Man United (1-2 vs Swansea)
3-4-2-1: De Gea, Blackett, Smalling, Jones, Young, Herrera (67’ Fellaini), Fletcher, Lingard (24’ Januzaj), Mata, Rooney, Hernandez (45’ Nani)
Subs not used: Amos, Keane, James, Kagawa
Where to start. This team is probably without 5 of it’s first team in Van Persie, Shaw, Valenica, Evans and Carrick so is far from what we should see come mid-season. In the here and now though there’s a lack of depth in every position, which at least offers some opportunity for some fringe players to get a run out. Lingard’s early substitution with an injury could see £6.5M Januzaj benefit from some gametime in the wing back position along with Ashley Young (£5.5M). We also had this reaction to United's poor start to the season.
Next game: Sunderland (away)
Swansea (2-1 vs Man Utd)
4-2-3-1: Fabianski, Rangel, Amat, Williams, Taylor (53’ Tiendalli), Ki, Shelvey, Dyer (67’ Montero), Sigurdsson, Routledge, Bony (77’ Gomis)
Subs not used: Richards, Tremmel, Sheehan, Bartley
Bony led the line with new signing Gomis confined to a late sub role. Whether Gomis gets more regular gametime in a 4-3-3 for Swansea’s home games will soon be revealed. Regardless, Bony and Sigurdsson will be the maintstays of the Swan’s attack and could be joined by £5.5M Routledge, with new winger Montero contesting with Dyer on the other flank. Neil Taylor (£4.5M) is cut-price option in the Swan’s back line but a sub-60 minute substation won’t install confidence.
Next game: West Brom (home)
West Brom (2-2 vs Sunderland)
4-4-1-1: Foster, Pocognoli, Olsson, Dawson, Wisdom, Brunt (77’ Baird), Mulumbu, Gardner (84’ Yacob), Dorrans (84’ Sessegnon), Berahino, Anichebe
Subs not used: Myhill, Ideye, Davidson, O’Neil
Record signing Ideye was an unused sub but should be a like for like swap for the equally physical Anichebe once fit. £5.5M Berahino was WBA’s top scorer last season despite being used as an impact sub for long stretches. A sustained role in the team behind the front forward plus penalties looks promising. £4M Wisdom got the nod at right back with main competition for his position Gamboa not yet even on the bench.
Next game: Swansea (away)
Sunderland (2-2 vs. WBA)
4-1-4-1: Mannone, Brown (81’ Altidore), O’Shea, Roberge, Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson, Johnson (73’ Buckley), Rodwell (68’ Gomez), Wickham, Fletcher
Mannone won the pre-season battle to start the season as the Black Cats 'keeper and thus represents decent value at £4.5M. Fielding Cattermole as a holding midfielder along with Rodwell as a box-to-box plaeyr could give license for the gifted £5.5M midfiedler Larsson to get forward from central midfield. He finished last season in decent form and is off to a good start this time around. Fletcher is one to watch at £5.5M too.
Subs not used: Mavrias, Pantilimon, Graham, Bridcutt
Next game: Man United (home)
West Ham (0-1 vs. Tottenham)
4-2-3-1: Adrian, Cresswell, Reid, Collins, O’Brien (62’ Demel), Kouyate, Noble, Vaz Te (68’ Diame), Nolan, Downing, Cole (81’ Valencia)
Subs not used: Poyet, Jaaskelainen, Zarate, Burke
James Collins (£4.5M) could represent some value here if he can hold down his place, although a 1 match suspension is not a good start and last season regular Tomkins missed GW1 with a slight injury. Guy Demel is also likely to resume right-back duties over O’Brien. In the main attacking positions only Downing and Nolan look nailed on for regular gametime until new signing Valenica is up to full speed.
Next game: Crystal Palace (away)
Tottenham (1-0 vs West Ham)
4-2-3-1: Lloris, Rose, Dier, Kaboul, Naughton, Capoue, Bentalab, Lennon (61’ Townsend), Lamela (61’ Holtby), Eriksen, Adebayor (83‘ Kane)
Subs not used: Davies, Freidal, Dawson, Soldado
With Vertonghen and Walker temporarily absent this defence is certain to see some change over the coming weeks. Danny Rose was favoured over the much-fancied Davies and whether one of these two can nail down the LB role or if they will rotate will be a key fantasy question. There’s definitely an opportunity for a very good defender to emerge here. Once Vertonghen (£6M) is back he’ll likely be partnered by one of Dier, Kaboul or Chichres – all £5M. Dier has the early lead. Going forward Lamela looked poor and he’ll have to improve to keep his starting place. Adebayor £8.5M looks to have won the centre forward spot with Soldado benched an Kane used only as a vey late sub.
Next game: QPR (home)
Newcastle (0-2 vs Man City)
4-2-3-1: Krul, Dummet, Colocinni, Williamson, Janmaat, Anita (63’ Obertan), Colback, Gouffran (74’ Aarons), Sissoko, Cabella, Riviere (83’ Perez)
Subs not used: Haidara, Abeid, Eliot, Taylor
Left-back David Santon and new signing Siem De Jong are the major absentees here. De Jong is back in training whilst Santon looks out for a few more weeks at least. Santon's injury afforded £4M Dummet a start, whilst De Jong will likely oust Gouffran from team to occupy the AMC position and shift Cabella out wide. Newcastle were decent and Cabella and Riviere in particular looked threatening. £6M Sissoko’s role ahead of defensive mids Anita and Colback is worth monitoring too.
Next game: Aston Villa (away)
Man City (2-0 vs Newcastle)
4-4-2: Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Demichellis, Kolarov, Nasri (78’ Milner), Fernando, Toure, Silva, Dzeko (83’ Aguero), Jovetic (’73 Fernandinho)
Subs not used: Boyata, Navas, Zabaleta, Caballero
Pretty much as expected for City with their Argentine stars Aguero and Zabaleta still rested after the World Cup. The return of Aguero is the obvious source of fantasy interest here. He showed what he can do in a 7 minute cameo. Jovetic looks most under threat after an early substitution should Aguero be judged fit enough to start against Liverpool next Monday night.
Jovetic currently resides in the insideFPL team and we’re fretting over his starting place already (sign up to our free newsletter to follow our team each week). On the positive side, he did play well and his substitution was tactical rather than performance related, being replaced by midfielder Fernandinho. This in itself is perhaps noteworthy for FPL managers, with Pellegrini, recognising the growing threat from Newcastle in this match and looking to close the game out defensively (ditto Milner for Nasri) rather than go for more goals.
Next game: Liverpool (home)
Burnley (1-3 vs. Chelsea)
4-4-1-1: Heaton, Mee, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Marney, Jones, Taylor (70’ Kightly), Arfield, Ings (70’ Sordell) , Jutkiewicz (70’ Barnes)
Consistency of selection is something Burnley provided all last year in the Championship and the starting line-up this season is expected to remain very consistent. 36 year old Duff (£4M) holds down his regular place at centre-back from last season and is the cheap option here.
Next game: Swansea (away)
Chelsea (3-1 vs Burnley)
4-2-3-1: Courtois, Azipilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Matic, Fabregas, Oscar (82’ Mikel), Schurrle (78’ Willian), Hazard (84’ Drogba), Costa
This is almost Mourinho’s regular first team with only Schurrle and Willian to contest a position in the attacking midfield trio. Fillipe Luis looks likely to provide cover to any injury across the back four. If he was good enough to start straight away he would have. Oscar will no doubt get rotated as he did last year when Chelsea need a more defensive midfield; Ramires will come in to sit alongside Matic and allow the sublime Fabregas (watch this assist!) to push further forward. Interestingly, when Drogba replaced Hazard late on, Costa moved out wide left and Fabregas pushed very high up in support of Drogba.
Next game: Leicester (away)