August 10, 2021 11:01 AM
Last modified date: August 13, 2021 3:37 PM
Alex Sarwar

FPL Gameweek 1 – The Fixtures

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Following the conclusion of the 2020-21 Premier League season, the drama and excitement of EURO 2020 over the summer kept us firmly occupied here at TSZ Towers both from a supporter and fantasy perspective. However, as if by magic, the European Championships are over and we are less than a week away from the beginning of not only a new Premier League season, but also a new FPL season. With a new campaign comes the return of all our popular feature articles, as we ensure all our readers are fully clued up as you finalise your squads ahead of Gameweek 1.

Here, we cast our eye across the opening round of Premier League games and analyse the fixtures that appeal most from an FPL point of view as we look to highlight the most attractive assets based on their Gameweek 1 assignment.

GAMEWEEK 1 FIXTURES

Friday 13th August

Brentford vs Arsenal (20:00)

Saturday 14th August

Man Utd vs Leeds (12:30)

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (15:00)

Everton vs Southampton (15:00)

Burnley vs Brighton (15:00)

Leicester vs Wolves (15:00)

Watford vs Aston Villa (15:00)

Norwich vs Liverpool (17:30)

Sunday 15th August

Newcastle vs West Ham (14:00)

Spurs vs Man City (16:30)

GOALS ON THE MENU AT OLD TRAFFORD

The standout fixture on Gameweek 1 sees Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds clash with fierce rivals Man Utd at Old Trafford in what should be a powder keg of an atmosphere. Most importantly though for FPL managers, it is a fixture that should see plenty of goals. Last season, this match saw Man Utd came out 6-2 winners over in a thrilling contest full of chances and it would be no surprise if we see a similar amount of goalscoring opportunities in this one. Leeds of course are embarking on their second season back in the Premier League and their opening league game of the previous campaign should also be in the minds of FPL managers. A fearless exhilarating attacking performance at the home of then Premier League champions Liverpool saw the Whites beaten 4-3, which bodes well for those looking to bring in attacking assets of both Man Utd and Leeds.

Such an enticing fixture is likely to see many FPL managers not only select, but also captain United midfielder Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m). Last season’s top scoring FPL asset in all positions racked up two goals, an assist and 17 fantasy points in last year’s encounter and with set pieces and penalties at his disposal, it would be a big surprise if Fernandes wasn’t to register at least one attacking return here. Forward Edinson Cavani (£8.5m) is expected to lead the line for the Red Devils against a notoriously fragile Leeds backline, whilst highly owned defender Luke Shaw (£5.5m) will be looking to replicate his EURO 2020 attacking returns, this time for the Red Devils. Don’t get forget about Leeds assets though! Patrick Bamford (£8.0m) accrued 17 goals and 11 assists last season, an outstanding effort for a player plying his trade for a newly promoted side and he will be expected to kick on in 2021-22 starting with Gameweek 1. Brazilian Raphinha (£6.5m) was in among the attacking returns at Old Trafford last season for the Whites and as one of the creative hubs within this Leeds side, much is expected of him again here.

EVEN WITHOUT GREALISH, BIG INGS ARE EXPECTED OF VILLA

Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow made is very clear when addressing the supporters on the evening that Jack Grealish’s £100m transfer to Man City was completed, that they had planned for this eventuality and have already moved to replace the midfielder. Those replacements have come in the form of three big money signings, all of whom are expected to light up the world of FPL. Emiliano Buendia (£6.5m) was signed from Norwich on the back of having accumulated 15 goals and 17 assists in the Championship. Winger Leon Bailey (£6.5m) joined from German side Bayer Levekusen having acquired 15 goals and 11 assists in all competitions last season. Most notably however, is the arrival of forward Danny Ings (£8.0m) who when fully fit has proven himself as one of the most attractive FPL prospects in his position, most notably scoring 22 league goals in 2019-20 helping him to an overall FPL score of 198 points.

Newly promoted Watford at Vicarage Road could well turn out to be the perfect fixture for Ings in particular to hit the ground running for his new side, having bagged a brace for previous club Southampton the last time he featured in a Premier League fixture on this ground. Buendia also has a top flight goal away to Watford under his belt and a highly ambitious Aston Villa led by Dean Smith will be looking to make a statement as to their intentions for the coming season. Therefore, FPL managers who own Ings and/or Buendia could well be the ones to benefit, especially when taking into account their two following fixtures vs Newcastle (H) and Brentford (H).

CHELSEA TO CLIP THE EAGLES’ WINGS EARLY ON?

Whilst European champions Chelsea will be in UEFA Super Cup action in the week leading up to Gameweek 1, that doesn’t mean they don’t line up as heavy favourites to dish out an early season beating of Crystal Palace, who will be embarking on their first Premier League fixture under the stewardship of Patrick Viera. The Blues have won their last seven league games vs their local rivals and scored four past them both at Stamford Bridge and Selhurst Park last season. The Eagles have undergone a sizeable turnover in player personnel and it could take a bit of time for them to gel together as a unit, which may not bode well for them here.

With that in mind, both attacking and defensive assets from Chelsea are worth serious consideration, although be sure to take into account their substantially more difficult Gameweek 2 and 3 fixtures on paper against Arsenal (a) and Liverpool (a). As we await striker Romelu Lukaku’s big money transfer from Internazionale to be confirmed, Champions League final hero Kai Havertz (£8.5m) could be the man to provide FPL managers with an ideal start to the season as the German international looks to improve on last season, which saw him accrue just 10 attacking returns in the Premier League. Fellow midfielder Mason Mount (£7.5m) fared better, managing six goals and seven assists with many expecting the England star to shine under Tuchel this season. For those looking at defensive cover on Gameweek 1, full-back Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) offers not only the potential of clean sheet points, but also a significant offensive threat that helped him accumulate the sixth highest FPL score among all defenders last season.

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