Rob Blunt is back for the Fantasy Premier League season with his Gameweek 1 Preview, today is the day! Matt also contributes in this whopping preview! Enjoy…
ARSENAL VS LEICESTER
Head To Head: 64-44-29
Since Leicester’s 2014 return to the top flight, they haven’t beaten the Gunners with four losses & two draws. The Foxes haven’t beaten Arsenal in their last 23 clashes overall (except one penalty win following a replay draw in the 2000 FA Cup).
FPL Player to watch #1: Alexandre Lacazette (10.5)
The French international makes his EPL debut following his transfer from Lyon to Arsenal. Following four consecutive 20+ goal seasons for Lyon (37 in 2016-17) and a strong pre-season, he’s already a popular pick among FPL coaches. He’s coming up against a team his club has had no problem beating, expect a strong debut.
FPL Player To Watch #2: Kolasinac (6.0)
A popular pick during pre-season, Kolasinac faces a team Arsenal kept two clean sheets against in 2016/17. He could get off to a flyer.
Tip: Arsenal (2-0)
I’m tipping the Gunners to keep their good head to head record going, Lacazette to score.
WATFORD V LIVERPOOL
Head To Head: 5-3-20
FPL Player #1: Mohammed Salah (9.0)
The Reds have a tendency to start the season strong and judging by his pre-season form, Salah could be key. I’m expecting at least a goal!
FPL Player #2: Sadio Mane (9.5)
Prior to his knee injury at the back end of the season, Mane was in exhilarating form. He’s back up and a good return during pre-season suggests he’ll hit the ground running to start the campaign.
Tip: Liverpool (2-0)
Reds to commence their season with a win, however, Liverpool are Liverpool, so it could be a nervy match for supporters for a large portion of it.
CHELSEA V BURNLEY
Head To Head: 34-23-37
The overall record is actually quite surprising, however the more recent record is less so. Chelsea are unbeaten in the last 6 head To Head. Since Burnley’s most recent promotion, it’s been 2 Blues wins & 2 draws.
FPL Player #1: Alonso (7.0)
With Chelsea’s highest FPL scorer of last season in Eden Hazard out for the opening month, we have to look elsewhere for Blues options. I’m tipping a clean sheet and Alonso created 11 goals last season, so it’s set up for him nicely!
Tip: Chelsea (1-0)
As a Liverpool fan, I’d love to see Burnley take points off Chelsea and Heaton to get a clean sheet for my FPL. I’ve gone the safe tip, but I think it will be a tougher game than some imagine.
CRYSTAL PALACE V HUDDERSFIELD
Head To Head: 12-17-11
The Head To Head record is pretty irrelevant for this clash as 2012-13 was the only season they’ve been in the same division since 2001.
FPL Player #1: Wilfried Zaha (7.0)
Zaha was the Eagles’ top FPL scorer last season and again will be a force down the left side. He’ll score well against the “weaker teams” and I’m expect some early attacking returns this weekend.
FPL Player #2: Tom Ince (6.0)
Ince was a big dollar signing and David Wagner will expect him to deliver. With a good early draw, this will be an good chance for Ince to make his mark.
Tip: Draw (1-1)
Expect a hot crowd with both Palace’s raucous active area & a rowdy away section for the Terriers return to the Premier League. A draw would be a fitting result.
EVERTON V STOKE
Head To Head: 63-34-35
Since Stoke’s top flight return in 2008, results have been split. Everton 7, Stoke 5 & points were shared on 6 occasions.
FPL Player #1: Wayne Rooney (7.5)
Rooney makes a return to Everton and he’ll be required to play a big part in the goal scoring with Romelu Lukaku gone. He could get a fairytale return goal at home on opening day, Rooney himself said he’d love a goal!
FPL Player #2: Erik Pieters (5.0)
Stoke’s squad is the epitome of a mid to low table squad. A number of serviceable players & workhorses but not too many consistent game changers. Therefore, they’ll need a strong backline. Pieters was the highest scoring defender for the Potters last season and will need to be strong in defence again if Stoke is to get a clean sheet. He will be playing left wing back.
Tip: Everton (2-0)
Toffees should win this one and even a Reds fan would appreciate a Rooney fairytale goal on opening day (definitely not derby day!).
