As the Fantasy Premier League season gets underway, Neil Monnery looks at the best week one picks along with some of the best prices on Betfair...
"This is season two of the Guardiola era on the blue side of Manchester and I'm expecting great things going forward. The problem is getting inside the mind of the manager and working out who he's going to play."
Five to like
Cesc Fabregas - £7.0m. With Nemanja Matic having left the club and seemingly his direct replacement Tiemoué Bakayoko still nursing a knee injury, it looks highly likely that Spanish international midfielder will get at least a short run in the team. Last season despite very limited playing time, the two-time Premier League champion put up five goals and 15 assists. It is Burnley at home for the defending Champs on Saturday and that looks an ideal run out for the 30 year-old.
Manchester City midfielders and attackers - various. Brighton away on Saturday teatime for Pep's lot and if you can pick the right midfielders to play, they should reward you with a very good outing. This is season two of the Guardiola era on the blue side of Manchester and I'm expecting great things going forward. The problem is getting inside the mind of the manager and working out who he's going to play. I love Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) this season and all the hints point to Bernando Silva (£8.0m) getting a starting spot. Both look like week one plays.
Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini - £6.5m and £7.0m. I read that Southampton in pre-season have been adopting a more attacking formation than last year with two up top. If that is the way forward under new boss Mauricio Pellegrino then both of these players should be on the radar for the third choice striking position. Austin's pedigree when fit had been clear for all to see. Gabbiadini took to the English game like a duck to water after his January move. With Swansea at home this weekend, I like these two to provide good value.
Gabbiadini is currently trading at [4.9] with Austin [5.4] in the FGS market on the Exchange
Jermain Defoe - £8.0m. The only question for me here was fitness. The England international felt some discomfort in his right groin after the pre-season friendly with Valencia. Yet boss Eddie Howe says he expects the 34 year-old to make his second Bournemouth debut away at West Brom on Saturday and that looks like a great match-up for the free transfer. One small caveat, he hasn't scored against the Baggies since bagging one at home and away during the 11/12 season, I just think that means he's due.
Rob Holding - £5.0m. Anytime you can get a defender who plays for a top club at a relatively cheap price for the position, you have to give it a good look. Holding looks set to occupy one of the back three slots for Arsenal going into the season and is priced up cheaper than Kolasinac (£6.0m) and Monreal (£5.5m). Leicester at home in the Friday night game offers a good chance to keep a clean sheet.
No in the Both Teams to Score market is currently trading at [2.12] on the Exchange.
Five to dislike
Paul Pogba - £8.0m. I know Tuesday night was Real Madrid and West Ham aren't exactly in the same league as the two-time Champions League winners, yet seeing Paul Pogba still play so deep has me more than a tad concerned. At the start of the week, the Frenchman was in my starting XI but I think I'm going to put that on ice to see how United setup in the league. Last season was a disappointment for Pogba fantasy owners, I think he needs to prove his worth before he can get the benefit of the doubt.
Philippe Coutinho - £9.0m. This has nothing to do with his match-up or his form but where his head might be. I'm always wary of selecting a player who might want to be somewhere else. We all saw how Riyad Mahrez played last season for example. The 25 year-old has acted extremely professionally but there is always that doubt that the Barcelona talk will unsettle him. An early kick-off at Watford gives him the opportunity to show the powers that be at the Camp Nou to get out their chequebooks but it is a risky fantasy pick.
If you think I'm wrong and like the risk, he's currently [3.4] to score at anytime at Watford on the Exchange
Alvaro Morata - £10.0m. The Spaniard looks likely to make his Premier League debut on Saturday afternoon and going up against a tough hard-nosed Burnley outfit will show us a lot about the makeup of the £60m summer signing. I was deeply underwhelmed with his Community Shield cameo and he doesn't have a lot of trust in the bank. For such a large price, you should look to other big name strikers until he proves he can handle English football.
Javier Hernández - £7.0m. Part of me wants to like the West Ham striker this week just for the nostalgic pick of scoring against his old team. At the time of writing 21.7% of players think he's their man for a week one match-up at Old Trafford. I'm just not loving it though. What we saw last season was a strong if ultimately frustrating Manchester United side and until I see any different, I suspect they'll be similar this time around. I would not be surprised at all with a dull 1-0 home win.
A 1-0 home win is currently trading at [7.4] on the Exchange.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - £8.5m. The Icelandic international is a fantasy superstar but is not expected to be part of the Swansea team when they travel to St. Mary's on Saturday. The Everton move has still not been sealed so until he gets his transfer done, don't expect to see him on the field of play. At £8.5m, you can't throw that money away and wait for him to start games.
For week one I'd go with Gabriel Jesus. I concede it is a bit of a punt but I'm excited to see how this new look Manchester City side fares. Brighton's first game in the Premier League will not be easy but with a strong crowd behind them, it could mean they'll take a few too many chances. I like City to score multiple times and therefore their striker looks a good captain's pick.
Remember the deadline to submit your teams for GW1 is 18:45 on Friday