FPL Season 2022/23: Gameweek 2 preview

The 2022-23 Fantasy Premier League campaign got off to a more than decent start with the two most-talked-about premium assets delivering big. While new star man Erling Haaland marked his official PL debut with 2 goals, 3 bonus points and a total of 13 FPL points, it was business as usual for Mo Salah as the Egyptian brought the 62% of managers who owned him 12 FPL points, courtesy of 1 goal, 1 assist and 2 bonus points. That’s four consecutive gameweek 1 hauls for the Liverpool man now, which just underlines once more how good of a fantasy asset he really is.

Neither of the previously mentioned two heavy hitters managed to outscore Brighton’s Pascal Gross and Newcastle’s Fabian Schär, though. Boasting ownerships well below 3% overall in the build-up to GW1, the budget picks delivered big with 15 FPL points each. It was a good week for differential fantasy picks in general, as three more players with an ownership below 4% made it into the Team of the Week: Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly (12 points), Chelsea’s Jorginho (11 points) and Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma (10 points). A mix therefore, in terms of ownership, which only makes the preparation for gameweek 2 and beyond more exciting.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 2 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, August 13th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per August 12th)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKAlisson (LIV), De Gea (MUN), Mendy (CHE)Mendy (CHE), Ward (LEI), Ederson (MCI) 
DEFPerisic (TOT), Cash (AST), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Zinchenko (ARS), Schär (NEW), Saliba (ARS)Perisic subbed on, Zinchenko haul, Schär goal
MIDSon (TOT), Coutinho (AST), Diaz (LIV)Kulusevski (TOT), Martinelli (ARS), Gross (BRI)Kulusevski starter + haul, Martinelli starter + haul
FORKane (TOT), Jesus (ARS), Greenwood (LEE)Haaland (MCI), Mitrovic (FUL), Darwin (LIV)Transferred in forwards all hauled in GW1

Premium pick

After his brace away at West Ham, Erling Haaland (£11.6m) is top of the list for a majority of fantasy managers this weekend. The Skyblues are playing their first home game of the season against promoted Bournemouth and despite the Cherries’ excellent showing against Aston Villa in GW1, it’s hard to see them coming away with anything on Saturday. As for Haaland, we’ve just got a single gameweek to go on so far, but we’re going to let the stats do the talking here. Apart from his 2 goals and 13 FPL points, the Norwegian wonder kid was first amongst all players in the league for Shots in the Box, Big Chances, Expected Goals and Non-penalty Expected Goal Involvement. Add to that the fact that he is on penalties and we might, MIGHT, just have our first near-essential fantasy pick after just 90 minutes of Premier League action.

Non-premium pick

From one of the top performers in GW1 to one of the more disappointing fantasy assets, from an FPL point of view, at least. Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m) went into gameweek 1 as the single most-owned player in the official game, but ended up having a rather quiet afternoon at Selhurst Park. While the Gunners beat Crystal Palace 0-2, the Brazilian forward was not nearly as involved in attack as many managers would’ve hoped for, recording an Expected Goal ratio of just 0.08. Nevertheless, Arsenal looked good attacking and Jesus is definitely their number-one-man up front, plus the difficulty of an away game against Patrick Vieira’s Palace should not be underestimated. The Gunners have a nice run of fixtures coming up and we don’t doubt that Jesus will start returning for his owners soon, very possibly this weekend already as Leicester visit the Emirates Stadium. The Foxes conceded twice at home to Brentford and even though we have just the one game to go on so far, it looks like last season’s defensive woes are not entirely behind them yet. As a result, Gabriel Jesus looks like a wise pick on both the short and the long term.

The budget enabler

Pascal Groß (£5.5m) was one of the big surprises in gameweek 1 as the German playmaker recorded a fantastic 15 FPL points. He scored a brace against Manchester United at Old Trafford to give Brighton their first-ever victory at the Theatre of Dreams, kicking off his and his side’s 2022-23 in incredible style. The resulting 15 FPL points were enough for Groß to become gameweek 1’s joint-highest points scorer, sharing the honour with Newcastle’s Fabian Schär. Up next are Newcastle at home, which is no longer an “easy” fixture since the state of Saudi Arabia has started to pour £millions into the Tyneside club. The Magpies got off to a good start as well, beating promoted Nottingham Forest 2-0 at home, but as far as Groß is concerned, we’re also looking past this fixture. While a second consecutive victory in a row in more than possible for the Seagulls, they also have a decent set of fixtures following gameweek 2, including home games against Leeds and Palace, and away games versus Fulham and Bournemouth coming up in the next six. Groß won’t be scoring braces every week, but at just £5.5m, he looks like a very good budget-enabling pick.

The differential

We previously mentioned Haaland’s superior underlying stats in terms of goal threat, but the best performance in terms of chance creation was delivered by Leeds’ winger Jack Harrison (£6.0m). The kindly priced Englishman created six chances in gameweek 1, more than any other player in the league, and got 1 assist out of his labour. He ended the game against Wolves at home with 6 FPL points, as he also added 2 bonus points to his totals, despite getting a yellow card as well. Leeds have an appealing run of fixtures coming up all the way up until gameweek 10, so if the 25-year-old can keep up this pace, there will surely be more points waiting for him and the 1.2% of fantasy managers who currently own him over the coming weeks. His GW2 fixture has potential as the Whites go to leaky Southampton, and at a price of just £6.0m, Harrison could very well end up representing excellent (differential) value for money on the medium and long term.

The (vice-)captaincy

The captaincy debate will mainly be between Erling Haaland and Mo Salah this week, as both highly owned premium fantasy assets have favourable home games coming up. The Norwegian will be looking to continue scoring against Bournemouth after a perfect Premier League debut in gameweek 1, while the Egyptian will once again lead the Liverpool attack against Crystal Palace at Anfield. Neither of the two is a bad pick, but we had to choose and therefore, we’re placing the armband on Haaland for gameweek 2.

Not convinced by either of these two superstars? No problem, because the likes of Darwin Nuñez (at home vs Palace), Gabriel Jesus (at home vs Leicester) and even Joao Cancelo (at home to Bournemouth) provide excellent albeit slightly more differential alternatives, from a captaincy POV at least. If you’re looking for a riskier move in gameweek 2, you could also opt for Patrick Bamford (away at Southampton) or Jarrod Bowen (away vs Nottingham Forest).

For more in-depth discussions on the Fantasy Premier League game check out our FPL forum.

FPL 2022/23 PRE-SEASON CLUB PREVIEWS – PART 10

Yesterday our 9th preview of the 2022/23 FPL season covered Southampton and SpursIn this 10th and final FPL instalment, we’re going over Conference League-bound West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

WEST HAM – FPL 2022/23 team preview

Overall, the 2021-22 season was probably one of the best in recent memory for West Ham United. The Hammers finished sixth in the league, which earned them a direct spot for the Europa League group stage and they surely made the most of their European opportunity. In a decent group with Dinamo Zagreb, Rapid Wien and KRC Genk, they finished first and ended up making it all the way to the tournament’s semi-finals. Eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt proved to be a bridge too far for David Moyes’ men, but they showed considerable growth as a side as they competed at the highest level on different fronts.

We’re saying different fronts, because unlike to what happens at times to teams who are not used to competing domestically and in Europa at the same time, West Ham did not drop the ball in the Premier League to fuel their European run. On the contrary, they delivered an excellent Premier League season. The Hammers took 56 points from 38 games to finish in seventh place, which earned them yet another European campaign for the upcoming season, albeit one step lower in the Conference League. They missed out on Europa League football by just two points, but if they managed to reach the semi-finals in Europe’s second tournament last season, who knows what a run in the Conference League might bring them this season.

What’s for sure though, is that West Ham are aware of the upcoming behemoth of a season and it shows in their transfer market activity so far. They have not yet lost any of their squad’s key figures, though Andriy Yarmolenko and Ryan Fredericks did leave the London Stadium. In return, the club did not hesitate to bolster the squad with some big-money signings. Italian centre-forward Gianluca Scamacca was brought in from Sassuolo for £32 million, Stade Rennais central defender Nayef Aguerd came to London for about £31 million, the young Flynn Downes left Swansea for just under £10 million and experienced goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was bought from Paris Saint Germain for £8 million.

West Hams’s tactics sheet

Manager David Moyes went through a couple of rough years in terms of results and credibility at Manchester United especially, but since his return to West Ham in December 2019, he has consistently shown why Sir Alex Ferguson himself considered him the ideal successor to Ferguson’s giant legacy at Old Trafford. Not only has he managed to turn West Ham into a consistent competitor for the European spots in the Premier League, even looking like a genuine top-six contender for most of last season, but he only managed the rise of some of the Prem’s most exciting talent, including the likes of Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio.

In terms of his approach to games, Moyes clearly favoured a 4-2-3-1 system, though he would sometimes switch to a more defensive 5-4-1 if circumstances (read: injuries and suspensions) required it. Such tactical flexibility is always a great asset for any side. Generally though, The Scotsman likes to play with a ball-playing and physically strong double pivot in front of the defence, allowing the full-backs more freedom to bomb forward. When executed to perfection, this then gives the wingers chances to cut inside and support the lone striker. Jarrod Bowen, in particular, has blossomed as part of this set-up, but he’s not the only one. Players like Antonio, Fornals and Coufal have benefited considerably from it as well.

WEST HAM – Potential FPL targets

There is no way any self-respecting pundit, analyst or fantasy manager starts an overview of the best West Ham fantasy picks for the 2022-23 Premier League campaign without mentioning Jarrod Bowen (£8.5m). Starting at a price of £6.5m, the former Hull man delivered what can only be described as an incredible season. From 36 league games, the winger, who is listed as a midfielder in the official game, managed 12 goals and 12 assists for a mind-boggling total of 206 FPL points. In the midfielder category, only Salah and Son did better, while overall, only Trent Alexander-Arnold ended above the West Ham man besides the previously mentioned two. No wonder that his price was raised for the new season. Whether or not Bowen can replicate or even improve on his performances from last season remains to be seen, but he was the absolute talisman in the Premier League season. No other player had a higher direct goal involvement than he did (51%). His gameweek 1 fixture is about as difficult it gets with Man City at home, but after that it’s a sea of FDR green, so don’t let his new price tag scare you.

Admittedly, Vladimir Coufal (£4.5m) did not have the best season of his career in the claret and sky blue of West Ham, but we’re still a bit surprised by FPL Towers lowering his price by half a million in comparison to last season. The Czech Republic international was rotated at times due to injury niggles and sub-par form, which explains his 70 FPL points at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. Nevertheless, he still managed 4 assists and this is also why we included him in this list, besides his budget price. In David Moyes’ system, Coufal gets plenty of chances to whip in centres for the forwards and with the addition of the 6ft3 Gianluca Scamacca, we can see him get back to his wing-back best this season. From gameweek 2 onwards, the Hammers defender could very well be worth a punt.

Over the years, Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) has proven himself as one of the most consistently dependable goalkeepers in the Premier League. To such an extent that his occasional absence was truly felt by the Hammers every time. This explains the acquisition of PSG reserve goalie Alphonse Areola this summer, but we can’t see the Frenchman being anything else than a reserve at the London Stadium as well. The Polish international, who will feature at the 2022 World Cup later this year, recorded a very decent 136 FPL points last season, making him the fifth-best fantasy performer between the sticks. An additional bonus when selecting Fabianski for your squad is his tendency to save penalties, which he did three times last season. Competition is fierce in the mid-budget goalkeeper bracket, but as far as we are concerned, the West Ham goalkeeper is one of the most reliable options.

WOLVES – FPL 2022-23 team preview

Wolves have proven to be a more than worthy addition to the Premier League since their promotion from the Championship in 2018. Backed by Chinese investment group Fosun International, one of the largest private conglomerates in China, the club has consistently finished in the top-half of the table, apart from the 2020-21 season, when they ended up in 13th place. Last season, under the tutelage of Portuguese manager Bruno Lage, Wolves ended up in a respectable tenth place, five points off the seventh place that would’ve earned them a spot in the play-off round for the Conference League. Their end-of-the-season run, in particular cost them, as they collected just two points from the last seven league games. Lage’s men perhaps went for beach holidays a tad too early last season.

Fortunately, there were also plenty of positives to take from the last Premier League campaign, especially in light of their defensive performance. Wolves conceded just 43 goals in 38 games, a total only bettered by last season’s top three, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea. The side’s four best performers in FPL terms were all defenders, which also brings us to another important points concerning Bruno Lage’s men: their faltering attack. Bar the three relegated teams, no side scored less than Wolves last season. A total of 38 goals from 38 league games is really way too little for a team with ambitions of competing for a European spot. To illustrate this further, Wolves’ top scorer Raul Jimenez netted just six times, less than any other team’s top scorer (although the team are glad he is still playing after that terrible head injury in November 2020 in a match against Arsenal).

So far, the Wolverhampton Wanderers have not been overly active on the transfer market yet, even though they did lose a few players who featured a lot last season. The free transfer of central defender Romain Saiss to Besiktas jumps out in that sense, but the likes of Marçal (free transfer to Botafogo) and Francisco Trincao (end of his loan from FC Barcelona) have also left a bit of a void in the squad, though not a big one. The good thing is that the club acted quickly by acquiring young Nathan Collins from Burnley for about £22 million and making the loan move of striker Hee-chan Hwang from RB Leizpig permanent for £15 million. On top of that, the powerful but inconsistent Adama Traoré was welcomed back after spending a season on loan at Barcelona. We wouldn’t be surprised though, if Wolves invest further before the end of the summer transfer window.

Wolves’ tactics sheet

As mentioned earlier, Bruno Lage has not turned Wolves into the most exciting of teams in the English topflight, but definitely one of the most defensively sound. A mere 38 conceded goals in 38 games more than underlines this. The Portuguese manager, like his predecessor Nuno Espiritio Santo, is tactically astute and, perhaps more importantly, knows how to get his squad behind his ideas. This side looks drilled and on top of that, extremely fit, considering the fact that, again like Espirito Santo, Lage utilised a relatively small squad throughout the season. From a fantasy point of view, where the risk of rotation is always a factor, this is good news.

Lage lines his side up in a 3-4-3 formation with the back-three truly forming the back-bone of his squad, together with the trusted double pivot of experienced compatriots Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves. The wing-backs are crucial in providing width and support for the Wolves attack, and the return to full fitness of Jonny Castro towards the end of last season will have filled the Wolves faithful with joy. Having said that, the continued fitness of Raul Jimenez throughout the campaign was even better news (though it should be noted that he is now sidelined with a knee injury), as the side has looked toothless without the Mexican international up front. It’s not that Wolves play bad football or lack attacking intentions, but just that they did not create enough last season. Scoring more goals will surely be on top of Lage’s agenda this pre-season, without sacrificing the team’s defensive solidity, of course.

WOLVES – Potential FPL targets

A potential upside of Wolves’ and Raul Jimenez’ (£7.0m) rather disappointing season from an attacking perspective is that the Mexican striker is priced at just £7.0m this season. Of course, he managed just 6 goals and 5 assists from 2,630 minutes of Premier League action, but he is nailed-on as the team’s target man up front. Also, he is a very, very good footballer, which was reflected in his earlier season in the Prem. While the 2020-21 season was ruined by a horrid skull injury, he surpassed the 180-FPL-point mark in the two seasons prior quite comfortably. In 2019-20, he scored 17 and assisted 7 goals for 194 FPL points, while he got 181 points from 13 goals and 10 assists in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign. It’s important to note that he is currently marked as injured in the official game with an unknown return date. This obviously requires monitoring, but if he gets fit in time and Bruno Lage manages to improve his side’s attack, Jimenez could become an interesting mid-priced option up front.

The most selected Wolves asset at the moment of writing is not Jimenez though, but his even more affordable countryman Pedro Neto (£5.5m). The winger, who is listed as a midfielder in the official game, is currently sitting in just under 20% of all teams in the build-up the gameweek 1 and we see several reasons for that. First of all, his price tag, which makes him an ideal budget enabler in a season where the budget once again feels very tight. Second of all, if we’re to believe the pundits and Wolves fans, Neto will be nailed-on for Lage this season, despite him getting just 459 minutes of Premier League action last season (1 goal, 1 assist). And thirdly, he is an out-of-position fantasy asset, which always raises a player’s appeal. With the likes of Andreas Pereira, Leon Bailey and his teammate Joao Moutinho all part of the budget-midfielder bracket, there are clearly good alternatives for Neto, but if Lage gets his attack in order, he could represent excellent FPL value.

Finally, and probably most recommendable out this entire list, is a Wolves defender. We were weighing up the previously mentioned Jonny Castro and Willy Boly, who should return to his impressive best this season after a long stretch of COVID-related problems, but we opted for Rayan Aït-Nouri (£4.5m) instead. Where he was in danger of rotation with Marçal last season, he now looks like the clear first choice at left-wing-back after the Brazilian left for Turkish giants Besiktas. For a defender with just over 1,800 minutes of Premier League football over the 2021-22 campaign, a return of 87 FPL points, courtesy of 7 clean sheets, 1 goal and 7 assists, is not bad at all. He gets a lot of freedom bombing forward and he’s clearly comfortable in that role. On top of that, he shares corners with Joao Moutinho, which is always a big plus.

For more in-depth discussions on the Fantasy Premier League game check out our FPL forum.

The Rise of Fantasy Football

The design of fantasy football couldn’t be more straightforward: create a team from a huge library of current players from any sport, and compare your performance to other players using a statistical breakdown of games as they occur in the real world.

With everyone bringing different perspectives and beliefs to the game, it’s highly unlikely that two players will have the same team and alternatives. This is the selling point, as the system remunerated players based on their knowledge and understanding of the game. The only greater drama than fantasy football is what happens on the pitch.

Origins

The primary idea for fantasy football wasn’t British. In fact, it came from the Americas with the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (GOPPPL)—hardly a mouthful, that. The original fantasy league was the brainchild of Wilfred “Bill the Hill” Winkenbach and was designed according to the American football system, complete with fullbacks and quarterbacks. Winkenbach even included linemen.

Then, along came Andrew Wainstein, who stumbled on the American fantasy sports and devised a version based on the UK football system. Now, Wainstein wasn’t anywhere near the sports level and involvement of Winkenbach, who was part-owner of the Oakland Raiders, now called the Las Vegas Raiders.

Wainstein was down on his luck when he started the structure of arguably one of the biggest sports franchises currently. He locked himself away in his sister’s old bedroom for three months, spending the bulk of his time creating the system we know today on a bunch of envelopes. When he finished, Wainstein began introducing his creation to the world through ad placements in football magazines.

