Fantasy Premier League

FPL pre-season watch: Young's role boosts appeal of Tarkowski

By The Scout 26 Jul 2023
Ashley Young and James Tarkowski

The Scout highlights lessons from friendlies including Everton's summer signing switching from midfield to defence

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Everton have the defensive form and fixtures to offer value from the very start of 2023/24 Fantasy Premier League.

The Toffees kept their second successive clean sheet in Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Bolton Wanderers, having defeated Wigan Athletic 1-0 last weekend.

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The main news for Fantasy managers was a change of position for Ashley Young (£4.5m) against Bolton, starting at left-back.

Listed as a defender in Fantasy, Young was handed his Everton debut as a winger against Wigan and scored the decisive goal. 

But with Dwight McNeil and Alex Iwobi (both £5.5m) patrolling the wings on Tuesday, Young’s switch to the back four is perhaps more indicative of Sean Dyche’s thinking ahead of the new season.

Young builds from the back v Bolton

Young's reduced attacking threat makes James Tarkowski (£4.5m) Everton's standout defensive pick ahead of a kind early schedule.

Tarkowski produced 60 points after Dyche was appointed manager in Gameweek 22 last season, a total bettered by only eight other defenders. 

According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), three of Everton's first four matches score only two.

GW Opponent FDR
1 FUL (H) 2
2 AVL (A) 3
3 WOL (H) 2
4 SHU (A) 2
Budget forward strikes again

Meanwhile, Luton Town’s Carlton Morris (£5.5m) highlighted his potential as a budget forward in Fantasy by scoring for the second successive fixture.

Morris converted a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town, adding to his strike against Peterborough United earlier this month.

Morris nets from the spot v Ipswich

The striker was a huge success in his debut campaign for Luton last term, scoring 20 of their 57 goals in the Championship and assisting a further seven.

Although they have a Blank Gameweek 2, the Hatters have a very favourable opening schedule and avoid all of last season’s top five sides in the first 10 Gameweeks.

Midfielders shine

Elsewhere, Fantasy midfielders Ryan Christie (£5.0m) and Pedro Neto (£5.5m) proved decisive for AFC Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively.

Christie was the Cherries’ standout performer in their 3-2 win at Southampton, scoring once and assisting the headed opener for Dango Ouattara (£5.0m).

Christie's assist for Ouattara v Southampton

Bournemouth continue to show improving form in attack under new head coach Andoni Iraola, having scored three or more goals in two of their opening three friendlies.

Nonetheless, a tough opening run of opponents means managers should afford Iraola’s regulars time to settle before Bournemouth's schedule turns kinder in Gameweek 8.

Neto, meanwhile, scored Wolves’ winner in a 1-0 victory over Portuguese side Porto, with the assist from Matheus Nunes (£5.0m).

Neto's winner v Porto

The main point of Wolves interest was in defence, though, as Matt Doherty (£4.5m) made his second debut for the club after re-signing over the summer. 

The Irishman was a big favourite in Fantasy in his last two seasons at Molineux, claiming 144 points in 2018/19 and then 167 points in the following campaign. 

Doherty played 45 minutes against Porto, replacing Nelson Semedo (£4.5m) at right-back for the second half.

Also in this series

Part 1: Salah and Nunez becoming deadly duo
Part 3: Hat-trick hints at Richarlison revival
Part 4: Saka essential while Jackson stars again
Part 5: Almiron and Eze making strong claims

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