Top Goalscorers – Costa (4), Terry (3), Salah, Brown, Fabregas, Ivanovic (All 2)
Clean Sheets – 2 from a possible 8
Chelsea have impressed in preseason, with the 3-0 defeat against Werder Bremen the only result to really give Mourinho cause for concern. They’ve only just got their World Cup stars back onto the pitch as Hazard, Schurrle and Ramires especially had extended breaks so don’t expect anything special from those individuals straight from the off. At points Chelsea have struggled to build attacks with pace and have instead passed the ball around without any real urgency, overcomplicating the play and failing to capitalise on opportunities to hit teams on the counter. However, Chelsea will hope Hazard’s return will address that issue and offer them a more direct route to goal.
Chelsea have some favourable fixtures early on as they play Leicester, Swansea and Villa at Stamford Bridge after travelling to Burnley in the first 6 games. However, their away games against Everton (GW4) and Man City (GW6) are likely to be tight affairs as Chelsea often look to shut up shop and grab a point in such games.
Form player - John Terry - £6.5m
The reliable Chelsea centre back has got a full preseason under his belt with no injury worries and will be hoping to lead Chelsea to title glory this season. He’s been in good goalscoring form with three goals in his first two games and is always a threat from set pieces. Chelsea under Mourinho are always defensively sound so expect plenty of clean sheets too, especially now Matic has had half a season to adjust to the pace of the Premier League.
One to watch - Diego Costa - £10.5m
The high profile new signing from Atletico Madrid will become the spearhead to the Chelsea attack and has already scored a wonder goal where he drifted in from the left, beat four defenders, and smartly tucked it past the Fenerbahce goalkeeper. He added 2 more in their final match against Sociedad. If he hits the ground running he’ll score plenty of goals with the wealth of creativity supporting him in the Chelsea midfield.
Cesc Fabregas - £9m - We all know what Cesc can do and should he be deployed regularly in the number 10 role, as in preseason, he’ll become an FPL must-have player.
Mohamed Salah - £6.5m – After showing flashes of what he’s capable of last season, Salah will be hoping to break into Mourinho’s first team squad this year.
Filipe Luis - £6m – Another import from La Liga, if Luis can nail down the left back spot he’ll be a cheap(ish) route into the solid Chelsea defence and offers assists going forward.
Top Goalscorers – Naismith (2)
Clean Sheets – 0 from a possible 5
Everton have really struggled to build momentum during preseason and are yet to win a game. They’ve been unable to both keep clean sheets and score many goals, with their most noteworthy result coming in the form of a 1-1 draw with Porto for leon Osman’s Testimonial. Importantly, last season’s top scoring defender, Seamus Coleman, has not made an appearance since being injured in their first game on July 22nd and new permanent signing Lukaku and his Belgian teammate Kevin Mirallas are yet to play due to their World Cup duties.
Everton have a tough start to the season as they welcome Arsenal and Chelsea to Goodison whilst travel away to Liverpool and Man Utd in their first seven games. Home games against Palace and Villa plus visits to Leicester and West Brom should offer the opportunity to pick up some points but don’t expect them to score big at the beginning of the season unless they can cause some upsets.
Form player - Steven Naismith - £5m
No one really stands out this preseason with several below-par performances but Naismith has managed to get on the scoresheet twice and may be charged with leading the line whilst Lukaku regains match fitness.
One to watch
Ross Barkley - £7m
If Barkley can nail down a first team spot and avoid the rotation risk that he was prone to last season he could turn out to be a bargain at £7m. He showed last year he had FPL potential with six goals and four assists and this could be his season to shine as he becomes their main attacking threat from central midfield.
Luke Garbutt - £4m
An exciting prospect who could break into the squad this season. If Baines gets pushed further up the pitch then Garbutt will be given a chance to impress at left back and has all the qualities needed to succeed at this level
John Stones - £5.5m
Will hope to challenge Jagielka and Distin for a place at centre back this season and is likely to squeeze the latter out of the team come the turn of the new year.
Lukaku - £9m
Once fit, will score goals as he becomes the spearhead of the Everton attack once again.
