Around the Grounds

Reading Time: 18 minutes


Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Around the Grounds. There have been some big results and some even bigger players making their re-appearance from the World Cup, let’s get into it.


Arsenal 5 Benfica 1

Arsenal Starting XI: Martinez, Bellerin, Chambers, Monreal, Gibbs, Rosicky, Flamini, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanogo, Campbell

Goalscorers: Sanogo (26’) Campbell (40’) Sanogo (44’) Sanogo (45’) Sanogo (49’) Gaitain (62’)

Arsenal got a triumphant win in their third pre-season game of the season which saw first goals for Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell. Sanogo scored a first half hat-trick while Campbell chimed in before the break with a good finish. Summer signing Calum Chambers made his debut for the club at centre half as Arsenal deployed an all full-back defence. It proved effective for the first half but Nicolas Gaitain pegged one back just after the hour mark to ruin any chance of an Arsenal clean sheet. Marquee signing Alexis Sanchez made his debut for the club, coming on late in the second half. He looked lively but didn’t unfortunately provide any goals or assists for the Gunners.


Aston Villa 1 Chesterfield 3

Aston Villa Starting XI: Guzan, Lowton, Herd, Donacien, Bennett, Gardner, Johnson, Carruthers, Burke, Tonev, Robins

Goalscorers: Darikwa (6’) Hird (45’) Grealish (51’) Morsy (84’)

Villa slumped to their first defeat of pre-season when they were hammered by last year’s league two winners Chesterfield. Although fielding an extremely inexperienced team, Paul Lambert’s men looked lacklustre and seemingly thought they could walk away with a routine victory. It wasn’t the case however as Chesterfield out performed the Villains and deserved a victory. Nothing of real interest in this game with Villa playing such an inexperienced team.


Preston North End 2 Burnley 1

Burnley Starting XI: Gilks, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Marney, Ings, Jones, Taylor, Jutkiewicz, Arfield

Goalscorers: Jutkiewicz (15’) Browne (51’) Brownhill (90’)

Much like Aston Villa, Burnley slumped to their first defeat of pre-season this time to League One side Preston North End. Lukas Jutkiewicz scored the first goal of the game inside 20 minutes but Preston kept fighting and eventually snatched a late winner thanks to a brilliant Brownhill free kick. A disappointing game for Burnley considering the quality they had on the park.


Vitesse Arnhem 1 Chelsea 3

Chelsea Starting XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Luis, Van Ginkel, Matic, Salah, Fabregas, Torres, Costa

Goalscorers: Salah (3’) Fabregas (22’) Matic (74’) Djurdjevic (89’)

Chelsea recorded a routine victory over Austrian side Vitesse Arnhem in what was really a dominant display by the blues. They looked in control all game and started brilliantly when Diego Costa unselfishly laid one off for Egyptian Mohamed Salah opened the scoring inside 5 minutes. Costa was again involved when he was hacked from behind giving Fabregas the chance to score his first goal for the club. The Spaniard converted a wonderful free-kick and the blues looked in control. It was seemingly a game for firsts when Nemanja Matic was handed his first goal for the club, again Diego Costa unselfishly providing the assist. Costa looked brilliant all day and showed he’s not just about scoring goals, being directly involved in all three Chelsea goals. Really looks a great option, as dose Fabregas it seems. Chelsea rolled out a 4-2-3-1 formation with Ivanovic slotting in at centre half and Azpilicueta returning to his favoured right back position. It is yet to be determined what the back four will look like so keep an eye on their remaining fixtures if you are interested in investing in Chelsea’s defence. One thing is for sure is that Filipe Luis is the only one locked on at Left Back….


Richmond Kickers 0 Crystal Palace 3

Crystal Palace Starting XI: Hennessey, Mariappa, Ramage, Murray, Jerome Williams, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie, Chamakh, Gayle

Goalscorers: Ramage (35’) Murray (52’) Chamakh (65’)

Crystal Palace played in a seesawing affair that eventually was determined by class as the Eagles completed a hat-trick of headers to defeat USL Pro outfit Richmond Kickers. Palace failed to register a shot in the first half an hour of the game before Ramage headed home from the back post in the 35th minute. The Eagles gathered momentum and after the break doubled their advantage through a determined Glenn Murray as he converted Puncheon’s cross. The Premier League side all but completed the victory when Marouane Chamakh headed in just after the hour mark. A good victory for Palace considering the poor start to the game. Interesting to note that Glenn Murray still found the back of the net despite filling in at centre half, a shortage of defenders meant Murray was forced to swap ends of the ground, really highlighting how much of a goal scoring machine he is….


