We were treated to a rather eventful Gameweek 1 with plenty of Fantasy Premier League managers already scratching their heads.
Where is my Alisson money best spent? How can I get Salah and Sterling in my team? Are there any cheap options I’ve missed? Should I play my Wildcard already?
These are just some of the big talking points heading into the second weekend of the season.
So as we countdown to the Emirates Stadium clash, BTSport.com are here to try and help you make those key transfers – perhaps a full squad of them!
Who should replace Alisson?
The most transferred out player (at the time of writing) ahead of Gameweek 2, last season’s top performing goalkeeper is set for a spell on the sidelines.
With Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp confirming the Brazilian stopper will miss “the next few weeks” and considering his hefty £6.0 million price tag (although that has already dropped to £5.9 million because of the fire sale) owners have a decision to make.
The first is easy, he has to go. That’s too much to spend on a player you know won’t earn any points for the considerable future. So what are your options?
Manchester City’s Ederson is your closest like-for-like swap, but unless you’ve got some money in the bank Alisson’s price drop will rule this transfer out. The champions face Tottenham this weekend in a less than appealing debut for your new keeper, but they follow that up with games against Bournemouth, Brighton, Norwich and Watford.
Another high-end alternative could be Manchester United’s David de Gea who kept a clean sheet and secured two bonus points against Chelsea to be the top performing goalkeeper in Gameweek 1.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men don’t face another top six side until they host Arsenal in Gameweek 7 so there could be a few more clean sheets coming his way while Alisson watches on.
You could make the same swap Klopp is planning to, bring in the Reds second choice goalkeeper Adrian for just £4.5 million. It’s a really cheap way into that steely Liverpool backline and could free up some money to score points elsewhere in the next few weeks.
One slight caveat however is that in Klopp’s pre-match press conference he said that the former West Ham man is a doubt for the trip to Southampton!
During the Super Cup celebrations a fan slipped into Adrian’s ankle and suddenly this transfer looks like a risk.
A change of tactic could also see another cheap alternative come into your thinking in the shape of Aston Villa’s Tom Heaton. The promoted club have three home games in their next four and at just £4.5 million the former Burnley man could be worth investing in.
Mo Salah, the top points scorer in the last two season’s of FPL, was the most-captained player for GW1 and rewarded the almost 1.6 million managers that gave him the armband with 24 captaincy points.
Raheem Sterling responded in style. Just hours later the second most expensive midfielder in the game netted a hat-trick to produce a Gameweek-high 20 points – 40 points for those who captained the Man City man.
Do you need both? Can you afford both? We’ve got a few suggestions below to help you try and fit both in your starting line-up. If you can’t, fear not, there are some cheaper alternatives that will provide you with good captain material.
Salah’s team-mate, and a man he shared the Premier League golden boot with last season, Sadio Mane was only on the bench for the season opener against Norwich but that was expected after his summer exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations.
His two goals against Chelsea in midweek, plus the fact Salah played 120 minutes and costs £1.0 million more, makes Mane an attractive long and short-term proposition as he heads back to old club Southampton.
Two of last season’s stars Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero fell foul to Pep Guardiola’s dreaded rotation against West Ham. Of course both may well come in to face Spurs on Saturday but it would appear Sterling is your safest bet to be in the starting XI week in, week out.
On the back of an opening weekend hat-trick, and three goals and two assists in his last four meetings with Tottenham, he could again be a great armband option.
Although midfielders offer the chance for more points to double up – thanks to the ability to claim a clean sheet and scoring more for goals – strikers should not be overlooked for captaincy.
Harry Kane started with a brace against Aston Villa (putting to bed any August woe questions) and after his trip to the Etihad, the England captain only comes up against one top six defence in the next seven Gameweeks.
Across north London Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the other side of the coin. A really strong candidate for this weekend when he faces Burnley at home but then come Liverpool and Tottenham. Maybe just one for the Watchlist for now.
To get your Salah, Sterling, Mane, Kane or Aubameyang’s in you’re going to need to save some cash elsewhere. There is value out there, you just need to know where to look.
Four defenders priced in the cheapest £4.0 million bracket featured in Gameweek 1 and having at least one on your bench is a good way to spend elsewhere while knowing they can chip in with points every now and again when disaster strikes and you’re struggling to field a full XI.
So here we go, in order of who scored the most points on the opening weekend, your options are as follows:
Martin Kelly – Crystal Palace (6 points)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was arguably the best bargain of last season, with the young right-back falling into exactly this category and producing a number of high-scoring performances throughout the campaign.
There was much debate on who would start in his absence with Palace not signing a natural replacement and it would appear Kelly has been given the nod. The former Liverpool man played the full 90 minutes in a back four that notched 12 clean sheets last season and could be the ideal Fantasy replacement for Wan-Bissaka too.
John Lundstram – Sheffield United (3 points)
Although Lundstram only played for 77 minutes in the draw against Bournemouth, the reasons to consider him are twofold.
Firstly throughout pre-season and in the opening game he featured in midfield for Chris Wilder’s side and therefore it would suggest his chances of notching goals or assists are stronger that the others on this list.
And secondly, despite not featuring for the whole game, the 25-year-old bagged himself a bonus point and anyone that can add them to their haul is always worth considering.
Diego Rico – Bournemouth (2 points)
Up against Lundstram, Rico surprised many by playing the full 90 minutes despite rarely featuring for Eddie Howe’s team in the last campaign.
If those appearances continue, he could be a cheap way into a back line that would expect to pick up some clean sheets over the coming weeks.
The Cherries are hardly known for being the most solid at the back, only two sides conceded more than them in 2018/19, but in the next eight Gameweeks they have five fixtures with a ‘Fixture Difficulty Rating’ of just 2 – the lowest possible score.
Grant Hanley – Norwich (-2 points)
Ok we admit, the -2 it hardly the most inspiring score to look at when you’re debating bringing in a player but the centre back won’t be playing Liverpool every week.
Add to that he scored an own-goal, the first goal of the new season in fact, but surely he won’t be doing that again this weekend? Right?
It’s always bold selecting a defender from a promoted team so the other options on this list may be more logical but the former Newcastle man deserves to be in your thinking.
Should I play my wildcard?
We can’t really decide this one for you, but our advice would generally be no – unless you’ve somehow picked a squad of players that won’t be getting you points any time soon.
It’s a long season and making some kneejerk decisions on the back of one bad Gameweek is not the way to go.
It might be worth taking the odd points hit here and there to double up on transfers if you really feel the need to make wholesale changes, but the first few weeks of the season are a good chance to see who is playing and more importantly who is performing.
If you think you can trundle through to the first international break (that’s only three deadlines to negotiate) you then have a few weeks data to look back on and you can set up your squad to maximise points for the coming weeks thereafter.
Don’t forget, you only get two wildcards a season (the first has to be played before Saturday 28 December or you lose it) so that’s a long way out.
And more importantly, you picked your initial squad for a reason so have a bit of faith and hold off from rushing into another squad you’re not happy with.