Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Around the Grounds. All clubs have now played at least one pre-season game meaning we’ll start to get a good look at how teams and certain players are performing, lets get into it!
New York Red Bulls 1 Arsenal 0
Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Hayden, Monreal, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Zelalem, Ramsey, Cazorla, Rosicky
Second Half XI: Martinez, Bellerin, Monreal, Miquel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Flamini, Diaby, Cazorla, Rosicky, Akpom
Goalscorers: Wright-Phillips (33’)
Arsenal fell to their first defeat of pre-season, ironically against their former legend Theirry Henry. In a rather dull game Arsenal had a handful of chances to get back into the game but couldn’t capitalise. Good to see Diaby get more minutes un-injured and nice to see Ramsey push his bid for more selection in FPL. Arsenal now embark on two Emirates Cup games against Benfica and Monaco before the Community Shield clash against Manchester City, hopefully during these games we will see some more regular starters beginning to ramp up their pre-season.
Dallas 0 Aston Villa 2
Aston Villa Starting XI: Given, Hutton, Okore, Stevens, Baker, Herd, Bacuna, Gardner, Weimann, Bent, Gealish
Second Half XI: Given, Lowton, Senderos, Clark, Bennett, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph, N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Richardson
Goalscorers: Weimann (44’) N’Zogbia (49’)
Aston Villa earned a solid win over American outfit Dallas in the heat on Wednesday night. Andreas Weimann got things started after a precise through ball from Darren Bent before Charles N’Zogbia scored a stunning free kick to all but seal the victory for the Villains. Darren Bent was yet again productive, providing an assist for Weimann’s opener. At 5.0m he is dirt cheap but wether he’s above the pecking order over Weimann and Benteke is another thing, one to keep an eye on.
Gorssklein 0 Burnley 8
Burnley Starting XI: Gilks, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Dummigan, Jones, Taylor, Hewitt, Gilchrist, Barnes, Ings
Goalscorers: Barnes (11’) Barnes (20’) Sordell (36’) Jutkiewicz (61’) Arfield (63’) Jutkiewicz (70’) Sordell (83’) Gilchrist (90’)
A comprehensive victory for Burnley albeit against a far weaker opposition. A good result considering it’s Burnley’s first game of pre-season and the players first hit out for the year. Braces to Jutkiewicz, Sordell and Barnes but neither of these players really present as solid players FPL wise. The only player really on my radar was Ings and its somewhat disappointing he didn’t find the back of the net considering his side put 8 past a team. Keep an eye though.
RZ Pellets WAC 1 Chelsea 1
Chelsea Starting XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Luis, Van Ginkel, Matic, Salah, Baker, Brown, Bamford
Goalscorers: Silvio (55’) Boga (83’)
In Chelsea’s third pre-season match they were held by a gallant Austrian side RZ Pellets. In good news for Chelsea Petr Cech made his return from injury and made some solid saves. Whether or not he’ll be preferred over youngster Thibaut Courtois is yet to be determined but good to see him make a return. In other news Philippe Luis made his debut for the club and had an impressive first appearance before being replaced by Nathan Aké just after the half time. The Brazillian said after the game he was worried about his fitness heading into the first game but was confident he will continue to build upon it over the remaining 3 weeks. Branislav Ivanovic once again started at right back with Terry and Zouma starting as the preferred centre half’s. The whole squad has joined up in Austria now so in Chelsea’s 5 remaining pre-season games they’ll hopefully look to start making some appearances.
Columbus Crew 2 Crystal Palace 2
Crystal Palace Starting XI: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Williams, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie, Murray, Gayle
Goalscorers: Bedell (15’) Murray (36’) Gray (70’) Paldini (80’)
Crystal Palace got another good run out this pre-season this time slumping to a 2-2 draw against Columbus Crew. Palace manager Tony Pulis was not disappointed with the draw however, lamenting the game as more of a fitness component than anything else. Pulis said after the game, “The results business starts at the Emirates in a few weeks’ time. The important thing is we get the players through the games, the players get game time and their fitness improves”. Cheap defender Mariappa made an appearance early in the second half, disappointing not to see him get a starting spot because at his price it’d be a handy way into the Eagles’ solid defence!
