Fantasy Football Blog

Week one match-ups

Fantasy Football Blog

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Fantasy Football is all about picking the players with the best match-ups.

You might not like the look of Ricardo Fuller away to Chelsea, but home to Hull City could be a different story altogether.

As week one sees most teams play twice, the match-ups are particularly crucial. We have a look at which teams' players to go for, and whose to avoid.

WEEK ONE SCHEDULES
Arsenal - @ EVE
Aston Villa - v WIG
Birmingham - @ MU, v POR
Blackburn - v MC
Bolton - v SUN
Burnley - @ STO, v MU
Chelsea - v HUL, @ SUN
Everton - v ARS
Fulham - @ POR
Hull City - @ CHE, v TOT
Liverpool - @ TOT, v STO
Manchester City - @ BLA
Manchester United - v BIR, @ BUR
Portsmouth - v FUL, @ BIR
Stoke City - v BUR, @ LIV
Sunderland - @ BOL, v CHE
Tottenham - v LIV, @ HUL
West Ham - @ WOL
Wigan - @ AV, v WOL
Wolves - v WH, @ WIG

NB: Although it is still on the fixture list in the game, Fulham v Blackburn will be postponed due to the Cottagers' involvement in Europa League qualifying.

TEAMS TO PICK FROM

First things first, make sure your recruits have a chance of playing twice in the gameweek - the opening weekend's fixtures are followed by six midweek games.

Manchester United could hardly have it any easier, opening up with games against two promoted teams, Birmingham and Burnley. They have a great chance of two clean sheets, making Ben Foster or Tomasz Kuszczak - pick whichever one starts the Community Shield - week one's must-have goalkeeper.

Chelsea
face Hull and Sunderland in another powder-puff start. Steve Bruce might have added some decent players over the summer but if Carlo Ancelotti's side hit the ground running they could rack up some big points.

There is no reason to stay away from Liverpool, although their home game against Stoke is prefaced by a toughie away to Tottenham.

Wolverhampton Wanderers
have a manageable opening week, at home to West Ham and away to Wigan, while Portsmouth's games against Fulham and Birmingham are OK - although The Fantasist fears a tough season at Fratton Park.

TEAMS TO AVOID
Eight sides only play once: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Bolton, Everton, Fulham, Manchester City and West Ham.

You should not pick any players from those teams unless you expect a big leap in value from them - such as Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen.

Birmingham's schedule is heaven and hell - away to Manchester United then home to Portsmouth. The trip to Old Trafford could be damage limitation, so probably not worth the risk.

The same goes for Stoke, who have a tasty home game against Burnley but then travel to Anfield.

- - -

Sebastien Bassong is officially a Tottenham player and, with Messrs King, Woodgate and Dawson all injured, he could come into the first team. But, as jharveyuk points out, the defender will miss the first two games of the season through suspension.

Nemanja Vidic is out of Manchester United's opening fixture at least, and Wes Brown is doubtful. It could mean good news for Jonny Evans (10.12), although the Northern Irishman is surprisingly expensive.

Intriguingly, there is talk that Ritchie De Laet (6.03) could be United's first-choice right-back this season. As with the goalkeeper situation, Sunday's Charity Shield should offer a few clues.

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