Plenty of goals and plenty of talking points since the last article, I’ll be covering them all in this article – let’s get to it!
Napoli 2 Arsenal 2
Arsenal Starting XI: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Gnabry, Podolski, Giroud
Scorers: Insigne (7’) Pandev (28’) Giroud 72’) Koscienly (86’)
Another start and yet another goal for Giroud. He is in some vein of form. If Arsenal don’t sign a world class striker this summer then Giroud could be a fantastic pick. With Arsenal’s good early run goals will be a certainty and if Giroud’s pre-season from is anything to go on he should be a great. Koscienly also on the scoresheet. With Arsenal’s early good run clean sheets are also a distinct possibility, but for now Mertesacker seems to be the popular choice.
Brentford 3 Cardiff 2
Cardiff Starting XI: Lewis, Brayford, Taylor, Kim, Hudson, Turner, Whitts, Mutch, Campbell, Bellamy Noone
Scorers: Kim (12’) Campbell (14’) McAleny (44’) McAleny (49’) Hayes (88’)
Cardiff conceded three goals in just over 40 minutes of football after leading 2-0. If Cardiff are conceding 3 goals to a third-tier English side I can’t see them keeping many clean sheets against the teams in the Premier League!
Inter Milan 0 Chelsea 2
Chelsea Starting XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Van Ginkel, Hazard, Oscar, Moses, Lukaku
Scorers: Oscar (13’) Hazard (Pen 28’)
A very good win for Chelsea, albeit against a lackluster Inter Milan. Hazard on penalty duties when Lampard isn’t playing (which may be often), all the more reason to get him in your team. Lukaku played the pass before the penalty so just missed out on an assist but is still in very good form. Keep an eye out for Hazard and Lukaku over the upcoming pre-season games.
Watford 0 Crystal Palace 4
Crystal Palace Starting XI: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Dikgacoi, O’Keefe, Thomas, Williams, Gayle, Dobbie
Scorers: Dobbie (28’) Gayle (76’) Sekajja (87’) Sow (90+1’)
The two finalists from last year’s play-offs faced off in a fierce friendly, but the class of Palace was too much, running out victors 4-0. New signing Gayle on the score sheet so definitely keep an eye on Palace and their friendlies, he could be a very good pick!
Juventus 1 Everton 1 (Everton 6-5 on Penalties)
Everton Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Stones, Gibson, Pienaar, Coleman, Fellaini, Mirallas, Anichebe
Scorers: Mirallas (63’) Asamoah (80’)
A huge scalp for Martinez and the Toffees and yet another involvement from Mirallas, this time a goal! He looks in very good from and will be instrumental in Everton’s attacks this year. Once again no Kone, personally I think there are better options out there so maybe re-think if you have him. Keep an eye on Coleman, Mirallas and Fellaini over the course of Everton’s friendlies as they will be instrumental this year!
Peterborough 0 Hull City 1
Hull City Starting XI: Harper, Chester, Davies, Bruce, Figueroa, Elmohamady, Meyler, Quinn, Boyd, Aluko, Graham
Scorers: Figueroa (22’)
Figueroa scored an absolute cracker as Hull just passed Peterborough. After moving from Wigan last year Figueroa has a world of experience and will be an asset for Hull if they’re to stay up this year. Keep an eye on Figueroa, Elmohamady and Danny Graham in City’s upcoming friendlies.
AC Milan 3 Manchester City 5
Manchester City Starting XI: Hart, Richards, Kolarov, Lescott, Garcia, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva, Navas, Dzeko, Jovetic
Scorers: Silva (3’) Richards (19’) Kolarov (22’) Dzeko (33’) Dzeko (36’) El Shaarawy (37’) El Shaarawy (39’) Petanga (43’)
A mammoth 8 goals in 43 minutes and then no goals in 47 minutes! Its weird how football works but a very good performance by City. At one stage they were leading the Serie A giants 5-0 after 36 minutes until some brilliance from El Shaarawy. Silva on the score sheet and once again Dzeko, this time with a double. Keep a close eye on the remainder of City’s friendlies and their defensive mindset. If they’re looking strong defensively then definitely consider a defender from City, especially with their dream month!
Bayern Munich 2 Manchester City 1
Manchester City Starting XI: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Boyata, Clichy, Milner, Fernandinho, Barry, Nasri, Jovetic, Negredo
Scorers: Negredo (61’) Muller (66’) Mandzukic (72’)
Negredo scoring his first goal for City and Jovetic earning his first start. A relatively strong lineup fielded by Pellegrini apart from Pantilimon and Boyata getting starts. Like keeping an eye on City defenders, also keep an eye on their striker force and determine who Pellegrini prefers, if anyone, because there will be goals in City’s opening month – it’s just a matter of who! I would be steering well clear myself.
Kitchee 2 Manchester United 5
Manchester United Starting XI: Amos, Evra, Anderson, Smalling, Carrick, Young, Welbeck, Fabio, Cleverley, Zaha, Keane
Scorers: Welbeck (16’) Smalling (22’) Fabio (26’) Januzaj (47’) Lam (53’) Alkande (69’) Lingard (80’)
A comprehensive victory for the Red Devils, despite fielding a very weak team. Januzaj and Lingard are posing very good arguments for first XI selection after fantastic pre-season form. Obviously not renowned house hold names especially with the likes of Rooney and Van Persie available for Moyes. Keep an eye on the rest of United’s friendlies, especially as Rooney returns!
St Mirren 0 Newcastle 2
Newcastle Starting XI: Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Colocini, Drummet, Anita, Tiote, Ben Arfa, Gosling, Ameobi, Cissé
Scorers: Cissé (19’) Debuchy (26’)
A good performance from the Toon and Cissé finally decides he will wear Newcastle’s new strip, despite being sponsored by Wonga. Cissé got over his feud with a goal and a solid performance. I won’t be selecting any Newcastle players until they show that they’ve improved, reassess after the first month.
Braga 2 Norwich 2
Norwich Starting XI: Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, R. Bennett, Olsson, Snodgrass, Tettey, Fer, E. Bennett, Hoolahan, Hooper
Scorers: Hooper (14’) Hooper (28’) Vinicius (54’) Rafa (69’)
A fantastic output from the new Celtic signing Gary Hooper, with his first two goals for the club. He looks a fantastic option and will definitely be crucial for Norwich this season. He and Van Wolfswinkel will partner up front so definitely consider getting him. Keep an eye on the remainder of Norwich’s friendlies to see how Van Wolfswinkel goes when he starts to feature.
AS Monaco 5 Tottenham 2
Tottenham Starting XI: Lloris, Walker, Fryers, Livermore, Rose, Dembele, Parker, Lennon, Chadli, Sigurdsson, Defoe
Scorers: Raggi (15’) Ocampos (47’) Falcao (49’) Kane (57’) Falcao (66’) Obbadi (71’) Kane (84’)
Tottenham were well and truly outclassed by $$$$ here. They were never in it especially after Falcao put Monaco 3-0 up. Over the past few days Spurs have announced the signing of Soldado. On a sour note Defoe limped off injured after only 9 minutes, so if it is somewhat serious Soldado should be Spurs’ number one striker for the opening month. If Bale does go then he will be the main man!
Well that’s it for another addition of Around The Grounds. Keep an eye on each team’s friendlies to see how your players are performing and also the players on your watch list. Also keep an eye on the Bale situation as it could be massive for EPL and FPL if he goes to Madrid! Cheers!