FPL Roundup: Gameweek 1 Reactions
FPL Roundup: Gameweek 1 Reactions

This article is part of our FPL Roundup series.

Well, for those who missed the drama of the Premier League over the summer, Gameweek 1 certainly provided a pulsating preface to the 2017-18 edition. 13 goals were scored in the first two matches, which both featured result-changing twists in the most crucial moments. While it'd be ridiculous to draw many conclusions at this infant stage of the season, the sustained success of one Sadio Mane deserves a shout.

After seeing his side go down 1-0 early in Saturday's opener, Mane supplied an emphatic equalizer in the 29th minute of Liverpool's controversial 3-3 draw at Watford.

In doing so, Mane brought his career tally to 35 Premier League goals. That mark is not only the second-most among fantasy midfielders since he arrived in England in 2014, but Mane's also managed it while playing in 10 matches fewer than his next-closest competitor, Eden Hazard.

Although he doesn't sport the same worldwide name recognition as Hazard or Alexis Sanchez, who leads the category, Mane has emerged as an elite attacker in his own right. Credited with a combined 20 goals and assists in back-to-back seasons, Mane is no longer a secret in fantasy circles, as his £9.5 valuation trails only Sanchez, Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. However, with teammate Philippe Coutinho seemingly set for Barcelona, Mane could prove even more important this term.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are Liverpool's most attractive alternatives, and both scored in Saturday's opener, but the former's was only a penalty and he mostly looked out of sorts without the service of his countryman Coutinho. Meanwhile, the latter, though a rising talent, is still re-acclimatizing to England.

As a result, it should be Mane who the Reds heavily rely on during a difficult start to the season that includes games against Arsenal (home) and Manchester City (away) in the next three gameweeks. The Senegalese stalwart netted both times he faced Arsenal last season and boasts three goals and an assist in six meetings versus Man City.

With those numbers, as well as his overall output, Mane has proven capable against any opposition, providing further reason why he should be the focal point of Liverpool's post-Coutinho recalibration.


Another attacking option who'll seemingly have to shoulder a large portion of his team's attacking end product is Chelsea's Alvaro Morata.

Of course, the Blues' home loss to Burnley headlined Gameweek 1's action, when, like their Community Shield loss to Arsenal, Chelsea lacked threats in the final third.

Despite their shaky start, however, Morata did his best to prevent defeat. Introduced after 59 minutes of watching his team fall behind 3-0, the Spaniard took 10 minutes to open his Premier League scoring account, and then set up Chelsea's second with a lovely headed flick later on. While those contributions weren't enough to get a result, Morata seems certain to start at center-forward from now on, which is precisely why manager Antonio Conte shelled out a club-record fee for him this summer.

In Conte's title-winning debut last season, he relied on Diego Costa and Hazard to supply the bulk of the Blues' scoring. Between them, Costa and Hazard were credited with 36 goals and 20 assists. For reference, Chelsea scored 85 goals on the whole of last term.

With over 65 percent of the team's goals involving Costa, Hazard or both of them, Chelsea's fantasy stars were clear as day. However, with Costa now out of the equation, it's Morata who'll be tasked with replacing his production, particularly while Hazard is sidelined with an ankle injury.

Compared to his days at Real Madrid, Morata's newfound opportunity is exactly what he's been waiting for. Despite registering 20 goals and six assists, Morata was afforded just 1,872 minutes across all competitions for the back-to-back Champions League winners last season. Overall, Morata contributed toward a goal every 80 minutes since breaking into Los Blancos' first-team in 2010, and took only 102 minutes between scoring contributions during two years at Juventus in between.

At Chelsea, though, Morata doesn't have to compete with elite talents like Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Carlos Tevez or Paulo Dybala for a spot up top. Instead, Michy Batshuayi is the lone person in his path to playing time. With all due respect to the Belgian, Morata is a far more advanced, well-rounded player, and he now finally gets the chance to prove his per-90 numbers were no fluke.

Costing just £10.0, Morata's short-term outlook is clouded by games versus Tottenham (A), Everton (H), Arsenal (H) and Manchester City (H) in the first seven gameweeks. Nonetheless, he currently boasts the most upside of any available Chelsea attacker, and Hazard's eventual return only stands to benefit his long-term ceiling. Those factors make Morata someone you shouldn't wait too long to get into your eleven – just ask Conte how that's worked for him thus far.


In contrast to Morata, Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie joined the Premier League to little fanfare this summer.

The 22-year-old Benin native came from French outfit Montpellier, which finished 15th in Ligue 1 last season. The season prior, Mounie plied his trade for Ligue 2 side Nimes. Given that background, Mounie joining a promoted Premiership team, albeit for a club-record fee, understandably flew under the radar.

However, following Saturday's two-goal debut, which saw Huddersfield trash Crystal Palace, 3-0 on the road, fantasy owners no longer have an excuse to not be aware of Mounie. First off, at six-foot-three, the center-forward is hard to miss. Not only is Mounie big, but he knows how to use his size to his advantage. In fact, he led France's top flight with 8.4 aerial duels won per 90 minutes last season.

That ability helped Mounie win six of his nine headed duels on Saturday, according to Squwaka, including what turned out to be his first goal in England.

For someone asked to lead the line of a promoted team – which often lack on-ball quality compared to their oppositions – aerial dominance is unquestionably a top trait to have. However, along with his supremacy in the sky, Mounie is also good on the ground, where he scored eight of his 14 goals and averaged a commendable 25 passes per match last season.

Combined, that skill set figures to serve Mounie well while transitioning to a more competitive league, and with only one matchup against a top-half defense from last season in his next five games, he's gifted with a relatively easy start to the season. That recipe makes Mounie someone fantasy owners should target early on, especially given his £6.0 price, which provides the type of low-risk, high-reward value that's imperative to building a successful squad.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Pitner
Nick Pitner writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire. He supports Arsenal FC, the Green Bay Packers, and the New York Knicks, while specializing in those respective sports in his coverage for the site.
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