Pre-Season Catch-Up - Arsenal to Man City

Teams have started to build some real momentum in pre-season now since most senior players have returned to training. This week we bring you a general round up of what’s been going on at each club with results, goal-scorers and players to watch out for, starting with Arsenal to Man City,

Arsenal

19 July Borehamwood 0-2 Arsenal (Olsson, Afobe pen)
26 July New York Red Bulls 1-0 Arsenal
2 August Arsenal 5-1 Benfica (Sanogo 4, Campbell 1)
3 August Arsenal 0-1 Monaco

Community Shield - 10 August Manchester City, 3pm, Wembley Stadium

A mixed start for Arsenal in terms of results. Football Manager legend Yaya Sanogo hit four against Benfica whilst World Cup star Joel Campbell also scored his first goal for the club in the same game. The big news coming out of Arsenal though in terms of Fantasy Football is where new signing Alexis Sanchez will play and Arsene Wenger has been very kind to us by informing us he sees him as a central striker. However, Sanchez is registered as a midfielder and since midfielders get more points for goals than strikers plus a clean sheet bonus, if Sanchez finds his feet early in the season he could be one of the key players for your FPL team. Arsenal’s purchase of Calum Chambers is an interesting one for us FPL owners as he’s played at CB for Arsenal in their last two preseason fixtures.  With Vermaelen seemingly unsettled and Mertesacker just returning to training this week after his World Cup winning exploits, Chambers could see himself getting a starting berth in the Arsenal back line for the first couple of games and at just £4.5m he could be an early season bargain.

Aston Villa

17 July Mansfield Town 1-3 Aston Villa (Bent 2, Gardner)
23 July Dallas 0-2 Aston Villa (Weimann, N'Zogbia)
26 July Houston Dynamo 0-1 Aston Villa (Bennett)
30 July Aston Villa 1-3 Chesterfield (Grealish)
2 August FC Groningen 4-1 Aston Villa (N'Zogbia)
9 August Parma (H), 3pm, Villa Park

Aston Villa comfortably won their preseason tournament in Texas in hot conditions however have struggled since returning to the Europe with losses against Chesterfield and Groningen. It’s difficult to see many FPL options in this Villa team since they aren’t scoring many and have to play Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City in their first 7 games. Darren Bent is being given another chance in a Villa shirt with several appearances this preseason and a couple of goals so if you’re looking for a budget striker who knows how to score goals in the Premier League he could be your man at £5m. Charles N’Zogbia has struck a couple of goals in an attempt to prove his fitness after a disastrous season last year where he picked up an Achilles injury in preseason. At £5.5m he could be a budget option for midfield after a solid preseason, free kick duties and a desire to prove a point.

Burnley

20 July Grossklein 0-8 Burnley (Barnes 2, Sordell 2, Jutkiewicz 2, Arfield, Gilchrist)
26 July Accrington Stanley 0-1 Burnley (Gillespie)
29 July Preston North End 2-1 Burnley (Jutkiewicz)
2 August Blackpool 0-1 Burnley (Sordell)
5 August Celta Vigo (H), 7.30pm

Burnley have had a fairly solid start to their preseason with only one defeat and three clean sheets so far, albeit against far weaker opposition than what they’ll come up against in the Premier League. New striker Jutkiewicz, signed from Middlesbrough this summer, has started life strongly in the claret and blue shirt has scored 3 goals this preseason, as has fellow summer signing Marvin Sordell. Both would be players to watch if Burnley can throw up some surprises at the beginning of the season.

Chelsea

16 July Wycombe Wanderers 0-5 Chelsea (Bamford, Brown 2, Terry, Ivanovic)
19 July AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Chelsea (Terry 2, Salah)
23 July RZ Pellets WAC 1-1 Chelsea (Boga)
27 July NK Olimpika Ljubljana 1-2 Chelsea (Costa, Zouma)
30 July Vitesse Arnhem 1-3 Chelsea (Salah, Fabregas, Matic)
3 August Werder Bremen 3-0 Chelsea
10 August Ferencvaros (A), 7.45pm, Albert Florian Stadium, Budapest, Hungary
12 August Real Sociedad (H), 7.45pm

Chelsea teenage midfielder Boga scored late on for Chelsea in order to prevent them losing against Wolfsberger AC as they earned a 1-1 draw in Austria. However, the big news was with the senior players who made appearances. Petr Cech came through a full 90 minutes to put pressure on Courtois for the number one shirt. Filipe Luis made his first appearance in the Chelsea team playing nearly an hour and showing his quality going forward – particularly his crossing ability which was especially impressive. He could prove a very sound investment and will be the cheapest route into the Chelsea back 4 as long as he overcomes the challenge from Azpilicueta for the left back berth, which will be helped by his relationship with Courtois from their time at Atletico together.

