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EPL GW-1 Pre-Deadline Chat

With less than 24 hours to go until the campaign kicks off, let’s run the rule over the opening weekend’s fixtures and sift through the latest team news.

Leicester City v Bengaluru FC - Next Gen Cup 2022 Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images

It’s time to pull up a chair for our first Pre-Deadline Chat of the new EPL campaign! I’ll be attempting to provide you a week 1 roundup of injuries and early team news so that if you start an absentee or captain the wrong player, you won’t be able to come crawling to us saying we didn't warn you. (Or maybe you will, but I’ve got broad shoulders!)

Please be advised all times and dates are GMT.

Arsenal Press Conference Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images


Crystal Palace 20:00 Arsenal

Crystal Palace:

  • Confirmed Injuries: Matthews.
  • Doubts: Butland, Johnstone, McArthur and Olise.
  • Potential Line-Up: Guaita, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze, Ayew, Mateta, Zaha.

Not a great deal of news here early doors for Crystal Palace. Star man Wilfred Zaha is expected to be fit and firing ahead of the new season. Elsewhere we look to be on course for a predictable lineup, except perhaps up front where Mateta and Edouard will jostle for a starting berth. Vieira had Palace playing some great football at times last year and I expect to see a continuation of that into the new season. The Eagles won’t be a pushover for anyone.


  • Confirmed Injuries: Tavares
  • Doubts: Tierney, Vieira, Smith-Rowe, Tomiyasu
  • Potential Line-Up: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus

There are a few really fun-looking FPL choices at Arsenal. Zinchenko, Saka, Martinelli and Jesus will all undoubtedly get a lot of managers salivating at the prospect. Expect an even stronger Arsenal for the new year, but do they have what it takes to get back into that top four?

Note: This is the first match of the gameweek, so confirmed lineups should be available before the Fantrax transfer window closes. Be sure to tune in here during the countdown hour so that you can see those team sheets and pick from among the starters.

Newcastle United v Athletic Bilbao - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images


Fulham 12:30 Liverpool


  • Confirmed Injuries: n/a
  • Doubts:Bryan, Chalobah, Wilson,
  • Potential Line-Up: Rodak, Robinson, Adarabioyo, Ream, Tete, Reed, Palhinha, Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Kebano, Mitrovic

I expect to see a lot of FPL managers plump for Mitrovic as third striker option and Pereira as a good money-saving midfield enabler. I would expect both to start gameweek one, and promoted teams always tend to surprise us at the start of a new season, don’t they?


  • Confirmed Injuries: Davies, Kelleher, Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Rhys Williams
  • Doubts: Jones, Konate, Jota, Alisson, Tsimikas, Keita
  • Potential Line-Up: Alisson, Robertson, Matip, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Diaz, Salah, Firmino

There are two big questions for Liverpool and FPL fans everywhere. Will Alisson be fit in time to play, as is increasingly looking likely, and who will get the nod up front? In the Community Shield last week, Firmino started with Darwin Nunez coming in off the bench to score the final goal in the 94th minute. Although the new-boy netted in that match and looked sharp, it seems likely that Klopp will again choose to start the veteran Firmino, easing in Nunez after the half.


AFC Bournemouth 15:00 Aston Villa


  • Confirmed Injuries: Rothwell, Brooks
  • Doubts: Fredericks
  • Potential Line-Up: Travers, Hill, Mepham, Kelly, Smith, Lerma, Cook, Zemura, Christie, Solanke, Anthony

Scott Parker has indicated that he may be playing a 4-3-3 formation, but since his preferred setup is a 3-4-3, that is they I’ve laid out my predicted lineup. Solanke will likely be the main goal threat but it’s hard to see a ton of points coming from anywhere else. I don’t believe there will be too many Bournemouth players in my team this season.

Aston Villa:

  • Confirmed Injuries: Hause
  • Doubts:
  • Potential Line-Up: Martinez, Cash, Ngoyo, Diego Carlos, Digne, Kamara, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Bailey, Coutinho, Watkins.

