Fantasy Premier League

FPL pre-season watch: Saka essential as Jackson stars again

By The Scout 27 Jul 2023
Saka and Jackson FPL composite

Arsenal and Chelsea stars among in-form players in latest summer friendlies

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Bukayo Saka (£8.5m) continues to show why he is the most-owned midfielder in 2023/24 Fantasy Premier League, scoring in Arsenal’s 5-3 win over Barcelona.

Despite missing a penalty against the Spanish side, the winger now has two goals and two assists over his four summer appearances.

Saka has climbed to over 53 per cent ownership in Fantasy, second only to the 86.3 per cent of Erling Haaland (£14.0m).

While Saka looks a must-have for opening squads, Arsenal’s schedule suggests a double-up in attack can prove profitable.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), four of their first five matches score only two.

Arsenal’s first five matches
GW Opponent FDR
1 NFO (H) 2
2 CRY (A)  2
3 FUL (H) 2
4 MUN (H) 3
5 EVE (A) 2

The battle between Leandro Trossard (£7.0m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£8.0m) for a role on the left wing is one to monitor closely. 

Trossard was the standout performer against Barcelona, with the Belgian’s brace meaning he has a team-high three goals in pre-season.  

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Summer signing Kai Havertz (£7.5m) continued his improved output with another goal, adding to his recent strike against MLS All-Stars.

Both Trossard and Havertz can be found in under six per cent of squads in Fantasy, highlighting their appeal as differentials.

Jackson over Nkunku?

Elsewhere, Nicolas Jackson (£7.0m) extended his impressive summer showings with a goal in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle United in the Premier League Summer Series.

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The new arrival has now been involved in a team-high five goals, scoring two and assisting a further three.

Notably, Chelsea's match against the Magpies was the first time Mauricio Pochettino had started Jackson and his fellow summer signing Christopher Nkunku (£7.5m) together.

The pair had shared minutes, with 45 each as the lone forward, in the Blues’ previous two outings.

It was Jackson who started up front against Newcastle, with the versatile Nkunku deployed as a No 10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation, as Mykhailo Mudryk (£6.5m) and Ian Maatsen lined up on the left and right flanks respectively.

Listed as a forward in Fantasy, Nkunku then moved up front in the second half when Jackson was substituted.

Chelsea’s early schedule certainly offers encouragement for managers looking to invest in their attacking players.

From Gameweek 3, five of the Blues' six matches score only two in the FDR.

Chelsea fixtures GW3-GW8
GW Opponent FDR
3 LUT (H) 2
4 NFO (H) 2
5 BOU (A) 2
6 AVL (H) 3
7 FUL (A) 2
8 BUR (A) 2

While Nkunku is already found in over 19 per cent of squads, Jackson - with an ownership of just 5.1 per cent - could be a big differential in Chelsea’s first season under Pochettino.

Also in this series

Part 1: Salah and Nunez becoming deadly duo
Part 2: Young's role boosts appeal of Tarkowski
Part 3: Hat-trick hints at Richarlison revival
Part 5: Almiron and Eze making strong claims

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