SOUTHAMPTON V SWANSEA
Head To Head: 34-15-21
These two teams haven’t played out a draw in their last 8, with the Saints winning 6 to the Swans 2.
FPL Player #1: Fraser Forster (5.0)
A very popular goalkeeper pick, Forster had a strong 2016-17 season and is set to continue his form in the upcoming season.
FPL Player #2: Lukasz Fabianski (4.5)
Another strong scoring keeper in FPL. Due to being in a low table team, they rely a lot on their keeper and Fabianski generally scores handsomely from save points.
Tip: Southampton (3-1)
Expect both keepers to be busy in an entertaining game, which will see a premium of save points. Southampton seems to have the better attack and should take the points here.
WEST BROM V BOURNEMOUTH
Head To Head: 8-4-7
In their last 5 clashes, West Brom has won just once (1 Draw, 3 Bournemouth wins). In those 5 games since 2014, there has been just one clean sheet between the teams.
FPL Player #1: Jay Rodriguez (6.0)
Albion signed the forward from Southampton in search of more goals and with a winnable clash on opening day, expect him to be hungry for a goal early in his Baggies career.
FPL Player #2: Josh King (7.5)
The Cherries’ top FPL Player last year was a standout. King won’t go under the radar this year, but many FPL Coaches, including myself, will hope he can continue his scoring. Especially with a winnable game early! I’m tipping him for a goal.
Tip: Bournemouth (1-2)
I’m tipping the Cherries to take the points from the Hawthorns on opening day in a tough encounter.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION V MANCHESTER
Head To Head: 5-4-8
There is very little history between the sides. One FA Cup clash in 1924, then they didn’t meet until 1979. 15 matches against each other between 1979 & 1989 and then just one since in 2008. Not much relevancy for us.
FPL Player #1: Kyle Walker (6.5)
The former Spur should make his City debut. He was a strong point scorer for Spurs so has a hefty price tag, but it should worth it. Expect a solid opening performance against a team likely to battle relegation.
FPL Player #2: Sergio Aguero (11.5)
The Argentine has been a proven goal scorer over many years and against a weaker opponent, expect him to open his account with a goal or two. Kun will be great.
Tip: Man City (4-0)
Arguably the toughest possible encounter for Brighton’s return to the pinnacle of English football. Expect a dogged first half from the Seagulls defence, but City to open them up as the game wears on.
NEWCASTLE V TOTTENHAM
Head To Head: 58-32-66
In 34 matches since the turn of the century, these heavyweights have drawn just twice (17 Magpies, 15 Spurs). Newcastle has won the last two.
FPL Player #1: Harry Kane (12.5)
There’s not much explaining to do here. The English international scores so often that he’s a must have for most FPL Coaches (unless they’ve chosen Lukaku instead). An early winnable game for his side and he should get off to a flyer.
FPL Player #2: Hugo Lloris (5.5)
Expect Newcastle to start like a house on fire in front of a huge raucous crowd at St James Park. Lloris will be vital to keep it level early for Spurs to settle it down, if they are to win.
Tip: Draw (2-2)
The Magpies should start strong and a point against Spurs would be a brilliant result for them. Expect the crowd to keep them in it for the “90”.
MANCHESTER UNITED V WEST HAM UNITED
Head To Head: 64-30-43
Since 2007, the teams have clashed 27 times with West Ham winning just 2. (6 Draws, 19 Man U wins).
FPL Player #1: Romelu Lukaku (11.5)
Lukaku had a phenomenal FPL season last year and despite a huge price tag, he’s in a high percentage of FPL Teams. Expect him to feature regularly on the score sheet this season and he’s my tip to score in this game. West Ham are his favourite team to play in his short career so far (8 goals).
FPL Player #2: Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) (7.0)
The striker makes his premier league return, and as fate has it, he returns to face his former club away on opening day. A popular pick among FPL coaches due to his low price tag for a player of his ability. Most will hope he repays the faith with an early goal against his old club.
Tip: Manchester United (2-1)
Tipping the Red Devils in this one but I do see West Ham as an outside chance for 5th/6th. Lukaku & Chicharito to score.
Good luck to those playing EPL & those in Tipping Competitions! Share your thoughts in the comments below! Good luck everyone.