The new Premier League season is just a matter of days away and that means it’s time to finalise your Fantasy Football team in order to take the competition to the cleaners (Manchester United – 13/8f – Premier League Outright 2011/12).
Picking your XI is not exactly a science, but it’s not far off the mark to suggest it’s probably one of your most important tasks this week in order to hit the ground running and set the early pace.
So who should you go with? Allow us to suggest five star men who we feel will not let you down from the word go.
Safe Pair of Hands
Whatever people say, football is all about goals – scoring them and keeping them out. All that fancy-Dan stuff has secured Arsenal absolutely nothing for over half a decade in the Premier League.
Barcelona may well have swept all before them but that’s in La Liga which is a two-horse race and underlined by the fact third favourites this term, Valencia, are available at 50/1. So you’re going to need a safe pair of hands.
We’d love to go with Liverpool stopper Pepe Reina, however counting against him is a defence which is far from convincing so it’s got to be fellow Spaniard David De Gea at Manchester United.
Fair enough he conceded two against Manchester City in the Community Shield and doesn’t appear to understand too much English at this point, but rest assured United have the best defenders in the Premier League to protect him.
Fergie will also have him working flat-out on the lingo when he’s not rolling around in the mud on the training paddock.
While keeping goals out is the name of the game for keepers, defenders who weigh in with the odd strike or two are worth their weight in gold.
We can’t think of too many defenders who take set-pieces these days like Roberto Carlos, so it’s all about the men who get on the end of free-kicks and corners.
Step forward Tottenham’s William Gallas ,who may have drawn a blank last season, but who can get amongst it this term as 11/4 shots Spurs chase a return to the top four.
There are two men we’re looking for in the middle of the park – the kind of guys who drive you on from box to box where the game is won and lost.
For us, Spurs ace Gareth Bale is a no-brainer although he has a lot to live up to if he is going to repeat last season’s heroics.
But hopefully he will do and also provide the ammunition for Gallas to maraud forward for dead-ball situations.
We’re also going to go with Manchester United’s Nani who has stepped out of the shadows and is long overdue a big season for a Red Devils side which is arguably much stronger than last year’s vintage.
Your main man up front is your talisman, the player who can get away with 89 minutes of dross if he comes up with a winner out of nothing.
Of course, he’s going to need decent service – see the inclusions of Bale and Nani – and we think someone like Liverpool’s Luis Suarez fits the bill.
However, he may not be quite ready for the big kick off after winning the Copa America earlier in the summer, so we need to look elsewhere.
Carlos Tevez, Fernando Torres and Dimitar Berbatov all have pedigree and are – or were – worth well over £100m between them, however for differing reasons we have some reservations.
So the man we’ll take is Aston Villa’s Darren Bent, who has more than proven himself over the years and is guaranteed to start for Alex McLeish’s men.
Bent can be backed at 12/1 to finish the 2011/12 season as top scorer.