Tranmere Rovers 2 Everton 2
Everton Starting XI: Robles, Browning, Garbutt, Duffy, Distin, Lundstram, Barry, Kennedy, McAleny, Pienaar, Naismith.
Second Half XI: Robles, Coleman, Hibbert, Alcaraz, Stones, Gibson, McCarthy, Long, Osman, McGeady, Hope.
Goalscorers: Naismith (26’) Stockton (63’) Osman (70’) Rowe (86’)
Everton got their pre-season off to a shaky start with a 2-2 draw with Tranmere Rovers. It wasn’t all about the result however as the news quickly shifted to the injury to key player Seamus Coleman. Coleman limped off in the second half after feeling his hamstring. The full extent of his injury isn’t known at this stage but disappointing nonetheless. Good to see Naismith on the scoreboard because if Everton don’t sign a striker he could be a fantastic option at only 5.0m! Keep an eye on Everton’s pre-season games and their business over the coming weeks because he could be a great option.
Harrogate 0 Hull City 5
Hull City Starting XI: Harper, Elmohamady, Dudgeon, Bruce, McShane, Brady, Meyler, Huddlestone, Sagbo, Jahraldo-Martin, Boyd.
Goalscorers: Boyd (36’) Brady (42’) Jahraldo-Martin (57’) Brady (69’) Boyd (80’)
After an injury plagued season last year Robbie Brady has finally overcome his niggling injuries and his put together a strong pre-season. In what was a standout performance from Brady he showed why he was in a lot of teams last year early on. Two goals and an assist proved what he can do when fully fit and at 5.0m could be a nice option! All in all a good victory for Hull and good to see them get a clean sheet, albeit against weaker opposition. Keep an eye out for Brady pre-season as he was on penalty duties last year before finally succumbing to injury. Watchlist.
Ilkeston 1 Leicester City 6
Leicester Starting XI: Schmeichel, Pearson, Konchesky, James, Morgan, Sesay, Barmby, Taylor-Fletcher, Wood, King, Albrighton
Second Half XI: Hamer, De Laet, Schlupp, Wasilewski, Moore, Watson, Drinkwater, Hammond, Knockaert, Nugent, Hopper
Goalscorers: Morgan (34’) Wood (45’) Nugent (46’) Hopper (54’) Nugent (79’) Wilson (84’ OG) Johnson (90’)
Leicester got their pre-season off to a flyer with standout performer from last season David Nugent kicking off from where he left last season with a brace. Nigel Pearson made 11 changes at half time and it payed dividends as City added 4 goals after the half time interval. Ben Hamer and Marc Albrighton made their debuts as Leicester proved far too strong for their opponents. Keep an eye on David Nugent, was fantastic in the Championship last season and looks like he’s keen to replicate that form in the Premier League. Could be a fanatic option at 5.5m and only 2.8% ownership!
Roma 1 Liverpool 0
Liverpool Starting XI: Jones, Kelly, Skrtel, Coates, Enrique, Lucas, Allen, Coutinho, Borini, Lambert, Ibe .
Goalscorers: Borriello (90’)
A late 90th minute Borriello goal was enough to hand Liverpool their second defeat this pre-season as Roma surpassed Liverpool by the slimmest of margins. Fabio Borini suffered an injury after 12 minutes and was replaced by summer signing Emre Can, proving his injury in the last game wasn’t at all serious. Liverpool won’t mind so much about the Borini injury after he signed with Sunderland during the week. Daniel Agger still cannot obtain a starting spot for Liverpool which surely will spell the end of his career at Liverpool. He spent the majority of last season on the bench when injured and is still struggling to get on the park during pre-season. Another feature off the bench is not what he’s after.
Sporting Kansas 1 Manchester City 4
Manchester City Starting XI: Cabarello, Richards, Boyata, Rekik, Kolarov, Navas, Fernando, Zuculini, Sinclair, Iheanacho, Joevtic
Goalscorers: Zuculini (2’) Sapong (18’) Boyata (45’) Kolarov (67‘ Pen) Iheanacho (90’)
Another routine victory for Manchester City as they continue to give their younge and fringe players game time during pre-season. Aleksandar Kolarov scored yet another goal during pre-season, albeit from another penalty, causing Pellegrini to surely have to make a decision over Kolarov or Clichy. Summer signing Willy Cabarello once again started in goals as Joe Hart continues his rest after the World Cup. Cabarello will certainly fight for the number one role at Manchester City so Joe Hart better be on his A game, if Pantilimon managed to shift him out of the position last season I’m sure Cabarello will be looking to do the same. Their World Cup stars will start to return over the coming days as they kick off their Guinness International Champions Cup. We’ll start to get a better look at City during these matches.
