We roll out our fifth article focussing on rotation pairs for the campaign ahead this afternoon. Having looked at Stoke and Swansea, Newcastle and Sunderland, Crystal Palace and West Ham, Burnley and Hull, we now take a look at Southampton and Leicester:

The Fixtures


Once again, this is a partnership that offers Fantasy managers a home/away rotation option over the entire upcoming campaign. Looking at the fixtures for the first 20 Gameweeks, however, a Southampton/Leicester pairing would hand you seven testing fixtures – ARS, MUN, MCI, LIV, MCI, CHE, ARS – highlighting a more difficult first half of the season which subsequently eases over the final few months.

As the ticker illustrates, the schedule does offer us some very viable away fixtures for five of those seven games, leaving only Gameweek 14 and 20 as troublesome, when Liverpool and Arsenal come calling.

Alternatively, Leicester also rotate with Hull on a home/away for 16 of the first 20 Gameweeks, leading us into the winter wildcard, whilst Southampton and Burnley alternate on 17 occasions. For each of these partnerships, there are only two occasions where both sides have a fixture marked as difficult by our ticker, suggesting they could also be viable to those on the lookout for alternatives.

The Defence

It would be an understatement to say that the Saints have exceeded expectations since returning to the Premier League two seasons ago. Last term in particular, the Saints were a Fantasy goldmine in all areas of the park under Mauricio Pochettino and their defence picked up plenty of investment after delivering 15 clean sheets – seven at home and eight on the road.

There are concerns for the season ahead, though; a new manager, a plundered squad and the inevitable price rises for the remaining players. It remains to be seen whether Ronald Koeman can repeat Pochettino’s feat and the pre-season will shape our opinions somewhat but if a mooted move away for Dejan Lovren transpires, the Saints may struggle at the back.

Artur Boruc will surely continue as the number one and one look at last season’s statistics shows the Pole’s average of 4.3 points per game was greater than any backline option. Elsewhere, Jose Fonte’s goal threat came to the fore three times last term but his exploits are likely to ensure he’s amongst the costliest Saints defenders, whilst Calum Chambers or Nathaniel Clyne will be determined to nail down a regular role after both alternated for the right-back berth under Pochettino last time around.

The Foxes won the Championship with the third best defensive record in 2013/14 and amassed 18 clean sheets, nine at home and nine away. Essentially, then, Nigel Pearson’s side conceded in 14 of 23 home games in the Championship, suggesting they may struggle to keep out their opponents in the top-flight.

The son of one the Premier League’s most celebrated goalkeepers, Kasper Schmeichel, can expect to be kept busy between the posts and with save points seeming likely, he could find himself subject to our Fantasy attentions. Former Man United right-back Ritchie De Laet showed plenty of attacking intent last season and produced two goals and five assists over 36 appearances last season, while Wes Morgan – also with a couple of strikes to his name – offers a security of starts in the heart of the back-four.

The Attack

The departures of Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert robs the Saints of their top two scorers in last season’s Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game but Ronald Koeman has moved impressively in the summer transfer market. The Dutchman’s two signings so far have been widely regarded as good business; Graziano Pelle was prolific for Feyenoord with 55 goals in 66 games under Koeman in the Eredivisie, while dead-ball expert Dusan Tadic served up 16 goals and 14 assists in 33 games for FC Twente and has produced 10+ assists in each of his last four seasons.

If the new boys can settle quickly, they could be excellent Fantasy prospects from the off, given that Koeman’s side play only two of last season’s top eight in the first 12 Gameweeks. With Jay Rodriguez currently sidelined through injury, Koeman could turn to one of last season’s bit part players on the flanks – James Ward-Prowse showed a lot of promise under Pochettino and, as his record at Feyenoord shows, Koeman is a great believer in giving youth a chance.

