’s management company read: “It is with regret that I can confirm that I have handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton.

“Over the past six months I have held numerous discussions with representatives of the board, the former manager Claude Puel, as well as the new manager Mauricio Pellegrino, to inform them all of my desire to leave the club in search of a new challenge.

“I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer.

“I want to play European football again and challenge for major honours and, as such, I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist.

“I have been left frustrated by the club’s position that I am not for sale and am disappointed that enquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.”

Van Dijk joined the Saints at the beginning of September two years ago, having impressed during a two-season spell in Scotland with Celtic.

Meanwhile, with Bet365, Southampton are 8/15 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season and are 9/2 to secure a top-six spot, while they are priced at 4/7 to win their opening game of the campaign at home to Swansea City on Saturday.

Choupo-Moting relishes new challenge

New Stoke City signing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is excited about the fresh challenge of trying to prove himself in the Premier League.

The 28-year-old Cameroon international forward has joined the Potters on a three-year contract after being allowed to leave Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04.

“It has always been a goal of mine to one day come over to England and play here”. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

He had previously played in Germany, the country of his birth, for Hamburg, Nurnberg and Mainz, but says is ready to embrace the different atmosphere of English football.

He told his new club’s official website: “It has always been a goal of mine to one day come over to England and play here.

“I think the Premier League is the most viewed league in the world and I am sure that every player in the world would one day like to come here.

“The Bundesliga is a great competition too, but the Premier League is really special.”

Choupo-Moting spent three years in Gelsenkirchen with Schalke, scoring 22 goals in 105 appearances in all competitions, and he becomes the fourth signing made by Stoke so far this summer.

Veteran midfielder Darren Fletcher has been recruited from Midlands rivals West Brom, defender Kurt Zouma has joined on loan from Chelsea and Josh Tymon has arrived from relegated Hull City.

With Bet365, Stoke are currently available at 9/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, while they are 4/11 to finish in the bottom half and are 1/10 to avoid relegation.

In other news:

Hughton thrilled to land Propper

Brighton boss Chris Hughton is delighted that he has been able to persuade the Dutch international midfielder Davy Propper to join the Seagulls. During his career Propper has scored 43 goals in more than 250 first-team games and played a key role in PSV’s 2015/16 league title triumph. With Bet365, PSV are 11/8 to win the Eredivisie title in 2017/18 while Brighton are 8/1 to beat Manchester City at the weekend

Gundogan close to Citizens return

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola expects to have midfielder Ilkay Gundogan available for selection in the very near future.

Clement accepts absence of Ki

Swansea City are set to be without Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng for at least the opening six weeks of the new Premier League season.

Wenger calls for a strong start

Arsene Wenger has urged Arsenal to make a strong start to the new Premier League season, having lifted the Community Shield at Wembley.

Premier League News round-up from Bet365

Klopp cool over Sturridge knock

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is confident that striker Daniel Sturridge did not suffer a serious injury in the pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich.

The 27-year-old England international had to be replaced late on in the 3-0 victory for the Reds, having come on midway through the second half and found the net 15 minutes later.

“I think it’s just a bit of fatigue to be honest, I’ll be okay”. Daniel Sturridge

However, Klopp is upbeat about the severity of the thigh problem which saw Sturridge taken off, telling reporters: “He hurt his thigh. He has really prepared well, really well, so I hope this is just a small injury and that he can play again soon.

“It’s a shame and I hope it’s nothing serious.”

Meanwhile, Sturridge himself, who has suffered with a catalogue of injuries in recent times, adding in the Echo: “It’s just a little bit of tension kicking off.

“I’ve done a lot of running and a lot of work. I think it’s just a bit of fatigue to be honest, I’ll be okay.

“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling the best I’ve felt for a little while and I’m looking forward to the season and hopefully we can have some success.”

The Reds open their Premier League campaign away at Watford on Saturday August 12th, with Klopp hoping to match or even better the fourth placed finish of last season.

Last term the Merseysiders won both league meetings with the Hornets, with an Emre Can wonder goal securing a 1-0 victory at Vicarage Road.

With Bet365 Liverpool are 8/15 to win at Watford, with the draw priced at 3/1 and a Hornets victory 5/1.

Morata needs time to get fit

Antonio Conte says new signing Alvaro Morata needs time to get fit before he’ll be able to play his part at Chelsea.

The Spanish international appears set to miss out on Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Arsenal at Wembley after Conte admitted he is not at the required level of fitness.

According to Conte, the £65m summer signing from Real Madrid ‘needs to improve his fitness quickly’ based on his first few days at the club.

“He has to improve his condition a lot to adapt quickly into our team”. Antonio Conte

Morata, 10/1 to be leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season, is already trying hard say his new boss, but there is plenty hard work ahead for the 24-year-old forward.

“Morata is just starting to train with us,” said the Blues boss.

“He has to improve his condition a lot to adapt quickly into our team.

“He is working well but it has been only five days. Today, he tried to do his best but for sure he has to improve.”

With Bet365 Chelsea are 11/10 to beat Arsenal in the Community Shield. The Gunners are 23/10 while the draw is 5/2.

Arsenal were boosted on Tuesday when Alexis Sanchez returned to training in London. Despite being heavily linked with a move away from the club, Arsene Wenger says he expects Sanchez to see out the remaining year of his contract.

Abraham aims for Swans impact

New Swansea striker Tammy Abraham says he is focused on making an impact at the Liberty Stadium this coming season.

The 19-year-old has signed for the Swans on a season-long loan from Chelsea and arrives after a very successful similar loan, at Bristol City last season where he scored 26 goals.

“It’s good to score goals in any game because it lifts your confidence going into the season”. Tammy Abraham

So, having made a great impact in the Championship at Ashton Gate, Abraham hopes to make a similar impression during his season with Paul Clement’s side in the Premier League. The Swans are 2/1 to be relegated and are 1/10 to be in the bottom half at the end of the season.

Aside from two substitute appearances for Chelsea this will be his first time in the top flight, but Abraham says he is ready to make his mark.

He told reporters: “I am going to try to show the gaffer why he brought me here and prove it was a good decision.

“I will do my best and try as hard as I can to do well. I am full of confidence and I can’t wait for the season to begin.”

As well as his time with Bristol City where he was voted Player of the Year, Abraham has also proved a success on the international stage, having scored for England in the semi-final of the Euro Under-21 Championship in June.

He has also been on the mark for Swansea with two goals in his three pre-season games so far.

He will hope to add to that promising start when Swansea play their final friendly, at home to Sampdoria on Saturday.

“It’s good to score goals in any game because it lifts your confidence going into the season,” Abraham added. “I am looking forward to the season starting. Hopefully I can continue the little scoring run I have been on pre-season.”

Swansea begin the new Premier League season away to Southampton next Saturday. With Bet365 they are 17/4 for an away win, the Saints are 4/6 with the draw priced at 13/5.

FPL 17/18 PREVIEW: THE BATTLE OF THE STRIKERS

Last summer‘s window was defined by Paul Pogba – or #Pogback. This year it’s been all about the goal grabbers as some of the top Premier League clubs have been seeking an attacking revamp.

It’s made for an exciting window, with a lot of money being spent so far on strikers. When the new FPL season starts, it’ll be up to you to decide where your money is best invested – after all, a lot of points can be won with goals – but here are our five possible picks for your front line. You can also win money on top of points by betting via the matched betting method, so check out matchedbettingsites.com for all your options.

1. Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United

The beastly Belgian striker stunned punters by rejecting ex-club Chelsea to join the Red Devils, although his holiday bromance with Pogba kind of gave it away to anyone with an Instagram account. It looks like he could form a deadly two-man attack alongside Marcos Rashford, meaning goals could flow even freer this season. Back him to finally win a Premier League Golden Boot.

2. Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspurs

Spurs’ ‘one of their own’ has bagged the Golden Boot the past two years. He also became only the fifth Premier League player in history to score 25 plus goals in successive seasons. He’ll obviously lead Spurs’ line so he’s guaranteed game time, but he’s a bit of a slow burner – so maybe sign him in October.

3. Alvaro Morata – Chelsea

It’s one Spain international replacing another in west London, as Alvaro Morata joins the Blues to replace the seemingly outgoing Diego Costa. The fallen Galactico has undoubted talent and technical ability, and he’s also pretty good at hitting the back of the net – he had the highest conversion rate of any striker to score 10 plus goals in La Liga last year. Beware – he might need some time to shake off the bench-warming rust.

4. Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal

Arsene Wenger broke the Gunners’ record transfer fee to sign Lacazette, and we all know Wenger doesn’t spend money lightly. The ex-Lyon man is a proven scorer – he netted 91 Ligue 1 goals over the last four seasons, more than any other player. He may need a bit of time to adapt to the Premier League – or not, but will you take the risk?

5. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City

Kun has the best minutes per goal rate of any Premier League player in history. The little Argentinian is a fantastic option, although with City’s attacking depth he’ll likely be included in Pep’s rotation policy. He’s also had a few injuries in recent years – otherwise he’d be higher up this list.

