Hello and welcome to the first edition of Around The Grounds for this pre-season. Those new to the site or have forgotten from last year, Around the Grounds is an article whereby I analyse each Premier League teams’ pre-season matches and point out any concerning injuries, form, tactics etc. There have been a few big teams involved in early pre-season games recently, lets get stuck into it!
Borehamwood 0 Arsenal 2
Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Ajayi, Hayden, Monreal, Ramsey, Coquelin, Zelalem, Willock, Toral, Sanogo
Second Half XI: Martinez, Bellerin, Gibbs, Miquel, Pleguezuelo, Olsson, Diaby, Flamini, Rosicky, Afobe, Akpom
Goalscorers: Olsson (68’) Afobe (86’ Pen)
A complete second half switch up from the Gunners proved to be the difference as an extremely young Arsenal outfit was to good for Conference South Borehamwood. With the majority of stars still on holidays from the World Cup it’s hard to take any pre-season game seriously until they return and start to gain match fitness. Players like Szczesny, Jenkinson and Monreal are all featuring because of their omission from the World Cup but key players such as Ozil, Giroud, Podolski, Wilshere etc. are still recuperating from their World Cup efforts. Aside from the lack of first XI players, it was good to see Diaby get through a half of football unscathed and Rosicky providing the assist for Olsson’s opener.
Mansfield Town 1 Aston Villa 3
Aston Villa Starting XI: Given, Lowton, Okore, Clark, Bennett, Bacuna, Carruthers, Delph, Tonev, Cole, Agbonlahor
Second Half XI: Steer, Herd, Westwood, Baker, Hutton, El Ahmadi, Gardner, Richardson, N’Zogbia, Bent, Weimann
Goalscorers: Fisher (40’) Bent (61’) Gardner (85’) Bent (90’)
After a disappointing season on loan at Fulham last year Darren Bent will hope to produce performances of 2009/10 where he scored 24 goals for a total of 195 points! Priced nicely at 5.0m Bent could be a fantastic cheap option in order to accommodate the big guns such as Van Persie, Costa, Sturridge, Rooney etc. Kieran Richardson and Joe Cole were unveiled as Villa’s two new signings and proved too good for League Two outfit Mansfield Town. Paul Lambert was delighted with his team after the game and gave an insight into the training of Darren Bent saying, “Darren has the knack of being in the right place at the right time. To be fair to Darren, since he’s come back for pre-season, he’s knuckled down and gave it a right good go”. Keep an eye on Villa’s remaining pre-season fixtures and see how Bent continues to develop, could be a sneaky POD with only 1.4% ownership so far.
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Chelsea 5
Chelsea Starting XI: Schwarzer, Kane, Chalobah, Christensen, Ake, Romeu, Van Ginkel, Piazon, Baker, Swift, Bamford
Second Half XI: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, DaSilva, Romeu, Matic, Salah, Boga, Brown, Solanke
Goalscorers: Bamford (20’) Brown (48’) Terry (52’) Ivanovic (66’) Brown (87’)
Much like Arsenal, Chelsea fielded a very young and very inexperienced team for their first outing for season 2014/15. 10 players featured from Chelsea’s U21 winning team from last year with Schwarzer, Terry, Ivanovic, Salah and Matic the only experienced players present. Kurt Zouma was unveiled for his first game of the year, coming on after 20 minutes when Kane sustained a knock. He looked impressive in his debut but will struggle to get consistent minutes with both Terry and Cahill producing so consistently last year. Ivanovic played as right back when he entered the field of play in the second half causing speculation about Azpilicueta’s role when he returns to duty. There has been speculation that with the signing of Luis that Ivanovic might return to centre half duties and Azpilicueta returns to his favoured position at right back meaning one of Terry or Cahill drops to the bench. However I don’t see this to be the case, especially considering how well both Cahill and Terry performed as a partnership last season but it certainly will be interesting to see what happens. Keep an eye out for Chelsea’s upcoming friendlies!
