Saturday, 6 August 2011

Week 1 - Fixtures

Those of you who have been readers of the blog for the past two seasons will know I begin my analysis of the forthcoming fantasy week by going through the Premier League fixtures (usually within my Player Picks post). Unfortunately a 2010 ruling meant that if I wanted to list the fixtures on this blog I would have to pay a licence fee to the Premier League (I'm sure they really need the money) which would add up to hundreds of pounds per season.

I can't afford to do this as I spend all my spare money on beer - but I can link to the information, so click here to view Week 1's fixtures. Of course they also appear in the bottom right of Yahoo's 'Team Manager' page, which is handy as you can refer to them as you select your players. As you will see, Week 1 is a single week for all teams.

So you know how this works - before looking at any of the players I look at the stand-out fixtures for the week. It's difficult to know what's going to happen on the first weekend as we don't have any form to refer to and this is not helped by the fact that there are quite a few evenly matched teams squaring up next weekend. However, there is one fixture that leaps off the page...

Man City at home to Swansea. The richest club in the league, full of investment and ready for a title challenge, against a newly promoted club - I'll certainly be adding a few City players to my Week 1 line-up, both defending and attacking. Another side who look like good value are Liverpool, one of the summer's biggest spenders, against Sunderland. Jordan Henderson faces his old club straight away and adding Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll and Luiz Suarez (plus the Anfield crowd) to the mix makes the home side strong favourites.

The Hawthorns isn't always an easy place to go but you have to fancy current champions Manchester United having strengthened further over the summer, and I'm tipping them for 3 points over West Brom. One game that really has my attention is at Craven Cottage, where Martin Jol's Fulham side well in to their stride (having started their Europa League campaign in June) meet Aston Villa. If this was a month or so in to the season I'd probably go for a draw, but the added match fitness/sharpness of the Fulham players should give them edge and a home win.

Newcastle v Arsenal was the scene of that incredible 4-4 draw last season and there will be a few demons in the back of some Gunners' minds. The Geordie faithful will be in full-voice but Arsenal should have too much attacking quality and an away win seem likely, I can't see it being as straightforward for Chelsea as they travel to last season's FA Cup finalists Stoke on the opening weekend. The Potters are no mugs, especially at the Britannia, so I see them giving Chelsea a tough time and wouldn't be surprised if it ended in a draw. Don't get me wrong, there will be value in picking Chelsea attacking players, I'm just not confident it'll be a comfortable afternoon for them.

The bookies have Tottenham as favourites against Everton but I'm not so sure - for me it looks like a score draw at White Hart Lane. Wigan face newly promoted Norwich at home, but having lost N'Zogbia - and remembering their 0-4 defeat against Blackpool on the opening day of last season - I can't tip them to win that one. QPR vs Bolton is a difficult match to predict but a draw seems a fair guess and I'll probably be avoiding Blackburn v Wolves altogether as it's sure to be a hotly contested battle with tough tackles and cards aplenty.

So to clarify...

MAN CITY v Swansea

Should Win
LIVERPOOL v Sunderland
FULHAM v Aston Villa
ARSENAL @ Newcastle

Could Win

Tottenham v Everton
Wigan v Norwich
QPR v Bolton

Blackburn v Wolves

So those are my opinions on the Week 1 Fixtures and I'll work with this info to assemble my Week 1 Player Picks post towards the end of next week. You can probably tell already that it's likely to be dominated by City player with some Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal & Fulham players thrown in and I won't ignore some of the value players from other teams. It's possible we'll see additional signings before August 13th, with these players likely to cost no more than 6ish. There's always a chance Yahoo fail to add them to the game before the first deadline, but they already seem better organised this season, so I have faith!

Here's a look at my very early team:

De Gea, Gibbs, Riise, Vermaelen, McEachran, Silva, Taarabt, Young, Aguero, Suarez, Van Persie

That's it - I'll be back with the Week 1 Player Picks in the middle of next week. For now I'd love to hear your opinions on the opening weekend's fixtures and any players you're considering bringing in. Which of the new signings/promoted players have caught your eye? Are you taking any gambles?

...and are you getting excited?



Assistant Manager said...


Wan Asyraf said...

1st week will always be hard!

1st draft..

de gea


Maya Rani said...


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JOIN US IN FB!/groups/238427806177777/


Chaos said...

Lol @ 1st. Nice.

kwyjibo said...

Hans posted this over on the AM CHAT REGULARS Facebook group (Thanks, Hans!)

Sneijder to City?

If true, it would probably make them contenders, not to mention another great pick up at 6.xx,

gaius marius said...

