Around the Grounds – The Finale

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Been plenty of goals and talking points since the last article, everything will be covered here! Get your reading glasses on, this ones a monster! (Sorry for the formatting guys, I physically cannot insert lines between each paragraph. WordPress logic)

Arsenal 1 Galatasaray 2
Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Sagna, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Walcott, Sanogo
Scorers: Walcott (31’) Drogba (79’) Drogba (87’)

Ahh… the return of Didier Drogba. That is now 15 goals in 15 games for Didier against Arsenal, or should I say Arsene. He had the chance to sign him and as per usual, didn’t cough up the cash. Walcott once again on the scoresheet, looks very good value and will continue to dominate this season. Definitely a very good option! Keep an eye on him.

Chelsea 1 Real Madrid 3
Chelsea Starting XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Van Ginkel, Essien, Hazard, Schurrle, Mata, Torres
Scorers: Marcelo (14’) Ramires (16’) Ronaldo (31’) Ronaldo (57’)

The first time Mourinho has faced his former club, and it wasn’t the desired result! If it wasn’t for Ronaldo being Ronaldo then Chelsea were the better team. Although its very easy to say that. Chelsea dominated the second half before some Ronaldo brilliance. Fairly undermanned side fielded by Mourinho. Schurrle getting some early pre-season games, will be competing against Oscar and currently looks the favourite, scoring in the last friendly against Inter Milan. Keep an eye on the preferred option, looks in good early season form though!

Aston Villa 2 Shamrock Rovers 0 
Aston Villa Starting XI: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor, Luna, Westwood, Benteke, Tonev, Weimann
Scorers: Weimann (15’) Benteke (30’)

Benteke is back! Firstly he set up the goal for Weimann and then scored the second, in a man of the match worthy performance. Remember Chelsea aren’t the only team having a DGW – so do Villa! Don’t be put off by the tough fixtures, Arsenal & Chelsea. Benteke proved last year that he can score against anyone – it doesn’t matter if they’re fighting for Champions league or fighting to avoid relegation, he can score anywhere/anytime. If you don’t get him in for the first week definitely consider when Villa’s fixtures clear up!

Fulham 1 Real Betis 1
Fulham Starting XI: Stekelenburg; Riether, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Richardson; Dejagah, Sidwell, Boateng, Ruiz; Rodallega, Berbatov
Scorers: Sidwell (13’) Igiebor (52’)

Pretty bland game here, nothing of much importance. Ruiz provided the assist for Sidwell’s opener. He could be a good option and POD at 6.0m but is far too inconsistent for my liking – better options at a similar pice or 1.0-1.5m more expensive. Moving on!

Valerenga 1 Liverpool 4
Liverpool Starting XI: Jones, Alberto, Aspas, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Spearing, Allen, Flanagan, Ibe, Wisdom
Scorers: Alberto (31’) Gonzalez (35’) Aspas (42’) Kelly (54’) Sterling (90’)

A very, very weak team fielded by Liverpool and they still got the job done, albeit against a very weak opposition. The ‘Pool are in very good early season form. Aspas is once again staking a claim for first XI selection in GW1. Keep an eye on him and the rest of Liverpool’s friendlies – would be a great POD but until we know more about job security it’s a pass! Keep an eye on him though!

Everton 1 Real Madrid 2
Everton Starting XI: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Heitinga, Fellaini, Naismith, Kone, Mirallas
Scorers: Ronaldo (17’) Ozil (32’) Jelavic (60’)

Martinez fielded a very, very strong line-up – perhaps there strongest, despite Distin. Jelavic once again on the score sheet. He looks in really good pre-season form. With Kone and Naismith also competing for the Striker role you would have to be 100% certain of Job Security before selecting him. Keep an eye on him and the remainder of Everton’s friendlies. Continue to watch for the positioning of Fellaini and Mirallas. And watch for the OOP Coleman.

Norwich 1 Real Sociedad 1
Norwich Starting XI: Bunn; Whittaker, Turner, Martin, Olsson; Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Redmond; Fer; van Wolfswinkel
Scorers: Van Wolfswinkel (11’) Vela (65’)

RVP?!? Who’s that? RVW is where its at! Summer signing RVW on the scoresheet once again. With Hooper being stretchered off the ground in their next friendly (see later) RFW could be the way to go!