Here we have another question mark regarding formation. Gerrard has often gone for the 4-3-1-2 formation, but ditched that in the last friendly against Rennes for a 4-3-3. There are some exciting options in the Aston Villa line-up with Watkins, Coutinho, Bailey, Digne, Douglas Luiz, and Cash all promising some potentially hefty returns. My only caveat: Villa is playing a newly promoted side. Never under estimate the power of a newly-promoted side, especially in GW-1.


Leeds United 15:00 Wolverhampton Wanderers


  • Confirmed Injuries: Ayling, Dallas, Firpo, Roberts, Shckleton
  • Doubts:
  • Potential Line-Up: Meslier, Kristensen, Koch, Llorente, Struijk, Adams, Roca, Aaronson, Harrison, Rodrigo, Bamford.

Between injuries and suspensions, Leeds doesn’t have a massive amount of depth. They impressed in their last pre-season match with a 6-2 win over Cagliari and as such, I expect much of that same team will start this weekend. Several players offer a good chance to score well too, and at some fairly modest prices. Meslier, Aaronson, Kristensen, Harrison, Rodrigo and Bamford could all do well throughout the season.


  • Confirmed Injuries: Tavares, Raul Jiminez,
  • Doubts: Diarra, Semedo, Sarkic, Gomes, Campbell, Hwang
  • Potential Line-Up: Jose Sa, Coady, Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Gibbs-White, Podence, Neto

Wolves have some good attacking options and they will definitely play good enough football to cause some teams a headache. I expect this match to be wide open and could be a good one to watch. Gibbs-White or Jony could be the dilemma out wide and if Hwang passes a late fitness test, he will also likely cause a selection dilemma for the Wolves manager.


Newcastle United 15:00 Nottingham Forest


  • Confirmed Injuries: Manquillo.
  • Doubts: Shelvey, Fernandez, Lewis
  • Potential Line-Up: Pope, Targett, Schar, Botman, Trippier, Joelinton, Bruno Guimaraes, Willock, Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin

Newcastle pose some really exciting FPL options this year, but they certainly have a few headaches too. Pope or Dubravka, Schar or Burn, Willock or Longstaff, Almiron or Fraser, and that's before any more additional transfers are made. I believe Pope will get the nod, and Schar is the quality option over Burn. Flip a coin between Willock or Longstaff and Almiron has had an amazing pre-season so the options I think do lean a certain way. Throw in Wilson and Bruno plus new-boy Botman and there could be some good FPL options here.


  • Confirmed Injuries: Richards
  • Doubts: Sturridge
  • Potential Line-Up: Henderson, Worrall, Niakhate, McKenna, Williams, O’Brien, Colback, Toffolo, Lingard, Johnson, Awoniyi

A tough call for Forest as they have had such a massive turnover of players. 7 of the 14 players who competed in the playoffs last year have left, most notably with Djed Spence now at Tottenham and captain Lewis Grabban failing to agree a new contract. To try and survive life in the Prem, Forest chairman Evangelos Marinakis made a promise to back manager Steve Cooper and has not disappointed. With over 100 million pounds spent on no less than twelve new players, Forest are an interesting proposition due to the unknown nature of their team ethos and play-style. Lingard, Johnson, Aaronson, and Awoniyi will be additions to a fair few fantasy teams and even though they play my Magpies this week, I’m excited to see what the Foresters bring to the new Premier League season.


Tottenham Hotspur 15:00 Southampton


  • Confirmed Injuries: Richarlison (suspended),
  • Doubts: Skipp, Bissouma, Tanganga
  • Potential Line-Up: Lloris, Dier, Sanchez, Romero, Perisic, Hojberg, Bentacur, Doherty, Kulusevski, Son, Kane.

Tottenham are a team I’m expecting to do really well this year. I like the squad investment, the manager, and the players. But do they have the requisite strength and depth, and can they avoid their tendency to be ‘spursy’ and buckle under pressure? Richarlison is suspended so won’t be able to make his debut in GW-1, but this also means that Kulusevski is a lock. Lenglet or Sanchez will likely battle out for the final spot in the back three. Perisic and Doherty will be the wing backs and Kulu and Son will be the difference-makers to try and feed Harry Kane up top.


