Thursday, 15 August 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 1

This blogger has had an eventful summer, musing over Mourinho's return during a debut period in an office environment. It was some experience, working with a young and accomodating squad on projects, didn't at all feel like the academic chore it is on paper. Made the off-season whiz by like never before! In the football world, it has been the expected sea of change for most teams this summer, with a host of top clubs untying the purse strings to add to their squads, most of them under new management.

Here's wishing your (real and fantasy) team all the best for what remains of the (real and fantasy) transfer window, and good luck for the (real and fantasy) season!

Gameweek 1 fixtures

Liverpool vs Stoke
Arsenal vs Aston Villa
Norwich vs Everton
Sunderland vs Fulham
West Brom vs Southampton
West Ham vs Cardiff
Swansea vs Man United
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
Chelsea vs Hull City
Man City vs Newcastle
Chelsea vs Aston Villa

The Premium Players

Eden Hazard, Chelsea midfielder
Looking beyond third place

All the focus in the premium bracket is understandably on the Chelsea double gamers. The added squad depth makes them a force to be reckoned with, but also poses the problem of rotation which is often a cause of mild frustration for owners of players from top teams. That Chelsea's schedule isn't kind for very long (GW 2 - Old Trafford, GW 3 - Null, GW 4 - Goodison) means that their defenders and Cech are a risky investment at 6.5. The best picks are Eden Hazard (9.5) and Juan Mata (10.5), in that order. There is a playing time conundrum with the presence of Lukaku, Ba and Torres, and there are safer picks out there, but with a production of 7.13 points per 90 minutes last season and a strong pre-season performance that should guarantee at least one start, Romelu Lukaku (8.0) is definitely an option worth considering. If you do want someone from the backline at all costs, I'd suggest Cole (6.5).

Manchester United haven't added anybody of significant note in the summer so far. A terribly unkind schedule should put anyone off de Gea and defenders, and the points source in the team remains pretty much the same otherwise - Robin van Persie (14.0). The price might put off many managers, who will understandably be looking elsewhere for points. Wilfried Zaha (6.5) has been tipped by Ian Holloway to be a Manchester United legend, but it's wiser to wait and watch for now. The top Swansea options for the season are understandably Michu (9.0) and Bony (8.0), but there will be a better time to pick them than right now.

Manchester City have the kindest opening schedule among the top teams, and also pose big selection headaches. Edin Dzeko (7.5) has been the one getting praise from the manager to go with plenty of minutes in pre-season, and he has a record of turning minutes into goals. Tuck in. There is plenty of clean sheet potential in the first four weeks, making Joe Hart (6.5) and Pablo Zabaleta (6.0) worthy investments.

Olivier Giroud, Arsenal striker
Thirsty for goals

Aston Villa had the worst away defence last season and Olivier Giroud (8.5) is in the reckoning to take advantage after a very strong pre-season. Cazorla travelled to Ecuador with Spain and scored, but Theo Walcott (9.5) is cheaper. Arsenal had the league's second-best defensive record last season and North London derby aside, it's not exactly a horror schedule for the Gunners, making Szczesny and his defenders (all priced at 5.5) real options to begin with. As for Villa, Benteke (9.0) is a great player but the opening schedule is terribly unkind and is probably not worth the investment. Tonev (5.0) is a cheap option who is certain to start behind Benteke, and could be a good enabler or differential depending on the fixture.

Liverpool head into the new season under the same manager that finished the previous season for the first time since 2009, and normally that means improved performance. Simon Mignolet (5.5) made a whopping 155 saves and kept 11 clean sheets last season despite playing for relegation strugglers, and should do better with a defence that recorded 16 shutouts and a much better defensive record. Coutinho (9.0) is more pricey than we are used to, but that's what you pay to buy 6.82 points per 90 minutes. With suggestions that he could get the number 10 role, his value is undoubted. Daniel Sturridge (9.0) appears to be fit to start the season, and with a very strong 2013 showing like Coutinho's, he is also worth his price. Kolo Toure (5.0) is a cheap route into the Liverpool defence, though the schedule isn't terribly kind.

Tottenham Hotspur have been busybodies in the transfer market, and have snapped up a real gem in Roberto Soldado (9.5). He is good. He is very good. Like Arsenal, Tottenham have a favourable opening schedule apart from the derby. Lloris (6.5) is too pricey even with a good fixture list, but like Kolo Toure, Kaboul (5.0) offers a good road into a Spurs defence (with Vertonghen out for the short term) that should score points in the opening weeks. Bale (12.0) isn't fit to play, and may not be around very long at any rate.

The Other Guys

Roberto Martinez looks like he will implement his 3-4-3 system at Everton, which makes Seamus Coleman (5.0) and Leighton Baines (7.5) good options for the season as far as attacking points are concerned. Arouna Kone (7.0) is expected to start, but Martinez has reiterated the importance of all his strikers and with Jelavic (7.5) heading into the season in form, the safest route into the Toffees' attack is Kevin Mirallas (7.5). Norwich's Snodgrass (6.5) had excellent production for a debut season, and is a great pick for his price. Ricky van Wolfswinkel (7.0) is unproven in the league and probably isn't the best idea to begin the season with, but is definitely one to watch.

The first 5 weeks are good news for West Brom, whose schedule should provide joy for their attacking players. The obvious pick is Nicolas Anelka (5.5), someone fans of every team (or thereabouts) would've supported at one point. Lambert (7.5) had a strong debut season, is coming off the high of scoring England's winner with his first touch in international football and is generally a very good choice.

West Ham finished in the top half last season, which is very impressive for a promoted team. Much of it was down to the performance of Jaaskaleinen (5.5) and a strong start to the season from Nolan (7.0), who are good picks given a decent opening schedule. Bo-Kyung Kim (5.0) looks set to get a decent share of set pieces and play in an attacking role for Cardiff, and could be an important FPL squad member.

Sunderland escaped the drop under Paolo di Canio, and look set to avoid flirtation with danger a second time. The fixtures aren't too kind on the back line, but if you are set on picking a Mackem, go for Adam Johnson (7.0), who should continue behind the striker from last season. Sunderland should be much stingier at the back at home this season and Fulham are generally bad travellers, so it's probably not the best time to test the waters with Cottagers.

The Blogger's Team


  1. Also watch out for Cornelius :)

    1. He's worth a look but not a mention yet as he's a big injury doubt.

  2. how abt dembele ? with paulinho and sandro will he play a more ataacking role?

    1. A lot of that depends on whether Bale stays or goes. If he stays, it's hard to look beyond him and Lennon dominating two of the attacking midfield roles with Dembele, Holtby and Sigurdsson sharing minutes.

  3. Bale an injury worry for Game 1 right?

  4. whu should be the captain mata hazard or lukaku

  5. Begovic
    CRY (H)
    CAR (A)
    MUN (A)

    Substitute player Player information
    FUL (A)

    Substitute player Player information
    MUN (A)
    AVL (A)
    SWA (H)
    FUL (A)
    TOT (A)
    v. Wolfswinkel
    HUL (A)
    MUN (A)

    That's my team, I want to remove Lukaku, get Benteke, Remove Luiz get Shaw.
    I want to include Mata in my team. and if possible, in the later gameweeks, Soldado.
    What do you suggest?

    1. I already spent 4 points to remove Stekelenburg, Get begovic and remove Santi to get Coutinho


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