Danny Graham scores three and provides an assist as Swansea put four past Blackpool, while Hugo Rodallega marks his Fulham debut with a goal. Norwich rack up another clean sheet, Yassine El Ghanassy impresses for West Brom with a goal and assist and Billy Sharp find the net for the fifth time this pre-season as Southampton earn a draw at Bristol City…
Swansea 4 Blackpool 2
The visitors arrived at the Liberty Stadium full of confidence after their recent win over Everton but were swept aside by a Danny Graham-inspired Swansea. The forward had a hand in all of his side’s goals, scoring three times and providing an assist for new boy Michu – with a strong opening run of fixtures, Graham’s display will surely bring plenty Fantasy investment ahead of the start of the new campaign. Michu and Nathan Dyer also caught the eye; the latter had three efforts on target, while Dyer produced a pair of assists for Michael Laudrup’s men.
Swansea Starting XI: Vorm (Tremmel 61); Rangel (Richards 61), Chico (Tate 80), Williams, Davies (Bessone 85); Britton (Agustien 74), de Guzman, Michu; Dyer ( Lita 80), Graham (Moore 67), Routledge (Edwards 85).
MK Dons 0 Fulham 1
Martin Jol rolled out an experimental side for last night’s trip to Milton Keynes. Mladen Petric was handed the night off after his recent goalscoring exploits, with fellow new boy Hugo Rodallega afforded his first game time since moving from Wigan this summer. While Marcello Trotta led the line, the Colombian was a threat throughout from his left flank position and had a few chances to find the net; intriguingly he was also on free-kicks, though his place in the overall pecking is uncertain as the Cottagers were far from full-strength. Nevertheless, Rodallega grabbed the headlines and the only goal of the game to serve Fantasy managers a timely reminder of his potential.
Fulham Starting XI: Stockdale; Kelly (Grygera), Burn Baird, Briggs; Na Bangna, Sidwell, Frei (Minkwitz 46), Kasami, Rodallega; Trotta (Kacaniklic)
Hull City 0 Norwich City 0
The Canaries fielded a strong looking line-up for the goalless draw at Hull. While Chris Hughton’s side failed to score, Fantasy managers will be intrigued to see new boy Robert Snodgrass handed a role in “the hole” behind lone forward Grant Holt. Snodgrass was at the heart of much of Norwich’s attacking forays in the first-half, with his set-pieces also teeing up opportunities for his team mates. Despite making a host of changes after the break, Hughton saw his side register their fourth clean sheet in the last five matches as Norwich continue to look far more defensively solid than they were under Paul Lambert last term.
Norwich Starting XI: Ruddy, R. Martin (Vaughan 72), R. Bennett, Turner (Barnett 61), Tierney (Francomb 72); E. Bennett (Lappin 72), Howson (Morison 72), Johnson, Pilkington (C. Martin 72); Snodgrass (Surman 72); Holt (Jackson 72)
Brighton 1 Reading 1
Brian McDermott started with last season’s back-four for the game against a side that had put three past Chelsea at the weekend. With Jimmy Kebe still sidelined due to a hamstring injury, Hal Robson-Kanu was handed a role on the right wing and popped up to score his second goal in back-to-back matches – thus denying Gus Poyet’s side another Premier League scalp. Aside from his goals, Robson-Kanu is clearly impressing his manager right now – he managed the full 90 minutes, while skipper Jobi McAnuff made way for Garath McCleary at half-time on the opposite flank.
Reading Starting XI: Federici (McCarthy 60); Cummings, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte; Robson-Kanu, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff (McCleary 46); Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak (Hunt 76)
Bristol City 1 Southampton 1
Nigel Adkins continued with his recent tactic of fielding a lone centre forward – this time Saints lined up in a 4-3-3, with Rickie Lambert flanked by Jay Rodriguez and Jason Puncheon. Adam Lallana was, once again, fielded in central midfield while Nathaniel Clyne looks increasingly likely to start the season as the right-back, though he moved to the opposite side of defence as Adkins made three changes at the break. The Saints boss shifted to 4-4-2 as he chased a 1-0 deficit late on and his move paid off, with Lambert setting up Billy Sharp to slot home his fifth goal of pre-season so far.
Southampton Starting XI: K. Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld (Seaborne 76), Fox (Richardson 46); Ward-Prowse (Cork 46) (Sharp 82), Schneiderlin (S. Davis 46) Lallana (Guly 60), Puncheon, Rodriguez, Lambert.
Hartlepool 1 Newcastle 5
Alan Pardew used last night’s match to hand some of his squad players a starting berth, while also giving a handful of his first-team more game time to build up their match-fitness. While the main news was the return of Hatem Ben Arfa to the Newcastle side for the first time since his Euro 2012 exertions, Sylvain Marveaux was the most impressive on show and could well play a part in the season opener with Spurs if his fellow Frenchman fails to prove his fitness. Playing wide right in a 4-2-3-1, Marveaux scored twice and could well have had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for the display of the opposition keeper. Similar to Ben Arfa, Steven Taylor was also given a 45-minute run-out as he continues his comeback from an Achilles injury.
Newcastle Starting XI: Harper (Alnwick 84); Simpson (Good 73), S Taylor (Ben Arfa 46), Williamson, James Tavernier; Perch (R Taylor 73), Bigirimana (Abeid 60); Marveaux (Obertan 79), Gosling, Amalfitano (Santon 80); Shola Ameobi (Vuckic 46)
Walsall 1 West Brom 3
Yassine El Ghanassy was particularly prominent as the Baggies took their unbeaten run to four matches last night. Inititally starting on the left in a 4-4-2 before switching flanks towards the end of the first-half, the summer signing – in addition to being handed free-kicks and corners – provided a goal and assist for Steve Clarke’s men. Craig Dawson notched in his first game back since starring for Great Britain at the Olympics, while new signing Claudio Yacob featured for the first time since joining the club in the summer transfer window.
West Brom Starting XI: Myhill; B Jones (Gayle 68), Dawson, Tamas, Hurst; Cox (Allan 76), Thorne (O’Neil 76), Yacob (Sawyers 76), El Ghanassy; Wood (Berahino 46), Fortune.
Yeovil 1 Stoke 1
Triallist Sebastien Boenisch was a stand-out performer in Stoke’s second game in as many days. The Polish full-back set up Kenwyne Jones’ equaliser and, impressing with a handful of searching runs down the Potters’ left flank, was unlucky not to find the net with a superb 25-yard effort in the first 45. Peter Crouch missed out with a hip knock, while Matt Etherington added to Tony Pulis’ worries after being forced off early on. Post-match, the club revealed Robert Huth is undergoing tests for suspected meningitis, after the centre-half was hospitalised on Monday.
Stoke Starting XI: Begovic, Boenisch, Wilson (Jerome 46), Shawcross, Upson, Shotton, Whelan (Palacios), Whitehead (Arismendi), Etherington (Ness), Jones, Walters.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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