Porto 1 Everton 1

Everton Starting XI: Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Jagielka, Alcaraz, McGeady, Barry, Barkley, Osman, Piennar

Goalscorers: Naismith (41’) Martinez (57’)

In a testimonial game for Leon Osman Everton were held to a 1-1 draw with Portugese outfit Porto at Goodison Park. With the unveiling of permanent signing Romelu Lukaku, Steven Naismith was determined to prove he is still a decent selection, firing home just before the break. Powerhouse Jackson Martinez cancelled out Naismith’s opener 12 minutes after the break as Porto rescued a draw away to Everton. Lukaku will be hoping to get some involvement in Everton’s remaining two friendlies.


Walsall 2 Leicester City 3

Leicester City Starting XI: Hamer, Konchesky, Morgan, Pearson, Hammond, King, Albrighton, Hopper, Mahrez, Nugent, Wood

Goalscorers: Morgan (7’) Nugent (26’) Mansett (45’) Grimes (49’) Drinkwater (87’)

Leicester backed up their impressive 1-0 victory over Everton with a last gasp victory against Walsall United. Dave Nugent was again on the scoresheet during pre-season, firming as a solid POD for those interested. Danny Drinkwater scored what ended up being the winner 3 minutes from time as Leicester were made to work for their victory. A good test of character for Leicester, something that will be required if they are to perform well in the Premier League this year. Keep an eye on Nugent.


Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2

Liverpool Starting XI: Jones, Kelly, Toure, Coates, Enrique, Hendersen, Gerrard, Allen, Coutinho, Sturridge, Lambert

Manchester City Starting XI: Caballero, Clichy, Boyata, Nastasic, Kolarov, Navas, Fernando, Zuculini, Milner, Jovetic, Dzeko

Goalscorers: Jovetic (53’) Hendersen (59’) Jovetic (67’) Sterling (85’)

Another pre-season game where two Premier League teams faced off, this time through last years winner and runner up, Manchester City and Liverpool. Both started fairly strong teams with both sides finding it tough to find the back of the net. Stevan Jovetic continued his astonishing pre-season form with another two goals, while Raheem Sterling also continued his good form with a late saviour for Liverpool. Simon Mignolet was the man of the moment as Manchester City put in a horror performance from the spot as Liverpool ran away 3-1 winners on penalties. Jovetic is definitely putting in eye-raising performances and against good opposition so keep an eye on City’s forthcoming Community Shield game against the Gunners, could be one to watch.


Inter Milan 0 Manchester United 0

Manchester United Starting XI: Lindegaard, Smalling, Jones, Evans, Valencia, Fletcher, Herrera, Young, Mata, Rooney, Welbeck

In what was a different sight for long-time Manchester United fans, The Red Devils came up against former stars Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic now at Inter Milan. Van Gaal continued to run with a 3-5-2 as it failed to register a goal but nonetheless United continued their pre-season win streak with a 5-3 victory on penalties. Rooney and Mata both were lively throughout the game and are definitely firming as really good selections. Hard to ignore United’s form at the moment, albeit only pre-season.


Sheffield Wednesday 0 Newcastle United 1

Newcastle United Starting XI: Elliot, Haidara, Dummett, Yanga-Mbiwa, Satka, Abeid, Tiote, Obertan, Perez, Armstrong, Riviere

Goalscorers: Perez (66’)

Newcastle backed up their impressive displays in Wellington as they strolled to a comfortable 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Ayoze Perez gave Newcastle the victory as the Spanish striker scored shortly after the hour mark to complete a solid display from the Tyneside team. A good victory considering a relatively inexperienced line up.


Leyton Orient 2 QPR 2

QPR Starting XI: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Caulker, Ehmer, Traore, Wright-Phillips, Barton, Henry, Hoilett, Austin

Goalscorers: Vincelot (10’) Hoilett (19’) Barton (47’) Cox (84’)

QPR were held to a 2-2 draw against Leyton Orient as bad boy Joey Barton’s stunning free kick wasn’t enough to hand QPR a pre-season victory. After going behind after 10 minutes goals to Junior Hoilett and Joey Barton weren’t enough to give QPR victory as Dean Cox (No West Coast fans…) scored a late equaliser 6 minutes from time.


Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Southampton 3

Southampton Starting XI: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, S. Davis, Tadic, Isgrove, Pelle

Goalscorers: Tadic (19’) S. Davis (43’) Ward-Prowse (62’) Lua Lua (74’)


Southampton extended their unbeaten pre-season run to 5 wins from 5 games as they brushed aside Brighton & Hove Albion. After making his loan move to Southampton last week Ryan Bertrand made his debut for the club and put in a very good effort. He and his new Southampton teammates unfortunately couldn’t keep a clean sheet though with Lua Lua scoring a late consolation goal with 16 minutes to go. Ward-Prowse scored once again this pre-season and is firming as a solid selection after the exodus of Southampton players over the summer.