Manchester United 1 AIK Stockholm 1
Manchester United Starting XI: Lindegaard, Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs, Zaha, Van Persie, Nani
Scorers: Quaison (49’) Henriquez (68’)

Once again a disappointing result for Moyes and United. After fielding a relatively strong side United could only conjure up a draw, and in true United fashion, leaving it late to equalise. Van Persie getting a start and Vidic playing for the first time in a while. With United’s current pre-season form and their tough start to the year, I wouldn’t be selecting any United players – no matter who they are. Van Persie’s pre-season form is nothing to write home about.

Stoke City 1 Wrexham 0
Stoke City Starting XI: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Pennant, Nzonzi, Whelan, Adam, Etherington; Crouch
Scorers: Walters (47’)

Like all Stoke’s games, pretty boring. Just a 1-0 result. Last year every half decent team owned a Stoke defender due to their defensive mindset. If they continue their defensive renowned style then there is a plethora of good, budget options. Keep an eye on Bruce’s style and their final few friendlies, Pieters (5.0) seems to be a lock at left back.

West Brom 6 Cork City 0
West Brom Starting XI: Foster, Reid, McCauley, Dawson, Popov, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Anelka, Long
Scorers: Anelka (25’) Dorrans (44’) Anelka (47’) Long (50’) Anelka (63’) Dorrans (77’)

What a result for the Baggies. Regardless of the opposition this was a fantastic result. There was some doubt who would provide the goals without Lukaku. Can Anelka be the man? At 5.5 I would love to say so – but I’m still skeptical. 7 goals in 7 pre-season games is a fantastic return, but pre-season can’t compare to the speed and pressure of the Premier League. All the signs are good at this stage though.

West Ham 3 Sporting Lisbon 2
West Ham Starting XI: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Taylor, Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Morrison, Nolan, Cole, Jarvis, Maiga
Scorers: Capel (pen 45’) Nolan (58’) Ravel (59’) Ravel (79’) Carvahlo (84’)

A pretty exciting game from the Hammers and a very good win. Kevin Nolan once again on the score sheet and has to be on everyone’s watch list. For those that are unaware, The Hammers have a very good early run and Nolan can potentially be a fantastic option, especially at 7.0m. Summer signing Rat provided the assist for Ravel’s first – could be a good option with his attacking prowess and experience. Keep an eye on West Ham’s friendlies and assess the possibility of bringing one, or both, in!

West Ham 0 SC Braga 1
West Ham Starting XI: Adrian, Demel, Rat, Collins, Tomkins, Diarra, Diame, Taylor, Vaz Te, Collison, Maiga
Scorers: Rafa (63’)

After a fantastic result against Sporting Lisbon The Hammers unfortunately couldn’t back it up against Braga, suffering a gallant 1-0 loss. Keep an eye on West Ham’s remaining fixtures. Particularly keep an eye on their defenders and Kevin Nolan. All should benefit from a soft opening month!

Manchester United 1 Sevilla 3
Manchester United Starting XI: de Gea, Buttner, Smalling, Ferdinand, Fabio, Januzaj, Cleverley, Anderson, Valencia, Kagawa
Scorers: Vitolo (21’) Marin (25’) Valencia (65’) Rabello (90’)

In a tribute match for Rio Ferdinand, United put in a very lackluster performance – like most of their pre-season really. Marko Marin scored for the visitors (Loaned out from Chelsea this year) whilst Valencia managed to peg one back for United. Januzaj yet again another start this pre-season, Moyes could just be giving him experience but never say never. Keep an eye on him, has impressed thus far!

