GSC 2015/16 previews: Tottenham Hotspur

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Here’s Tottenham’s preview. They’ve finished between 4th and 6th for each of the last six seasons and it would be a surprise to see them finish outside of those places this time.

Providing this preview is Sean Leahy, who also designed some of the website. So I definitely owe him a beer or two.

 

Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Name: Sean Leahy
Twitter: @seanrleahy
GSC player since: 2011/12
Best GSC performance: 4th in Euro 2012 edition, highest hat-trick picker in GSC history (6)
First-choice line-up: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason; Eriksen, Chadli, Lamela; Kane (of the current squad), but I’m hoping Pritchard and Alli get a good run-out this season.

Predicted finishing position: Forever 5th.

Predicted top scorer: Harry Kane. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Tottenham Hotspur”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Swansea

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Next up are Swansea, who keep defying expectations and showing impressive stability among a number of managerial changes. They lost Wilfried Bony last year and somehow it didn’t seem to affect them; they’ll probably do well this season too.

Club: Swansea
Name: Paul Blackaby
Twitter: @BlackabyPaul
GSC player since: 2014/15
Best GSC performance: 13 goals in 2014/15, 287th position

First-choice line-up: Always tricky in pre-season without knowing how well the new signings will fit into the team but I’d go with:
Fabianski; Tabanou, Fernandez, Williams, Naughton; Ki, Montero, Cork; Sigurdsson, Ayew; Gomis

Predicted finishing position: Should be top half, probably 7th.  If the signings pay off then 6th is not beyond the realms of possibility. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Swansea”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Sunderland

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Time for Sunderland now. Having just about escaped relegation in successive seasons they’ll be hoping to carry over their good form from the end of last season.

Rob Lynch did this one – he generally picks more Sunderland players than everyone else put together so he’s the ideal man for this preview.

Club: Sunderland
Name: Rob Lynch
Twitter: @TheRobLynch
GSC player since: 2013/14
Best GSC performance: 9 goals in 2013/14

First-choice line-up: Pantilimon; Van Aanholt, Kaboul, Coates, Jones; Cattermole, Larsson, Giaccherini; Wickham, Fletcher, Defoe.

Predicted finishing position: 13th. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Sunderland”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Stoke City

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Now it’s time for Stoke, who are steadily turning into a pretty good side thanks to their policy of mainly targeting players who are good on Football Manager.

This is the only preview written by someone not on twitter so no real chance to abuse Matt for his opinions I’m afraid.

Club: Stoke
Name: Matt Smith
Twitter: N/A
GSC player since: N/A
Best GSC performance: N/A

First-choice line-up: Begovic; Johnson, Muniesa, Shawcross, Pieters; van Ginkel, Whelan; Diouf, Bojan, Arnautovic; Joselu. Expect to see a new right winger arrive.

Predicted finishing position: Top 10 again hopefully. Lets go with 9th again. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Stoke City”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Southampton

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After surprising everyone for the last two seasons, can Southampton keep selling their most valuable assets and improving? Schneiderlin and Clyne are the latest to roll off the conveyor belt; it will be interesting to see if Clasie and Cédric slot straight in. Caulker came in yesterday so may usurp Yoshida from the predicted line-up below (not that you’re going to pick either of them).

 

Club: Southampton
Name:
 Dan Bratton
Twitter: @danbratton
GSC player since: 2015/16
Best GSC performance: newbie

First-choice line-up: Stekelenburg; Cedric, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand; Clasie, Wanyama, Rodriguez, Tadic, Ward-Prowse; Pelle.

Predicted finishing position: 5th at best. Happy with top 8 considering we may have those tough Europa league games. If we do qualify it will be interesting to see how Koeman uses squad rotation. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Southampton”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Norwich City

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Norwich came straight back up after relegation in 2012/13 and haven’t bought many new players. Either it’s good to have a settled team or they’ll struggle for quality. They have signed Robbie Brady since this was written though.

This one’s been written by Simon Lloyd, a GSC player from the first season who, with an impressive 108 goals over 6 competitions, is top of the GSC Ultimate Leaderboard.

Club: Norwich City
Name: Simon Lloyd
Twitter: @orsettyellow
GSC player since: 2011/12
Best GSC performance: 29 goals in 2014 WC, 9th position or 10 goals in Euro 2012, 7th position. 19 Premier League goals in 2014/15 was only good enough for 86th, I’m a big tournament player!

First-choice line-up: Norwich have only signed two new players so far (Dorrans and Mulumbu, both ex WBA). The line up from the play-off final was:
Ruddy; Whitaker, Olsson, Martin, Bassong; Tettey, Howson, Johnson; Redmond, Hoolahan; Jerome.

Predicted finishing position: 15th. What I hear you cry! This feels very similar to when Norwich went up under another Scottish manager (Paul Lambert) and were never in danger of going down. Alex Neil has brought the feel-good factor back to Carrow Road. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Norwich City”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Newcastle United

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Newcastle now. Schteve McClaren is in as manager but surely he can’t do as well as the best coach in the Premier League, John Carver?

