August 13 will see the highly anticipated return of the most watched league in the world – the English Premier League.
Under the Friday night floodlights, Sky Sports will screen the Premier League opener as new boys Brentford take on Mikel Arteta’s star studded Arsenal side at the Community Stadium.
A summer of elite level football saw a pulsating Euro 2020 quickly followed by Team GB and others taking part in the Tokyo Olympics this month. However, footy fans can not wait to welcome back the grind of league football – especially with fans finally returning to the terraces after such a long time away.
A new season would not be complete with a Fantasy Premier League though, would it? Oh yes, you may have failed horrendously last year and been the butt of the household jokes, but you’ve got another chance to claim the household bragging rights this year as fans across the country jump head first into another fantasy league campaign.
Now is your time to make the comeback and show those closest to you that, when it comes to football.
How do I play?
That’s the easy part. Firstly, you’ll need to log in and register via the Fantasy Premier League website, from there you can pick and manage your own dream team throughout the season, and you’ll receive points based on your players' real-life performances in the Premier League.
What is my budget and how do I pick my squad?
Choose a squad of 15 players from the Premier League with a budget of £100 million.
You can pick two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards then, each match week, you must pick a starting XI in any formation, from your squad of 15.
Be aware can only select a maximum of three players from a single team. Don’t forget to chose a team name that will bring plenty of laughs – it’s an unwritten rule.
Transfers are available weekly, though the amount you can make for free will vary. A full list of the rules are available here.
Which defenders are a 'must pick' for your side?
Ruben Dias – Manchester City (£6m)
Easily the best defender in the Premier League last term, the Portuguese centre back was pivotal to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City – and for many Fantasy Premier League squads last year.
While he may not have scored as many points as attacking full backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, he wasn’t far behind, yet comes in at £1.5 million cheaper in this year’s fantasy league. Want clean sheet points? Get Dias in your starting XI.
Luke Shaw – Manchester United (£5.5m)
What a turnaround it’s been for the former Southampton full back. Left on the scrapheap by Jose Mourinho, ‘Shawberto Carlos’ has came back roaring and is one of the Red Devils and England’s key players.
The 26-year-old helped his side keep 10 clean sheets last term, adding 5 assists and helped create numerous chances for club and country. Heading into his peak years, this season could be Luke Shaw’s best.
Aaron Cresswell – West Ham United (£5m)
He may not the most popular name out there, but the Irons’ left back was one of the highest scoring defenders in the fantasy league last term with 153 points.
The Hammers have tightened up under the tutelage of David Moyes, though Cresswell offers far more than clean sheet points. He’s West Ham’s corner taker and is one of the best attacking full back in the entire league He can get up and down that wing all season and is likely to bag you a mountain of points.
Who are our top tips and bargains?
Lewis Dunk – Brighton (£5m)
Mr. Dependable for the South Coast side, the 29-year-old is the key player in one of the league’s best defences.
The Seagulls only conceded 46 league goals last season, which is a record that compares with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Leicester City, despite the fact that Brighton finished in 16th position. Dunk helped his side keep a total of 11 clean sheets last campaign and comes in at a bargain price of £5 million.
Harry Maguire – Manchester United (£5m)
Outstanding at Euro 2020, the former Hull City centre back is one of the best defenders in the world and, with Raphael Varane set to join from Real Madrid imminently, he could form one of the toughest partnerships in the league.
He’s got the ability to bag a few goals throughout the season and, at a measly £5 million, he’s an absolute bargain.
Matt Targett – Aston Villa (£5m)
The former Southampton academy graduate has become one of the Midland’s sides most important players.
Capable in defence and exciting going forward, Targett’s play from full back helped the likes of Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins cause a host of problems for teams higher up the pitch, while he formed part of a Villa defence that kept an astonishing 15 clean sheets too.
He’s still young and he should grow into a better player with each season that passes.