Gameweek 1 preview

August 14, 2014

16 Aug 12:45 Man Utd v Swansea
16 Aug 15:00 Leicester v Everton
16 Aug 15:00 QPR v Hull
16 Aug 15:00 Stoke v Aston Villa
16 Aug 15:00 West Brom v Sunderland
16 Aug 15:00 West Ham v Spurs
16 Aug 17:30 Arsenal v Crystal Palace
17 Aug 13:30 Liverpool v Southampton
17 Aug 16:00 Newcastle v Man City
18 Aug 20:00 Burnley v Chelsea

There’s so much to consider in the first week. It would be impossible to cover all variables of picking your first squad of fifteen, so lets just start with the obvious, and we’ll dig a little deeper as the weeks progress.

We’re pretty sure there are five teams in the title race, right? Its hard – actually, it’s impossible – to see past one of City, Chelsea, Arsenal, United or Liverpool lifting the trophy in May. So it’s a fairly obvious tactic to crowbar as many players from each of these teams into your initial squad as possible. And of these five, some have more favourable starts than others.

City and Liverpool have drawn the shortest straws. Four of the top five face at least one of the others before the end of September. City must take on three of their nearest rivals in their first six games, whereas Liverpool must face City, Spurs and Everton. Chelsea and Arsenal’s run through to October look slightly more pointsworthy, with games against newly promoted sides and Calamity Villa. Both, however, must also face Everton, and Arsenal have a North London derby to worry about.

United are the interesting team in the equation. Ignore last season. Don’t forget it, just ignore it. They’ll be stronger this season. They’ll be more of a threat, and more of an attractive proposition to fantasy managers. It’s not necessarily because of the new manager, or the new players, or the proposed new system, but the fact that they’re not in Europe. And whereas the other four will have all played a couple of Champions League games before the end of September, the furthest United will have traveled is to the Stadium of Light. Their first six fixtures are against all three newly promoted teams, and three teams who finished in the bottom half last season. Have I convinced you? OK, here’s the spanner in the works. This new proposed 3-5-2 system that’s been bandied about looks like it has to include a back three of Smalling, Jones and Evans. Back to the drawing board.

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