Pearson’s side notched 83 times in the Championship last term – more than any promoted side – with 46 goals in front of their own fans and 37 on the road. Up top, spot-kick taker David Nugent’s 20 goals and 12 assists catch the eye – he’s just signed a two-year contract and looks like a certain starter, though Jamie Vardy, depsite an impressive 16 goals and 10 assists, may struggle for regular game time once Pearson strengthens in the final third.

In the centre of the park, there are potentially a couple of options on offer. With a nomination for Championship Player of the Year, Danny Drinkwater will be eager to make the transition to the top flight; five goals and seven assists last season suggest that he could well be of Fantasy interest, with a share of corners also boosting his appeal. Right winger Anthony Knockaert is first-choice for dead-ball situations and chipped in with five goals and seven assists, also bringing himself into contention as a cheap fifth midfielder.

About The Author

roscola @rosco

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  1. How about a spot of poetry while we wait...

    The Long Wait

    For now, winter has decorated
    The meadow with peaceful sleep.
    It's residents hibernate in wet soil
    Waiting for the Earth to spring again
    Pale piled blankets tucked carefully
    Around the statuesque bald oaks
    Guard the lustful dreams
    Of boys in their branches.
    The frozen blue river gathers drifts,
    While it runs quietly, so quietly
    Just beneath the mask of ice.
    Gently, softly from the gray heavens,
    Messengers of delight glide home,
    Touching, blending, building and sighing
    The silent journey to a Winter's night.

    Jim 1969
    James Casey

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  2. Wasting my bandwidth by reloading again and again, its real fun 😀

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  3. *Will probably be lost on last page*

    After reading words from our (Burnleys) captain Jason Shackell about (& everyone says it) making our ground (Turf Moor) a fortress I thought I'd look at the validity & probability of this happening:

    Let's just rewind the clock to our first season at home under Owen Coyle & Brian Law (2009/10)....

    Unfortunately I have no stats on our 2008/09 promotion season to back up/prove what I'm saying, so going off memory, but that season was under Owen Coyle & was pure gun hoe, bit like Rodgers last year with Liverpool "you score one, we'll score two". So onto that Premiership season

    Our home record stood as W7 D5 L7 GF25 GA30 2 clean sheets (CS)
    Not exactly brilliant, but compared to away record (W1 D1 L17 GF17 GA52 0CS) it looks pretty descent.

    So, moving onto Eddie Howe (after relegation back into the Championship) like Coyle, chose the goals galore route, our home record though still fairly average, yet solid (W7 D9 L7 GF33 GA27 4CS).

    2012/13: Howe lasted just a few months, home record reading W3 D2 L1 GF14 GA10 2CS, the writing was on the wall with him leaving & eventually did.

    October 30th, Sean Dyche appointed. First game was a 2-0 home win & the defensive manner of Dyche's philosophy kicked in. Initially seemed odd from my point of view, use to having a team going from trying to score goals, to stopping them going in. His seven month initial first season in charge at home read W6 D6 L5 GF17 GA11 6CS.

    Onto last season, admittedly I wern't hopeful, thinking of Dyche's 'negativeaty'. I was clearly proved wrong. Home record reading W15 D6 L2 GF37 GA11 11CS

    So what was point of this, well, simply based on our home form/record, Dyche's defensive record & Shackell's words above, a Burnley defender or GK (Heaton) should/could be a must have

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  4. I'm glad I'm not a 70's comedian or I'd be charged under opperation yewtree for spending this long on my computer.

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  5. Is it safe to go for a half hour lunch break? Or too risky?

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
    1. safe- seems like its never happening

      • 1 year, 7 months ago
  6. since we are all looking at them, has any1 noticed how the relegated clubs' crests have changed into the promoted ones for the gameweek 38 results?

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  7. The guys in FPL towers is having a huge arguement on who gets what ID.

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
      • 1 year, 7 months ago
  8. The fixtures have changed to GW 1!!

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  9. Aguero 12.0..That's a lot for a benchwarmer.

