So we’re finally here. For weeks now we’ve been looking at our teams, going to bed at night thinking they were as good as they could ever be. The next day we wake up, make thirty three changes, and go back to sleep that night thinking the same thing. This vicious cycle continues for a while, until we finally have to make a choice and stick with it. That time gentlemen, is today. D-Day.
It’s probably important to mention that unlike AFL, we don’t get to know the teams before lockout. This is normally the bane of most fantasy coaches lives, and therefore picking someone with high job security is very very important! So who will front up this saturday night for their teams?
As some of you might know, over the course of the last few weeks I’ve been releasing my projected XI’s. Of course in some cases (Arsenal and Man Utd), signings have been made and injuries sustained that would change the XI’s I predicted. So prepare yourselves for a bumper edition of Seags’ Saturday Selections.
Arsenal v Sunderland
Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs;
Arteta, Cazorla, Diaby;
Walcott Giroud Podolski.
Walcott may struggle to overcome a thigh injury, while Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain have been ruled out. Cazorla is also in doubt after playing a friendly for Spain mid week, but I expect him to play and be subbed out later. Song is also doubtful given his impending transfer and a slight niggle.
Mignolet; O’Shea, Cuellar, Kilgallon, Richardson; Larsson Cattermole Gardner McClean; Sessegnon; Campbell
Campbell remains the only striker that’s capable of playing by himself, and will start regardless of whether Saha is signed. Sessegnon is a doubt with injury and I expect Bardsley to miss with injury. Brown misses and gives Kilgallon or Bramble a start.
Fulham v Norwich
Duff – Diarra – Sidwell – Dembele
With no Senderos, Hughes starts. Also Dempsey has not been picked as he has recently claimed he wants out of Craven Cottage.
Martin, Barnett, Turner, Tierney;
Snodgrass, Fox, Hoolahan, Pilkington;
Snodgrass pips Johnson and Surman here, but either could feature. Jackson gets the nod over Morison, while the biggest issue is formation for Norwich. If they move to a 4-5-1 to play more defensively at Craven Cottage, expect a Bennett, Johnson or Surman to feature at the expense of Jackson.
QPR v Swansea
Onuoha Nelsen Ferdinand Fabio
Hoilett Diakite Park Taarabt
Standard 4-4-2 for QPR, although the recent signing of former Chelsea spudmuffin Jose Bosingwa might throw a spanner in the works at right-back. Won’t be there for the first game though. Battlegrounds for places are in the middle of the park, with Faurlin probably expected to get game time somewhere along the line after he recovers from his injury. At Left-back, Traore is injured, so there goes any competition Fabio had!
Rangel, Williams, Chico, Taylor;
De Guzman, Britton, Michu;
Dyer, Graham, Taylor
Swansea should maintain their 4-3-3, with Michu giving them thrust towards Graham. Both are good FPL options! This is one of the Best XI’s that I’m most sure about, as there isn’t an awful amount of competition for places. Routledge may start if Sinclair is given a rest from his earlier olympic commitments, but I can’t see it happening.
Stoke v Reading
Wilkinson Shawcross Upson Wilson
Kightly Whitehead Whelan Etherington
I caved and included Kightly, I just think he’s a better player than Pennant, who happens to be in doubt with injury anyway. Wilson is also carrying an illness but should be alright to play and I’m guessing he will. New signing Cameron will likely be the 3rd choice centre back, while Huth is missing through illness.
Gunter Gorkss Pearce Shorey
McCleary Leigertwood Guthrie McAnuff
Battlegrounds everywhere here. Right-back could also go to Cummings, and Left-back could easily go to the pinpoint Harte. Mariappa looks set to be the 3rd choice CB. Kebe is set to miss which hands McCleary his first start for Reading. Leigertwood edges out Karacan (who is in doubt with injury), and Le Fondre should be preferred to Hunt to play alongside Pogrebnyak. Jason Roberts is unavailable for the first three weeks through suspension. But does anyone care about anyone besides Guthrie Pog and Federici? Didn’t think so. They’ll all start.
West Brom v Liverpool
Jones McAuley Olsson Ridgewell
El Ghanassay Mulumbu Morrison Brunt
The first hurdle is the formation. Clarke has employed 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2, and 4-3-3 this pre-season. Honestly I have no idea what he’ll go with, but as he is a defensive manager this offers him the most coverage. Up front is anyone’s guess who starts, Lukaku/Odemwingie/Rosenberg, but I hope he sticks with Lukaku from a Chelsea fan’s point of view. Brunt should be fit, but if he isn’t , Thomas can step in. Dorrans misses with injury. Also keep an eye on Olsson and Morrison who are doubts, but I’m tipping them to play as they are both quite important to the Baggies structure.
Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Allen Lucas Gerrard; Suarez, Borini, Downing.
No real battlegrounds anywhere, with the midfield three looking set, unless Rogers’ opts for a Henderson or Adam (LOL) over Allen. Shelvey has also featured prominently this pre-season, so don’t be surprised to see him start. Downing somehow keeps his spot on the left, mainly due to the fact that there’s not a huge amount of depth for Liverpool there. Borini keeps Carroll at bay initially.
West Ham v Aston Villa
Demel, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney;
Diame, Noble, Nolan;
Vaz Te, Cole, Taylor
4-3-3 for West Ham. Apparently Maiga and Diarra aren’t going to start because they’re not match fit, which gives Diame and Taylor starts. Collison misses with a knee injury.
Lowton Vlaar Clark Stephens
N’Zogbia Bannan El Ahmadi Holman
4-4-1-1 for Villa, which could easily change to Lambert’s Canary formation of 4-1-2-1-2. Agbonlahor and Albrighton both miss, which leaves Villa short of wingers, so Holman is forced to play further back than normal. Lowton looks to be given the look in over Hutton and Stephens has featured this whole pre-season ahead of Warnock. Vlaar and Clark look to be the only fit CB’s as Dunne is injured and Collins moved to the Hammers.