  • Confirmed Injuries: Livramento, Walcott
  • Doubts: Tella,
  • Potential Line-Up: Bazunu, Valery, Bella-Kotchap, Salisu, Walker-Pieters, Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Perraud, Aribo, S Armstrong, Adams.

We have some interesting players at Southampton. Signed from Man City, Bazunu looks to be the option between the sticks. There are also some good defenders, creativity in the midfield with Ward-Prowse, and attacking options across the front. Southampton could be a solid outfit this season. The main selection dilemma this weekend is whether Adam Armstrong will start up front instead of Che Adams, but it probably doesn’t really mater much: I think most fantasy managers will be paying more attention to the London outfit in this fixture.


Everton 17:30 Chelsea


  • Confirmed Injuries: Townsend, Coleman, Rondon (Suspension), Calvert-Lewin
  • Doubts: Begovic, Mina, Davies
  • Potential Line-Up: Pickford, Godfrey, Mina, Tarkowski, Patterson, Doucoure, Davies, Mykolenko, Iwobi, Alli, Gordon

Frank Lampard starts the new season by welcoming his former club Chelsea to Goodison Park, and this could be a really challenging one as Everton do have doubts over Mina, Davies and Calvert-Lewin. Calvert-Lewin would be the big update here as rumours are circulating that he could be out for up to 6 weeks. If so, expect changes up top for Everton with Delle Alli possibly in line to start in a false 9 role. If any of the other players do not recover in time to feature, then there could be changes throughout the lineup, and that could spell problems for both Lampard and FPL managers. Everton only avoided relegation last year by a thin margin and didn’t look very comfortable doing it. I expect Tarkowski to start as a new signing and would imagine McNeil will make his debut appearance at some point on Saturday as well.


  • Confirmed Injuries:
  • Doubts: Broja, Barkley, Werner
  • Potential Line-Up: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly, James, Chilwell, Jorginho, Kante, Havertz, Mount, Sterling

Chelsea have had an unbelievably turbulent off-season in 2022. From the recent transfer ban, to new ownership, and some big transfers in and out, Chelsea have frequently been in the headlines. Every time you see a transfer gossip column, Alonso has been linked with a move away, so there is always a risk that Chilwell or Chalobah could threaten that spot. Werner’s future is also in doubt, so it looks unlikely that he will start. With Broja also a doubt through a niggly injury, new signing Sterling may line up in the ‘false 9’ role.

There is however some great news for Chelsea fans in that club captain Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new two-year deal on the eve of the new season and so I expect him to start as a result. There are some good fantasy options here in James, Havertz, and Mount, and I can see Koulibaly doing very well on debut too.

Manchester United v Rayo Vallecano - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images


Leicester City 14:00 Brentford


  • Confirmed Injuries: Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira
  • Doubts: Barnes, Fofana, Perez, Choudhury, Ward
  • Potential Line-Up: Ward, Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Justin, Tielemans, Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Maddison, Vardy, Barnes.

Leicester are the only team at time of writing to not make a major transfer in the summer window. They have also had a lot of players linked with moves away. Tielemans continues to be linked with an exit, Maddison is the subject of bids from Newcastle, and Fofana is rumored to be linked to Chelsea. That makes predicting this line-up difficult. Assuming that they all stay, I believe they all start. Fofana and Evans are a great defensive pairing, Vardy is not getting younger, but still so feisty and sharp, and Barnes, Maddison and Dewsbury-Hall can be counted on for fantasy returns.


  • Confirmed Injuries: Ajer, Sergi Canos, Pinnock
  • Doubts:
  • Potential Line-Up: Raya, Henry, Mee, Jansson, Hickey, Janelt, Norgaard, Jensen, Wissa, Mbeumo, Toney.

