The OfficialFPL game opened last week, and I’ve tried my best to not keep altering my team everyday since. However, having seen numerous drafts on Youtube, Twitter and Discord, it’s pretty hard not to overthink and alter your team right?

I always ask myself ”Is there a correct strategy for going into a new season?”
– Do we choose players who did well last season and then scout for players who are on form going forward?
– Do we pick players based solely on their gameweek 1 fixture?
– Do we pick a team based on their first couple of fixtures?
I think the answer is yes to all, but your decision depends on which strategy you feel most comfortable and confident with.

The consensus will be that Liverpool assets will be highly owned from gameweek 1 throughout the season, and why shouldn’t they be? Mo Salah (£12m) and Sadio Mane (£12m) will be amongst the highest owned players throughout the entire season, however most teams will only own one of them, I don’t see many teams going with both. I think teams will favour the Liverpool defence more. Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) was the highest scoring defender last season, known for his assists and set piece ability. Andy Robertson (£7m) and Virgil Van Dijk (£6.5m) finished the season 2nd and 3rd highest in points from defenders.

Man United and Man City having blank gameweeks throws a spanner in the works for every manager who wanted them in.
Is it possible to pick a team that is good enough gameweek 1 to get you points, and then will you be able to make the relevant transfers easy enough to get United and City players in your team for gameweek 2 and 3 etc?
– Do you pick a team with players at the same price points as the United & City players you want in, so the transfer is easy?
– Do you keep money in the bank to make future transfers easier?
– Do you get Man United and Man City players in gameweek 1, bench them, and put them in your team gameweek 2? This option will avoid the early wildcard and minus points hits, but it also makes your team less strong and runs a risk of your gameweek points total being lower than other teams so you’re already playing catch up.
– Do you use an early wildcard to set your team up after gameweek 1 or 2?

I personally believe that if you can hold off using an early wildcard, then you will be in a better position going forward than what early wildcard uses will have. Keep in mind that the Premier League transfer window (for international purchases) closes on the 5th of October and the domestic transfer window closes on October the 16th (which will both be before the start of gameweek 5)
I don’t think taking a possible -4 or -8 during gameweek 2 or 3 is a bad idea, especially with it being this early in the season and having plenty of time to make those points up. Just think of the players you’ll be getting in and their points total come the end of the season.

Another question is, beyond gameweek 1, how far into the season do you dare go without owning one player from either team, or a player from both? The most obvious picks would be Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5m), Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) and Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) as the premium options. A possible £22.5 million tied up in 2 premium players? Would it be a better strategy to maybe have cheaper options and spread the spare money further around your team?
For example, you’d have more money to spend elsewhere if you opted for players like Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) and Phil Foden (£6.5m) from Man City, or Mason Greenwood (£7.5m) and Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) from Man United as your midfield options, and for striker options you have Anthony Martial (£9m) from Man United, and not forgetting Sergio Aguero who is priced at £10.5m which is the lowest starting price he’s been since he’s been in the Premier League.

On a side note: Both Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford have been changed to Midfielders for the 2020/21 season as opposed to Strikers last season, and Anthony Martial made the switch in the opposite way, from a Midfielder to a Striker.

As for the other 2 teams who blank:
Burnley have a few options to consider, maybe a Nick Pope (£5.5m) & Bailey Peacock-Farrell (£4m) goalie tandem which will cover Burnley. James Tarkowski (£5.5m), Ben Mee (£5m) and Charlie Taylor as defensive options, and Chris Wood (£6m) as a potential striker option.
Aston Villas options however, may be less appealing to managers, especially when they blank gameweek 1. Jack Grealish (£7m) lead the team in points last season with 149, and was by far their stand out player. He ranked 10th in all midfielders in points. With the recent news that number one goalie Tom Heaton (£4.5m) could miss the start of the season, this means that there is a chance that either Ørjan Nyland (£4m) or Jed Steer (£4m) will start in goal until Tom Heaton is fit. A playing budget goalie for a team that only has 3 red fixtures in their opening 14 games of the season.

Another choice is do you go with a set and forget Premium goalie? Or do you pick 2 goalies to keep rotating?
The only trouble I’ve found with the 2 rotating goalies is I ALWAYS seem to start the goalie who got the least amount of points in that particular gameweek, a set and forget goalie takes this decision out your hands and with the goalie been a premium, theres a lot more chance of clean sheets, but they wont get as many save points.

Another question I keep being asked is would I pick players who are new to the premier league? For example, Timo Werner (£9.5m), and Hakim Ziyech (£8m) at Chelsea, Ferran Torres (£7m) at Man City and the newly promoted teams. My answer is yes I would be willing to take a chance/punt on them, especially if they are proven elsewhere.
Timo Werner has scored 78 goals and got 27 assists in 127 games for RP Leipzig in the Bundesliga over the past 4 seasons, as well as 11 goals in 29 games for the German national team.
Hakim Ziyech impressed for Ajax and has scored 38 goals and got 51 assists in 112 games in the Eridivisie over the past 4 seasons as a Midfielder, and was a huge part of Ajax’s Champions League run in 2018/19. He has also scored 14 goals in 32 games over the past 5 years for the Morocco National Team.
Ferran Torres has scored 6 goals and got 7 assists in 71 games for Valencia in La Liga, but keep in mind he’s still only 20 years old.

I’m a bit conscious of the promoted teams though as last season they were the better teams in the league, this year they will be underdogs, so will their performances from the Championship carry over to the Premier League?

Stand out potential players for me are:
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6m) Striker from Fulham, (26 goals and 3 assists in the Championship last season)
Luke Ayling (£4.5m) Defender from Leeds, (4 goals, 4 assists and 22 clean sheets in the Championship last season)
Stuart Dallas (£4.5m) Defender from Leeds, (5 goals, 3 assists and 22 clean sheets in the Championship last season)
Matheus Pereira (£6m) Midfielder from West Brom, (8 goals and 16 assists in the Championship last season)

Keep an eye on Twitter and club news for any potential signings in and out, as well as pre season line ups. You need to remember that all your players need to get through pre season and the Internationals unscathed, so this could also alter strategies.