So, as FPL managers, we all feel the GW1 headache.
Injuries, pre-season and international competition all play a huge role in who makes our first 15-man squad.
Here, I’ll break down some of the most likely absentees from GW1, for various reasons.
So the first player on this list is African Cup of Nations runner-up Sadio Mané.
His AfCON campaign finished on the 19th July, just 3 weeks before the start of the season. He is already confirmed as absent from the Community Shield, and it’s possible that he won’t quite be match fit to play Norwich at Anfield.
Roberto Firmino was away with Brazil during their Copa America-winning summer, so it is likely that, he won’t be 100% match fit for their season opener.
The lack of match fitness, coupled with the fact that Liverpool have a competent back-up in the form of Divock Origi, could mean that Firmino isn’t risked on the opening day.
Another international absentee, and one of the most picked in FPL so far, at that.
Jimenez was given extra time off after helping Mexico to the Gold Cup in summer, and this, tied in with Europa League commitments, could mean he plays much less of Wolves’ league games.
Jimenez’s playing pattern could need some close scrutiny as the season comes up, especially as it’s possible that Wolves could have a UEL qualifier less than 3 days before their season opener.
Another Wolves player making the list, Doherty is still struggling with a knee injury.
On 12th July, the Shropshire Star reported that Doherty could miss up to three weeks with a knee ligament problem, meaning it could be touch-and-go as to whether he starts the season.
And, as before, Wolves also have Europa League to worry about, so it could mean more involvement for the likes of Ruben Vinagre or even Dion Sanderson, who is yet to receive a price.
Sanderson did turn in a good display against Manchester City, which could convince Nuno Espirito Santo to give him some more time out on the field.
Starting off the Manchester City segment of the article is Sergio Aguero, with the Argentine involved as his country finished third at the Copa America.
The Manchester City hitman, who notched 21 goals last season, could miss the start of the season due to a lack of match fitness, with him so far not being involved in pre-season for Pep Guardiola’s side.
The other prominent Manchester City forward also makes this list, with him also having been involved in Copa America.
Another one with extra holiday after summer tournaments, Jesus has also had no involvement with City’s pre-season thus far, leaving Raheem Sterling and Lucas Nmecha to anchor the central striker position.
In the same boat as Sadio Mane, but as a winner of AfCON, we have Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez.
Admittedly, he isn’t as crucial to City’s strongest lineup as Mané is to Liverpool’s, but he will still be a big miss, with just a day more to recover than Mané before his league campaign starts.
The Ivorian international was away on AfCON duty with his country during the summer. However, we all know there’s a lot more to his story than that.
The rumoured transfer away from Crystal Palace could be another reason why he doesn’t play. With Arsenal and Everton both interested, we’ll have to see where this one goes.
Either way, because of his holiday after the African Cup of Nations, he hasn’t played a minute of pre-season for his current employers thus far, and could take even more time to become re-acquainted with first-team football, if he gets his move.
Rounding things off, we have another Copa America winner, and a man rumoured to be Chelsea’s new number 10, in Willian.
In addition to his contribution to Brazil’s winning side, Willian missed the final with a minor injury. This could be a factor that Chelsea wish to monitor ahead of their trip to Old Trafford.
With his absence, it could mean that Pedro starts on the wing, alongside Christian Pulisic, who returned early from his holiday to join up with the Chelsea squad in Japan.
So these are just a few of the most popular players in FPL who could still be missing come 7pm on July 9th. Of course, it’s still worth monitoring their situations closely, in case anything changes, as it is with any player who could end up in your squads.