On Sunday 5th August, Premier League Champions Manchester City will face FA Cup Winners Chelsea at Wembley, to compete for a meaningless piece of silverware. This contest may not be prolific, but Fantasy Premier League managers everywhere will be glued to it.
This football match will give valuable insight into two favoured top six sides, ahead of the Premier League season, which begins just five days later. The line ups will be particularly important, indicating which players are fit to start the season following the World Cup. It will also provide clues on formations and playing styles of these two teams.
There’s certainly plenty of key questions which may be answered:
Will Chelsea move to a 4-3-3 system? Is Alonso’s place at left back secure and will he have the same attacking potential as before? Is Azplicueta a better option on the opposite flank? Will Fabregas and Pedro provide a cheap way in to the Chelsea midfield?
Who’s fit for Manchester City? Could Bernardo Silva be a differential for the start of the season? Will Pep deploy a 3-5-2 system? Is Mahrez injured? Are there any cheap routes in to the City defence? Does Pep trust Sane after fatigue and fitness concerns? Will Aguero and Jesus start up front together? Who’s on penalties?
Looking at current FPL ownership levels, there’s a number of assets from both clubs with significant investment: De Bruyne (27.6%), Sane (18.9%), Alonso (16.8%), Azpilicueta (16.0%), Kante (15%), Aguero (12.8%). Sane, Alonso & Azpilicueta have played some part in pre season, but the rest have yet to return following their World Cup duties.
Manchester City Watchlist: Laporte (5.5), D. Silva (8.5), B. Silva (7.5) Aguero (11.0), Jesus (10.5)
Pep Guardiola faces a defensive headache going into the new season, Laporte and Mendy have been the only players taking part in pre season, but Laporte is currently yellow flagged and Mendy is still trying to regain full fitness following his knee injury. Otamendi should be available for the Community Shield and Gameweek 1, but is yet to return to training.
There’s numerous options in attack, despite De Bruyne and Sterling likely to miss the opening games. If Mahrez’s injury proves serious, it could pave the way for Bernardo Silva to gain some starts early on in the season. Sane is well fancied on the left, but has come under fire from Pep in recent days regarding his fitness. David Silva is expected to be the main playmaker in midfield.
With key injuries and absentees elsewhere, Aguero and Jesus could play together up top for the opening period of the season. If this transpires to be true during the Community Shield, Aguero would become a popular Gameweek 1 option for Fantasy managers. It’s rotation worries which currently deter managers from investing in the City strike force.
Despite a tough Gameweek 1 match away to Arsenal, the fixtures for Manchester City are incredibly kind over Gameweek 2-7. Any rotation-free or lower budget options that transpire during the Community Shield, may well afford fantasy managers a strong double or triple up in Fantasy Premier League.
Chelsea Watchlist: Azpilicueta (6.5), Fabregas (6.5), Pedro (6.5)
Chelsea are well fancied under Maurizio Sarri, although Marcos Alonso may not be as strong a fantasy asset as he has been previously, given a shift from wing back to full back. It has also been rumoured that Emerson could take his place. If things become clearer in the Community Shield, managers may look to potential right back, Azplicueta: he’s had consistent fantasy returns over a number of seasons and often collects bonus points.
Pedro has had plenty of game time during pre season, with a couple of goals too. With Kante, Hazard and Giroud all likely to miss Gameweek 1, it could provide an opening for Pedro to start, who was out of favour with Conte. Fabregas may be called up to have a more prominent role in the midfield, and he tends to start the season strongly. These proven Premier League players could easily hit 100+ points if they become consistent starters once more.
Other than welcoming Arsenal in Gameweek 2, the fixtures look pretty enticing for Chelsea and there’s much excitement around their potential playing style with Sarri. This squad were clear winners of the title just two seasons ago, and there’s plenty of potential there if they can regain some confidence and form. A relatively cheap double up could prove fruitful in the opening games of the season.
Written by @FFCommunity_