Once again, Ivanovic was pushed up front as Chelsea went to a back 3 in order to force the equaliser. It worked once more as they grabbed the equaliser late on. Kurt Zouma looks like he has potential but would benefit from another season out on loan before he becomes Chelsea’s back-up centre back so don’t be surprised to see Chelsea sign a new defender regardless of what Mourinho says about their transfer business being complete.

Since then Courtois has returned to Chelsea and played the first half in their 3-0 loss to Werder Bremen, with Cech playing the second half. Who gets the nod is anyone’s guess. Fabregas has been deployed mainly as a number 10, alleviating concerns he would be playing deeper alongside Matic whislt Eden Hazard has returned to preseason after his World Cup run with Belgium. Diego Costa grabbed his first goal in a Chelsea shirt and will be looking for many more with Burnley and Leicester up first. Drogba has made his return to Chelsea, taking the captain’s armband from Terry during his substitute performance but expect Costa to be the main man up front for the Blues this year.

Crystal Palace

16 July GAK Graz 1-13 Crystal Palace (Murray 2, Ledley, Bolasie, Thomas, Dobbie 4, Williams 2, Gray, Chamakh)
23 July Columbus Crew 2-2 Crystal Palace (Murray, Gray)
25 July Philadelphia Union 0-1 Crystal Palace (White og)
28 July Richmond Kickers 0-3 Crystal Palace (Ramage, Murray, Chamakh)
2 August Brentford 3-2 Crystal Palace (Murray, Chamakh)
2 August Forest Green Rovers 0-3 Crystal Palace XI (Campbell 3) 
9 August Augsburg (A), 2.30pm

With last season’s Premier League manager of the year Tony Pulis emphasising the importance of fitness over result, Crystal Palace began their pre-season tour of the USA with a 2-2 draw against Columbus Crew. One of last year’s Fantasy Football favourites from the Palace squad, Jason Puncheon, looked sluggish throughout the game but his team-mate Yannick Bolasie, who plays on the opposite wing to Puncheon, looked lively throughout, setting up a goal for Glenn Murray. If Bolasie can produce the form he’s capable of (ask Liverpool about the end of last season) on a consistent basis then he could be a real bargain wildcard for your fantasy midfield. As with many squads this season, the fight for the number one spot at Palace is well and truly on as last season’s hero Speroni goes up against January signing Wayne Hennessey. If Hennessey gets the nod at the beginning of the season he’d be a worthwhile investment at £0.5m cheaper than his Argentinian teammate.

Everton

22 July Tranmere Rovers 2-2 Everton (Naismith, Osman)
27 July Leicester City 1-0 Everton Bangkok, Thailand
3 August Everton 1-1 Porto (Naismith) 
6 August Celta Vigo (N), 7.45pm, Prenton Park
9 August SC Paderborn 07 (A), 3pm, Benteler Arena

Everton struggled a little to overcome League 2 opposition drawing 2-2 with Tranmere Rovers. Steven Naismith and Leon Osman got on the scoresheet for the Blues but the big news was regarding injuries. Darron Gibson made his comeback from injury after 9 months out injured with cruciate knee ligament damage as he came through 45 minutes unscathed. Having him back will be like having a new signing. However, last season’s fantasy football favourite (and now top-priced defender) Seamus Coleman was withdrawn in the second half as a precaution and looks to be struggling a little in preseason with injuries. New signing Romelu Lukaku was unveiled at half time during Leon Osman’s testimonial against Porto and will be hoping to score 15+ goals again this season as the Toffee’s main man going forward.

Hull

21 July North Ferriby United 1-1 Hull City (Long)
21 July Harrogate Town 0-5 Hull City (Boyd 2, Brady 2, Jahraldo-Martin)
23 July York City 0-2 Hull City (Aluko, Sagbo)
26 July Barnsley 1-1 Hull City (Long) 
Europa League Third Qualifying Round
AS Trencin 0-0 Hull City

New recruits Livermore, Snodgrass and Ince all featured as Hull beat York City 2-0 with goals from Sone Aluko and Yannick Sagbo. Bruce has added some flair and attacking ability going forward this summer in Ince and Snodgrass and will be hoping they’re able to help Hull improve their goal tally to build on their impressive first season in the Premier League last year.

