Gameweek one of the Premier League has rolled around again, and there is a fantastic fixture list to start the new season, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City looking the best teams to invest in from the off.
Let battle commence...
Fixtures Analysis: A first week double gameweek is a real treat, and although Chelsea and Aston Villa do not play in gameweek three as a result, both teams are worth investment, with Chelsea enjoying two home fixtures. You will want to spread your picks around the top teams at the start of the season, and the fixtures have aided that with Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City all starting at home with winnable matches against Stoke, Aston Villa and Newcastle United respectively. Tottenham Hotspur too should be considered, with a trip to Crystal Palace first up, and West Ham could do well at home to Cardiff City.
Player analysis: Chelsea’s array of attacking options makes selecting the right players from their team a bit of a chore, but there are certain players who should play most of both matches at Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard (9.5) is perhaps the safest pick, with Juan Mata a slight injury doubt, and Kevin De Bruyne (7.0) could be a good choice after a solid pre-season. Up front, Romelu Lukaku (8.0) is the best bet, while Branislav Ivanovic (6.5) is the stand out defender.
Aston Villa have two tricky fixtures and a wealth of new players, meaning you should probably limit your picks to either Christian Benteke (9.0), or Andreas Weimann (6.0) if you need a bargain.
Daniel Sturridge (9.0) and Philippe Coutinho (9.0) are both expensive, but you should have at least one in your squad ahead of the new season given the rampant way they finished last year. Simon Mignolet (5.5) is a good keeper pick.
Olivier Giroud (8.5) has been flying in pre-season, and has a record of coming good in his second seasons at clubs, although Theo Walcott (9.5) is probably the best pick from Arsene Wenger’s team after he declared himself fit. All of Arsenal’s defenders are well-priced, and picking one up is a necessity after the watertight way they finished last year, with Laurent Koscielny (5.5) perhaps the stand out choice.
Manchester City will be typically hard to predict in terms of rotation, but Edin Dzeko (7.5) is a steal given Manuel Pellegrini has said he will be first choice at the start of the year. David Silva (9.0) might flourish in City’s new team, and Pablo Zabaleta (6.0) is a good route into their back four.
The furore over Gareth Bale’s future has clouded a fantastic transfer window for Spurs, and Roberto Soldado (9.5) could prove a fantasy football dream as a clear first choice in an attacking side. It is worth waiting for him to prove his fitness, but Younes Kaboul (5.0) is a good price, as is Gylfi Sigurdsson (7.0) who should start the season in the first team and on set pieces in Bale’s absence.
West Ham do not have Andy Carroll, so it could be best to turn to Kevin Nolan (7.0) ahead of their match against Cardiff.
To RVP or not to RVP: The burning issue is whether it is worth splashing out £14million of your budget on Robin Van Persie, with Manchester United’s tough start perhaps seeing plenty of people leaving out the Dutchman. Simply put, if you can get a team you are at all happy with that involves Van Persie then do it, as his ability to score anywhere against anyone makes him a safe captain pick any week.
Bargains: For ten fantasy football bargains check out this piece on HITC, which has tips on how to save some cash.
Captain Choice: It has to be Chelsea this week, and Eden Hazard is probably the best man to give the armband to.
image: © Ben Sutherland