Fantasy Football tips: FPL Gameweek 1 captain picks, budget choices, Salah or Haaland dilemma

A day before the start of the 2022/23 Premier League season, 46% of Fantasy Premier League managers had chosen Erling Haaland and over 60% had chosen Mohamed Salah.

While the most publicized signing of the summer and the leading points-scorer of last season were straightforward selections for many, there are, as always, thornier dilemmas elsewhere for the opening weekend.

Being a player’s captain ensures they double the number of points they collect, making smart decisions crucial for managers keen to cash in as much as possible and start in style.

To whom do you give your virtual armband? Can you include Haaland and Salah without fatally compromising elsewhere in your squad? sports news take a look at the return of the unpredictable game.

FPL Gameweek 1 Captain’s Choice

Harry Kane

It’s a line so familiar that FPL managers might find it worthy of a tattoo, but Salah and Harry Kane are as strong as they are obvious candidates for captaincy in Gameweek 1.

Kane leads the line for a rested Tottenham Hotspur side on Saturday at home to a Southampton side who finished last season in miserable form – which, of course, you could interpret as making the unpressured Saints ripe for a 1-0 win. Still, it’s hard to ignore that Spurs are off to a great start and Kane is at the heart of it.

A word too, as usual, for team-mate Son Heung-min, who scored 10 times in 15 appearances against Southampton and was directly involved in four other goals in those matches.

Mohammad Salah

Liverpool start their season on Saturday at Fulham, who are hoping not to emulate last season’s newly-promoted side Norwich City by being beaten at home by the Reds in their opener.

Salah became the first player to score in five consecutive Matchday 1 games in the top flight of this game. The Egyptian talisman is level with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy on seven goals in the season opener, and he can get closer to Premier League legends Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer on the list by repeating the trick this time.

As with Kane and Son, it’s worth mentioning another Liverpool player who would love to open his account against the Cottagers and is £4m cheaper than £13m Salah: newcomer Darwin Nunez.

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Erling Haaland

Some pundits on official FPL channels plan to alternate between Haaland and Salah as captain, trading on the terrifyingly deadly sensation of Norway being as instantly unstoppable in the Premier League as they have been anywhere else at the start of their career. career.

Haaland and Manchester City start on Sunday at West Ham United, who were one of the surprise packages of 2021/22 and took a 2-0 lead against City before Pep Guardiola’s side scored two late goals to salvage a point valuable in their last away game of the last campaign.

It may be worth bearing in mind that Salah’s curious continued classification as a midfielder by the FPL means he scores a point more per goal than Haaland and Kane and a point for Liverpool’s clean sheets .

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Guardiola’s taste for rotation could also make Haaland less likely than Kane and Salah to play for at least 60 minutes, which is worth an extra point every time.

Trent Alexandre-Arnold

Aside from the obvious tactic of picking an attacking midfielder or striker you expect to hit at least once in the net – Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, Crystal Palace livewire Wilfried Zaha and new Chelsea newcomer Raheem Sterling comes to mind – there are always traits to be made in distinguishing successful adventurous defenders.

With six points per goal and four points per clean sheet offered to defenders who deliver at both ends of the pitch, Alexander-Arnold will have you smiling happily at your screen if he takes advantage against a potentially shaky Fulham.

England international Alexander-Arnold scored just twice for Liverpool in the Premier League last season but provided 12 assists, worth three points apiece. The 23-year-old almost always started and finished over 60 minutes each time he did.

Best FPL budget picks for Gameweek 1

Illan Meslier (4.5)

Leeds United’s Meslier is the only goalkeeper priced below £5million who earned more than 100 points last season and won’t try to keep a clean sheet – worth four points – against a “big six” club on the opening weekend.

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The Whites will be aiming for a strong start to kick off Jesse Marsch’s first full season in charge and are at home against Wolves, who suffered a poor end in 2021/22.

Martin Dubravka, the Newcastle United goalkeeper who scored 96 points last time out, is available for the same price and also has a friendlier game, starting at home against newcomers Nottingham Forest.

Marc Guehi (4.5)

Crystal Palace defender Guehi, 22, was one of the stars of the 2021/22 breakthrough, earning a call-up to England in a commendable first season as Premier League manager for the Eagles boss, Patrick Vieira.

Guehi scored in Palace’s last pre-season friendly to help his side beat Montpellier 4-2 and is a decent option if you expect Vieira’s side to impress again when they host Arsenal on Friday .

Fellow Palace defenders Joachim Andersen and Tyrick Mitchell also excelled for FPL managers last season and will expect to complete at least an hour while avoiding dropping points for two goals conceded.

Andreas Pereira (4.5)

Chosen by more than 25% of managers, creative midfielder Pereira joined Fulham from Manchester United for £10million in the summer and is likely to be a regular at his new side.

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The Brazilian hopes to be at the heart of Fulham’s attempts to trouble Liverpool after which they have more lenient matches against Wolves and Brentford.

For £5million, consider Wolves’ Joao Moutinho or West Ham captain Declan Rice – the two players in the price bracket who scored over 90 points last season – or Spurs’ new signing Yves Bissouma, who shone for Brighton. Bissouma has started Spurs’ final pre-season friendly but his playing time may be limited among a crowded squad.

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Julian Alvarez (6.5)

While much of the attention was on Haaland, Salah and Nunez, Argentina striker Alvarez was the only City player to score in the Community Shield game against Liverpool in late July, finding the net on his debut competing for the club.

The 22-year-old joined City in January but remained on loan at former club River Plate, where he was prolific, until July.

Like most City players, the number of minutes Alvarez will spend on the pitch is debatable. For the price, this gifted prospect is an exciting bet without excessive risk.

Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland: the FPL’s dilemma

Combining Haaland (£11.5m) with Salah means spending almost 25% of your £100m budget on two players out of the required 15 in a squad.

Choosing the pair requires careful cutting of the fabric elsewhere and makes it all the more important to earn points from players who don’t demand premium prices.

It may also require dropping other expensive players, but keep in mind the weekly chance to change your mind with a free transfer, as well as use your tokens to make changes or other transfers in point exchange.

The usual advice applies: choose players who are available, likely to play the most minutes, who seem to have matches against weaker opponents and, preferably, who are in good shape.

If you think Pereira, for example, will play at least 60 minutes and create problems for Liverpool, it would be wiser to include him to soften the hole in your budget than a regular reserve whose injury status is uncertain.

Many managers wonder whether to include Salah or Haaland. Salah’s game against a Fulham side looking to survive in the Premier League looks easier than Haaland’s test against a side that qualified for Europe last season.

Salah will become a Premier League great while Haaland is unproven in England. If it were as simple as playing Forms Book, however, the game’s appeal would be lost.

At the end of Gameweek 1, it’s entirely conceivable that one under-the-radar player eclipsed the two. Buyer’s regret is as inevitable as those superstars who frequently report numbers.

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