Schalke 2 Stoke City 1

Stoke Starting XI: Begovic, Wilson, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Bojan, Whelan, Ireland, N’Zonzi, Arnautovic, Diouf

Goalscorers: Bojan (55’) Matip (58’) Barnetta (85’)

After making his surprising move to Stoke City over the summer Bojan has continued his strong pre-season, scoring his first goal for the club. After a scoreless first half Stoke came out the better team and Bojan opened the scoring 10 minutes after the restart with a cracking strike. Stoke unfortunately couldn’t hold onto the lead for long enough as Joel Matip equalised three minutes later before Tranquillo Barnetta scored the winner 5 minutes from time. Stoke have now lost 2 of their 3 pre-season friendlies, something that will need to improve before the beginning of the season. Definitely keep an eye on Bojan, potentially a great option at 5.5m, certainly has the talent.


Exeter City 0 Swansea City 2

Swansea Starting XI: Tremmel, Tiendali, Bartley, Williams, Taylor, Lucas, King, Sheehan, Bray, Montero, Gomis

Goalscorers: Gomis (31’) Sheehan (78’)

Bafetimbi Gomis scored his first goal for Swansea as the Swans strolled to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Exerter City at St James Park. Swansea looked dominant all game and when Gomis scored on 31 minutes Swansea looked even more comfortable. Josh Sheehan then fired home with 12 minutes remaining in the game as Swansea closed out the victory. Wilfried Bony made an appearance just after half time and almost scored while new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was an unused sub off the bench.



Tottenham Hotspur 6 Celtic 1

Tottenham Starting XI: Friedel, Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Davies, Mason, Capoue, Holtby, Kane, Townsend, Soldado

Goalscorers: Kane (5’) Soldado (12’) Lindsay (44’) Holtby (45’) Lamela (60’) Eriksen (83’) Adebayor (89‘ Pen)

Tottenham completed an absolute rout of Celtic as the Spurs registered 6 individual goal scorers. After making the move from Swansea over the summer Ben Davies made his debut for the club and put in a solid performance. Lamela and Eriksen both got on the scoresheet and are presenting as good options as cheap-ish potential premiums. Eriksen is someone I like the look of and at 8.0 he could be the difference of having a powerhouse forward line with options such as Rooney, Costa, Lukaku etc.


Nottingham Forrest 1 West Brom 0

West Brom Starting XI: Foster, Wisdom, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli, Yacob, Baird, Gardner, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Berhaino

Goalscorers: Fryatt (25’)

West Brom slumped to a disappointing defeat over Nottingham Forrest as they lost their first pre-season game of the year. Alan Irvine tasted defeat for the first time as gaffer of West Brom despite fielding a fairly decent team. Andre Wisdom continued to hold down the Right Back position and is looming as a fantastic option at 4.0m. West Brom will need to regroup and perform like they did at the start of their pre-season fixtures.


Schalke 0 West Ham 0

West Ham Starting XI: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Tomkins, Collins, Potts, Downing, Kouyate, Poyet, Fanimo, Nolan, C. Cole


After losing both of their A-League friendlies against Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC West Ham bounced back with a reasonable response against German outfit Schalke. The Hammers couldn’t find the back of the net but managed to stop their opponents from breaching their net, something they have only done once this pre-season. Because the game ended in a draw the game went to penalties in which West Ham managed to win 7-6 in an exciting affair. Carl Jenkinson watched on from the bench but will be hoping to feature in the Hammers’ next pre-season fixture against Malaga.


Arsenal 0 AS Monaco 1

Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny, Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Arteta, Wilshere, Sanchez, Giroud, Cazorla

Goalscorers: Falcao (36’)


A Radamel Falcao header was enough to see off Arsenal as French side AS Monaco beat Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger fielded an experienced team which saw Alexis Sanchez get handed his debut for the club but even he couldn’t inspire Arsenal to victory despite his energy and alertness on the ball. Summer signings Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers partnered in defence for the first time with Debuchy seemingly the favourite for the Right Back position. Chambers was once again solid at centre half as it is looking like he is being groomed for the position. He performed admirably with his tackling a highlight of his performance. With Mertesacker likely to miss the opening game of the season Chamers may yet find himself in the Arsenal starting XI to take on Crystal Palace.