Swans expect Llorente absence

Swansea City striker Fernando Llorente is set to miss the start of the new Premier League season as he continues his recovery from a cycling accident.

The 32-year-old Spain international sustained a broken arm while on holiday and Swans head coach Paul Clement is wary of rushing his charge back into action and risking a much longer lay-off than currently expected.

“I think it is unlikely he will be involved in the first couple of games, but his return will not be long after that.” Paul Clement

That means that Llorente will not feature on the opening weekend of the league season, with City heading to Southampton on Saturday 12th August.

Clement told Wales Online: “Fernando is rehabilitating individually – he has not joined the team training yet. Assuming all goes well, we anticipate that happening in the next ten days.

“I think it is unlikely he will be involved in the first couple of games, but his return will not be long after that.

“It was always going to be touch and go for the start of the season. The most important thing is that we get the arm right.

“You don’t want him to re-fracture it and then end up with Fernando needing surgery, because a six-week injury can then become a six-month injury.”

Llorente scored 15 goals in the Premier League last season as the Swans improved their form considerably following the arrival of Clement at the turn of the year.

They eventually finished in 15th place in the table, seven points clear of the relegation places.

With Bet365, City are 2/1 to be relegated this season and 2/5 to avoid the drop, while they are 17/4 to claim all three points against the Saints on the opening weekend of the campaign.

Dead Parrot – Winner of Telegraph Fantasy Football 2016/17

Long-time fiso member, Graham Dolan, finished 1st overall in TFF during the 2016/17 season. Here is his winning team story as told on fiso’s forum but you can also read his report on the Telegraph website.

Dead Parrot’s story of his winning team:
Starting XI (5-3-2)
GK – Stekelenburg (Everton)
DEF – Coleman (Everton)
DEF – Baines (Everton)
DEF – Williams (Everton)
DEF – Francis (Bournemouth)
DEF – Cook (Bournemouth)
MID – de Bruyne (Man City)
MID – Hazard (Chelsea)
MID – Sanchez (Arsenal)
STR – Aguero (Man City)
STR – Ibrahimovic (Man Utd

A simple formula to start the season. I picked the biggest front five. Proved and reliable high scorers, though Ibrahimovic was new to the EPL there was little doubt that he would score plenty of goals with Manchester United.

Obviously those five were expensive but the returns were highly likely to justify it and no risky choices.

The budget then required bargain defenders. Everton conveniently combined a better than average defence with relatively cheap options who also had a good goal threat. Bournemouth were extra cheap so filled the gaps nicely and had an unknown potential that could be a bonus.

That remained the basic team then until Christmas barring a few transfers for injuries, notably to Coleman and (from memory) to Aguero but went into the new year having used only four transfers. This proved to be important as the transfers in hand made a big difference in the spring.

Now it was time for a bit of good luck (actually a lot of good luck).

Everton had started well defensively but were beginning to creak. Tottenham were emerging as a surprise top team and Chelsea were running away with the league. So now for a big review of the team. In early spring I made drastic changes bringing in a complete Spurs defence plus Alli and Kane with Son flitting in and out. (Usually out after good scores and in again before lean periods!) The Chelsea boat had been missed so little point in taking that route now. (Had gone heavily Chelsea in a few alternative teams)

That turned out to be the key to a successful season. No great insight but plenty of lucky timing as Tottenham proceeded to provide loads of clean sheets and goals which propelled the team rapidly up TFF.

And so to the final weeks. I had amazingly hit the top so needed to be careful with transfers to stay there. The movements of other teams at the top implied one or two Spurs heavy teams but still mostly Chelsea defences. So I gradually shifted the balance of the team to hedge against Chelsea doing too well in upcoming easy fixtures. This was almost my downfall as I also removed Kane near the end because fixtures didn’t look promising for him and I thought I needed to afford Chelsea defenders.

Unfortunately Kane then remarkably scored about seven goals in two away games which drastically reduced my lead at the top and going into the cup final was only seven points ahead. The ominously rising team in second place had Kane!

Had he got any transfers left? I had none having squandered them in a profligate few weeks trying to gain those extra few points, so could do nothing to change anything now. If the challenger had a transfer remaining he would surely swop Kane for Costa. I was sure he had one more Chelsea defender/goalkeeper than me, and possibly an Arsenal defender.

Final XI (4-5-1)
GK – Lloris (Tottenham)
DEF – Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
DEF – Cahill (Chelsea)
DEF – Holgate (Everton)
DEF – Alonso (Chelsea)
MID – de Bruyne (Man City)
MID – Hazard (Chelsea)
MID – Alli (Tottenham)
MID – Sanchez (Arsenal)
MID – Sane (Man City)
STR – Jesus (Man City)

The first half of the cup final went well. Arsenal unexpectedly scored so critically no big Chelsea defence points available. Then, inevitably, Costa scored which probably doomed me to second place. Quite possibly on goal difference (scored – not good for my team) as he would have seven points, cancelling the margin.

