After a huge pre-season it is nearing the start of the season, only 4 days to go! I hope you’re all as excited as I am, if you are – then you’re pumped! After weeks of giving advice and keeping an eye on pre-season matches it is time to reveal our sides.
After a heap of consideration, planning and tinkering with my team I have come up with a, in my opinion, strong XI that contains the usual premiums, some OOP players and some recently transferred gems (I hope!) Let’s get stuck into it!
DISCLAIMER: *THIS TEAM IS ASSUMING BALE IS LEAVING, IF HE STAYS – HE’S IN!*
Goalkeeper – I have selected the recently transferred Simon Mignolet from Sunderland now at Liverpool. Last year he notched up 140 points in a struggling Sunderland side. That included 11 clean sheets – not bad! With Liverpool’s good early run he should be a safe pick.
Defenders – I have chosen to run with the ever popular 3-4-3. After much deliberation I thought that I could best capitalize on the points with this formation, after all, I believe the most points are in the MID and FWD line which is why I have gone relatively budget in defense. Speaking of defense, firstly Rat gets the nod over the other West Ham defenders. At 5.0m he looks set in West Ham’s starting XI and should be the beneficiary of a very soft run for West Ham. For those of you who are unaware, West Ham face Cardiff (H) Newcastle (A) Stoke (H) Southampton (A) Everton (H) Hull (A) in the opening 6 weeks – wow! Next to Rat sits Mertesacker. The giant is currently the most selected defender in the whole of FPL and looks set to be another fantastic option this year. He is priced at 5.5m and will again benefit from a soft opening month. The final player in my defense is Ivanovic. Apart from the fact that Chelsea have a DGW against Aston Villa and Hull City, at home, Ivanovic is fit and firing, is a massive aerial threat and has been in very good pre-season form. I’m looking at unloading him after the DGW, so it’s only short term. I will most likely downgrade to OOP Coleman who looks a fantastic option after the DWG.
Midfielders – Now it’s time to get serious, this is where the points are at, and where I have stocked up! The first player I selected was the Belgium gun, Hazard. For those of you who played last year, you would remember the fantastic DGW he produced. Against weaker opposition in Villa and Hull I’m expecting the same result. Unlike Ivanovic, this isn’t a selection to capatalise on points, Hazard will be locked into my team and will be benched when Chelsea have a blank. The next Midfielder to make the cut is Walcott. I can’t speak highly enough of this little master, he had a fantastic season last year and will no doubt re-produce that form. He scored 194 points last year and was phenomenal. With Arsenal facing Villa (H) Fulham (A) Tottenham (H) Sunderland (A) Stoke (H) Swansea (A) West Brom (A) Norwich (H) Walcott should be involved in all Arsenal’s attacks, a fantastic option. Next is the little Brazilian from Liverpool, Coutinho. Last year he was instrumental in the back half of the campaign for Liverpool and was involved in the majority of their attacks. He is an out and out superstar and will have a fantastic season in the Premier League this year, very good option! The final spot in my midfield is awarded to Everton youngster, Mirallas. He had a fantastic back half of last year, averaging 6 points in 10 games. He has had a monster of a pre-season, scoring 5 goals. He will be a beneficiary of Martinez’s attacking branded game plan and will look to replicate his pre-season form.
Forwards – Last, but definitely not least, are the forwards. I have decided to take a few risks up forward that will hopefully pay off! The first player selected is the newly transferred Soldado. 25 goals and 4 assists from 36 games last year has me very excited. He scored in his first game for Spurs, a penalty, which adds another exciting aspect. This is a pick that will be finialised when Bale either goes or stays. If Bale goes, Soldado is a lock. Next is Arsenal’s big man, Giroud. He has been simply awesome this pre-season, scoring 8 goals! At one stage he had scored 6 goals in 68 minutes of Football. That is simply awesome. Yes he had a very average year last year but it was his first year in the EPL, not everyone can produce Michu-like heroics. With Arsenal’s very soft opening month he should… be a good pick, going on his pre-season form. I’m still tossing up between Giroud and Lukaku. I believe that Lukaku will be the number one striker for the DGW, possibly coming off the bench for one game, but will be heavily rotated after that. Which is a shame because he has the potential to be the next Drogba (What he was bought for might I add). I want him peaking already! The final position in my team goes to the ageing superstar, Anelka. Yes he’s 34 and had disappointing spells at Shanghai Shenhua and Juventus, but don’t forget what he is capable of. In years gone by in the Premier League Anelka has produced total scores of 153, 136, 179, 151, 110 and 24. Excluding the 24 he scored in 2011/12, he has an average of 145.8 points per season. Pretty good for someone priced at 5.5m if you ask me! He has had a mammoth pre-season scoring 6 goals in 6 matches, including a hat-trick! I have the available cash to turn him into Van Wolfswinkel if it doesn’t turn out mind you.
Well that’s my team for GW1. Open to suggestions. Hope I’ve given you a bit of an insight into my thinking. Hopefully it does well! Cheers!