Walsall 0 Aston Villa 1

Aston Villa Starting XI: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Baker, Clark, Richardson, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Agbonlahor

Goalscorers: Hutton (28’)

After losing their last two pre-season matches Aston Villa finally wrestled back some pride as Villa completed a narrow 1-0 victory of League One side Walsall. The Premier League side fielded a 3-5-2 formation, which saw them create the more chances and were the deserved winners of the game. Villa have one last pre-season game against Parma so Paul Lambert will be hoping for a similar performance, albeit probably more comfortably on the score sheet.



Blackpool 0 Burnley 1

Burnley Starting XI: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Shackell, Reid, Wallace, Marney, Jones, Taylor, Barnes, Sordell

Goalscorers: Sordell (68’)

Burnley walked away comfortable 1-0 winners against Blackpool as they continued their winning pre-season streak. Blackpool, fielding 2 starting trialists and 7 trialists on the bench, put aside their off field worries and put in a respectable performance, only conceding the solitary goal from Marvin Sordell 22 minutes before time. Burnley fielded a rather weakened team so hopefully we will get a better look at potential options like Ings in their final pre-season game against Spanish side Celta Vigo.


Werder Bremen 3 Chelsea 0

Chelsea Starting XI: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Zouma, Luis, Van Ginkel, Matic, Salah, Fabregas, Torres, Costa

Goalscorers: Elia (17’ Pen) Obranik (37’) Kroos (89’ Pen)


Chelsea faced their first defeat of pre-season as German side Werder Bremen thumped an unlucky Chelsea side. Chelsea gave Thibaut Courtois his first start as a Chelsea player and he put in a string of fine saves despite conceding the two first half goals. He was replaced at half time by Petr Cech, which must be causing Mourinho plenty to think about for the opening game against Burnley. Mourinho wasn’t at all happy with the refereeing in a match that saw 2 of the 3 goals come from penalties. Didier Drogba made his return to Chelsea and nearly scored another goal in Germany but was unluckily stopped by Bremen keeper Wolf. Eden Hazard gained some valuable minutes in the second half as he makes his bid to be right for the first game of the season. Mourinho has says he expects Hazard to be available but isn’t so confident on the likes of Willian, Oscar, Ramires and Schurrle.


Brentford 3 Crystal Palace 2

Crystal Palace Starting XI: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Mariappa, Bolasie, Jedinak, Ledley, Puncheon, Chamakh, Murray

Goalscorers: Douglas (47’) Gray (55’) Murray (55’) Chamakh (57’) Odubajo (75’)


Crystal Palace suffered their fist defeat of pre-season as Brentford put in a stellar performance to overcome the Premier League side. After playing as centre half last game, Glenn Murray showed his versatility by returning to his favoured position as striker and once again got on the score sheet, proving his point that he still has his incredible goal scoring knack. Goals to Murray and Chamakh in quick succession though weren’t enough as Brentford’s record signing Odubajo scored the winner 15 minutes from time. Murray is definitely one to look out for in Palace’s remaining two pre-season fixtures.


Preston North End 1 Leicester City 1

Leicester Starting XI: Schmeichel, De Laet, Wasilewski, Moore, Konchesky, James, Drinkwater, Knockaert, Taylor-Fletcher, Vardy, Ulloa

Goalscorers: Moore (25’) Clarke (57’)


Leicester continued their unbeaten pre-season run as they recorded a draw against League One outfit Preston at Deepdale. Liam Moore scored an excellent opening goal with a volley from 15 yards but it wasn’t enough as a Tom Clarke second half equaliser ended the game in a draw. Leicester do remain unbeaten this pre-season though which is promising ahead of what is going to be a tough and demanding season for The Foxes.


AC Milan 0 Liverpool 2

Liverpool Starting XI: Mignolet, Kelly, Toure, Coates, Robinson, Lucas, Hendersen, Allen, Lambert, Ibe, Sterling

Goalscorers: Allen (17’) Suso (89’)

Liverpool completed a good performance against AC Milan with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals to Joe Allen and Suso. Joe Allen opened the scoring after Milan keeper Abbiati saved Sterling’s initial shot but couldn’t keep out Allen’s rebound. Something seriously must have been going on because Rickie Lambert missed his first penalty in seemingly forever. Suso then doubled Liverpool’s advantage with a minute left of play, which all but confirmed a deserved win for Liverpool.


Olympiacos 2 Manchester City 2

Manchester City Starting XI: Hart, Clichy, Kolarov, Boyata, Rekik, Fernando, Navas, Toure, Nasri, Jovetic, Dzeko

Goalscorers: Jovetic (34’) Diamantakos (36’) Kolarov (53’ Pen) Diamantakos (66’)

Manchester City were knocked out of the International Champions Cup on penalties after initially drawing 2-2 with Greek outfit Olympiacos. The man of the moment, Stevan Jovetic once again got on the score sheet, along with Aleksandr Kolarov, again converting another penalty during pre-season. David Silva came on in the second half and after playing a good one-two with Stevan Jovetic was brought down in the penalty box and awarded a penalty. Kolarov made no mistake and Manchester City looked destined to be facing Manchester United in the final. However this wasn’t to be the case and Olympiacos found an equaliser through Diamantakos, who scored his second goal of the game, meaning the game was heading to penalties. Olymipacos kept their cool and ended up winning the shootout.