It had been good while it lasted…….or so I assumed until belatedly discovering the truth that I didn’t finish second after all but 1st!

Premier League 2017/18 Predictions

It’s been a quiet summer for football with no major tournament in Europe but it’s given clubs and their players the chance to fully relax and recharge ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. We’ve already seen some huge transfers in the Premier League since the window opened but most sides will continue to do business until the season kicks off.

Markets have been open for some time ahead of the new campaign so how are bookies assessing the title race, relegation and everything in-between?

Front Runners

Antonio Conte’s Chelsea stormed to the title last season and were barely challenged as they claimed the crown. However, the West London side are only second favourites to repeat that triumph and can be picked up right now at an industry best price of 19/5 with 188Bet.

So far, the Blues have retained much of the side that won the title but rumours surrounding Diego Costa’s departure continue to gain momentum. The Spaniard is a controversial figure but Conte will need to buy carefully in order to replace a man who scored 20 league goals in a successful campaign.

Market favourites are Manchester City who are on offer at best odds of 2/1 with 10Bet, check here other Premiere League enhanced odds. City’s spending has tipped the £100m mark with Kyle Walker, Ederson and Bernardo Silva signing up this summer but do these new additions, coupled with a disappointing campaign in 2016/17, really justify this favourite’s berth?

Across Manchester, Jose Mourinho’s United are big spenders again with Romelu Lukaku arriving from Everton for an eye-watering £75m. The Red Devils finished outside of the top four last season and as impressive as Lukaku is, he is only replacing another potent goal scorer in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

United had a tight defence last season but Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were disappointing in front of goal and the new centre forward will need better support in 2017/18.

Chasing Pack

Elsewhere, Arsenal have purchased the prolific French striker Alexandre Lacazette but remain distant outsiders for the title at a best of 12/1 with William Hill and BetFred. Just ahead of them are last season’s runners up Tottenham who can be backed at a top price of 10/1 with BetFred and Betway while the bookies are even less impressed with the Merseyside teams.

Liverpool made the Champions League spots but are out at 12/1 with Bet365 and BetBright while big spenders Everton are way behind at 90/1 with 188Bet.

Of those names, Tottenham have the ambition to go one better, having finished second last season and third in 2015/16. However, the lack of any new faces and a switch to an unfamiliar Wembley home may effectively end those hopes.

Liverpool’s price may surprise many and away from the favourites, they have the capacity within their squad to provide some real value at that 12/1 price. Everton may have spent big but a new squad will need time to settle down and the best that Toffees fans can really hope for this year is a top four finish.

So, it really comes down to Chelsea and Manchester City. As always, City have made changes to their squad but last season’s average campaign (by their own high standards) suggests that they do not really deserve to be in front at the head of the betting. Meanwhile, Chelsea needed to do little to their own squad and the smart money is very much in favour of a second successive title for the Blues.

Behind them, Arsenal, Manchester City and Spurs look to be better equipped than their opponents in terms of sealing a top four finish. The introduction of Lacazette should give the Gunners more firepower and help them break back into the Champions League places while City’s quality makes this look a formality.

If there is a question mark on those top four tips, it’s over Spurs who have moved to that Wembley home for 2017/18 but they were so impressive last year that only a severe dip in form would deny Mauricio Pochettino and his men another tilt at Europe’s big prize.

For the drop

At the wrong end of the table, the newest member of the Premier League family, Huddersfield Town, are favourites for relegation at 4/6 with Bet365. It’s hard to argue with that assessment as David Wagner’s men were promoted despite finishing the regular campaign with a minus goal difference and despite some new signings, they look out of their depth here.

Naturally, the other newly-promoted sides feature heavily here with Brighton at 6/5 with William Hill and Newcastle a relatively distant best price of 9/2 with SportingBet. Huddersfield are a red hot tip but perhaps the other side to watch is Watford. Positive results against the likes of Arsenal masked an alarming slump at the end of the campaign and with an ageing and, at times, injury-prone squad, the Hornets look a good bet for the drop at 7/4 with SkyBet.

Top four places, top half finishes and more can also be speculated upon as the markets open and the squads take shape ahead of the new Premier League campaign. Will Chelsea claim back to back titles or can Manchester City justify their position as favourites? Are new boys Huddersfield Town out of their depth and destined for the drop? The answers to these and many other questions will start to unfold very soon with the new season kicking off on August 11.

