Around the Grounds

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Perhaps the most important part of Fantasy Premier League preparation, pre-season friendlies. Although teams are known to blood youth and give new players a run during their friendlies, often resting star players, we can still get a glimpse of who is relevant and who isn’t. I’ll analyze each clubs progress so far, who is playing well and who isn’t. Strap yourselves in, there’s a lot to get through. Let’s go!

Indonesia X1  0 Arsenal 7

Arsenal Starting X1: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Miquel, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Gnabry, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Akpom

Scorers: Walcott (19’) (Akpom 54’) Giroud (70’) Giroud (73’) (Podolski 81’) (Olsson 84’) (Eisfeld 86’)

Fairly comprehensive victory for Arsenal here regardless of the opposition. They fielded a fairly week starting X1, giving games to Fabianski, Jenkison, Miquel, Gnabry and Akpom. Giroud (8.5) looks in good early form so keep an eye on him. May be a sneaky P.O.D with only 7.3% ownership, depending on Arsenal’s transfer business. Walcott also got on the score sheet after his fantastic year last season so keep an eye on him.

Vietnam 1 Arsenal 7

Arsenal Starting X1: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry, Giroud, Podolski

Scorers: Giroud (5’) Giroud (40’) Giroud (43’) Oxlade-Chamberlain (46’) Akpom(57’) Akpom (59’) Miquel (74’)

Another 7 goal haul for Arsenal, this time fielding a much, much stronger X1. Giroud (8.5) now has 5 goals in 2 games. Keep an eye on his early season form. Walcott and Cazorla not needed for this game, don’t be too worried about Cazorla not featuring at the moment, Arsenal still have 5 more friendlies until the beginning of the season so he’ll look to get some minutes there. Until then, keep an eye on Giroud, looks in very good form.

SV Rodinghausen 1 – Aston Villa 1

Aston Villa First Half X1: Vlaar, Baker, Bacuna, Albrighton, Delph, Sylla, Bowery, Tonev, Bennett, Herd

Aston Villa Second Half X1: Steer, Lowton, Okore [Carruthers], Clark, El Ahmadi, Helenius, Agbonlahor, Luna, Westwood, Weimann, Gardner

Scorers: Nicklas Helenius (8’)

New Villa signing, Nicklas Helenius (5.5) made a dream debut scoring inside 10 minutes. No sign of Christian Benteke (9.0) yet but the Belgian international has finally signed with Villa ending speculation that he was leaving. He’ll be looking to impress over the pre-season and continue last years form so keep an eye on Villa’s remaining 7 friendlies.

Manchester City 4 Chelsea 3

Manchester City Starting X1: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Rekik, Clichy, Garcia, Yaya Toure, Rusnak, Tevez, Silva, Aguero

Chelsea Starting X1: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Christensen, Cole; Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Azpilicueta, Mata, Benayoun, Ba

Scorers: Ba (14’) Azpilicueta (45’) (Oscar 53’) Garcia (63’) Dzeko (64’) Dzeko (84’) Richards (90’)

Fairly strong sides for both teams. City giving Rekik, Rusnak and Garcia a run whilst Chelsea giving Christensen, Loftus-Cheek and Benayoun a start. Don’t look to bring any of these guys in, this friendly was on the 24th May so many signings have been made since. And of course Chelsea are now managed by Jose Mourinho and City by Pellegrini so keep a close eye on each teams’ friendlies for any surprise selections.

Manchester City 5 Chelsea 3

Manchester City Starting X1: Hart, Zabaleta, Boyata, Kompany, Kolarov, Yaya Toure, Barry, Nasri, Silva, Aguero. Tevez

Chelsea Starting X1: Hilario, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Ramires, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Oscar, Ake, Ba, Torres

Scorers: Barry (3’) Nasri (28’) Ramires (46’) Milner(54’) Ramires (68’) Nasri (73’) Mata (81’) Dzeko (84’)

This game was the day after the previous friendly so both sides fairly reshuffled. City giving Boyata and Kolarov a rare start with Chelsea giving Hilariou, Christensen, Loftus-Cheek and Ake a go. Mata (10.5) came off the bench and scored. Once again Dzeko (7.5) scored. That’s 3 goals in 2 games now and against good opposition. But don’t jump on too quick. City have just signed Negredo and Jovetic to unnecessarily bolster their attack. Dzeko will probably continue to be the super sub! Before we jump on any City players take an extensive look at Pellegrini’s style. But there dream opening month looks good!