LA Galaxy 0 Manchester United 7
Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Evans, Shaw, Fletcher, Herrera, Mata, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck
Second Half XI: Lingaard, Rafael, Blackett, Keane, Nani, Fletcher, Herrera, James, Young, Kagawa
Goalscorers: Welbeck (13’) Rooney (42‘ Pen) Rooney (45’) James (62’) James (84’) Young (88’) Young (90’)
What a blistering performance as Manchester united got their pre-season off to an absolute flyer. Van Gaal elected to play a 3-5-2 formation with Shaw and Valencia operating on the wings, a rather surprising selection from the Dutchman. It proved to be successful though as Welbeck and Rooney combined for the opening goal of the game before Rooney scored a brace and was substituted at half time. Van Gaal made 9 appearances at the interval with only summer signing Ander Herrera and Darren Fletcher keeping their spots for the full 90 minutes. He indicated after the game that he has implemented a ‘new system’ and seemed like it was something he would use throughout the season. While referring to the formation that United will play it will be interested to see how Luke Shaw plays in a more advanced position. Herrera was good in his debut for the club, playing a number of key passes. Watch United closely over their pre-season.
Sydney FC 0 Newcastle United 4
Newcastle United Starting XI: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita, Colback, Gourffran, De Jong, Aarons, Riviere
Goalscorers: De Jong (19’) Riviere (26’) Yanga-Mbiwa (33’) Armstrong (83’)
A solid win for Newcastle United against A-League outfit Sydney FC. Summer signings Siem De Jong and Emmanuel Riviere got on the scoresheet in the first half but it was practically over by half time once Yanga-Mbiwa converted just before the break. Armstrong got on the scoresheet 7 minutes before time but the win was already in the record books from the team from the Toon. Emmanuel Riviere looked good in his first game for the Magpies, saying after the game “It was a good match, we played well and we played as a collective. We won, so that was good for our preparations for the new season.”
Rot Weiss Erfurt 0 QPR 1
QPR Starting XI: Green, O’Neil, Dunne, Barton, Austin, Wright-Phillips, Granero, Doughty, Gibbons, Sendles-White, Ehmer
Second Half XI: Lumley, Simpson, Traore, Hill, Donaldson, Onuoha, Petrasso, Faurlin, Henry, Zamora, Sutherland.
Goalscorers: Austin (22’)
QPR’s hero in the championship last year, Charlie Austin once again was on the scoresheet, heading in Joey Barton’s first half free kick. ‘Arry was pleased at the end of the game and was happy with the conditioning the players received from the game. Austin could be a good pick now that Remy has left, with Zamora the only other form of competition. Keep an eye on how he performs pre-season and consider once the season starts, was awesome in the championship last year but the main question is can he replicate it in the big time.
Swindon Town 0 Southampton 1
Southampton Starting XI: Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Targett, Ward-Prowse, Cork, Reed, Isgrove, McQueen, Pelle
Goalscorers: Hooiveld (51’)
Southampton keep their unbeaten record under new gaffer Ronald Koeman as they overcame a gallant Swindon Town. Graziano Pelle made his Southampton debut on English soil and looked lively early, nearly scoring from two opportunities. Jos Hooiveld headed in just after the break from a Ward-Prowse corner. At just 5.0m Ward-Prowse could be a cheap way into Southampton’s forward structure. If he can nail on a starting spot he may just have a breakout year, definitely one to watch.
Borussia Monchengladbach 1 Stoke City 1
Stoke City Starting XI: Butland, Wilkinson, Muniesa, Shawcross, Wilson, Ness, Nzonzi, Ireland, Shotton, Arnautovic, Diouf
Second Half XI: Sorensen, Bardsley, Pieters, Teixeira, Huth, Whelan, Sidwell, Adam, Walters, Crouch, Shea
Goalscorers: Hazard (47) Crouch (52’)
Stoke earned a routine 1-1 draw with German side Borussia Monchengladbach thanks to a Peter Crouch header early in the second half. Thorgan Hazard, brother of Eden, opened the scoring for the home side just after half time but Peter Crouch was on hand to head in the equaliser but unfortunately Stoke weren’t inspired enough to push on for victory.