Real Madrid 1 Manchester United 3

Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea, Keane, Jones, Evans, Valencia, Hererra, Fletcher, Young, Mata, Welbeck, Rooney

Goalscorers: Young (20’) Bale (27’ Pen) Young (37’) Hernandez (80’)

A brace from Ashley Young was enough for Manchester United as the Red Devils saw of Real Madrid 3-1 in front of a staggering 109,318 US fans. United changed their usual formation of 3-5-2 to a 3-4-1-2 as three at the back still proved effective this time against fantastic opposition. Manchester United looked comfortable the whole game and were deserved winners, showing the critics that maybe this change in formation will suit the Premier League. Despite not scoring both Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata looked lively.


Malaga 3 Newcastle United 1

Newcastle United Starting XI: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, Coloccini, Haidara, Abeid, Colback, Sissoko, Armstrong, Cabella, Perez

Goalscorers: Darder (25’) Castillejo (32’) Castillejo (42’) Obertan (60’)

Newcastle suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Spanish side Malaga as the team from Tyneside competed in the Schalke 04 Cup. Newcastle went behind within 30 minutes and rarely looked back from then, conceding 7 minutes later and then again just before the half time interval. Obertan who has apparently been told his services are no longer required at the club, scored a fine consolation goal on the hour mark but that marked the only thing Newcastle fans could cheer about, a poor performance form Newcastle.


Vitoria Setubal 0 Sunderland 0

Sunderland Starting XI: Pantilimon, Mavrias, O’Shea, Roberge, van Aanholt, Bridcutt, Gomez, Giaccherini, Johnson, Wickham, Fletcher

Sunderland completed their tour of Portugal with a 0-0 stalemate as neither side could produce enough quality to break the deadlock. There were few chances for Sunderland to score but admittedly they were unlucky not to receive a penalty in the second half as Adam Johnson was taken down inside the box, unluckily the referee ignored his plea. The game needed that little piece of quality but unfortunately that wasn’t provided, good to see Pantilimon keep a clean sheet though…


Bournemouth 3 Swansea City 1

Swansea City Starting XI: Tremmel, Rangel, Tancock, Richards, Kingsley, King, Lucas, Sheehan, Montero, Dyer, Samuel

Goalscorers: Pugh (28’) Pugh (45’) Pitmann (52’) Montero (68’)

Swansea suffered only their second defeat of pre-season and it come at the hands of an impressive Bournemouth. Bournemouth looked the better side and this finally reflected on the scoreboard as Marc Pugh opened the scoring before the half hour mark and doubled their advantage just before the half time interval. Bournemouth never looked troubled and continued their dominance, adding to their lead 7 minutes after the restart through Pitmann. Swansea scored nothing but a consolation goal 22 minutes from time thanks to Montero’s first goal for the club. A disappointing result for Swansea and a game that easily could have been 4-1, 5-1.


Port Vale 3 West Brom 2

West Brom Starting XI: Myhill, Wisdom, Olsson, Dawson, Garmston, O’Neil, Yacob, Gardner, Brunt, Roofe, Anichebe

Goalscorers: Roofe (5’) Williamson (18’) Pope (27’) Garmston (48’) Dawson (83’ OG)


Craig Dawson scored a last minute own goal as Port Value impressively overcame West Brom 3-2 in their pre-season encounter. Kemar Roofe got the Premier League side off to the perfect start, scoring inside 5 minutes, before Port Vale responded thanks to two goals in under 10 minutes from Williamson and Pope. West Brom responded after the break thanks to Bradley Garmston but it was Craig Dawson who turned villain in the 83 minute as he coverted an accidental own goal and handed Port Vale the win and only West Brom’s second defeat of pre-season, making that two in a row from Mr. Irvine.


Malaga 2 West Ham 0

West Ham Starting XI: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Burke, Cresswell, Noble, Whitehead, Diame, Jarvis, Vaz Te, Zarate

Goalscorers: Rescaldini (22’) Alberto (24’)


West Ham once again suffered a defeat this pre-season as two goals in as many minutes handed the Hammers their fourth successive defeat. Carl Jenkinson made his debut at Right Back for West Ham but unfortunately went off injured, suffering a hamstring injury on the hour mark. The Spanish side were far too good for West Ham and if it wasn’t for Adrian saving a 30th minute penalty thanks to a Carl Jenkinson blunder, it could have been worse. Big Sam is running out of time to get this team in order and is going to need answers fast. Seems like they really are missing Big Andy.