Nik, how do you evaluate QPR in defense? Allowing just 32 goals in the Championship may indicate they have some quality back there. Or is it more wait-and-see?

neil said...

i think vermealen will be leftback so iwont pick gibbs what do you think guys
gibbs is too cheap i dont wanna miss it also

Azree_Msia said...

We are approaching to week one. It will be very hard to score great points for 1st week. At the moment, my team look like this:

Vermaelen, Gibbs, Riise
Taarabt, Hoolahan, Silva, Young
Holt, Suarez, Aguero

11.65mil left.. will try to fit in a few more City players by the end of this week. Good luck to all managers

No Name FC

Woolwich Arsnell said...

My 1st draft:

De Gea/Vermaelen/Gibbs/Riise/Hoolahan/Silva/Taraab/Ramsey/RVP/Gervinho

Join Malaysian Gooner League id:2290, pw: 1234

Data Head said...

@Nik, Do you have a link to the "2010 ruling"? (I don't want to get in trouble, either, as I barely have enough money for beer.)

@gaius marius, I just published an article on my QPR thoughts, drawing from individual player stats from last season. Among defenders, I thought Gorkss looked best because of his size, and Kenny was impressive in goal, with a nearly 6:1 saves to goals against ratio. Nevertheless, I take Championship statistics with a grain of salt. I think "wait-and-see" would be a smarter policy.


Geoff said...

Does Micah Richards start at the back for City opening week? And how confident should we be that DeGea will start?

Hoping the Charity Shield gives some insight.

Clevermule said...

What about Wes Brown in Def.? Is he going to be starting? Not that he's a great player, but he's cheap.

Assistant Manager said...

D.H. - I can't find the specific article that I read last season but this was similar:

Details on the 2009/2010 Copyright here:

d2b64f2a-9936-11e0-ade0-000bcdcb2996 said...

i play in a league where you can't pick up a player that was played in the previous week as it keeps others from "stealing" your great player picks and keeps team looking different.

so i want to know what players will win me the league this year? last year i had adam, bale, luiz, VDV, odemwingie, and a few others that helped me take first.

i dont know much about the new teams so any info about them will be great... who are the best players to have all year round???

so far i got...
de gea
luiz, vermaelen, kolarov (maybe riise)
taarabt, VDV, ?, ?
suarez, aguero, ?

what do you think???

azri said...

De gea
Gibbs, vidic, riise
silva, nani, hoolahan, mcechran
aguero, gervinho, rooney

convincing pre season form of MU made them favorite for 1st game. what do you think?

Data Head said...

@Nik, Thank you for the links. I don't know what that whole "substantial part of the work" means, exactly, but I do gather that reporting on one fixture is okay, any more than one is not without paying a fee or being a fanzine. (So how is one to take the section "So to clarify..." above?) In any case, I'm sufficiently scared off from starting up my "Fixtures" posts in the future, at least for the Premier League. I could see some jackass at the FA googling "epl fixtures" or some such, being directed to my site, and then bang! busting my small operation to set a precedent. I imagine a lot of bloggers will either continue to be ignorant of the law or flout it and wait to get caught. For my part, I'm going to have to invent a loophole. Thank you again for the information.

- D.H.

Woolwich Arsnell said...

My 1st draft:(loss my Tevez b4)

De Gea/Vermaelen/Gibbs/Riise/Hoolahan/Silva/Taraab/Ramsey/RVP/Gervinho/Tevez

Join Malaysian Gooner League id:2290, pw: 1234

jddh1982 said...

Zhirkov leaves chelsea for the russian premier league. Also Chelsea get Lukaku

jddh1982 said...

Looks like Cesc will not play for Arsenal this summer. nasri also is being rumoured to have been involved in a bust up. So looks like Arsenal will start with Gervinho, Arshavin and Ramsey as the attacking mids.

chrism said...

Well I guess its game on.

@ Nik. Why Suarez. He hasn't rejoined the club to train yet. It seems he will sit for sure. Interested because he is my strongest hunch for a big year. I will BD him for sure.

@ everyone else. Have you noticed in all the projected teams posts, both here, and on Han's AM Regulars facebook page, that we are all picking the same players. Most of us, me included have De Gea, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Riise, Taraab, Aguero, Gervinho, and if we go for a big money striker, RVP.

Most of us will fit in Suarez once that's sorted out. So that's 9 of our starting 11 that will be held by about 80% of us. I bet.

We all learned over the last 2 years to try and get in early on potential, low priced studs. Those of us that had Verm, VDV Adam, Suarez, and above all Bale 2 years ago @3.5 or so, made out like bandits. This year we are betting on Aquero, Gervinho, Taraab, Gibbs and De Gea. And just think is Sneijder signs with City or ManU. Swooosh. 99% of us grab him.

