So with the international break at an end we very much welcome The Barclays Premier League back. Enough of discussing about Rooney and Sterling and more focusing what happens on the pitch in the ten Premier League games this gameweek has to offer.
Manchester City vs Tottenham
We start with Manchester City vs Tottenham. Almost 11 months ago Spurs lost 6-0 at The Etihad to pile pressure on then boss Andre Villas Boas. This is a game again I’d expect Man City to win. With Sergio Aguero’s (10.6M) 5 goals in 5 Premier League starts for City, he looks destined to carry that record going as Aguero always seems to come up with the goods against the biggest clubs. It’s also worth pointing out that David Silva (8.3M) has made more passes in the final third (192) than any other player in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season.
Tottenham haven’t started too badly this season too, being only 3 points off City. Give Pochettino credit he seems to have got a lot out of Lamela (6.3M) and even more so with Nacir Chadli (6.2M). Chadli is a minor doubt for this weekend, although I’d expect him to start. Tottenham have the joint second best defence so far this season (7) with only Southampton (5) letting in less. Goal scoring though could be a problem for Tottenham this season and this will no doubt be a big test for Pochettino’s men.
Key Player – Sergio Aguero
Score Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal vs Hull City
We move on to Arsenal vs Hull City. I always feel a lot of pity for Arsenal fans. The club seems to take one step forward and then go two steps back. With this week’s news that their fans pay the highest on average for a season ticket, they ought to be getting more for their money. Arsenal have also had a very unfortunate international break. With the likes of Ozil and co now out missing. Despite this Wilshere has come out publicly saying the loss of Ozil won’t change a lot. However with Chambers already suspended, Debuchy, Arteta, Ramsey, Giroud and other doubts this could be a frustrating afternoon for Arsenal against a usually stubborn Hull back line.
For me Hull had one of the best transfer windows, but their new players seem to not be gelling as well as their fans had hoped for. 3 of their next 4 games are all away including a trip to Liverpool. This will be a testing few weeks for Steve Bruce’s boys and the only player I would consider for my team is Jelavic (7.1M) with 4 goals in 7.
All in all this is a very hard one to predict, Arsenal still have quality available but no doubt a defeat or even a draw here, will start to increase tension at The Emirates.
Key Player – Alexis Sanchez (10M)
Score Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Hull City
Burnley vs West Ham
Next up is Burnley vs West Ham United. I really feel Burnley have to start picking points up now, before it’s too late. It’s simple no win in 7 is simply not good enough and admittedly Burnley don’t have the biggest infrastructure or finances, but I feel their owners should have spent money on experience and making sure goals weren’t as hard to come by. They’ve been unlucky with injuries to Vokes (5.4M) and Ings (6.1M), but even they are just potential and nothing more at present. I would maybe have a stab at Jutkiewicz in this game (5.4M), but 1 assist in 5 isn’t going to set my world alight unfortunately.
As for West Ham, I do feel like Big Sam doesn’t get the credit he deserves at West Ham. Let’s not forget he got the club promoted in the first place and the signing of Andy Carroll seemed to be more of David Gold’s than of Sam’s. This may not be true but this year’s signings look very solid and add another dimension to the side. It won’t be long and West Ham will be in The Olympic Stadium and I think in the next five to six years we could expect big things from them. With captain Mark Noble potentially coming back into the side and the inform Diafra Sakho (6.1M) with 3 goals in 3 games I’d expect an away win here.
Key Player - Diafra Sakho
Score Predcition: Burnley vs West Ham United 0-2
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea is the next game and after last season’s match up at Selhurst Park this should be another exciting London derby. New Palace manager Neil Warnock ended his unbeaten league record two weeks ago with defeat at The KC Stadium to Hull City. I do expect Palace to be there or thereabouts at the bottom, near the end of the season, but Palace’s terrific support seems to get them results when it matters just like Pulis last season.
However Palace are coming up against Mourinho’s Chelsea. In my opinion Chelsea have the best defence in Europe and when you have Hazard (8.8M), Fabregas (9.1M) and Costa (11.3M) in combination with it, it looks like the Chelsea of old. As good as Mourinho’s team when they were scoring 100 points plus. This league’s is Chelsea’s to lose and it seems Mourinho’s little ponies have stopped parking the bus and hit Silverstone. They are flying and this should be a Chelsea win.