GAK Graz 1 Crystal Palace 13
Crystal Palace Starting XI: Hennessey, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Jerome Williams, Bolasie, Ledley, Bannan, Thomas, Murray, Gayle
Second Half XI: Kettings, Hunt, Ramage, McCarthy, Boateng, Gray, O’Keefe, Campana, Jonny Williams, Dobbie, Chamakh
Goalscorers: Ledley (5’) Bolasie (12’ Pen) Murray (18’) Murray (36’) Thomas (44’) Sacher (59’) Dobbie 62’) Dobbie (66’) Dobbie (67’) Ledley (71’) Chamakh (76’) Williams (79’) Dobbie (81’) Williams (90’)
An absolutely blistering display from Palace as they well and truly put Austrian
side GAK Graz to the sword. A four goal second half including a 5 minute hatrick
from striker Dobbie proved to be the difference as Palace well and truly ran riot.
However good the score line, we must take into consideration the opposition.
GAK Graz play in the amateur’s league in Austria so a result like this really is to
be expected from a club in the top flight of English Football. Good to see Glenn
Murray on the scoresheet after a frustrating year last year with a torn ACL. At
5.5m there are better options out there but if he keeps impressing during pre-
season he might become a handy POD after dominating during Palace’s
promotion winning season in the Championship in the 2012/13 season.
Brondby 2 Liverpool 1
Liverpool Starting XI: Jones, Kelly, Agger, Ilori, Smith, Lucas, Rossiter, Coutinho, Suso, Borini, Teixeira
Goalscorers: Norgaard (23’) Peterson (48’) Hasani (90’)
A disappointing display from Liverpool despite missing the vast majority of their squad. Much like Arsenal and Chelsea, Liverpool still have countless stars still on holiday after the FIFA World Cup so fielding youngsters is much to be expected. Daniel Agger and Philippe Coutinho were the notable starters from Liverpool’s perspective but still couldn’t get the job done against Denmark outfit Brondby. A late goal to Ferhan Hasani from Brondby was a dagger in the heart for Liverpool as Rogers’ men walk away with their first defeat of season 2014/15. Rogers said after the game; “senior players came through it well and it was a good chance for me to look at the younger players at this early stage. It was a great workout for us. I thought their goalkeeper was very good – he made some terrific saves”.
Dundee 2 Manchester City 0
Manchester City Starting XI: Caballero, Bossaerts, Kolarov, Denayer, Boyata, Navas, Fernando, Rodwell, Huws, Jovetic, Guidetti
Second Half XI: Caballero, Richards, Leigh, Rekik, Nastasic, Zuculini, Garcia, Nasri, Negredo, Huws, Sinclair
Goalscorers: Harkins (26’) Tankulic (37’)
The two top teams from last season suffered disappointing losses in their first outings of season 2014/15. Manchester City this time slumped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Scottish side Dundee United. Manchester City handed debuts to summer signings Willy Caballero and defensive midfielder Fernando but that still wasn’t enough as Pellegrini’s side went down. Popular names in Caballero, Kolarov, Navas, Fernando, Rodwell, Jovetic, Richards, Nastasic, Garcia, Nasric, Negredo and Sinclair still wasn’t enough to see City get over the line. Second half substitutes Samir Nasri and Alvaro Negredo came close to scoring but unfortunately, from City’s perspective, didn’t do enough to get them over the line.
Oldham Athletic 2 Newcastle United 1
Newcastle Starting XI: Alnwick, Anita, Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummet, Abeid, Colback, Gouffran, De Jong, Aarons, Armstrong
Goalscorers: De Jong (13’) Dieng (69’) Gros (77’)
Newcastle slumped to their first defeat of season 2014/15 against League One side Oldham Athletic. Summer signing Siem De Jong opened the scoring with a strike from distance but that wasn’t enough as two second half Oldham goals sank Newcastle United. Summer signings Jack Colback and Ayoze Perez performed admirably but still wasn’t enough to get Newcastle over the line.
