It’s back and oh how we’ve missed it. Get ready to say goodbye to everything you hold dear in life as you board the rollercoaster ride that is the Fantasy Premier League. It’s that time again to put your footballing knowledge to the test as you battle against friends, colleagues, family members and anyone else who’s brave enough to play the game.
If you’re new to Fantasy Football Addict, this is our weekly segment where we choose 11 players in a valid formation to enter our Fantasy Football Addict Select XI for the upcoming gameweek. We look into the fixtures and form to see which players are most likely to score high.
In Saturday’s lunchtime kick off, Liverpool get the season started playing host to Stoke, where Rodgers will be targeting a victory. There are a number of 3pm matches too, with the pick of the bunch being Arsenal vs Aston Villa, the first of two games for Villa in Gameweek 1. United wrap things up in the late kick off when they visit Swansea in Moyes’ first game in charge of the current league champions.
This gameweek stretches all the way to Wednesday with Chelsea playing against Hull and then Villa. In between we have Spurs travelling to newly promoted Crystal Palace and Man City hosting Newcastle for Pellegrini’s first game in charge. It’s a cracker of a gameweek with plenty of points up for grabs.
So without further ado, here is our selection for the very first gameweek of the season:
- Jussi JAASKELAINEN [CAR(H), 5.5m] – Jaaskelainen was an inspired signing for Big Sam, helping West Ham to 11 clean sheets last season, where he racked up an impressive 144 points. West Ham kick this season off facing promoted side Cardiff and Big Sam will be looking for his reliable goalkeeper to help keep things tight at the back as they go in search of their first win of 2013/14.
- Glen JOHNSON [STO(H), 6.0m] – Johnson ended last season as the highest scoring Liverpool defender with 142 points thanks to a goal and 5 assists in addition to clean sheet points. Like Big Sam, Rodgers will be looking to start the new season with a win, building from defensive solidity at the back. There are still question marks over Stoke and whether they can produce goals, so we’ve given Johnson a shot in our Select XI.
- Laurent KOSCIELNY [AVL(H), 5.5m] – In Gameweek 1, Arsenal play host to Aston Villa and Koscielny will want a clean sheet to get things started. He’s been relatively impressive at the back for Arsenal and we’re expecting more from him this season. He performed particularly well in the recent international friendly where he helped France to keep Belgium’s attacking talents at bay in their 0-0 draw.
- Ashley COLE [HUL(H), AVL(H), 6.5m] – For Chelsea cover at the back, we’ve opted for security over attacking potential in the form of Cole. There could be more reward in going for someone like Ivanovic but there’s also more risk. Cole was rested in the recent England friendly, which gives him a strong shot at playing both of these favourable matches.
- David SILVA [NEW(H), 9.0m] – By his high standards, Silva struggled last season but we can expect much more from him this season following City’s transfer dealings. He’ll have far more support as City look to improve on their poor goal tally last season. With question marks over who will start up front for City, Silva is almost guaranteed to play as he pulls the strings for their attack.
- Theo WALCOTT [AVL(H), 9.5m] – Walcott showed us what he’s capable of in England’s friendly against Scotland, where he used his pace to get in behind the defence and cut back to tuck the ball home. It’s fair to say, we’ll see much more of that as Walcott seeks to improve on the 14 goals he scored last season. There is a slight injury concern but we expect him to shake it off to start against Villa in Gameweek 1.
- Juan MATA (C) [HUL(H), AVL(H), 10.5m] – Following an incredible season for Chelsea, where Mata racked up 212 points for his fantasy managers, the talented Spaniard has been given an ideal gameweek to pick up from where he left off. With plenty of midfield options to choose from, there is always the risk of rotation with a trip to United in Gameweek 2 but if anyone is likely to play both it is Mata. Mourinho knows how important he is and that’s why we’ve given him the captain’s armband.
- Eden HAZARD [HUL(H), AVL(H), 9.5m] – With such a favourable double gameweek, we’ve chosen to select two attacking Chelsea midfielders with Hazard joining in. The Belgian had an impressive debut season for the Blues but Mourinho is expecting him to shine this season as he continues his progression. There’s definitely more to come from Hazard and if Lampard is off the field at any given moment, he will also pick up penalty duties.
- Christian BENTEKE [ARS(A), CHE(A), 9.0m] – Despite Villa having one of the toughest double gameweeks you could ask for, we’ve put our faith in the man that helped to keep them up last season. Benteke was one of the stars in 2012/13 as he defied the odds to end as the 4th highest points scoring striker. With the confidence of last season, Benteke will hold no fear travelling to the Emirates and Stamford Bridge in Gameweek 1.
- Daniel STURRIDGE [STO(H), 9.0m] – With Suarez out of the picture, it’s time for Sturridge to step up and show Liverpool fans that he can lead the line. Given the central role, Rodgers will be looking to Sturridge to find the back of the net on a regular basis, starting this weekend against Stoke. The atmosphere at Anfield should help boost the home side as they look to cheer their team onto victory in Saturday’s early kick off.
- Robin VAN PERSIE [SWA(A), 14.0m] – Finishing things off, we have the player of the season, the man who made the difference for United, RVP! Many managers have been weighing up the decision of whether to have him ever since his pricetag was unveiled, whilst some will still be undecided. As we don’t have budgets to worry about for the Select XI, we’ve chosen the Dutch marksman to complete our side. It’s clear he has a hefty pricetag but as Van Persie showed in the Community Shield, he can produce at any given moment.
That’s it for our first Select XI of the season, I hope this helps in some way to selecting your squad but keep in mind that these are players we think will score highly in Gameweek 1 and not over the course of the first few gameweeks of the season. For instance, Chelsea’s fixtures take a turn after the first double with trips to United and Everton, and a blank in the next 3 gameweeks. Anyway, good luck and we hope you get lots of tasty fantasy points!
One more note, we’re on the lookout for passionate writers to join the Fantasy Football Addict team, so if like us, you’re mad about fantasy football, get in touch and let us know what you have to offer.
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Author Credit: Richard Lam
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronmacphotos/