Premier League football returns over the weekend and it’s that time of the week when fantasy managers dive deep to pick their best team in a bid to score as many points as possible in the Fantasy Premier League.

Gameweek 1 of England’s top division features some mouth-watering clashes in the offering. It starts with Arsenal’s away trip to Brentford followed by Manchester United playing host to rivals Leeds United at Old Trafford.

Considering the fixtures we have in front of us and the kind of pre-season that the teams have had, the opening Gameweek can be a little tricky to navigate, to say the least. However, Gameweek 1 offers everyone a chance to pick long-term options with a strong base in mind and here we look at some key players you can consider for your Fantasy Premier League team.

Fixtures to target:

Manchester United vs Leeds United: Manchester United thrashed Leeds United 6-2 the last time these two teams met at Old Trafford. With the Red Devils signing off their pre-season camp on a high, one can pick a player or two from the team in red. Luke Shaw remains the most-picked player in FPL and Bruno Fernandes can be a valuable asset too.

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Fresh from their UEFA Super Cup triumph, Chelsea will aim to start on a high and a game against London rivals Crystal Palace looks like a nice start on paper. Left-back Ben Chilwell, for that matter, can be a handy option.

Norwich City vs Liverpool: If Liverpool play their cards right, it could be an absolute goal-fest. Forward Roberto Firmino has been brilliant in pre-season, but a certain Mohamed Salah remains the pick of the week.

Everton vs Southampton: Everton may have lost manager Carlo Ancelotti to Real Madrid, but they have enough flair to beat Southampton. With Richarlison and Dominic Calvert Lewin leading the line, expect the Toffees to be the favourites.

Must have players for Fantasy Premier League:

Mohamed Salah: At £12.5 Salah may be an expensive choice, but he remains a must-have player. With Norwich City on the other side, Liverpool are outright favourites for a win and Salah could play a telling role in the contest.

Bruno Fernandes: If Manchester United are to come out with three points, Bruno Fernandes will need to deliver. It’s as simple as that. Leeds might force the Portuguese with heavy pressing, but he knows his way out. Expect him to play a crucial role in the match.

Danny Ings: New Aston Villa signing Danny Ings will hope to continue his scoring form from his time at Southampton. He will face newly-promoted Watford and Ings will be looking to start life at Villa with a bang.

Kieron Tierney: Arsenal face Brentford in their opening Premier League match and while their attacking unit remains inconsistent, Kieron Tierney could be a solid option. His crosses and a potential clean sheet would be a boost for your team.

Underrated options to consider

Kelechi Iheanacho: While Jamie Vardy remains Leicester’s main man, Kelechi Iheanacho should be considered as well. The former Manchester City forward was excellent last season and will look to kick on again in the upcoming campaign. He scored the only goal in Leicester’s win over Man City in the Community Shield.

Callum Wilson: Newcastle United forward Callum Wilson is another forward to consider. At £7.5m, he remains an absolute bargain and an opening match against West Ham United could be perfect for him to find the back of the net. 

Kostas Tsimikas: With Andy Robertson out, Kostas Tsimikas will be Liverpool’s first-choice left-back. At £4.0m, he is an absolute bargain and an easy fixture in Gameweek 1 is just another bonus.

Captaincy option for Fantasy Premier League

Mohamed Salah. That’s it.

The Egyptian forward started the previous season with a hat-trick on the opening day and could repeat the feat on Saturday. He has, in fact, scored in the opening fixture in four seasons. Liverpool have the easiest of fixtures compared to any other team, and players from Jurgen Klopp’s team can be banked on.

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Featured photo: AFP / Phil Noble