Fantasy Premier League

FPL champion's tips: Be flexible with your Gameweek 1 squad

By The Scout 31 May 2023

2022/23 winner Ali Jahangirov reveals the strategy behind selecting his opening team

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The Scout analyses the strategies of 2022/23 Fantasy Premier League champion Ali Jahangirov, so other managers can learn from the best.

Building an opening squad

When selecting his opening squad, Jahangirov looked to manage his budget by having just two premium-priced players, Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland.

See: Jahangirov's Gameweek 1 team

The champion admits the pair’s popularity in pre-season squads in Fantasy was the key factor in convincing him to initially overlook Harry Kane as an alternative.

“Ownership comes into play when you own a premium asset”, he says. “You know that he's either owned by a huge amount of managers or he's a differential, like Kevin De Bruyne was most of the time.

“I think two premiums make the rest of your team better. I've tried to squeeze in three but I don't think it's worth it because the rest of your team is not really flexible.”

Jahangirov also spent big at the back to bring in highly-owned defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo and Reece James.

However, he looked to the budget bracket for a number of his players.

The champion placed his faith in Leicester City goalkeepers Danny Ward and Daniel Iversen for a combined cost of £8.0m. Meanwhile, Salah was the only midfielder who cost over £6.0m.

“You have to have a good balance in your team because you have to have maximum flexibility with your transfers,” says Jahangirov.

“Have a certain number of nailed-on players who offer different routes to points and then maybe two or three positions that you are planning to transfer along the way. 

“Otherwise, if you don't have that balance right, I think you're in for a bad season."

Fixtures and pre-season form are key

Analysing the new season’s schedule and assessing in-form players over the summer friendlies were also important parts of Jahangirov’s winning strategy.

Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers both had favourable early runs of opponents, persuading Jahangirov to opt for their in-form midfielders Leon Bailey and Pedro Neto.

“At the start of the season, fixtures are the only known aspect of the game that you have to rely on," he says. "Once you have the fixtures, then just try to pick the players in form."

By distributing his budget across the positions and picking the highly-owned premiums, Jahangirov ensured a risk-free start to the season.

Focusing on the fixtures then also allowed him to take his time with his early transfers, looking for signs of form and trends before swapping out Salah for Kane in Gameweek 3 to invest more money in his midfield. 

Also in this series

Part 1: FPL champion: I thought I'd lost it on the final day
Part 2: FPL champion: The one thing I changed to win title
Part 4: FPL champion's tips: Play first Wildcard late
Part 5: FPL champion's tips: Getting the most from budget enablers
Part 6: FPL champion’s tips: Differential captains can pay off
Part 7: FPL champion’s tips: Limit hits to Blanks and Double Gameweeks

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