News 19 August 2016
Author: Saquib Butt

Premier League Preview: Pogba, Olympic Stadium & Fantasy Picks

Author Saquib Butt
19 August 2016

Welcome to Premier League Preview [001]

I know we’re in Gameweek 2 but you know, I was too busy last week so here we are!

Football is officially back, after a pretty average Euros, the transfer window exploded and with the world’s managerial elite in England, the season is set to be very exciting. 

Friday Night Football

This week see’s the inaugural Friday Night Football kick off. Doing the honours are Manchester United as Southampton visit Old Trafford. All eyes will inevitably be on world record signing Paul Pogba. The Frenchman was unavailable through suspension last week but is set to make his debut alongside one of Fellaini, Carrick or Morgan Schneiderlin (Yes, I Googled the surname for spelling).

The Frenchman’s arrival is likely to cause a slight tactical change for United, although Pogba will primarily play a deep / holding role, Rooney often likes to drop into that position which would allow Pogba the freedom to get forward and take up the #10 role. The 23-year old is clearly more athletic and physically able to get up and down the pitch but it will be interesting to see if he will enter double figures for either goals or assists. He’s been rushed into a lot of Fantasy teams already but I would hold tight and see exactly what his role is first, it’ll be a lot clearer after tonight. 

MY FANTASY CAPTAIN PICKS: 1. Ibra  2. Valencia 3. Tadic

Ibra has 2 in 2 for United and is the obvious captain choice, Valencia is classed as a defender and has shown he’s going to rack up a few assists from the wings, couple that with a potential clean sheet and he could be a great outside choice. Tadic was a menace against Liverpool and being played in a central role he has the ability to unlock United’s defence and supply either Redmond, Long or Austin, who are all capable finishers. 

Debut Of Olympic Stadium

Yes, you’re right, West Ham have already played in their huge, shiny, new ground, but were you really tuned in to their Europa League qualifier against NK Domzale?

This Sunday, the Hammers play their first ever Premier League game at London Stadium and with the vocal West Ham fans, it should be a spectacle.

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are the first visitors to West Ham’s new fortress and they could be in a bit of trouble. They were easily beaten by Manchester United last week and look frail defensively. 

West Ham will be buoyed by the return of Dimitri Payet who was not fit enough to start last week and despite losing to Chelsea, it’s hard to see West Ham disappoint 60,000 expectant fans. 

MY FANTASY CAPTAIN PICKS: 1. Carroll 2. Payet 3. Calleri

Carroll will spearhead West Ham’s attack and with Bournemouth’s defensive frailties I fancy him to bag a couple. If anyone is to supply them it’ll be Payet and he’s a rather obvious. My out of box choice is Jonathan Calleri who could be in line for a debut after a under the radar transfer. The winger / striker should be familiar to Football Manager users as he was a bit of a wonderkid. I fancy him to have a bit of a Tevez effect for The Hammers, his goal scoring record is rather decent and with Ayew out, he could bag a start AND a debut goal. Plus, NONE of your mates will have him in!



Sergio Aguero
– The Argentine bagged a hat-trick in mid-week after missing TWO penalties and with a rejuvenated Sterling and an excellent De Bruyne supplying him, he could bag a couple more against a Stoke side who are set to rely on 40-year old Shay Given in goal!

Roberto Firmino
– The attacking midfielder was rightly overshadowed by his fellow countryman Coutinho against Arsenal last Sunday but after a strong debut season, I fancy Firmino to get his season started against Burnley.  Liverpool look scarily strong going forward and with Mane injured, creative duties fall on Firmino’s shoulders and I expect to him step up to the plate.

Andre Gray –  
As excellent as Liverpool’s attack looks, their backline (IE Moreno) still looks vulnerable, proven by Arsenal’s late surge last week. One dark horse could be Andre Gray who although didn’t grab a goal last week, he did just about everything else. He got in behind, he looked quick, strong and was a handful for the Swansea defence. He’s a fairly cheap buy as far as forwards go and I think it’s only a matter of time before he gets himself a goal.

Also look out for Rondon, Lukaku, Lamela & Hazard.


Man Utd vs. Southampton: 2-1

Stoke vs. Man City: 0-2

Burnley vs. Liverpool: 1-3

Swansea vs. Hull: 1-1

Spurs vs. Palace: 3-0

Watford vs. Chelsea: 1-2

West Brom vs. Everton: 1-1

Leicester vs. Arsenal: 2-2

Thanks and see you next week!