Is it just me, or did that summer break seem to pass by in the blink of an eye? Barely have I had time to celebrate finishing fifth in the IEFSA league when Gameweek 1 rolls around and I’ve to cobble together a team to face @nikarg. It seems I’m not the only one who the new season has snuck up on. Spurs have sold four players and loaned out another four, but as of yet haven’t replaced any of them with a game against Newcastle looming. The Toon manager Rafa Benitez for his part has been complaining about his side’s lack of summer signings (they have only brought in seven players). Perhaps the summer break isn’t long enough and the Premier League should copy what happens in Germany, Italy and Spain, where everyone gets an extra week of down time in in order to entice Phillipe Coutinho into a transfer request? Or they could do what they do in Andorra, where the league doesn’t bother to start until the middle of September. That would have given me plenty of time to get an unbeatable squad together.
To see my thoughts on the IEFSA Fantrax draft from earlier in the month, please scroll down and read the previous post.
This season there has been a shake-up to the league. Instead of all 20 teams playing each other. The league has been split into two divisions of ten teams, with promotion and relegation at the end of the year. There will also be a Fantasy Cup which will happen during gameweeks that have midweek fixtures. Thankfully I’ve earned a bye in the cup until the second round. It should be a very interesting season.
Nik has a team which shouldn’t be short of goals. He splashed out $75 for the services of West Ham’s Chicharito to compliment the attacking threat of Bournmouth’s Jermain Defoe. In Midfield he can call on the talents of Christian Eriksen, who scored eight goals last season. @nikarg will be looking for Riyad Mahrez to rediscover the form he showed in Leicester’s title winning season, where he scored 17 goals. Elsewhere in Midfield he has Jesse Lingard of Man Utd, and Andros Townsend of Crystal Palace. Both players are capable of hitting the back of the net when given the chance.
Between the sticks he will have the Palace goalkeeper. Probably Wayne Hennessey for this weekend’s clash with newly promoted Huddersfield. The Terriers were the lowest scorers of the top eight teams in the Championship last season. They are actually the lowest scorers to gain promotion since Birmingham City in 2009. With all this in mind, it looks like Palace have one of the better chances of keeping a clean sheet on Saturday. In Defence, With McAuley out injured, Nik will have to start the trio of Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City, Rob Holding, Arsenal, and Leighton Baines, Everton.
What I Need To Happen
If I can’t score more goals than @nikarg, my players are going to have to out-work his to give me any chance of winning this match-up. Thankfully I have retained the services of the biggest workhorse in world football, Joe Allen. Helping the Welshman in Midfield will be this seasons star signing, the most expensive player in my squad, Tom Ince of Huddersfield. Another new signing in Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle will join an old face in Palace’s Luka Milivojevic. Up front I will have to choose between Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle or Swansea’s Tammy Abraham. Neither player is assured of a starting spot for their respective teams, so I will have to keep an eye on the matchday squads.
In goals this year will be Tom Heaton again. The Burnley stopper unfortunately has to travel to the champions Chelsea for the opening game of the season on Saturday. At the back, and hopefully pulling in a clean sheet or two, are Steve Cook of Bournemouth (a holdover from last year), Victor Lindelof of Man Utd (a new $34 signing), Michael Keane now of Everton (another survivor from last year’s squad), and Jose Fonte of West Ham (central defender who cost $15). Lindelof and Cook and not assured of starts, but Keane and Fonte should get 90 minutes. It would be great if three of those four could find their way onto the field this weekend.
With so many changes after the draft it’s going to be difficult to call all this weekend’s games. I haven’t even figured out how the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer is clandestinely sabotaging my team yet! To keep track of all the action this season please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.
Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone.