Pre-Season Round-up: Sunderland, Swansea, Spurs, West Ham, WBA

Our final round up of pre-season form and ones to watch for Fantasy Premier League teams covers Sunderland, Swansea, Spurs, West Ham and West Brom


Top Goalscorers – Fletcher, Wickham (3), Mandron (2)
Clean Sheets – 6 from a possible 8

Preseason Overview
Sunderland have had a very good preseason with 6 wins from 8 and an impressive 6 clean sheets. Poyet is putting together what seems to be a strong contingent of players who are willing to work hard for each other and do whatever it takes to get results. The number 1 sot is still up for grabs with both Monnone and Pantilimon vying for the shirt. Last season’s 4-1-4-1 formation has been the favoured system in preseason and that looks set to continue into this campaign as it offers defensive solidity as well as width.

Sunderland struggled for the majority of last season but seemed to pull out good performances when needed, even against the stronger teams in the league. With Man Utd, Spurs and Arsenal all visiting the Stadium of Light in the first 9 gamesweeks, Sunderland will need to either cause some upsets or pick up points on the road.

Form player - Steven Fletcher - £5.5m
After an injury ravaged season last time round, Fletcher has had a full preseason and is looking sharp heading into this campaign. With 3 goals in preseason, Fletcher will be hoping to score the goals that fire Sunderland to safety and push them higher up the league.

One to watch
Connor Wickham - £6m
After saving Sunderland last season with his goals in the last few games, Connor Wickham will be hoping to prove himself as a consistent Premier League striker.

Honourable Mentions 
Jordi Gomez - £5.5m - Having appeared in the majority of preseason since his arrival at Sunderland, Gomez will be looking to show his worth in an attacking sense by chipping in with important goals and assists.
Adam Johnson - £6.5m - With form that nearly got him an England recall, Adam Johnson will be looking to add more consistency to his game this season and recapture last season’s plaudits. 


Top Goalscorers – Sigurdsson, Routledge (2)
Clean Sheets – 2 from a possible 7

Preseason Overview
Swansea have played some good football in parts throughout preseason but have also struggled at times with either breaking teams down or defensive errors. Having lost 3-0 most recently to Villarreal, their most challenging opponent of preseason, there is still a lot of work to be done to get the Swans squad to where manager Monk wants to be. The system used has varied between 4-2-3-1 and the more traditional 4-4-2 with new signing Sigurdsson playing in ‘the hole’ behind the lone striker in the former formation but being shifted out to the right during the latter. There are worries at the back for Swansea and Monk will undoubtedly want to bring in defensive reinforcements before the end of the transfer window.

With Man United and Chelsea away in the first 4 fixtures, Swansea may struggle to build momentum early on and will need to rely on solid home performances to against the likes of Burnley, West Brom and Southampton to pick up the points.

Form player - Gylfi Sigurdsson - £6m
With 2 goals and 2 assists in preseason since his transfer from Spurs, Sigurdsson is showing his true FPL potential once again. With the potential of playing in the ‘number 10’ role behind the lone striker and his incredible effectiveness from set-pieces he could be a real bargain at £6m and is already a ‘nailed on’ starter in the ‘InsideFPL’ team.

One to watch
Wilfried Bony – £8.5m
With his proposed transfer away from the Liberty supposedly off, Bony will be hoping to recapture last season’s form and beat his tally of 17 goals. With added support up top from Gomis and Sigurdsson, this is more than possible.

Honourable Mentions 
Bafetimbi Gomis - £7m
Joining Swansea on a free, Gomis will give them some much needed firepower up front, taking the responsibility off Bony
Jonjo Shelvey - £5.5m
With 6 goals and 5 assists last season, including one contender for goal of the season, Shelvey will look to advance from central midfield more this season and have a hand in more goals.


Top Goalscorers – Lamela, Soldado (3)
Clean Sheets – 1 from a possible 5

Preseason Overview
With only 5 games in preseason, Spurs needed to make the most of them in order to be ready for their opening game and looked to have done that, at least from an attacking point of view. Having remained unbeaten and scoring 16 goals in 5 games Spurs appear in clinical form as new boss Pochettino prepares for the new season. They have had some injury worries at the back with Walker, Vertonghen and Dawson struggling for fitness but with one of the league’s biggest squads they should find replacements. Pochettino has been deploying the 4-2-3-1 formation with Soldado, Kane and Adebayor vying to lead the line and Eriksen, Lamela and one of Lennon, Townsend and Holtby playing in behind. 

With Liverpool (H), Arsenal (A) and Man City (A) in their opening fixtures, Spurs will need some big performances to build momentum come the start of the season. Home fixtures with QPR and West Brom should yield points however, as should their travels to West Ham and Sunderland.

Form player - Erik Lamela - £8m
Having had a torrid time with injuries last season, Lamela is back fit and firing this season and has been in fine form. Having scored 3 goals in preseason, Lamela is showing why Spurs paid so much to make him their most expensive singing in their history but needs to convert this form into league games to truly fulfil his potential. Playing in ‘the hole’ behind the striker he has an immense ability to run at defenders with pace and finish chances off clinically. Could really breakthrough if he can stay fit.

One to watch
Christian Eriksen - £8m
Very reasonably priced for a midfielder who offers fantastic attacking returns and is a master from set-pieces. Expect a lot from him heading into this season as he looks to build on his 7 goals and 9 assists from under 2000 minutes of football last season

Honourable Mentions 
Andros Townsend – £6.5m
if he can nail down that final spot in the forward midfield three he could be in for a great season, as long as he manages to stay fit. 
Ben Davies - £5m
Bought from Swansea this summer, if he can make the LB spot his own he’ll offer potential returns going forward as well as defensive takings if Pochettino can work his magic on the Spurs back line. 

West Brom

Top Goalscorers – Anichebe, Mulumbu, Berahino (2)
Clean Sheets – 2 from a possible 7

Preseason Overview
Having started preseason so strongly, with 4 wins, the results took a turn for the worst as West Brom lost their next three to Nottingham Forest, Port Vale and Porto. They’ve struggled with injuries to key players in preseason and will be hoping to have them back in time for the big kick off this weekend. The goals have been shared around evenly in the team and Craig Gardner has been afforded the ‘number 10’ role in their last few games. Big singing Brown Ideye is yet to play in preseason and will have his work cut out to prove his fitness ahead of their first game.

West Brom’s opening games are difficult as they travel to Southampton, Swansea, Spurs, Liverpool and Man Utd in their first 8 games with home games against Sunderland, Everton and Burnley.

Form player - Saido Berahino - £5.5m
With two goals in preseason and a few impressive displays, Berahino has staked a starting place for the lone striker role if Ideye fails to prove his fitness. The young forward will be hoping to build on last season’s breakthrough year but will have to nail down a first team berth if he’s going to do that.

One to watch - Brown ideye - £6m
Bought to be West Brom’s main striker this season, Brown will be hoping to live up to his £10m price tag by scoring the goals that secure The Baggies Premier League status.

Honourable Mentions 
Ben Foster - £4.5m
Nailed on as West Brom’s number 1, Foster will be hoping for a few clean sheets this season.
Andre Wisdom - £4m
Loaned from Liverpool to get Premier League experience, £4m defenders who regularly feature are hard to come by.

West Ham

Top Goalscorers – No one scored more than once, but Jarvis added 3 assists to his goal.
Clean Sheets – 2 from a possible 7

Preseason Overview
It has taken until the final game of preseason for West Ham to get their first win of the summer coming in the shape of a 3-2 win over Sampdoria. They have struggled with injuries and a lack of match fitness throughout, plus the inevitable lay-off for Andy Carroll, and will be hoping that preseason form doesn’t transfer into league form over the upcoming season. With no real goalscorers and disruption in defence, plus pressure on Allardyce to play a more attractive brand of football, West Ham may struggle to improve on their preseason form at the beginning of the season.

With tough home games against Spurs, Liverpool and Man Utd  in their opening 6 fixtures, you feel The Hammers will need to pick up points on the road to make any headway early on.

Form player  - Matt Jarvis – 5.5m
With no one really standing out in preseason, Matt Jarvis gets the nod as the form player because of his one goal and three assists. One to keep an eye on, especially if he can get his deliveries right for Enner Valencia to get on the end of.

One to watch  

Enner Valencia - £7m
Is a doubt for the opening games due to his lack of match fitness, Valencia will shoulder the majority of the goalscoring burden with Andy Carroll out injured. After a successful World Cup, he will be hoping to prove he’s able to succeed at this level on a consistent basis.

Honourable Mentions 
Diego Poyet - £4.5m
This season may come too early for the young midfielder, especially if West Ham get into a relegation scrap, but he’s an immensely talented youngster.
Kevin Nolan - £6.5m
The Hammer’s skipper always hits a flurry of goalscoring form at some point during the season.
Aaron Cresswell - £5.5m
Overpriced for a first season in the Premier League but that gives an indicator of his potential. A threat going forward, Cresswell will be hoping to live up to the hype that saw several Premier league clubs vying for his signature during the summer.

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