FPL pre-season: Injured Jota a Gameweek 1 doubt

We’re playing catch-up with our pre-season friendly round-ups as we look back on the main Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Thursday and Friday’s warm-up matches.

We’ve got all the goal, assist and line-up information you need in this latest Scout Notes article.

We’re also keeping tabs on the minutes played in all of these warm-up fixtures, with Premium Members of Fantasy Football Scout able to access this information at the bottom of this article.

Melbourne Victory 1-4 Manchester United

  • Goals: Martial, McTominay, Rashford, own-goal
  • Assists: Elanga, Bailly, Chong

Match highlights

After the thumping win over Liverpool last week, Manchester United continued a positive start to pre-season with a 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Friday.

It’s United’s previously limp attack that has stood out so far under Erik ten Hag, with the tricky Jadon Sancho (£7.5m) arguably his side’s star of the summer to date and Anthony Martial (£7.0m) and Marcus Rashford (£6.5m) back scoring goals up top.

“I’m sure he can come back even better. I think when he has the right focus and the right motivation and he works hard he will have production because he is a good player.

“I say when he has the right focus and every day delivers then he will have production and it’s up to him.” – Erik ten Haag on Anthony Martial

The scoreline, as it did against Liverpool, flattered the Red Devils, who struggled to carve open a backs-to-the-wall Melbourne defence in the opening half an hour – although ten Hag has at least sought to address one of the main problems that his predecessors encountered by introducing attack v defence drills to help overcome bus-parking opposition.

Ten Hag also wants his side to get more bodies into the box, an encouraging sign for prospective owners of United’s attackers. Scott McTominay (£5.0m), for instance, had already had a handful of efforts before his deflected shot brought the Red Devils level on Friday.

“It’s cutbacks, it’s getting in the box, all of us, not just myself. I know I can score more goals and it’s all the players.

“The manager wants more players in the box, which is where you score goals and that’s the most important thing.” – Scott McTominay on his new manager

It’s not all positivity so far: United’s clean sheet against Liverpool owed more to luck than judgement, while Melbourne all too easily opened the scoring when bypassing Harry Maguire (£5.0m) and co.

“I don’t want to talk about the individual because I think it was from the start high up the pitch, the wrong choices and then it ends up like a pack of cards.

“It’s not one individual, it is more the team who made mistakes.” – Erik ten Hag on United’s goal concession

If United can become a bit more solid at the rear and don’t reinforce at right-back, then Diogo Dalot (£4.5m) is worth monitoring in FPL. His underlapping runs and relationship with Sancho have caught the eye in pre-season, with the full-back shooting against the woodwork against Liverpool and ‘assisting the assister’ against Melbourne when his cross was mishit by Anthony Elanga (£5.0m) to goalscorer Martial.

“David, you saw against Liverpool, he fell out [injured] but he trains already and is back on the training pitch. So no big worry. Rapha is also training but, yeah, something small, and I expect him back on the training pitch.” – Erik ten Hag on why David de Gea and Raphael Varane missed Friday’s game

Man Utd first-half XI: Heaton; Dalot, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Elanga, Fernandes, Sancho; Martial

Man Utd second-half XI: Heaton; Malacia, Telles, Bailly, Laird; Iqbal, Savage, Van de Beek; Chong, Rashford, Amad

Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace

  • Goals: Henderson, Salah
  • Assists: Elliott, Alexander-Arnold

Match highlights

Diogo Jota (£9.0m) looks set to be a doubt for Liverpool in Gameweek 1, with Jurgen Klopp ruling out the striker’s involvement in the Community Shield in a fortnight’s time.

Any absence will ease the rotation risk slightly for owners of the Reds’ attacking assets, although there are still a couple of options through the middle for Klopp to ponder before he names his XI to face Fulham.

Jota hasn’t played a part in Liverpool’s pre-season to date after suffering a hamstring injury.

Also missing from the win over Palace on Friday was Alisson (£5.5m), who seems to stand a better chance of being involved against Manchester City in the traditional season curtain-raiser.

“Ali, I think, has the chance for City and Diogo not.

“Ali, he feels a muscle, abdominal. It’s nothing serious but, again, we prepare a full season. So he can train but just not like before, so he should not play in the moment. Not normal goalie training but he has a pre-season, so he doesn’t lose time. 

“But yeah, these kind of things happen. The boys have to travel a lot and train and you never know exactly. It’s only little things, nothing serious but we have to be careful because the rest of the season is much longer than the start.” – Jurgen Klopp

As for the on-field action, there was a familiar goal-assist combination for the Reds as Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) collected a pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) to fire a heavily deflected effort past Vicente Guaita (£4.5m).

The lively Salah’s strike was the second and final goal of the match, following on from Jordan Henderson‘s (£5.5m) first-half effort from a Harvey Elliott (£5.0m) lay-off.

Darwin Nunez (£9.0m) will be hoping to profit from Jota’s expected absence on the opening weekend but it’s fair to say that the unavoidable kneejerk reaction to the Uruguayan striker has so far been mixed at best.

