Crystal Palace and Arsenal get the new Premier League season under way on Friday evening and, with it, the new Fantasy Premier League season.
I am still busy making last minute adjustments to my team. Will it be new boys Haaland or Darwin who will have the biggest influence up front? Or should I stick to tried and tested forwards like Harry Kane or Jamie Vardy?
The clever money seems to advise that it is a season to go big in defence; splash your cash on those high-value players like Trent Alexander-Arnold and João Cancelo. I’m not so sure. Too often in recent seasons, I have found myself almost willing my defence to fail because I have rivals who would benefit more by their success. This season, I am going for a wild-card defence that I can truly get behind.
Midfield? It’s still got to be Salah and Son.
My excitement for the season to start is palpable. At this moment in time, before the first ball has been kicked, before the first header has been made, and the first save completed, it is as though anything is possible. All my defenders will keep clean sheets. All my midfielders will supply glorious assists. All my attackers will score hat-tricks. The choices that I make in every position will be vindicated.
How long will this hope last?
Only until sometime shortly after kick-off in the Crystal Palace and Arsenal match, by which time my defender will have already let in two goals, my midfielder has been substituted, and my attacker left on the bench.
But then there will be next week to look forward to. And then the one after that. And the one after that.
Ultimately, it is the hope that kills.
© Donnie Blake
Donnie Blake prepares for the 2022-23 season with a few warm-up exercises.