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Fantasy Soccer: No Danger In Picking Eden Hazard
Oh so you’re back then? Back for another nine months of tinkering, transferring and telling yourself that your captain choice is the correct one. We knew you would be.
The return of Fantasy Premier League brings with it the same uncertainty that the game always evokes in all of us, and so the opening weekend of action is likely to draw most of us into making the safer decisions.
Once again, those safe decisions involve Chelsea.
Just as was the case last season, the Blues’ participation in the European Super Cup ensures that they face a double Gameweek right at the beginning of the campaign. Just as in 2012/13, it could pay to pin your hopes on their stylish Belgian midfielder.
Eden Hazard (£9.5m) made an explosive entry into English football last season with a flurry of goals and assists in his opening few games, and even though several of the faces may have changed around Stamford Bridge since then, he can do just that again.
With Chelsea marking the return of Jose Mourinho to the dugout with home games against the newly-promoted Hull City and the almost-relegated Aston Villa, Mourinho will be desperate to get off to the perfect, six point start.
Hazard can have a big part to play in that, especially given that Mourinho stated over the summer that he’s looking for the 22-year-old to become more of a ‘numbers man’ – to start contributing even more goals and assists. He’ll be dying to do so right from the start.
Another Belgian desperate to impress Mourinho will be Romelu Lukaku (£8.0m), who returns to Chelsea following his stellar season on loan at West Brom.
The Blues’ likely rotation of forwards – a rotation which will only spin faster should Wayne Rooney (£10.5m) move to west London – means that the youngster might not be a good long-term choice for your team, but making use of this double Gameweek will be key to you getting off to a good start, and Lukaku is almost certain to get some game time.
Away from Stamford Bridge, the opening of the season offers the opportunity for some of the last campaign’s leading lights to shine again.
Theo Walcott (£9.5m) and Santi Cazorla (£10.0m) will be eyeing points as Arsenal host Aston Villa, but with the Gunners at home and confident of keeping a clean sheet it could pay to side with one of their defenders. Laurent Koscielny (£5.5m) really established himself last season and looks good to go again.
Manchester City fans have to wait until Monday night for a glimpse of their new signings, but Stevan Jovetic (£9.5m) could be one to watch when Newcastle come calling to the Etihad Stadium. Many Fantasy players will remember the instant impact that Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) had on the game two years ago and the Montenegrin could follow suit.
New signings have been less common at Manchester United, and David Moyes’ tough start to life at Old Trafford hasn’t seen many friends for his players on the Fantasy front.
Moyes takes United to Swansea on Saturday evening, and it could be that the Swans’ new man Wilfried Bony (£8.0m) takes inspiration from the terrific start made by Michu (£9.0m) last season.
Elsewhere, in the likely absence of Gareth Bale (£12.0m for now) all eyes will be on Tottenham’s Roberto Soldado (£9.5m) as he makes his debut at Crystal Palace, but while Everton new boys Arouna Kone (£7.5m) and Gerard Deulofeu (£6.0m) are worth considering as they go to Norwich, some local rivals who are slightly more used to their surroundings should perhaps get the nod.
Philippe Coutinho (£9.0m) and Daniel Sturridge (£9.0m) both impressed when they moved to Liverpool last January, but only the Brazilian has had a full pre-season this summer due to an injury picked up by the latter.
As such, maybe he should be trusted to impress when the Reds face Mark Hughes and Stoke City in what will be the first match of the new Premier League season.
It had been away too long, hadn’t it?
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Photo via Christopher Johnson
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- fantasy soccer
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