We typically focus on individual players, but today we will be looking at teams on the whole. Obviously, in Fantasy, teams will sometimes get a matchup that is favourable at both ends of the pitch. On the other hand, it’s also common for one unit (attack or defence) to have a good matchup while the other, on the same team does not.
As opponents, last season’s Burnley team is the perfect example. They had the sixth best defence, but were 17th in attack so, a team facing them would have a fantastic defensive matchup, but a difficult attacking one.
To help you craft your best possible lineup, we have broken down the five units with the easiest starts to the season (first five matches). Enjoy.
Opponents: WOL, SOT, BOU, HUD, WHU
Best Options: Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Tosun
Everton were not exactly lethal going forward last season as they ranked 15th in goals scored, as well as creating the third fewest chances in the league as well (264). There are signs of recovery from the Toffees, however. Cenk Tosun found his scoring boots towards the end of the season, the departure of Wayne Rooney should allow Sigurdsson to play as a proper number 10, and new signing Richarlison finished last season with the sixth most touches in the box.
This new look attack, under Marco Silva, has also been given the statistically easiest start of any unit in the Premier League and, as such, you should have at least one Everton attacking option in your squad come opening day.
Crystal Palace Attack
Opponents: FUL, LIV, WAT, SOT, HUD
Best Options: Zaha, Milivojevic, Benteke
Unlike Everton, Palace actually had a decent attack last season (eighth) which was impressive considering their big money striker, Christian Benteke, scored just three goals all season. It was Wilfried Zaha, and Milivojevic from the penalty spot, that propelled the London side out of the relegation fight and up to 11th by the end of the season.
Assuming Roy Hodgson can hang onto Zaha, this attack looks poised for big things, especially after the signing of Max Meyer who, while not the player he could have become, is far better than Jason Puncheon. As for the Goal game, Zaha is a must own and everyone else is negotiable but, if Benteke gets going, he should provide excellent value at just £6.9m.
Opponents: BUR, EVE, LEI, CRY, BRI
Best Options: Cedric, Bertrand, Vestergaard
The Saints conceded 56 goals last season while earning only eight clean sheets, both the worst at the club in the last five years. A lot of those struggles can be put at the feet of Virgil van Dijk whose attitude, and then departure, definitely disrupted the core of the Southampton defence.
Forster’s regression was certainly felt as well but the switch to McCarthy may have just saved their Premier League status as he managed to keep three clean sheets in their last 10 matches. With the van Dijk hole filled nice and early expect a big bounce back from this unit, especially at the start of the season against relatively weak attacks.
Manchester City Attack
Opponents: ARS, HUD, WOL, NEW, FUL
Best Options: B.Silva, Sane, Aguero
This attack has been difficult to nail down ever since the arrival of Pep Guardiola. That will be even more pronounced at the beginning of the 2018-19 season as some of City’s World Cup stars have still not returned to training. If the pre-season is any indication as to Pep’s thinking, we should see plenty of Bernardo Silva (two goals) and you’d assume Sane will get more minutes as well due to his surprise holiday during the World Cup.
As for Aguero, Jesus and De Bruyne, it may be wise to wait and see how this team shakes out before investing too heavily. In that regard, the fact that the hardest match of their opening schedule, Arsenal, is their first one. We should have a much better idea on who to add come week two.
Manchester City Defence
Opponents: ARS, HUD, WOL, NEW, FUL
Best Options: Laporte, Mendy, Walker
Like with the attack, City’s opening fixtures make them a tantalising prospect, Arsenal aside. The big question, again, is who to own. Laporte is the easy answer as he started eight of the last 10 matches for the Manchester outfit and is well rested having missed out on France’s World Cup winning run. Aside from him, there are even more questions in Guardiola's defence than in attack.
Mendy played very little for France, but also missed almost all of last season, so will he immediately be re-integrated? How soon will World Cup semi-finalists (Walker, Stones, Kompany) come back into the side? These are just some of the many questions surrounding City’s back line but, whoever does end up starting has a solid chance at picking up at least three clean sheets in the first five matches.