2023-24 FPL Gameweek 1 – The Fixtures
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The final countdown is well and truly underway, as the opening round of Premier League fixtures are on the horizon after a long pre-season. Fantasy Premier League managers have long begun forming their squads for Gameweek 1, fully aware that they could yet end up tearing their respective squads apart on wildcard in less than a week, such is the beauty of FPL. But the opening round of fixtures is always so exciting due to its unpredictable nature. We don’t know who will emerge as the latest bandwagon, which high-owned assets will disappoint and which of those clubs will keep a precious clean sheet.
Obviously, the fixtures play a massive part in the formation of an FPL squad come the start of the new campaign and we’ve cast an eye over the most exciting Gameweek 1 showdowns from an FPL point of view.
GAMEWEEK 1 FIXTURES
Friday 11th August
Burnley vs Man City (20:00)
Saturday 12th August
Arsenal vs Nott’m Forest (12:30)
Bournemouth vs West Ham (15:00)
Brighton vs Luton (15:00)
Everton vs Fulham (15:00)
Sheffield Utd vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
Newcastle vs Aston Villa (17:30)
Sunday 13th August
Brentford vs Spurs (14:00)
Chelsea vs Liverpool (16:30)
Monday 14th August
Man Utd vs Wolves (20:00)
PREY FOR WOLVES!
Lost in the avalanche of big-money transfers that are now a staple of pre-season has been a slowly developing crisis at Wolves. Due to FFP (financial fair play) restrictions, the club’s owners have tightened the purse-strings which has seen them miss out on numerous transfer targets. Unsurprisingly, head coach Julen Lopetegui was less than impressed with what he had available to him in terms of transfer funds and rumours of behind-the-scenes fallout has lasted all summer. It all came to a head this week as Lopetegui left the club just days before the start of the new campaign. Wolves have moved fast to replace him, former Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil getting the job, but fans are less than impressed, especially when considering the departures of players such as Ruben Neves and Nathan Collins.
With that in mind, a trip to Man Utd in Gameweek 1 represents a very tough assignment with the Red Devils looking to hit the ground running under Erik ten Hag. FPL managers aren’t short of options amid the Man Utd team and Marcus Rashford (£9.0m) is unsurprisingly courting the most attention. Still listed as a midfielder, Rashford recorded 17 goals, seven assists and 205 fantasy points last season. Defender Luke Shaw (£5.5m) is also proving popular, the left-back offering different avenues of FPL returns whether it be via clean sheets, assists or even goals. Like Shaw, Bruno Fernandes (£8.5m) is also owned by over a quarter of FPL managers and whilst the Portuguese attacking midfielder has shown his fantasy pedigree in the past, it has been a while since he last hit those heights.
NOTTS SO EASY START FOR FOREST!
After just managing to stay in the Premier League last season (a successful achievement for a newly promoted club), Nott’m Forest would have been hoping for an easier start to the new campaign than a Gameweek 1 trip to Arsenal. The Gunners flew out of the blocks last year, winning their opening five league matches and are full of confidence following their penalty-shoot-out victory in the Community Shield. This fixture at Emirates Stadium in 2022-23 saw Mikel Arteta’s side triumph 5-0 and Arsenal fans will be hoping for another comprehensive win.
Arsenal have one of the best fixtures to start with and will begin their campaign against a Forest side who conceded maximum chances from their left flank last season (157). Saka has had a good preseason and we expect him to deliver. Penalties (hopefully) an advantage. pic.twitter.com/TZ0TKTa69L— The FPL Bois (@thefplbois) August 9, 2023
In terms of FPL playing assets worthy of bringing in ahead of Gameweek 1, you could make a case for half of Arsenal’s midfielder. Martin Odegaard (£8.5m), Gabriel Martinelli (£8.0m) and Bukayo Saka (£8.5m) together recorded a combined 612 fantasy points last season, with Martinelli the only player not to gain more than 200 points (he gained 198). Of the three players, Saka is the most popular as it stands with over half of registered FPL managers owning the England international. From a defensive point of view, both Ben White (£5.5m) and Gabriel (£5.0m) stand out, the latter a huge aerial threat from set pieces. Then you've got new big money midfield signing Declan Rice (£5.5m) to consider, although his appeal from a purely FPL standpoint isn't as high.
MISERY LOVES KOMPANY!
We saw something special in the 2022-23 Championship season in the form of relegated Burnley. Under a new manager in Vincent Kompany, the former Man City legend totally transformed the Clarets with the help of some wonderful recruitment. A tremendous, refreshing style of football not seen before at Turf Moor and combined with a will to win at all costs, Burnley bounced straight back up to the Premier League as champions. However, now the real challenge begins and Kompany’s men could not have been dealt with a tougher start as Premier League champions and treble winners Man City visit Turf Moor.
This isn’t the first time that Kompany and Burnley have locked horns with Man City, Pep Guardiola’s side having knocked them out of the FA Cup last season, demolishing them 6-0. Erling Haaland (£14.0m) scored a hat-trick in that game and you can be rest assured that he’ll be out to cause the Clarets more pain here. FPL managers are spoiled for choice in regards to which Man City players to choose from with Kevin De Bruyne (£10.5m), Phil Foden (£7.5m) and even John Stones (£5.5m) all staking a claim.