EHC Hoensbroek 0 Southampton 4
Southampton Starting XI: K Davis, Chambers, Fonte, Turnbull, Clyne, Cork, Reed, Ward-Prowse, Sinclair, McQueen, Mayuka
Second Half XI: Gazzaniga, McCarthy, Stephens, Hooiveld, Targett, Flannigan, S Davis, Tadic, Isgrove, Sharp, Gallagher
Goalscorers: McQueen (11’) Chambers (45’) Sharp (60’ Pen) Davis (63’)
A comfortable win in Koeman’s first game in charge of Southampton as they ran riot against Dutch side EHC Hoensbroek. The Saints played 6 teenagers in an impressive display against Hoensbroek and handed Dusan Tadic his debut for the club. Koeman after the game said; “Normally the result has to be eight or nine nil, but it was our first friendly and the first is always difficult for everybody.. It’s not only the result that is important, but the way that we played. The instruction before the match was to play offensively with a lot of rotations in the midfield and with wing players. Every player played 45 minutes, and we said that we wanted them to press for 45 minutes – and I think we did that well.” Staggering to suggest the game should have been 8-9 nil but he obviously has high expectations for his troops!
Darlington 1883 1 Sunderland 5
Sunderland Starting XI: Mannone, Watmore, Roberge, O’Shea, Jones, Cabral, Larsson, Ba, Honeyman, Clayton, Fletcher
Second Half XI: Pantilimon, Mavrias, Ferguson, Diakite, Brown, N’Diaye, Cattermole, Gomez, Moberg, Karlsson, Giaccherini, Wickham
Goalscorers: Fletcher (13’) Fletcher (20’) Giaccherini (47’) Wickham (70’) Gary Brown (72’) Gomez (81’)
An emphatic win for Gus Poyet and his Sunderland side as the Black Cats get off to a winning start in their first friendly of the season. Steven Fletcher scored twice in 20 minutes as he begins his bid to improve on last seasons injury plagued nightmare. Last seasons saviour, Connor Wickham, got on the scoresheet while Jordi Gomez scored a cracker with 9 minutes to play. Both Mannone and Pantilimon got equal minutes so a definitive decision on who gets the nod is yet to be determined. Mannone didn’t conceded the goal so I guess that’s a positive!
Chivas Guadalajara 1 Swansea 1
Swansea Starting XI: Fabianski, Rangel, Bartley, Flores, Kingsley, Richards, Shelvey, Sheehan, Routledge, Bray, Gomis.
Second Half XI: Tremmel, Tiendalli, Amat, Davies, Taylor, Britton, King, Sheehan, Dyer, Donnelly, Emnes
Goalscorers: Dyer (57’) Hernandez (82’ Pen)
An inexperienced Swansea City side came up against a strong Mexican outfit and handed debuts to summer signings Fabianski, Kingsley and Gomis. Fabianski has certainly gone under the radar since signing for Swansea over the summer but will find it difficult to remove Michel Vorm from the number one spot at Swansea. However there has been rumours of a possible move to Tottenham so he may yet get that number one role he has been craving since gracing the Premier League. Garry Monk said after the game “It was a great workout for fitness and sharpness for the boys and at times we saw some very good play. We gave a good account of ourselves and I’ve got to be happy with our night’s work”.
Seattle Sounders 3 Tottenham 3
Tottenham Starting XI: Friedel, Naughton, Dawson, Fryers, Rose, Carroll, Holtby, Capoue, Townsend, Kane, Lennon
Second Half XI: Friedel, Fredericks, Kaboul, Veljkovic, Fryers, Capoue, Carroll, Holtby, Lamela, Ceballos, Soldado
Goalscorers: Holtby (10’) Pineda (32’ Pen) Alonso (48’) Soldado (54’ Pen) Bowen (78’) Falque (81’ Pen)
An entertaining 3-3 draw was the final result in Mauricio Pochettino’s first outing as Tottenham manager. 3 penalties in the game was an unusual occurrence but popular names Holtby and Soldado got on the score sheet which is impressive to see during pre-season. After a loan spell at Fulham last year Lewis Holtby produced a solid performance while Roberto Soldado came on in the second half and scored. Soldado relied mainly on penalties last season so it’ll be nice if he can score some goals from open play this pre-season!
