It only feels like a couple of weeks ago that the 2020-21 Premier League season finished; however the new campaign is upon us already.
The season opens with Brentford’s home fixture with Arsenal, meaning a 18:30 Friday night deadline to get your Fantasy Premier League sides complete.
Here is a look at the best picks for GW1!
Brentford vs. Arsenal: Ivan Toney
Brentford’s first ever Premier League match is the season opener at home to an Arsenal side who failed to qualify for European football last term.
Arsenal will be favourites; however Brentford have enjoyed a good pre-season and will be looking to the goals of Ivan Toney to keep them in the top flight.
Toney is a very cheap forward option and is in as many as 30.5% of teams going into the season.
Manchester United vs. Leeds United: Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes was the highest scoring player in the 2020-21 season with an incredible 244 points.
In the meeting last year, Manchester United thrashed Leeds United 6-2, with Fernandes returning 17 points through two goals and an assist.
Leeds improved defensively in the second half of the Premier League campaign; however have had a frustrating pre-season and open up with one of the harder fixtures.
Mason Greenwood represents a very good alternative if you don’t want to spend 12.0
Burnley vs. Brighton: Robert Sanchez
On paper Burnley Brighton is a strong contender for the lowest scoring game of the opening weekend.
Robert Sanchez ousted Mat Ryan as Brighton’s number one last term and his form even earned a surprise Spanish call-up for Euro 2020.
At 4.5 he is one of the cheaper starting goalkeepers in FPL this season and he could well be excellent value.
Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace: Kai Havertz
With Chelsea’s English contingent unlikely to start in the opening game, the appeal is elsewhere in Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Hakim Ziyech went off injured in the Super Cup Final and big question marks remain over Timo Werner, meaning his German national team mate Kai Havertz is best placed for the visit of Crystal Palace.
Havertz ended the 2020-21 season in brilliant form, scoring the winner in the Champions League final.
At 8.5 he is cheaper than the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Heung Min Son and could produce similar returns in his second season with the Blues.
Everton vs. Southampton: Lucas Digne
Fans of Everton and Southampton are likely to be pessimistic going into the new campaign after frustrating pre-seasons.
Everton will be favourites for this one though and the stand out pick is French defender Lucas Digne.
At 5.5 he is priced slightly below some of the high profile defenders and most of them won’t be on as many set pieces as Digne.
In a home game against a Danny Ings less Southampton side, Everton will be expecting to keep a clean sheet and therefore a minimum of six points for Digne.
Leicester City vs. Wolves: Harvey Barnes
Leicester City were again denied a Champions League spot on the final day of the Premier League season; however they will be favourites of FPL managers once again.
Harvey Barnes’ 2020-21 campaign was curtailed due to injury, but he returned in pre-season and was a regular for the Foxes.
Priced at 7.0 he is a very good third or even fourth midfield choice option and a home game against Wolves is a favourable start.
Watford vs. Aston Villa: Emiliano Buendia
Few have been as active in the transfer window as both Watford and Aston Villa and the pair meet on the opening day.
Emiliano Buendia will likely be one of the signings of the season and should he shake off a minor injury then he will be an excellent FPL pick here.
Watford were good defensively in the Championship last term; however it’s a big step up to the top flight and Villa are expected to be one of the stronger teams.
Ings is another good Villa option and he is likely to debut here for the visitors.
Norwich City vs. Liverpool: Mohamed Salah
Norwich City’s return to the top flight couldn’t be much harder as they host a Liverpool side that ended the previous campaign in superb form.
Salah was the second highest midfielder in the game last year and has an incredible record on the opening day of Premier League seasons.
Salah scored a hat-trick against newly promoted Leeds last term and few would bet against a huge haul here for the Egyptian international.
Liverpool have numerous good FPL options for the opening, including the likes of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Newcastle United vs. West Ham United: Callum Wilson
In one of the tougher games to call this opening weekend, West Ham United travel to face Newcastle United.
Both teams have been surprisingly quiet in the transfer window, as both look to try to make deals for excellent loanees permanent.
Callum Wilson has a very good record against West Ham United, scoring eight goals in just 10 matches.
Tottenham vs. Manchester City: Riyad Mahrez
The final game of the opening weekend is also the pick of the round as Tottenham entertain champions Manchester City.
Spurs have had a troubled pre-season with the future of key man Harry Kane still uncertain.
Manchester City are big favourites, despite the fact a good amount of their squad went deep in the Euros, meaning they haven’t had a full pre-season.
One player who has though is Riyad Mahrez and he has seven goal involvements in 10 games against Spurs.
Ferran Torres at 7.0 could also be an excellent pick, with the Spaniard likely to be playing out of position in a false nine role.
GW1 Dream Team: Sanchez; Digne, Alexander-Arnold, Rudiger; Havertz, Salah, Fernandes, Buendia, Greenwood; Toney, Wilson