WE are only days away from the return of the Premier League, which will kick off on Friday night when Arsenal travel to newly-promoted Brentford. 

Brentford are joined in the top flight by Norwich City and Watford, who are both returning after a year in the Championship. 

Manchester City will be aiming to retain their status as Premier League champions, but will be expecting a strong challenge from the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea, who beat Pep Guardiola's side in the Champions League final last year. 

Around the world, supporters will be marking the start of a new season by carefully creating a new Fantasy Premier League team. The likes of Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes and Mo Salah will be highly sought-after, but every team needs some more affordable players to balance the books. 

Here are some players who will score points and steady the ship for your fantasy team - without breaking the bank. 

Robert Sanchez (Goalkeeper, Brighton, £4.5 million) 

Aston Villa's Emiliano Martínez was the highest-scoring goalkeeper last season after keeping 15 clean sheets and picking up 186 points. Brighton's Sanchez scored 101 points, although he only made his debut in November so missed matches at the start of the season. 

His performances on the south coast were enough to earn him a call-up to Spain's Euro 2020 squad and, considering he is £1 million cheaper than Martínez, he will be a safe pair of hands for any FPL team. 

Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita is available for the same price and could be a worthwhile investment too. He picked up 124 points last season for The Eagles and has kept 25 clean sheets in his 92 Premier League matches. 

Somerset County Gazette:

Kostas Tsimikas (Defender, Liverpool, £4 million) 

The Greek left-back joined Liverpool in August 2020 but made only two appearances in the Premier League last season. Since then, he has impressed in Andy Robertson's absence in pre-season, getting an assist against Osasuna in a friendly at Anfield on Monday. 

Robertson has suffered ligament damage in his ankle which could rule him out of the first month of the season, meaning Tsimikas is likely to make his first Premier League start when Liverpool face Norwich on Saturday evening. 

He could gain some clean sheet points as part of a strong Liverpool team and - who knows? - may even replicate some of Robertson's marauding forward runs and reward players who select him with attacking returns. 

Somerset County Gazette:

Tyrone Mings (Defender, Aston Villa, £5 million) 

Matt Targett was Aston Villa’s highest-scoring defender last season, picking up 138 points, which he gained by assisting four goals and keeping plenty of clean sheets.

Jack Grealish’s transfer to Manchester City may reduce Targett's threat going forwards, which could make Mings - who scored twice for The Villans and scored 128 points last season - a sensible signing for the same £5 million fee. If he can avoid injury, the England centre-back will be ever-present at the heart of Villa’s defence, which conceded only 46 goals last season. 

Somerset County Gazette:

Jack Harrison (Midfielder, Leeds United, £6 million) 

Harrison’s Leeds teammate Raphinha has proved popular with Fantasy Premier League managers this season. The Brazilian winger is owned by 20.6% of FPL players, which is understandable given his relatively low price (£6.5 million) and his 133-point haul last season. 

Harrison, who joined Leeds permanently this summer for £11 million after spending three years at Elland Road on loan from Manchester City, is owned by comparatively few players (5.4%), despite scoring 27 more points last season and costing half a million less.

He was the sixth-highest scoring midfielder in the game last season and should improve further under Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds prepare for a second successive season in the Premier League. 

Somerset County Gazette:

Emile Smith-Rowe (Midfielder, Arsenal, £5.5 million) 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has shown faith in Smith-Rowe ahead of the new season, giving him a new long-term contract and the number 10 shirt vacated by Mesut Özil.

He is likely to be a regular starter for Arsenal this year as an attacking midfielder, so should improve on his 74 points from last season. At only £5.5 million, the 21-year-old could prove to be a shrewd investment.  

Somerset County Gazette:

Ivan Toney (Forward, Brentford, £6.5 million) 

Last season, Toney broke the record for the most goals scored in a single Championship season with 31 goals as the Bees gained promotion via the play-offs. 

He is owned by around 30% of FPL players, which makes sense given his clear goalscoring pedigree, but it remains to be seen how he and Brentford will perform in the top flight.

Saying that, Toney costs £1.5 million less than Danny Ings, the second most-owned forward, so must be worth taking a chance on. 

Somerset County Gazette: