QPR and Reading up next. QPR have again been active this market, and Reading have also made a few impressive signings to mark their return to the PL. But how will they line up?
QPR look set to adopt the 4-4-2 formation that worked so well for them last year. I could see them potentially utilising a 4-5-1 for the first week however, especially if Cisse doesn’t recover from his hamstring problem.
Fabio looks to be a lock in to the side with Taiwo returning to Italy. The only competition will come from Traore, and when Traore has played in the XI Fabio has been deployed at right back, so Fabio is assured a start. Onuoha looks favourite to start at Right-Back though, instead of former Villa Boy Luke Young but could fill in the centre also. Nelsen looks to be given game time at CB and have picked him to partner Ferdinand over Hill.
Hoilett was a fantastic signing by the club and should feature in a wide right role, while Taarabt looks likely to fill in on the left. Mackie will fill in on the flanks if need be. Given the formation, I think that Park and Diakite will control the centre of the ground, with Faurlin being back up in this area. Derry looks only likely to feature sparingly, as he is getting on in age, and would be the anchor if Hughes decided to employ a five man midfield.
Cisse and Zamora the obvious choices here, with Fulham veteran Andy Johnson looking like he’ll be for squad depth this year. If QPR use the one forward (most possibly during away games) I think Zamora will get the initial chance as Cisse will still be slightly underdone.
Overall, a few fantasy options should get game time. Fabio will start, and Park and Hoilett will too. Taarabt looks like a very tasty proposition, especially if QPR adopt a 4-5-1 position, as he will likely fill that deliciously rewarding fantasy position, “in the hole”.
Now, on to Reading! They , like QPR, look set to employ a 4-4-2 with the possibility of 4-5-1 being spread for away games.
The whole field is really a battleground, with new arrivals, injuries, and old favourites all disrupting the mix.
I’m tipping Gunter to get the nod over Cummings, as he has tremendous upside as a player. I’m also tipping Shorey to get the nod over Harte, although both veterans make strong cases to start. I’m not “shore” whether they brought Shorey for depth or to play in the XI, but I guess we will just have to wait and see. Pearce and Gorkss formed a fantastic partnership in the Championship last year, and even with the impending arrival of Mariappa, I think these two will be given first crack in the premiership. I couldn’t pick the defence with full confidence at all!
Things clear up a little here, with Guthrie getting a gig in the centre. His experience and skill should prove to be more than enough to hold down a spot. Leigertwood gets the gig over Karacan, but I don’t pick him with a great deal of confidence, it’s really a coin toss to see who partners Guthrie. Club captain McAnuff will start on a wing, while last years wing star Jimmy Kebe looks to miss with a hamstring , paving the way for McCleary to get first crack at the flank. Robson-Kanu makes a strong case for selection though.
Pogrebnyak. It’s all about him. He’ll lock down one role, and it looks likely that Hunt will partner him up front, given that last years striker Jason Roberts is still serving a suspension from the Championship.
So. Who’s fantasy relevant? Federici in goals will be first choice all season. Pogrebnyak will star, and with the double game week first up, he’s a very good choice. Guthrie is the other one who many are considering (including me). These three will all start and be locked into the best XI for the season. Don’t hesitate if you have any of these dudes!
Anyway, that’s another 2 teams down. Next time it’s Southampton and Stoke!