Burnley 2 Celta Vigo 2

Burnley Starting XI: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield, Marney, Jones, Wallace, Barnes, Jutkiewicz


Goalscorers: Jutkiewicz (2’) Lopez (69’) Jutkiewicz (70’) Nolito (73’)

The Clarets put in a strong performance against La Liga side Celta Vigo in their first encounter at Turf Moor for the year. Summer signing Lukas Jutkiewicz put in another fantastic performance, scoring another brace this pre-season. Danny Ings was missing from the Burnley match day squad and Jutkiewicz made full advantage of this, scoring inside 5 minutes. Burnley held on for the remainder of the first and second half before a flurry of goals from Alex Lopes, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Nolitio resulted in a 2-2 draw, a good result for the home side.


Rotherham United 1 Leicester City 3

Leicester Starting XI: Schmiechel, De Laet, Wasliewski, Moore, Konchesky, Drinkwater, James, Knockaert, Taylor-Fletcher, Hopper, Ulloa

Goalscorers: Ulloa (29’) Ulloa (39’) Agard (59’) Drinkwater (64’)

The Foxes continued their awesome pre-season form with yet another victory, this time brushing aside Rotherham United with ease. Leicester never looked in doubt and thanks to two goals in ten minutes from summer signing Ulloa Leicester went into half time with a two goal advantage. Kieran Agard responded shortly after half time but Danny Drinkwater was able to quickly restore the two goal cushion for Leicester, scoring 5 minutes later. It wasn’t all good news for Leicester with Anthony Knockaert limping off badly with a leg injury, will have to wait and see the full extent of the injury. Hopefully nothing too serious.


Schalke 1 Newcastle United 3

Newcastle Starting XI: Krul, Anita, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Obertan, Sissoko, Colback, Aarons, Riviere, Gouffran

Goalscorers: Riviere (11’) Aarons (53’) Cabella (72’) Avdijaj (90’)

After suffering a humiliating defeat to Malaga only a day previous, Newcastle were out for revenge and responded terrifically well, smacking a lacklustre Schalke. Newcastle looked in control the whole game and opended the scoring after 10 minutes as Emmanuel Riviere scored his second goal for the club, thanks to a superb cross from youngster Aarons. Newcastle then doubled their advantage shortly after half time thanks to the supplier of the first goal, Aarons, before then capping off a fantastic display through another summer signing Remy Cabella. Newcastle were unfortunate to concede and thoroughly deserved a clean sheet but unfortunately did concede a late consolation goal to Avdijaj in the 90th minute. A good response form Newcastle.


Shamrok Rovers 0 QPR 4

QPR Starting XI: Green, Simpson, Caulker, Dunne, Onuoha, Traore, Barton, Faurlin, Hoilett, Austin, Zamora

Goalscorers: Hoilett (13’) Austin (31’) Hoilett (89’) Austin (90’)

QPR proved to be a class above their opponents as they easily raced away 4-0 winners over Shamrok Rovers thanks to braces from Charlie Austin and Junior Hoilett. QPR looked untroubled all day and thoroughly deserved their victory. Two headers from Charlie Austin and his fantastic season last year makes him one to watch over QPR’s remaining 2 friendlies…


Reading 1 Swansea City 3

Swansea City Starting XI: Fabianski, Tiendalli, Williams, Bartley, Talor, Ki, Shelvey, Gomis, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Bony

Goalscorers: Routledge (23’) Routledge (25’) Blackman (43’) Gomis(65’)

Swansea cruised to a 3-1 victory over Championship side reading as a Wayne Routledge brace was enough to see off the former Premier League side. Bafetimbi Gomis scored another goal during pre-season while popular choice Gylfi Sigurdsson combined well throughout the whole day playing in the number 10 role. Both Bony and Sigurdsson combined well all day and showed the possible connection the pair will have throughout the season, if Bony stay’s of course…


Athlone Town 0 QPR 2

QPR Starting XI: Murphy, Simpson, Caulker, Hill, Onhuoha, Wright-Phillips, Barton, Henry, Hoilett, Zamora, Austin

Goalscorers: Zamora (14’) Austin (64’)

Last seasons saviour Bobby Zamora was hand to give QPR a victory in their final pre-season game of Ireland. ‘Arry fielded a strong side and it payed dividends as Zamora finished inside 20 minutes before Charlie Austin scored another goal during pre-season. The victory completed a solid tour of Ireland for QPR and showed Charlie Austin may well be a solid pick in FPL terms this campaign….Definitely one to keep an eye out, especially if Loic Remy decides he’s had enough….


