We run down the best Premier League players who will set the season on fire – as picked by Fantasy Premier League managers
By Simon Ward, Content Editor
Premier League football is back! Can you smell it? That’s the smell of anticipation, of ambition, of apprehension. For clubs battling it out at the top of the pile, glory and riches await at the end of a gruelling campaign. For the other end, survival in the world’s most fiercely contested league would be colossal.
This season, the sofa is the place to catch every kick, save and hoofed free kick destined to knock a satellite out of orbit. The lows, the highs, the Jack Grealish’s thighs. There are a whopping 200 televised matches for your viewing pleasure during the 2022-23 campaign on Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video.
All Sky Sports and BT Sport customers can also watch all the matches on the go. All BT Sport games are available on the Virgin TV Go app while Sky Sports matches can be seen on the Sky Sports app. So, whether you’re watching on the move or at home, we’ve got you covered.
You won’t be alone in watching the football on your telly or device this season. At a time when living costs are rising and people’s finances are under increasing pressure, new research by Virgin Media found that more than six in ten (65%) football fans say they will be watching more matches at home rather than at stadiums due to the cost-of-living crisis.
But who are going to be the players lighting up this season as we all watch eagerly at home? Well, when it comes to armchair pundits, we wanted to go right to the source. We’ve scouted the players the Fantasy Premier League community has selected, en masse, to be in their teams.
These players were picked dispassionately without club loyalties to get as many fantasy football points as possible. Meet the keepers who will be shutting the doors. The defenders ready to park the bus or chip in with an assist. The midfielders who are basically strikers. And, well, Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (he’s in more than half of all fantasy teams).
Here are the players to watch, based on the verdict of Fantasy Premier League managers (as of Friday 29 July):
Édouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Selected by 23.1% (the percentage of overall Fantasy managers who currently own the player)
The most selected goalkeeper is intriguing compared to Alisson (20 clean sheets in 2021-22) and Ederson (20). But Mendy (14) is cheaper and will be bettered by new signing Kalidou Koulibaly, who’s expected to firm up the defence, as befitting his nickname “The Wall”.
Selected by 19.4%
The joint golden glove winner with those league-leading 20 clean sheets last term, Alisson is one of the very best. Not only is he well protected by a mean defence, but he made 76 saves, won 22 duels and even threw in an assist. He’s once again the man to beat. Literally.
Ederson (Man City)
Selected by 15.6%
Ederson or Alisson? You can’t really pick between the two Brazilian greats (although Alisson did hit more fantasy points than Ederson – 176 v 155). Both will no doubt be among the title tussle once more, and both have great defences in front of them.
Robert Sánchez (Brighton)
Selected by 13.7%
Brighton, who finished ninth, had the best defensive record outside of the top four. Their Spanish goalkeeper was a huge part of that, making 101 saves and keeping 11 clean sheets. Expect the Sánchez-led Seagulls to be just as stingy at the back this season.
Paulo Gazzaniga (Fulham)
Selected by 12.5%
The likelihood is Gazzaniga hasn’t so much been anointed by Fantasy Premier League football managers as a star to watch, more that he’s one of the cheapest goalkeepers in the game. Then again, while Fulham romped to promotion through their potent attack, their defence wasn’t bad.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Selected by 54%
It’s set to be a big season for TAA, especially in the first half of the campaign with a World Cup place still (insanely) not assured. With prolific header specialist Darwin Núñez signing for the Reds in the summer, the full-back could better his 12 assists from last term.
João Cancelo (Man City)
Selected by 45.6%
Hard to believe Pep Guardiola is the kind of manager who always has the same first name on his team sheet. That said, it’s probably Cancelo. If Manchester City win the title again this season, it’ll be this lad who is as much to thank as Erling Haaland or Phil Foden.
Reece James (Chelsea)
Selected by 40.7%
A muscle injury aside, last season was James’s best so far. The fact Thomas Tuchel has given him more licence to run forwards means he could very easily top his six-goal return. Plus, he’ll be desperate to keep Alexander-Arnold out of the England team.
Ivan Perišić (Tottenham)
Selected by 30.7%
He might be the club’s new boy, but at 33, he has experience in spades. Spurs weren’t exactly leaky at the back in 2021-22 (40 conceded), but compare that with their rivals – City (26), Liverpool (26), Chelsea (33) – and it’s clear the north Londoners hope Perišić will be the defensive rock they need.
Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest)
Selected by 25.6%
Forest spent big to bring Williams to the club. But can the former Liverpool full-back meet the expectations that come with a hefty price tag? He’s always had quality, but he needs to stamp out the mistakes a side fighting for survival cannot afford.
Mo Salah (Liverpool)
Selected by 56.4%
Can Mo Salah better his efforts from last season? He bagged the most assists (13), he was the joint top scorer (23) and he took the most shots (139). With his contract now settled, and no midseason World Cup distraction for the Egypt captain, expect him to be fired up from the start.
Luis Díaz (Liverpool)
Selected by 27.7%
For many people, the signing of last season. Liverpool’s January transfer propelled the Reds on four fronts with pace and tenacity. But Díaz has had a quiet (by his standards) pre-season. If he can work on his finishing and final ball, he could explode this year.
Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
Selected by 26%
The most underrated player in the league? He was the joint top scorer (23) alongside Salah, but Son received a fraction of the praise, despite Tottenham’s up-and-down season (although a final push took them into a Champions League place). Spurs have made good signings in the summer window, which could unlock him even more.
Andreas Pereira (Fulham)
Selected by 24.3%
Interesting so many fantasy football managers have gone for Pereira. He’s cheap in the game (much cheaper than the reported £10m Fulham paid for him), but he never really took off for former club Manchester United. They must know something we don’t.
Pedro Neto (Wolves)
Selected by 19.8%
With one goal, one assist and only 13 league appearances last term due to injury, it seems odd to have him on this list. And yet, despite featuring in a struggling Wolves team, fantasy football managers have backed this lad’s promise. He’s one to watch.
Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)
Selected by 64.9%
If you’re surprised this striker is the one that Fantasy Premier League managers are craving above all others, it’s because he’s had a blistering pre-season and might prove to be the signing of the window. We think early on this campaign, we’ll all be converted to Jesus.
Erling Haaland (Man City)
Selected by 57.7%
City have played most of the past two season without an out-and-out striker, and yet they still won back-to-back Premier League titles. Now they have one in Haaland. Without the distraction of a World Cup for the Norwegian, anything other than the Golden Boot would surely be a disappointment.
Sam Greenwood (Leeds)
Selected by 25.8%
Greenwood has impressed everyone in pre-season, and his adaptability makes him the kind of player who could leave a big impression this season. But that will largely depend on how Leeds – a side many are picking for relegation – perform under Jesse Marsch.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Selected by 23.2%
Last season was a mixed one for England’s captain. After a pre-season where he was publicly courted by Man City, he struggled to find form. But after a much calmer summer in 2022 and some good transfer business by his club, expect him to beat his return of 17 goals last term.
Darwin Núñez (Liverpool)
Selected by 15.1%
Depending on which section of the internet you ask, Darwin is either going to set the Premier League on fire, score 50 goals and put all memories of Sadio Mané to bed… or he’s going to be the next Andy Carroll. He might not get 50, but from what we’ve seen so far, this guy is some player.
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