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FPL Grind: Salah, Chilwell, Pickford, and the Rollercoaster of GW1

FPL Grind: Salah, Chilwell, Pickford, and the Rollercoaster of GW1

The beginning of every pre-season is the time to be merry for every Fantasy Premier League manager. There are unlimited transfers in play meaning an infinite opportunity to tinker with team drafts.

Information and newer information take precedence in forming narratives and helping in building team structures and template formations.

It almost does not depend on the engagement a person usually provides to FPL per se. An opportunity of bringing in favorite players while transferring them out the next morning without the consequence of a negative four is always fun.

Like everything else in life, there is always a downside to the most enjoyable circumstances and things, and Fantasy Premier League is no exception.

As the season begins there invariably occurs the moment of a player grabbing a brace or scoring a goal while keeping a clean sheet, that same player who was in a draft in mid-July, one month before the whistle on game week one blew.

It becomes time thereafter, for that dreaded sentence, “I had him in one of my drafts.”  So, now with the opening weekend done with, like the movie, Along Came Polly, for FPL managers, continuing the usual old custom, along came regrets.


Arsenal’s Brazilian center-back had a straight run of seventy-two games for the Gunners. It was a surprise even when the pricings of Arsenal assets came out this year that Gabriel was only prized at £5.0m.

He is sure to rise given Arsenal’s fixture at the start, there is a fifteen-pointer lurking within the opening game weeks, these were the usual popular narratives. Indeed, other than Brighton defender Estupinan, it was hard to make an outright case for any other £5.0m defender going into the season.

The official website of Fantasy Premier League was keeping up with the traditions by already starting to crash about an hour or so before the first game week deadline.

FPL managers after months of tinkering had locked in the drafts as final squads for the new season. Targets were being discussed, the usual 10k or 100k the new 10k given the enormity of the size of the game.

Disrupting such discussions news spread some five minutes before the FPL deadline of Gabriel potentially being out.

Those watching the deadline streams or active on Twitter at the time battled against the crashing site to change Gabriel to mostly Saliba. Others not present, or due to website crash missed out on making the change.

Gabriel came on for a pointer and is now linked with a move to Saudi Arabia while Saliba got an assist after a millennium.

Mo Salah and Ben Chilwell:

The template formation this season was not to go with Mo Salah and opt for options like Bruno Fernandes instead. Ben Chilwell was acknowledged as a great asset, but many managers given the fixture had chosen to make him the first sub in their squads.    

To say, the first half an hour or forty minutes will have forced managers with neither Salah nor Chilwell in their teams to hide in the darkest corners of the room biting the largest nail won’t be an exaggeration. The two clubs going toe to toe, threw caution to the wind, opting for, a 4-3 victory margin approach.

Indeed both Salah and Chilwell offered tremendous displays of serious points dodging, with both finding the back of the net, but both the goals got ruled out. Especially, Mo Salah could have come out of Stamford Bridge with a significant haul. He ended up getting subbed with a quarter of the game to go if injury time is to be considered.

Thankfully the duo didn’t return empty-handed with both registering an assist, Liverpool has Bournemouth next, while Chelsea’s fixtures from game week 3 turn incredible. Owners will be hoping they won’t have to tear their hair in regret thinking about what could have been.

Jordan Pickford:

Goalkeepers are predominantly the most set-and-forget options both in real life and in the dimensions of Fantasy Premier League. This season from that perspective was an anomaly. Much was pondered surreptitiously about the men between the sticks.

Pickford, along with Johnstone, and Onana were all plausible options while Leno got largely ignored for some reason by the popularity of the template.

Roll into game week one and many managers had trusted Pickford given the kind of fixtures Everton starts the season with. Onana, thanks to a dubious not given penalty decision against Manchester United ended with a nine pointer, Leno acquired a massive twelve points, while Johnstone kept a clean sheet.

Everton’s match against Fulham was a showcase of attacking prowess for the Toffees. If only they had anyone but Maupay to finish the chances. Everton completed the match with a 3.0 xG, losing 1-0 to Fulham. Given the high scores, Pickford might be the only player not to have returned this week in many teams.

John Stones: 

Stones’ newfound position in the middle of the park had caught the attention of many Fantasy managers. At £5.5m with hopeful some attacking outputs, playing for Manchester City, along with the fixtures at the start, he became a no-brainer.

There will be FPL managers thanking the heavens that City had the opening fixture in game week one. Along with Gabriel’s debacle Stones’ absence could have meant a first-day disaster. Thankfully leaks came out, Stones was not in the starting eleven. Pep is laughing again at Fantasy managers.