To build up to the new English Premier League season, we’ll be looking at each team’s chances and highlighting the key players who could help your Fantasy team. Next in line are Burnley and Chelsea, who meet on the opening day of the season.
Newly promoted Burnley will find it hard on their return to the top flight for the first time in four years with little Premier League experience in their squad. Highly rated manager Sean Dyche has added some new signings but their small squad looks thin on top class talent and from a fantasy perspective, I would recommend you steer clear of their players for now at least.
Last season, the Clarets were strong at home, solidly defensively and do have some promising strikers. If they can continue that this season then they may have a chance to stay up. 17th place would represent a successful season but Burnley can look to the example set by Crystal Palace last term and even aim slightly higher.
Kieran Trippier (defender) – The former Man City trainee is an attacking threat from deep positions, notching up 12 assists in their promotion campaign. If Burnley can keep some clean sheets then Trippier could be a sleeper threat for some fantasy teams.
Danny Ings (forward) – There will be some Premier League scouts watching Ings with interest to see if he can make the step up to the big stage. Ings managed 21 goals in the Championship last term and has been linked with moves to bigger clubs. He has only just turned 22 years old and his best years are definitely ahead of him but his teammates may struggle to create enough chances for him to be a bona fide fantasy threat.
Lucas Jutkiewicz (forward) – Burnley’s main new signing is much travelled striker Jutkiewicz who gets another Premier League chance, nearly 6 years on from his sole appearance for Everton. He looks to have settled in well with a number of goals in pre-season but he has never been prolific at any club he’ played for. Much like Ings, his fantasy impact will be limited due to his team’s fight against relegation.
Other signings – Matt Taylor (West Ham), Stephen Reid (West Bromwich Albion), Matt Gilks (Blackpool), Michael Kightley (Wolves), Marvin Sordell (Bolton).
David Edgar (Birmingham City), Joseph Mills (Oldham Athletic), Junior Stanislas (AFC Bournemouth), Chris Baird (West Bromwich Albion), Keith Treacy (released).
Jose Mourinho now looks to have the squad that he wants. The Chelsea boss has been busy in the transfer market over the summer and has added some undoubted quality to his already strong squad. The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are proven winners and the Blues will fancy chances of regaining the Premier League trophy. The Special One has never had a longer trophy drought in his managerial career and there’s no way that he will want to go a third season without a trophy.
The whole Chelsea reads like a who’s who of fantasy league but I’ve picked out some of the key protagonists.
Eden Hazard (midfielder) – The Belgian midfielder may have had a disappointing World Cup but Hazard was Chelsea’s star man last year with 14 goals and assists. Now, with more support in the form of Costa and Fabregas, Hazard can stake a more sustained claim for the Player of the Year awards and a crucial role in your fantasy team.
John Terry / Branislav Ivanovic / Gary Cahill (defenders) – This defensive triumvirate are fantasy studs and will be nailed onto repeat that this year. They can be relied upon to add a few goals from set-pieces to a flurry of clean sheets. The only drawback is it will cost you a premium to own any one of the three.
Cesc Fabregas (midfielder) – Fabregas is back in the Premier League and back in London but controversially will be lining up in the blue of Chelsea rather than the red of Arsenal. The Spaniard’s move to Barcelona didn’t work out despite 5 trophies, 28 goals and 34 assists in his three year spell. Fabregas’ versatility may hold him back from a fantasy point of view but he should still be an excellent source of goals from midfield at a cheaper price than the likes of Hazard and Yaya Toure.
Diego Costa (forward) – Costa comes into the season on the back of a poor World Cup and with a big price tag on his back, and will be hoping to win over some of his critics with some early goals. The Brazilian-born striker, looked unstoppable at times for Atletico Madrid last season and if he can repeat this form, it could prove the difference between a league title and runners-up. Before we all get excited though, Costa had never scored more than 10 goals in a season until last year and may turn out to be a fantasy bust and a huge waste of money this year.
Willian (midfielder) – The Brazilian attacking midfielder was a favourite of Jose Mourinho last season but the new arrivals could force Willian and his afro out of the season out of the starting line-up at the start. However, I expect Willian to go from strength to strength and probably force the declining Oscar out of the team. For him to be a fantasy force, Willian needs to add more goals to his performances but his progress and appearance numbers should be monitored at the start of the campaign.
Oscar (midfielder) – Before Christmas last year, Oscar was taking the Premier League by storm but once the English air turned cold for winter, Oscar’s performances turned cold as well. He also put in some muted displays at the World Cup and it will be intriguing to see if he can bounceback this time. Despite his drop in form, Oscar still finished the season with 12 goals and 10 assists but it could have been so much better. If he’s unable to return to top form, there are plenty of other attacking players that Jose Mourinho can turn to.
Fernando Torres / Didier Drogba (forwards) – There can be no doubt that Diego Costa will be the first choice lone striker at Stamford Bridge this season. It would definitely need a Costa injury for veterans Torres and Drogba to be worthy fantasy adds this season. That’s before even considering that their goal return is very unlikely to match their prolific earlier seasons.
David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Demba Ba (Besiktas), Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland), Ashley Cole (Roma), Sam Hutchinson (Sheffield Wednesday), Frank Lampard (New York City / Manchester City), Samuel Eto'o (released), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)