It’s finally come and gone and Week 1 did not disappoint. We had a total of 30 goals scored, 10 players scored over 10 points, and one fantasy guru even managed to score 109 points after Triple Captaining Yaya Touré to earn a gaudy 48 points from the midfielder’s performance. Cheeky. That chip worked out far better than the fella in our Bro Jackson league who Triple Captained Thibaut Courtois. Ouch.
This season we’re gonna spice things up a bit in how we review/preview each week in the BPL. We’ll still be breaking down the Top Performers of the week and giving you a preview of who to grab before the next match with Surprise Additions, but each week we’ll be giving you a playlist to rock out while you fix up your fantasy squad with each song chosen to represent the match it is paired to.
Man United 1, Spurs 0; Misunderstanding by Genesis.
In what was hardly a match worth waking up for, Manchester United’s victory over Tottenham, thanks to a Kyle Walker (£5.0) own goal, was the official start to our season. Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, £10.5, managed to get an assist from it, but that was by and large his only contribution to the game. This left me with a thought, one perhaps both managers shared, that maybe, just maybe their messages were misunderstood by their respective squads.
Bournemouth 0, Aston Villa 1; You Should Be Dancing by the Bee Gees
It is rumored that after Rudy Gestede, £6.0, scored Villa’s late goal, he turned to manager Tim Sherwood and said “You should be dancing” and good ole jovial Timmy obliged by pulling out his iPhone4, switching on his Bee Gees playlist, and rocking out ’til full time.
Everton 2, Watford 2; Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones
In honor of Odion Ighalo, £5.0, dominating John Stones, £5.5, to score Watford’s second goal, I’ve picked The Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Which is also an accurate representation of how it must feel to only share a point after going ahead twice.
Leicester 4, Sunderland 2; Believe by Cher
Hello reign of Ranieri! I honestly didn’t see this coming, but it was everything I hoped for. After the firing of last year’s savior, Nigel Pearson, and losing out on Esteban Cambiasso, we didn’t know what to expect from this team. But, Riyad Mahrez, £5.6, and Marc Albrighton, £5.0, made sure it was much of the same of what we saw at the end of last season.
Norwich 1, Palace 3; You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates
While this score certainly does not reflect the match (seriously, Norwich missed two open netters!) a lot can be said about the powerhouse duo Alan Pardew & Steve Parish are becoming at Palace. They remind me of another super duo, Hall & Oates, and from them comes You Make My Dreams, while crushing Norwich’s.
Chelsea 2, Swansea 2; Doctor, Doctor by UFO
A lot happened in this match. Some key assistmen from last season were largely absent from involvement, in Cesc Fàbregas, £9.0, and Gylfi Sigurdsson, £7.5, while Thibaut Courtois, £5.5, got some early marching orders due to a red card offense. A lot of the media attention now seems to be on the Chelsea team doctor, Eva Carneiro, who was lit ablaze verbally by Jose Mourinho for attempting to treat £11.5-Eden Hazard near the end of the match. This left me with no choice in choosing UFO’s Doctor Doctor.
Arsenal 0, West Ham 2; In the City by the Eagles
Slaven Bilić and his Hammers rolled up to the Emirates like a scene straight out of cult classic “The Warriors”. They were the plucky underdogs that day as they humiliated the title favorites with new boy Dimitri Payet, £7.5, firing a free kick past the outstretched Petr Cech, £5.5, to find Cheikhou Kouyaté, £5.5, and take a 1-0 lead. When West Ham finally made it back home, I imagine it just like the end of “The Warriors” with the Eagles’ “In The City” being cranked as they walked back into the Boleyn Ground, heroes.
Newcastle 2, Southampton 2; Working Man by Rush
In a match that featured four goals, six yellow cards, 25 blocks, 64 clearances, 23 shots, and 19 chances created, there was only one song I could find worthy enough of this performance. Working Man by Rush.
Stoke 0, Liverpool 1; Black Magic Woman by Carlos Santana
Philippe Coutinho, £8.0, was the main difference maker in this match. His long range effort was the only goal registered by the end of 90 minutes, but had Mame Biram Diouf, £6.5, not completely missed a sitter in the early part of the game the story might have been different. We’ll have to wait and see if Brendan Rodgers’ magic has finally fixed Liverpool, but until then, if Coutinho keeps serving up wonder goals, I’ll keep playing Carlos Santana’s Black Magic (wonderstrike) Woman.
West Brom 0, Man City 3; Thriller by Michael Jackson
Manuel Pellegrini’s revival of Yaya Touré, £8.5, from the dead to lead Manchester City to a cool three-goal victory left me with the desire to spin a track of a similar tale. Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
For those who have Google Play, you can enjoy Week 1’s playlist here.
Top keeper of the week is West Ham’s Adrián San Miguel del Castillo, £5.0. His six-save clean sheet, now worth four points, plus top bonus points of three, put his game total at 11. Adrián was certainly one of the better keepers last season, but I couldn’t think of a better start for the Hammers #1 especially against London rival Arsenal. He’ll face Leicester and Bournemouth at home over the next two weeks.
It was a pretty solid week for defenders around the Premier League with two breaking double digits, and three more just south of that by a point. Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, £6.0, led the way though with 14 points. His goal in front of the travelling Citizens sent them into a frenzy, while a clean sheet and two of three bonus points ended a solid Monday for his club. Liverpool new boy Joseph Gomez, £4.6, was in second with 11 points from an assist, a clean sheet, and all three bonus points.
Midfielders seemed to score all the points this weekend. Three scored over 15, three more scored 10, and two fell short with nine. Another City player was a top performer as Yaya Touré, £8.5, grabbed headlines in 79 minutes of play, scoring two goals, one point from a cleansheet, and top bonus spot to bring his total to 16. Leicester duo Riyad Mahrez, £5.6, and Marc Albrighton, £5.0, both shared 15 points, as Mahrez scored twice while Albrighton scored once and assisted twice. If both offenses are firing again next week, West Ham vs. Leicester could be an exciting one to watch.
Who guessed that Everton’s Arouna Koné, £5.0, would be the top forward one week into the new season? In 28 minutes he set up the first tying goal and fired home the second to ensure the Toffees shared the spoils on the day. He ended the match with 11 points. Newcastle’s Papiss Demba Cissé, £6.5, was second with 9 as he scored one of Newcastle’s two goals against Southampton.
If your lineup is set for at least another week, why not use a transfer on that £5.0-5.5 backup goalie and save a little money going forward by picking up Crystal Palace’s Alex McCarthy at £4.0? With main netminder Julian Speroni, £4.5, set to be out until at least the end of August, we can assume McCarthy will be starting up until then and perhaps longer if he plays well. Not a bad way to earn some coin to reinvest a few weeks from now, eh?
A nice trio of offensive-minded defenders to pick up on the cheap are Watford’s Miguel Layún at £4.5, West Ham’s Reece Oxford at £4.0, and Liverpool’s Joseph Gomez at £4.6. Oxford played 78 minutes and was the second cheapest defender to play that long next to Southampton’s Matt Targett, also at £4.0. Layún scored one of Watford’s goals on the weekend and should enjoy nice spells during each match where he gets forward and creates an opportunity as Watford typically plays him as a winger instead of a defender. Liverpool’s defense looks very solid so far, and with an upcoming match against Bournemouth, if they can control possession, they can keep another clean sheet.
Newcastle’s Gabriel Obertan, £4.5, had a very impressive 90 minutes against Southampton which culminated in a fine assist to newcomer Georginio Wijnaldum, £7.0. Obertan had an indifferent year last season, only playing 652 minutes with one goal and one assist. If he can stay healthy this season, he provides a nice offensive weapon for the Magpies going forward.
Southampton’s Shane Long, £6.0, has a lot to prove during his second season, and although I’m not entirely convinced his price is worth the gamble, with one goal in 26 minutes of play, this should go some way toward helping his confidence. Graziano Pellè, £8.0, will still be the starter, but should Long keep providing goals when he gets the nod off the bench, when Pellè eventually goes through a slump, we’ll start to see more and more of Long.
Now to Stephen where he’ll preview next week’s matches, which starts Friday as Manchester United take on Aston Villa.
Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 1
The Rudy Gestede era, whatever that means, has officially started at Aston Villa. Manchester United should be a little more put together offensively against a weaker defensive outfit, while Villa will find it a little more difficult to punch one in against a more talented defensive unit.
Southampton 2, Everton 0
Expect more defensive woes from Roberto Martinez’s Toffees, it is his calling card after all. Saints should display their usual defensive discipline, however, at least this early in the season before the fatigue and depth issues start popping up.
West Ham 1, Leicester 1
Another case of both teams probably not finding so much good fortune this week with Leicester taking a stiff step up against a West Ham squad with at least some semblance of a coherent defensive presence, while West Ham probably won’t find any magical gifts courtesy of Kasper Schmeichel either.
Swansea 3, Newcastle 1
Newcastle looked impressive in an up-and-down match with Southampton last week, but Swansea will be much better poised to overwhelm Steve McClaren’s Magpies from just about any spot on the field.
Sunderland 2, Norwich 2
Despite the scoreline Norwich look very impressive last week, especially in getting forward and getting chances in front of the net. Hopefully, Alex Neil has wised up and will start both Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome. Sunderland will look to ride the evergreen Jermain Defoe to at least a point this week.
Tottenham 1, Stoke 1
This match should see both teams go after the W. Stoke’s new look squad will hopefully boast the attacking talents of both Bojan and club-record signing Xherdan Shaqiri. Expect a track meet.
Watford 2, West Brom 2
Watford will play host to Tony Pulis’ West Brom in at match that is very intriguing. As we told you in our preview piece, Watford has a veritable wealth of attacking options and will surprise a lot of teams this year, but it remains to be seen if they can break down a defensive front. Meanwhile, Saido Berahino will probably prove too much for a Watford defense that was caught on its heels by the speed of Everton’s Arouna Koné last week. Expect Watford to earn a point and dominate possession, but for the second consecutive week they’ll be wondering how they didn’t take all 3.
Crystal Palace 1, Arsenal 3
Crystal Palace looked awful in their 3-1 victory over Norwich in week 1. Arsenal should absolutely swallow up the majority of the possession in this match as Arsène Wenger’s club looks to bounce back in style after a disastrous home outing against West Ham last week. Palace is woeful defensively, so this one could get out of hand quick.
Manchester City 1, Chelsea 1
Both teams are still trying to find their sea legs with Sergio Agüero easing back into the lineup after a long summer of duty with his native Argentina. Chelsea, meanwhile, will hope Cesc Fàbregas can have more of an influence over this particular match and that their back line will cope better with Manchester City’s speed up front than they did with Swansea’s last week.
Liverpool 2, Bournemouth 0
Bournemouth will be competitive, but expect Liverpool to take its chances against a club still trying to figure out how to compete at this level.