Thanks to Ryan for this preview. He hasn’t played the game before this season but seems to get the idea.

Club: Newcastle
Name: Ryan Penty
Twitter: @ryanpenty
GSC player since: 2015/16
Best GSC performance: N/A

First-choice line-up: Krul; Janmaat, Coloccini, Mbemba (TBC – looks imminent), Haidara; Wijnaldum, Colback, Cabella, Sissoko; De Jong; Mitrovic. Toss up between Mitrovic and Cisse for who will be first choice striker at the start of the season.

Predicted finishing position: You literally never know with Newcastle, let’s go with an optimistic 8th.

Predicted top scorer:
Depends if Mitrovic hits the ground running or if Cisse stays fit. Will surely be between those two though. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Newcastle United”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Manchester United

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Next up are Manchester United and we’re halfway through the previews. No new centre-back and no top class back-up for Rooney but for the first time in years they’ve actually got a proper midfield.

Thanks to Jono for this one. As with all of the previews, it’s well thought out and not too biased. Maybe I should have asked people to be more controversial?

Club: Man Utd
Name: Jono Yates
Twitter: @jonoblitz
GSC player since: 2013/14
Best GSC performance: 13 goals in 2014/15

First-choice line-up: Romero; Darmian, Rojo, Jones, Shaw; Blind, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin; Mata, Depay, Rooney.

Predicted finishing position:
 2nd.

Predicted top scorer:
 With Rooney finally playing in his preferred role of out-and-out striker, and all the creativity behind him, I expect him to bag 20-25 this season. If Depay hits the ground running, he’ll be explosive too.

Main penalty taker:
 With RVP gone, Rooney should be back on penalty duty.

Main direct free-kick taker:
Depay scored some absolute screamers in the Dutch league last year, but Rooney and Schneiderlin are both very handy depending on the position.

The best fixture to pick a United player:
 Villa always roll over when they come to Old Trafford. The smaller teams will set up in a way that’s frustrating and hard to break down, but Sherwood is off his tits so will probably set up to attack, leaving them very vulnerable at the back.

A United youngster you might want to pick:
 This will be James Wilson’s breakout season. He had a few chances this year, and was even picked above a misfiring Falcao on several occasions. With striking options limited to him and Rooney, unless Ed Woodward conjures a forward from thin air, then he’ll be a good shout. (Hernández is still there too for now! – Will)

A United player to pick for international gameweek: 
Valencia is deployed in a very attacking role for Ecuador, as opposed to his newly adopted right wing back role for United. I’d never pick him for a normal gameweek, especially with competition from Darmian for that position, but he could do some damage in an international.

General GSC tip for new players:
Don’t spunk all the big players right away. Wait for them to find their feet and form. I used Suárez a few years ago early and he drew a blank, only to smash 4 past Norwich. Plan ahead and don’t panic!

Anything else:
 Look at form. Newcastle went on a horrible run last year towards the end of the season, so picking a player who was playing them that week was almost a guaranteed goal. Also, just because Aguero is playing Watford, don’t count on him to score a hat-trick. The way the Premier League is now, the small teams are incredibly hard to break down. City v Spurs is more likely to be a 6 goal thriller than a boring 1-0 at Watford. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Manchester United”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Manchester City

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Last season Man City struggled to show any real consistency in their defence of the title and have responded by spending big money on Raheem Sterling. Will he be the catalyst for another title push?

Season-ticket holder Tom Pennington has the honour of supplying this one.

Club: Manchester City
Name: Tom Pennington
Twitter: @pennington84
GSC player since: 2011/12
Best GSC performance: 19 goals in 2011/12 – 12th position

First-choice line-up: Will go with what we have so far but quietly hopeful of a couple more big names sneaking in this transfer window… and a few out. Would go 4-3-3:
Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy; Fernandinho & Delph sitting with Yaya just ahead; Sterling, Silva, Aguero

Predicted finishing position: Still can’t believe it but the last 4 seasons we have finished 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd so the pattern suggests……
Would be happy mounting a more convincing challenge on all fronts after a disappointing second season for Pellegrini but the old city fan inside me still celebrates reaching 40 points. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Manchester City”

GSC 2015/16 previews: Liverpool

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Our 8th preview is for Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers is under a bit of pressure and needs his new signings to perform. Last season’s underperformance is shown in their GSC figures – no Liverpool player features in the top 20 GSC scorers last season and in Mario Balotelli, they have the player to be picked the most times (304) without scoring.

Thanks to Mike for this one – he went first and it was this one that all the others used as a template so it needed to be good. Well, good might be pushing it. It’s not terrible.

Club: Liverpool
Name: Mike Hemsley
Twitter: @mikejhemsley
GSC player since: 2011/12
Best GSC performance: 20 goals in 2012/13, 20th position

Club: Liverpool

First-choice line-up: I don’t know! So many untested combinations in midfield and up front ahead of the new season. Let’s go with only currently fit players:
Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Gomez; Lucas (or Can), Henderson, Milner; Coutinho, Benteke, Lallana

Predicted finishing position: 4th at best. Probably end up 5th. Continue reading “GSC 2015/16 previews: Liverpool”