Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw, Fellaini, Pogba, Mata, Martial, Rooney, Zlatan
Subs: Romero, Rojo, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Young, Rashford, Schneiderlin
Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Fonte, Long, Davis, Tadic, Romeu, Van Dijk, Redmond, Hojbjerg, Targett
Subs: McCarthy, Yoshida, Clasie, Rodriguez, Austin, Pied, Ward-Prowse
DEFENDER: GEORGE FRIEND, MIDDLESBROUGH
After you’ve picked the most valuable players, the goalscoring defenders, and the household names, it really does start to get difficult to fill that fifth defender position in your squad. What credentials do you look for? A kind face? The player with the nicest hair? Well George Friend has both of those, but thankfully he backs it up with some decent football too. You might nor fancy a Middlesborough defender, as a newly promoted team but last week I told you to captain Mahrez and include Rondon so cut me some slack. Daniels at Bournemouth last season was the surprise value package in your back line and Friend has the potential to do the same. Boro conceded the fewest goals in the Championship for two consecutive seasons and if you watched Friend play you will know he isn’t scared of a meander down the left wing. Watch this space.
MIDFIELDER: ANTHONY MARTIAL, MANCHESTER UNITED
It is going to sound like an early season bandwagon when I tell you to pick Anthony Martial due to his two assists against Bournemouth. However, if you listen to my podcast then you will have heard me say it pre season a few times. If you listen to my podcast I would also like to apologise for 80% of the content. He isn’t cheap at 9.5m but with Zlatan and Rooney both in their 30s and Rashford still being protected, there is no way Martial will be restricted to playing through balls and knocking in crosses. He is still only 8.4% picked and worst case scenario, that value is going up as United string together some results.
FORWARD: ANDRE GRAY, BURNLEY
I have come to dread picking a forward in these previews probably as much as you dread reading them or as much as Arsene Wenger dreads paying full price at Thorpe Park, but I will plough on regardless. I still think Rondon is an excellent choice as your 6.5m striker but Andre Gray is also proving a popular pick. I have never known a newly promoted striker to rocket to over 10% picked so quickly but anyone who watched Gray last season will know why. He didn’t find the net against Swansea and no doubt many quick fingers will swap him out. More fool them. Last season we saw thousands of people do the same with the much fancied Callum Wilson. They then watched him score a hat trick and cried into their cornflakes. Yes, ok, he broke his leg not long after but Jesus Christ will you let me have this one story without pointing out every little fault!! Burnley play Liverpool this weekend, another reason people will use to drop him but I’m not so sure. I’m confident Liverpool will take the 3 points but not even slightly sure they will keep a clean sheet and if Burnley score, you can bet that Gray will be the man to score it. You can actually bet that and I probably will.
CAPTAIN: EDEN HAZARD, CHELSEA
Were going to party like it’s 2014/2015 because I’m picking Eden Hazard as captain this week. Last season couldn’t have got much worse for Eden (see Callum Wilson story above – that’s worse) but as he showed in the last couple game of the season, he is still obviously oozing with talent. Chelsea were back to their old ways against West Ham. Avoiding bookings, winning penalties and ultimately winning with a one goal margin. The title race is wide open this year and my hunch is still that Chelsea will nick it. I don’t see Watford stopping them making it 2 from 2.
OUTSIDER: ROBERT SNODGRASS, HULL
If there was one Premier League player who also sounded like he could be a character in Heartbeat, who would it be? If you just said Robert Snodgrass, you would be correct. If you just said “What is heartbeat? And is it relevant?” then you also raise some valid points. When Snodgrass isn’t being mischievous and causing policemen hassle in fictional towns in the 1960s, he is standing over pretty much every set piece for Hull. He scored 10 points against the champions last week and at 5.5m and 2.2% picked I think he is a great option to have on your bench or in your line up if one of your regulars is up against one of the big boys. And there’s **** all Nick Berry can do about it.