Time is running out.
The new season begins with Brentford vs Arsenal this Friday night and your Dream Team needs to be in tip-top shape before kick-off.
When selecting your XI, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about the season as a whole and pick players with enduring quality
However, you shouldn’t overlook the schedule.
Targeting favourable fixtures doesn’t guarantee success but the fact is teams in the bottom half of the league concede more points than those at the top.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out five players we think could get off to a flyer this month…
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Michail Antonio (£3.5m)
As is always the case with West Ham’s bullish forward, you’ve got to cash in before his next injury setback.
The Hammers play Newcastle, Leicester and Crystal Palace before the end of August – a trio of fixtures that looks even more appealing when you consider the Foxes’ defensive injuries.
Antonio has looked in good touch in pre-season and, based on the last two years, has the capability to score 15+ goals in the Premier League if he stays fit throughout 2021/22.
Mohamed Salah (£6.0m)
Hardly a niche suggestion but the Egyptian looks like a must-have from the get-go.
Salah started last season with a hat-trick against Leeds and it’s not inconceivable he could do the same again as Liverpool travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich this Saturday.
Couple this favourable opener with a home game against Burnley and it’s difficult to look past the Reds’ top scorer in recent times – he’s scored 125 goals across the last four seasons!
Liverpool finish August with a stern test against Chelsea at Anfield but Salah could already have 20+ points by then.
James Maddison (£3.5m)
Leicester may be missing a few defenders but their attacking contingent is as strong as it has been in months ahead of the new campaign.
Their No10 is linked with a move to Arsenal (added motivation to perform perhaps?) but he could make hay while the sun shines at the King Power with Leicester taking on Wolves, West Ham and Norwich this month.
Maddison looked sharp in the Community Shield and with Harvey Barnes (£3.5m), Jamie Vardy (£4.0m), Patson Daka (£2.0m) and Kelechi Iheanacho (£4.0m) to aim for, he could lead the assist charts come September 1st.
Danny Ings (£3.5m)
Aston Villa have the most favourable fixtures on paper this month in the form of: Watford, Newcastle and Brentford.
Jack Grealish’s (£4.5m) departure is a spanner in the works but the squad has been strengthed overall with the arrival of Ings, Emi Buendia (£3.0m) and Leon Bailey (£3.0m).
The former Southampton striker scored 25 goals in all competitions two seasons ago and should relish the ambitious nature of Dean Smith’s football.
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Emiliano Martinez (£3.5m)
Villa’s fixtures are so appealing that it may be worth backing their assets at both ends of the pitch.
Only Edouard Mendy (£4.0m) and Ederson (£4.0m) collected more points than the Villains’ No1 last season.
Three clean sheets from his opening three games is unlikely but not impossible given the opposition – even two out of three would justify his selection.
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