With the new season of Barclays English Premier League only two days away, fantasy managers all over the world are surely looking forward to make the best use of the allotted money and start the campaign with flying colors. Here, we will look into the gameweek 1 fixtures, the teams and some recent injuries that you should keep in mind before selecting the players.
In the first match of this season, Manchester United is going to entertain Swansea City in Old Trafford. The Red Devils, with six wins out of as many matches in the preseason, is definitely the favorite. Along with this, remember that the United is going to face only Everton among last year’s top six in the first eight gameweeks and so, the managers can look for options on both ends of the pitch. On the other hand, Shelvey, an important player for Swansea last season with his attacking abilities, is priced at only 5.5 and provides a good option in the midfield for the managers. Besides, Swansea’s new signing Ecuador winger Jefferson Montero (6.0) can also be a good choice.
Last year’s Europa League qualifiers from the Premier League, Spurs and Everton, are going to start their campaign away from home. Spurs are going to face Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United and the hammers’ new signing, a prolific goal-scorer, Enner Valencia being injured, can expect a clean sheet this week. Everton is also looking for a perfect start against newcomers Leicester City. Though last year’s top defender Seamus Coleman is expected to sit out with an injury, one can easily go with Leighton Baines (7.0) who, with clean sheets on the cards, can also chalk up more points from set-pieces. Steven Naismith (5.0), in the absence of an injured Lukaku, and Nugent (5.5) from Leicester are budget-friendly frontline options for the managers.
The gunners will be facing last year’s surprise package Crystal Palace in the last match of Saturday. Alexis Sanchez, possibly the most hyped EPL-signing of the summer, is categorized as a midfielder and is priced at 10.5. With Ozil and Walcott missing the first few matches, the managers should choose between Sanchez, Ramsey (9.0) and Cazorla (8.5); the last one expecting to continue his good form he showed in last week’s Community Shield Final. The Eagles are going to be a dark horse once again. Ward (5.0), Puncheon (6.0) and ex-Cardiff forward Campbell (5.5) are some stand-out options from Crystal Palace.
In other matches on Saturday, newcomer Queens Park Rangers will face Hull City, Stoke City is going to welcome Aston Villa in Britannia Stadium and last year’s League Cup runner-up Sunderland will try to start the season with a win against West Bromwich Albion. Caulker (5.0), as a Cardiff City defender last season, racked up 122 points and hope to perform even better this year with QPR. The Hoops have also signed another ex-Cardiff player Mutch (5.5) and French striker Loic Remy (7.5), both having the potential to find the net with ease. Marco Arnautovich (6.5), arriving at Stoke City last summer, had a not-so-bad season with three goals and five assists while Charlie Adam (6.0) scored eight goals and provided four assists. Manchester City being the only tough opponent in the first eight gameweeks both the midfielders are going to be key players for the Potters. Aston Villa is going to rely on the centre-back Ron Vlaar (4.5) who had a brilliant World Cup run last month. Up front, in the absence of Benteke, Weimann and Agbonlahor, both priced at merely 5.5, provide good and cheap options for the fantasy managers. In Sunderland squad, Adam Johnson, an attacking midfielder at 6.5, is probably the only notable name who can prove to be worthy for a fantasy team.
On Sunday, we have two biggest matches of the week. In the first one, Liverpool is going to rejuvenate without last year’s highest scorer Suarez as they face Southampton. The match will be more interesting because of the Merseysiders’ three big summer transfers Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickey Lambert who happen to be last season’s three key assets for Southampton. Though Lallana and Lazar Markovic, another new signing of Liverpool, are not going to feature in the match due to injuries, the managers should look out for Lovren (5.5) and Lambert (7.5). However, keeping in mind that Liverpool will face three of last year’s top six in the next five weeks while Southampton has some easy fixtures ahead, the Saints’ new signing Tadic (7.5) or Pelle (7.5) might be better choices for the managers.
Defending champions Manchester City will start the season against Newcastle United. Afterwards, they are going to face Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in three of the next four gameweeks. With four main backline options doubtful, City has some tough task ahead and Yaya Toure (11.0), Dzeko (8.5) and Jovetic (8.0) have to deliver to see their team off to a flying start. For the Magpies, Siem de Jong is doubtful for the first match and the fantasy managers can opt for their new midfielder Cabella (7.5) instead.
The first week will come to an end when Chelsea meets Burnley in Turf Moor. The blues are expected to start with a clean sheet and having a defending option from them is not a bad idea. On the other end of the pitch, Hazard (10.0) and new signing Diego Costa (10.5), who has netted twice in the last friendly, are expensive but good choices.Nova Eleven: (3-4-3) De Gea (MNU); Azpilicueta (CHE), Debuchy (ARS), Baines (EVE); Hazard (CHE), Sanchez (ARS), Lamela (TOT), Johnson (SUN); Rooney (MNU), Soldado (TOT), Naismith (EVE). (82.5 m is spent and with the rest, one can buy 4 regular players to keep as substitutes) Under Nova’s radar: Kolarov (MNC), Ivanovic (CHE) , Rose (TOT), Ward (CRY), Flanagan (LIV), Mangala (MNC), Mata (MNU), Cazorla (ARS), Montero (SWA), Mutch (QPR), Cabella (NEW), Fabregas (CHE), Tadic (SOU), Eriksen (TOT), Herrera (MNU), Pelle (SOU), Adebayor (TOT), Costa (CHE). Surprise: James (MNU), Adam (STO), Campbell (CRY), Colback (NEW), Weimann (AVL), Long (HUL), Arnautovic (STO) , Nugent (LEI), Kane (TOT), Long (SOU).