The media soon got involved, and fantasy football exploded into the spotlight, with the BBC debuting the infamous Fantasy Football League on Radio 5 Live. Next, it was on TV, and before you knew it, the internet was here.

Fantasy Football in The Digital Casino Age

The dawn of the internet age meant a lot for many games, whether it was played in casinos, at home, or in tiny groups that met at pubs to engage in sports banter. It gave us an exciting history of poker (among other things)—which before then had grown bigger than its humble beginnings and was morphing into new varieties and absorbing new rules. Hence, the birth of the World Series of Poker and the establishment of No Limit Texas Hold’Em as the most popular version of the card game.

Just as poker was breaking into the internet space and pioneering some of the first online casinos, fantasy football was not far behind. It received an international licence and was available to all who cared to fire up the internet and have a go at it. Wainstein, who had become the poster boy for the new entertainment source, recounted how several customers didn’t know they could access other platforms outside of fantasy football. They had signed up for the internet just to play and had never been to other sites.

Fantasy Sports Now: The Birth of the FPL

Usually, American sports like baseball and gridiron football contain sections that can be readily evaluated into quantifiable data using statistical analysis. This isn’t the same for football in the United Kingdom and Europe, where football is one of the most dominant sports and cannot be accurately predicted. You’d think this disparity favours the Americas, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The future of fantasy sports largely lies in football, which does more numbers than the NFL globally, and is attracting more fans and participants to fantasy football than anything the United States can muster.

Fantasy football’s entry into the world of football is rather late, thanks in part to the sport being significantly more difficult to evaluate and predict. How do we know? Newly-promoted Leicester City went on to clinch the English Premier League trophy ahead of the big six during their second stint in the top flight in the 2015/16 season. The Foxes literally overcame a 5,000-1 odds to win the much-coveted title.

Analyse that!

But despite being late to the game, football took its fantasy alternative pretty seriously, which saw a huge spike in interest and participation. Since the EPL’s official fantasy football game was developed in 2002, it’s only gotten better each year.

While growth isn’t quite at a steady 40% per annum yet, the uptake has been nothing short of commendable. There are over 2 million participants in the game today, joining from more than 200 different regions worldwide

Factor in the fact that fantasy football in the UK and Europe is largely free-to-play and has a presence in sports broadcasts, and it makes sense why the growth of the game is in tandem with increasing analysis and participation.

FPL 2022/23 PRE-SEASON CLUB PREVIEWS – PART 9

Yesterday our 8th preview of the 2022/23 FPL season covered Newcastle and Nottingham ForestIn this 9th FPL instalment, it’s time for Southampton and Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur.

SOUTHAMPTON – FPL 2022/23 team preview

Apart from an 11th place at the end of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign, Southampton have finished between 15th and 17th place in the league with less than 45 points in the last five seasons. Last season, the Saints ended the season in 15th place, taking 40 points from 38 games, scoring 43 goals in the process and conceding 67. Stats-wise, rather mediocre, though the defensive numbers do give some reason for worries, as only Norwich, Watford and Leeds conceded more. This shaky defensive performance is also a major reason why Soton have seemed incapable of holding on to leads last season. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men dropped an incredible 29 points from winning positions, more than any other team in the league.

That also leads us to the mystery that is the Austrian manager’s side at times. When watching the Saints play, more often than not they deliver decent performances that are entertaining to watch, and not just because of the occasional drubbing they receive. Hasenhuttl is an excellent manager who likes his team to play forward, though at times, he seems to overlook the limitations of the squad at his disposal. Last season, for example, Southampton ranked eighth in the entire league for both total number of shots taken and for shots on target. At the same time, they ranked 18th and 19th, respectively, for goals scored from shots overall and from shots on target. With the acquisition of the club by Serbian businessman Dragan Solak, owner of Sports Republic, in January of this year, the hope among the Saints faithful is that money will be invested this summer to give their manager a squad that can flourish better under his attacking principles.

The club has been pretty active on the transfer market so far, spending about £50 million on six recruits. The names of Manchester City U23 goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu (£12.6 million), his teammate at City, Roméo Lavia (defensive midfielder, £11 million) and Girondins Bordeaux striker, Sekou Mara (£11.7 million), catch the eye. Out of all of the incoming names, only Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo is older than 20 years old, so it remains to be seen to what extent these acquisitions are immediate reinforcements for the upcoming season. As far as last season’s squad is concerned, the Saints have managed to keep their key assets for now. From the players that played something of a role last season, goalkeeper Fraser Forster joined Spurs and forward Shane Long went to Reading, both on a free, unfortunately.

Southampton’s tactics sheet

One thing Ralph Hasenhuttle is known for at Saint Mary’s and has been known for at his previous clubs, including RB Leipzig, is his tactical awareness and flexibility. Gegenpressing, in particular, which is the style mostly attributed to Liverpool Jurgen Klopp, forms a pillar of his tactical approach to games. This can be seen at times at Soton as well, when the team chase the ball like madmen immediately after losing it, seemingly wherever on the pitch. Though exciting to watch, this may have contributed to the side’s vulnerability at the back. After all, and with all due respect, Southampton do not have a Fabinho or a Virgil van Dijk (anymore) to remedy risky situations when the high press is circumvented by the opponent.

Thoughout the 2021-22 campaign, the Saints mainly started in a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 formation, as these offer more tactical flexibility during games. The three-at-the-back approach, specifically, seems to be fitting for the team, as it offers them a bit more security when they hunt for the ball higher up the pitch. This also allows for more attacking options, as the wing-backs get more opportunities to join in the attack. Having said that, with a few quality injections into the squad and in the attack in particular, Hasenhuttl’s wish for quick, direct, high-tempo football could be a dream for FPL managers.

SOUTHAMPTON – Potential FPL targets

As something of a personal favourite of ours, James Ward-Prowse (£6.5m) was always going to be the first FPL pick from the Southampton roster on our list. Extremely underestimated by the majority of fantasy managers, the set-piece expert par excellence recorded a frankly impressive 159 FPL points last season, courtesy of 10 goals, 5 assists and 7 clean sheets. He was, by far, the best-performing midfielder in his price bracket and among midfielders priced at £11.0m or lower in the official game, only five players did better than him and each of those five players ended up in the top-half of the table with their respective teams. JWP is nailed-on under Ralph Hasenhuttl and it’s only a question of time before he makes the Premier League free-kick record his own. At the moment, only the legendary David Beckham has scored more than him (14 goals vs 18). The only thing holding us back from including the England international in our gameweek 1 squad is the fact that his opening fixtures for the upcoming season are very unappealing. From GW6 onwards though, he’s top of our watchlists.

Our second fantasy pick from the Southampton roster is JWP’s fixed partner in the middle, Stuart Armstrong (£5.0m). The Scottish international, who either plays in a more advanced role in the centre of the pitch or on the right side, has seen his price tag drop to a mere £5.0m this season. That is in large part due to his injury troubles last season, which led to him accumulating just 1,465 minutes of Premier League action in which he returned 2 goals and 1 assist. In that light, the 2020-21 season is perhaps more representative of his qualities as a fantasy asset. That season, Armstrong scored 4 goals and provided 7 assists on top of 8 clean sheets for a total of 115 FPL points. Those numbers are nothing crazy for him and if he can reach similar heights this season, his price of £5.0m will be a real bargain.

For our third Saints fantasy pick, we were trying to chose between wing-back Yann Valery, mainly because of his £4.0m price tag, and Che Adams (£6.5m) and we’ve ended up going with the latter. The 26-year-old forward had a decent 2021-22 campaign, scoring 7 goals and assisting another 4, which represents a direct involvement of just over 25% in all of his side’s goals. While we feel his current price tag is a bit too high for many managers to really consider him as part of their 15-man squad, Adams does seem to be nailed-on for the coming season. The Saints roster does not boast a lot of out-and-out strikers, and despite playing just 2,034 minutes last season as a result of Hasenhuttl’s rotation up front, the forward did record the best Expected Goals ratio out of all Southampton players (0.41 per 90 minutes).

SPURS – FPL 2022-23 team preview

Tottenham’s 2021-22 Premier League campaign was marked by the arrival of Italian manager Antonio Conte. Prior to the former Juventus and Chelsea boss’ arrival at Spurs, under the supervision of the newly appointed Nuno Espirito Santo, Spurs took 15 points from the season’s first ten games and boasted 0.9 goals per game as well as 1.6 goals against per game. Another disappointing season without silverware and possibly even without a top-six finish was looming, but chairman Daniel Levy wasn’t having it. In November, he replaced Espirito Santo with Conte and while the move raised some eyebrows here and there, the end-of-season numbers show that the big man was right. Under the Italian, Spurs won 17 of the remaining 28 games of the season, scoring an average of 2.1 goals per game and conceding just 0.9 per game.

What helped was the fact that Levy also gave the OK for some serious transfer spending in the January window. Using Conte’s connections in Italy and at Juventus in particular, the Londoners brought in central midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur for £17 million, together with right winger Dejan Kulusevski for a 2-year loan fee of £9 million with a buy option. While the former recorded a decent 4 assists from 1,360 Premier League minutes, it was the latter who has a truly impressive impact on the side. In just 1,259 minutes, he managed 5 goals and 9 assists for a total of 99 FPL points. Considering he started with a price of £6.0m, he provided excellent value for the FPL managers who owned him.

