Everton over Manchester United 1-0
West Brom over Liverpool 3-0
Fulham over Norwich 5-0
QPR lost to Swansea 5-0
This is just an example of what you can expect week to week in the Premier League. Unpredictability.
10 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE FIRST WEEK
1. Manchester City still has the best team in the Premiership.
They were down 1-2 at one point again Southampton at Etihad, but is that a big deal? Not really. Even if Sergio Aguero misses time because of his knee, they still have one of the best attacking groups in the league. Remember, Carlos Tevez wasn’t available for most of last season and they still won the title. He’s back. It also looks like Samir Nasri is starting to gel with his new club.
The only problem for your Fantasy squad is that David Silva probably won’t match last year’s numbers, because if the players around him step up, there won’t be enough to go around.
2. Fulham will be just fine without Clint Dempsey.
If anything, this first game was a statement match. While they are losing Dempsey, Fulham added Alex Kacaniklic, Mahamadou Diarra, Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric. All four of those guys saw action on Saturday. Obviously, Petric (two goals, one assist) will be the most valuable, as he is a pure poacher in front of the net and that’s kind of what Dempsey has done for them.
3. Arsenal may be tough defensively, but replacing Robin van Persie won’t be easy.
Was it ever going to be easy to replace 30 goals and 13 assists? Over the past few years, RVP has been one of Arsenal’s top players, although he has consistently been hurt. The Gunners picked up Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla (midfield) in the offseason. In their first match, Podolski never seemed to get going, while Giroud shanked the best chance of the match.
Arsenal is currently a work in progress, which means going for their defenders might be the better move early in the season.
4. Swansea lost their best player from last season, but were still able to retain some firepower to match last campaign’s success.
Gylfi Sigurdsson not only jumped about four million in price, but he also moved to Tottenham. Meanwhile, his replacement, Michu, made an immediate impact, scoring two goals and one assist in Swansea’s first match. To help in central defense, they grabbed another Spaniard, Chico. Other than that, Swansea was pretty quiet in the market. Why shouldn’t they be after finishing tied for 10th in a promotion season?
5. If West Brom can stay healthy, placing inside of the Top 10 this season isn’t out of the question.
While they were tied with Swansea last campaign for 10th, West Brom didn’t turn too many heads. This may be the year. After winning only one match in their first seven games last year, they were immediately disregarded as a club that could challenge for a UEFA Europa spot.
After thrashing Liverpool in Gameweek 1, things are looking a little different in 2012. Lest we forget, WBA has a surprisingly good set of attackers, experienced midfielders and former Birmingham defender, Liam Ridgewell in back, not to mention Ben Foster in goal. No one on their team is worth more than 7.0m. That’s pretty cheap for a Top 10 club, and looking ahead to Gameweek 5, they will have a stretch of Reading, Aston Villa and QPR. Peter Odemwingie is up for grabs.
6. Newcastle surprised last season, but that shouldn’t be the case this time around as they fight for a UEFA spot.
The Magpies are actually pretty good if you haven’t noticed. Even with injuries to most of their backline and Hatem Ben Arfa last year, they still managed a fifth place finish. They fight every match, and that’s a positive. Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are a perfect attacking duo and when you throw in names like Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez, Yohan Cabaye and Fabricio Coloccini, you realize just how good they are.
No matter, excluding Cisse, everyone on Newcastle is less than 7.5m and all defenders are less than 5.5m. Pretty enticing.
7. Chelsea’s new additions should help them return to battle for the Premier League title.
Eden Hazard had two assists in his 63-minute Chelsea debut on the road and added another three at home. Honestly, who cares if it was Wigan and Reading? They also grabbed another Brazilian in Oscar to complement Ramires. Marko Marin is currently out with a sore hamstring, but that just adds to their already significant depth in midfield. Other than that, Gary Cahill will be on the team for a full season, which will help. Chelsea’s main hope is that either Fernando Torres or Daniel Sturridge can put the ball in the net.
8. It was going to be tough for anyone to win at Everton on Monday night.
The Toffees have always had a solid back line and average players elsewhere that got the job done. The only problem they have is depth. The addition of striker Kevin Mirallas this past week can only be a good sign of what Everton has planned for the campaign. Nikica Jelavic needs an attacking mate and might just have one. If Marouane Fellaini and his cohorts can stay healthy in the midfield, they will be a tough foe. For your Fantasy squad, Fellaini seems like he’s been in the league for a while, but he’s still only 24 and looks like he’s on the top of his game after troubling Man United all match.
9. Liverpool is still Liverpool even with a new manager.
The injuries on defense don’t help, and the unspectacular signings of Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and Joe Cole are kind of disappointing. Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez need to start playing at least above average for Liverpool to have a better standing than last year. Right now, both are overrated for your Fantasy squad.
10. Aston Villa should be worrying about relegation in nine months.
They struggled mightily last year and if Darren Bent can’t score regularly, it will be trouble. Sure, the Villans added players like Ron Vlaar and Brett Holman, but they still have a long way to go. If Charles N’Zogbia doesn’t figure things out again, relegation is a likely reality. In other words, stay away from them in Fantasy.
*Stats up-to-date as of Aug. 22