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Man City and Liverpool on Pole

Pre-season pointers suggest that Manchester City and Liverpool will be the teams to beat

The 2018/19 English Premier League season is almost upon us and it’s fair to say that it has been a mixed pre-season for the leading contenders.

Sunday’s Community Shield result suggests that it will be business as usual in the blue half of Manchester but fantasy managers face the unenviable task of choosing between all of the fantasy assets at Pep Guardiola’s disposal, while a trip to the Emirates is not the easiest of starts, a fact that is reflected in our GW1 goal projection numbers.

EPLGW1

 

Things do get much easier for the Citizens after this one though, so the rest of the title contenders will be hoping that the Gunners can nick at least a point.

Life after Wenger begins for Arsenal and there is a renewed sense of optimism in North London. However, with a trip to Chelsea in GW2 on the horizon, the prospect of zero points from their opening 2 matches is a distinct possibility under new coach Unai Emery.

Chelsea also have a new manager to bed in and Maurizio Sarri clearly has plenty of work to do, if he is to get the Blues challenging for the title again. A trip to Huddersfield Town is up first and he will be keen to avoid a slip up there.

Liverpool have invested well in the summer and pre-season results have also been encouraging. The Reds face West Ham United at Anfield on Sunday, where Mo Salah is expected to prove again why he will be the highest-owned fantasy asset this season.

The Egyptian king tops our expected goal contribution table for GW1, in a round where there are question marks about the participation of a number of key players.

GW1 Contribution Expectancy (Goals & Assists)
Player 0 1 2 3+
Mohamed Salah 30.85% 36.28% 21.33% 11.54%
Olivier Giroud 31.93% 36.45% 20.81% 10.81%
Charlie Austin 34.27% 36.70% 19.65% 9.38%
Álvaro Morata 41.99% 36.44% 15.81% 5.76%
Harry Kane 45.15% 35.90% 14.27% 4.67%
Sadio Mané 45.66% 35.80% 14.03% 4.52%
Anthony Martial 46.49% 35.61% 13.64% 4.27%
Romelu Lukaku 46.49% 35.61% 13.64% 4.27%
Sergio Agüero 47.22% 35.43% 13.29% 4.06%
Oumar Niasse 49.25% 34.88% 12.35% 3.52%
Roberto Firmino 50.65% 34.45% 11.72% 3.18%
Willian 51.57% 34.15% 11.31% 2.97%
Jesse Lingard 51.61% 34.14% 11.29% 2.96%
Eden Hazard 52.17% 33.95% 11.04% 2.84%
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 52.34% 33.89% 10.97% 2.81%
Jermain Defoe 52.79% 33.72% 10.77% 2.71%
Andre Gray 53.01% 33.65% 10.68% 2.67%

 

 

Fans of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will have their reservations going into the new season.

A lack of transfer activity has angered José Mourinho so the Red Devils really need to hit the ground running to appease the Old Trafford faithful, while Spurs have also been very quiet in the market, suggesting that their own title challenge will fall short once again.

Elsewhere, the inclusion of Charlie Austin and Andre Gray in those GW1 line-ups could be speculative punts that pay off. Southampton and Watford both look to have winnable home games and will very much welcome an early 3 points, to dispel some of that pre-season relegation talk.

The Premier League gets under way on Friday evening but we will have to wait until Sunday to get our first glimpse of the two sides that look to be in pole position and ready to battle it out for the title.

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