West Brom 2 Bury 0
West Brom Starting XI: Myhill, Atkinson, Dawson, Olsson, Garmston, Yacob, Gardner, O’Neil, Sessegnon, Anichebe, A Nabi
Second Half XI: L Daniels, Baird, D Daniels, Lescott, Garmston, Thorne, Mulumbu, Dorrans, O’Sullivan, Berahino, Roofe
Goalscorers: Dorrans (54’) Berahino (77’)
West Brom got their pre-season off to a good start with a routine 2-0 win over League One outfit Bury. Manager Alan Irvine made 10 changes in the second half, which proved to be the winning manoeuvre as Graham Dorrans and Saido Berahino came on to score the only two goals of the game. Summer signing Craig Gardner, Joleon Lescott and Chris Baird were all handed debuts as West Brom got off to a winning start this pre-season.
Stevenage 2 West Ham United 2
West Ham Starting XI: Adrian, O’Brien, Cresswell, Reid, Chambers, Noble, Poyet, Vaz Te, Nolan, Morrison, McCallum
Second Half XI: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Tomkins, Potts, Kouyate, Whitehead, Downing, Diame, Jarvis, E.Lee
Goalscorers: Pett (31’) Dembele (52’) Jarvis (84’) Downing (90’)
Two goals in the last 6 minutes of play rescued West Ham from an embarrassing defeat in their first pre-season game of the year. Sam Allardyce gave debuts to summer signings Kouyate, Cresswell and Poyet but they struggled to make an impact as the Hammers conceded the first two goals of the game in astonishing fashion. A mistake from Adrian gifted Stevenage their opening goal before trialist, Dembele, opened his account for the year. Jarvis and Downing rescued the Hammers though as Big Sam got his pre-season off to a decent start, albeit probably should have taken care of League One side Stevenage with a bit more ease.
AFC Wimbledon 2 Chelsea 3
Chelsea Starting XI: Schwarzer, Aina, Zouma, Christensen, Ake, Matic, Van Ginkel, Salah, Baker, Swift, Bamford
Second Half XI: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Chalobah, Terry, Dasilva, Romeu, Van Ginkel, Salah, Baker, Brown, Solanke
Goalscorers: Bennett (1’) Tubbs (39’) Terry (74’) Salah (80’) Terry (89’)
A gallant display by a young Chelsea team as they bounced back from 2-0 down at Half Time to run away 3-2 winners thanks to a John Terry brace. Once again missing an eternity of stars Chelsea dominated the second half and eventually ran away winners thanks to the experience and class of Terry and Salah. Chelsea still have 6 more pre-season games so their stars will gradually start to feature and we’ll get more of a realistic look into how they’ll play this season.
Preston North End 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool Starting XI: Jones, Kelly, Flanagan, Skrtel, Wisdom, Lucas, Allen, Can, Coutinho, Lambert, Borini
Goalscorers: Brownhill (45’) Suso (74’) Peterson (77’)
After a disappointing first half Liverpool had too much class for the League One side and ended up running away 2-1 winners thanks to goals to Suso and Peterson. Petersen now has two goals in two games but I wouldn’t think he’d be ahead of Sturridge or Lambert when it comes to starting in the Premier League! Emre Can and Rickie Lambert made their Liverpool debuts but it wasn’t all good news, unfortunately Emre Can only lasted 20 minutes as he was substituted early with a calf injury. Rogers said after the game “It was precautionary, he felt tightness. He hasn’t pulled anything and I always think at this stage of pre-season there is no point in risking anything. So he came off and seems fine”. In some good news for Liverpool Jose Enrique returned from injury after missing the majority of last season.
