And there we have it, the proverbial itch has been well and truly scratched as FPL kicked off for the 2016/2017 season. Once again the familiar Friday night angst over selection followed with the nail biting last minute Saturday morning captain’s choice. Did you commit to the early kick off or follow the Beard’s words of wisdom and opt for a later fixture? Unless you backed Hull City (and if you did please tweet us @ff_surgery for a well earned shout out!!!) and as potty mouthed surgeon Woodsy will attest, avoiding Leicester for captaincy was a wise choice!
But who shone on the first weekend? Were there signs of an early Mahrez cash cow developing, or is it too early to tell? The Iceman will have many a story for missing out on that gem last season, whilst the successful Parker plucked Ighalo early and the rest is history. These are the surgeon’s first weekend top performers:
Goalkeeper: Ben Foster
Few would have predicted West Brom’s defence would be so sturdy on the first weekend. At only 4.5 million he is one of the cheaper keepers guaranteed a start. Foster clocked 10 points as he helped the baggies shut out a Palace side that boasted Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha and Bolasie, making 4 saves in the process. Foster plays at home next against Everton and Boro, followed by an away trip to Bournemouth. If your keeper rotation already looks a disaster then Foster could be the solution.
Defence: Stephen Kingsley
It may be a little much to suggest Swansea were the underdogs against Burnley, but the newly promoted side boasted a strong defence in the championship last season and with Andre Grey hotly anticipated to light up the Premiership, the loss of stalwart Ashley Williams made this an ideal time to play them. Kingsley joined the swans this summer and at 4 million picked up 8 points for his clean sheet and bonus. Every FPL manager needs one or two bargain defenders to offset the cost of the big hitters and with Hull at home next could be worth a short term investment. The down side is Swans then travel to champions Leicester, play Chelsea at home, then follow a fixture with Saints with Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal all on the bounce!
Midfield: Philippe Coutinho
A lot of questions were asked if the lack of experience in the Arsenal back four would have enough to handle a Liverpool front line spoilt with options. For about 40 minutes they did until the little Brazilian stepped and curled a Payet esque free kick into the top corner. Not content with that, Coutinho went on to score another and picked up 3 bonus as Liverpool won 4-3 at the Emirates. There is no doubt rotation is always a risk with Jurgen Klopp but of Firminho, Wijnaldum, Mane and co, Coutinho looks the most crucial to Liverpool’s chances of success. 8 million looks a snip and a dangerous Liverpool side faces Burnley, Spurs and Leicester next.
Forward: Alvaro Negredo
A real dilemma for managers searching strikers in the 6-7 million region for opening weekend was Boro’s attack. Jordan Rhodes, David Nugent, Christian Stuani all provided competition but in the end 6.5 million Negredo got the nod and delivered for ex Real Madrid defender Karanka’s returning side. Negredo scored and bagged three bonus points to earn Boro a draw against a difficult Stoke side. He will be integral for them if they want to stay up and that goal will likely justify their investment and ongoing selection. Boro face Sunderland and Baggies away followed by Palace at home, so Negredo could provide great value in attack to offset Kun and the impressive Zlatan Ibrahimovic!
So food for thought after week 1 and already a number of low value players scoring well. Will you commit to any, are they already in your squad, or did you think others were worthy of our list? At the time of writing Chelsea have not played West Ham but that won’t stop us contemplating week 2! Tune into this week’s pod for coverage of that game, in depth review of the week, the upcoming fixtures and the return of the Iceman’s quiz!
Ladies and Gentleman it is on!