Shane Long added another goal to his preseason tally against Barnsley but was unable to break the deadlock in their European debut. Bruce deployed three at the back for that game which, if it’s a sign of things to come, may offer some real value in the Hull defence with Rosenoir (£4.5m) having permission to go forward and Alex Bruce (£4.0m) earning a place at CB. Jelavic only managed a place on the bench with a short 5 minute cameo role which may give an early indicator of Bruce’s plans this year, especially with the influx of new attacking players at Hull. Huddlestone missed a penalty and then smashed the rebound against the bar meaning Hull need to win the second leg at the K.C Stadium to progress.

Leicester

22 July Ilkeston 1-6 Leicester City (Morgan, Wood, Nugent 2, Hopper, Wilson og)
27 July Everton 0-1 Leicester City (Taylor-Fletcher)
30 July Walsall 2-3 Leicester City (Morgan, Grimes, Drinkwater)
2 August Preston North End 1-1 Leicester City (Moore)
4 August Milton Keynes Dons (A), 7.45pm, Stadium MK
5 August Rotherham United (A), 7.45pm, New York Stadium
9 August Werder Bremen (H), 3pm, King Power Stadium

Leicester beat Northern Prem side 6-1 with summer signing Marc Albrighton getting 45 minutes under his belt. Another new signing Ben Hamer also made a 45 min appearance to try to oust Schemeichel from the number one spot at the King Power Stadium. Record signing Ulloa didn’t make the squad but was watching from the stands. David Nugent scored a brace but has never been able to cut it in the Premier League before, always struggling to make the step up from the Championship. Him and Ulloa are Leicester’s best options going forward at the moment and Danny Drinkwater offers an option in midfield with a goal to his name already in preseason.

Liverpool

16 July Brondby 2-1 Liverpool (Peterson)
19 July Preston North End 1-2 Liverpool (Suso, Peterson)
23 July Roma 1-0 Liverpool 
Guinness International Champions Cup
27 July Olympiacos 0-1 Liverpool (Sterling) 
30 July Manchester City 2-2 (3-5 pens) Liverpool (Henderson, Sterling)
2 August Liverpool 2-0 AC Milan (Allen, Suso)
4 August: Man Utd, Miami, USA (final)
10 August: Borussia Dortmund (H), 12:15pm, Anfield

Liverpool have shown signs of last year’s form so far this preseason with wins against Olympiakos, Man City and AC Milan. Since having their World Cup stars back in action they’ve been impressive as they look to build on their excellent season last year. Raheem Sterling has returned from World Cup duty with fire in his belly as he looks to progress this season under the guidance of Rodgers and with the injury that Lallana picked up during training Sterling looks certain to take up a central role come the start of this campaign. Sturridge was flown home after picking up a minor hamstring injury but is expected to return to action before the season begins. Suso has looked lively and will be hoping to feature in Brendan Rodger’s team after a successful loan spell at Almeria last season and has already bagged a couple of Liverpool goals this preseason, one coming against AC Milan.

Man City

13 July Dundee 2-0 Man City
18 July Heart of Midlothian 1-2 Man City (Sinclair, Kolarov)
23 July Sporting Kansas 1-4 Man City (Zuculini, Boyata, Kolarov pen, Iheanacho)
Guinness International Champions Cup
27 July AC Milan 1-5 Manchester City (Jovetic 2, Sinclair, Navas, Iheanachi) 
30 July Manchester City 2-2 (3-5 pens) Liverpool (Jovetic 2)
2 August Man City 2-2 Olympiacos (Jovetic, Kolarov pen)

The real emerging star of Man City’s preseason games has been Stevan Jovetic. He’s managed to grab himself 5 goals in their last 3 games, all against strong opposition. With Negredo injured and many fantasy football managers selecting Dzeko, Jovetic could well be an excellent differential for your team this year priced at £8m. It seems Kolarov has stepped up as penalty taker and has made no mistake so far, scoring twice from the spot; expect that to change though whilst either of Yaya Toure or Aguero are present on the pitch. Despite scoring 9 goals in their last three preseason matches, Man City are yet to keep a clean sheet this summer which would suggest they are continuing to play in the same style as last year where they simply try to outscore teams. 

Check these out too...

Pre-Season Catch Up - Man Utd to West Ham

We complete our run through of pre-season action this week beginning with Manchester United and ending with West Ham and every club in between. We're looking at all the results, goals and performances to get your FPL team ready for the big kick off.

Don't forget to subscribe

Signing up to InsideFPL is as simple as entering your email address. All you'll ever receive is our best and most up to date content.

  •       No Spam - never ever ever (we hate it as much as you do!).
  •       Current and in-depth analysis - our top boffins at your disposal.
  •       Special subscriber benefits - secret hints and tips only for our community.

Subscribe now for free!

comments powered by Disqus