Key Player – Branislav Ivanovic (7.9M)
Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Chelsea
Everton vs Aston Villa
Next up is Everton vs Aston Villa. I’m going to start off with Martinez. I don’t like criticising many people in the game of football believe it or not. But I really feel Martinez has made some strange decisions in regard to his rotation policies between The Europa League, League Cup and League games. Leaving Mirallas (6.9M) and Naismith (7.2M) on the bench against Palace baffled me and I’m not blaming everything on him as I believe he’s a top manager but unfortunately that has coincided with Everton’s defence, as it looks like what Wigan’s looked like when Martinez was manager there. Regardless of this Lukaku (9.3M) is a must for me as the next 5 games for Everton look very favourable. Remember form is temporary, class is permanent and Lukaku will be in most managers’ iTeams very shortly I can assure you.
As for Paul Lambert’s Villa, well to be honest I expected a lot worse from them, but credit needs to be given to Lambert and his team. When your best player is out injured it’s very easy to start blaming absentees, but they’ve just got on with things and with Benteke (7.7M) and a fresh Agbonlahor (6.3M) who didn’t feature at all against Manchester City a fortnight ago, things can only get better for Villa.
Key Player – Romelu Lukaku
Score Prediction: Everton 2-1 Aston Villa
Newcastle United vs Leicester City
It’s been a much needed rest from Premier League football for Alan Pardew. This is a manager that took Newcastle to 5th at one stage and even won manager of the year for it. Unfortunately the club have struggled with Cabaye leaving them and just as important Loic Remy (8.2M) who was their top scorer by far last season. A must win game for Newcastle. 52,000 fans don’t deserve to have witnessed what they’ve seen so far. Cisse (6.6M) has been a Godsend for them as of late and has kept Pardew in his job. He needs a win or surely he’s gone? Newcastle should be comfortably beating newly promoted clubs in the greatest respect to Leicester.
Leicester seems to have been like a yo-yo so far this season. They beat Manchester United and score 5 against them, but fail to score against Crystal Palace. But that’s The Premier League for you. I’ve always liked Nigel Pearson as a manager and I hope Leicester stick with him, because they are a well-run club and seem to have a lot going for them at present.
This is again a difficult one to predict, Newcastle needs a win, but Leicester can get goals. I will edge the score line at a low scoring home win. But this really could go either way.
Key Player – Papiss Cisse
Score Prediction – Newcastle United 1-0 Leicester City 0
Southampton vs Sunderland
This weekend sees an early start for Sunderland fans as they play at St Mary’s against an in form Southampton side. I will be at the game and it will be interesting to see how much trouble Sunderland will keep giving Southampton as Sunderland beat Southampton twice in cup action last season and drew both their games at The Stadium Of Light and on The South Coast.
I’m not going to go over whether or not it’s been a ‘revelation’ or a ‘miracle’ as I have read about Southampton’s start this year. Southampton has only played one of last year’s top 4 and that’s why Saints fans should not be carried away by the start they have had. However I will add I have been impressed by who Koeman has managed to bring in. Pelle (7.9M) looks a steal for The 8 million Pounds Saints paid Feyenord for him, especially with his goal in his debut for Italy and Dusan Tadic (5.8M) so far has looked an upgrade already on Adam Lallana.
As for Sunderland they know they are up against the meanest defence so far this season, but they also know Steven Fletcher (6.5M) is back and scored twice against Stoke in their last match. Connor Wickham (6.7M) also got onto the score sheet against The Potters and after being linked with a move to St Mary’s in the summer this is one he must be relishing.
I can’t see their being too many goals in this I expect this to be a nervy game for both sets of fans. I’m going with my heart with a narrow home win, but this wouldn’t surprise me if The Saints were to draw this.
Key Player – Graziano Pelle
Score Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Sunderland
Queens Park Rangers vs Liverpool
We move onto Sunday’s two games with QPR vs Liverpool up first. Both these sides have struggled for early season form and sit 20th and 9th retrospectfully.
Queens Park Rangers have won a game unlike Newcasltle and Burnley this season, but they’ve looked all at sea at times. Caulker (5.2M) and Ferdinand (5.1M) were brought in to strengthen the defence, but it seems to have done the opposite and with Ferdinand being fined from The FA this week it’s not making anything better off the pitch for Rangers. Saying all this they are coming up against a vulnerable and shaky defence and do have another home game against Aston Villa after this one, so Charlie Austin (5.9M) may be worth a punt.
