The eagerly awaited kick off of the new Fantasy Premier League season is finally here. We hope that we will see a thrilling opening day and a thrilling title race, after a season which saw Chelsea top of the league for 38 gameweeks. Anyway, here is our opening FPL preview and star man picks and tips for each game:
Manchester United vs Tottenham
A fiery encounter to kick off the Premier League season with. Historically, United have had a great record against Spurs but in the last 6 games between the two, United have only won once. Either way, we expect United to have enough quality, especially after a busy transfer window, to see off Tottenham.
KEY MAN – Wayne ROONEY
Rooney will want to re-establish himself as one of the Premier League’s most lethal strikers after a confusing season in which he was frequently deployed as a midfielder.
Everton vs Watford
The last time these two locked horns was 8 years ago. This game could really go either way, as Everton rarely start the season well and both teams will have a point to prove. We’re opting with a narrow Everton win, but we expect Watford to score.
KEY MAN – Troy DEENEY
Watford’s captain will certainly be one to keep an eye on, as he could become a fantastic bargain if he can continue his form from last season into this season.
Bournemouth vs Aston Villa
These teams have only faced each other once before, in the form of a 2-1 win for Villa in last season’s FA Cup. Similarly to the Everton vs Watford game, this is a case of a team that underachieved last season against a team that is looking to prove themselves in the Premier League. However, with Villa having lost Benteke we expect a home win for the newly promoted side.
KEY MAN – Callum WILSON
We expect the youngster to be involved in Bournemouth’s goals, and just like Deeney, he could be a great bargain and differential if he steps up in the Premier League.
Leicester City vs Sunderland
In what is historically a very low scoring game in which both sides rarely score, we expect a narrow home victory for Leicester. Sunderland still have a lot to improve on whereas Leicester have added a lot of quality to their side. Expect a Leicester clean sheet as well.
KEY MAN – Robert HUTH
At just 4.5m, the experienced defender should keep a clean sheet despite Leicester missing their captain’s presence in defence due to Wes Morgan’s involvement in the Gold Cup.
Norwich City vs Crystal Palace
A revitalized Crystal Palace under Alan Pardew with a great attacking potential should be no match for newly promoted side Norwich City.
KEY MAN – Jason PUNCHEON
The Palace midfielder is likely to play a massive part in this game and could be involved in a goal or two.
Chelsea vs Swansea
With 9 wins in their last 10 opening day games, we fully expect Chelsea to overpower a Swansea side who were pretty impressive last season.
KEY MAN – Eden HAZARD
The highly influential and skillful midfielder is probably the most likely Chelsea player to be involved in any goal that Chelsea score.
Arsenal vs West Ham
Despite West Ham significantly strengthening during the summer window, it is highly probable that they will be no match for an Arsenal side who will really focus on having a strong start. Additionally, West Ham players may feel the after-effects of being involved in Europa League qualifiers during pre-season. For what it’s worth, Arsenal have beaten West Ham in their last 10 duels and are unbeaten in 15 games against the Hammers.
KEY MAN – Aaron RAMSEY
Ramsey has looked sharp in pre-season and he will be wanting to make sure his place in Arsenal’s first 11 does not fall into jeopardy. He’s more nailed on than Walcott and Giroud and he’s more likely to score than Ozil and Cazorla.
Newcastle vs Southampton
Newcastle will be hoping to put the bad memories of the 14/15 season behind them, but they have a tough start and Southampton are certainly not easy opponents. Despite Southampton’s involvement in the Europa League, the match they play 3 days before the season starts is probably not that important since Southampton have essentially qualified – so we expect Southampton to win and also keep a clean sheet.
KEY MAN – Sadio MANE
Mane has looked very dangerous for Southampton in their pre-season games and we expect him to grab a goal or an assist in this game.
Stoke City vs Liverpool
In what is the only game in Premier League history to be played consecutively (who can forget Stoke’s 6-1 drubbing of Liverpool on the final day?), it remains to be seen if Liverpool can defeat a Stoke side who are a potent force at the Britannia. However, with Benteke in the equation, we expect a high scoring game that will end in a draw.
KEY MAN – Christian BENTEKE
Liverpool’s new signing played the entirety of the friendly against Swindon, and so it is likely that fitness issues are not a worry. It is likely that the lethal striker will mark his debut with a goal.
West Brom vs Manchester City
Tony Pulis’ side, which kept more clean sheets than every other Premier League side apart from Chelsea last season, will be hoping to keep Man City quiet – a daunting task which has arguably been made easier with Aguero not being fit enough to feature in this game. Having said that, City have beaten West Brom seven times in a row and we expect that to happen again in this game, but it will be no easy task.
KEY MAN – Raheem STERLING
The expensive midfielder will surely have a lot to prove following his move from Liverpool to Manchester. We predict that he will shine on his debut.
By The Arsenal