With the Premier League season set to get underway, Goal picks the stars who could represent good value in your lineup for the first round of fixtures
The Premier League season returns this weekend and there's no better way of adding some extra interest to the first round of fixtures than by assembling your fantasy football team for the new campaign.
Management game Comunio has launched in time for 2014-15 and it's not too late to sign up and begin building your dream XI.
Comunio is free to play and serious players can add extra features for a small fee - though you will be able to play as a 'Plus Player' for 30 days for free as a welcome gift if you register via Goal.
To help you assemble your team for the weekend, Goal has picked out five players set to shoot up the leaderboards straight away by making an impact in this weekend's opening fixtures.
|Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool (16.910.000)|
With Luis Suarez having left Liverpool and new signings Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana injured, Brendan Rodgers will rely upon Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge for attacking spark when the Reds kick off their campaign at home to Southampton.
The Saints are bedding in several new players and have bolstered their back four only by signing Ryan Bertrand on loan after selling Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw for more than £60 million. Coutinho is the cheapest member of Liverpool’s attacking trio and, at age 22, should improve on his five goals and seven assists in 2013-14 this season.
|Olivier Giroud - Arsenal (14.600.000)|
The arrival of Alexis Sanchez has seen Olivier Giroud’s fantasy football price plummet, but he should continue to play a major role while the Chilean fills in for the injured Theo Walcott on the right wing.
Giroud started last season with four goals in five games in all competitions and, with respect to Crystal Palace, they are the kind of team Arsenal generally have no problem seeing off. The Eagles suffered 2-0 defeats both at Selhurst Park and the Emirates Stadium last season.
|Robert Snodgrass - Hull (5.270.000)|
Bringing in Robert Snodgrass was a typically astute move by Steve Bruce, who lands a player who is entering his prime at 26, is experienced in English football and has consistently created chances in a Norwich team that has not had the firepower to take them.
To put his contributions into context, Snodgrass made 2.2 key passes a game last season - more than David Silva and Wayne Rooney and only slightly less than Mesut Ozil - but was rewarded with only two assists. Nikica Jelavic should make much better use of the service the Scottish winger provides - Bruce also has money to spend to replace Shane Long - and his set-piece prowess will be vital away from home against QPR on Saturday.
|Robert Huth - Stoke (700.000)|
Robert Huth missed a large part of last season with injury but is fit again now and there is no obviously stronger candidate to partner Ryan Shawcross at the heart of Stoke’s back four. Mark Hughes’ side start their season at home to Aston Villa and, with Christian Benteke injured, Paul Lambert’s attacking options look rather limited.
Costing managers considerably less than the likes of Shawcross and Geoff Cameron, Huth is a low risk, high reward buy given Stoke conceded fewer goals at home than any team outside the top five last season.
|Ashley Young - Manchester United (3.330.000)|
There has been no bigger surprise package in pre-season than Ashley Young, who has taken to the wing-back position like he has been playing there his whole career.
Young’s delivery from wide areas has been consistently dangerous during Manchester United’s tour of the United States and he notched two goals in the 3-1 victory over Real Madrid. With the Red Devils starting the season with a winnable game at home to Swansea, the rejuvenated 29-year-old is worth a punt.