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FPL Season Preview 2020-21: Who to pick, who to avoid, who’s going cheap…

The fixtures for the 2020-21 Premier League season have been released and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to pick our Fantasy Football teams.

The Premier League’s official FPL game relaunched last weekend, releasing a brand new set of player prices, and it’s already thrown up a fair few talking points. 

Many avid FPL managers will no doubt have been tinkering away with different players and line-ups already, but with the Premier League having now released its full fixture list, it’s time to dive in head-first and start strategising.

Firstly, though, if you’re keen on getting involved in FPL this year but aren’t familiar with how the game works, check out this handy guide on how to play FPL, which walks you through the basics, and then our own 11 tips to consider every season.

Now, whether your ambition is to win the whole thing outright, or simply finish ahead of your mates in a mini-league, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find our 2020-21 FPL season preview in which we assess positional changes, player pricing, the opening fixtures and, to round it all off, provide a few top tips. 

Ready? Let’s dive in…

Positional Changes

A quick rundown of the headline players who have switched FPL position from what they were listed as last season:

– John Lundstram (£5.5m) switched from a defender to midfielder
– Eric Dier (£5.0m) switched from a midfielder to defender
– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£12.0m) switched from a forward to midfielder
– Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) switched from a forward to midfielder
– Mason Greenwood (£7.5m) switched from a forward to midfielder
– Diogo Jota (£6.5m) switched from a forward to midfielder
– Anthony Martial (£9.0m) switched from a midfielder to forward
– Richarlison (£8.0m) switched from a midfielder to forward
– Michail Antonio (£6.5m) switched from a midfielder to forward

READ: Seven remarkable stats on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 2019-20 season

Underpriced Players 

In this section, we analyse which players have, perhaps, come in under their expected price. Everyone loves a bargain, and getting in assets who deliver a high points-per-million ratio is essential if you want to succeed in FPL.

On top of that, players’ prices will fluctuate throughout the season depending on their form and the amount of FPL managers who transfer them in or out of their side. So jumping on underpriced players at the start of the game and holding them should increase your overall team value as the season goes on.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) 

Where better to start than with Premier League champions Liverpool and their flying right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold? He was the highest-scoring FPL defender last season, and although he’s the most expensive defender in the game, we still fully expect him to make a mockery of that £7.5m price tag.

The boyhood Merseyside star hit 210 FPL points last season. He’s on free-kicks and corners, is part of arguably the world’s best defence, and his average position suggests he spends more time in midfield, making open-play assists from those lethal crosses even more likely.

READ: Comparing Alexander-Arnold’s assists record to the PL’s best ever creators

Ruben Vinagre (£4.5m)

Sticking with defenders but looking at the other end of the pricing spectrum, wing-back Ruben Vinagre immediately catches the eye after Wolves’ first-choice left wing-back, Jonny (£5.5m), picked up a nasty injury towards the end of last season, meaning Vinagre could well be a starter for the opening few gameweeks.

He’s a cheap route into a sturdy Wolves backline and offers attacking potential as a wing-back, operating in the team’s usual 3-5-2/3-4-3 formation. We’d recommend keeping an eye on pre-season matches to see how heavily Vinagre features, but at £4.5m, you can’t go too far wrong.

Phil Foden (£6.5m)

David Silva is no longer a Manchester City player, and while that is undoubtedly sad news for Citizens fans — or indeed any fan who enjoys watching effortlessly exquisite football — his departure has opened the door for young Phil Foden.

At just £6.5m, Foden represents an insanely cheap way of getting yourself a slice of City’s attacking pie. He plays in central midfield, on the wing, and even at false nine on occasion, making him an attractive pick in a side that creates so many chances. Sure, he’s still vulnerable to Pep’s infamous rotation, but who isn’t?

Timo Werner (£9.5m)

The new kid on the block. Signed from RB Leipzig, Timo Werner arrives at Chelsea with a big reputation. He’s pretty young, blisteringly quick, and has an eye for goal — essentially, exactly what you want in an FPL forward.

Manager Frank Lampard loves to play attacking (sometimes kamikaze) football and Werner is widely tipped to lead the line up top. With the likes of Christian Pulisic (£8.5m) and Hakim Ziyech (£8.0m) offering creative potency from the flanks, all signs point towards a stellar debut season for Werner on English shores.

Sergio Aguero (£10.5m)

Public service announcement: Sergio Aguero is the cheapest he has ever been in FPL. There’s a real dearth of premium forward options this year Aguero, Harry Kane (£10.5m) and Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) are the only players priced £10.0m or above so if you’re looking to spend big up front, you’re going to want the man who’s been terrorising Premier League defences for the best part of a decade.

The Argentine does come with some injury concerns, having missed the back end of last season, but for pure, explosive firepower, you’ll struggle to find better. With Aguero in your FPL side, every gameweek brings about the potential of a huge haul. 

READ: The top goalscorers in Europe’s top five leagues since ’10: Messi, Aguero, Lewy

Overpriced Players 

…And here’s a look at a few players you should probably avoid if you don’t like getting ripped off.

Nick Pope (£5.5m)

Sean Dyche’s Burnley are revered for their defensive robustness. The Clarets are always a decent bet to keep a clean sheet against any team outside of the big six, but we’re afraid we just can’t get onboard with Nick Pope’s new price rise. 

Coming in at £5.5m, Pope is the joint-third most expensive goalkeeper in the game, after Brazilian duo Alisson (£6.0m) and Ederson (£6.0m). As solid as Burnley are, your budget could probably be spent more effectively elsewhere.  