Carlisle United 0 Sunderland 1
Sunderland Starting XI: Mannone, Jones, Diakite, Brown, N’Diaye, Cabral, Gomez, Mavrias, Moberg, Karlsson, Giaccherini, Wickham.
Goalscorers: Mandron (71’)
In a rather uneventful and useless game Sunderland elected to put forward an inexperienced team against the lesser opposition. It took until the 71st minute for the deadlock to be broken and that came through the form of Mikael Mandron, playing a neat one-two with George Honeyman, one of Sunderland’s academy players. All in all it wasn’t really a fantasy-relevant game, Mannone was really the only one of interest out there and he delivered by keeping a clean sheet before being substituted on the hour mark.
Chichago Fire 0 Tottenham 2
Tottenham Starting XI: Friedel, Walker, Dawson, Veljkovic, Rose, Holtby, Capoue, Mason, Townsend, Lamela, Kane
Goalscorers: Kane (5’) Lennon (83’)
Tottenham strolled to a routine 2-0 win over MLS outfit Chichago Fire thanks to goals from Kane and Lennon. They were relatively untroubled all game and deserved the victory after taking the lead early and sealed it late on. Holtby looked lively all game and Lamela impressed as well. After an injury struck season last year he didn’t establish himself to the Spurs fans and will be hoping to do so this season. He has a lot of talent so taking the EPL by storm is well within his capabilities, watch out if he starts linking up well with his teammates.
Sacramento Republic 0 West Brom 1
West Brom Starting XI: Myhill, O’Neil, Baird, Olsson, Pocognoli, Gardner, Mulumbu, Yacob, Dorrans, Berahino, Anichebe
Goalscorers: Dorrans (13’ Pen)
A Graham Dorrans penalty inside 20 minutes was enough to give West Brom a slender 1-0 victory over Sacramento Republic. Boaz Myhill produced a number of stunning saves which ensured the victory for West Brom. Craig Gardner was sent off in the 82nd minute but the visitors did enough to hang on for another pre-season victory, keeping their unbeaten steak alive under new gaffer Alan Irvine.
Wellington Phoenix 2 West Ham 1
West Ham Starting XI: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid, Collins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Nolan, Diame, Jarvis, Cole
Goalscorers: Durante (12’) Gorrin (27’) Zarate (70’)
Summer signing Mauro Zarate got his West Ham account off to a flyer with a 25-yard stunner. It wasn’t enough though as the Hammers went down to A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix. It was a rather disappointing result for West Ham considering the line up they started with and the opposition they were facing. Substitute Stewart Downing nearly equalised in the dying stages but couldn’t find the back of the net as the Phoenix held on for a massive scalp, I’d expect better from West Ham to be honest…
Houston Dynamo 0 Aston Villa 1
Aston Villa Starting XI: Steer, Herd, Senderos, Baker, Lowton, Bennett, El Ahmadi, Delph, N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Weimann
Goalscorers: Bennett (41’)
Aston Villa recorded a solid victory of American outfit Houston Dynamo as a Joe Bennett header from a Weimann cross was enough to see the victory for the away side. Villa looked lively all game and deserved the victory with nothing really relevant resulting from the game. Weimann looked lively but I don’t think he’s worth considering, there are far better options out there!
Accrington Stanley 0 Burnley 1
Burnley Starting XI: Gilks, Trippier, Shackell, Anderson, Mee, Taylor, Marney, Hewitt, Hall, Ings, Sordell
Second Half XI: Cisak, Duff, Long, Lafferty, O’Neill, Jones, Arfield, Hewitt, Howieson, Jutkiewicz, Gilchrist
Goalscorers: Gilchrist (73’)
A solid victory for the Clarets in their second pre-season game of the year. Popular choice and goal scoring machine last year Danny Ings played 45 minutes before making way at half time. Somewhat of a boring game but good to see Burnley keep a clean sheet and get the victory. Keep an eye on Ings during pre-season, could be a handy pick!
