Gameweek 1 preview: The story of the Blues
By now you’ll have clocked it. There can’t really be a Fantasy player who hasn’t.
The 2012/13 season will kick-off with the European champions gracing us with a double Gameweek.
It can’t really get any better can it? You’ve got all those great Chelsea players to choose from and the chance to score double points with each and every one of them, and quadruple with your captain – be it Eden Hazard, Juan Mata or Ross Turnbull. The world is your expensive, Russian oil money-purchased oyster.
Yet is it that simple? Chelsea’s matches against first Wigan and then Reading certainly look winnable, but players should be mindful that the price for the Blues doubling up on Gameweek 1 is that they’ll miss out on Gameweek 3, when Roberto di Matteo’s side (if he’s still there by then) will have swanned off to Monaco to take on Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.
So the question facing Fantasy bosses all summer has been whether or not to load up on Chelsea players for the first couple of Gameweeks or to stay away. The answer can be found in an annoying club song, because as far as this Gameweek is concerned – Blue is the colour.
Chelsea’s best players are all expensive enough for you to easily be able to find replacements once they miss out on playing in that third Gameweek, and so at least two and perhaps three of Di Matteo’s boys should be in your starting XI come the big kick-off on Saturday.
As for who those players are, well the Blues’ midfield can now be considered a minefield due to all the players that they have at their disposal in there, and whilst it’s tempting to go with the £9.5m pair of Hazard and Mata, perhaps the old stager Frank Lampard (£9.0m) could come up trumps at the start of yet another campaign.
The usual suspects at the back for Chelsea will feature heavily on plenty of Fantasy teamsheets, as will Fernando Torres (£10.0m), a strong captaincy choice at the start of a huge season personally.
As is the nature of the game, when one team has a double Gameweek then another must too, and its newly-promoted Reading who take the honours as 2012/13 kicks off.
They won’t be expected to take anything from Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, but their Saturday fixture at home to Stoke does offer the potential of a clean sheet for goalkeeper Adam Federici (£4.5m, and a useful substitute in your team) and the defenders. They are likely to start with a back four of Ian Harte, Alex Pearce (both £4.5m), Kaspars Gorkss and Chris Gunter (both £4.0m).
Further forward, the Russian Pavel Pogrebnyak (£5.0m) has proved popular due to his success at Fulham last season, whilst midfielder Danny Guthrie (£4.5m) is a good signing for the Royals and has a goal or two in him.
Elsewhere across the division as the big kick-off approaches, the potential for a stalemate between Newcastle and Tottenham should have you looking at nobody but goalkeepers and defenders from the pair, whilst wins are predicted for Arsenal and Liverpool as they start the season at home to Sunderland and away at West Brom respectively. Reds new boy Joe Allen (£5.5m) has proved a popular buy with one in four of Fantasy players selecting him.
Manchester City start the defence of their crown with what could be a goal-filled success at home to Southampton – Carlos Tevez, at £9.0m, looks even more of a steal after that Community Shield goal – whilst Manchester United can take advantage of Everton’s often slow start to the season when they go to Goodison Park on Monday night.
All eyes might be on Robin van Persie (£13.0m) there, but it is the return of Nemanja Vidic (£7.0m) which should have Fantasy bosses cheering.
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