As for Liverpool this is a game their fans will be desperate on winning. Many will back Liverpool here, but it all depends on the starting eleven for me. If Sterling (7.9M) is FiT enough and Sturridge (10.2M) returns I’d expect a few goals from Liverpool. Balotelli (9.2M) could really do with a goal to give him a confidence booster ahead of games such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.
Liverpool should be just too strong, but it all depends on Rodgers’ choices.
Key Player – Daniel Sturridge
Score Prediction: Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Liverpool
Stoke City vs Swansea City
The 4:00 game sees The Potters face Swansea. I wouldn’t expect a goal fest here unfortunately. Stoke have scored the least goals out of anyone out of the bottom 3 (6) but have conceded the same as 5th place Swansea (8).
Stoke for me do look a better side than the one Mark Hughes inherited over 12 months ago and seems to be a popular figure At The Britannia. It’s very easy to look at the standings of the table and say that Stoke have had a bad start, but they could infact go above Swansea with a victory here, which goes to show how tight the league is.
Swansea have really impressed me this season. I had Gary Monk down as the first manager to get the boot, how wrong could I have been? Swansea look strong all over the pitch and the signing of Sigurdsson (7M) has been a revelation for them. The form of Dyer (6M), Routledge (5.5M) and the suspended Jonjo Shelvey (5.7M) are all worth a mention. You know all 3 of them will always give 100% and have that bit of quality that could outdo Stoke here.
Won’t be a thriller, but it will be intriguing to see how attacking Swansea line up and whether they can hit them on the break.
Key Player - Wilfried Bony (8.6M)
Score Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Swansea City
West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester United
The final game of the weekend sees Manchester United visit The Hawthorns in a big game for both. United could be by Monday evening back in mid-table if results go against them and West Brom could be in the bottom 5. Let’s hope this is as good as Fergusons last ever match as United manager when it finished 4-4 here.
Berahino (6.3M) seems to be the shining star for West Brom and without him Alan Irvine could have been an early dismissal. For me the best signing has been Joleon Lescott (5.1M), showing his experience with clean sheets against Tottenham and Burnley. West Brom might as well go for this as Berahino really could cause major issues for an unsettled back four.
For me Manchester United will be ‘WELBECK’ in the top four this season. They seem to not only have a stronger squad than last season, but knowing that goals shouldn’t be a problem for them when they need it, just like The United of old. I would avoid any United defenders though, not only because of how their defence have fared so far, but because they face Chelsea and Manchester City in their next two encounters after this one.
Key Player – Angel Di Maria (9.1M)
Thanks for taking time to read this, we’re coming to a stage where points are vital in Fantasy terms and in The Premier League, so expect another great weekend in the best league in the world.
Well, what a gameweek it was last week! Two score draw derby’s, a fantastic free kick by Gerrard and a jager bomb by jagielka (you like what I did there). Then there’s Rooneys red card - he will now sit out the next 3 games against Everton, West brom and Chelsea. Many of you, like me, may have been looking to captain Rooney in this weekends game against Everton. I’m going to give you managers some other players to ponder over, excluding the likes of Mr Costa and Mr Aguero.
Becoming increasingly popular among Fantasy iTeam managers and I can see why… He continued his impressive start to the season with a goal against QPR, that’s his fourth in six games. And with an assist to his name as well, he’s scored 35 points already this season. With his value at 7.7m, he could be the man to replace Rooney, especially if you take into account the Saints next 3 fixtures - after the away trip to White Hart Lane this weekend, Southampton have some favourable games in Sunderland (h) Stoke (h) Hull (a). I expect this guys value to rise along with his points total in the coming weeks.
