Gameweek 1 in the IEFSA fantasy league pits my team against @TomSunderland`s side. A good start in any league is crucial, you don`t want to be playing catch-up with half the league going into week 2. A lot of unknowns go into the first weekend of the Premier League, and if you`ve read my IEFSA draft overview you`ll know my squad has more unknowns than anyone. For any matchup I think it`s important to put out eight players who are going to start for their sides. Brilliantly, in the IEFSA league, you have right up until kick-off to tinker with your side, but once that referee's whistle blows your players are locked in.
I’m confident that my eight starters will each start for their respective sides, but I still have two subs to rotate in if things take a turn come team sheet submission time. Unfortunately, with Jenkinson of West Ham absent for Sundays clash with Arsenal, I`m left with no cover if any of my three defenders don`t make it onto the pitch at three o`clock on Saturday. Also, Welbeck and Delph are doubts for the weekend, and even if they pass fitness tests, they may not break into their sides starting eleven.
No such defensive problems for @TomSunderland though. His three players, Azpilicueta, Cahill and Stones, look like starters and they all play at home this weekend. His midfield is more difficult to call. Oxlade-Chamberlain is fresh off a match winning goal in the Community Shield and he will be fancied to earn some points for Tom on Sunday. Elsewhere in midfield; Cuadrado didn`t get onto the pitch last weekend as Oscar and Moses were thrown into the mix as subs before him. Herrera hasn`t featured much in a crowded Man Utd preseason, but at least Tom will know where he stands as United v Spurs is the first game of the new season. Wilshere has been ruled out with injury, so perhaps an extra player will be drafted in last minute. Lens of Sunderland I am worried about. There is a lot of buzz about the Dutchman and playing in a probable front three away to Leicester City could bring Tom some joy.
Up front it looks like Falcao will lead the line. Whether he leads the line for Chelsea ahead of Remy is another matter. His back-up forwards, Ings and Vydra look likely for spots on the bench. Having all three forwards playing games at differing times could work to my advantage, as Tom may have to stick or twist with Falco come Sunday teatime.
In goal he has the safe hands of Arsenal new boy (boy?!?) Petr Cech. West Ham haven`t beaten Arsenal away since 2007 and they have only managed two goals in this fixture since then. Perhaps a Cech clean sheet is a foregone conclusion. But I have no horse in that race, so I`m hoping Slaven Bilic sends out the Hammers to attack and score goals.
What I need to happen
|Fretting over this man's team selection|
Two Watford defenders mean I hope the Hornets get a clean sheet at Everton. A possible trio of Villa players away at Bournemouth has made up my mind over which Saturday three o`clock game to watch! In goal sits Courtois and Chelsea at home are normally good for a clean sheet, but I’m confident Swansea can get Courtois` hands dirty and negate some of the points Cahill and Azpilicueta are sure to get from the same fixture. I will more than likely need my forward players to chip in with goals this week and I`m optimistic Depay and Wijnaldum are up to the task. Schweinsteiger will be rotated in if he starts the early fixture, otherwise I`ll be placing Walters in the OF until the Stoke game the next day.
If a few of Tom`s midfield and forward players are left as spectators this weekend and my squad can score or assist in a one or two goals, then I will hopefully have enough to outscore his solid defence and pick up the win.
In a feature that is bound to be scrapped after week 1 when all these predictions go belly up, I`m going to call each of the IEFSA league match ups.
A lot of these are just coin flips, but if anything, it might help me put a hex on some of my closest rivals by tipping them to win every week!
Enjoy the opening weekend of proper football everybody. And don’t forget to follow @IEFSA on twitter to keep up to date with all the happenings in the league.