Philadelphia Union 0 Crystal Palace 1
Crystal Palace Starting XI: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Williams, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie, Chamakh, Gayle
Goalscorers: White (20’ OG)
Crystal Palace kept their unbeaten pre-season streak intact as they just got over against Philadelphia Union in the United States largely thanks to a White own goal. The London side perhaps could have won by 3 or 4 goals if it wasn’t for the inspired form of Union keeper Andre Blake who wonderfully stopped efforts from Bolasie, Ledley and Gayle. It was a good win for Palace in a sweltering affair and good to see their defensive brilliance with another clean sheet, possibly suggesting it may be worthwhile investing in a Ward/Dann.
York City 0 Hull City 2
Hull City Starting XI: McGregor, Elmohamady, Chester, McShane, Townsend, Snodgrass, Meyler, Quinn, Boyd, Brady, Long
Second Half XI: McGregor, Rosenior, Bruce, Davies, Townsend, Aluko, Huddlestone, Livermore, Dudgeon, Ince, Sagbo
Goalscorers: Aluko (50’) Sagbo (77’)
Hull had a comfortable victory over York after some tactical genius by Steve Bruce at half time. Bruce made 9 changes at half time and it payed dividends as substitute Sone Aluko opened the scoring 5 minutes after the restart before Yannick Sagbo iced the game with a striker 13 minutes before time. Good to see Hull register another clean sheet this pre-season and to see Robbie Brady register more minutes.
Roma 2 Manchester United 3
Manchester United Starting XI: Johnstone, Jones, Evans, Blackett, Valencia, Cleverley, Herrera, James, Welbeck, Mata, Rooney
Goalscorers: Rooney (35’) Mata (39’) Rooney (45’) Pjanic (75’) Totti (86’ Pen)
Louis Van Gaal got another victory in his second game in charge, this time a slender 3-2 victory of Italy giants Roma. It all seemed to easy at half time as a Rooney brace and Mata magic had United 3-0 up at half time. Untied seemed to switch off with 15 minutes to go and Miralem Pjanic capitalised on this, chipping substitute keeper Amos from well and truly within his own half. Roma were somewhat inspired by what they had witnessed and Totti nearly sparked a late comeback after converting a penalty in the dying stages. Rooney scored his 4th pre-season goal in only 2 games, which is sending a lot of singles to us FPL managers. They have an incredible opening run and Rooney is in great form, he’s a lock for me at this stage, Mata is looking the goods also. Keep in mind United once again rolled out with a 3-5-2 formation so its looking like the ‘go to’ formation from Van Gaal at this stage. This formation obviously doesn’t account for full backs so Shaw is seemingly being groomed into a wing-back role, something that will only increase his scoring potential – could be good value at 6.0m!
Wellington Phoenix 0 Newcastle United 1
Newcastle United Starting XI: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, S. Taylor, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita, Colback, Abeid, Gouffran, de Jong, Riviere
Goalscorers: Gouffran (41’)
Newcastle took note from Louis Van Gaal and lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Anita and Haidara on the wings while Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini and Taylor operating in the centre. It ended up paying dividends as the Magpies recorded a 1-0 win over A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix, thanks to a Gouffran goal. With the substitution of Siem de Jong Newcastle reverted back to a traditional 4-4-2 and finished the game in that fashion. Interesting to see how they line up come gameweek 1.
RassenBallsport Leipzig 2 QPR 0
QPR Starting XI: Green, Dunne, Ferdinand, Hill, Simpson, Doughty, Henry, Barton, Wright-Phillips, Phillips, Austin
Goalscorers: Poulsen (62’) Poulsen (73’)
In Rio Ferdinand’s debut for the club QPR couldn’t get over the line against German outfit Leipzig. Steven Caulker started on the bench and made an appearance in the second half but it wasn’t enough as a Yussuf Poulsen double sank QPR. The game was played in horrendous conditions but one would’ve thought QPR were a class above the German side, proving it may be a struggle for QPR in the top division of England.
