Fantasy Football Tips: Salah and Haaland make the cut but no room for Kane or Son

Alistair Bruce Ball

If you’re anything like me, the tinkering with your first FPL roster will no doubt continue until the first deadline of the season on Friday at 18:30 BST.

The first thing I tried to do was see if I could get three top-flight attacking players – namely Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland and one from Son Heung-min or Harry Kane – into a lineup that still had enough overall strength to handle injuries and rotation .

In the end though, I felt there were just too many weak links between my 13 outfield players, so I decided not to have any of the Tottenham duos early in the season that could hit me back!

As you build your first squad, don’t forget to think about who you’d like to take on as captain each week, as this should have a big impact on your decisions.

I decided I wasn’t going to captain Son or Kane ahead of Salah or Haaland in the first six weeks of games, so I wasn’t going to benefit from double points from them at any point. Now it could easily be argued that Salah’s form has waned in the second half of last season, that Haaland is unproven in the Premier League and that Son or Kane could fill their boots in those first six weeks of games against the likes of Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Fulham But that’s just the path I’ve chosen.

One way around the problem is to select Luis Diaz for the Liverpool attack instead of Salah, which will save you £5million. But as good as the Colombian is, do you really think he will rival Salah’s prolific FPL performance – a performance he has consistently produced over the past five seasons?

Of course, given the strength of Liverpool’s attack, you can have both Salah and Diaz, but Diaz has real competition in the £8m midfielder category. Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez are all coming at this price and they would all be good picks.

I’d put Saka and Mount at the top of the list based on their opening five games and also the fact that I’d be confident they’d both be among the top names on the team sheet for their respective clubs. Kulusevski proved an excellent signing for Tottenham last season but now has more competition for his place with the arrival of Richarlison, while both Foden and Mahrez are missing playing time as Pep Guardiola rotates his squad.

You can certainly fill your squad with top-notch defenders as well as a top-notch goalkeeper as they have been generously priced this season. Ederson and Alisson cost them just £5.5m but Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy is proving to be the most popular choice in the game at just £5m at the moment.

If you’re not a manager who likes to overspend on his goalkeeper then Brentford’s David Raya, Brighton’s Robert Sanchez and Leeds’ Illan Meslier are all in the £4.5million price range and worth considering.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is a must-have for any FPL manager at £7.5m. You can pair him with team-mate Andy Robertson for £7m if you still have a place in your Liverpool squad or opt for Joao Cancelo, who is also £7m. Reece James and Ben Chilwell are also attractive for the seemingly cheap £6million asking price.

Attacking full-backs are points magnets in the FPL, which is why Ivan Perisic has attracted a lot of attention after his £5.5million move to Tottenham. However, it’s worth noting that he didn’t play that much in their pre-season so it might be worth waiting to see what Antonio Conte does with as the Premier League begins.

They will clearly need some cheaper options across all departments to stay within your £100m budget and the top two £4m options in defense appear to be Neco Williams at Nottingham Forest and Nathan Patterson at Everton.

If you are looking in the £4.5m price range then Arsenal, Brentford, Brighton, Leicester and Wolves are good clubs to start your search whilst Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot is also proving to be a popular choice.

There is definitely some value to be had with United players early in the season, especially when Cristiano Ronaldo is not a part of their plans. Marcus Rashford costs £6.5m, Anthony Martial £7m and Jadon Sancho £7.5m.

Former United man Andreas Pereira is by far the most popular midfielder in the game from £4.5m following his move to Fulham and Leon Bailey’s pre-season form for Aston Villa makes him a tempting option at £5m.

The £4.5m forwards don’t look like they’ll see much playing time early in the season but keep an eye on Deniz Undav’s start at Brighton if you’re after a cheaper £5.5m striker option look for pounds

Gabriel Jesus has been the most popular pre-season signing with over 65% of managers adding him to their squad and that makes sense – a proven Premier League goalscorer who has looked good in pre-season. He costs just £8million and Arsenal have a promising run of games to start the season.

Finally we have a new feature on the Fantasy 606 Podcast this season we’d like you to be involved – we’ve set up a listening team to see if you can wrap up over me, Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. It’s managed by a different listener each week and you’ll handle all calls about transfers, team selection, captaincy or whether you want to play a valuable FPL chip.

If you want to try it, please email us [email protected].

The first episode of the new season preview podcast is currently available on BBC Sounds App

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