Fantasy Football

Game week 1 Captain Pick

Game week 1 Captain Pick

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Game Week 1 Captain Picks

Sponsored by Premier Punt

There is a familiar feel in the sea air as I sit and drink another refreshing Elderflower and Pear cocktail, no it’s not the inevitable pretentious drinks that my wife keeps feeding me, it is the excitement, nervousness and sheer relief that football is back… and more importantly, the Premier League is back. Twitter feeds are brimming with anticipation of the Premier League kick off this Saturday 8th August and for most people it means the return of Fantasy Premier League.

If you have been following us pre-season then you will know we have an absolute plethora of Fantasy Premier League information, help and tips at your disposal. If you are serious about FPL then you have probably been planning your team since the 2015/16 season launched in early July, if you are an addict – then you were probably planning it the day that last season ended.

The time has come to start settling down on squad selections and thinking about captain picks for game week 1. We would seriously suggest that you have a strategy for your first 6 to 10 weeks and try to stick to it as much as possible. Do you start with Aguero or are you bringing him in for gameweek 2 or 3? Put it this way, a lot of people will be using an early wildcard to accommodate the Argentine forward, but you can get around this with a little bit of careful planning – giving you a serious edge over your opponents.

Have you even thought about when to use the all out attack chip or the triple captain chip? What about bench boost? Do you have a defender rotation policy or do you tend to stick with what you have each week? Do you have a solid goalkeeper selection policy that isn’t crippling the rest of your team? If you don’t have answers to those questions – then you need to read our FPL tips here – you can find access to all our articles for free here.

Okay… so assuming you have your team sorted, it is time to turn your attention to that big decision – who to captain for game week 1?

Who to Captain for Game Week 1?

A new season brings new hope and optimism for most FPL managers. It also brings a fresh start where for the only time in the season you are not playing catch-up or looking over you shoulder at the teams trying to catch you. In theory this should allow for the easiest captain choice of all – but we know there is no such thing as an easy captain pick. We will assess who we think are the best options and who will be the popular picks.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea Vs. Swansea

Despite Hazard’s dire display against Arsenal in the Community Shield, the £11.5m attacking midfielder will be a very popular choice for game week 1 captain. Quigliano refers to him as the bully against lesser teams, but are Swansea the type to be bullied? Despite picking him as our captain on the Fantasy Football Tips Podcast, I now have some reservations after seeing him last weekend. The fact that he often has a slow start to the season is also weighing on my mind.

The fact that Chelsea are likely to be without Diego Costa means that there will be more reliance on the midfielders to step up, but this could be a tight affair against a well drilled Swansea side who don’t concede many goals.

If you want to try and get an early lead on your league opponents then you might want to look elsewhere for captain this week – but the double edged sword means that you could just as likely give your opponents an advantage. It all depends on how much faith you have in the rest of your team.

Theo Walcott – Arsenal Vs. West Ham

Sometimes, opening games of the season can have a pre-season feel to them as players search for match fitness and teams struggle to find their rhythm. We don’t expect that to be the case for either of these sides with Arsenal having had an exceptional pre-season against some strong sides (capped off with the win against Chelsea last weekend) and with West Ham already starting their Europa League campaign.

Theo Walcott has caught the eye, not only in pre-season, but since the end of last season when he had plenty of game time on return from injury and was selected as striker in the FA Cup final over Olivier Giroud (something that was repeated in the Community Shield last weekend) and if that happens against West Ham he could be in for a good day. In FPL he is of course a midfielder, so any time we get a chance to play a midfielder who is actually a striker we cannot sniff at the opportunity. Added to this, the way West Ham capitulated a 2-0 lead last week in their Europa League game gives us the belief that the North London side will come out on top – we expect Arsenal to really set down a marker here and foresee a 3 goal margin – hopefully with Walcott on the scoresheet.

Beware if you have Giroud in your team – he might not even make the starting 11!

Wayne Rooney – Man Utd Vs. Spurs

It is hard to predict what we will see in this game as history has shown us thrilling encounters at times and 0-0 bore draws at others in past fixtures between these two. However, Pochettino has suggested that Spurs are not quite ready for this game after wanting to have the game put back to Sunday due to their pre-season commitments, which sees them play 3 games in a week.

We know that Rooney is going to be playing the role of main striker and we are monitoring him very closely this season as we expect to see a return to 20+ goals a season from him. Spurs have never really convinced at the back and although we expect them to be better this season it may take time for them to gel. We expect Man Utd to really push for the title this season and this will require an attacking style of play that was lacking at times last season. With Depay added to the midfield options we expect to see some good service in to Rooney and he will want to open his account on day one. A solid captain choice if he is in your team.

The Big Differential Potential:

One team who we really fancy to do well this season is Crystal Palace. Alan Pardew has never seemed to get the credit he has sometimes deserved during his managerial career, but he was certainly credited last season for the way he turned Crystal Palace’s season around. Some very astute signings during the off-season has seem him strengthen the team with squad depth but also some real quality with the likes of Yohan Cabaye. The £6.5m Frenchman is a doubt for the first game of the season though, and so for differential points here we turn our attention to Patrick Bamford who scored a pre-season 20 minute hat-trick (although against Bromley) and goes in to this game high in confidence. Facing a newly promoted Norwich side, Pardew will put his Premier League experience to good use and we expect to see an expansive, attack minded exert pressure on the Premier League new boys.

If you don’t fancy putting you faith in an away game risk, then the player who almost made our differential captain pick was Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – following his exceptional Wembley performance against the Champions, the only thing stopping you is the question mark over his starting place in the team.

One thing is for sure… we cannot wait for the action to get underway and that we will probably change our mind at 11.25am. You do at least get an extra 15 minutes this week with a deadline of 11.45am – not quite enough time to check the Old Trafford team sheets though I’m afraid!

Listen to the boys discuss their captain picks on our latest Podcast below:


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