As the countdown towards the 2022-23 campaign continues to tick away, Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers are thoughtfully tinkering their 15-man squads in a bid to unearth the perfect team.
With hundreds of players to select and endless combinations to chew over, deciding on a final 15 can be tricky business in the build-up to a season.
Crystal Palace host Arsenal in just under three weeks and Premier League managers are in the process of putting their squads through the paces, trying out new tactics and embedding new signings.
Finding the right balance between the new-kids-on-the-block and the tried-and-tested can cause a headache - but deciding on your preferred premium players in each position is often a good place to start.
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So we've identified the 25 players you need to consider ahead of the GW1 deadline and use to structure the core of your squad.
Mohamed Salah - £13.0m
The Egyptian underwent a price hike this season but with good reason. As one of the most reliable assets the game has ever seen, Salah topped the FPL scoring charts once again with 265 points in 2021-22.
Following five successive 200-point seasons, the Anfield ace provides a reliable captaincy option most weeks and will be raring to go after his new £400,000-a-week Liverpool contract.
Son Heung-min - £12.0m
With 23 goals and 18 assists last campaign, the Spurs winger enjoyed his best season yet in south London and has come in at a pricey £12m. However, the Korean is more than worth the money.
Unlike most Man City and Liverpool attackers, Son is almost guaranteed 90 minutes when fit and finished last season with the Premier League Golden Boot alongside Salah with 23 goals.
Erling Haaland – £11.5m
Having topped the scoring charts in every season since 2017-18, Man City are statistically the best attack in the league and now have a recognised striker to aim for in Haaland.
Choosing an unproved Premier League player can be risky business in FPL, but the Norwegian’s record of 85 goals in 88 appearances at Borussia Dortmund speaks for itself. He is likely to provide better value than Kevin de Bruyne at £12m, especially if he becomes the designated penalty-taker.
Haaland missed a great opportunity in the Community Shield against Liverpool but once he scores one, you can bet he won't stop.
Harry Kane - £11.5m
Despite wanting to leave Spurs last summer, Kane returned as the highest scoring forward in 2021-22 with 192 points, 17 goals and 11 assists.
Fully focused on life at Tottenham ahead of Antonio Conte’s first full season in charge, the England captain provides a reliable alternative to Haaland at the same £11.5m price bracket.
Raheem Sterling - £10.0m
After completing his move to Chelsea, Sterling could re-enter FPL managers’ thoughts this season, as he will likely see a healthy increase in his game-time under Thomas Tuchel.
The winger has averaged 16 goals and 11 assists since 2017-18 and finished last season as the third-highest Man City scorer in FPL behind Joao Cancelo and De Bruyne.
Bruno Fernandes - £10.0m
Fernandes’ 151-point return fell well short of his scintillating 244-point haul in 2020-21, but the Portuguese star has proven he has the talent to excel as an FPL option given the circumstances.
In FPL terms, the midfielder suffered from Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford last summer, as he was no longer the primary attacking option at Man United and had to share penalty duties with his compatriot. Should Ronaldo leave Manchester before next season, Fernandes is certainly worth consideration.
Jamie Vardy - £9.5m
Fitting in three premium assets worth £10m or above could be detrimental to overall squad balance, but Vardy’s price tag of £9.5m makes the Leicester forward affordable enough to consider.
The Foxes star always starts Premier League campaigns well, scoring seven in eight games at the start of 2021-22 and eight in eight at the start of 2020-21.
Bukayo Saka - £8.0m
Saka enjoyed his best season to date last campaign, netting 11 and assisting nine whilst emerging as Mikel Arteta’s main man at the Emirates.
The 20-year-old has been gifted a kind run to start the season, facing Crystal Palace, Leicester, Bournemouth and Fulham in the opening four fixtures.
Luis Diaz - £8.0m
Following Sadio Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich, Diaz is expected to feature on the left for Liverpool after a scintillating start to his Anfield career since January.
Although Diogo Jota and new signing Darwin Nunez will provide competition for his place, the Colombian impressed with four goals and three assists in 13 appearances and should start the season.
Phil Foden - £8.0m
With Gabriel Jesus having already exited to Arsenal and Sterling seemingly on his way to Chelsea, Foden is likely to welcome a boost in game time next season.
FPL managers should be wary of ‘Pep Roulette’ however – it seems only De Bruyne is safe from rotation amongst Man City midfielders.
Mason Mount - £8.0m
A regular and reliable asset at Stamford Bridge last campaign, Mount produced 11 goals and 11 assists to produce a career best return of 169 points.
Having reassured Tuchel of his importance in the team, the England international should remain a mainstay next campaign, even if Sterling and Ronaldo arrived in west London.
James Maddison - £8.0m
Although Leicester struggled to get going last season, Maddison delivered with consistency and quashed the ‘injury-prone’ moniker, providing 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 league appearances.
Yet to convince Gareth Southgate of including him in the England squad, the Leicester midfielder will continue to fight for his place ahead of the World Cup in November.