Bournemouth 0 Southampton 1
Southampton Starting XI: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Targett, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Ramirez, Tadic, Isgrove, Pelle
Goalscorers: Isgrove (20’)
Southampton strolled to another pre-season victory, taking their tally to four wins from four matches. Lloyd Isgrove converted with a diving header from a Nathaniel Clyne cross on 20 minutes and that ended up being the only goal of the game. Both Pelle and Ward-Prowse came close to scoring before half time but couldn’t capitalise, unfortunate, as they are promising options in FPL. Mayuka and McQueen came on in the second half and both had chances to score, unfortunately also couldn’t capitalise. It was a good hitout for Southampton and another impressive performance from new gaffer Ronald Koeman
1860 Munich 2 Stoke City 0
Stoke City Starting XI: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Muniesa, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Whelan, Ireland, Bojan, Arnautovic, Arnautovic.
Goalscorers: Adlung (26’) Wood (51’)
Stoke City’s latest signing Bojan wasn’t enough to spark them to victory over German side 1860 Munich. The Potters tried hard but didn’t quite have the edge to nudge past Munich as they strolled to a comfortable victory thanks to goals from Adlung and Wood. Stoke haven’t kept a clean sheet so far this pre-season so the usual reliability of a Stoke defender may not be such an occurrence this campaign, will have to wait and see how they front up in their remaining 2 friendlies.
Hartlepool 0 Sunderland 3
Sunderland Starting XI: Pantilimon, Watmore, Ferguson, Roberge, O’Shea, Cattermole, Larsson, Ba, Fletcher, Clayton, Johnson
Goalscorers: Lawson (70’) Cartwright (73’) Cartwright (77’)
An expected victory for Sunderland as they overcome Hartlepool with relative ease. After starting a somewhat experienced starting XI their experienced players failed to have much of an impact, forcing second half substitutes Lawson and Cartwright to get the victory for the Black Cats. Vito Mannone wasn’t seen against Hartlepool, with Costel Pantilimon the preferred option in between the sticks.
Sacramento Republic 1 West Brom 3
West Brom Starting XI: Foster, Wisdom, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli, Baird, Yacob, Mulumbu, Berahino, Anichebe, Dorrans
Goalscorers: Berahino (13’) Mulumbu (30’) Anichebe (62’) Koval (73’)
After playing them 4 days previously West Brom had another encounter with US Pro League outfit Sacramento Republic. After only winning 1-0 in the first game West Brom played like they wanted blood, operating in a 4-3-3 formation they got off to the perfect start with a Saido Berahino volley and a Mulumbu strike within 30 minutes. Anichebe scored his second goal of pre-season just after the hour mark before Sacramento found a late consolation goal through JJ Koval. A good victory for West Brom as they make their pre-season streak 4 from 4.
Sydney FC 3 West Ham 1
West Ham Starting XI: Adrian, Demel, O’Brien, Reid, Collins, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Downing, Jarvis, Cole
Goalscorers: Gameiro (4’) Brosque (26’) Jarvis (50’) Gameiro (64’)
After suffering a shock defeat to Wellington Phoenix 3 days ago West Ham arrived in Wellington with a point to prove. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful as they once again suffered a shock defeat at the hands of an A-League side. West Ham once again deployed an experienced line up and it was again proved ineffective, being overcome by a much weaker opposition. Matt Jarvis scored nothing more than a consolation goal after half time but Sydney deserved the win. In more bad news for the club Andy Carroll has once again injured himself and will miss 4 months after having successful ankle surgery. With the injury to Carroll things only appear as if they’re going downhill for the Hammers. Someone is going to have to step up big time with the absence of Big Andy but no one has put their hand up yet. Interesting to see West Ham’s response as they embark on a trip to Germany to compete in the Schalke04 Cup.
NK Olimpika Ljubljana 1 Chelsea 2
Chelsea Starting XI: Delac, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Zouma, Luiz, Matic, Fabregas, Salah, Boga, Brown
Goalscorers: Kapun (40’) Costa (55’) Zouma (63’)
Chelsea’s summer signing Diego Costa got off to a flyer in his debut scoring his first goal in Blues colours. In what was seemingly a day for firsts, Kurt Zouma also banged in his first goal for the Blues after featuring in all of Chelsea’s friendlies so far this pre-season. Chelsea reverted to a 4-3-3 halfway during the game when Van Ginkel was substituted on and it payed dividends as Fabregás was given licence to roam more forward and played the key pass to give Costa his first Chelsea goal. Didier Drogba was watching on from the stands so it’ll be nice to hopefully see him feature in pre-season sometime soon.