Top Goalscorers – Long, Aluko, Brady, Boyd (2)
Clean Sheets – 3 from a possible 7
Hull have remained unbeaten throughout preseason and have even had the advantage of competitive football as they have played two Europa League qualifying ties, coming through with a 2-1 win on aggregate after a goalless draw in the first leg in Slovakia. Bruce has experimented with different systems throughout preseason as he’s tried both 3-5-2 and 4-4-2, giving his team a ‘Plan B’ if things aren’t going their way. Goals have been spread throughout the team with no truly standout performers but instead an organised, efficient group of players. Just how the addition of European fixtures on a Thursday night will affect them is something to keep an eye on as league form often drops when this is the case.
Hull have a favourable set of early fixtures as they face QPR, Stoke, Villa, West Ham and Newcastle in their first 5 gameweeks before things take a turn for the worst as they welcome Man City to the KC before travelling to Arsenal and Liverpool by gameweek 9. In short, Hull could start very well but may struggle to carry that form on beyond the end of September.
Form player - Shane Long - £6m
Having scored a couple of goals in preseason, Shane Long is the man who will be leading the line for The Tigers this season. The Irishman has had many opportunities to add to his tally but hasn’t quite had the finishing touches necessary to score the goals his hard work and movement have deserved. With a bit more luck in front of goal he could surprise a few people and live up to his £6.5m pricetag that Bruce shelled out for him last January.
Ones to Watch - Robert Snodgrass - £6m
Following his transfer from Norwich this summer, Snodgrass will be hoping to replicate some of the form he’s shown in the last few seasons. With set-pieces in his locker he’s always one to keep an eye on and has often been pushed up as the most advanced midfielder when Bruce has decided to deploy the 3-5-2 system, as opposed to being played out wide in the 4-4-2 formation.
Curtis Davies - £5m
A definite started at the heart of the Hull defence regardless of their system, their highest points-scorer last season and a threat from set-pieces.
Sone Aluko - £5m
Can often deputise as a striker but is listed as a midfielder, Aluko is a threat from the wings and has chipped in with a couple of goals in preseason.
Tom Ince - £5.5m
Never really settled at Palace last season but has shown he can score goals in the Championship playing anywhere across the front line as well as in midfield. Will be hoping to show he’s capable of making the step up to the Premier League this year.
Top Goalscorers – Nugent (4), Morgan (3), Ulloa, Drinkwater (2)
Clean Sheets – 3 from a possible 7
Leicester have gone unbeaten throughout preseason with seven wins and just one draw. From this evidence they look set to put up a fight to stay in the Premier League having been so clearly the strongest team in the Championship last season. Nigel Pearson has stuck with the majority of his team that gained promotion last year, adding a few new players on free transfers plus the signing of Ulloa from Brighton for £7m. Pearson is another one who has tried different systems during preseason with both 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 being deployed at various points. Leicester looked strong and confident in preseason and will be hoping to take that into this season.
Of all the opening sets of fixtures, not many have it tougher than Leicester. With Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H) and Man Utd (H) all to play in their opening 5 games, alongside Everton (H) and Stoke (A), it will take a miracle to see Leicester get off on the right foot this season.
Form player - David Nugent - £5.5m
With 4 goals in preseason and confidence from an excellent season in the Championship, Nugent will be hoping he can finally make the step up to the Premier League. He looks set to be Leicester’s main striker heading into the new campaign as he’s played up there on his own and with support from others throughout preseason.
One to watch
Danny Drinkwater- £5.5m
At just £5.5m, Drinkwater could impress this season as he has all the qualities necessary to be a success at this level. He chips in with the odd goal and assist and, along with Knockaert, is often the link in the team between defence and attack.
Marc Albrighton - £4.5m
Injured for the opener against Everton but will be one of just a handful of players with Premier League experience in the Leicester squad.
Kasper Schmeichel - £4.5m
Too good for the Championship, Schmeichel will be hoping to impress and has all the attributes needed to become an excellent Premier League goalkeeper.
As Leicester’s record signing, Ulloa will be hoping to continue the impressive goalscoring record of approximately a goal every two games that he’s achieved throughout his career.