Around the Grounds

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Have been a fair few friendlies since the last article. Plenty of goals and plenty of talking points. Lets get to it!

Melbourne Victory 0 Liverpool 2

Liverpool Starting X1: Jones, Johnson, Skrtel, Wisdom, Enrique, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Ibe, Sterling, Borini

Scorers: Gerrard (32’) Aspas (90+3’)

In front of over 95,000 at the mighty MCG, Liverpool were too classy for their Australian opponents. Fantasy prospects Gerrard and Aspas both got on the scoresheet. Gerrard through superb play and Aspas a simple tap-in. Summer signing Kolo Toure did not play due to calf tightness. Brazilian star, Coutinho also wasn’t needed for the game – nothing to worry about though! Suarez came on in the second half and looked as interested as a person watching paint dry, clearly other things on his mind. Keep an eye on the transfers as he has reportedly told Liverpool that he wants to speak to Arsenal about a possible transfer. More on that issue tomorrow! Popular goalkeeper choice Simon Mignolet came on also in the second half but didn’t have to much to do. Don’t read into him not starting – simply just giving Jones a run in front of his home country. He’ll be a first team lock this year.

South China 0 Manchester City 1

Manchester City Starting X1: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Nasri, Barry, Fernandinho, Toure, Dzeko

Scorers: Dzeko (21’)

A fairly strong side fielded by Pellegrini. New signings Negredo and Jovetic didn’t start but will look to make an impact over the coming weeks. I would advise not selecting any City strikers because of rotation. Maybe re-think 3-5 gameweeks in to see if Pellegrini has any preferred options. Nothing too much, pretty bland game. Fernandinho getting another start and City keeping a clean sheet – apart from that not much else!

Malaysia X1 1 Chelsea 4

Chelsea Starting X1: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Terry, Chalobah, Bertrand, Essien, Van Ginkel, Moses, Traore, Hazard, Lukaku

Scorers: Traore (6’) De Bruyne (28’) Lukaku (45’) Moses (88’) Shas (90+1’)

Chelsea getting a comfortable victory despite fielding a weakened side. Lukaku once again with a start and on the score sheet. He was originally bought as the new Drogba and could well be that replacement. After a fantastic season at West Brom last year he will be certainly looking to replicate that. I wouldn’t originally have him in my starting X1 but could well become Chelsea’s number 1 striker. On a sour note De Bruyne was subbed off with a knee injury that doesn’t look all too serious, should miss a couple of weeks. Schwarzer getting a start but don’t look into that at all – move on!

Nagoya Grampus 1 Arsenal 3

Arsenal Starting X1: Fabianksi, Sagna, Metesacker, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey, Miyaichi, Giroud, Walcott

Scorers: Giroud (3’) Miyaichi (25’) Walcott (56’) Yano (72’)

Giroud once again on the scoresheet. He has to be considered in everyones teams with the current form he is in. At the time of his 3rd minute goal Giroud had scored 6 goals in 68 minutes of football. That is some sort of form, with Arsenal’s soft opening month he could be a great pick at 8.5m. If Wenger finally makes a purchase (i.e Luis Suarez) rotation would become a serious issue, although he will be banned anyway. Get on board! Walcott was also on the score sheet, he’ll be looking to improve further on last season. Cazorla yet again not featuring – he is definitely in Arsenal’s best X1 so don’t panic if you have him. Fabianski yet again getting a start – Szczesny owners shouldn’t panic, I believe he is a better keeper than Fabianski but definitely keep an eye out.

Yokohama F-Marinos 3 Manchester United 2

Manchester United Starting X1: De Gea, Fabio, Jones, Evans, Evra, Anderson, Cleverley, Zaha, Lingard, Januzaj, Van Persie

Scorers: Marquinhos (1’) Lingard (19’) Tashiro (31’) Fabio (50’) Fujita (88’)

Another loss for David Moyes and the Red Devils, being a Chelsea supporter I’m loving this – but feel these games will have little relevance as to what will happen during the season. Van Persie getting a start but not on the scoresheet. Young Brazilian defender and brother of Rafael, Fabio did however get himself a goal. As will everyone in the history of Football, but he will be looking to get regular game time after his return from loan at QPR. I do feel he’ll be down the pecking order behind Manchester United’s world class defenders.

Tottenham 1 Sunderland 3

Tottenham Starting X1: Gomes, Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Rose, Huddlestone, Lennon, Parker, Dempsey, Sigurdsson, Adebayor

Sunderland Starting X1: Mannone, Brown, Cabral, O’Shea, Colback, Larsson, Gardner, Johnson, Sessegnon, Giaccherini, Altidore

Scorers: Sigurdsson (28’) Cabral (34’) Brown (65’) Karlsson (79’)

In absolutely shocking conditions in the Barclays Asia trophy, with the game even being delayed and shortened to two halves of 40 minutes, Sunderland were too strong for Premier League giants Tottenham. Tottenham were without star Gareth Bale which obviously didn’t help their cause, but to Sunderland’s credit they were simply too good. Summer signings Cabral and Karlsson on the scoresheet. Are we looking at a new and improved Sunderland? Are they going to have a surprise season this year? No-one can 100% answer this question but they’re doing their chances no harm with an impressive pre-season. Don’t look too much into this game yet as Tottenham were missing some big names. But definitely keep an eye on Sunderland, especially new signings Mannone, Cabral and Karlsson.

Schalke 04 2 Southampton 0

Southampton Starting X1: Davis, Chambers, Lovren, Hooiveld, Shaw, Wanyama, Davis, Isgrove, Puncheon, Rodriguez,­ Lambert.

Scorers: Huntelaar (58’) Matip (69’)

An overall pretty good effort for the Saints against a much classier opponent. New signings Lovren and Wanyama were given starts but not troubling the scorers. Personally I don’t find Wanyama a fantasy relevant player due to his role as a holding midfielder.

Wycombe 2 Aston Villa 2

Aston Villa Starting X1: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Luna; El Ahmadi, Westwood; Carruthers, Bacuna, Grealish; Weimann

Scorers: McCoy (10’) Lowton (24’) Johnson (32’) Westwood (52’)

Villa once again with a draw. They clearly missed the presence of Belgian star Christian Benteke, who is still gaining match fitness so expect to see him in action soon. Villa’s shocking opening month means I will be avoiding most Villa players – rethink after a month, especially Lowton, Weimann and Baker. Benteke the obvious option for the double gameweek early days

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Hull City 0

Hull City Starting X1: Amos, Rosenior, Dawson, McShane, Faye, McKenna, Olofinjana, Aluko, El Mohamady, Quinn, Simpson

Another fairly dull game with Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City playing out a scoreless draw. Handy bench cover players in Rosenior, Dawson and McShane all getting starts. I wouldn’t be looking any further than bench cover though with Hull having to adapt to life in the Premier League quickly. Don’t be surprised if they break some kind of goal scoring record, and not the right one.

That’s a wrap for the games at the beginning of the week. I’ll be back with another wrap up of the games over the weekend. Cheers!

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