At the start of last year, we’d hae thought that anybody who was predicting Brentford to finish as high as they did should get his/her head examined. But the Bees surprised us. But now their brand of football is a bit more well-known and most teams will be ready for them. In response they’ve made some shrewd signings. Lewis-Potter from Hull may start, but I’m thinking Wissa may just keep that spot. The most exciting players for me are Mee and Hickey. Compared to the solid dependable 32 year old experienced center back Mee, Hickey really seems to suit the Thomas Frank full back overload style well. The already experienced 20 year-old left back from Bologna is defensively strong but also capable of creating good attacking options and is a real coup for Brentford. Keep an eye on him; he could be a good pickup for fantasy managers.


Manchester United 14:00 Brighton & Hove Albion

Man Utd:

  • Confirmed Injuries:
  • Doubts: Williams, Sancho, Rebollo, Shaw,
  • Potential Line-Up: De Gea, Malacia, Maguire, Martinez, Dalot, Fred, McTominay, Sancho, Fernandes, Martial, Ronaldo

Will he or wont he? If Ronaldo is fit and ready to go, his £360,000 in weekly wages mean surely has to play, so i’ve selected him here. But he’s missed almost the entire preseason and seems to be clamoring to leave, so I could just as easily see ETH starting Rashford instead. Martial. Sancho, and Rashford all had a wonderful preseason under ten Haag and fantasy managers everywhere will be weighing up the dilemma of whom to plump for. It’s not straight forward at the back either. Malacia or Shaw is a dilemma, and will it be Lindelof or Martinez? I think over time Martinez and Malacia will nail those spots down, but at this stage there are still doubts and uncertainties.


  • Confirmed Injuries: Moder
  • Doubts: MacAllister
  • Potential Line-Up: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk, Webster, March, Gross, MacAllister, Caicedo, Trossard, Mwepu, Welbeck

Graham Potter was the mastermind behind Brighton’s improvement in form last season and the manager really has done a fantastic job. He switched at the end of the year to a 3-5-2 formation and saw results drastically improve. Hopefully Macallister will shake off his injury doubt and pass fit to start the campaign. Trossard scored a hat-trick in pre-season so seems nailed, but the new formation could mean no place for Cucurella or Lamptey in the SXI. It now appears that Cucurella could be on the brink of joining Chelsea instead of the drawn out interest shown by Man City. This should mean that the predicted 3 at the back looks more likely due to less available wing back options for Brighton in this one.


West Ham United 16:30 Manchester City

West Ham:

  • Confirmed Injuries: Aguerd
  • Doubts: Diop
  • Potential Line-Up: Fabianski, Cresswell, Dawson, Zouma, Coufal, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals, Antonio.

Under David Moyes, West Ham play strong football: they score goals and have become difficult to beat. Antonio and Bowen put balls in nets, Lanzini is a source of creativity, and Rice, Soucek and Fornals will do well across the middle of the park. Cresswell and Coufal are good attacking wide defenders and will create chances as well as earn defensive points. City is the obvious favorite here, but it may not be easy for them.

Man City:

  • Confirmed Injuries: Laporte
  • Doubts:
  • Potential Line-Up: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Walker, De Bruyne, Silva, Rodri, Foden, Mahrez, Haaland.

Laporte is injured so I anticipate that Dias and Ake will claim the centre back spots for Pep’s side, although John Stones may have something to say about that. Expect stability with Walker and Cancelo the fullbacks. With so much attacking firepower, Man City will cause nightmares for defenses up and down the country. But as usual, fantasy managers will have to contend with Pep roulette. Will it be Grealish or Mahrez? Ake or Stones? Foden or Alvarez? Rodri or Phillips? The questions are endless and we can only guess at the answers. There is uncertainty around how new-boy Erling Haaland will fit in as well, but unlike some, I'm backing the big Norwegian to show us his star power straight out of the gate


Oh hey — how about joining our mini-leagues? We have them for both Fantrax as well as FPL. You should also check out our GW-1 Fantrax Player Picks and our GW-1 FPL Player Picks. And be sure to follow us at


Sources – FPL-App, Flash Score,,,,,


What players will make your starting line-up? Are you a panic-prior-to-deadline kind of manager? Is there a team that you are looking forward to seeing in action even if it’s not your own? Please log in and tell us in the comments below.