Singha All-Stars 0 Chelsea 1

Chelsea First Half X1: Cech, Wallace, Kalas, Terry, Cole, Lampard, Essien, Piazon, De Bruyne, Schurrle, Lukaku

Chelsea Second Half X1: Blackman, Ivanovic, Cahill, Chalobah, Bertrand, Van Ginkel, Ramiers, De Bruyne, Hazard, Moses, Ba

Scorers: Lukaku (pen 33’)

Interestingly Lampard didn’t take the penalty, don’t think there is too much to read into it though. Chelsea swapping teams at half time. Players in Wallace, Kalas, Piazon, De Bruyne, Blackman, Chalobah and Bertrand all given a run. Wallace was instrumental in winning the penalty but no fantasy relevance there.

Everton 4 Accrington Stanley 1

Everton Starting X1: Robles, Hibbert, Gibson, Jagielka, Oviedo, Mirallas, Naismith, Distin, Osman, Fellaini, Anichebe

Scorers: Gibson (11’) Anichebe (16’) Mirralas (45’) Murphy (45’) Osman

Mirralas (7.5) scored and assisted in Everton’s riot of Accrington Stanley. Interestingly no Kone (7.0) who remained on the bench for the entire game. Ireland International and now positioned as DEF this year, Coleman (5.0) assisted Osman for the final goal of the game.

C.S Cartagines 0 Fullham 3

Fullham Starting X1: Stockdale, Reither, Riise, Sidwell, Hughes, Senderos, Duff, Karagounis, Berbatov, Kasami, Mesca

Scorers: Berbatov (pen 35’) Berbatov (40’) Ruiz(73’)

Don’t panic all you Stekelenburg owners! He came on at half time along with a number of Fullham star players in Ruiz, Hangeland and Kacaniklic. He is Fullham’s number one keeper so don’t worry about Stockdale getting a start. Berbatov (7.5) getting a brace. Still on penalties so could be a handy scorer.

Preston North End 0 Liverpool 4

Liverpool Starting X1: Mignolet, Toure, Agger, Coutinho, Assaidi, Henderson, Spearing, Allen, Borini, Flanagan, Ibe

Scorers: Coutinho (pen 13’) Ibe (37’) Sterling (64’) Aspas (75’)

New boys Mignolet and Toure both getting starts, with Aspas coming off the bench and scoring his first goal as a red. Coutinho (9.0) on penalty duties as Gerrard was MIA – don’t read too much into this as Gerrard will be on both Penalty and Free Kick duties during the season. Keep an eye on Mignolet (5.5) and Toure (5.0) to see whether they continue to start – both could be very handy players. Along with Aspas (7.0) especially if Suarez does move!

Supersport United 2 Manchester City 0

Manchester City Starting X1: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Garcia, Kolarov, Barry, Fernandinho, Razak, Suarez, Nasri, Dzeko

Scorers: Niang (56’) Erasmums (81’)

Pellegrini’s first match in charge and Fernandinho’s first game in a city shirt. A fairly strong side fielded and not a great result. Yes there was no Aguero (11.0) and Toure (8.5) but still city should’ve got the job done. Keep an eye on City’s remaining 5 friendlies to see Pellegrini’s style and preferred line up. I would be staying off City’s strikers for the time being with the announcement of Jovetic and Negredo. If Pellegrini has a preferred option then look to bring him in with City’s dream first month.

Amazulu 2 Manchester City 1

Manchester City Starting X1: Hart, Richards, Nastasic, Kompany, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, Milner, Sinclair, Fernandinho, Dzeko

Scorers: Ndulula (20’) Milner (26’) Van Heerden (pen 87’)

Yet another loss for Pellegrini’s men! This time a much, much more experienced line up. Dzeko’s early pre-season form has seemed to have come to a halt, not scoring in his last 2 starts. Once again, City have only just announced the signings of Jovetic and Negredo in the past day so they will look to feature in the upcoming few friendlies.

Singha All-Stars 1 Manchester United 0

Manchester United Starting X1: Amos, Fabio, Ferdinand, Evans, Buttner; Cleverley, Carrick, Anderson, Giggs, Januzaj, Welbeck.

Scorers: Winothai (50’)

David Moyes’ first match in charge of the Red Devils and not the result he was looking for. To United’s credit a very, very inexperienced and weak team was fielded. With Amos, Fabio, Buttner and Januzaj all getting starts. Keep an eye on United’s upcoming friendlies to see Moyes’ style and preferred players.

Motherwell 2 Newcastle United 4

Newcastle United Starting X1: Elliot,  Tavernier, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett,  Anita, Sissoko, Obertan, Vuckic, Ameobi, Gouffran

Scorers: Vuckic (8’) Goufrann (15’) Vigurs (26’) Sissoko (39’) McFadden (pen 52’) Marveaux (64’)

All in all a comprehensive victory for the Toon. Pardew played an experienced side and got some confidence as a result. Sissoko (6.0) got on the score sheet. Although I wouldn’t be going anywhere near him after his one game wonder against Chelsea last year, did absolutely nothing after that!