Ok. this will all sort out somehow. My only big question mark with my team right now, is I am holding VDV at 18ish. I am torn between him and Downing who is looking very pacey and spry for 'Pool.

One other trend I have noticed is no one is touching Chelsea players except for perhaps Luiz. Chelsea is seeming dead to all of us. A ballsy move would be for someone to take a flyer on Torres, but not I. And speaking of Chelsea why the hell did they buy Lukaku, a striker, when he have Sturridge riding deep bench and they desperately need a player maker. Prediction-Chelsea 5th, 2 managers fired by end of season.

Anyhow. Yea I am excited. It time again.

chrism-velvet underground allstars (I would have added (am blog) but not enough space.

This will sort itself out after a couple of weeks.

Scott said...


Just watched the hourlong EPL season preview and I am jacked up beyond belief...cannot wait for the action to begin.

Have played with various lineups for a few days now and I've settled on the following eleven at the moment:

Riise Gibbs Agger
Taarabt Silva VdV BFAY Moses
Aguero Suarez

Some uncertainties remain but I actually really like this mix of players. I'll obviously need to check on the fitness of VdV and Suarez. I could swap Agger for Verm but, assuming I get comfortable that Gibbs starts, I have the Arsenal CS covered and Agger has looked really sharp in pre-season for the Reds, shooting from long range at will, and LFC has a fair shake for a CS at Anfield. I'm very intrigued by the studs of the newly promoted teams and Grant Holt was one of the first names on my original team sheet...seemingly solid matchup against Wigan but I may wait to bring him in on the BD. Same goes for Scott Sinclair (who has a much more daunting opening matchup at Citeh). Victor Moses is my dark horse pick....young and oozing with talent, great matchup at home and should be given room to shine in the MF with Ben Watson in N'Zogbia's absence. My only real concern is no Citeh defenders...I've had Kolarov or Kompany on my team sheet until today but had to trade down in my back line to fit in both VdV and BFAY.

Let's do this.

Doctor Teeth

Ken M. said...


Nice post!

I found the same thing going on last year. Many many teams appeared to all look the same until...

The first couple games are played. Then we have injuries, point chasers,super studs out of know where, clean sheets all around, then none to be found. I cannot tell you how many times (it appeared) that my team always seemed to have 9/11 players that our host would have only to see that those final last minute changes were the difference between 80 points & 105 points!

My team may appear to look like most, but I have done my homework and this year those extra 20+ points will hopefully belong to me.

good luck

Choose wisely.

Scott said...

ChrisM - the downside of this great blog is the tendency for lineup convergence amongst all of the managers that regularly visit/monitor the postings here. And nothing is more annoying than copycat managers (especially those that don't really contribute and just free ride off of the useful hunches/information). But it all works out in the end and the cream rises to the top...AM and several other managers that finished in the Top 100 last year regularly post their projected lineups before the deadline but still finished well clear a lot of the other folks that were habitual visitors to this site.

Assistant Manager said...

Chris - it's my very early team. There's a good chance 7 or 8 of the 11 will change. But I do think Suarez will start; he's had 2 weeks to rest, he's a fit guy, he'll start training on Monday & I reckon he'll be involved. Not saying I'll risk him for sure though.

Eldwin said...


I think Scott and Ken said it well. Although many will follow Nik's lineup, some of us hardcore that follow the chat until the very last minute of kickoff will have a slightly different team. And trust me, quite a few of them have made a difference between 0 (not playing) to 10-20 points. Whenever I had the time, I'd definitely go in to ask for opinions of lineups from other managers since I'm not that great at this, and I'd definitely do the same this year. :)

greginho said...

normally is like to link up an attacker with his attacking midfielder to double up on goals and assists, but with the play of gervinho, i might break the rules and have 2 forwards from arsenal. he seems like he is a shooting, crossing, scoring, asssisst machine. that is only in preseason, but at least his confidence will be high.

Abang Yob - Arif said...

When you said riise, which riise are you referring to????

SkyRiver said...

i think its J.riise from fulham...
i heard he was an attacking minded defender...
he can also play midfield instead of defender...

is K.Gorkss from QPR a sure starter defender??

Crazylegs! said...

Wondering if Sneijder will join Man City if he does he will be a great FF acquisition and probably season keeper @ 6

Really need this transfer window to be shorter, fed up of all the will he, won't he sign business!

Woolwich Arsnell said...

Join Malaysian Gooner League id:2290, pw: 1234

Naning said...

Aaah. A brand new YFF-season. I'm looking forward to it. Sadly, I'm not as well educated about this season as I usually am. Hopefully, that will change really soon.

Just like everyone else, I'm sitting on DeGea, Gibbs, Riise, Silva, Taarabt, and Agüero.

