Time to assess Fulham. Their side looks RELATIVELY set, apart from of course the pending transfer of Clint Dempsey. My gut is that he will end up at Liverpool this year, especially seeing as he didn’t join Fulham’s pre-season matches in order to force through a move. But who else lines up where?…. Enter at your own peril.
Firstly, the formation. I’m tipping Fulham to maintain the 4-4-1-1 variation they play quite well under, regardless or not of whether Dempsey stays. There are a few individual battles over the ground, but the main fantasy relevant players are all getting gigs on the ground come the first game week.
Defence: A few positional battles here, with Riise and Hangeland penned in. Hughes is still a better defender than Senderos in my view, and Riether should win the positional battle ahead of Kelly. At 5.0 Riether could be a nice P.O.D!
Midfield: A little trickier here, as the departure of Danny Murphy opens up a wee bit of a hole in their CM’s. Diarra will be locked into one of the slots, but as for the rest, they are seemingly up for grabs. Dembele will start somewhere, and it’s his versatility that makes him a manager’s dream- (but a fantasy managers nightmare). Due to the lack of CM options I have him slotting in there, and have also locked Duff onto the right wing, where I am quite confident he will start. The left wing however, could go a number of ways. Rodallega has been talked up of playing there, but given his minimal involvement this pre-season I’m calling that talk nonsense. The most likely option seems to be Ruiz, the man who showed so much promise but has delivered so little. The Costa-Rican has flair, is this his year to shine? Time will tell. If he doesn’t fire, I’m tipping Dembele to move to the left and Sidwell to jump in to CM. This however, leaves the midfield with a lack of creativity.
Having said all that, none of the midfielders are potentially fantasy relevant anyway, with the exception of perhaps Dembele. Monitor him, because if Dempsey goes, he could be the man to step into “the hole” behind Petric, which would do wonders for his fantasy numbers. He will start regardless.
Forward: Dempsey (if he stays) would obviously continue playing in the hole. He scored 17 times last year, including THAT hat-trick when the Cottagers thumped the Toon 5-0. As an OOP prospect, he looks like a very tempting option…. If he stays!
The other man who may cause a splash is 31 year old forgotten Hamburg striker, Mladen Petric. For those of you who are aware, manager Martin Jol LOVES the dude- due to their previous connection when he managed Hamburg. This alone gives me reason to believe Petric will start, and given his hot streak so far this preseason (nabbing 4 goals), he could be a delicious prospect at a mere 6.0.
Well there you have it. Another team down, another day closer to the start of the PL. Just thought I’d mention here as Transfers continue up until Game Week 1, I will be tweaking these sides right up until the last day. Then, a few days before Lockout, Check the tab at the top of your screen to do with Projected Xi’s. All the updated teams will feature there (For example, Vlaar at CB for West Ham now Collins has gone)