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FPL pre-season lessons: Buendia makes early impact

The Scout 22 Jul 2021
Emi Buendia, Aston Villa

The Scout analyses the midweek friendlies as Villa playmaker supplies two assists on his debut

The Scout is highlighting the form players in Fantasy Premier League and making key tactical observations during pre-season.

Buendia's immediate impact

Two assists for Emiliano Buendia (£6.5m) on his Aston Villa debut have increased his appeal for opening squads in Fantasy.

The playmaker supplied the final pass each time as Ollie Watkins (£7.5m) scored twice against Walsall on Wednesday, suggesting Buendia has settled quickly since his summer switch from Norwich City.

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Buendia had a huge influence during the Canaries’ Championship-winning season last term, scoring 15 goals and providing 16 assists.

At a cost of just £6.5m, he has the schedule to provide immediate short-term value.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), each of Villa's first three matches against Watford, Newcastle United and Brentford score only two.

Buendia currently sits in just 10.7 per cent of squads, compared with the 36.8 per cent of his midfield team-mate Jack Grealish (£8.0m).

Walsall 0-4 Aston Villa highlights

Meanwhile, Watkins’ display showed why he is among the most popular forwards in Fantasy.

His 34 per cent ownership is bettered only by the 35 per cent of Brentford’s Ivan Toney (£6.5m), who was on the scoresheet against Boreham Wood in midweek.

Toney arrives in the Premier League on the back of a record-breaking season. 

He scored 31 goals and supplied 10 assists in last season's Championship, adding a further two goals in the playoffs to secure his side’s promotion.

Premium differentials shine

Elsewhere, a couple of big-hitting midfielders could emerge as big differentials early on.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (£12.0m) netted against Stuttgart, while Son Hueng-min (£10.0m) claimed a goal and an assist in his first appearance under Tottenham Hotspur's new head coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

Mane scores v Stuttgart

Mane can be found in just 3.1 per cent of squads, whereas his team-mate Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) is the most popular player in Fantasy, owned by 50 per cent. 

The Reds' key attackers can take advantage of a strong opening schedule, with five of their first eight matches scoring two in the FDR.

Son, meanwhile, was the fourth top-scoring player in Fantasy last term, matching Salah's average of 6.2 points per match (ppm).

Yet he is owned by just 14.2 per cent, making him the 10th most-popular midfielder in opening squads.

Son's goal v Colchester

Also in this series

Part 2: Zaha shining under Vieira

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