Another cheap option, if you’re struggling to find funds to get the more expensive players into your teams, Ulloa and Pellé should free up a load of cash. Despite a quiet game against Palace, Ulloa has five goals in six games to his name, that’s a pretty good start to life in the EPL. And with Leicester’s next 3 games looking like this - Burnley (h) Newcastle (A) Swansea (a), he could, and probably will add to his already impressive tally of 37 points. With a FIT value of just 6.6m, he should be given some serious thought
Although he didn’t get a goal or an assist against Everton, he’s been a real handful for Premier League defenders this year. I love watching this guy running with the ball at his feet - he is lightning quick and has bags of talent to go with that impressive speed he possesses, and with Liverpool’s next 3 games to take into account, he’s a must have. Starting with West Brom (h) QPR (a) and Hull (h), he’s going to be one of the players, if not the player to kick start Liverpool’s sluggish start to the season. Surely he will add to his already impressive tally of 32 points from the opening six games FIT value 7.7
He’s really impressed me this season so far. He scored his fourth goal in five starts against my beloved Arsenal in the north London derby (dam you Nacer) last weekend and has got off to a flyer with 34 points so far this season. His confidence will be sky high going into the next Spurs game against the Saints this weekend, and apart from the tricky Manchester City game after this weekend, Spurs will host games up against Newcastle and Stoke with an away trip to Villa park sandwiched in-between. Chadli should be on your short-list at the very least - FIT value 6.0.
Arguably the riskier one of my picks, however, a great 2 goal performance against Hull City has lead him to being my number 5. When he’s on form he’s a delight for us fantasy football managers, and if you’re trying to catch up with the early pacesetters on FIT and in your respective mini leagues, he could very well be worth a punt. With games against Villa,(a fixture in which he scored 3 times in last season) Spurs and West Ham next, along with a Manchester derby, there’s a good chance of him adding to his tally of 23 points. There is the small matter of Jovetic’s potential return to action this weekend and after his impressive start to the season before injury, there’s always the chance he will walk straight back into the team. Saying that, I do feel Dzeko suits a partnership with Aguero or Jovetic more then they suit each other, as I feel they both have a tendency to drift back a little in search of the ball. FIT value 9.2m.
So there you go people, some of my top picks of players to transfer in and captain to ponder and lookout for in the upcoming weeks. It’s a tough world this fantasy football business, us budding Mourinho’s and Wenger wannabes live in it every Saturday and Sunday. You can find me in front of the TV, screaming and shouting, nine times out of ten its abuse, not in joy, as the news comes though that one of picks has just forgotten to turn up with his shooting boots on the day I put him in my team .
I wish you all luck with whoever you choose to captain and transfer in, not only this week but for the rest of the season
TEAM OF THE WEEK GW5 (values subject to change)
GK Tom Heaton - 7 pts - 4.4m
DEF Kieron Gibbs - 10 pts - 6.4m
DEF Winston Reid - 8 pts - 5.1m
DEF Ben Mee - 7 pts - 4.3m
MID Mesut Ozil - 11 pts - 7.8m
MID Angel Di Maria - 11 pts - 8.7m
MID Niko Kranjcar - 8 pts - 4.9m
MID Yannick Bolasie - 8 pts – 5.0m
FOR James Vardy - 19 pts - 5.6m
FOR Leonardo Ulloa - 12 pts - 6.5m
FOR Papiss Cisse - 11 pts – 6.8m
A huge well done to all our FiT Prize winners. The manager of the week for gameweek 5 was Ricky Woolridge. Key to victory was the astute signing of Jamie Vardy - who scored a massive 19 points, assisting 4 and scoring 1. Schurrle then climbed off the bench to seal the weekly win. Ricky now sits 3rd in the monthly World Championship - good luck doing the double..
Our other winners:
GW5 F/c Comp Challenge - Mick McHale
GW5 F/c Comp Pro - Robert Stevens
GW5 FiT Quiz - 1st place - Chazin Brahma
This following data is collated by us here at FiT, we use the most reliable sources we can for this information, but we cannot guarantee it will be 100% accurate as sometimes countries and managers don’t give accurate information about their players. For up to the minute injury updates, follow @FantasyiTeam on Twitter.
