After months of anticipation, it is hard to believe that the first weekend of the Premier League has already come and gone. As we all look ahead to the second week, here are some additions that should be made to all fantasy squads on ESPN Premier Fantasy. For those of you playing the official Fantasy Premier League game on the Premier League website, these tips should come in handy too:
Sebastian Larsson (£5.4 million)
One of the sleepers I alluded to last week, Larsson didn’t disappoint in his debut for the Black Cats at Anfield. Larsson scored an absolute stunner in the 57th minute by making an acrobatic volley on a cross at the edge of the box. The goal showed the Swede’s class and likely proved that Sunderland made a fabulous signing from the recently relegated Birmingham City. Larsson is also a dead ball specialist on free kicks and corners which will allow him to regularly trouble opposing defenses. Larsson’s goal and assist totals at Birmingham City which were consistently around 4 and 6 respectively are likely to be maintained if not increased on a more adventurous team like Sunderland.
Charlie Adam (£6 million)
In a midfield that is stacked beyond belief, it truly helps to make standout performances from the onset of the season. That’s just what new signing Charlie Adam did in his first game for the Reds after his transfer from the recently relegated Blackpool. The 25 year old Scot captivated again today just like he did throughout last season. The central midfielder was involved in many chances as his vision and passing was top notch at times. However, it was his free kicks which truly stood out as one of them lead to an early goal by Luis Suarez. At only 6 million pounds, Adam may be a steal on your team as his enterprising play and specialty in taking corners and free kicks will keep him in the starting eleven throughout the season.
Ashley Young (£7.1 million)
Ashley Young couldn’t have had a better debut for Manchester United as he was a central figure on the pitch against the Baggies. Young’s form in the Community Shield and now in his first Premier League match will no doubt silence any critics who wondered whether the England international was talented enough to fit in with United’s attacking style. Young is a pure winger from the left who made most of the team’s crosses and has shown that he can link up with other United players up front. While United won an own goal towards the end of the match, Young deserves all the credit as he has already shown the patented “never say die” attitude of the Red Devils. The only sign of caution here will be once Antonio Valencia returns, there could be a rotation between Valencia, Nani and Young. However, as long as Young continues to play at this level, there is no way he’s going to sit on the bench.
Chris Smalling (£6.5 million)
Manchester United has already been hit with a defensive crisis as Vidic and Ferdinand both succumbed to injury at West Brom. With Ferdinand out for 6 weeks and Vidic for 2, United will already have to depend on their youngsters like new signing Phil Jones and Irish international Johnny Evans. However, the player Fantasy owners should seriously look into is Chris Smalling as he emerged in his debut season last year as a promising sign of the future. Unlike Jones and Evans, Smalling has already been seen as a consistent starter as he has shown his versatility by expertly playing right back as if he had been playing there for years. Blessed with incredible speed, good crossing ability, and promising finishing skills off free kicks and corners, Smalling can likely emerge as a dependable asset to the squad and could continue to have an established role even after Vidic and Ferdinand return.
Gary Cahill (£6 million)
Cahill absolutely dazzled in his first game for Bolton as he produced a stunning shot from far out against QPR on their way to a 4-0 win. The England international is entering the peak of his career at 25 as his form only continues to grow stronger with time. An imposing physical presence who can score occasionally, Cahill is a bargain for Fantasy on a team like Bolton who can prove quite difficult at times to score on. What’s also intriguing about Cahill is that he’s been linked with several big clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool which would greatly boost his overall value. Cahill is already a nice player to have, but if he makes a switch to a top club, he’ll become essential to own.
Shane Long (£5.5 million)
In fantasy sports in general, there’s arguably nothing better than finding a sleeper out of nowhere for practically nothing who explodes in front of your eyes. Shane Long could very well be one of those buys that bring you unexpected glory after paying very little. The Irish international has shown rising promise in the past several years for Reading in the Championship which lead to his transfer to West Brom. The Baggies had to be elated to sign the 24 year old striker after he had a breakout season last year in the Championship which saw him share the league lead in goals with 24 as well as having 10 assists. In his debut for his new club against none other than Manchester United, Long had a stellar debut as he often linked up well with Somen Tchoyi. He constantly pressured United’s defenders and even though he got what many would consider a soft goal, a goal is still a goal and Long has shown that he could put the ball in the back of the net often. If he lives up to expectations, he would be a remarkable steal for anyone’s fantasy team.