Dorados De Sinaloa 0 Norwich 3

Norwich Starting X1: Ruddy, Gafaiti, R.Bennett, Ayala, Surman, E.Bennett, Fox, Tettey, Redmond, Butterfield, Becchio

Scorers: Becchio (65’) Pilkington (70’) Murphy (72’)

No sign of Van Wolfswinkel as he was working on his fitness, alongside Leroy Fer. Summer signing from Birmingham, Nathan Redmond made his debut on the wing and impressed. Snodgrass (6.5) provided the cross for the opener.

UE Llagostera 1 Southampton 2

Southampton Starting X1: Davis, Chambers, Fonte, Turnbull, Fox, Cork, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Puncheon, Rodriguez, Guly

Scorers: Rodriguez (28’) Cano (61’) Rodriguez (67’)

Pochettino made 10 substitutions at half time including summer signing Victor Wanyama and goal scoring machine, Rickie Lambert. But Rodriguez (6.0) stole the show, scoring 2 goals. At 6.0 and only 4.1% ownership could potentially be a good P.O.D, but for that extra 1.5m Rickie Lambert seems the safer bet.
 Haaglandia 0 Swansea City 10

Swansea Starting X1: Tremmel, Rangel, Monk, Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, Pozuelo, Dyer, Lamah, Michu

Scorers: Michu (18’) Michu (21’) Shelvey (31’) Rangel (38’) Dyer (43’) Hernandez (55’) Gorre (59’) Donnelly (73’) Donnelly (76’) Donnelly (79’)

Before we start ‘who haring’ around and saying that Swansea are incredible, we must take into consideration the opposition. Haaglandia are in the third division of the Dutch league. Nevertheless they still got the job done. More importantly Michu scored a brace and ex-Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey, netted and assisted. All in all a good day for the Swans with some fantasy relevant players getting amongst the points.

Swindon Town 1 Tottenham 1

Tottenham Starting X1: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Stewart, Naughton, Bentaleb, Sigurdsson, Bale, Ceballos, Defoe

Scorers: Bale (16’) Williams (75’)

The lord, the savior, the most picked player so far this year once again got on the score sheet with an a absolute screamer! Bale (12.0) must be in your team, there is no ifs no buts – he is a necessity if you want to do half decent this year! An absolute super star. Apart from my man crush on Bale nothing of much relevance. Tottenham fielded an average team with a fair few big names. Tottenham still have 5 friendlies before the season opener so keep an eye on how they’re progressing.

Hannover 96 2 West Bromwich Albion 1

West Bromwich Starting X1: Foster, Yacob, Ridgewell, Morrison, Rosenberg, Dorrans, Brunt, McAuley, Jones, Tamas, Anelka

Scorers: Diouf (28’) Rosenburg (42’) Dawson (OG 80’)

The Baggies didn’t get their season off to a great start with a loss to Hannover 96. Anelka was partnered up front with Rosenburg and impressed. If Anelka (5.5) can continue to get game time he would be a steal at his price, his experience and goal getting ability could prove its weight in goal for West Brom without Lukaku this season. Keep an eye on him! But with experience, comes age. At 34 injuries and fatigue could come into his game during the season, but not at the start of the year…. Surely?

Bournemouth 0 West Ham 2

West Ham Starting X1: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, Rat, Noble, Collison, Noble, Vaz Te, Jarvis, Maiga

Scorers: Nolan (8’) Collison (45’)

A good win for the Hammers. A fairly solid starting line up with new signing Razman Rat starting. Nolan (7.0) once again on the score sheet. Should be a very handy pick with West Ham’s dream first month, with only 13.4% ownership he could be sliding under the radar.

Colchester United 1 West Ham United 2

West Ham Starting X1: Adrian, Demel, Collins, Tomkins, Rat, Diarra, Diame, Taylor, Cole, Morrison, Maiga

Scorers: Cole (7’) Collins (50’) Ibehre (90’)

Fairly similar line up like against Bournemouth. Another win for the Hammers as they continue to surge to avoid relegation this year. Joe Cole and Collins on the score sheet. Not too much to add.

Well, that’s a wrap of the pre-season friendlies so far. Keep an eye out for Stoke, Sunderland, Hull, Cardiff and Crystal Palace as they start their friendlies. Most clubs still have 5 or more friendlies left so continue to keep an eye out on them!

Cheers, Nick!

4 comments on “Around the Grounds

  1. Pingback: The Madness of Pre Season | The Referee

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