Top Goalscorers – Sanogo (4)
Clean Sheets – 2 from a possible 5
Arsenal have gently eased players back into preseason training since so many of them were on World Cup duty with their respective nations this summer, with the successful German trio especially not returning to training until this week and are therefore unlikely to make the opening fixture. With such a broken preseason schedule and a small number of games it’s been difficult to tell how Arsenal will start the season but a very comfortable 3-0 win against Man City in the Community Shield has shown Arsenal are ready to challenge for the title this season, especially if they get their chequebook out again before the end of the window.
Expected GW1 Line-up
Debuchy Chambers Kosceilny Gibbs
Sanchez Ramsey Wilshire Cazorla
Form player - Aaron Ramsey (£9m)
Last season’s success story and major breakout player, Aaron Ramsey, has had a full preseason and appears to have picked up where he finished last year. With a goal and an assist against Man City in the Community shield he has shown he hasn’t lost his touch over summer and is hoping for even better things this season. Against City he played a more advanced role, supporting the lone striker through the middle with Sanchez and Cazorla pushed out wide to accommodate him, improving his potential FPL returns this coming season.
One to watch - Calum Chambers (£4.5m)
Chambers was just one of a number of players to jump ship at Southampton this summer when he moved to Arsenal for a fee in the region of £16m. He’s a very promising young player who normally plays right-back but under Wenger has been playing a more central role in defence. Wenger has even hinted at playing him in a holding midfield role since he is so versatile and has the qualities to succeed in that area of the pitch. With Vermaelen gone to Barcelona, and Mertesacker only just coming back to training, Chambers is likely to be Arsenal’s centre back for the opening fixtures, especially having performed so well there against a strong Man City front line. A few good performances could make him hard to drop and at £4.5m could be a steal for us in FPL if he gets a regular place in the team.
Alexis Sanchez (£10.5m) Arsenal’s marquee signing this summer has bags of quality and should score a few goals once he settles in at Arsenal. Will benefit from having Ozil around him to find his clever runs into the box from wide areas.
Mathieu Debuchy (£5.5m) The cheapest ‘nailed-on’ defender in the Arsenal squad and likes to get forward. Well worth the investment.
Yaya Sanogo (£5m) Could this be the season Sanogo breaks into the first team and proves Wenger right when he insists on not forking out for a new striker? He holds the ball up well and brings others into play which could offer Arsenal a more direct option than Giroud.
Top Goalscorers – Bent, N’Zogbia (2)
Clean Sheets – 4 from a possible 7
Villa have been fairly impressive during the preseason, often deploying the 3-5-2 formation that seems to be ever more popular with Premier League managers. Two of Hutton, Lowton, N’Zogbia and Richardson have been fulfilling the wing back positions whilst Delph and Westwood have been supporting the two forwards. However, they reverted back to the more familiar 4-4-2 formation for the draw against Parma in their final game. Early preseason form tailed off towards the end as we approach the big kick off but they put in a solid performance against a strong Parma side (they finished 6th in Italy last year) and still have key players to return to the side.
Aston Villa travel to Stoke before entertaining Newcastle and Hull at Villa Park in their first three games. It takes a turn for the worst though come Gameweek 4 as they play each of last season’s top four in a row so don’t invest heavily at the beginning of this season.
Expected GW1 Line-up
Vlaar Clarke Okore
Hutton Westwood El Ahmadi Delph N'Zogbia
Form player - Darren Bent (£5m)
Despite only scoring twice, Bent has often looked the likeliest goalscorer from the Aston Villa squad. Reports suggest Roy Keane’s arrival at Villa Park has given fringe players, such as Bent, both a fresh start and renewed impetuous going into this season. This could be his final chance to prove himself as a Premier League striker.
One to watch
N’Zogbia (£5.5m) Having spent the whole of last season on the sidelines with a serious Achilles tendon injury, N’Zogbia has regained full fitness and will be looking to prove his worth to Paul Lambert’s side this year. He’s a set piece specialist and able to pick up a good number of assists when on top of his game so would be one to keep an eye on throughout the early stages of the season.
James Okore (£4.5m) Ttalented defender returning to fitness after rupturing knee ligaments last September.