The Juventus recruits turned out to be just the beginning of a considerable squad overhaul at Spurs. The club has already spent over £90 million during the current transfer window with the majority of that amount used to bring Everton star Richarlison to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadion. A whopping £52 million was enough to convince the Toffees to let go of their man main. On top of that, the North London side also splashed the cash for Brighton’s ball-getter Yves Bissouma (£26 million) and the talented Middlesbrough right-back Djed Spence (£13 million). Barcelona central defender Clement Lenglet and Inter midfielder/winger/wing-back Ivan Perisic joined Conte’s squad for free. As far as the outgoing players go, the talented but underused Steven Bergwijn was sold to Ajax Amsterdam for a big £28 million and fringe player Cameron Carter-Vickers moved to Celtic for around £6 million.

Spurs’ tactics sheet

Looking at the current squad and the big-money, big-name additions this summer, Spurs finally start looking like a side that might be able to compete for the Premier League title. Big words, of course, but the current Spurs squad is possibly the most talented of the past years and perhaps more importantly, one that is being shaped to exactly fit Antonio Conte’s favourite playing style. The Italian manager is practically synonymous with back-three formations in which the wing-backs play key roles, both offensively and defensively. From day one, he had Spurs playing in his preferred 3-4-2-1 formation and the big advantage was that the available squad fit this approach very well. The new acquisitions are clearly brought in to further perfect Conte’s system at Spurs.

There is no doubt that Tottenham will turn up with three central defenders this season, with wing-backs essentially playing as playmakers. The question is not whether or not the Spurs wing-backs will be good FPL assets, but which ones will be preferred by Conte. The Italian is not known for rotating much, instead asking a lot of a fixed core of extremely fit players. The 33-year-old Perisic is a perfect example of the trademark Conte wing-back. The double pivot in the middle of the pitch is crucial for the team’s balance and not expected to join much in attack. In turn, the front three will be tasked mainly with pressing up the field and making sure that they are where they need to be when centres are being whipped in from the sides or over the top. At the same time, when the opponent pulls more towards the flanks to stop Spurs’ attacking moves, the team will not hesitate to build up through the middle, including Chris Wilder-style overlapping centre-backs.

SPURS – Potential FPL targets

You probably already know who the first two names in our list of Spurs fantasy picks for the 2022-23 Premier League campaign will be. Harry Kane (£11.5m) and Heung-Min Son have become not only some of the best individual picks in the official game, but also one of the best offensive duos in the English topflight, and perhaps the world. We’re starting with Kane, who for the first time ever has been priced lower than Son and looks like one of the stand-out premium picks in the build-up to gameweek 1. He had a slow start to the 2021-22 season under Espirito Santo, partly due to his missed transfer to Man City, but still ended with 17 goals and 11 assists, the elusive double-double. His 192 FPL points made him the highest-scoring forward in the official game, 17 points clear of number two Diogo Jota and 33 clear of Cristiano Ronaldo. We don’t have to tell you how nailed-on Spurs’ Very Own is, and with Southampton (home), Chelsea (away), Wolves (home) and Nottingham Forest (away) in the first four gameweeks, Kane could be off to a flying start this season for once.

We could largely copy-paste the above and just replace “Kane” with Son (£12.0m). Like Kane, Heung-Min Son is in indisputable for Spurs and Conte. The South Korean ended last season with an incredible 23 goals, putting him on par with joint-Golden Boot Mo Salah, and 10 assists, plus another 18 clean sheets. It was the same Egyptian who took home the honourable title of highest-scoring player of the 2021-22 Premier League season with 265 FPL points, but Son was just 7 points behind him. Looking at the Korean’s achievements from that angle makes us think that he was actually slightly underhyped last season, especially in comparison to Salah. In any case, you can expect him to be one of the most-selected players ahead of GW1 and very possibly, one of the top performers in the opening gameweeks.

Richarlison at £8.5m is very tempting, but it remains to be seen how he will fit in exactly at Conte’s Tottenham. The Brazilian will also miss GW1 due to suspension, so we’ve gone with Ivan Perisic (£5.5m) instead. We wrote earlier that the Croatian winger-turned-wing-back is the prototype of a Conte wing-back and we believe there is a clear idea behind his transfer to Spurs. At Inter, the Croatian was initially loaned to Bayern as he was not up to Conte’s standards, in the Italian’s own opinion, but the manager clearly had faith in him. After that season on loan, Perisic became one of Conte’s most dependable soldiers, and one of the most attacking left wing-backs in the game. Last season, for example, he recorded a rather incredible 8 goals and 7 assists from 34 games, which in FPL terms would very likely result in a 200+ season haul. The new defender is still recovering from an injury at the moment and has featured just half an hour during the ongoing pre-season, but he looks set for a fixed spot in Spurs’ starting eleven for the new season. At £5.5m, Perisic could become FPL gold.

For more in-depth discussions on the Fantasy Premier League game check out our FPL forum.

Best Online Crypto Sports Betting Sites

Crypto sports betting has become a big thing over the last few years. Many people own cryptocurrencies and are looking for ways to spend it one way or another. Certainly, learning how to bet with crypto is one of the ways to spend it…or double your money!

Why crypto betting?

Before we mention the best crypto sports betting sites, we need to tell you a few details. When it comes to online betting, the number of sites using cryptocurrencies is rising with each passing day. Most of the top-rated sportsbooks now allow you to make deposits and withdrawals in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and even Dogecoin — some of the most popular digital currencies. Nevertheless, you need a reliable crypto sportsbook where you can deposit your cryptos easily and bet securely.

As far as cryptocurrency casinos are concerned, there is no reason to doubt that they are here to stay. Indeed, today cryptocurrency casinos are some of the best places for gambling in the world, thanks to their speed, anonymity, and security. They allow you to buy Bitcoin with credit card and then deposit it to your trading account.

Benefits of crypto casinos

No one would choose a crypto casino if there were no added benefits. But let’s see which they are

Anonymity

Sports bettors are attracted to cryptocurrencies for many reasons, one of which is the anonymity it offers. In most cases, crypto betting is also anonymous, making it even more appealing to those looking to keep their identity hidden. They can freely deposit and withdraw funds without issues.

Fast transactions

Crypto punters now have the chance to deposit and withdraw funds in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. No more long procedures. It is a huge step forward from the previous system where people had to wait for days or even weeks to get their hands on their money.

Universal currencies

No matter where in the world gamblers live, they don’t have to worry about what currency is accepted. As long as they have mainstream coins, they will be able to register and play. This makes it easy for people to gamble no matter their location.

Best crypto bookies in the world

First of all, we have to tell you that crypto sports betting is not cryptocurrency investing and definitely not predicting Bitcoin’s price, or any other coin price. It’s simply…sports betting with digital currencies, instead of fiat ones.

Stake.com

Stake.com is one the market-leading online betting sites that allows players to access their accounts from anywhere in the world. Stake’s aim is to become one of the dominant places for sports and entertainment betting, offering a diverse array of events for people to bet on, providing accessible odds and unparalleled customer service. And they are on the right path, we have to admit!

What we enjoyed is how well the live customer support team works, as well as the variety of options available. While we would love to see Stake.com offering welcome bonuses, we have to admit the bookie does more than enough to compensate for it with a lot of VIP perks,

Cloudbet

Cloudbet is a crypto-friendly sportsbook that offers betting markets for nearly every sport imaginable. With fast payouts and responsive customer support, it’s one of the top destinations for cryptocurrency gamblers on the web. It’s been on the market since 2013 and it has certainly improved a lot from then. Many questions were resolved, such as the authentic experience for users, and others.

Cloudbet is Bet365 for crypto maniacs, as it offers the best odds in the industry. Modern design and 24/7 support are just the icing on the cake for the platform!

BetOnline

BetOnline is one of the oldest crypto sport betting sites, with many years of successful operation under its belt. Over a decade later, it continues to offer crypto sports bets to the avid US and global players alike — giving sports better even more options to try their luck.

The casino is available from many places in the world, despite being made for the US market initially. The large expansion is thanks to the embrace of tons of cryptocurrencies available, good odds, and many events. BetOnline might be the right place for you if you’re lurking for bonuses. We have to tell you something, though. While crypto deposits are possible, BetOnline doesn’t allow you to trade directly with digital coins but rather exchange them first, and lets you trade with their USD equivalent. This might be a small problem, especially if you’re looking for a more private way to place your bets.

Summary

Online sports betting is going to the next level. Casinos have realized that, apart from bonuses, good odds, and plenty of events, they have to offer a variety of currencies to attract new clients.

FPL 2022/23 PRE-SEASON CLUB PREVIEWS – PART 8

Yesterday our 7th preview of the 2022/23 FPL season covered Manchester City and Manchester UnitedIn this 8th FPL instalment, it’s time for Newcastle as they prepare for the first full season under Saudi ownership and newly promoted Nottingham Forest.

NEWCASTLE UNITED – FPL 2022/23 team preview

In our previous Club Preview article, we mentioned how Manchester United are preparing for serious change this season, but if there is one club truly looking forward to a new era, it’s Newcastle United. Since 2007, the Magpies were in the hands of the incredibly unpopular (among the fans, at least) Mike Ashley, but in October of last year, the Sports Direct owner sold the club to Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, for about £300 million. This essentially means that Newcastle FC are now in hands of the Saudi government, making them the richest club in the Premier League and the richest in European football.

