View from the dugout - Gameweek 1 - Rats

And we’re off. The first weekend of action is over. Fantasy managers quickly out of the blocks will have a spring in their step this Monday morning, while the ones who struggled will be mulling over their mistakes and regrets, finding ways to rectify them for Gameweek 2. Here are some opinions on what we saw in Gameweek 1 so far.

Robin van Persie took just 34 minutes to sow the seeds of doubt into those who overlooked him. Another goal in the second half and doubt turned into the smell of panic.

As someone who overlooked the Dutchman, I was surprised by Man United’s demolition of Swansea. Usually solid at the back, the Welsh side had only conceded 1 goal in 9 pre-season matches.

The group of Fantasy managers that don’t own Van Persie are now a split group. One section will immediately sign up Van Persie, while the other section will stick to their guns, reminding themselves that Chelsea and Liverpool lie in wait for the Dutchman.

The alternatives in my squad to Van Persie are Soldado, Benteke and Sturridge, and with all three finding the net, it doesn’t sit comfortably to remove one for Van Persie against Chelsea.

Behind the scenes, though, it would be wise to look at possible ways of bringing the Dutchman in, with a home game against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 4 looking a frightening prospect for those without him. Proper behind the sofa stuff!

I was surprised by the amount of early investment in the Liverpool and Arsenal defences. While Liverpool returned a clean sheet, their back line will be tested to the limit in the next three, with trips to Aston Villa and Swansea and a home clash against Man United.

Arsenal’s already fragile back line is now in ruins after Koscielny’s red card and injury worries over Sagna and Gibbs (with Vermaelen already sidelined). Tricky trips to Fulham and Sunderland and a home clash with bitter rivals Spurs in the next three look even trickier.

I’d be concerned if I owned Nicolas Anelka. It’s too early to write him off after one game, but my doubts about him were compounded on Saturday, when the Frenchman failed to have an effort on goal.

I do think Anelka will continue to be withdrawn early in games, just like Lakaku and Long last season, and with Rosenberg and Vydra pushing for starts, Anelka may even get rotated.

The top-priced midfielders didn’t cover themselves in glory. The likes of Walcott, Gerrard, Coutinho and Hazard disappointed, while Mata didn’t feature at all against Hull.

Surely it’s too early to lose faith, though. Coutinho’s display, for example, deserved more, with the Brazilian creating 6 chances for his team-mates.

Owners of Razvan Rat were victim of Sam Allardyce’s reluctance to change his back line. Joey O’Brien got the nod at left-back with the Romanian stapled to the timber throughout, and with a clean sheet bagged, it now seems unlikely “Big Sam” will change his defence for the trip to Newcastle. Rats!

A few early bandwagons have left the station. The two from Merseyside, Coleman and Barkley, have me buying a ticket for one, but not the other.

Coleman’s goal and assist against Norwich was a pleasant surprise, and the Irishman’s overall performance was impressive. Relentless forages forward had an end product, with several chances laid on for team-mates, and Coleman almost netted a second with a ferocious drive at the end of the game.

I’d like to see more from Barkley, though there’s little risk involved in a 4.5 purchase. I do wonder just where Barkley fits into the Everton midfield when Gibson returns from injury, though it’ll be hard for Martinez to leave him out on this form.

Mesh leads the way for the FPL Dugout Contributors after a blistering start. Despite the jokes on the chat, Mesh’s decision to choose Oscar over Hazard and captain Benteke should be congratulated. Top marks for thinking outside of the box!

Finally, let’s finish off with a pat on the back for the Fantasy Premier League (FPL). It was great to see the bonus points added on a Saturday night (just like the olden days), and the addition of live bonus points is fantastic.

To see the live bonus points, you just need to head over to the “Statistics” section of FPL, choose a team and sort by “Bonus Points System”. For example, here are Chelsea’s bonus points.

Enjoy the Man City-Newcastle game this evening…