The new season begins this weekend on Fantrax for the IEFSA Fantasy League. After last year’s respectable midtable finish, I will be hoping to mount a challenge for the title this time around. I wrote about the thinking behind the squad I drafted earlier in the week. But now it’s time to run a preview over the opening fixture. I lost more games than I won in finishing ninth back in May, so I know how important a win and a good start will be for 2016/17.
That opening fixture pits me against @TRKingston. Todd has put together a fairly balanced squad, but will I be able to get the better of him and start the season with a victory? This year also sees the league expand to 20 teams, and Todd is one of the managers competing for the first time and had to put his team together from scratch. In the first twenty picks of the draft, Todd went out and secured three players for his team. He clearly means business.
Todd’s first move in the draft was to acquire David Silva of Man City. The Spaniard had 11 assists last year in a mostly injury hit season. If he can stay injury free and recapture the form which saw him score 12 goals the season before, then the $52 that was paid for him will seem like shrewd business. To complement Silva in Midfield, the next signing in the draft was Yohan Cabaye. Pulling the strings in the Palace side, Cabaye is doubly important because @TRKingston’s side also features Connor Wickham up front. At the moment he is the only fit Forward that Alan Pardew can call upon, and any goals at Selhurst Park this weekend will surely come through him.
|Valdes will have Ben Gibson getting a Carles Puyol haircut soon #Influence|
Between the sticks we see Middlesbrough stopper Victor Valdes. ‘Boro had the best defence in the Championship last year. Valdes wasn’t part of that squad, but if anything his experience will help them tighten up enough to compete in the Premier League. Even if he doesn’t grab a load of clean sheets, his saves should gain plenty of points. In front of Valdes we have Liverpool new boy Joel Matip, Spurs left back Danny Rose, and Burnley’s Ben Mee.
What I Need To Happen
Even if it benefits Todd’s Ben Mee, I will hope that Burnley can keep a clean sheet at home to Swansea. I have Tom Heaton in goals and Michael Keane at the back. My other two players at the back are in direct opposition to @TRKingston’s defenders. Rose will be up against Baines. While Matip will face Bellerin. So if the home sides can score in the matchups of Everton V Spurs and Arsenal V Liverpool, then that will help me a lot. Some of our other players will face off too, this time in the Monday night game between Chelsea and West Ham. Todd’s Mark Noble is probably more assured of a starting place than Pedro. If I’m behind going into Monday, it could be tough to pull it back.
As I’ve always said, it’s goals that decide these fantasy games more often than not. My Midfield might not be able to compete goalwise this week though. With Mkhitaryan probably a week or two away from starting for Man United, Mirallas having to find his place under new manager Ronald Koeman at Everton, while Joe Allen is hardly known for his goalscoring exploits. I’ll be looking to my Forward to score the goals to take me to victory. And the forward to do that, while ruining the first game of the Pep Guardiola era at Man City, will be Fabio Borini… hmmm come to think of it, I’m starting to think that Marko Arnautovic overcoming his hamstring injury would be a better option for my nerves, my team, and my prospects of victory. An Arnautovic goal or two past Valdes on Saturday would be a great start to the season.
It will be tough to predict how sides will start out the season (but that won’t stop me from trying!). Please remember to follow these guys on Twitter to keep track of all @THE_IEFSA action. Plus they give the best advice on your fantasy strategy and up to date football news, day in, day out. Also, give some positive vibes to Fabio Borini on Twitter, he caries the hopes of my season on his shoulders!
Good Luck Everyone