For a majority of the season, Newcastle were involved in a fight with the ghost of relegation, but the Saudi take-over understandably caused a surge in optimism around Tyneside. Soon after the acquisition was closed, manager Steve Bruce was replaced by Eddie Howe, who managed a turn-around at St. James Park and ended up winning twelve out of the last eighteen games of the 2021-22 Premier League campaign. Of course, it should be noted that the new owners of the club supported their new manager with about £100 million of transfers during the winter transfer window, bringing in the likes of Bruno Guimaraes (£38 million for Olympique Lyon), Chris Wood (£27 million from Burnley) and Kieran Trippier (£12 million from Atletico Madrid).

As for the ongoing transfer window, Newcastle are largely continuing where they left off. The highly rated young central defender Sven Botman was brought in from LOSC Lille for around £33 million, Matt Targett’s loan from Aston Villa was made permanent in return for about £16 million and Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope was transferred in for just over £10 million. On the opposite side of the transfer balance, the Magpies released several players, including Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden and Jeff Hendrick, with none of those names from the pre-Saudi era bringing any cash into the club’s treasury.

Newcastle United’s tactics sheet

Without wanting to discredit Steve Bruce in any way for the work he did at St. James’ Park under admittedly complicated circumstances, Newcastle did show marked improvements after Eddie Howe took over around the middle of last season. The former Bournemouth manager made it clear quickly that he prefers a 4-3-3 set-up, at times alternating that formation with a more defensive 4-5-1. From their most recent acquisitions, we can deduct that the plan is to improve the wing-back play. Both Trippier and Targett are proven Premier League defenders, and they both have an excellent cross in their respective arsenals. In that light, the considerable investment in target man Chris Wood, a transfer more than a few pundits and experts scoffed at, makes a lot of sense.

Additionally, with Alain Saint-Maximin on the left wing and Ryan Fraser most likely first choice on the right wing, Howe’s Newcastle are not just betting on the long ball to get into danger areas. Expect a Newcastle side this season that will attempt to build up from the back, though without fear of using a long haul to the big man up front when needed. This is the kind of tactical luxury a striker like Chris Wood brings to a team. The Magpies have the squad to play over the wings and it will be interesting to see the extent Targett and ASM on the left and/or Trippier and Fraser on the right will start clicking.

NEWCASTLE UNITED – Potential FPL targets

One player who seems certain of a starting spot under Eddie Howe is right-back Kieran Trippier (£5.0m). The 31-year-old was not just brought in for his undeniable qualities, especially on the ball, but also because of his vast experience in the league, something that should not be underestimated for a club in transition. Trippier had an excellent start upon his return to the English footballing elite, starting six games in a row and scoring two goals from free-kicks in the process, but he missed most of the remainder of the season, due to injury problems. Still, what we saw in his short stint last season was promising and his current price tag makes him an interesting option to consider, especially knowing that the right-back is also on set-piece duties, including direct free-kicks. And he’s pretty good at them, as well. On top of that, encounters with promoted Nottingham Forest (home), Brighton (away) and Wolves (away) in the first four games of the new season immediately hint at clean sheet potential for the Magpie defence.

Another Magpie who got off to a more than decent start in the Premier League last January is Bruno Guimaraes (£6.0m). Most Premier League and Newcastle fans expected the Brazilian to be a mostly defensive midfielder, but he showed a whole other side of his game in the second half of last season. In total of just over 1,000 minutes of Premier League action, the 24-year-old was given a more advanced midfield position by Howe, which resulted in 5 goals and 1 assist. Had he been at the club since gameweek 1 and assuming that same rhythm of returns, he would have been the highest points-scorer on the Newcastle roster last season. In half a season though, he ended the campaign with 67 FPL points. That comes down to just under 6 FPL points per 90 minutes, an average only bettered by Trippier. There are many worse options in the official game for the position of fourth or fifth midfielder in your gameweek 1 squad.

The presence of the fit-again Callum Wilson, a more than proven goalscorer in the Premier League, naturally casts some doubt about Chris Wood’s (£6.0m) minutes this season. In our opinion though, and partially based on what we mentioned earlier about Eddie Howe’s preference for keeping the pitch stretched with wingers and wing-backs when attacking, the big New Zealand international could deliver excellent value at his current price tag. Apart from last season, in which he amassed just 91 FPL points, he delivered at least 130 FPL points over his previous four seasons in the Prem, scoring 10 goals during the 2018-19 campaign, 14 goals in 2019-20 and 12 goals in the 2020-21 season. With the likes of Fraser, Trippier, Targett and Guimaraes around him, as well as Wilson when Howe opts for a two-striker system, we would not be surprised to see Wood reach similar numbers again this season.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST – FPL 2022-23 team preview

When Forest were bottom of the Championship back in September of last year and decided they had no other choice but to sack manager Chris Hughton, very few would’ve expected his successor Steve Cooper to lead the Reds back to the Premier League after an absence of 23 years. Still, that’s what the Welshman did, earning absolute cult hero status at the club in the process. His immediate impact on the team’s style and energy led to a fourth place finish, scoring the second-most goals in the league (behind only numbers one and two Fulham and Bournemouth) and conceding just 40 goals in 46 games. Only Bournemouth were more solid defensively. In the play-offs for promotion, Forest first eliminated Sheffield United and then beat Huddersfield Town in the final to gain a place among the English footballing elite for the first time this century.

These achievements are all the more impressive when looking at their 2021-22 campaign in a bit more detail. In their promotion season, Forest actually started with taking just a single point from the first seven games, shipping 12 goals in the process before Hughton was replaced by Cooper. In the 39 games that followed, they collected an impressive 79 points and conceded just 28 goals. The Reds were especially superior at their City Ground stadium, where they won nine and drew one of their last ten games of the campaign. As we all know though, the Premier League is a whole different story and teams with solid defences in the Championship in particular often find it hard to replicate their style at the very highest level.

As part of their bid to make their return to the Prem last for more than just a season, Forest have been extremely active during the current transfer window. At the moment of writing, they signed a total of eleven new players, the majority of them aged 24 or younger. The acquisitions of Union Berlin forward Taiwo Awoniyi (£17.5 million), talented Liverpool youngster Neco Williams (£17 million), and Manchester United reserves Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson (both free) are the biggest eye-catchers. As far as outgoing transfer go, the only player of note Forest have lost so far is goalkeeper Brice Samba. The Tricky Trees are seemingly managing to keep the squad together while reinforcing it at the same time, which is a good sign.

Nottingham Forest’s tactics sheet

Manager Steve Cooper, who famously holds FC Barcelona B coach Pep Segura as his biggest inspiration, likes to play adventurous football, but always starting from a structured foundation. His Forest side has displayed exceptional tactical awareness since his appointment, as well as a healthy level of aggression without the ball. This explains Forest’s excellent defensive performance last season and their willingness to play on the counter when needed.

What’s interesting from a FPL point of view is that Forest, though not the most attacking side at first glance, like to utilise the wings to build attacks and force quick break-outs. In his preferred 5-3-2 formation, or 3-5-2 if you like, the wing-backs provide some of the main creative outlets for Forest. Last season, for example, the wing-backs were directly involved in 17% of all goals (4 goals and 9 assists). As for the rest of the Forest attack, it’s largely a wait-and-see for us, not just because of their status as new boys this season, but also because all three of their starting forwards last season (Keinan Davis, Brennan Johnson and Philip Zinckernagel) were all there on loan and have not returned to the squad as of yet.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST – Potential FPL targets

Having said that, the starting front three not returning also opened up possibilities for Forest to start working on a new offensive force. In that light, the recent signing of Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard (£6.0m) on a free is an interesting development, also from a fantasy point of view. Last season was very much business as usual for the 29-year-old as he featured just twice from the start for the Red Devils, but perhaps more interesting is to take a look at the season prior. In January 2021, the attacking midfielder was loaned out to West Ham and in London, Lingard showed glimpse of the promise that has been following him around ever since he was a youngster. In a kind of free number-ten role, the role that he will likely take on at Forest this season as well, he managed an impressive 9 goals and 5 assists in 16 games. If he can come close to these returns at his current price tag, Lingard represents very interesting budget-enabler potential.

Any fantasy manager who played the 2019-20 Premier League campaign will surely remember the rich source of (extreme) budget talent that was Sheffield United under manager Chris Wilder. Of course, free-scoring attacking-midfielder-listed-as-a-4.0m-defender took most of the spotlight, and deservedly so, but there were more gems in the United squad that season. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson (£4.5m) was one of them. As a nailed-on starter for the newly promoted side at the time, the Man United loanee accumulated no less than 160 FPL points, courtesy of 13 clean sheets, 16 bonus points and… 1 assist! After many seasons behind David de Gea, the 25-year-old now moved on to City Ground, where he will be the number one between the sticks this season. If Cooper’s men can replicate their defensive solidity in the Premier League, Henderson will end up being a serious bargain.