Injuries: (Updated 12pm 25/09/14)
Arsenal - Gnabry, Walcott, Giroud, Debuchy, Sanogo, Monreal
Aston Villa - Benteke, Kozak, Vlaar
Burnley - Vokes, Taylor, Ings
Everton – Barkley
Hull City – Snodgrass
Leicester – Upson
Liverpool - Flanagan, Sturridge, Can, Johnson, Allen
Man City - Nasri, Fernando
Man Utd - Carrick, Fellaini, Lingard, Jones, Young, James
Newcastle United - Santon, R Taylor, Aarons, De Jong, Ferreyra, Gutierrez
QPR - Faurlin, Barton, Mutch
Southampton - Rodriguez, Gallagher, Isgrove, Ward-Prowse
Stoke - Cameron, Odemwingie
Swansea - Donnely, Amat, Britton
Tottenham - Walker
West Ham - Carroll, Nolan, Kouyate, O’Brien, Jarvis
Doubts: (Updated 12pm 25/09/14)
Chelsea - Ramires
Crystal Palace - Chamakh
Everton - Pienaar, Coleman
Liverpool - Henderson, Coutinho
Man City - Jovetic
Man Utd - Smalling, Evans
Newcastle - Tiote
QPR - Sandro, Taarabt, Kranjcar
Southampton - Yoshida
Stoke - Walters
Sunderland - Giaccherini, Coates, Fletcher
Swansea - Tiendalli
West Brom – Ideye
In GW6 we upped the maximum H2H limit to 400k and the team limit to 15. Your 2 free GW6 transfers were allocated at 4pm Monday, and you have the option to purchase a 3rd. You will receive your GW7 transfers at 4pm on the 30th September.
Best of luck in week 5.
Welcome one and all to your weekly dose of assessments, summaries and predictions. It’s fair to say the season has thrown up a few surprises to far, so trying to put together a reasoned forecast for this weekend is going to be difficult. Aside from Chelsea, and possibly Arsenal - it’s probably fair to say no one has really got going yet so judging form and predicting results has a feel of pin the tail on the donkey about it. I could sit here and tell you to get your iTeams loaded with Chelsea defenders, or Leicester attackers, but truth be told you can’t say with any certainty that anyone - aside from possibly Costa, should be a shoe-in for your line ups. To make things even more difficult - this gameweek most of the big boys all play early, and just for that extra headache – we have the small matter of a couple of local derbies thrown into the mix. In regards to the big decision of who to make your talisman it already seems a long time ago when it was just the default option to leave Suarez as your captain to virtually guarantee points. This season we separate the men from the boys as we have to gamble on who brings home the double points. At this early stage it already looks a safe assumption to hand Di Maria the armband, the ex-Real Madrid forward has had an impressive start to his Old Trafford life and looks set to be heavily involved in Manchester United’s goal return this season.
So…. Onto the seemingly impossible job of dissecting the games and trying to figure out who might get some points. The Early kick off sees the Merseyside Derby roll into town. If there was ever a fixture that throws the form book out of the window - this is it. Only the form book isn’t written yet, and there isn’t a window to throw it out of either. There is however a massive, gaping hole - in both North West Clubs defences. Both have been horrendous at the back so far - Everton have conceded a mere 13 and Liverpool just the 8. Expect therefore this one to finish 0-0. Both clubs need a win to kickstart what has been a turgid beginning to a season where much was hoped for following record investment. Liverpool hope to have Daniel Sturridge back in contention following his much publicised injury with England and he could be the difference in what I think will be the usual tense, tight game. The match might come too soon for Seamus Coleman, which could see John Stones played out of position again, which is a worrying prospect when you put Raheem Sterling into the opposition’s line up. Naismith has started brightly for the visitors and will fancy his chances against a Liverpool back line which has a mistake or 2 in it almost every game.
Prediction : 2-1
One to Watch : Raheem Sterling
Unusually for Saturday at 3 o’clock - Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all play, which means we will have to gamble on who to transfer in, as you won’t be able to get everyone you want. Fancy Falcao to get off the mark? Yaya to finally get going? Stick with trusty old Costa? (I say old… I’m not having he’s 25, he’s in his late 30’s at least. Paper round must have been tricky up to Christ the Redeemer every day tho). As I said earlier there is no way to predict who will guarantee the points, and being so early in the season - no one has enough cash in the bank to afford a midfield of Fabregas, Di Maria and Silva with Falcao and Costa up top. These are the defining games to pull clear in your mini leagues, or make up ground when you failed to captain Costa when he got the hat-trick the other week (can’t have just been me surely?).
Chelsea host Aston Villa, which on paper should be a demolition. Chelsea are red hot, got a point at the Champions last time out and face a Villa team bereft of most of their players due to an outbreak of illness at the club. Costa and Fabregas have been heavy point scorers so far and I expect them to get amongst the goals again. Villa defended well at Anfield recently but facing Chelsea is a whole different proposition, especially if most of them are in bed watching on the TV. Benteke might be nearing a return, but with no football in months – it’s surely too risky to throw him straight back in.
