Yesterday our 2nd preview of the 2022/23 FPL season covered Bournemouth and Brentford. In this 3rd FPL instalment, we’re taking a deeper look at Graham Potter’s Brighton and a Chelsea side under new ownership after the forced exit of Roman Abramovich.

BRIGHTON – FPL 2022/23 team preview

With Brighton and Hove Albion, we have come to one of the more calm and consistent clubs in the Premier League. While frustrating at times from a fantasy perspective, mainly due to their often-decent performances not being converted into consistent attacking returns, the club has been one of the more stable sides in the bottom-half of the table over the past years. That is, up until last season, when the Seagulls finished in the top-half of the Premier League table for the first time in their history with a very respectable ninth place.

Manager Graham Potter has managed to implement an attractive playing style at Brighton, but they have been lacking a serious end product for a few seasons now. Last season, they conceded just 44 goals, a total only bettered by the top-four plus Wolves, but they also netted just 42 times. Only the three relegated clubs plus, again, Wolves scored less. What’s more, when looking at the Expected Goals over the run of the 2021-22 campaign, Brighton were THE underachiever in the Premier League classroom with 54.34. Just imagine where they could have ended had they actually delivered on their xG.

This thought will surely have crossed the club management’s minds more than a few times as well, which explains Brighton’s activity on the transfer market so far. On top of Deniz Undav returning from loan at Union Saint-Gilloise, where he crowned himself top scorer of the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, the Seagulls splashed the cash for the very talented 18-year-old forward and Paraguay international Julio Enciso (£9.5 million from Club Libertad), and left winger Simon Adingra (£6 million from Danish side Nordsjaelland. The club had some extra money to spend after the sale of key player Yves Bissouma to Spurs for around £25 million. There is no doubt that Brighton will duly miss the Mali international’s physicality and intensity in midfield this coming season but with the likes of Jakob Moder, Enock Mwepu and Moises Caicedo, they might just have his replacement in their ranks already.

Brighton’s tactics sheet

Like at his other clubs in the past, Graham Potter has managed to instil a level of tactical awareness and discipline at Brighton that few other teams in England and indeed the world possess. Their possession-based game based on a rock-solid defensive foundation, usually in a very fluid 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1 formation, has proven to make the Seagulls hard to score against and more importantly, hard to beat as well. At the same time, Potter has no problems changing or rotating his personnel, which from a pure football point of view is rather impressive, but not the kind of thing you like to see as an FPL manager.

As we wrote before, Brighton like to have the ball and move it around, which is how they initiate most of their attacking moves. They consistently rank amongst the best teams for most passes per game, though it should be noted that the majority of this passing happens on their own half. With quick forwards that constantly interchange positions up front, they wait for the right moment to make the incisive pass, either high or low. As a result, Brighton’s central defenders boast some of the highest completed attacking passes ratios in the official game.

The forwards are asked to press high and constantly, which is why the likes of Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard fit Brighton’s style of play so well. The downside is that, so far, Potter has not yet found a way to make his forwards stand out in terms of goalscoring. The previously mentioned two players managed 8 goals each, making them the side’s shared top scorers. Only Wolves (the parallels between the two sides are starting to show, right?) had a team top scorer with less than that, namely Raul Jimenez with 6 goals.

BRIGHTON – Potential FPL targets

Out of all players currently on the Brighton roster, goalkeeper Robert Sánchez (£4.5m) is the highest owned at the time of writing and we expect that to still be the case come gameweek 1. The Spanish international is the number one between the sticks for Graham Potter and sits in just over 14% of all teams. Despite his nailed-on starting spot and a very decent total of 11 clean sheets last season, for a total of 126 FPL points, his price tag has remained unchanged. This makes him a very interesting pick, especially for those managers who like to rotate budget goalies and spend some more of the available budget on outfield players. Adding to Sánchez’ appeal is the fact that, after his GW1 visit to Old Trafford, he’ll only be facing one team with an FDR rating higher than 3 (Liverpool away in GW9) until gameweek 13.

We’re sticking with the Brighton defence for now, because the second Seagull on our watchlist is Tariq Lamptey (£4.5m). A bit of a fan favourite since his transfer from the Chelsea U23’s back in January 2020, the speedy right-back missed part of last season due to injuries. As a result, he managed just 1,547 Premier League minutes, though in that limited time he did record 2 assists and 6 clean sheets for a total of 74 FPL points. An advantage for fantasy managers is that, as a result of his limited playing time last season, his price tag has remained unchanged. At £4.5m and with a good set of fixtures practically right up to the World Cup break, we recommend keeping an eye on him in the build-up to the season opening.

In all fairness, besides Sánchez and Lamptey, we struggled a bit to find a third recommendable pick at Brighton, simply because their attack has been so goal-shy over the past few seasons. If you do have your heart set on integrating an offensive Brighton asset into your squad, Leandro Trossard (£6.5m) is probably your best bet. The Belgian will be fighting for a spot in his country’s World Cup squad and he is a bit of a talisman for the Seagulls. What also helps, is that he gets his share of set-pieces, including penalties. Looking back at his 2021-22 Premier League campaign, 8 goals and 4 assists for a total of 141 FPL points is pretty OK for a midfielder in his price bracket, and we feel he will definitely reach those numbers again this season. The main problem in that sense is that Potter is not afraid to rotate, as we said earlier, so timing your utilisation of the Belgian is very important if you want to benefit from his low price. He will probably be outscored by a few other mid-price midfielders, but he’s also a quality player who might just explode if the Seagulls finally manage to start banging in the goals.