Speaking of bargains, as far as the elusive £4.0m-starters go, we’re not being spoiled by FPL Towers this season, it seems. There is Everton right-back Nathan Patterson who might get minutes instead of Seamus Coleman and Man United’s Brandon Williams could enter our thinking if he transfers to a Premier League side before the closing of the market, but the only one who truly shows FPL gold potential at the moment is, in our opinion, Nottingham Forest’s £17 million-signing Neco Williams (£4.0m). The 21-year-old right-back was loaned to Fulham by Liverpool in January of last season and he did not disappoint. In 14 Championship games, Williams accumulated 6 clean sheets, 2 goals and 2 assists. We naturally don’t expect him to replicate those numbers this season, which will be his first full season at the very highest level, but even as a starter enjoying the occasional clean sheet, the Welshman could be the ultimate budget enabler for your squad.

For more in-depth discussions on the Fantasy Premier League game check out our FPL forum.

FPL 2022/23 PRE-SEASON CLUB PREVIEWS – PART 7

On Monday our 6th preview of the 2022/23 FPL season covered Leicester and LiverpoolIn this 7th FPL instalment, we’re taking a closer look at the two Manchester clubs, reigning champions Manchester City and a Manchester United side under new management.

MANCHESTER CITY – FPL 2022/23 team preview

After a thriller of a title fight with Liverpool, one that was decided on the very last day of the 2021-22 Premier League campaign, Manchester City crowned themselves champions of England for the second time in a row and the fourth time in the last five years. Incredible statistics for a side competing in what’s probably the most competitive league in the world and those alone are sufficient to declare the Cityzens one of the stand-out favourites for the 2022-23 Premier League title, even before the season has started.

Pep Guardiola’s men lost their all-time goalscorer to FC Barcelona last summer, but as if nothing happened, the team scored an impressive 99 goals in 38 league games. No other side scored more, though Liverpool came close with 94 goals. From a defensive point of view, City performed as a deserved champion as well, conceding just 26 goals, less than any team bar, you guessed it, Liverpool (also 26). The lack of cup success though, principally in the coveted Champions League, will only cause the Abu Dhabi government to pump more money into the club.

In all fairness though, City have also generated a decent mount of transfer income this summer. The sale of Raheem Sterling to Chelsea (£47.5 million), and Gabriel Jesus (£45 million) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (£32) to Arsenal alone netted more than £100m for the club. The money didn’t sit in the Skyblue accounts for long though, as they managed to sign Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland for £51 million and Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips for about £42 million. The Norwegian, in particular is an appealing prospect for FPL managers, but also another cog in Pep’s non-stop rotation machine.

Manchester City’s tactics sheet

Pep Guardiola’s preferred tactics, much like his arch-rival’s at Liverpool, are no big secret. The Spanish manager has clear preferences when it comes to how his side turns up and one of his biggest strengths is knowing how to drill these preferences to perfection. Generally, City play in a rather fluid 4-3-3 formation, though it can be viewed as a 4-2-3-1 as well. The front four, especially, interchange positions constantly during games, though the inclusion of Haaland might make the striker position a bit more set this season. Nevertheless, with the world-class likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez around him, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn up on the wings or around the number ten spot at times, as well.

Defensively, the Cityzens rely on a constant high press, at times complemented with smart tactical fouls when the opponent appears to break out. Thanks to their domination of the ball in most games, the wing-backs often function more like additional wingers or midfielders, with Joao Cancelo being the prime example. With Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias at the heart of the backline, the team has one of the most solid foundations in the game. Still, and we don’t think we need to repeat this, rotation is ever-present for every player on the City roster, bar Ederson perhaps.

MANCHESTER CITY – Potential FPL targets

So, at the age of 21, Erling Haaland (£11.5m) has already scored 85 goals and provided 22 assists in 88 Bundesliga games for Borussia Dortmund. Just let that sink in for a moment. While we tend to be cautious when it comes to recommending fantasy picks who have not yet proven themselves in the Premier League, the prospect of possibly the most complete attacker in the game today playing under the wings of Pep Guardiola is simply too promising to pass up. City have no other out-and-out striker on the books of the first team at the moment, apart from young Liam Delap and Julian Alvarez, which makes us think that the Norwegian superstar might be more rotation-proof than most perhaps expect. Add to that Haaland’s impressive physique and apparent top fitness levels, and we can’t see why you would not include him in your squad for gameweek 1. As a cherry on top, City are facing West Ham (away), Bournemouth (home), Newcastle (away), Palace (home) and Nottingham Forest (home) in the first five games of the upcoming season.

We know, it’s easy to just keep recommending the premium assets on the Man City roster, but we simply can’t write this piece without mentioning Kevin de Bruyne (£12.0m). The midfield maestro had another excellent campaign last season, scoring 15 goals and giving 8 assists for a total of 196 FPL points, despite missing about eight weeks of action in the first half of the season due to injury problems. This makes it all the more impressive that no other City colleague of his was involved in more goals. As one of the best midfielders in the world, KDB is probably as nailed-on as an offensive player can come under Pep Guardiola, and he’s on most set-pieces bar penalties as well. If budget allows, he’s a no-brainer.

We were initially planning to include Joao Cancelo as our third fantasy pick from Manchester city’s squad, but we ended up opting for a more budget-friendly option, considering our previous two picks. In our opinion, Phil Foden (£8.0m) has been slightly under-priced this season, though £8.0m is no bargain either, especially considering the rotation risk. The talented youngster accumulated 2,125 Premier League minutes last season, and recorded 9 goals and 6 assists plus another 13 clean sheets. Foden is registered as a midfielder in the official game, after all. We expect the Englishman’s minutes to only increase this season and with that his attacking output as well. He could very well represent an excellent non-premium way into England’s strongest attack.

MANCHESTER UNITED – FPL 2022-23 team preview

The season started with high hopes in the red part of Manchester after finishing in second place the season prior, and with the arrival of living United legend Cristiano Ronaldo and the very, very long-awaited Jadon Sancho. What followed was, once again, a largely disappointing 2021-22 campaign in which the Red Devils finished sixth in the league, just 2 points above West Ham, 11 points behind 5th placed Arsenal and a rough 35 points behind champions and city rivals Manchester City. Neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nor interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who replaced the Norwegian in November, managed to create order in what has largely been a top club in chaos over the past years.

And like that, Manchester United are up for yet another fresh start in the build-up to the new season, though it feels like things might finally really be different this time. Rangnick was replaced by successful Ajax Amsterdam manager Erik ten Hag, who guided the Dutch giants back to the European top in the past few years. While the Premier League is a whole different beast than the Dutch Eredivisie, ETH will be taking a step back in terms of European football this season, as United will be playing in the Europa League. Not where the club wants to be, that’s for sure, but in the light of a new manager building a new team with new players, perhaps not the worst of scenarios.

The new manager has already been very influential in the club’s transfer activities this summer. Former Spurs, Inter and Ajax midfielder creator Christian Eriksen was brought in on a free, while Ten Hag also brought Argentinian central defender and international Lisandro Martinez with him. For £57 million excluding add-ons, that is. The other marquee signing so far has been talented Feyenoord left-back and Dutch international Tyrell Malacia for about £13 million. As far as outgoing players go, the free transfer of Paul Pogba to Juventus is the most painful from a purely financial point of view, because the likes of Andreas Pereira (£10 million to Fulham), Jesse Lingard (free to Nottingham Forest) and Dean Henderson (free to AS Roma) never truly conquered a starting spot at Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s tactics sheet

“It’s about the Man United football and about the Man United identity and philosophy. It has to be about attacking football”. Signed, Erik ten Hag during his first, big interview with Manchester United’s in-house media shortly after his appointment earlier this summer. As with every new manager anywhere, it always remains to be seen how a team will turn up under the new management, but one thing is for sure: Ten Hag will be trying to implement an attacking style of football and if his three years at Ajax are anything to go by, the United faithful are in for a change compared to previous seasons. Only time will tell whether it’ll be for good or bad.

As far as United expected tactics go, pre-season seems to indicate that ETH will use his preferred 4-3-3 formation at United, possibly switching to a 4-2-3-1 at times. He did the same at Ajax with considerable success and most other European top clubs have a similar approach to games. You can expect a very energetic United side in gameweek 1, pressing hard not only up the pitch but all over. Three seconds to get the ball back in possession was the rule in Amsterdam. The (even) bigger challenge for the new manager will be to turn an at times shambolic United defensive block into a ball-playing unit that forms the first phase of the team’s attacking moves based on short passing and quick combinations. New boy Martinez, in particular, is expected to play a major role in this transformation.

MANCHESTER UNITED – Potential FPL targets

So far, Cristiano Ronaldo (£10.5m) is still part of Manchester United’s first-team squad and therefore, he is our first United fantasy pick. In a side that struggled for form, consistency and results, the Portuguese superstar still managed an impressive 18 goals in the Premier League, the same amount he scored in his last season before leaving for Real Madrid, after the 2008-09 campaign. Rather unnoticed it seems, he actually ended third on the list of Premier League goal scorers last season, five goals behind joint-winners Mo Salah and Son Heung-Min. It’s therefore no surprise that he was also United’s best performer from an FPL point of view with 159 points. His current price places him a whole million below the ultra-premium forward options Harry Kane and Erling Haaland, and his opening fixtures don’t look too bad, either. Brighton at home in GW1, followed by Brentford away, Liverpool at home and Southampton away looks like a run for which you want to count on one of football’s most prolific goal scorers ever.

