A few of my tips for the new season performed quite well last week, and it's always good to have reasonably priced good performers in any fantasy team. In particular I was impressed with the return from Shane Long, Wes Hoolohan and Seb Larsson with Asmir Begovic, Gary Cahill and Robert Huth all coming up trumps too. Players who I had tipped that cost a little more but performed well were Ashley Young, David Silva and Yaya Toure.
Any team which included those 9 players in it would be in a very healthy position right now, and it wouldn't have cost a fortune to do so. Unfortunately the site hosting the game couldn't cope with all the traffic last Friday and Saturday, and I couldn't make the necessary changes to my own team. I still managed a creditable 57 points from week one, and I'm hopeful of improving on my overall position this week.
Due to the problems experience last week there will be a week of free transfers this week, and it's a good chance to make any necessary changes without losing points. It might be a good idea not to leave the changes until the last minute though, just in case last week's problems aren't completely solved despite the assurances to the contrary.
Here's a look at the top of my predictions league.
Sunderland v Newcstle:
Saturday August 20, 12pm BST
Sunderland did well to take a point from their trip to Liverpool last week and they will be looking to get the better of their near neighbours in this local derby early on Saturday. Seb Larsson took his goal very well last week, and his ability from set pieces makes him a must buy for fantasy managers in my opinion. I'm still a little hesitant about their defence though, but they should have a chance of shutting out a fairly weak Newcastle team.
Newcastle got a creditable draw at home to Arsenal last week despite offering almost nothing in attack. Their team is weaker than it was last season, and they look like they could be involved in a long hard relegation battle unless they add a few new players. They welcomed Joey Barton back after his falling out with the club, and he gave the commitment that he's famous for even if he should have been sent off.
I think Sunderland should have enough to beat a very ordinary looking Newcastle team.
Arsenal v Liverpool:
Saturday August 20, 12.45pm BST
Arsenal had a perfect chance to get off to a good start last week against a poor Newcastle team, but they couldn't find the net despite their domination of possession. Since then Cesc Fabregas has left for greener pastures, and the team looks devoid of any creative spark. They were impressive in defence last week, but Newcastle are nowhere near as tough an opponent as Liverpool.
Both Gervinho and Alex Song will be suspended for Arsenal, and they are also without the services of Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and probably Samir Nasri too. Their team is down to the bare bones and they will have to work incredibly hard to get anything out of this game. At the moment it's hard to recommend any Arsenal players for fantasy teams until their squad is finalised at the close of the transfer window.
Liverpool really should have beated Sunderland last weekend, but they missed a lot of chances and paid the penalty in the end. They have added quite a few new players to their squad and it will take time for them to gel as a team I think. I'm not convince that their defence is particularly good, and if they're put under pressure they could struggle.
Arsenal's team will be patched up at best, but if they can play their own passing game I think they can get some joy and manage a win.
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers:
Saturday August 20, 3pm BST Villa managed a good goalless draw away to Fulham last week considering how many goals they conceded on their travels last season. They will be looking to get their home form off to a good start against a Blackburn team which were beaten at home last week. If any Villa players are to shine I think they will be Charles N'Zogbia and Darren Bent, and it will be interesting to see how secure their defence is at home.
Rovers had a good home record last season, but a home defeat to Wolves last week was a very poor start for them. If they are going to finish in mid table they need to improve on that home form because they are notoriously poor on their travels. Mauro Formica scored their goal last week and he might be one to keep an eye on for fantasy managers.
I think Blackburn will struggle if Christopher Samba is injured again, and Villa should just about edge a close game.
Everton v Queens Park Rangers:
Saturday August 20, 3pm BST
Everton's game away to Spurs was called off last week after the riots in London, and they will be anxious to get their season underway. They have a few injury worries ahead of the game, but they should be too strong for a promoted team at home. If Louis Saha plays I think he could do quite well in this game and Tim Cahill is of course another player to look out for.
QPR looked very good last week until they conceded a goal and then Bolton destroyed them. They need to make a few additions to their squad if they're going to have any chance of staying up, and that should happen with the new investment arriving in the club. It could be too soon for this game, but it will be interesting to see what players they sign.
I think Everton should have far too much for a QPR defence which looked all at sea last week.
Swansea City v Wigan Athletic
Saturday August 20, 3pm BST
Premier League footbll makes it's debut in Wales on Saturday afternoon when Swansea City become the first Welsh team to play at home in the Premier League. They performed well against Manchester City on Monday night, but City's class was too much for them in the end. They play attractive football, but sometimes it leaves them open at the back, and City exposed that.