Newcastle v Tottenham
Simpson Coloccini Taylor Santon
R Taylor Cabaye Guitierrez Marveaux
Newcastle are completely and utterly demolished by injury. Tottenham are bloody good money at $2.60 to win here, as I’m tipping Ben Arfa and Tiote will miss, and Ba and Cabaye are doubtful, but will probably play even if they have a slight niggle, as Newcastle really need them to play. Gosling could also feature in midfield above R Taylor, but Marveaux’s pre-season has been good enough to warrant him a spot in Ben Arfa’s absence.
Walker Vertonghen Kaboul Assou-Ekotto
Lennon Van der Vaart Bale
4-2-3-1 for Spurs. Parker misses through injury handing Sandro a spot, and Kaboul keeps out Naughton and Dawson, but don’t be surprised to see Naughton playing more and more, as AVB likes quick, ball playing CB’s. Defoe starts as Tottenham haven’t got another striker, but don’t be surprised to see VDV moved up to the spot. Don’t jump on Defoe though, because I’m 100% sure once Tottenham get the money for Modric they’ll splash out on a striker. Modric has been frozen out by AVB in the same fashion as Anelka and Alex last year, so don’t expect him to play.
Wigan v Chelsea
Caldwell, Ramis, Figueroa;
Boyce, McCarthy, Gomes, McArthur, Beausejour;
Miyaichi, Di Santo.
Wigan’s 3-5-2 should be maintained at home, and I’m tipping new boy Ramis to oust Alcaraz for a starting spot. Miyaichi should also start, but alternatively could be replaced by Kone or Boselli, but I’m tipping Kone will get a bit of time on the bench while he assimilates into the club. Gomes could easily be Moloney, or Watson, but none are fantasy relevant.
Ivanovic Luiz Terry Cole
Ramires Hazard Mata
Firstly, Luiz was absolutely awful against City, but with Cahill playing a full 90 minutes for England in their friendly during the week, I don’t expect him to front up on Saturday. Mikel will get one more chance at CDM before Romeu or Essien is given a shot to partner Lampard. Hazard should move to the centre of the attacking trio, with Mata on the left, if he starts at all. The spaniard was anonymous in the shield match last sunday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him rested, or subbed off after 50+ minutes.
Manchester City v Southampton
Zabaleta Kompany Lescott Clichy
Toure De Jong
Aguero Silva Nasri
Man City have been giving me headaches all week. Surely this 3-5-2 poo can’t continue into the season can it? Well I’m calling Mancini’s bluff! It seems ridiculous that a team that just won the league would see a desire to change their formation… but whatever. Richards is out for a month so Zab starts over him. Clichy should get the nod in a 4 man defence over Kolarov, but stranger things have happened. Nasri should start instead of Balotelli, but again, it all depends on formation. De Jong is a rubbish footballer, but should get the nod ahead of Rodwell as he’s just arrived at City.
Clyne Fonte Hooiveld Fox
4-3-3 for the Saints, with the back four looking set in stone, with the possibility of Clyne moving to the midfield or being challenged by Richardson and Butterfield. I’ve picked Schneiderlin as a defensive midfielder as opposed to the offensive minded Do Prado, as they are playing MCI away… a flukey draw would please them to no end.
Everton v Manchester United
Hibbert Jagielka Heitinga Baines
Osman Naismith Pienaar
A 4-5-1 for Everton here, but it could shift to a 4-4-2 if Moyes feels the need to take the fight up to Man United from the start, which would see Naismith alongside Jelavic. A change of a defensive mindset could see Heitinga moved into a CDM and Distin brough into a CB and Gibson relegated to the bench, but I don’t think that is a huge chance of happening. Coleman could feature on a flank instead of Osman too.
Rafael Vidic Ferdinand Evra
Valencia Kagawa Cleverley Nani
The back four looks set as Jones and Smalling look set to miss through injury. That leaves Rafael as the only RB option, unless Valencia starts back. RVP has through a huge spanner in the works, as we don’t know how they’ll line up with him in the side- we can’t even be sure he’ll start first game! Kagawa is relegated to a deeper role along side Cleverley (but could be Carrick, Scholes or Anderson. ) Rooney I expect to move to an advanced midfielder role, essentially in the hole. Say goodbye to his amount of goals! If you’re wondering about the ramifications of RVP’s inclusion, Adzman did an awesome piece on the effects on both Arsenal and Man United. If you’re serious about FPL, you’ll check it out! Just to clarify, Man Utd are an absolute shamble at the moment, and I have little clue what formation/players they are going to prefer. Unless you’re picking Rooney, De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio or Valencia, I’d steer clear!
Anyway that just about does it. I won’t normally give all the expected lineups, but just wanted to get them out there as it is the start of the season. Also just like to chuck a big thank you to Dom Da Silva who made the banner featured in the artwork at the top of the page, it’s a belter and will be on this post each week all year!
It’s not long now guys, so make sure you’ve done everything you can. Here’s your checklist before you go out on the frothies tonight
- Check the team news – no teams before lockout means it’s crucial your bloke is playing!
- Check out our teams – see if you’re adopting our players or tactics!
- Check out Matty’s Big Reveals
- Check out Adz’s RVP situation- it offers loads of insight on the RVP saga that is bloody helpful
- Send Jimbob a dirty picture of yourself and your fantasy team- he’ll love it.
- Check the captain articles to see who to lock in for the double game-week!
You’re set. Back yourselves…. We’re in for a big year. From all of us at FPL addicts, cheers for following us throughout the pre-season, we hope it’ll translate into good early season form!