In the shadow of a few multi-million signings and many more transfer rumours, contracting Christian Eriksen (£6.5m) on a free might end up being the club’s shrewdest piece of business. Including his half-season stint at Brentford last season, where he showed that he’s still very much got it after his horrible health ordeal during Euro 2020, the Danish midfielder has 237 Premier League games under his belt, as well as 52 goals and 71 assists. While more than a few pundits don’t believe there is a place in the starting eleven for Eriksen, mainly due to Bruno Fernandes’ presence in the pocket, we’re not so sure yet. Ten Hag has shown in the past that he is a big fan of a double pivot in which at least one of the two midfielders is a technically gifted, ball-playing creator and the Dane could actually fit this role perfectly. It all remains to be seen, of course, but at a bargain price of just £6.5m, Eriksen should absolutely feature on your scouting lists in the build-up to gameweek 1.

The arrival of Jadon Sancho (£7.5m) at Old Trafford felt like it was in the making for an eternity, so expectations were logically sky-high. Unfortunately though, the 2021-22 Premier League campaign did not entirely work out the way the Red Devils had hoped and it reflected in Sancho’s performances as well. In just under 1,900 minutes of league action, the £73 million-signing managed a rather underwhelming 3 goals and 4 assists for a total of 91 FPL points. The lack of starts especially, 20 in total, was a deterrent for many fantasy managers to really consider the England international as a viable FPL asset. We find it hard to imagine that last season’s marquee signing will be cast aside just like that after a season in which the whole side struggled and Erik ten Hag seems to be putting his confidence in the 22-year-old. In theory, Sancho is perfectly suited to the new manager’s preferred style of dynamic play, so if you want to take a bit of a pre-season punt, he should be around the top of your list particularly given his pre-season goal scoring form.

For more in-depth discussions on the Fantasy Premier League game check out our FPL forum.

Unleash your inner wizard with these online Slots

Have you ever dreamed of finding out you have secret powers? That you could summon objects, make wishes come to life, or even just gain an insight into the world of wizardry? Well, in these online Slots you can work alongside some magical folk to solve mysteries that only the most powerful wizards can solve, all in the hopes of conjuring up the likes of free spins and other elements of gameplay that have the potential to help you brew some winning combinations.

Read on to find out more!

Merlin’s Mysteries

See if you can cast spells alongside Merlin, King Arthur, Morgana and Sir Lancelot in this five-reel legendary adventure to reclaim the lost stones amongst incredible graphics and magical mysteries. With 15 paylines active in a single spin, you’ll find lots of elements of gameplay that could help you along the way. There are four mysteries: Cup of Life, Philosopher’s Stone, Stonehenge and Excalibur. If you can solve one of these by collecting five Mystery Stones in the correct order, you’ll receive a multiplier of up to 50x your bet!

What’s more, if three or more scatter symbols appear on the reels, you’ll bag yourself between 10 and 20 free spins. These spins will help you discover more Mystery Stones, and any mysteries solved during these rounds can award you an additional three free spins. There’s a dragon wild symbol as well as a Team Up feature that allows you to work with some of the other spell-binding characters and from additional wild symbols for more ways to potentially land those winning combinations!

3 Witches

This eerie experience is set upon five reels, three rows and has 25 fixed paylines. Gameplay starts from just 0.01 coins and with this, you’ll come face-to-face with three witches, each with their own unique powers – Fire, Ice and Earth. Symbols are made up of the royal card suits, with a lit candle, a green potion and a spell book also spinning across the reels. The fire witch is the highest paying icon, paying out 200x your bet if you land five in a row.

In addition to this, there are three jackpot prizes; the mini, major and grand jackpots, which you’ll be in for a chance at winning if you can land three or more stacks of all three witches on the reels from left to right. A black cat represents the game’s wild and a crystal ball acts as the scatter. There’s a bonus feature in which you could find yourself bagging some free spins or wilds. So, do you think you have what it takes to conjure up a win in this slot?

It’s Magic

Set upon five reels with 50 paylines, this enchanting slot comes with a Wild Reel feature, free spins and a fixed jackpot of 1,333.33x your stake. But that’s not all, a Magic Wheel Bonus feature can be triggered at any time, and during this feature not one, but two jackpots are up for grabs.

When you enter the game, you’ll be welcomed by a backdrop of a dense forest and a mythical castle, flourishing in the background. Playing cards, cats, monkeys, lanterns, treasure chests and spell books make up the standard symbols, and Lilly, who is the game’s main character, can reward you with the highest payout of 6.66x your stake. Do you think a win is brewing in your cauldron?

Inter Miami: The MLS Club and How It Attracts Stars

Photo by Tareq Ismail on Unsplash

Inter Miami is known for its prominent status in Major League Soccer. While the club have known its ups and downs, it has certainly been one to seek to add top talent to its ranks. Romeo Beckham, David Beckham’s son, is playing for the club, and Inter Miami has been known to cultivate a top talent. The young 19-year-old ace, though, scored beautifully in what was his first point for the team. If that were a high-limit roulette online, Beckham would have hit the equivalent of “all in on red.”

But what has made it possible for Inter Miami to actually cultivate this top crop of talent? Well, it has to do with the grassroots culture for soccer in the United States, which is improving by the day, as many find the NFL to be too violent and appreciate the somewhat less eventful play in European soccer.

Inter Miami Retains Strong Viewership

Inter Miami may not be on top of the MLS pecking order, but with promising players such as Romeo Beckham, it’s hard to imagine that the team will slide in performance. Still, one of the reasons why the club proves attractive for promising players from the world of soccer is the good and steady viewership it enjoys.

The home stadium has a capacity of 18,000 people, and the average viewership and turnup are roughly 12,000, which is very good numbers, especially for a sport that is only now looking to truly grow in the United States. Viewership for Inter Miami games has kept steady, which has proven one of the biggest pulls for the team in securing new talent.

But it’s not just Beckham who fans should be on the lookout for. It may be a little down in this season’s scoring, but the club’s defender DeAndre Yedlin has been named as one of the best players in the 2022 MLS All-Star Game. When speaking about this distinction, Yedlin simply stated that while he was appreciative of this opportunity, he assured that he would never have been able to achieve any of his career success without his teammates in Inter Milan.

Ronaldo Snubbing Inter Miami

Not everyone wants to play for Inter Miami; it seems, though, as Beckham jocosely suggested that Cristiano Ronaldo should come and play for the team, something that Ronaldo simply turned down. Having Ronaldo play would have meant for the star to move to the United States, which seemed like a poor choice for him at the time, as he is European by heart and not too keen to play in MLS.

Some have suggested that the level of competition is just not quite there yet to mandate players such as Ronaldo to play. It would have been interesting to see Ronaldo play with Inter Miami, a mostly youthful club which has been building from the grounds up. The team definitely has a long way to go before it tops the leadership of MLS, but it’s certainly getting there.

Inter Miami is playing a very long game in which the club is focused on building good club culture and attract talent that is capable of performing well. There is also a sort of relaxed feeling about the club as the level of competition – while serious – is just a notch under the Premier League topflight games, which are the benchmark against which most other leagues are measured.

The good news is that Inter Miami may not be a “Ronaldo-worthy club right now”, but it is certainly going to become one. This is good news for at least two reasons – first, it will bestow accolades on the club itself, but even far more importantly, it will allow MLS to evolve into a more meaningful and fulfilling league where players come to develop and achieve their full potential so that even Ronaldo may want to play there one day – but it will be too late.

FPL 2022/23 PRE-SEASON CLUB PREVIEWS – PART 6

On Saturday our 5th preview of the 2022/23 FPL season covered Fulham and LeedsIn this 6th FPL instalment, it’s time for Leicester City and a Liverpool side without Sadio Mané for the first time since 2016.

LEICESTER – FPL 2022/23 team preview

Leicester City started off the 2021-22 season brimming with confidence after an excellent 2020-21 campaign in which they not only finished fifth in the table and qualified for the Europa League, but also added not one but two pieces of silverware to their cabinet. In the FA Cup final, Chelsea were beaten, while the Foxes overcame Manchester City for the Community Shield, courtesy of a very late Kelechi Iheanacho penalty. Replicating such a low-key great season was always going to be difficult for manager Brendan Rodgers and his men, but a nice run all the way up to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League partly made up for an eighth-place finish in the league, just outside of the European spots.

Perhaps due to the strain of European football, which saw them get knocked out of the Europa League group stages by Spartak Moscow and Napoli before being eliminated by AS Roma in the Conference League semi-finals, Leicester boasted some of the least impressive underlying stats in the league last season. As a matter of fact, despite scoring a decent 62 goals, the Foxes actually recorded an Expected Goal ratio of about 52, making them the number-one overachievers in terms of goalscoring in the entire league. At the same time, the Leicester defence was leaky last term, conceding a worrying 59 goals in 38 games, as well as the fourth-most shots. With the absence from Europe this season, Rodgers will very surely be looking to seriously improve all over in order to compete for a top-six finish.

Nevertheless, it has been extremely quiet on the transfer front so far this summer. The Foxes have seen Belgian international Dennis Praet return from his season on loan with Serie A side Torino, but that’s it for the moment in terms of “new” faces at the King Power Stadium. The club did release reserve goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic and let winger Ademola Lookman return to Red Bull Leipzig after a season on loan with them. Leicester have been connected to a few high-profile acquisitions this summer, like PSV Eindhoven’s Ivory Coast international Ibrahim Sangaré and Club Brugge star Charles de Ketelaere, but no official announcements have been made yet in terms of new arrivals.