Aston Villa 3 Malaga 2
Aston Villa Starting XI: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Okore, Luna, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor, Delph, Benteke, Tonev, Weimann
Scorers: Benteke (12’) Vlaar (20’) Benteke (pen 30’) Pawlowski (42’) Darder (62’)

A fantastic win for Villa and Benteke staking a massive claim to be in everyone’s team for GW1! He’s on penalty duties and there is absolutely no question about his job security. He is 22 and yet to hit his peak. He is going to be a monster and you will be kicking yourself if you don’t have him when he dominates. If you don’t like his opening fixtures definitely get him in when Villa’s fixtures clear up – he’ll be a monster this season!
Chelsea 2 Roma 1
Chelsea Starting XI: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand; Essien, Mikel, Moses, De Bruyne, Schurrle, Torres
Scorers: Lamela (20’) Lampard (60’) Lukaku (90’)A good performance from Chelsea and thoroughly deserved the win. They were unlucky to concede in the first place but sparked in the second half, thanks to a rejuvenated Frank Lampard and a late winner from Lukaku. There were serious questions whether Lampard would be right for the season opener and he is doing everything right to start. At his age I would expect him to be rested for one of them – keep an eye on any news regarding team selection. Lukaku also capped off a fantastic pre-season with yet another goal and is staking his claim to be Chelsea’s number one striker – with Spain’s friendly a few days before the start of the Premier League Lukaku could yet start up front.