Wigan would have hoped to have beaten promoted Norwich City at home in their opening game, but they could only manage a draw. They get their second chance against a promoted team in this game, and Wigan are not an easy team to beat. Victor Moses, James McCarthy and Ben Watson all looked good last week and they are all available at a reasonable price too.
I think Swansea will get their first point of the season in what could be a good game.
Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion:
Saturday August 20, 5.30pm BST
Chelsea played quite well in their opening fixture away to Stoke, but they couldn't find the goal they needed to win. Fernando Torres looks like he might fit into their team after all, and their defence was as solid as ever. Chelsea defenders are not cheap for fantasy managers to buy, but they are guaranteed a good return over a full season.
West Brom were a little unlucky to lose to Man Utd last week, and they made enoygh chances to get something out of the game in my opinion. My top two tips for West Brom were Chris Brunt and Shane Long and they were their top scorers last week. They will do very well to get anything out of this game though, as Chelsea will be massive favourites.
I think Chelsea will win, but West Brom might give them a bit of a fright first.
Norwich City v Stoke City:
Sunday August 21, 1.30pm BST
Norwich did well to come back from a goal down to get a point away to Wigan last week, and they will be hoping that Stoke's European exploits will help them to get a result in this game. Wes Hoolohan was my fantasy tip from the Norwich team for this season, and he got their goal last week. They will be looking for him to create the chances for them to in this game and for the rest of the season too.
Stoke had a very creditable 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea in their opening game, but their Europa League qualifier is bound to take something out of the players. They may have a few new players but their style has not changed at all, and Norwich can expect an aerial onslaught. If Norwich fail to deal with that bombardment Stoke could find themselves doing quite well.
I think Norwich should manage a draw but they will know they have been in a battle afterwards.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham:
Sunday August 21, 2pm BST
Wolves did really well to win away from home to Blackburn last week, and they will be looking to make it two wins in a row. Matt Jarvis did well for them and so did Stephen Ward and both players are available at a reasonable price. I still think Stephen Hunt will be their best scorer this season if he stays fit.
Fulham failed to break down Villa's defence last week at home, and their away record over the last few seasons is very poor.They still played quite well, and at least their midweek Europa League game is at home so they will have no issues with traveling. Their chances will depend on their ability to finally find some form away from home in the Premier League.
I think Wolves might just win this game and give themselves a maximum six points from two games.
Bolton Wanderers v Man City:
Sunday August 21, 4pm BST
Bolton had the perfect start to their Premier League campaign last week when they won 4-0 away to newcomers QPR. City will be a much tougher test for them, but they did well at home last season and they will definitely give it a go. A win for Bolton would probably see them as early season table toppers however unlikely that may seem.
City were impressive in the second half of their 4-0 win over newcomers Swansea on Monday night, and they will be looking for more of the same against Bolton. Their attacking options seem limitless and it's only a matter of who plays week in and week out for them. Every fantasy manager should have some City players in their team, but who do you choose?
I think David Silva and Yaya Toure are good bets and Sergio Aguero looked very good when he came on against Swansea. They still have Carlos Tevez to return and Eden Dzeko looked pretty good too. It would seem that it might well be possible to buy a league title.
This battle of the early season table toppers could be a good game, but I think City will have too much firepower for Bolton.
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur:
Monday August 22, 8pm BST
Man Utd beat West Brom 2-1 last week with only one shot on target in the whole game, as only they can do. The other goal was an own goal, but they did look impressive at times throughout the game. They have a few problems with defensive injuries, but their home record was so incredible last season it's hard to see them having too much trouble in this game.
The obvious United candidates for any fantasy manager are Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and Nani and any team looking to do well will need some of their attacking players in it when United are at home.
Spurs had their game called off last week after the rioting in London and they will be playing catch up for a while. It's a very tough first fixture for them and they will do very well to get anything out of this game. It won't get any easier for them though, as they play Man City next week and they could be rooted to the bottom of the table when the international break arrives.
Rafael van der Vaart is an excellent choice for any fantasy manager as are both Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, but the fitness of all three can never be guaranteed. Modric wants to leave too, and that could mean he misses out on this game. I would steer clear of Spurs players until the transfer window closes at least.
I can't see Spurs doing anything other than getting well beaten away to United as usual.
As always feel free to tell me where I may have gone wrong or right as the case may be.
It's not too late to join over 650 teams in my Fantasy League and there are prizes for the top three teams at the end of the season. Just go to the site and use the code 125540-42785 to join my league when your team is set up.
To join the predictions league just go to the site and set up your predictions. Then use the code F688F-JCO to join my league. I'll update the league table in my predictions every week.
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That's it for today.
See You Tomorrow.