Leicester’s tactics sheet

From an FPL point of view, Brendan Rodgers is a great manager. He has a clear preference for a system of play, a 4-2-3-1 with the possibility of adding an extra striker, and he is nowhere as addicted to rotation as some of the other elite managers in the league. The Scotsman likes to dominate possession and to have his players interchange position in games in ways that suit the team’s generally pacy forward line. One upcoming issue with this style of play is the team’s continued reliance on Jamie Vardy, who fits Rodgers’ plans perfectly, but who also turned 35 in January. Despite missing a total of 21 games due to hamstring and knee issues, the living Leicester legend still managed 15 goals and 2 assists in the league last season, but the question is how long the side can keep feeding off him up front.

Having said that, the Foxes’ roster did provide more value than just Vardy in FPL terms. Thanks to Rodgers’ preference for attacking football, quick movements on the flanks and deep runs when possible, the likes of James Maddison and to a lesser extent Harvey Barnes topped FPL scouting lists at various times over the 2021-22 campaign. Thanks to the standard double pivot in midfield, usually formed by the slightly under-rated world-class couple of Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi, the Leicester attack gets a lot of freedom to attack freely. The lesser defensive performances last season saw the prices of their defensive assets drop to bargain levels, which could bring them into play once their fixture list clears up a bit from GW6 onwards. Our recommendation is to wait-and-see for now though, when it comes to Leicester’s defence.

LEICESTER – Potential FPL targets

We mentioned above that the attacking players around Jamie Vardy play in an ideal system, on paper, to deliver regular attacking returns for FPL managers and this goes for James Maddison (£8.0m) especially. Where Brendan Rodgers’ is not afraid to rotate his wingers from time to time, Maddison is the man who orchestrates the Foxes in the final third. Last season, the 25-year-old started 28 out of 38 Premier League games and came on as an impact sub in seven more games. Over that run, he recorded an impressive 12 goals and 11 assists for a total of 181 FPL points. A phenomenal return for a player who started the season with a £7.0m price tag and one that only four midfielders in the official game managed to beat. Maddison is expected to be a key cog in Rodgers’ attack once again this season and despite his price hike, he is one worth considering, especially when the fixtures start turning greener for the Foxes after the first five gameweeks.

Our next pick from the Leicester roster is mainly based on two things: the expectation that Leicester will improve on last season’s terrible defensive stats and the player’s own history in the Premier League. Out of the Foxes’ backline, Caglar Söyüncü (£4.5m) is probably the most secure starter, considering the options Rodgers’ has on either flank with the likes of Luke Thomas, Timoty Castagne, James Justin, Ricardo Pereira and Ryan Bertrand.  The Turkish central defender, whose country failed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup, had his best season back in 2019-20, when he amassed 12 clean sheets, a goal and an assist for 120 FPL points. The season after that was largely marred by injury issues and last season saw him underperform again, this time as part of a generally leaky backline. Sure, these are not great indicators for a fantasy football pick, but as a result, his price tag was also lowered to £4.5m this season. The competition in his price bracket is fierce and we doubt many managers will have him in their GW1 squad, but he could well develop into a major bargain if Leicester get their defensive business in order.

Our third and final Leicester pick also pertains to the budget bracket, though for midfielders this time. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (£5.0m) had his breakthrough last season, as he got no less than 2,101 minutes of Premier League action last season. He started 23 times and got another 5 appearances from the bench, scoring a goal and providing 2 assists in the process. He ended the 2021-22 Premier League campaign with 70 FPL points, which, for a midfielder who started out at £4.5m, is more than decent. For the upcoming season, his price was logically raised, but by just a half million. As a result, the official game now boasts a starting central midfielder playing for a team that will look to compete for the top-six at an absolute bargain price. Definitely worth considering as the fifth midfielder in your squad.

LIVERPOOL – FPL 2022-23 team preview

Image by jorono from Pixabay

For a big part of the (second half of) the 2021-22 season, the illustrious quadruple was a serious topic of conversation for everyone and anyone Red. For a long time, Jurgen Klopp’s men were in the running for the Premier League title, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup. Eventually, “just” two of these prizes were brought home, both of the domestic cups, but Liverpool can still look back on what was probably one of the best seasons ever by an English side. As we all know though, football and especially football history is about the prizes, and just very narrowly losing out on the two major ones will have hurt quite a bit.

Enough about the silverware though, because there was more big news coming from Anfield over the past few months. First of all, of course, the contract extension for the architect of this current Liverpool side and all of its successes, manager Jurgen Klopp. Second of all, the transfer of star man and last season’s best player Sadio Mané to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. Third of all, the mid-season addition of Porto forward Luis Diaz for a whopping £37 million, who seemingly immediately felt at home in Liverpool dynamic high-press system of play. He will also feature in our potential Liverpool FPL targets section.

Diaz is not the only personification of the club’s intention to shake up and rejuvenate the squad preparation for what looks to become yet another thrilling title fight this season. While the Reds generated decent cash with the sale of Neco Williams to Nottingham Forest (£16 million), Takumi Minamino to French side Monaco (£15 million), Marko Grujic to Porto (£10.5 million) and the previously mentioned Sadio Mané to Bayern. A majority of this money was quickly reinvested in the acquisition of striker Darwin Nuñez from Portuguese side Benfica for a whopping £85m, a club record, actually. In the Uruguayan’s shadow, Fulham starlet Fabio Carvalho and Aberdeen talent Calvin Ramsay have also made their way to Anfield this summer.

Liverpool’s tactics sheet

With the recent extension of Jurgen Klopp’s contract at Anfield, the Reds are assured of at least a few more hours of their now-trademark energetic, high-press attacking way of playing of football. Looking at the club’s most recent million-pound transfers, the German manager looks set to continue developing his preferred way of playing, based on a 4-3-3 formation. Luis Diaz looks like the dead-set successor of Sadio Mané, while Darwin Nuñez will be starring in a central role, much like Roberto Firmino did for many years as part of Liverpool’s feared front three. At the same time, Nuñez is a very different player than Firmino is. The Uruguayan is more of physical presence in the area than Firmino and while the Brazilian betters him in terms of runs and technique especially, Nuñez is more of a killer in front of goal and presents more of a focal point for centers. With the likes of Alexander-Arnold and Robertson whipping them in at will, it will be interesting to see how Klopp will integrate these new facets into his side’s game.

With Robertson and TAA, we have also mentioned one of the Reds’ most typical and important tactical aspects. The wing-backs are of crucial importance to Liverpool’s high-pressing, reactive kind of attacking approach. Both of them consistently rank amongst the top defenders for attacking stats like goals, assists, crosses and key passes, which is also reflected in their FPL prices. This season once again, they are priced at £7.0m and £7.5m, respectively. This season, the wing-backs will again be getting full freedom to bomb forward, only this time with a 6ft 1inch Uruguayan goal machine present in the area.

LIVERPOOL – Potential FPL targets

It’s kind of unbelievable, but we have dedicated about a page of text to Liverpool already without mentioning Mo Salah (£13.0m) even once. Perhaps we just mentioned him too often last season and we subconsciously decided to give others a chance to be in the spotlight for once. In any case, here we are, and the Egyptian is, surprise surprise, the first of our Liverpool fantasy picks. With 265 FPL points, courtesy of 23 goals and 14 assists, Salah was the highest scorer in the official game last season and there is no way he is not going to be Liverpool’s main man again this season. As a matter of fact, when you look back at the past few seasons, he has been their main man every year since the 2017-12 campaign. That year, he recorded the all-time FPL points record of 303 and since then, his lowest season haul has been 231 FPL points, in the COVID-stricken 2020-21 season. No wonder he is the most expensive player in the official game right now and with games against Fulham (away), Palace (home), Man United (away) and Bournemouth (home) in his first four of the upcoming season, we suggest you find a way to fit him into your squad.

If Salah is first on your team sheet, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) should probably be second. The Liverpool right-back has been a sensation in FPL over the past seasons, racking up at least 160 FPL points in each of the last four Premier League campaigns. Last season, the England international recorded 2 goals and no less than 12 assists on top of 18 clean sheets, which resulted in 208 FPL points. No defender in the official game scored more than him and we’re expecting him to be among the top-performing defenders once again this season. He’s nailed-on under Jurgen Klopp, he creates a crazy amount of chance from open play and he is also on set-piece duties, including direct free-kicks. Like with Salah just above, TAA looks like an asset that picks himself for the opening of the 2022-23 campaign.

We were tempted to include new signing Darwin Nuñez in this list as well, but even though we don’t have much doubt about him getting used to Liverpool and the Premier League in no time, we ended up going with Luis Diaz (£8.0m) instead. Our reasoning is based on a combination of his first half year in service of the Reds and his current price tag. The Colombian international, whose country will not feature at the upcoming World Cup, came to Anfield at the end of the last winter transfer window and did not need much time to show what he’s capable of. In just under 1.000 Premier League minutes, the winger, who is listed as a midfielder in FPL, collected 64 FPL points, courtesy of 4 goals, 3 assists, 6 clean sheets and 6 bonus points. There is competition for the three spots up front under Klopp, but we’re seeing Diaz as a nailed-on option on the left wing for the majority of the games this season. This makes him a relatively inexpensive entry into one of the best attacks in the league and therefore very much worth including in your scouting lists.

For more in-depth discussions on the Fantasy Premier League game check out our FPL forum.