FPL team reveal: Keep Bailey, Jesus as captain?

With the new Fantasy Premier League (FPL) season up and running, we’re welcoming back our team of Pro Pundits, Hall of Famers and guest contributors for the new campaign.

Our writers will be providing regular articles and team reveals throughout 2022/23, with only Premium Members able to access every single one.

Next up is FPL Family’s Sam.

Sam Pundit article 3

I seem to be unable to break the same starting habit every FPL season.

Poor Gameweek 1, good Gameweek 2 and poor Gameweek 3. In part, I think it’s a result of spending the whole summer overthinking. Once the season is a few Gameweeks in, I then find my rhythm, which is what I am hoping is about to happen heading into Gameweek 4!

By the time we reach Gameweek 4, we have 270 minutes of football under our belts as Fantasy managers. This means 270 minutes of learning and knowledge which we didn’t have on August 5, just ahead of the first ball being kicked. Pre-season displays are one thing but nothing beats Premier League matches to get an understanding of the form and readiness of each club for the new season.

What could have been

There have definitely been some ‘what could have been’ moments for me in these early weeks.

Ivan Toney (£7.2m) was a player that I owned throughout the whole of pre-season until the final matches before the season began, when I swapped him for Gabriel Jesus (£8.2m). Now whilst I don’t for a minute regret getting Arsenal’s in-form forward, I do regret not redistributing the budget to allow for Toney and Jesus. Going big up top was a strategy that I looked at throughout the summer, in some drafts having Harry Kane (£11.4m), Erling Haaland (£11.7m) and Toney.

However, the last few FPL seasons have made me cautious of investing too much in the forwards. Indeed, the 2021/22 campaign was the complete opposite, and for large chunks of the season, FPL managers invested as little as possible there.

However, now looking back, this is exactly the strategy I should have deployed. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Gameweeks 1-3

At the end of Gameweek 1, I did something that I never do: I made a transfer on Sunday night. I had made the decision to start the season with Kane. He had blanked and was dropping in price. Meanwhile, Haaland had returned and was rising in price. Of course, since then, Kane has kept pace.

Gameweek 2 went well but normally at the end of this Gameweek, I have two free transfers. This time, having used one after Gameweek 1, I only had one. With Aston Villa in poor form and Matty Cash (£4.9m) yellow flagged, I decided to sell him for Reece James (£6.1m). Doing this also meant avoiding a price drop for Cash and gaining the price rise for James. However, I also took a minus four to move out-of-form Marcus Rashford (£6.3m) to Gabriel Martinelli (£6.4m)

Of course, in Gameweek 3, Rashford found his shooting boots against Liverpool.

Gameweek 4 current team

Looking at my team for Gameweek 4 and I feel quietly optimistic about a good points return. I’m going to regret saying that, aren’t I! Ten of my 11 starting players have home games and the one player on the road is Kieran Trippier (£5.1m), who is at Wolves.

My three Liverpool assets are giving me a bit of a headache, though.

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) hasn’t yet shown us the quality performances that we know and expect from him. However, he has still returned 22 points, even with Liverpool sitting 16th in the table and winless. With Darwin Nunez (£9.0m) still suspended, Salah looks likely to be back in his favoured position, cutting in off the right flank, which adds to his appeal.

Liverpool’s Gameweek 4 fixture at home to Bournemouth is also enticing. In a normal season, this would be the sort of match that would see me automatically hand the armband to the Egyptian. However, this weekend, I’m not so sure.

I am expecting a bounce back from Klopp’s boys after Monday evening’s derby disappointment. I also expect the Anfield crowd to boost the team. All of this means that even with their poor form and lack of FPL returns, I am keeping hold of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) and Luis Diaz (£8.0m). I do feel like I am in a minority though in staying loyal. So far, Alexander-Arnold is the second most transferred out player and has been sold by over 314,000 managers. Likewise, Diaz is being sold en masse with 130,000+ managers parting with the midfielder since the Gameweek 3 deadline.

The home fixture against a Bournemouth side who have conceded seven without return in the last two weeks is enough to give my Liverpool boys one more week. However, if they blank in Gameweek 4, Alexander-Arnold and Diaz will find themselves on the FPL transfer list ahead of deadline day.

I also have the double-up defensively for Manchester City. Ederson (£5.5m) and Joao Cancelo (£7.1m) were fantastic for me in both Gameweek 1 and 2, supplementing their clean sheet points with save and/or bonus points. In Gameweek 3, however, they registered just one point between them.

City play Crystal Palace in Gameweek 4, a fixture in which I am not hugely optimistic about a clean sheet. However, Man City had the best defence in the league last season and holding these assets over the course of a full campaign should bring maximum points returns. Even if the clean sheet goes, Cancelo is always capable of an attacking contribution.

Gameweek 4 transfer plans

I actually think I am going to roll my transfer this week. This will give me two moves heading into the midweek action of Gameweek 5.

I would really like to bring in a Spurs player this weekend. However, I am concerned that Ivan Perisic (£5.5m) won’t start both Gameweek 4 and 5 due to the quick turnaround. It would also mean selling James, who I only brought in last week and who could haul against Leicester. James returned in both of the fixtures against the Foxes in the league last season, delivering 19 points from two assists, one clean sheet and five bonus points.

I would ideally like to upgrade Leon Bailey (£4.9m) to Rodrigo (£6.3m) or Pascal Gross (£5.7m) but with the latter two playing each other, now doesn’t feel like the right week – especially as Bailey assisted on a start in Gameweek 3 and scored off the bench in the League Cup on Tuesday evening.

I also can’t easily get to Kane or Dejan Kulusevski (£8.2m) without selling Haaland or Luis Diaz, something that I don’t want to do currently.

Therefore, I am planning to roll my transfer, unless Neale’s team news on Friday throws up any major surprises. Doing this means two free transfers to use on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Gameweek 5 deadline, when investing in Brighton, Leeds and Spurs will be high on my agenda.


As I mentioned earlier, in any other season I would automatically hand the armband to Salah this weekend. However, I am a little concerned by Liverpool’s poor early form. This is in direct contrast to Arsenal’s start, which sees them top of the league as the only team to have brought home all nine points. Jesus has been in great form, too, and therefore I’m leaning towards handing him the armband.

If I was braver, I would have captained Martinelli, who is in the best form of all my team, but likely it’ll be a shootout between Salah and Jesus to lead my team into Gameweek 4: at the moment Jesus is edging it, but that could still change ahead of the deadline.