Fantasy Premier League

Schedule favours Southampton defence

The Scout 8 Aug 2017
Ryan Bertrand, Southampton

Kind fixtures should encourage Fantasy managers to have a Saint in their plans, according to The Scout

Fantasy Premier League managers must consider the fixture list when building their squads, a strategy which guarantees Southampton players as early targets.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Rankings (FDR), no team can match the Saints' run of matches up to Gameweek 12.

Over that spell, they face only one opponent - Manchester United at St Mary's - who score more than two in the FDR.

They also start the season with three home matches in the opening four Gameweeks.

Southampton's start

GWOpponentFDR
1SWA (h)2
2WHU (h)2
3HUD (a)2
4WAT (h)2
5CRY (a)2
6MUN (h)4


But we should show caution when considering the Southampton attack.

They scored a modest 41 goals last season, including only 17 in 19 home matches - only relegated Sunderland notched fewer.

There is also some doubt surrounding the most likely starters.

Both James Ward-Prowse (£5.5m) and Nathan Redmond (£6.5m) have had limited pre-seasons due to their involvement with England in the UEFA Under-21 European Championships.

They will vie with Dusan Tadic (£6.5m) and Sofiane Boufal (£6.0m) for attacking midfield roles in the favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

New manager Mauricio Pellegrino has also used strikers Shane Long (£6.0m) and Manolo Gabbiadini (£7.0m) in those positions this summer.

Up front, Gabbiadini could be Pellegrino's choice as the lone striker, though Charlie Austin (£6.5m) will also challenge for pitch time.

So FPL managers should prioritise the Saints' defence for early points.

Cedric Soares, Southampton
Southampton's Cedric Soares has played just 63 minutes in pre-season, casting doubt over his start in Gameweek 1

Pellegrino boasts a strong reputation as a defensive manager.

His Alaves side conceded only 43 goals in LaLiga last season - a record bettered only by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal.

At right-back, Cedric Soares (£5.0m) has played only 63 minutes in pre-season following international exertions with Portugal.

Central defenders Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens (both £5.0m) appear more secure Gameweek 1 options.

But Ryan Bertrand (£5.5m) could be worth the extra outlay.

The left-back topped the Southampton ranks with 4.4 points per match (ppm) last season, scoring two goals and providing five assists.

With the early fixtures, Bertrand has a platform to build his FPL reputation and become the early pacesetter in the defender standings.

Reminder - GW1 deadline is Friday 11 August, 18:45 BST

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