Prediction : 3-0
One to Watch : Diego Costa
Crystal Palace v Leicester brings together the 2 clubs surely nobody had on their accumulators last weekend. Palace won with relative ease at Goodison (so much for the Pulis hangover huh?) and Leicester produced the performance of the season so far when they smashed 5 against Man United. Ulloa looks a brilliant buy for the Foxes with 5 in 5 so far, and Jamie Vardy might aswell retire now as he will never replicate a performance like his last. A goal and 4 (that’s FOUR) assists. Anyone who captained him - I recommend you put tonight’s lottery results on quick. Leicester look to have the form, and their red hot attack might be too much for The Eagles but then Palace have Jason Puncheon. Enough said.
Prediction : 1-1
One to Watch : Leonardo Ulloa
Hull City v Manchester City next up. Easy away win right? I doubt it, not this season anyway. I imagine City will have too much for Hull in the end, but you just never know. If Yaya could forget about his birthday cake and remember he’s a footballer, then his battle in the middle against Huddlestone could be titanic. Jovetic might still be unavailable, so Dzeko could get another chance to get his league season started. Jelavic for the Tigers looks to have found his early Everton form, and the unknown Hernandez alongside him gave us a glimpse of his capabilities on his debut. They would probably be too much for Liverpool or Man Utd, but City have a much harder core.
Prediction : 1-2
One to Watch : Sergio Aguero
Manchester United v West Ham will be a game both can’t wait to get started, but for very different reasons. West Ham produced a brilliant display against Liverpool running out easy winners after a blistering start. Stewart Downing running rings around Steven Gerrard? No you didn’t imagine it – it actually happened. United started well themselves but a combination of questionable refereeing and self capitulation, found themselves blitzed by a 5 star Leicester. No better way to banish the record of surrendering a 2 goal lead, to then lose, for the first time in 800 odd games than playing a Big Sam team eh. Easy. I expect a response from United and I expect one of the many superstars to be leading the charge. I’m going for Falcao, he’s brilliant and class is permanent isn’t it?
Prediction : 2-0
One to Watch : Falcao
Southampton v QPR brings Harry Redknapp back to the only place where he has really failed as a manager. Expect boos, and goals, but mainly boos. QPR look very nervous at the back and Southampton have taken the idea of them fighting relegation, and laughed in its face. Schneiderlin and Wanyama have added goals to their growing array of attributes this season, and with the impressive Pelle scoring and assisting in numbers already – this could be a long afternoon for Rio and Caulker. Clyne is the highest scoring defender so far this season in FiT, but in fairness any of the Saints backline are worth investing in. If I was to pick a banker of the weekend, this is the one. Sorry Rangers fans!
Prediction : 2-0
One to Watch : Morgan Schneiderlin
Sunderland v Swansea see’s this season’s draw specialists host the team yet to share points this term. Dyer and Routledge have started really well and could see Sunderland’s winless run extended into October. Gylfi Sigurdsson is probably in most iTeams by now after his avalanche of assists in the first few games, so there will be plenty of managers hoping he gets back on the points trail here. No Sunderland striker has found the net this season yet – a case of same story different season for the Black Cats in that regard. I’m going for a draw, although Connor Wickham has to get started soon surely? Unless of course, he decides to save his goals until his team are in danger of going down again.
Prediction : 1-1
One to Watch : Nathan Dyer
Saturday’s late kick off serves up the small matter of the North London Derby. What started so well for Spurs has fallen away in the last few games, so a visit to their bitter rivals will not seem an attractive option. Arsenal on the other hand have started the season unbeaten and are averaging 2 goals a game already. Before you load your team with Arsenal players – it’s worth noting they play the penultimate game next week, and it’s away at Chelsea. FiT favourites Ramsey and Sanchez could prove the difference for Arsenal, with the visitors looking lightweight up front. Remember when Spurs spent £26m on Roberto Soldado to score their goals? Spurs need to rediscover the winning touch quickly but I wouldn’t bank on it starting here. With Theo Walcott nearing a return the likes of Ozil, Cazorla and Welbeck will be keen to keep their names on the teamsheet. Home win for me.
Prediction : 2-0
One to Watch : Alexis Sanchez
The solitary game on Sunday see’s the… err… blockbuster clash between West Brom and Burnley. The Baggies finally got their first 3 points of the season at Tottenham last weekend, scoring their first goal since the opening weekend in the process. They take on a Burnley side looking to keep a 4th consecutive clean sheet, who have failed to find the net themselves since the opening weekend of the season. Expect chances therefore to be few and far between. The form book says this is a nailed on 0-0 draw but since the Premier League doesn’t do it by the book, Burnley will probably win 5-3. I’m going for the former, but the latter is just as likely.
Prediction : 0-0
One to Watch : Saido Berahino
Monday Night Football gives us Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher playing with formations and arguing about who was the better player between Scholes and Gerrard again this week, as Stoke City host a winless and out-of-sorts Newcastle United. Goals might be at a premium again in this one with Stoke scoring just 4 in 5 games and Newcastle failing to find the bag in 3 of their 5. The campaign to remove Alan Pardew from his position softened a little with Papiss Cisse coming back from injury and off the bench to grab 2 goals in the last game, and if he can regain the sort of form he showed during his first few games on Tyneside – Newcastle’s season could be about to change. As for Stoke, I’m one of the people who believes Bojan will come good having watched him strut around with swagger and grace alongside Messi not so long ago. Peter Crouch found some form last time and I’ll go with him to be the difference in this one.
Prediction : 2-1
One to Watch : Peter Crouch
So that’s your lot, thanks for tuning in - and remember, this is the first week in a long time where we do not see any of what you might call the ‘big sides’ playing on Sunday, so the main choices for transfers and captains pick will have to be made before 2.50pm. Choose wisely, this could be the week where you pull clear in your mini league or lose ground because your gamble backfired. Good luck and if you do make the wrong choice, just remember - there’s always next week.
Instead of dwelling on last weekends action and tell you what has already happened, I will focus on this upcoming gameweek, with my preview of gameweek 5.
QPR vs Stoke:
This weeks early kick off sees QPR entertain Stoke. From a fantasy football perspective, both teams don’t offer much potential, but, Mame Biram Diouf has looked lively in his first few games for Stoke and he scored the winner against Man City in gameweek 3. He could well be a bargain at £5.8m, especially considering Stoke have some favourable fixtures coming up in the next few gameweeks, as they face the likes of Newcastle, Sunderland, Swansea and West Ham.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal:
Aston Villa have made a great start to the season and currently sit second in the table on 10 points. Their defence has been particularly impressive with 3 clean sheets out of 4, but considering they have games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Everton coming up, it may be a wise decision to remove any Villa players from your iTeam. As for Arsenal, they haven’t been at their full-flowing best so far, with just one win from four. However, Aaron Ramsey has started from where he left off last season with 2 goals and and an assist to his name already and is looking like an essential player for our fantasy iTeams.
Burnley vs Sunderland:
Both Burnley and Sunderland have made pretty poor starts to the Premier League campaign and both teams are still without a win. Burnley have struggled to find the back of the net so far, managing just one goal. The Clarets need Danny Ings to start banging the goals in, like he did in the Championship last year. Neither team offer much in the way of fantasy potential so I would probably avoid investing in any of their players.
Newcastle vs Hull:
Newcastle have made a shocking start to the season and currently sit bottom of the table, so it’s probably best to stay away from any Newcastle players at the moment. As for Hull, I think they have made some great signings over the summer with Steve Bruce adding the likes of Gaston Ramirez, Ben Arfa, Michael Dawson and Abel Hernandez to the Tigers squad. I’m backing Hull to come away with a narrow victory and add further misery to Newcastle.
Swansea vs Southampton:
Both teams are playing pretty well at the moment, especially Swansea who have won 3 games so far. Gylfi Sigurdsson is extremely good value at £6.6m after his flying start to the campaign. Surprisingly, Southampton are looking pretty good despite the departures of most of their key players over the summer. Also, the Saints have an easy run of fixtures coming up so investment in the Koeman’s team looks like a viable tactic. Graziano Pelle is in fine form with 3 goals in his last 2 games and Dusan Tadic has 2 assists to his name already and is priced at just £5.7m. Also, watch out for Southampton’s new winger Sadio Mane who scored 45 goals and grabbed 32 assists in 87 appearances for his old club Red Bull Salzburg. He is priced at just £5.4m.