Marcos Alonso (£6.0m)

Marcos Alonso is an old favourite; veteran FPL managers will have fond memories of seeing him dominate the left flank in Antonio Conte’s title-winning side. But Alonso’s best days are, sadly, behind him, with Chelsea in the market for a new left-back.

Leicester’s Ben Chilwell (£5.5m) seems the most likely Alonso replacement, making the Spaniard’s price of £6.0m feel wildly steep. Unless he moves to another Premier League side, we’re afraid it’s, ‘Thanks for the memories, Marcos.’

Tyrone Mings (£5.0m)

Aston Villa shored up their defence somewhat after last season’s restart, but we remain far from convinced about Dean Smith’s backline. Villa’s defence seems like a place to avoid entirely, but with Tyrone Mings being the only asset worth over £4.5m, it hardly seems sensible FPL business.

To be honest, the £5.0m price bracket in general offers slim pickings. We’d recommend opting for one or two heavy hitters then padding out the rest of your defender spots with £4.0m/4.5m players who get regular minutes for their teams. 

Youri Tielemans (£6.5m)

Leicester really did enjoy a season of two halves last time out, and while finishing fifth was no mean feat, the Foxes’ end of season form will have plenty of FPL bosses worried. If you are thinking of owning Leicester assets, though, we suggest looking beyond Youri Tielemans.

As last season progressed, Tielemans found himself operating in a deep-lying midfield role next to Wilfred Ndidi (£5.0m) — not exactly the position you want to see your midfielder playing from an FPL perspective. Coming in at more of an ‘attacking midfielder price’, we say steer clear.   

Roberto Firmino (£9.5m)

With so many mouth-watering FPL options from Liverpool, Firmino is a tough sell. The striker doesn’t have the attacking upside of, say, Mo Salah (£12.0m) or Sadio Mane (£12.0m), and we’ve already highlighted how essential it is to own Trent Alexander-Arnold at the back.

For context, Firmino didn’t hit double digits in Premier League goals or assists last season, mustering a measly total of just 155 FPL points. Sorry, Bobby, but at £9.5m, we can’t see you making your way into many FPL sides.

Teams with good/bad opening fixtures

Here’s a brief look at the opening three fixtures for a few select sides. One thing that’s important to bear in mind is that two opening gameweek fixtures — Aston Villa vs Manchester City and Burnley vs Manchester United — have been postponed due to the Manchester clubs’ prolonged European commitments last season.

Good fixtures

Arsenal

  1. Fulham (A)
  2. West Ham (H)
  3. Liverpool (A)

Manchester United

  1. Burnley (A)
  2. Crystal Palace (H)
  3. Brighton (A)

Newcastle United

  1. West Ham (A)
  2. Brighton (H)
  3. Spurs (A)

Sheffield United

  1. Wolves (H)
  2. Villa (A)
  3. Leeds (H)

Bad Fixtures

Brighton

  1. Chelsea (A)
  2. Manchester United (H)
  3. Everton (A)

Crystal Palace

  1. Southampton (H)
  2. Manchester United (A)
  3. Everton (H)

Liverpool

  1. Leeds (H)
  2. Chelsea (A)
  3. Arsenal (H)

West Brom

  1. Leicester (H)
  2. Everton (A)
  3. Chelsea (H)

FPL Top Tips 

To round out this preview, we thought we’d leave you with some nuggets of knowledge. Based on what’s been discussed above, here are some top FPL tips for managers to consider when building their squads.

– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£12.0m) is now listed as a midfielder, meaning he gets an extra point for every goal he scores and every clean sheet Arsenal keep. The Gunners’ opening two fixtures against Premier League new boys Fulham and a suspect West Ham side — should get every FPL manager excited about Aubameyang’s potential to haul right from the off.

– We’ve already mentioned how underpriced we think Timo Werner (£9.5m) is, and Chelsea’s penchant for attacking football, but with Brighton and West Brom representing two of the Blues’ opening three fixtures, not starting the season with Werner in your side seems pretty illogical to us.

– Despite the endless jokes at Harry Maguire’s (£5.5m) expense last season, Manchester United were actually pretty solid defensively, keeping the joint-third most clean sheets in the division. Starting out against Brighton, Crystal Palace and Burnley, we feel there’s definitely some value in owning a United defender.

– Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.5m) came back after lockdown a new man, giving opposition defenders nightmares with his pace and outrageous dribbling ability. He narrowly missed out on our underpriced picks, but with West Ham and Brighton first up, the winger should be firmly on your radar.

– Sheffield United were one of the great FPL success stories last season, with the likes of Dean Henderson (£5.5m) and John ‘Lord’ Lundstram (£5.5m) playing starring roles. Neither player is really a viable pick for the upcoming campaign, but it’s definitely worth grabbing one of the Blades’ defenders, with Wolves, Aston Villa and Leeds in their first three outings.

– Another surprise package last year was Danny Ings (£8.5m), who finally managed to keep himself fit and fire in 22 goals. His price rise reflects that stellar form, but Ings may be one to avoid, at least for the first couple of gameweeks, as Southampton square off against three defensively solid sides in Crystal Palace, Spurs and Burnley. 

– One exciting newcomer to FPL this season is West Brom’s Matheus Pereira (£6.0m). The attacking midfielder lit up the Championship last time out with goals and assists aplenty, and he has every chance of continuing his blistering form with Leicester and Everton being the Baggies’ first two fixtures.

And there you have it: your one-stop-FPL-preview-shop. Be sure to check back here for more FPL news and advice throughout the season. Until then, enjoy tinkering and best of luck!

By Charlie Carmichael


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