CD Nacional 1 Sunderland 0

Sunderland Starting XI: Pantilimon, Jones, O’Shea, Brown, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Gomez, Giaccherini, Johnson, Fletcher, Wickham

Goalscorers: Lucas (89’)


In a rather dour affair Sunderland slumped to a last gasp defeat to Portugal side CD Nacional. The game seemed destined to finish in a draw until Nacional striker Lucas volleyed past Costel Pantilimon with only a minute to spare, handing Sunderland a pre-season defeat. Wickham featured out on the left wing throughout the game had three clear-cut chances but couldn’t capitilaise on either of them, something Sunderland were left to rue after the game.


Manchester United 3 Liverpool 1

Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea, Evans, Smalling, Jones, Valencia, Hererra, Fletcher, Young, Mata, Hernandez, Rooney

Liverpool Starting XI: Mignolet, Kelly, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Gerrard, Hendersen, Coutinho, Lambert, Sterling

Goalscorers Gerrard (14‘ Pen) Rooney (55’) Mata (57’) Lingard (88’)

Manchester United continued their utter dominance of pre-season, recording their 3rd victory for the year. Liverpool looked to bring it up to United when Stephen Gerrard converted a routine penalty inside 15 minutes after Sterling was fouled in the box by Phil Jones. But it was all Manchester United after that and Rooney scored yet another pre-season goal 10 minutes after half time and Juan Mata soon gave Manchester United the lead 2 minutes later. The game was sealed two minutes from time when Jesse Lingard scored to make it 3-1 to the Red Devils. Luke Shaw made a premature appearance thanks to an injury sustained by Antonia Valencia. The Left Back was substituted on after 9 minutes when Valencia came off with a leg injury. Van Gaal said he was clever to take himself off to prevent further injury so I’m thinking that it’s nothing serious, just being careful as it’s only pre-season. United rolled out with the 4-3-1-2 formation and were found out by the pace of Raheem Sterling at times so this may need to be something Van Gaal monitors… Could be a way of exploiting United…




Blackburn Rovers 1 Stoke City 1

Stoke Starting XI: Begovic, Bardsley, Huth, Shawcross, Muniesa, Anautovic, N’Zonzi, Adam, Diouf, Walters, Crouch

Goalscorers: Rhodes (38’) Bojan (69’)

Stoke, who are without a win this pre-season, one again failed to deliver, this time finishing in a stalemate against Blackburn Rovers. Jordan Rhodes opened the scoring for the home side 7 minutes before the break before a second half substitution of Bojan finally kicked Stoke into gear. The emergence of Bojan helped Stoke move the ball and it was no surprise that he scored the equaliser, adding to his quality pre-season to date. At 5.5m he is definitely one to consider as he has the talent he just needs the consistency to go with it. Keep an eye on Stoke’s remaining fixtures against Real Betis and SC Freiburg to see how Bojan is performing. Could be a quality option, albeit an inconsistent one.



Huddersfield 2 Newcastle United 2

Newcaslte Starting XI: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara, Gourffran, Sissoko, Colback, Cabella, Ferreyra, Riviere

Goalscorers: Riviere (16’) Majewski (36’) Stead (66’) Cabella (88’)

Newcastle rescued a draw against Huddersfield after a positive performance from both sides. Newcastle took the lead as Emmanuel Riviere scored his third Newcastle United goal but it was all Huddersfield after that, equalising through Radoslaw Majewski 9 minutes before half time and then taking the lead shortly after the interval through Stead. It took until the 88th minute for Newcastle to find the back of the net again and once again it was a summer signing, this time Remy Cabella who made it two goals in two games for the Toon. Good to see Newcastle’s new signings get on the score sheet again and good to see some character shown to fight their way back into the game despite going behind.




Well that’s a huge wrap of the latest pre-season friendlies. The majority of teams are coming to their final pre-season games as we are about to embark on a massive season. I hope you are all as excited as I am for August 16 – can’t wait. I’ll be back for another edition or two of Around the Grounds but until then, cheers.

36 comments on “Around the Grounds

  1. toasted1961

    Phew. Thanks for that. I am interested in your views on my midfield. I have decided to go with a 3-5-2.
    Currently I have Mata, Siggy, Sanchez, Hendo and Erikson. I have 1.0m left. How is it best spent?
    Def : Clyne , Evans, Ward
    Forward: Costa, Rooney and Bojan.