A few things I've been thinking of.

IF Sneijder arrives, Silva's role will change and his fantasy value will probably either die or skyrocket. And Sneijder will obviously be pure gold.

If Ramsey gets the start @Newcastle, he will be great great value at 4.26

Agger is a solid pick in the defence seeing as he likes to shoot, and is in my opinion Liverpool's best defender. We all know he will be injured within 2 weeks though.

Dembélé will hopefully start this season injury free. If he does, he will be a good value pick @8.10

Cheers guys. //Naning

AlexDarlo said...

Hi Everyone,

Just a couple of points worth mentioning, Downing ex Sunderland player, players always do well against old clubs, right? Andy Carroll a Geordie who hates Mackems, maybe the choice pick ahead of Suarez for week one?


Russell said...

AlexDarlo, Downing used to play for Middlesboro'.

As a Palace fan I can state that Moses oozes class, and was one of the best talents I have seen since Ian Wright. (although Ian Wright did score 100 goals for Palace before his move to Arsenal and Moses was bought pretty quickly, before playing many games, as we were in administration at the time and unfortunately needed the money).

Watson is a very good championship/low premiership standard player,but did take alot of our set pieces, but opinion was always divided with our fans of how good he was at them.

Russell said...

Oops, how can I forget Andy Johnson!

I thought Everton are usually slow starters Nik, why the pessimism?

kwyjibo said...

Completely unrelated, but...this must be some sort of record. England qualified for the second round of the U-20 World Cup as the TOP 3rd place team...WITHOUT SCORING A SINGLE GOAL! Just three 0-0 ties. Crazy. Winning is overrated, apparently.

Anyway, only 6 days to go and too many questions. DeGea starting the Community Shield, so that's a good sign, I hope. Let's see if Aguero makes an appearance...

MB said...

hmmm, united seem to be really hot on their attacking set pieces - although maybe not defending

Chaos said...

Will be shocked to see Aguero start against Swansea after not getting a single minute today

Also just tried building a team with nani in it.....

chrism said...

De Gea didn't look good at all against City today. He was frozen on Dzecko's goal, hardly moved. SAF might be having second thoughts about starting him....and us to. Also @ Chaos. Nani looked unstoppable today, trying to fit him in somehow. BFAY was invisibile. Meanwhileon the other side, no sign of Aquero. Even though insane Mario head butted Vidic and should have been red carded. This game created more questions than it answered.

Andrew said...

Well it's gonna be difficult I guess here again at the first to choose a team for week one!!!

also if any of you all looking for a league to play in join the Carolina Football League
8911 geckos!!!

Scott said...

with all due respect, chrism, I have no idea what game you were watching today if you think that "BFAY was invisible." he played phenomenally today and he will be a fantasy beast as he seems to have taken over corners and most set pieces from nani/rooney.

and I put the chances of de gea not starting against west brom after he played the entire game today at about 5%.

greginho said...

so it must be said that united fans must be happy for the return of fergie time. it had not made much of an impact last year, but this year it has already made and appearance.

Mike B said...

Anyone else considering Ba?

I have a feeling it will be a very open game, and Arsenal aren't much better defensively than last season (yet...).

I can see them conceding a couple, and we know Ba can score goals. Marveaux and Cabaye will provide good service for him also, and if Barton plays, we know he'll give Ba some chances.

Anyone else considering doing something a little different?

Kellz said...

Just trying to pick some players with high scoring potential over the majority of games since I will be back on the water in a week and wont be able to change my team very much if at all.

Sitting on:

De gea
Gibbs Riise Gabbidon
Bfay VdV Taraabt Silva
Suarez Gervinho Aguero

Can't wait for this season to start and can't wait for FIFA 12! It'll be hard not knowing the scores though!

Cheers to everyone and good luck

Weddy's Blog said...

Anyone have information about GIBBS n Vermaelen? i think that they got injured after last match against Benfica

Vatsa said...

Hi AM,

My team is

Riise, Gibbs, Smalling
Obertan, Ireland, Moses, Cleverly
Drogba, Rooney, Torres.

A big gamble with heavy prices for forwards.

I wanted to take a chance and be different compared to the usual De Gea, Gervinho, Aguero starters.


Razesh said...

with tevez back now....who will start for city?
cant see tevez & aguero both start.may be dzeko a safer bid

capiTeno said...

anybody out there who doesn't have any of de gea/gibbs/verm/riiiiiise...

... thought not

threesticks said...

Comments on Briggs/Fulham. Another source saying Riise playing forward more

tlm said...

u really wanna put ur bet on McEachran ?

is Suarez good ? As he is just back from the americas..... will he be rested?

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