FPL Gameweek 1 Captaincy
Welcome back FPL and to your Gameweek 1 Captaincy article. I’ve had a much needed relaxing break since the end of the season to try and decompress from the intense life of being an FPL addict. I hope you’ve all managed to recharge your batteries for what will be another gruelling campaign. It definitely seems like FPL towers released the player prices way too early, as it feels like I’ve been drafting my team for weeks now and my Twitter feed has been flooded.
Going into the new season all the teams start with a blank slate, a good / bad end of season does not dictate how the season will start. Here’s how I think things will pan out though:
The Big Boys
Although teams have strengthened, I expect this to be another City and Liverpool battle for the title. The pressure is really on Liverpool though, after a nearly perfect season still not being enough, any points dropped will hurt them mentally and we could see a similar reaction to the year after they nearly won the title with Rodgers in charge.
Spurs have firmly established their place in the top four, Arsenal have strengthened (although they appear to have neglected their defence), Chelsea / United ‘should’ be competitive and Leicester / Everton might be able to make a push to try and unsettle the hierarchy.
The Second part of the league
I expect this to consist of West Ham, Bournemouth, Burnley, Southampton (I was impressed by Hassenhuttl), Wolves (they’re spread a little thin with the Europa), Palace, Watford and Villa (I don’t think they’ll do a Fulham, they’ve bought well).
The Relegation Battlers
Norwich will be exciting to watch, but I don’t think they’re defensively sound enough. Sheffield United might be able to keep things tight, but they’re going to be punching in the Premier League. Brighton was lucky to survive last season and with a more open style under Potter, they might struggle again this season. Finally, without Rafa (and looking at Bruce’s Premier League record), I don’t fancy the chances of Newcastle staying up this season.
- Liverpool v Norwich– although Norwich have decent attacking threat, I don’t expect them to do much at Anfield and would expect a comfortable Liverpool win here with their first of many clean sheets.
- West Ham v City – I really like the prospects of West Ham’s front four and will be keeping my eye out for who to snap up in the future, however, I don’t fancy their chances for this match, as they’re quite an open side and City will put them to the sword. They might score, but City will score more.
- Bournemouth v Shef Utd– Utd has a good defensive structure and will make things hard for Bournemouth, but I think their quality will tell and I expect them to win.
- Burnley v Southampton – with no Europa distractions I expect Burnley to revert to type and be hard to beat. Southampton will press them hard and I can see this being a tight game that will either end in a draw or be settled by a single goal.
- Crystal Palace v Everton – with the uncertainty over Zaha, things appear a bit stagnant at Palace and they don’t play as well at Home. I fancy an Everton win here, but it should be fairly tight.
- Watford v Brighton – Watford tend to start the season well due to their tough pre-season training. This will be the first glimpse of the new attacking Brighton and I expect this to be quite an open game with lots of goals.
- Spurs v Villa – despite Villa’s multiple improvements I think that Spurs will have too much quality for them and they get to start the season in their own stadium this time.
- Leicester v Wolves – this should be a very interesting Midland derby. Wolves have had the benefit of the Europa league getting them match fit early, Leicester have a stellar attack and this should be an open counter attacking game with lots of goals.
- Newcastle v Arsenal – despite breaking the bank with their new striker, I don’t expect Newcastle to do much, even at home and this could be a great fixture if you choose the right Arsenal attacker.
- Man Utd v Chelsea – what a great Super Sunday fixture, Utd finished the season awfully but they’ve made some great new signings and will want to replicate their run when Ole first took the reigns. Chelsea has been hit by a transfer ban and losing their talismanic Hazard is a massive loss. The rest of the squad is largely the same though and they have some great young players, so they should still be very competitive under Lampard. I expect this to be quite an open attacking game with goals.
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Old Hunting Ground – do any of these picks have a good history vs their opposition?
For anyone that has Kane he looks to be a great option against an attacking Villa side. He’s finally had a rest and could start the season well. For the majority of others it’s going to be a Salah v Sterling week with Sterling having an amazing record against West Ham, but Salah hasn’t really played Norwich with Liverpool and he is easily capable of doing a Suarez to them.
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