Cardiff City 2 Athletic Bilbao 1
Cardiff Starting XI: Marshall, Connolly, John, Kim, Caulker, Turner, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Campbell, Bellamy, Smith.
Scorers: Whittingham (45’) Campbell (52’) Iraloa (56’)
A very good win for the Bluebirds against a quality side. Caulker made an impressive starting debut, receiving Man of the Match honours. DJ Campbell has had a very good pre-season and will be involved in everything Cardiff do attacking wise. Keep an eye on how he and Cardiff are going and maybe consider. But definitely not GW1 material!
Arsenal 3 Manchester City 1
Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Podolski
Manchester City Starting XI: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva, Milner, Dzeko, Negredo
Scorers: Walcott (9’) Ramsey (59’) Giroud (62’) Negredo (79’)
A very poor performance from City and from Pellegrini but a fantastic win for Arsenal. Walcott scored the opener and provided the assist for Giroud’s goal. Negredo scoring another goal this pre-season but like every City striker, do not select unless certain of job security. So none. Giroud with another goal is making the Forward options this year even harder. After a fantastic pre-season he is currently in my team but if Arsenal end up buying another striker he’ll be out as soon as I have internet access. Definitely consider.
Crystal Palace 0 Lazio 1
Crystal Palace Starting XI: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Jedinak, Garvan, Williams, Dobbie, Thomas, Wilbraham.
Scorers: Klose (12’)
A fairly gallant effort by Palace considering the calibre of the opposition. Gayle could of ended up with two assists if only his team mates could finish, but that happens numerous times in a football match so not much to go on.
Fulham 1 Parma 2
Fulham Starting XI: Stekelenburg, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson, Dejagah, Sidwell, Boateng, Na Bangna; Ruiz, Berbatov
Scorers: Sidwell (12’) Paletta (56’) Sansone (86’)
Fairly good effort for Fulham after fielding a somewhat experienced side. Berbatov starting again but no seeing an action goal wise. Sidwell scored another pre-season goal but I would not go anywhere near him… loanee from QPR ,Taarabt, made his first appearance in Fulham colours but didn’t really feature. Has the potential to be a very good FPL player but far too inconsistent.
Hull City 3 Real Betis 0
Hull City Starting XI: McGregor, Elmohamady, Figueroa, Meyler, Chester, Davies, Brady, Koren, Aluko, Sagbo, Graham
Scorers: Graham (3’) Aluko (32’) Boyd (78’)
What a win for Hull! Danny Graham scored his first goal for the club – if you’re after a mid priced forward he’s only priced at 5.5m but it’s obvious why – he is very inconsistent and his scoring output will reflect his price tag. Maybe reconsider if he recaptures the form in the 2011/12 season… Until then – pass.
Liverpool 0 Celtic 1
Liverpool Starting XI: Mignolet, Johnson, Toure, Wisdom, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Allen, Downing, Aspas, Coutinho.
Scorers: Balde (12’)
What a disappointing result for Liverpool. After a fantastic pre-season to date Liverpool put in a poor performance against a quality opposition and they deservedly were defeated. Aspas with yet another start up front, I still expect him to shift out onto the right when Sturridge returns. Keep an eye on Coutinho, should be very good pick this year. A football maestro!
Newcastle 1 Braga 1
Newcastle Starting XI: Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Sissoko, Gutierrez, Ameobi, Cisse
Scorers: Alan (pen 45’) Coloccini (60’) 
A reasonable performance from Newcastle. Not many talking points. Ben Arfa providing the assist for Coloccini’s equalizer, however he epitomizes the word inconsistent which is somewhat frustrating from an FPL perspective. I wont be selecting any Newcastle players until I see a difference in last years performance.
Norwich 2 Panathinaikos 0
Norwich Starting XI: Ruddy, Martin, Turner, Bennett, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Olsson, Hoolahan, Hooper.
Scorers: Johnson (3’) Johnson (58’) 
A good result for the Canaries in the lead up to the season opener. Although it wasn’t all good for Norwich with summer signing Gary Hooper going down clutching his ankle and having to be chartered off on a stretcher. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest on the injury because Hooper will be a fantastic option in FPL this year and will benefit from Norwich’s good early run! The early word is a shin knock and his first scan turned up all clear, we’ll have more news on him later in the week. On a positive not Snodgrass is back and provided the assist for Johnson’s opener. If you’re after a cheap midfielder who will provide a solid scoring output, and is on free kick duties just quietly, Snodgrass could be your man!
Southampton 4 Real Sociedad 3
Southampton Starting XI: Boruc, Chambers, Lovren, Hooiveld, Shaw, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Lallana, Guly, Rodriguez, Lambert.
Scorers: Lallana (7’) Elustondo (29’) Schneiderlin (33’) Vela (38’) Hooiveld (40’) Seferovic (59’) Puncheon (83’)
What. A. Game. Goals after goals in this game. To there credit Sociedad never went away but as you can tell Southampton always had a reply whenever Sociedad scored, albeit immediate as well! On a sour note Shaw limped off with a suspected leg injury – he has withdrawn from the England U21 clash so be wary. More news to come on him, keep posted!
Stoke City 0 Genoa 0
Stoke Starting XI: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Palacios, Nzonzi, Adam, Walters, Crouch, Etherington.
Ahh… The Stoke of old! Back to the defensive unit we know and love! They’re boring as hell to watch but are good FPL options. If they do continue to be a defensive rock then a Stoke defender is a necessity. Pieters yet another start at left back.
West Brom 2 Bologna 0
West Brom Starting XI: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Dorrans, Anelka, Rosenberg.
Scorers: Rosenberg (32’) Anelka (35’) 
After scoring a hatrick last game, Anelka backed it up scoring one and assisting the other. He looks in very good pre-season form and is a bargain at 5.5m. He looks to be West Brom’s number one striker, with Long not seeing much action over the pre-season. Definitely consider bringing him in, especially if his scoring output has been what it has this pre-season! My skepticism is decreasing.
Tottenham 1 Espanyol 1
Tottenham Starting XI: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Fryers, Rose, Dembele, Chadli, Paulinho, Lennon, Soldado, Sigurdsson
Scorers: Soldado (pen 28’) Lopez (43’)
Tottenham’s interrupted pre-season has continued with a draw against Spanish side Espanyol. New boy Soldado scored, from a penalty *Insert creepy face* which just adds to his CV. He looks a very good pick, if Bale is gone then he is 100% in my team. Will be incredible for Spurs!
Well that’s the wrap of the pre-season friendlies! With the season opener just 6 days away most teams’ friendlies have wrapped up! Keep an eye out on any niggling injuries (Shaw & Hooper) and see what the ETA is. We’ll have a final injury update just before GW1. After all the pre-season games it’s now up to you as to who will make your starting XI. Good luck! Cheers.

2 comments on “Around the Grounds – The Finale

  1. baysietoff

    Great work!!!!!!!!!!!
    To add. Everton 2 – Real Betis 1 on Sunday night. Scorers – Jelavic again (assist Mirallas) and Mirallas (absolute fluke however). Dare I say it…. Jelavic might be back :O

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