Hearts of Midlothian 1 Manchester City 2
Manchester City Starting XI: Wright, Richards, Leigh, Nastasic, Rekik, Garcia, Zuculini, Sinclair, Nasri, Navas, Negredo
Second Half XI: Caballero, Bossaerts, Kolarov, Denayer, Boyata, Rodwell, Fernando, Sinclair, Huws, Jovetic, Guidetti
Goalscorers: Sinclair (25’) Sow (56’) Kolarov (80’ Pen)
Manchester City responded after their disappointing 2-0 loss to Dundee with a reasonable 2-1 victory of Hearts. Alvaro Negredo set up Sinclair for City’s first goal before Osman Sow responded for the home side. Emyr Huws was fouled in the area with 10 minutes to go allowing Aleksander Kolarov to give the away side the victory. City have finished their tour of Scotland and now head to the United States as they hope to regain some of their stars and make these friendlies better to analyse for us Fantasy coaches!
Sporting Hasselt 0 Southampton 6
Southampton Starting XI: Davis, McCarthy, Stephens, Hooiveld, Targett, Cork, Ward-Prowse, Davis, Tadic, Isgrove, Pelle
Second Half XI: Boruc , Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Turnbull, Flannigan, Reed, Sharp, McQueen, Mayuka, Gallagher
Goalscorers: Pelle (5’) Pelle (32’) McQueen (59’) Weerts (67’ OG) Mayuka (78’ Pen) Gallagher (85’)
Summer signings Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle were finally allowed to link up as they started the first half and definitely rewarded their manager as Pelle scored the opening two goals of the game and opened his Southampton account. Koeman shuffled the team around for the second half and scored a further four goals, with Emmanuel Mayuka and youngster Sam Gallagher opening their pre-season accounts. All in all a good victory for Southampton and good to see both Tadic and Pelle getting minutes!
Minnesota United 2 Swansea 0
Swansea Starting XI: Tremmel, Rangel, Chico, Bartley, Kingsley, Richards, King, Shelvey, Dyer, Donnelly, Gomis
Second Half XI: Fabianski, Tiendalli, Taylor, Bartley, Chico, Britton, Routledge, Shelvey, Bray, Emnes, Gomis
Goalscorers: Davies (8’) Jordan (45’)
Swansea City have ended their disappointing tour of America, not registering a victory. It was good to see summer signing Bafétimbi Gomis get some decent minutes but disappointing not to see him on the scoresheet at all during their first two pre-season fixtures. Swansea still have 5 more pre-season games to play so as they begin to gain their stars back they’ll hopefully be playing some better football.
Shrewsbury Town 1 West Brom 2
West Brom Starting XI: Myhill, O’Neil, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli, Mulumbu, Yacob, Berahino, Sessegnon, Roofe, Anichebe
Goalscorers: Anichebe (12’) Vernon (30’) Mulumbu (34’)
First half goals to Victor Anichebe and Youssouf Mulumbu was enough to see off a gallant Shrewsbury Town behind closed doors at Greenhous Meadow. Stephen Sessegnon provided the assist for Victor Anichebe’s opener while they both where influential in the build up to Mulumbu’s eventual winner. Irvine said after the game, “It was a good workout. It’s still early days, there was a real mixed bag out there. We did some really nice things, scored two really good goals, created some good moves but we were careless at times as well. We gave the ball away with some poor passing and these are things you’re hoping will improve as the lads train a bit more and certainly as we do a bit more work with them.”
Ipswich Town 0 West Ham 0
West Ham Starting XI: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Tomkins, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Diame, Jarvis, C.Cole, Downing
Second Half XI: Adrian, O’Brien, Chambers, Reid, Page, Cullen, Nolan, Poyet, Vaz Te, Lletget, Zarate
The Hammers gave a debut to summer signing Mauro Zarate but he couldn’t inspire West Ham to a pre-season victory. West Ham were good defensively but didn’t quite have the finishing touch to score up the other end. 4 more pre-season games to come for The Hammers so hopefully we’ll start to get some more information on how key players in Cresswell, Kouyate and Zarate are performing.
Well, that’s a wrap of all the pre-season games that have been played by each Premier League club so far. A lot of clubs still have plenty of games left to play this pre-season so there is still plenty of research to do! As each teams World Cup stars start to return from their holidays they will begin to feature in the friendlies. We’ll start to get a better idea of how teams are structuring up and the likely formation they’ll look to use throughout the upcoming season! Until the next batch of pre-season games, cheers!