Football is back (or soccer, if you must), and if you're an Arsenal supporter like yours truly, there's already reason for the gnashing of teeth and the wringing of hands. The Premier League season has kicked off with its usual share of intrigue and excitement, and the league's official app has a brand new look for 2016-17 as well.
Along with the usual stats, updates, news, and videos, the free Premier League app has also incorporated the official fantasy football game of the Premier League into its features. Sponsored by EA Sports, the game is free to play and easy for anyone to join.
Let's walk through the steps you'll need to follow to get started with Fantasy Premier League before the season is too far gone.
Sign up for an account
While you can use services like Facebook, Google, or Twitter to sign in, you'll need to register an email address, create a password, and provide some basic information like name, birthdate, and country of residence to get going.
You'll also select a favorite Premier League club or clubs and give permissions about what email and Premier League partner communications you'd like to receive. Everything is opt-in, which is nice.
Pick a team name
It wouldn't do for your fantasy football team to be running around the imaginary pitch without a name for its supporters to chant, so you've got to pick a name for your squad. Simply enter it into the text box, check off the fact that you've read (wink, wink) and agreed to the terms and conditions, and off you go.
Choose your players
Success in Fantasy Premier League is all about identifying players you think will perform while giving you bang for your buck ... er, pound. That's because you'll be given a bankroll of 100 million pounds with which to fill out your roster, which must consists of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders, and three forwards.
Tapping on an empty spot on your team brings up a list of all players eligible at that position. From this screen, a wealth of information is available to help you make your decision, including the players' form, price, fantasy points so far, and the upcoming games his real life team plays over the next three weeks. You can also sort all players by price, club, or form.
Join a league ... or leagues
You've got your own virtual club, now all that's left to do is find it some rivals. You do that by joining leagues, either public (pitting your squad against a number of random players from all over the world) or private (where you are competing against a handful of other fantasy owners, presumably ones you know in real life).
Fantasy Premier League allows you to enter your club in up to 15 private and three public leagues. Going for the maximum number of leagues allows you to enjoy the sweet taste of victory many times over, but also runs the risk of the agony of defeat times ... well, 18.
You also have the option to choose from classic scoring -- or rotisserie style, as it's known in the U.S. -- or head-to-head scoring. Regardless of the decisions you make in this area, you'll be able to track how you're faring in all the leagues you join from a single screen within the Premier League app.
And that's all you need to know to get started. The rest is up to you and whether you seriously are smarter and savvier than Arsene Wenger or not. Best of luck, and enjoy the season.