FPL Gameweek 1 recap: Explosive Haaland nets first Man City goals

Having already brought you the statistical summary of Sunday’s Gameweek 1 action, we now turn our attention to the wider Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from the day’s fixtures.

Erling Haaland (£11.5m) netted his first ever Premier League goals against West Ham United, in a comfortable 2-0 away win for Manchester City.

The big man stepped up to convert a first-half penalty, before he timed his run to perfection to latch onto an excellent ball from Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) for his second.

Despite eyeing a Premier League debut hat-trick, Haaland was withdrawn with 12 minutes remaining, which should ensure he is fit and raring to go for City’s Etihad clash with Bournemouth in Gameweek 2.

Goals 2
Shots in the box 5
Big chances 4
Penalty box touches 10
Expected goals (xG) 1.52

“Haaland gives us his qualities. We are not going to change much, we will adapt, we know we have a threat there. He is an incredible deep runner and finisher. He is adapting perfectly in the way we want to play. We are going to find him more and more and hopefully we can give him the opportunity to score more goals.

When it was a penalty he immediately took the ball and I like that. The penalty is the guy who has the confidence to do it, is going to do it.” – Pep Guardiola on Erling Haaland’s performance

De Bruyne, meanwhile, delivered an all-round impressive display, creating three chances and taking two shots.

Joao Cancelo (£7.0m) and Kyle Walker’s (£5.0m) inverted roles, which saw them both move into central midfield when City were in possession, meant the Belgian and fellow number eight Ilkay Gundogan (£7.5m) advanced closer to Haaland in the attacking positions.

Above: Man City’s 2-3-4-1 shape in possession, with both full-backs (Walker no2/Cancelo no7) tucking inside to join Rodri in a narrow midfield three

“Sometimes they (the full-backs) play outside it depends on the opponent. I like to have a lot of players in the middle it is like the kitchen in the apartment. We just want to create.” – Pep Guardiola on Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo

Explaining his decision to start Phil Foden (£8.0m) over Riyad Mahrez (£8.0m) on the right wing, Pep Guardiola said:

“Phil trained incredibly well this week. Phil is always fit, in terms of physicality he’s always beyond expectation. Step by step he will be in his best form.” – Pep Guardiola on his decision to start Foden

City had 76 per cent possession, which meant West Ham were left chasing shadows for large periods. As a result, Michail Antonio (£7.5m) was isolated up front and they failed to provide him with much service (their six shots carried a combined xG value of just 0.29), a theme which was also evident in pre-season

“They were so good. I felt that tactically they completely outdid us today. They played differently than at the end of last season with both full-backs in the middle of the pitch like midfielders. We worked hard to try and replicate what we did in that game. It was a case of trying to stay in the game. It was only 1-0 at half-time with a penalty and it gave us an opportunity and a chance. We’d just started to grow into the game and their quality told. I felt like we had not played well enough so I wanted to try and change the run of the game. We got a little bit more of the ball for about five mins. They were far better than us and we couldn’t cope today.” – David Moyes

West Ham had just one centre-back available for the match, with Craig Dawson (£5.0m), Nayef Aguerd (£5.0m) and Angelo Ogbonna (£4.5m) all injured, while Issa Diop (£4.5m) did not put himself forward for selection.

The Hammers’ injury woes then worsened when Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) was forced off before the half-hour mark after colliding with Haaland and Aaron Cresswell (£5.0m), although Moyes didn’t think it was too serious.

“He got a knock on his hip, which he thinks has numbed his leg completely, so the knock makes me feel not so bad. Hopefully, it won’t be anything serious but he’s limping badly at the moment.” – David Moyes on Lukasz Fabianski

West Ham United XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski (Areola 29); Coufal, Johnson, Zouma, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen (Downes 90+2), Lanzini (Benrahma 57), Fornals (Coventry 90+2); Antonio (Scamacca 57)

Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo; Rodri (Phillips 88), De Bruyne (Palmer 88), Gundogan (Bernardo 78); Foden (Mahrez 88), Grealish, Haaland (Alvarez 78)

Not even the second-half introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo (£10.5m) was enough to save Manchester United, as Erik ten Hag made a losing start in the Old Trafford dugout.

Lining up in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 formation, Christian Eriksen (£5.5m) was deployed as a false nine in the first-half, an experiment that didn’t work and led to the introduction of Ronaldo after just 53 minutes.

“It was clear to see the second half we were better in the midfield with Eriksen down and Ronaldo up, then we created. It was a pity we didn’t score then. It all takes time, you cannot force it. He is one week in training, a little bit more now. He has to do more to get fit and this game will help him. He will be better next week.” – Erik ten Hag on Cristiano Ronaldo

Elsewhere, Scott McTominay (£5.0m) was deployed higher up the pitch than would normally be the case, while Marcus Rashford’s (£6.5m) position was the most advanced of all United players, as he racked up three shots in the box from his role on the wing.

He was also denied by a point-blank save from Robert Sanchez (£4.5m), something not captured by the stats due to a narrow offside call in the build-up.

“We have two strikers, maybe a third one with Rashford as well, you could see him as a striker. He had a really good pre-season on the left side and also today had two really good chances, coming in from the left side, so I think it was the right decision to do it like this. But we didn’t have the typical nine. He was not available today. If he was available – the striker (Martial) – I would have played him. Cristiano Ronaldo has now, for 10 days, (been) team training, that is too short for 90 minutes. That’s the reason he didn’t start.” – Erik ten Hag

A Brighton and Hove Albion win certainly wasn’t in the script, but tactician Graham Potter masterminded an excellent win for the Seagulls thanks to a Pascal Gross (£5.5m) brace.

The former Ingolstadt 04 midfielder created more chances per 90 minutes than any FPL midfielder bar De Bruyne and Eriksen last season, and may pick up a bit of Fantasy interest ahead of an appealing run of fixtures, which sees Brighton sit top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 2 to 8.

Danny Welbeck (£6.5m), meanwhile, led the line and was a real menace to his former club, with his runs down the channels causing problems for United’s backline throughout.

“It was a great performance and a deserved win. A great way to start. I thought we had an idea of how to attack and when we could we tried to press and put them under pressure. We were positive, brave and the boys gave everything. Our performance in the first-half was really strong. 

It’s not easy (losing Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella) because as the transfer fees suggests they were two really key players. In any team you miss good players. We have got a good group, they are ambitious they are not perfect but they give everything and when you’re a coach it gives you a chance.” – Graham Potter

Manchester United XI (4-3-3): de Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw (Malacia 90); Fred (Ronaldo 53), McTominay (van de Beek 78), Fernandes (Garnacho 90); Sancho (Elanga 90), Rashford, Eriksen

Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-2-1): Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; Gross, Mac Aallister, Caicedo, Trossard (Lamptey 75); March (Colwill 90+1), Lallana (Mwepu 76); Welbeck (Undav 90+5)

James Maddison (£8.0m) picked up from where he left off last season with an assist for Leicester City’s opener at the King Power.

Notably, the playmaker has now been directly involved in 14 Premier League goals for the Foxes in 2022 (seven goals and seven FPL assists), only five players have had a hand in more this calendar year.

Elsewhere, Timothy Castagne (£4.5m) and James Justin (£4.5m) were extremely advanced from their wing-back roles, racking up 27 and 17 final-third touches respectively, while £4.0m ‘keeper Danny Ward started in goal.

However, Leicester’s inability to keep clean sheets, plus away trips to Arsenal and Chelsea in the next three, means owners will likely be relying on saves to boost his points tally in the coming weeks.

The 3-5-1-1 formation also allowed Youri Tielemans (£6.5m) plenty of freedom to attack, and he responded by hitting the post, one of four shots he registered on the day.

Above: Youri Tielemans’ touch heatmap v Brentford in Gameweek 1

As for the visitors, Thomas Frank’s substitutions changed the game, with Josh Dasilva (£4.5m) coming on to net the equaliser after 86 minutes.

Brentford had a shot blocked which looped out to the budget midfielder, who then curled a peach of a strike inside the far post.

“I wanted to say something about Josh in the dressing room after the game. I almost got emotional just thinking about it. He’s been out for 18 months; almost a year then a setback and another setback. He had a very good pre-season. The last week he’s looked just that little bit sharper and I knew I wanted to put him on the pitch. In that moment – when he cut in – I just knew it was going to be a goal. I’ve seen that so many times from him. It’s a great moment and a great story.” – Thomas Frank on Josh Dasilva

Last season’s 14-goal top scorer Ivan Toney (£7.0m) was also on the scoresheet via a Rico Henry (£4.5m) assist, and is an intriguing differential given Brentford’s forthcoming fixtures, especially if they can add Mikkel Damsgaard into the mix.

“We stayed in the game and made a few changes at half-time. We wanted to go after them, but then conceded after two minutes. It was another worldie! I don’t know what they feed them here in Leicester! He’s (Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall) scored from 28 yards; a brilliant goal. We changed quickly after that to the 3-4-3 and grew into the game. We looked very fit, we worked very hard and showed the mentality that I know is in this squad. The difference between teams is small, so the mentality that the guys have is the difference. They showed it in abundance at the end – what a way to come back. It’s a deserved point and a fantastic comeback.” – Thomas Frank

Leicester City XI (3-5-1-1): Ward; Fofana, Evans, Amartey; Castagne, Dewsbury-Hall (Daka 73), Ndidi, Tielemans, Justin; Maddison; Vardy

Brentford XI (4-3-3): Raya; Hickey (Bech 84), Jansson, Mee (Lewis-Potter 59), Henry; Norgaard (Baptiste 73), Janelt, Jensen (Dasilva 59); Mbeumo, Wissa (Dervisoglu 84), Toney

FPL pre-season: Trossard hits hat-trick from wing-back role 2