Manchester City 5 AC Milan 1
Manchester City Starting XI: Caballero, Clichy, Kolarov, Boyata, Nastasic, Fernando, Navas, Zuculini, Sinclair, Jovetic, Iheanacho
Goalscorers: Jovetic (11’) Sinclair (13’) Navas (23’) Iheanacho Muntari (41’) Jovetic (58’)
Manchester City put yet another big name club to the sword as they well and truly wiped the floor with a decent Balotelli-less AC Milan outfit. Jovetic and Sinclair partnered up superbly as they were both involved in each others goals, Jovetic getting a well deserved brace. With the recent injury news to Negredo, there is certainly a strikers spot up for grabs and Jovetic will be doing everything in his power to make that his. With Dzeko seemingly the favoured to fill the position at this stage many scenarios can make that change, keep an eye out.
Liverpool 1 Olympiacos 0
Liverpool Starting XI: Jones, Johnson, Skrtel, Toure, Enrique, Gerrard, Henderson, Can, Sterling, Markovic, Sturridge
Goalscorers: Sterling (5’)
With the news of seemingly soon-to-be-announced Liverpool player Loic Remy failing a medical Liverpool were out for blood and that came through Greek side Olympiacos. Liverpool look comfortable from the get go as Raheem Sterling pounced on a Daniel Sturridge cross as Liverpool held on for a 1-0 victory. As the news circulated that Remy had failed his Liverpool medical they brushed aside their disappointment and quickly announced the signing of Southampton defender Dejan Lovren, completing nothing short of a raid of Southampton’s quality players. Summer signing Markovic made his debut and looked very promising, linking up extremely well with his new teammates. All in all a good victory for the ‘Pool.
Leicester City 1 Everton 0
Everton Starting XI: Joel, Hibbert, Distin, Duffy, Garbutt, McCarthy, Barry, McGeady, Naismith, Osman, Pienaar
Leicester Starting XI: Schmiechel, De Laet, Konchesky, Drinkwater, Morgan, James, Albrighton, Moore, Ulloa, Knockaert, Nugent
Goalscorers: Fletcher (54’)
In the first friendly between two premier league clubs Leicester City got the better of a solid Everton outfit. Gary Taylor Fletcher scored the only goal of the game despite David Nugent scoring only for it to be disallowed for offside. A really good result for Leicester consider the quality of the opposition and a good effort taking a big scalp in the Premier League.
Barnsley 1 Hull City 1
Hull City Starting XI: Harper, Rosenior, Elmohamady, Chester, McShane, Ince, Huddlestone, Long, Snodgrass, Livermore
Goalscorers: Long (47’) Hourihane (59’)
Shane Long was once again on the scoresheet as the Irishman is staking a claim for a position in our FPL teams. At just 6.0m and a dream opening 5 weeks against QPR, Stoke, Aston Villa, West Ham and Newcastle Long could be a very worthy investment, in a mere 5.7% of teams as well. Barnsley’s Hourihane capitalised on a goalkeeping error after half time to level the scores but it eventually resulted in the final goal of the game, a fair 1-1 result.
Plymouth Argyle 0 Swansea City 4
Swansea Starting XI: Fabianski, Rangel, Flores, Bartley, Kingsley, Ki, Shevley, Dyer, Sheean, Routledge, Donnelly,
Goalscorers: Donnelly (8’) Amat (69’) Sigurdsson (73’) Sigurdsson (90’)
In a blistering display highlighted by substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson Swansea eased past second rate Plymouth Argyle 4-0. Sigurdsson scored a brace after coming off the bench, the second a pure master class from the dead ball position, curling a free kick high into the corner. At just 6.0 Sigurdsson represents great value as he returns to his old stomping ground. Expecting big things from Gylfi, hopefully he lives up to everyone’s hype!
Well that’s a huge wrap of all the latest friendlies. Hopefully there was some decent information crammed into this long article. So far from pre-season I have taken away a few things, mainly United are looking good, so is Rooney, Costa did well in his first outing in Chelsea colours, West Ham look lost without Andy and Liverpool are in cruise control at the moment, doing as they please. As teams start to play more friendlies they will start to introduce their bigger names, until then – cheers!