Ron Vlaar (£4.5m) Sought after centre-back who had an outstanding World Cup.
Jack Grealish (£4.5m) Exciting young winger who impressed early in preseason set to make this breakthrough campaign.
Top Goalscorers – Jutkiewicz (6), Sordell (3)
Clean Sheets – 3 from a possible 6
Burnley have had a solid preseason with four wins, a loss and a draw, including an impressive three clean sheets, albeit against weak opposition from lower leagues. New signings have settled in well (see top goalscorers) and the team appear high on confidence following their promotion from the Championship last season. Sean Dyche will be hoping to galvanise his squad this season and keep them in the Premier League.
Burnley have a tough start to the season as they welcome Chelsea and Man Utd to Turf Moor and travel away to Swansea and Crystal Palace in their opening four games. They will struggle to pick up clean sheets early on and aren’t expected to breach the opposition defence too often so may be best avoided until they find their feet in the Premier League.
Mee Duff Shackell Trippier
Taylor Jones Marney Arfiled
Form player - Lukas Jutkiewicz (£5m)
New signing Jutkiewicz has settled into life at Turf Moor very quickly, scoring an impressive six goals in as many games. Burnley will be hoping he can carry this goalscoring form into the Premier League season and form a prolific strike partnership with last season’s top scorer, and Championship Player of the Year, Danny Ings.
One to watch - Kieran Trippier (£5m)
The Burnley right-back has long been regarded as one of the best full backs outside of the Championship and will be hoping to successfully make the step up this season. He’s solid defensively and often gets forward to whip in dangerous crosses for the strikers to feed on. With 14 assists in the Championship last season he has FPL potential despite his lofty price tag.
Danny Ings - £6m – 21 goals in 40 Championship appearances last season and highly sought after last January by a host of top clubs
Tom Heaton - £4.5 – Nailed on as a starter having played all 46 games last season, the Burnley ‘keeper would make a solid backup option.
Top Goalscorers – Murray (5), Dobbie (4), Campbell, Chamakh (3)
Clean Sheets – 4 from a possible 7
Crystal Palace have been a bit hit and miss with their performances this preseason but have managed to scrape a few good results along the way, much like last season’s Premier League campaign. Tony Pulis has a way of setting his team up to keep clean sheets and that’s something Palace will be looking to do once again going into the new season, especially at Selhurst Park. Going forward they don’t offer a lot of FPL potential as they will never score many goals so the points are likely to be at the back once again this season.
Expected GW1 Lineup:
Ward Dann Hangeland Mariappa
Puncheon Chamakh Ledley Bolassie
Palace begin their first ever 2nd consecutive season in the Premier League with difficult away games at Arsenal, Newcastle and Everton alongside some very winnable home fixtures against West Ham, Burnley and Leicester. You feel their home form will be key in gaining survival again and so there may be value in a defensive rotation option for the early stages of the season.
Form Player - Yannick Bolasie (£5.5m)
Bolasie finished last season with a bang as Palace hit top gear and he’s looked one of the sharper players going forward during this preseason. He’s yet to agree a new deal with Palace but should become a regular fixture in Tony Pulis’ first XI this season. His shooting is often wild so he won’t score many goals but should add more assists to his game this season as Palace use his pace to hit teams on the counter.
One to watch
Fraizer Campbell (£5.5m) An upgrade on Cameron Jerome, Campbell will work tirelessly up-front for a Palace team built on hard work and organisation but should also score his fair share of goals as he managed 9 in all competitions last season for a struggling Cardiff team. He scored a hat-trick in his first outing in a Palace shirt, showing he knows where the goal is, and will lead the line going into the start of the new season.
Wayne Hennessey - £4.5m – Signed by Pulis last January to offer competition for the number 1 spot, many at Palace expect Hennessey to make it his own this season.
Joel Ward - £5m – Easily one of Palace’s better players last year, even leading to whispers of an England call up, a versatile defender who is comfortable bringing the ball up from defence.
Jerome Williams - £? – This young Eagle has featured in many of Pulis’ preseason friendlies at left-back so far and has a good chance of making the first team as he’s the only recognised left-back in the squad. Comfortable going forward, Williams is yet to be added to FPL but is one to keep an eye on.