FPL 2018-2019 – our very first preview

Waiting game

“The new FPL season is coming…” (CC by 4.0) by Matthew Wilkinson

August 10th, 2018, at 20h00 (GMT+1). That’s when Manchester United will be kicking off the new Premier League season against Leicester City. To provide the millions of FPL managers around the world with enough time to explore the teams, analyse the players, and finally form a first squad of 15, the Fantasy Premier League website has opened for business just a few days ago.

We will soon publish a series of articles with a specific team-by-team focus to get you started and help you form your first squad from scratch but today we’re starting with a very first broad overview of the 2018-2019 FPL season as it stands right now. We’ll take a look at some of last season’s top performers and we’ll highlight some of the players that look promising for the coming season.

What about last season’s top FPL assets?

Many Premier League fans, and Liverpool fans in particular, will remember the 2017/18 FPL season as Momo Salah‘s season. The Egyptian winger returned to the Premier League like a one-man hurricane, scoring 44 goals and assisting 16 in 52 games overall, and one of the big questions on many minds will be whether he’s capable of repeating such a stellar performance this year. Despite a disappointing World Cup, Salah is priced at £13.0, making him this season’s most expensive player. He’s still listed as a midfielder, though, and at the time of writing, he’s the most selected player overall as well (47.8%).

In Salah’s shadow, Man City’s Raheem Sterling had the best season of his career last season. With 23 goals and 17 assists, the young Englishman played a considerable role in City’s title-winning and record-breaking 2017/18 season. This fantastic performance is also reflected by his price this season (£11.0), though it should be noted that he’s still listed as a midfielder in the official game. As we speak, Sterling is still active at the World Cup, where England will be facing Croatia in a few days time to decide who reaches the final. No matter the outcome, you can expect his current ownership of 4.7% to rise considerably before the start of the season, although will he miss the start of the season to give him time to rest after his World Cup exploits?

Harry Kane is the man usually posted next to Sterling in attack for the Three Lions and with good reason: the Spurs striker is currently the World Cup’s top scorer with 6 goals. When it comes to FPL, Kane is somewhat of a guarantee for goals and, thus, points. With 30, 29, and 25 goals in the Prem in his last three seasons, his price tag of £12.5 (the second-most expensive player in the official game) isn’t hard to justify. There is the strange statistic of Kane never having scored a goal in the month of August (and maybe he will start slowly again after a long over due rest from the World Cup?), so take that into account if you’re the more superstitious type, but it’s likely he’ll be steady raking in the points again in 2018/19.

Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne would probably have been last season’s Player of the Year, hadn’t it been for Salah’s extraordinary numbers. With his 8 goals and 16 assists (the most of any player last season) in 37 Premier League games, De Bruyne was crucial to City’s success, but more than that, he was the engine of Pep Guardiola’s footballing machine. His role is equally important at the Belgian national team, who are facing France next week in the World Cup semi-finals, and 23.1% of FPL managers believe that the midfielder (priced at £10.0) will take his exceptionally high level of play into the start of the 2018/19 season. Again there must be a slight doubt over whether he’ll be fully fit for the opening match after his delayed holiday like the England players.

Some other potentially interesting players for the 2018/19 season

Rumour goes that Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has rejected a renewed contract offer and is set to join one of the league’s top outfits, while German giants Borussia Dortmund have also been mentioned. Should the quick winger stay in the Premier League, then he’s definitely worth considering for your FPL team. Classified as an attacker and priced at just £7.0, Zaha might just prove to be one of the very early-season differentials (though his ownership stands at 32.2% already) as well as enablers for your squad. It’ll all depend on where he chooses to go next.

Considering Salah’s high price, some FPL managers will be opting for a Liverpool alternative in order to have more funds available for other players and positions. One of those alternatives is Roberto Firmino, the hard-working number 9 in Klopp’s attacking formation. With 27 goals and 17 assists in 54 games last season, the Brazilian striker was one of Klopp’s most-used players and a key component of the team as they reached the Champions League final. For the new season, Firmino is priced at £9.5 and he’s already owned by 37.6% of FPL managers. After his quarter final exit with Brazil at the World Cup, the hope is that he’ll again be forming a lethal attacking unit up front for the Reds with Salah, Sadio Mané, and whichever other players Liverpool will undoubtedly be bringing in this summer.

In the summer of 2017, Wolverhampton Wolves surprised the world of football by splashing a cool £16 million on Ruben Neves, a young central midfielder from FC Porto and one of the Portuguese giant’s most-promising talents. Less than a year later, it looks like not a cent of those millions was wasted, as Neves played a crucial role in leading Wolves to promotion to the Premier League. The still only 21 year old midfielder recently signed a contract extension with the club, making it more than likely that he’ll play a major role in Wolverhampton’s fight for Premier League survival in 2018/19. Due to his slightly deeper position, he scored just 6 and assisted 1 in the Championship last season, but his price of £5.0 nonetheless makes him an interesting asset to consider (current ownership: 21.2%).

Currently, the most-owned defender plays in red and goes by the name of Trent Alexander-Arnold. The young English right-back got his chance last season in the absence of Nathaniel Clyne and he grabbed it with both hands, resulting in a successful season for Liverpool and a call-up for the English World Cup squad. His current ownership of 21% shows that many FPL managers believe him to keep his place in Jurgen Klopp’s in 2018/19 and at a price of £5.0, he might turn out to be one of the bargains so early in the season. We recommend you keep an eye on him, as well as on any developments around Clyne and potential incoming transfers for the Reds’ defence.