West Ham vs Liverpool:
I very much doubt Liverpool will be able to repeat last years second place finish again this season, especially now 2013/14 golden boot winner Luis Suarez has departed Anfield. I think it will be a 4th place finish at best for the Reds, who have had a mixed start to the season with two victories against Spurs and Southampton, but defeats away to Man City and at home to Villa. Raheem Sterling has been in great form so far with 2 goals and an assist to his name and considering Liverpool have a good run of fixtures coming up, the England Youngster looks like a good investment at £7.6m. This will be a close game, but I think Liverpool will just be too strong for the Hammers.
Leicester vs Man United:
Man United got their first win of the season at the weekend, albeit against a fairly weak QPR side. United’s new signings looked the part and things are starting to look good for Louis Van Gaal and his new-look team. However, they face much tougher tests in weeks to come with tricky encounters against Everton, Chelsea and Man City coming up. Leicester have made a very good start to the season with draws against Everton and Arsenal and a 1-0 victory away at Stoke. The Foxes won’t make it easy for United, but I think the Red Devils will just edge it.
Tottenham vs West Brom:
Tottenham are looking good under Pochettino, but Spurs never seem to do well against the big teams, as proven by a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in gameweek 3. Nevertheless, they still provide us with a few options for our iTeams in the likes of Erisken, Lamela and Chadli. West Brom have made an awful start to the season and are without a win so far, so this should be a comfortable win for Tottenham.
Everton vs Crystal Palace:
This should be a relatively easy game for Everton against a Palace side without a win so far this season. Steven Naismith is on fire at the moment, with 3 goals in 4 and is a bargain at just £7.0m. Mirallas and Lukaku are also in a good run of form with 3 goals and an assist between them so far. Crystal Palace don’t offer much fantasy football potential but Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon are ones to look out for.
Man City vs Chelsea:
What a game this is so early on in the season! Both teams will no doubt be challenging for the title come the end of the season and this game could have some say as to who will win the title. Chelsea’s Diego Costa is fast becoming the new Suarez with 7 goals in 4 games and he’s not the only new Chelsea signing to have made a cracking start to the season, with Cesc Fabregas grabbing 6 assists in just 4 games. As for City, they have made a fairly disappointing start to the season by their standards, with 5 points already dropped and will no doubt want to make up for that with a win against Chelsea.
Top 3 captain picks this week:
1. Diego Costa - The Spaniard has 7 goals in 4 and faces a City side with just one clean sheet so far this season.
2. Wayne Rooney - 2 goals and an assist to his name so far, he squares up to a Leicester defence who have conceded 5 goals so far.
3. Steven Naismith - The Scotsman has scored 3 goals in 4 and the Toffees face a Palace side who have conceded an average of two goals per game so far.
Nacer Chadli - The Belgian is in fine form at the moment and has 3 goals in 3. He faces a West Brom side who have conceded 7 goals already this season.
Top 5 players to watch over the next few gameweeks:
Ryan Bertrand - Southampton have made a very good start to the season and they are looking pretty solid defensively with two clean sheets so far. Ryan Bertrand got an assist and a clean sheet at the weekend and considering Southampton have Swansea, QPR, Sunderland and Stoke coming up, he is one to watch.
Kieran Trippier - Burnley have managed back to back clean sheets in the last two gameweeks and Kieran Trippier certainly likes to get forward, proven by his goal and 12 assists for Burnley in the Championship last season. Furthermore, Burnley have fixtures on their side with Sunderland, West Brom, Leicester and West Ham in the next four.
Nacer Chadli - Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival has rejuvenated Nacer Chadli as a fantasy football prospect, with 3 goals in as many games for Spurs and with a price tag of just £5.9m, the Belgian could well be a smart investment.
Graziano Pelle - Southampton’s summer signing has settled in very quickly at St Mary’s and has scored 3 goals in his last 2 games and at just £7.5m he has Swansea, QPR, Sunderland and Stoke coming up.
Leonardo Ulloa - Leicester’s summer signing from Brighton took his tally to three goals this season at the weekend - having already netted against Everton and Arsenal. Considering he is priced at just £6.3m and has Crystal Palace, Burnley, Newcastle and Swansea coming up, he’s one to watch out for.
Thank you for taking the time to read and best of luck for the rest of the season.