Gameweek 1 provided precisely zero shocks.
It was business as usual with all of the big boys winning and the promoted teams unable to secure victories. The only remotely surprising thing was seeing so many World Cup players rushed back from their holidays and into their team’s starting line-ups; a few looked like they were still on the beach.
Something to watch out for could be the emergence of value at the back - many strikers failed to deliver, whilst a plethora of premium defenders did the business. OK – we’ve only had one gameweek, but the potential for multiple points via clean sheets, goals & assists is certainly intriguing. Could it be time to consider 4-4-2 or 5-4-1?
Anyway, here are the scores of my tips from last week:
Banker - Mo Salah – 8pts
Value - Josh King – 2pts
Wildcard - Patrick van Aanholt – 11pts / James Tomkins – 6pts
Not bad for a first go, so, we go again…
Banker – Benjamin Mendy 6.1m
Anyone who watched Manchester City dismantle Arsenal on Sunday will have definitely noticed a certain marauding left-back. Benjamin Mendy’s Marcelo-esque performance saw him end the game with 2 assists, a clean sheet and maximum bonus points, really showcasing his potential as a Fantasy Football asset.
Much like Patrick van Aanholt & Andy Robertson, Ben Mendy has the double threat of being in a side likely to garner clean sheets whilst also having license to get forward and create. On top of that, the Citizens play a toothless Huddersfield team at home this Sunday which means it’s a fantastic time to get him into your team.
Manchester City have what can only be described as a dream run of fixtures - Citeh have all six promoted teams from the last two seasons with four of those matches being at the Etihad. There is always the threat of rotation but, if Mendy gets game time, he should be a solid and consistent source of points.
Value – Bernardo Silva 7.5m
I was going to select West Ham’s mercurial Marko Arnautović as the value pick this week but due Kevin De Bruyne’s injury and David Silva’s continued absence, I’m going with a second Man City player and backing Bernardo Silva to take centre stage.
Pep’s team selection can be erratic at times but his comments after their Community Shield victory: “the performance of Bernardo Silva was a masterpiece […] right now, it is Bernardo and 10 others” - confirms that Bernardo Silva is now firmly in favour.
So far, Pep has held true to his word with Bernardo Silva playing the full 90 minutes, and scoring, in the subsequent season starter against Arsenal. His position was almost as a second striker, advanced enough to exceed that of Sergio Agüero on occasion. 7.5m is a great price for a number 10 in arguably the most the potent attacking team in Europe and despite the rotation risk, he may well be a player worth getting in for the aforementioned great run.
Wildcard – James Maddison 6.5m
James Maddison has been earmarked by Claude Puel as the heir to Riyad Mahrez’s throne and judging by his first game, he’ll have no trouble managing the transition from the Championship to the Premier League. The 21-year-old was Leicester’s best player against Manchester United and created a few excellent chances for his side in the process.
He notched 14 goals and 8 assists in the Championship last season and looks set to monopolise set-pieces. The Foxes play only three of last season’s top six over the first 15 gameweeks and he should be the fulcrum in terms of their creativity. This weekend could be a good time to take a gamble on Leicester City’s new talisman with Wolves seemingly more interested in attacking than defending.