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
    1. if he is not injured than he is one of the best to own and you could say that about all of the top 3 strikers

      • 1 year, 7 months ago
  10. Just logged in.

    I cant login to fpl though, "the game is currently being updated" etc.

    Anybody else having same issue?

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  11. test

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  12. Anyone fancy a double up on ManU defense?

    • 1 year, 7 months ago
  13. It's annoying me that the Liverpool assets are priced so high! 11.5 for Strurridge seems 1 mil too much, Sterling and Lallana should be 8.0 imo. Suarez's assists and the space he created boosted the potential of all around him.
    As a fan, it seems weird having 0 Pool players in my team!

    • 1 year, 7 months ago

Scout Picks

Gameweek 26

  • Hennessey
  • Coleman
  • Ivanovic
  • van Dijk
  • Daniels
  • Payet
  • Oscar
  • Roberto Firmino
  • Ozil
  • Aguero
  • Lukaku
  • Cresswell
  • Barkley
  • Afobe

From the Community…


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The Watchlist


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:01pm
Player Club Factors
Up Forster SOT A, Vs
Down Butland STO C, Vs
Up Schmeichel LEI A, Vs
Up Courtois CHE B, Vs
No Change Boruc BOU B, Vs
Up Hennessey CPL C, £
No Change Cech ARS A, VsX
Up Fabianski SWA B
No Change De Gea MUN B
No Change Adrián WHM B


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:08pm
Player Club Factors
Up Fuchs LEI A, Vs, £
Up van Dijk SOT A, Vs
Up Daniels BOU A, Vs, £
Up Dann CPL A
No Change Ivanovic CHE B, Vs
No Change Alderweireld TOT B
No Change Bellerín ARS B, VsX
Up Johnson STO C, Vs
No Change Cresswell WHM B
Up Van Aanholt SUN A
No Change Williams SWA B, £
Up Smalling MUN C
Up Coleman EVE B, Vs
Down Dawson WBA C
Down Moreno LIV C, Vs
Down Kolarov MCI B, Rest, Inj


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:17pm
Player Club Factors
Up Mahrez LEI A, Vs
No Change Payet WHM B, Vs
No Change Dele Alli TOT A, Inj
Up Arnautovic STO C, Vs, Inj
No Change Ozil ARS C, VsX
Up Eriksen TOT A
Up Antonio WHM A, Vs, Rest, £
Up Sigurdsson SWA A, OoP
Down Barkley EVE B, Vs
Down Roberto Firmino LIV A, VsX, OoP
Down Sánchez ARS C, VsX
Up Lingard MUN B, Rest, £
Up Khazri SUN B
Up Oscar CHE B, Vs
No Change Wijnaldum NEW B


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:44pm
Player Club Factors
Up Vardy LEI B, Vs
No Change Kane TOT A
Down Aguero MCI A
Up Diego Costa CHE A, Vs, Inj
Up Rooney MUN A
Down Ighalo WAT C, VsX
Down Lukaku EVE C
Up Afobe BOU A, Vs
No Change Giroud ARS B, VsX, Rest
No Change Defoe SUN A

Selection Factors

A, B, C Current Form
Vs Favourable Fixtures
VsX Unfavourable Fixtures
Rest Rotation Risk
Inj Injured/Returning from Injury
OoP Out of Position
£ Potential Bargain
Sus Suspended/Near Suspension
Player Team YC
Colback NEW 9
Byram WHM 9
Lucas LIV 8
Jones SUN 8
Yacob WBA 8
Westwood AVL 7
Diego Costa CHE 7
Huth LEI 7
Can LIV 7
Mangala MCI 7
Shelvey NEW 7
Pieters STO 7
Dele Alli TOT 7
Dier TOT 7
Noble WHM 7

“All players will blank a few times during the season. When almost all do it in the same Gameweek, it is tough to take, but that's just the dark side of probability.”

Abreu 42 Community regular