CHELSEA – FPL 2022-23 team preview

Photo by Simon Reza on Unsplash

Chelsea FC were last season’s runner-up team. They finished in third place in the league, a respective 18 and 19 points between powerhouses Liverpool and champions Manchester City, and lost both the League Cup final and the FA Cup final to Liverpool. A season without silverware is not good enough for one of the world’s biggest clubs, is what many would’ve said prior to the start of last season, but of course, no one could have expected the off-field chaos that unfolded at Stamford Bridge when Russia decided to invade the Ukraine back in February of this year.

Identified as a key contact and partner of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chelsea’s (former) billionaire owner Roman Abramovich saw his assets frozen soon after the invasion and his ownership of Chelsea Football Club was one of those assets. As a result, during a period of time, it looked like Chelsea were heading towards an unprecedented collapse in the summer transfer window, not being allowed to splash the cash on anything from new players to multi-million salaries and team transportation. Fortunately for everything and anyone Blue, this disaster scenario was avoided when a group of new, mainly American, investors took full ownership of the club for a cool £4.25 billion in May.

The new owners did not take long to get themselves noticed in the world of European football. While the free transfer of key man Antonio Rüdiger to Real Madrid ended up being unavoidable, the only leaving players that played some sort of role last season were the ineffective Romelu Lukaku and central defender Andreas Christensen, who also moved to La Liga for free, to FC Barcelona. On the other side, Manchester City ace Raheem Sterling and Napoli giant Kalidou Koulibaly arrived for £47.5 million and £33 million, respectively. It’ll be interesting to see how the Blues will turn up this season, but what’s for sure is that manager Thomas Tuchel has his work cut out for him this pre-season.

Chelsea’s tactics sheet

Tuchel is known as a manager who very much lets his tactical approach to seasons and games depend on the personnel that he is available to him, which makes him quite flexible tactically. Nevertheless, there is a clear preference for a 3-5-2 formation for this Chelsea squad when possible, which makes sense given the exceptional abundance of wing-back talent in the current squad. We don’t have to tell FPL managers, but the likes of Reece James, Marcos Alonso, Ben Chilwell and Cesar Azpilicueta tend to be fantasy football gold, thanks to their high involvement in attack. James alone recorded a crazy 5 goals and 9 assists from less than 2,000 minutes in the Premier League, while Alonso only just fell short of those totals with 4 goals and 5 assists.

The wing-backs bombing forward means that Chelsea’s double pivot in the middle is relatively uninteresting from an FPL point of view, apart perhaps from Jorginho and his penalty duties. The expansive build-up play also has implications for the attackers on the wings, including new recruit Sterling, as they are generally instructed to drift inwards and around the central striker. A point to keep in mind is the fact that Chelsea have a deep squad and rotation can occur, especially in attack. In defence, Tuchel has shown that he tends to build on a fixed foundation. Nevertheless, with one of the most favourable starting sets of fixtures out of all teams, a sea of green FDR ratings stretching out to basically the Christmas period, we expect some Blues assets to be hot property over the coming weeks.

CHELSEA – Potential FPL targets

We already mentioned his impressive numbers above, so it’s no surprise that Reece James (£6.0m) is amongst our stand-out Chelsea fantasy targets, just like it’s no surprise that he currently sits in over 44% of all teams in the official game. The England international had to deal with some injury problems over the course of last season, which slightly dampened his appeal as there were more defenders in the spotlight, but 5 goals and 9 assists from 22 starts is just out of this world. Imagine what he can do if he starts 30+ league games this season. He does have some serious competition for his spot, but in our opinion, and considering Tuchel’s preferred tactical approach, James is the number-one choice at right-back for the Blues. He carries a premium price tag, but then again, which midfielder or forward priced at £6.0m will all but guarantee you 180+ FPL points, assuming he stays fit?

At first, we thought to include both James and Ben Chilwell in this section, pretty much for the same reasons, but then we noticed Edouard Mendy (£5.0m), or better said, Edouard Mendy’s price tag for the 2022-23 campaign. At just £5.0m, a whopping whole million cheaper than last season, the Senegal international looks like a bit of a steal to us, to such an extent that we’re considering giving him the elusive “set-and-forget” label this early in the season already. He is the cheapest starting goalie among all of the top-six goalies by some distance and everyone knows how good he is by now. We suspect that part of FPL Towers’ decision to keep his price in the mid-range is the result of Tuchel showing last season that even his goalkeeper is not exempt from (at times seemingly random) rotation, but personally, we’re not worried about it. Mendy is the clear number one for us and will be eyeing World Cup success with his country later on this year. He’s on top of our goalkeeper watchlist at the moment.

A player who did see a price rise this season compared to last is Mason Mount (£8.0m), but the £0.5m extra won’t likely deter a host of fantasy managers bringing him in for the start of the upcoming campaign. Last season, he was the highest-scoring Blue in terms of FPL points: 169, courtesy of 11 goals, 11 assists and 11 clean sheets. As we mentioned earlier, rotation risk is real under Tuchel and with the addition of Raheem Sterling, the offensive positions have only become more stacked. Still, Mount’s role under Tuchel is such that he forms the heart of almost every attacking move Chelsea put together when he’s on the pitch and on top of that, he’s a set-piece specialist as well. Competition is fierce is the mid-price and mid-upper-price midfielder bracket this season, which is reflected in the 23-year-old’s current ownership of just under 10%, but we feel he could be FPL gold in the first half of the season.

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