Gabriel Jesus - £8.0m
Coming in at a reasonably priced £8.0m, Jesus looks a shrewd pick in attack having moved to Arsenal for £45m from Man City.
The Brazilian scored a brace on his non-competitive debut for the Gunners and looks set to lead the line for Arsenal, following his tally of eight goals and nine assists at the Etihad last season.
Jesus impressed hugely in pre-season and is the most selected player so far.
Kai Havertz - £8.0m
After Romelu Lukaku’s return to Inter on loan, Havertz is now the main central striker at Chelsea and has thus been repositioned by FPL as a forward.
The German international was favoured by Tuchel in most matches last campaign and is likely to continue up front next season - unless Chelsea empty their pockets on a star forward to replace him.
Trent Alexander-Arnold - £7.5m
Arguably the best value pick in the game, Alexander-Arnold scored over 160 for a fourth successive season, racking up 208 points to top the charts amongst defenders.
By providing consistent assists and clean sheets – and chipping in with the odd goal as well – the Liverpool right-back has become one of the greatest ever defenders in FPL history and must be in firmly in managers’ thoughts ahead of GW1.
Callum Wilson - £7.5m
A proven Premier League scorer at a wealthy and ambitious club, Wilson provides an excellent alternative to Jesus or Havertz at £7.5m, with favourable fixtures against Nottingham Forest and Brighton to kick off the campaign.
Although injury blighted last season yet again, the English forward averaged a goal every other game in 2021-22, netting eight times in 16 starts.
Andrew Robertson - £7.0m
The Liverpool left-back produced his highest goal tally (3) and second highest FPL points total (186) last season, providing excellent value at £7.0m in defence.
Jurgen Klopp’s side finished last season with the fewest goals conceded alongside Man City, and FPL managers can bank on Robertson to play every possible minute when available.
Joao Cancelo - £7.0m
The £7.0m defender enjoyed his best ever season in a Man City shirt last campaign, notching 201 points with a goal and 11 FPL assists.
Cancelo played a reliable 36 out of 38 matches under Guardiola and heads into the 2022-23 season as one of the first names on the Man City teamsheet.
Marcus Rashford - £6.5m
Despite an underwhelming and difficult season in 2021-22, Rashford should be considered by FPL managers at the low price of £6.5m.
The England international scored more than 170 points in the two seasons prior, and new boss Erik ten Hag will be itching to help Rashford rediscover his form in pre-season.
Reece James - £6.0m
The England international has prospered as a wing-back in Tuchel’s back five defensive shape, ranking among the top defenders for attacking output.
James only made 22 starts last season due to fitness and injury concerns, but his statistics rival the likes of Alexander-Arnold and Robertson when given the game time.
Ben Chilwell - £6.0m
Despite missing most of the season with an unfortunate ACL injury, Chilwell notched an impressive three goals and one assist in six starts.
Having returned to full fitness, the wing-back could offer incredible value should he continue where he left off, especially if Chelsea target the left-flank more regularly in attack to aid expected new recruit Sterling.
Aymeric Laporte - £6.0m
Man City boasted the best defence statistically last season, finishing top for clean sheets (21), goals conceded (26) and xGC (29.5).
Whilst Laporte does not offer the same attacking output as Cancelo, the centre-back still managed to score four and assist three in 2021-22 and could be worth the extra £1.0m saved.
Laporte is set to miss the start of the season through injury, so hold your horses on putting him in just yet but as soon as he becomes an option, he'll be a good one.
Ivan Perisic - £5.5m
Tottenham’s new arrival bagged four goals and five assists under Conte at Inter Milan in 2020-21 and followed up his good form with 15 goal contributions from defence last season.
At an affordable £5.5m, the defender has the potential to return clean sheets, goals and assists consistently in FPL, under a manager who is known for keeping things tight at the back.
Ederson - £5.5m
For many seasons, premium goalkeepers have been considered a luxury – due to their lofty price tags – but FPL has slashed the prices this season to give managers something to chew over between the sticks.
Ederson is virtually rotation-proof and has averaged over 150 points every season since arriving at the Etihad. At £5.5m, the Brazilian is certainly worth a consideration.
Edouard Mendy - £5.0m
Chelsea were the third best defence last season, keeping 16 clean sheets, conceding 33 goals and posting an xGC of just 39.4.
At £5.0m, Mendy provides an inexpensive avenue into the Chelsea defence and could be well worth the extra £0.5m over a £4.5m goalkeeper such as Robert Sanchez or Illan Meslier.
Aleksandar Mitrovic - £6.5m
The Fulham centre forward absolutely destroyed the Championship record for most goals in a single campaign last season and will be the focal point of attack for his side once again.
Fulham have made some encouraging signings this summer but as Premier League new boys, you may want to wait to see if Mitrovic will settle in well to life in the top division.
His previous four seasons in the Premier League have only seen him break the 10 goal barrier once, but if he does get going he might well be unstoppable.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Fantasy Football, Fantasy Premier League, Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, Son Heung Min