    • nburk53 Post Author

      Cheers mate. I’ve been testing the waters of a 3-5-2 lately as well… Just can’t quite get it right. Would definitely upgrade Henderson but just can’t seem to muster up the appropriate funds for a decent player. This was the main problem I’ve had when trying to fit in both Rooney and Costa. I take it that’s the main reason you’ve gone a 3-5-2? To accommodate both Rooney and Costa? Maybe upgrade Henderson to Barkley?

      • toasted1961

        Thanks. About 50 versions ago I had Barkley. The problem atm is that I am getting dizzy with the constant tinkering and changing. There has been some talk about Dejong from Newcastle. What is your take on him?

    • Ryan

      All 5 of those mids are fine, maybe the riskiest being Henderson, although the riskiness factor is what could make him a great pick if he goes well. If you are going to spend the 1.0 in the midfield, maybe Henderson to De Jong or Barkley, or Henderson to Ward-Prowse and then Eriksen to Hazard. Very unique for this site is Sterling, many reasonably argue that at that price you would want premium returns but I think you should consider him as he’ll likely score and assist his way to as many points as Ramsey and Fabregas and Silva etc.

      • toasted1961

        Yes, Sterling has been in my team as well as Fab at one stage. That is why I thought Henderson might be good Liverpool coverage. I gathe from your advice above you would consider Haz over Erikson. What about Rambo as well as Snachez? I also considered Silva but he burned me a little last year.

        • nburk53 Post Author

          No doubt Hazard would be a better option than Eriksen but it’s difficult to find that extra 2.0m. Ramsey and Sanchez are fine together but remember Arsenal do have a fairly tough opening month! Yeah Silva burnt me twice last year yet he still manages to sneak in every now and again, thankfully not in at the moment!

  2. theultimateandy

    Great article Nick! Stoke are doing so poorly in the pre season games, I have Begovic in my team atm but maybe Stoke should be avoided altogether??

    • nburk53 Post Author

      Thanks mate, yeah they’re performing shockingly. See how they go in their last couple of games but if they show no sign of improvement then it might be wise to give him the flick!

      • kingcolesy

        I think krul/Elliot is possibly great value for first 12 games. Just have to cringe over first game.

        • nburk53 Post Author

          Krul will get the nod ahead of Elliot. Resorting back to the Krul – Mannone/Panti combo mighten be the worst option if Begovic & Stoke turn to crap.

      • theultimateandy

        Cheers man, I’ll definitely keep an eye. That was some article, keep up the great work!! FPLaddicts articles get me through work each day! 😀

  3. Bio Eden Hazard

    Great stuff again Nick! It´s making me very unsure of my team though 🙂 I’m getting more and more tempted to go Rooney+Costa…how many of you have gone down that road? 🙂

    • nburk53 Post Author

      Same here, I just can’t seem to find enough balance. Would be handy to have both but if you’ve only got one I wouldn’t be too worried.

      • boges11

        Yeah, after reading this great article, I went Dzeko -> Costa, but it meant I had to go Eriksen -> De Jong, Hazard -> Fab and Terry -> Luis. Think my team is better for it though.
        (One thing Burky, pls pls pls it’s losing not loosing. Yes I am being a grammar nazi but those 2 just get to me, and you did it 2x)

  4. Philip

    Any thoughts on Ashley Young? Looks to be in good form and is a cheap option. Might he make the starting XI?

    • nburk53 Post Author

      He’s been filling in for Luke Shaw at LWB so once Shaw gains fitness and the respect of the manger his game time might be limited. Keep an eye out if he’s favoured over Shaw though, however likely that may be…

  5. george021

    What are your thoughts on Green keeping for QPR all season with other options like Julio Cesar in the team?
    And also, what are your thoughts on Jovetic getting the starting nod in the opening games?
    Thanks, good read.

    • nburk53 Post Author

      Cheers mate, would avoid QPR with absolutely everything… Promoted teams historically don’t tend to be good defensively (minus Palace) and QPR play a free-flowing brand of Football meaning Clean Sheets aren’t of top priority. Far better options at 4.5 like Krul, Mannone, Pantilimon, Guzan…

      Jovetic will most likely start with Dzeko against Newcastle GW1 but as Aguero returns to full fitness either one or the either will be shifted to the bench, whoever is performing best most likely. If you’re Wildcarding after GW1 Jovetic could be a good differential.

      • george021

        Ok, will do 🙂 I will stick with my option of the Krul, Mannone combination then.
        Interesting, i might well just go with Jovetic then. Thanks.

        • nburk53 Post Author

          Yeah they’re presenting as a good combo, especially how they rotate home games all the way up to GW38!

          Jovetic really is in fantastic form, but he basically is a unknown quantity to the Premier League. I guess the big question is, can he maintain this performance in the Premier League? Guess we’ll see!

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