The pre-season friendlies wind to a close this weekend, with 18 Premier League teams contesting warm-up games and last season’s top two squaring off in the Community Shield.
We’ll be bringing you goal, assist and line-up information from all of these matches in our Scout Notes articles, which could help shape your Fantasy Premier League (FPL) squad ahead of Gameweek 1.
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.
We begin with Chelsea and Everton, the Gameweek 1 opponents who were both in action on Friday. A second-string Blues XI were actually involved in another match against Udinese on Saturday morning, which is also covered below.
FRIDAY: UDINESE 1-3 CHELSEA
SATURDAY: UDINESE 0-2 CHELSEA
- Goals: Kante, Sterling, Mount | Loftus-Cheek, Ziyech pen
- Assists: Hudson-Odoi | Kovacic, Loftus Cheek
Thomas Tuchel split his squad in half for two friendlies against Udinese on Friday night and Saturday morning.
The starting XI in the first of those games looks set to be near enough the side that takes on Everton in Gameweek 1, with Kai Havertz (£8.0m), Mason Mount (£8.0m) and Raheem Sterling (£10.0m) dovetailing very nicely up top.
It was a fluid set-up in the front three but Sterling was in the nominal central role, and the Manchester City man showed some promising early signs of a fruitful relationship with Mount in particular.
“He had chances, was heavily involved in other chances. It was a good performance.” – Thomas Tuchel on Raheem Sterling
Mount was arguably the pick of the attacking trident, creating opportunities aplenty for his two aforementioned teammates but crucially also seeing clear sights of goal himself: his late tap-in and an earlier saved effort came from inside the six-yard box, while he had fired at Udinese goalkeeper Marco Silvestri’s legs when jinking his way into the hosts’ area.
Criticism of profligacy seems to have dogged Sterling for a while, and indeed he has finished with a negative xG delta (the difference between his expected goals and actual goals scored) in each of the last two seasons.
He was wasteful against Udinese, too, with even his goal a fortuitous one as the rebound from a spurned chance bobbled in off his torso.
Still, to be repeatedly getting into such dangerous positions is a positive, with 78 goals in his last five seasons evidence that shot volume can be as important as a clinical streak.
Question marks remain at the back for Chelsea, with two of their starters – Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.0m) and Marcos Alonso (£5.5m) – still reportedly keen on a move to Barcelona and Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) not only omitted from Friday’s first-choice XI but clearly still needing to recapture some match fitness after a rusty-looking display with the second string on Saturday morning.
Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) won’t want to rewatch Udinese’s only goal of the weekend either but Kalidou Kouilbaly (£5.5m) was a positive, deployed again in the left-sided centre-half spot vacated by Antonio Rudiger.
Saturday’s game saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.0m) used at right wing-back and play a part in both goals, first finishing well from a Mateo Kovacic (£5.0m) pass and then winning the penalty that Hakim Ziyech (£6.0m) converted.
Armando Broja (£5.5m) was spotted for the first time this pre-season, lasting 45 minutes as the spearhead of the Chelsea attack and seeing plenty of chances of his own.
Chelsea XI on Friday (3-4-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly (Emerson 72); James (Hudson-Odoi 72), Kante, Jorginho (Gilmour 84), Alonso; Havertz (Vale 72), Sterling (Kenedy 84), Mount
Chelsea XI on Saturday (3-4-3): Kepa (Bettinelli 67); Chalobah, Ampadu, Sarr (Emerson 67); Loftus-Cheek (Vale 77), Kovacic, Gallagher (Gilmour 77), Chilwell (Kenedy 67); Ziyech, Broja (Hudson-Odoi h/t), Pulisic.
EVERTON 3-0 DYNAMO KYIV
- Goals: Calvert-Lewin, McNeil x2
- Assists: Tarkowski, Iwobi, Vinagre
Dwight McNeil (£5.5m) bettered his entire 2021/22 attacking output for Burnley in a 28-minute showing on his Everton debut.
The newly signed winger emerged from the bench to first lash home an effort from distance and then nod in fellow debutant Ruben Vinagre‘s (£4.5m) cross.
“I’m really delighted for him because there is pressure coming in and it’s all happened very quickly for him. To play at Goodison, coming on and impacting the game in the way in which he did – he showed the qualities why we brought him here.
“I’m a big believer in him. It’s a fresh start at a new club for him and if he carries on like that the fans are going to love him.” – Frank Lampard on Dwight McNeil
McNeil has never hit double figures for FPL attacking returns in a season before so the jury remains well and truly out, particularly as a start is far from assured in Gameweek 1. Washed-up wingers Demarai Gray (£5.5m) and Andros Townsend (£5.5m) did have short-lived renaissances of their own after a move to Merseyside a year ago, of course, so we can’t write the England under-21 international off completely.
Frank Lampard seems set to go into the 2022/23 season in the same 3-4-3 shape that he ended the last campaign with, despite his stated desire to move to a 4-3-3.
That’s good news for FPL defenders Vitalli Mykolenko (£4.5m) and Nathan Patterson (£4.0m), who were pushed high and wide as wing-backs against Dynamo Kyiv.
Patterson is obviously an interesting case given his starting price and current injury to positional rival Seamus Coleman (£4.5m), although we did see Alex Iwobi (£5.5m) used at right wing-back in the win over Gameweek 1 opponents Chelsea in May.
Iwobi was here part of a midfield two alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.5m) on Friday but injuries rather forced Lampard’s hand, so the Nigeria international could still be deployed elsewhere on the opening weekend.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) nodded in Everton’s opener, with summer recruit James Tarkowski (£4.5m) claiming the assist with a raking ball over the top.
Everton XI (3-4-3): Pickford; Tarkowski (Welch 83′), Keane (Holgate 62′), Godfrey (Nkounkou 83′); Patterson (Mills 83′), Iwobi (Warrington 83′), Doucoure (Allan 72′), Mykolenko (Vinagre 72′); Gray (McNeil 62′), Calvert-Lewin (Alli 62′), Gordon (Rondon 72′)