Five Fantasy Premier League differentials for Gameweek 1 of the 2022/23 season
The 20 Premier League managers may be fretting over their selections going into the opening weekend, but that’s small beer compared to the permutations running through Fantasy Premier League managers’ heads.
For while the likes of Mikel Arteta and Thomas Tuchel have a squad of 25 to choose from (and registered under-21 players), FPL managers have a pool of more than 500 to pore over.
But for all the hours of deliberation, Gameweek 1 is about not losing ground early on. With Mohamed Salah in close to 60% of squads, Trent Alexander-Arnold in just over 58% and Erling Haaland in around 47%, the big-hitters have already been earmarked. Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus is way out in front as it stands, however, featuring in the squads of nearly three-quarters of the game’s players.
READ MORE: Fantasy Premier League: Fantasy Draft guide and how you can get involved
At the other end of the scale, therefore, there is an opportunity to steal a march on your rivals by picking out a low-owned player with the ability to score big early on.
We have picked out five (all owned by less than 4% of players).
Graham Potter’s side won five of their last eight last season to wrap up the season in ninth, with the only defeat in that sequence coming at the hands of champions Manchester City.
They will be hoping to continue that momentum into 2022/23 and certainly head into their season-opener in good heart after stuffing an under-strength Espanyol 5-1 in their final warm-up game.
Trossard completed a hat-trick from wing-back, a position he is familiar with at international level and will be confident of taking advantage of a Manchester United side who are already in turmoil despite the summer arrival of Erik ten Hag.
Trossard got on the scoresheet and also provided two assists as the Seagulls played United off the park in May.
And with little having changed on the pitch for the Red Devils in the interim, the Belgian midfielder could be just the man to add to their woes in Gameweek 1.
Wilson hit the ground running in 2021/22, scoring in two of Newcastle’s opening three fixtures despite the Magpies failing to win any of them.
He then missed four games with a hamstring injury before returning to score in successive games against Spurs and Crystal Palace.
A calf injury ruled him out from January until the closing weeks of the season but he was again in good form on his return to the side, starting in the win over Arsenal and then scoring both his side’s goals in the final-day success over Burnley.
That he ended the campaign as their top scorer despite managing just 18 appearances offers a tantalising glimpse into what he could achieve with a clean bill of health.
He warmed up for the weekend with a goal in a 2-1 home victory over Athletic Bilbao and will be eagerly awaiting the visit of Nottingham Forest.
Forest have undergone something of a transformation in the summer after coming up through the play-offs and have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last four friendly encounters.
A visit to St James' Park might just underline the gulf between the Championship and Premier League.
Last season was pretty much a write-off for the forward who made just nine appearances as he struggled with a series of injuries. The last of those, plantar fasciitis, brought his campaign to a premature end in March with a haul of just 28 points.
It was some way short of his stellar reintroduction to the Premier League in 2020/21 when the striker bagged 17 goals and 11 assists for the West Yorkshire side, finishing the season with 194 points.
The 28-year-old has been nursed through pre-season but completed a full 90 minutes in Leeds’ 6-2 thrashing of Cagliari last Sunday. That both his goals came in the second half will have persuaded Jesse Marsch he is up to the task of leading the line at home to Wolves on Saturday.
He began 2020/21 with a goal in each of his first three appearances and seven in his first eight. A repeat of that would be music to the ears of the 1.2% of FPL players who have him in their squads.
The versatile defender fought his way back from a cruciate ligament rupture to re-establish himself in the Leicester City line-up towards the back end of 2021/22, earning an England call-up in the process.
Prior to the injury, he amassed 101 points in the 2020/21 campaign, averaging 4.4 points per match over his 23 outings. The full-back combined two goals and two assists with nine clean sheets and 13 bonus points.
He has stated his desire to nail down a spot at left-back, though an injury to Ricardo Perreira may force him to slot in at right-back for the visit of Brentford on Sunday.
But wherever he lines up, he will be confident of an opening-day victory.
Brendan Rodgers’ side did the double over Brentford last season and have won the last five meetings and nine of the last 10 games between the two.
Aleksandar Mitrovic took the plaudits in the Championship last season after firing Fulham to the title with a record-breaking 43 goals.
His stunning campaign meant Solanke’s impressive 29-goal haul is easily overlooked.
However, it was just two less than were scored the previous season by Brentford striker Ivan Toney who went on to collect 12 goals and five assists in the Premier League in 2021/22 - figures Solanke could easily emulate.
Solanke was an ever-present for Scott Parker’s side last term and looks nailed on to start against Aston Villa on Saturday. The 24-year-old had to watch from the bench for the majority of the Cherries’ two matches against Villa in the Midlands side’s 2019/20 Championship campaign and will be eager to make up for lost time.
Villa are notoriously slow starters and have lost four of their last five opening away fixtures, including a 3-2 defeat at Watford last season. That was the third time in that sequence they have conceded three and Solanke could be just the man to profit. As could the 1.4% of managers who have him in their squad.
• Fantasy Premier League changes in 2022/23 as World Cup 2022 rule added to FPL
• None Fantasy Premier League team names: Best and worst options for FPL 2022/23
• None Premier League confirm decision on 'taking the knee' pre-match gesture ahead of new season