Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Football Survivor: A Game by Game Guide, Part One

I've had a go at predicting which team you should back in the first 20 weeks of the Premier League! So have a read about the perfect strategy to survive in Football Survivor!

Match 1: Boro v. Stoke
I'm backing Middlesborough in the first game week. The promoted side face Stoke City at home this Saturday in a 3pm KO. Boro have had a wonderful transfer season, with Negredo and Victor Valdes joining the club. Stoke, on the other hand, haven't strengthened significantly and are relying upon the mercurial talents of Shaqiri, Bojan and Arnautović. Promoted teams have a history of kicking things off well - and what better way to get rid of one of the lower teams than to start things off? 

Match 2: Swansea v. Hull City 
Another unlikely pick… but Swansea kick off things at the Liberty Stadium against currently manageress Hull City. Bar, some sort of miracle, Hull look destined for the drop. Key player Mo Diame, the man who fired the winner in the Play Off Final in May has just left for Newcastle. Steve Bruce has resigned and half the fans are rumoured to be planning a boycott due to the owners unpopular antics. The Swans, on the other hand, will be looking to get off to a flying start - and who'd doubt them, given the atrocious scenes at Hull?

Match 3: Chelsea v. Burnley
The first of our big boy picks. Conte arrives in West London with a difficult job; he must energise a Chelsea team, who were, quite frankly, a disgrace last time round. Hazard, Costa, Fabregas and co. all underperformed in a season which was tarnished by Mourinho’s sacking and the worst title defence of all time. This time round, you'd expect Conte to organise this Chelsea team better and bring the best out of the star players at Stamford Bridge. Burnley, on the other hand, don't have the biggest budget and would expect to be battling in the dog fight all season. 

Antonio Conte 

Match 4: Burnley v. Hull
The great thing about Football Survivor is that you’ve got to back the teams that you wouldn't usually back… in this case, newly promoted Burnley. As mentioned previously, both these teams will look to be avoiding the drop and this might be seen as an early relegation battle. Of course, nothing is decided in match 4 of 38, but don't be surprised if Burnley make a statement here, perhaps with Gray leading the line and firing in a late winner to send Turf Moore ballistic. 

Match 5: Tottenham v. Sunderland 
Pochetinno and co will be looking to go one better this time round. Last year, Spurs were immense, although finishing third eventually, Harry Kane, Deli Alli, Erik Dier and Christian Erikson were all stand out performers in a sensational season for Tottenham. Certainly, Kane, who secured the BPL Golden Boot and Alli who won PFA Young Player of the Year, will look to kick on this year. Home matches against teams like Sunderland will be exactly the sort of game which Spurs will need to win in order to keep or set the pace. 

Match 6: Manchester United v. Leicester 
It seems odd to back last years 5th placed team against the reigning champions, but the arrival of Jose Mourinho has entirely changed the contest. Jose is notorious for his ability to get results against the big guns in the league, having consistency beaten the top dogs in the race for the title. United will expect to win every game this season with their new man in charge; and, the acquisition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a certain Paul Pogba. Expect Vardy and co to put a very good fight, but Mourinho will fancy this. There’ll be lots of mindgames, Zlatan antics and probably a late winner to ignite the spark at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho 

Match 7: Burnley v. Arsenal 
Burnley fans might start to think I've got it in for them.. but I just don't see anything but an Arsenal win here. The first away team that I’ve backed, but Arsenal are usually superb at destroying teams who are off lesser quality. Expect Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to have great games here. Mind you, if Arsenal don't sort out their defensive fragilities, Gray might fancy this, especially if he's running at Monreal, just ask Wayne Rooney about that. 

Match 8: Stoke City v. Sunderland 
Stoke City will be up for this. Sunderland are precisely the sort of team that Stoke’s mercurial players will fancy themselves against; with space and time to pick a pass and split Sunderland’s defence. The Britannia faithful will expect Stoke to sweep past opponents like Sunderland, and will make sure that their team do the job.

Match 9: Liverpool v. West Brom 
Jurgen Klopp will back his chances at Liverpool this season. A solid transfer season has witnessed the acquisition of Wiljnaldum, Mane and others. Both star signings looked very impressive in Klopps 4-0 demolition job over Barcelona at Wembley just last weekend. If Champions League football is to return to Anfield, or if a title challenge is to be maintained and mustered than a win against opposition such as West Brom is paramount. 

Match 10: Everton v. West Ham
The Hammers look a real prospect this season. A move to a new stadium, some good new additions and the holding onto of star man Dimitri Payet are all reasons for the Irons to get excited about this BPL season. Everton, on the other hand, are looking to kick off from the back of a very poor season last time round. Although FA Cup sem-finalists, Roberto Martinez’s men were off the pace for large parts of the season, and ultimately the Spaniard lost his job. It’s crucial for Everton and Koeman, that Lukaku, especially after Stones’ move to City, stays at Goodison Park, but you wouldn’t rule the Belgian out of a move home to West London. 

We've got the second instalment coming next week! Stay tuned!