It’s never a good sign when both the player himself and his teammates launch into a prickly defence after a couple of pre-season games but there was some more fuel for his critics against Palace, with an air-shot from an Alexander-Arnold cut-back being one lowlight. “Too eager to impress but still early days” seems to be the more measured take so far, with the Uruguay international’s game-time for his new club amounting to little more than one hour.

Palace can shrug this defeat off as little more than fitness-building, as they were under-strength against Liverpool. Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m), Eberechi Eze (£5.5m), Michael Olise (£5.5m) and Marc Guehi (£4.5m) are among the first-team regulars not involved in the tour of Asia and Australia due to either injury or travel requirements.

Newcastle United 3-0 1860 Munich

  • Goals: Willock, S Longstaff, Guimaraes
  • Assists: Shelvey, Guimaraes, Wood

Match highlights

Bruno Guimaraes (£6.0m) appeared for the first time this summer and crammed a goal and an assist into a half-hour cameo against 1860 Munich, teeing up Sean Longstaff (£4.5m) for a drilled effort before finishing off a one-two with fellow substitute Chris Wood (£6.0m).

Owned by more than 20% of FPL managers at the time of writing, Guimaraes was the classiest player on show in Austria in an otherwise unremarkable match.

The attractively priced Joe Willock (£5.0m) lashed in Newcastle’s opener but he, like Longstaff, faces stiff competition for his place, with Guimaraes, Jonjo Shelvey (£5.0m) and Joelinton (£6.0m) seeming to be Eddie Howe’s first-choice midfield three at present.

Sven Botman (£4.5m) looked classy on his Newcastle bow but there were no real clues as to who Howe favours as his partner, with the Dutchman lining up as both the left-sided (his natural position) and right-sided centre-half alongside Fabian Schar (£4.5m) and Dan Burn (£4.5m).

Howe hasn’t even definitely confirmed that fellow debutant Nick Pope (£5.0m) will be his undisputed number one, only saying that there is “real competition for the goalkeeping place”, but the expectation is that the former Burnley man will be between the posts in Gameweek 1.

Newcastle United XI (first 60 mins): Pope, Krafth, Lascelles (Botman 46), Burn, Targett, Willock, Shelvey, Anderson, Murphy, Wilson, Saint-Maximin

Newcastle United XI (last 30 mins): Dubravka, Trippier, Botman, Schar, Dummett, Bruno, Joelinton, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Fraser, Wood


  • Goals: Cook, Solanke
  • Assists: Christie

Match highlights

There wasn’t a great deal of information that came out of Bournemouth’s pre-season win over Sheffield Wednesday, with the action taking place behind closed doors.

We’re not even sure of starting formation but the starting XI did look to be pointing us in the direction of a wing-back system; Scott Parker had similarly switched to a more conservative shape when previously coming up from the Championship with Fulham.

A rare Lewis Cook (£5.0m) strike after a half-cleared corner was followed by a much more common Dominic Solanke (£6.0m) effort, with the forward – who hit 29 goals in the Championship in 2021/22 – finishing smartly in the Wednesday box.

Parker later told the media that Solanke had hit a hat-trick in a training ground game the previous week, too.

“Dom got three in the training game last week too. I’m really pleased and I thought Dom was really sharp today.” – Scott Parker on Dominic Solanke

Bournemouth first-half XI: Travers, Smith, Kelly, Mepham, Stacey, Cook, Rothwell, Zemura, Lowe, Moore, Dembele.

Bournemouth second-half XI: Lossl, Fredericks, Greenwood, Hill, Lerma, Marcondes, Pearson, Billing, Christie, Solanke, Anthony.


  • Goals: James, Gelhardt
  • Assists: Forshaw, James

Match highlights

Daniel James (£6.0m), suspended for Leeds in Gameweek 1 thanks to a late-season dismissal in the previous campaign, played a part in both of his side’s goals in Australia on Thursday.

Lashing home the opener, James then teed up Joe Gelhardt (£5.5m) to head home with a chipped cross before being replaced in a planned 30th-minute substitution.

We won’t dwell too much on this match as Leeds have played twice since our last Scout Notes round-up, and their meeting with Aston Villa on Sunday will come under more scrutiny in our forthcoming article.

FPL midfielder Jack Harrison (£6.0m) unconvincingly deputising at left-back in the absence of Junior Firpo (£4.5m) was one notable takeaway from Thursday’s game, as was the first official pre-season appearance of Patrick Bamford (£7.5m) after his injury-ravaged 2021/22.

Leeds United XI: Klaesson, Kristensen (Drameh 45’), Koch (Llorente 61’), Struijk, Harrison (Davis 45’), Roca (Gyabi 45’), Forshaw (Klich 45’), James (Sinisterra 31’ (Summerville 61’)), Rodrigo (Adams 45’ (Gray 81’)), Aaronson (Greenwood 45’), Gelhardt (Bamford 61’).