FPL Pre-season 17/18: Promising players in the newly promoted sides

Galpharm Stadium - Wide

The Kirklees Stadium, home of newly promoted Hudderfield Town AFC” (CC by 4.0) by Nigel Taylor

Towards the end of every season the main focus of the fans and the media is automatically on the fight for the title, and that’s logical. After all, when the 20 best teams in England (and Wales) compete for the number one spot over a period of ten months you are going to want to know who wins, and how they did it. At the other end of the table the stakes are very different though. The battle against relegation can be heartbreaking at times, but at least from a fans’ point of view there is one big upside to relegation: three new sides will be adding to the Premier League’s colours next season. For the 17/18 season these are Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United, and in this article we’ll take a deeper look at some of the players in these sides with potential value to FPL managers. Promoted sides often offer several players with an excellent points-to-price ratio, just think of last season’s Alvaro Negredo (Boro), Harry Maguire (Hull) and Tom Heaton (Burnley), just to name a few. Another great points-to-price ratio to look at are these enhanced odds at KickOff.

Brighton & Hove Albion
Promoted sides often offer interesting options in terms of budget third strikers for Fantasy teams, and the Seagulls’ Glenn Murray might just fall into this category coming season. Scoring 22 goals in 42 Championship games represents quite an achievement, and at a price of 6.0 he’s definitely worth checking out.

Brighton also is the team of the Championship Player of the Year, midfielder Anthony Knockaert. This obviously decreases his status as a differential a bit, but with 15 goals and 8 assists over 42 games to his name many managers might not care. Knockaert is priced at 6.0 in the official game, and the expectation is that he will be a popular pick amongst FPL managers, especially as a fifth midfielder.

Defensively it’s always interesting to see how the newcomers manifest themselves in the league of all leagues, but it’s worth a punt sometimes. In the case of Brighton & Hove central defender Lewis Dunk might be the one to consider. Dunk was a mainstay in the Seagulls’ starting line-up last season (he’s been with them his whole career) and it looks like he will be as well in the Premier League. Known to carry a decent threat during attacking set pieces and priced at 4.5 he’ll be in the minds of more than a few FPL managers to fill up their defenses.

Huddersfield Town AFC
The last time Huddersfield played in England’s top division was in the season 1971/72, so after they clinched promotion to the Prem last season the statement was clear: we’re not waiting another 45 years for our next chance after this season, this time we’re here to stay. Of course, actions are louder than words, and signing Dutch-Australian Man City midfielder Aaron Mooy for 8 million pounds was a first action. Mooy is a hard-working number 10 with excellent oversight, both with and without the ball, and he is central to Huddersfield’s game. Or as his coach David Wagner said, “Aaron is the heart of our game”. He played for the Terriers on loan already last season and he was chosen as the Man of the Match in the final play-off versus Reading, so we know he can cope with high pressure.

A legendary surname is in no way a guarantee for a successful career as a player (just ask Jordi Cruijff), but it seems like Tom Ince has the potential to live up to his. The son of legendary English midfielder Paul Ince was bought by Huddersfield for 10 million pounds from Derby County where the winger scored 26 goals in two seasons, 14 of which came last season. Previously mentioned Championship Player of the Year, Knockaert was the only non-striker to score more. With more than 250 games under his belt at just 25 years old it’s not likely that the Premier League will phase Ince and to make matters even more interesting: Ince is listed as a midfielder (6.0) in the official game!

Newcastle United

The Magpies are a newcomer this season, but can they really be classified as such? Despite their relegation woes in recent years Newcastle United is still widely considered a Premier League outfit, even if it was just because of their huge potential in terms of fanbase and financials. Sleeping giant is a description that keeps popping up, even though the giant has been asleep for a while now. Maybe this season is the season he wakes up again?

As part of their return the Magpies paid around 8.5 million pounds for Eibar’s Florian Lejeune. Not only was Eibar one of the surprises of Spain’s LaLiga last season, Lejeune played a pivotal role in their 10th place finish. The 26-year old Frenchman plays as a centre back, although he can also be deployed as a defensive midfielder as well, and he was the defender with most successful clearances in LaLiga last season. At a price of 4.5 in the official game Lejeune is going to be a popular target amongst managers, or he should be.

At the other end of the pitch the Magpies benefit from the services of Dwight Gayle. Any first-choice striker who bags 23 goals in just 32 games in the incredibly competitive Championship is worth at least a mention, which is why Gayle is on here. Given he has not been snapped up by a Premier League rival by the time the football festival starts, the 26-year old should be on your list of potential bargains (he’s priced at 6.5 in the official game).