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SUMMER STARTERS

5 players who could fly out the blocks and claim BIG points this August

When building your Dream Team ahead of the Game Week 1 it’s important to consider the fixtures.

Many will make their selections based on general predictions for the entire season but you should always tailor your XI to the schedule to some extent.

In an attempt to save you some hassle, we’ve identified five players with favourable match-ups in August which could help them fly out of the blocks.


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Oleksandr Zinchenko (£3.5m)

Zinchenko is categorised as a defender in Dream Team

getty/Dream Team
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Zinchenko is categorised as a defender in Dream Team

Arsenal have looked pretty good in pre-season and they will fancy their chances of a bright start once things get underway for real given their upcoming fixtures.

The Gunners help raise the curtain on the new Premier League campaign when they travel to Crystal Palace on Friday night before hosting Leicester the following weekend.

After that it’s an appealing run of Bournemouth (a), Fulham (h) and Aston Villa (h) to finish the month.

With fitness question marks over Kieran Tierney (£3m), Zinchenko may well begin life in north London as a starting left-back, the role he predominantly fulfilled for Man City.

However, the reason the Ukraine international is such an enticing Dream Team player is that he may well end up playing plenty of minutes in midfield, as he does for his country, where he’s more likely to contribute goals and assists on top of any clean sheet points he may collect.

Popular assets Bukayo Saka (£4m) and Gabriel Jesus (£5m) will also be hopeful of a prosperous August.

Joao Cancelo (£6.5m)

New number, same style

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New number, same style

It’s hardly a secret that the Portuguese full-back is an elite Dream Team performer these days and if truth be told there’s never a bad time to back Man City players, such is their strength across the board.

However, August looks particularly appealing once they’ve negotiated a potential banana skin at the London Stadium on the opening weekend.

After West Ham, Pep Guardiola’s side face Bournemouth, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest before September commences.

Those match-ups look ripe for the defending champions to flex their muscles and hover around 70% possession for the full 90 minutes, meaning clean sheets are likely.

Plus, Cancelo has claimed more than his fair share of Star Man awards in recent seasons in similar circumstances.

Of course, the outlook appears bright for Kevin De Bruyne (£7m) and Erling Haaland (£7m) too.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£3.5m)

And now for something a little different

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And now for something a little different

A suggestion for those who like a massive differential to get things moving early on.

The England international scored three goals in his first three outings last term before fracturing a toe in September that sidelined him for four months.

Enthusiasm around Everton is low after their dismal showing in 2021/22, which goes a long way to explaining Calvert-Lewin’s minuscule ownership of 0.8%.

However, once they’ve faced Chelsea on the opening weekend, the Toffees will be hopeful of banking points against Villa, Forest, Brentford and Leeds.

DCL finished among the best forwards in the game in each of the last two seasons in which he avoided serious injury.

We’re just saying, there are worse short-term options out there.

Darwin Nunez (£5m)

New kid on the block

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New kid on the block

In the same way you can lock City players in for the long haul, it’s impossible for Liverpool to ever be facing a truly rough month since they approach 95% of their fixtures as clear favourites.

Now consider that the Reds are set to play two of the three newly-promoted teams before the end of August.

Crystal Palace, Man United and Newcastle join Fulham and Bournemouth on the chopping block although the trip to Old Trafford is unlikely to be as comfortable as it was last year.

Still, Dream Team bosses will rightly be thinking of stacking their line-up full of Jurgen Klopp’s troops ahead of Game Week 1 and Nunez’s showing in the Community Shield suggests he’s frothing at the mouth to be unleashed upon the Premier League.

If the Uruguayan striker can cap off a half-hour cameo against City with a goal then what will he achieve if he’s chosen to start against teams likely to finish in the bottom half?

Tried-and-tested favourites such as Mohamed Salah (£7.5m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£6.5m) should also pick up where they left off.

Philippe Coutinho (£3m)

A popular selection ahead of the new season

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A popular selection ahead of the new season

Steven Gerrard’s side finish the month at home to West Ham before a trip to Arsenal will is a testing double-header.

But they open the campaign against Bournemouth, Everton and Palace – three opponents potentially vulnerable to Coutinho’s potency if he’s on song.

Villa are of those teams who can go either way but evidently there is widespread faith in the Brazilian midfielder as his current ownership of 15.2% makes him the sixth-most popular player in his position ahead of Game Week 1.

The key here is that at £3m the 30-year-old is very affordable and his presence allows gaffers to target favourable fixtures while also enabling big-money additions elsewhere.

For example, swapping Bruno Fernandes (£5.5m) for Coutinho would also allow you to upgrade Kai Havertz (£4m) to Son Heung-min (£6.5m).

Whatever you make of our advice, make sure August’s fixtures favour your XI when you lock it in ahead of the Game Week 1.


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