Gameweek 4 preview

September 12, 2013

14 Sep 12:45 Man Utd v Crystal Palace
14 Sep 15:00 Aston Villa v Newcastle
14 Sep 15:00 Fulham v West Brom
14 Sep 15:00 Hull City v Cardiff City
14 Sep 15:00 Stoke City v Man City
14 Sep 15:00 Sunderland v Arsenal
14 Sep 15:00 Tottenham v Norwich
14 Sep 17:30 Everton v Chelsea
15 Sep 16:00 Southampton v West Ham
16 Sep 20:00 Swansea v Liverpool

We’re back. So are Villa and Chelsea. We’ve got a run of four weeks now through to mid October before the next international break, and each week is a 10 game week. And within that time we’ll know who our second manager of the month is.

The transfer window is shut. Some big names came in from abroad, and perhaps more interestingly from a fantasy point of view, there were quite a few switches, mostly on year long loans, between Premier League clubs.

So who goes straight into the starting XI?

Mesut Ozil. The googliest eyes in football is king of the assists – at least that’s what he’s been labelled. It looks a fairly formidable attacking front four for Arsenal. Giroud has started well – the game’s top scorer in fact – and he’ll be backed up by Ozil, Cazorla and Walcott. And the first team to experience this is Sunderland, who managed to pull in a few more signings of their own on deadline day. Liverpool fans will probably tell you that both Andrea Dossena and Fabio Borini are flops. They’d be right.

Marouanne Fellaini should start for United against Palace. Possibly playing behind RVP in the absence of Rooney and his gashed bonce. It’s the banker result of the weekend. They’ll be looking to bounce back after their defeat against Liverpool. Palace might be on the end of a hiding here. It’s something Ferguson could orchestrate. Lets see if Moyes can get the same reaction.

Tottenham could probably put out an entirely different team to their starting XI of this time last season with the amount of high quality summer signings they’ve made. Debuts could be forthcoming for Vlad Ciriches and Christian Eriksen. Eriksen and Erik Lamela, their other big signing, who made a fleeting appearance in their last league match, are the combined replacement for Gareth Bale, who finally swung off to Real Madrid. (That’s a monkey reference).

Chelsea face a tough return to Prem action against and Everton side who many believe made the most astute signings on deadline day. One of them, however, Romelu Lukaku, won’t be able to play against his parent club. So don’t (re)pick him just yet. Interestingly his price has plummeted from a starting value of 8 million to a very tempting 7.4 million. You could save yourself a few pounds and draft him in now. Once he’s available, that price will no doubt rise closer to that 8 million mark again. Fellaini’s replacement, James McCarthy comes in at a cheap looking 5.5 million, and could be worth a punt. Chelsea, obviously, couldn’t leave deadline day alone. The Willian transfer finally went through. And Samuel Eto’o was signed. Where either fit in to the Jose master plan is hard to fathom. Juan Mata seems likely to be the one to give way for Willian – which is just inexplicable. Is Eto’o, at his age, really a better option than Torres or Ba? I think they’ve made a mistake shipping Lukaku out again. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing, but I bet he’d be crap at fantasy league.

Glen Johnson and Danny Sturridge didn’t survive the international break unscathed. Don’t be surprised, however, if they’ve made a miraculous recovery for their Monday night clash with Swansea. To be fair, the extra two days may be the recuperation period they need. Liverpool bolstered their defence with the signings of Tiago Ilori, a young central defender, and Mamadou Sakho, who has been described as a marquee signing. Kolo Toure could be back from injury and Martin Skrtel put in a man of the match performance against Manchester United last time out, so we’ll have to wait and see which of these is picked to partner Daniel Agger. Sakho has been known to play on the left, but that puts Jose Enrique and Aly Cissokho out of a job. It’s a strong defence, and when all are fit, we’ll know the first choice. An away trip to Swansea could be tricky, and they may not necessarily keep up their clean sheet record, but upcoming fixtures against Sunderland, Newcastle, West Brom and Palace make the Liverpool defence worth paying close attention to. As is their loaning of Victor Moses – another curious Chelsea decision.

Peter Odemwingie finally got out of West Brom, landing at Cardiff, and could be handed a start. Palace made more signings than anyone, with Barry Bannan, Jake Hunt, Adrian Mariappa and Jimmy Kebe all coming in the last few days of the window, and all start cheaply, as you’d expect. Even the most optimistic Eagle wouldn’t expect anything this weekend against the Champions. Sneaking a goal isn’t beyond the realms of possibility though. Stephen Ireland going to Stoke might not sound that exciting, but consider he’s playing for Mark Hughes, under whom he had his best spell whilst a Manchester City player. It might work again.



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