Fantasy League 2013/14 Season Preview

9th July 2013By: Mark Tinklin

New managers add new dimension to the Premier League



Mourinho is back, Moyes has stepped into Fergie's shadow and Pellegrini brings something entirely new to the tussle for the title.

There are new faces in charge at Everton and Stoke as well, but the real battle for managerial superiority will take place at Fantasy League once again.

After 27 years of Sir Alex Ferguson dominating the landscape of English football, Fantasy League managers will get the chance to prove that they've got what it takes to continue his legacy.

Success is measured in titles and once we've battled for points over the course of the season, there's plenty up for grabs in Classic and Pro.

But the new campaign hasn't even started yet so before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a look at what's to come in 2013/14.

David Moyes has taken over the champions Manchester United and is determined to rack up the silverware at Old Trafford.

The former Everton boss has said that winning will come first in his hunt for trophies and promised that Wayne Rooney will remain at the club.

The Special One has returned to his spiritual Chelsea home and it will be interesting to see how his style has changed following his travels across Europe.

Chelsea boasted amazing defensive records during Jose Mourinho's previous spell at the club and fantasy football aficionados will be hoping for more clean sheets this time around.

However, the Blues also wield the three excellent playmakers Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar and Mourinho won't want to nullify their potency.

Manchester City have turned to another former Real Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini after missing out in the fight for the title to their bitter rivals.

The Chilean used his knowledge of Spanish football to bring skilful winger Jesus Navas to the club and his midfield has been enforced by box-to-box Brazilian Fernandinho.

Fantasy Leaguers will also be keen to see if Stoke and Everton defenders are worth investing in anymore with attack-minded managers - Mark Hughes and Roberto Martinez - at the helm.

Stepping off the managerial merry-go-round, Cardiff City, Hull City and Crystal Palace have arrived from the Championship and offer some low-cost options to fantasy football managers.

Champions Cardiff have a Welsh derby against rivals Swansea to relish and could be a place to find cheap defensive reinforcements, such as Mark Hudson and David Marshall, after keeping 18 clean sheets on the way to promotion.

Wingers Robbie Brady and George Boyd will be tasked with creating chances for Hull, but Crystal Palace's hopes have been hit by Glenn Murray's knee injury.

Palace product Wilfried Zaha is now at Manchester United and joins the ranks of new faces fighting for first team football in the Premier League.

Another wide-boy Andre Schurrle will compete for a starting berth at Chelsea after registering 11 goals and seven assists for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga last season.

Liverpool have recruited heavily once again and they expect big things of Spanish newcomers Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto.

However, Luis Suarez's suspension and his desire to move on means the Reds' hopes will depend upon talented duo Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.

Norwich, Fulham and Sunderland have also been busy in the transfer market and Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Maarten Stekelenburg and Modibo Diakite are worth considering when picking your fantasy football team.

Of course the Premier League's very best will be the first names on the team sheet.

Robin van Persie top scored last term by reaching triple figures for the second season in a row thanks to 26 goals and 12 assists.

Tottenham's Welsh wizard Gareth Bale will be in demand, and not just from Real Madrid, after racking up 21 goals and eight assists, while fellow midfielders Mata and Michu will also appear on plenty of shortlists.

Veterans Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard may not cost as much to pick these days, but they still rack up the points and both broke the 40-point mark against last term.

Adventurous full-back Leighton Baines, who pocketed five goals, six assists and 11 clean sheets last season, will also be popular, especially if the rumours of a move to Old Trafford turn out to be true.

Any Fantasy League manager worth their salt will be studying the Player List for outsiders worth investing in and bargains with big points scoring potential.

After impressing at times last season, Southampton could be worth keeping an eye out for, especially young guns Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez and new arrival Dejan Lovren.

Aston Villa didn't win many admirers last time around, but Matthew Lowton and Andreas Weimann showed glimpses of quality and will only get better in the coming campaign.

Anyway, earlier on we spoke about prizes and that is of course what (fantasy) points make.

In Fantasy League Classic there are competitions running throughout the season so there's always something to play for!

Managers fight it out in up to 14 separate tournaments with rewards ranging from free teams, to medals and the £10,000 first prize.

Meanwhile Fantasy League Professional - the best kept secret in football - is all about getting one over your friends and rivals.

The season starts with a tense and frantic auction to decide who owns each player because in Pro, van Persie, Bale and Hazard can only represent one team in each league.

You can even modify your league rules to ensure that only the most worthy manager is celebrating glory in May.

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