Weekend Debuts Round-up

Although it’s been two weeks since transfer deadline day, the international break meant that we had to wait until this weekend to see several end-of-window signings in Premier League action. All in all, 13 players made debuts for their new club this weekend. The best fantasy managers will have had a keen eye on some or all of them, but in case you didn’t keep on top of your scouting assignments, we’ve done some of the work for you.

Everton 3 – 1 Chelsea

Perhaps Chelsea could have used some fresh blood as they fell to the might of Steven Naismith, but there were no new signings on the pitch for Mourinho’s men. Everton used two substitutions in the last 20 minutes to give debuts to Ramiro Funes Mori and Aaron Lennon.

Centre-back Funes Mori came on due to an injury to Seamus Coleman, shifting John Stones out to the right. Although he could see further playing time depending on the extent of Coleman’s injury, the Argentine is definitely a backup and thus poor value at the same price as 5.5m guaranteed starter Stones – especially in the middle of Everton’s difficult run of fixtures.

Having spent the latter half of last season on loan at Goodison Park, Lennon made his first appearance as a permanent Everton player and looked bright. At 6.0m, the winger could be a good differential if he cements a starting role, but teams like Leicester and Norwich are currently offering much higher-scoring options in the same price bracket.

Crystal Palace 0 – 1 Manchester City

After one of the longest transfer sagas and the highest Premier League fee of the summer, all eyes were inevitably on Kevin de Bruyne at Selhurst Park. The Belgian would probably have had a much shorter debut if not for an early injury to Sergio Aguero. Hundreds of thousands of fantasy managers saw their captain limp off after 24 minutes with a solitary point, but had they continued watching through the tears they would have seen a very exciting performance from de Bruyne. The club record signing was only denied his first assist due to a miss from Jesus Navas, the man whose place in the team he is perhaps most likely to take.

Based on Saturday’s showing, de Bruyne will surely be starting within a few weeks, although the risk-averse may wish to wait until he does so before transferring him in. At 10.0m he is the fourth most expensive midfielder available in the game, but could be a cheaper alternative to the currently underperforming Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez.

Norwich 3 – 1 Bournemouth

Matt Jarvis on loan to Norwich was a transfer that slipped past many people’s radars on deadline day, with the winger’s signing heralding little excitement even from fans of his new club. He was however one of only two debutants to score a goal this weekend. Rarely played in his preferred position at parent club West Ham, Jarvis might yet have it in him to replicate the form that earned him an England cap whilst playing for Wolves four seasons ago. At 5.0m, he could at least be worth a bench spot, offering more attacking potential than most midfielders in that bracket.

Norwich also gave a 10-minute debut to another loanee, striker Dieumerci Mbokani. Mbokani’s only notable contribution in that short time frame was a miss. Although recent years have seen him achieve good scoring ratios in the Belgian and Ukranian leagues, Mbokani is so far unproven in bigger leagues, prone to rotation with the much cheaper Cameron Jerome, and surprisingly expensive at 6.0m. Looks like one to avoid unless he nails down a starting role AND hits form.

Bournemouth had one debut in the same match, bringing on former Crystal Palace hero Glenn Murray for the last half hour – which was not enough time for him to help them salvage any points. Although more expensive than Calum Wilson at 6.0m, Murray could be a good differential to his strike partner if he returns to the form that saw him score 7 in Palace’s final 13 games of last season.

West Bromwich Albion 0 – 0 Southampton

Perennial Manchester United backups Anders Lindegaard and Jonny Evans made their way over to The Hawthorns this summer to play for the manager all defensive players dream of playing for: Tony Pulis. At 4.5m, Lindegaard looks set to battle it out with the equally-priced Boaz Myhill until first choice keeper Ben Foster returns from his ACL injury. The Dane only made it to the bench this week, whilst his former United team-mate Evans was thrown straight into the back four following the departure of Joleon Lescott.

Although a Tony Pulis defence always holds fantasy appeal, many managers have been put off by queries over who will start. At 5.0m, Evans looks set to be a first choice defender at West Brom, as well as one of their most solid players and a good candidate for bonus points. He kept a clean sheet on his debut and, although he limped off after 85 minutes, this was reportedly just cramp.

Evans wasn’t the only centre back making his debut in this match. Although Southampton signed Steven Caulker over the summer, they left it til late to find a first choice replacement for last season’s loanee Toby Alderweireld. Having broken the Scottish transfer record with his move from Celtic, Virgil van Dijk was instrumental in Saints matching their opponents’ clean sheet this weekend. Although there are currently cheaper ways into the Southampton back four, the 5.5m Dutchman’s presence could make clean sheets more frequent for the likes of Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares. Maya Yoshida, however, has returned to the bench.

Manchester United 3 – 1 Liverpool

On transfer deadline day, Anthony Martial went from a nearly unheard-of name to the most expensive teenager in football history. Whilst unquestionably a lot of money to pay for potential, comparisons were made between his playing style and that of a young Thierry Henry. Coming on for the last 26 minutes of the Liverpool game, he proceeded to score one of the most Henry-esque goals anyone could have foreseen. Although a regular starting role this season initially looked unlikely, United have been missing something in attack that Martial could provide. Wayne Rooney sat the game out with a hamstring injury, but he has so far disappointed in his role as lone striker. Should the captain drop back into an attacking midfield role with Martial up front, the French teenager could start to look like incredibly good value at 8.0m.

Sunderland 0 – 1 Tottenham

Despite having been rejected by him at the start of last season, Sunderland went back for their one-time loan signing Fabio Borini this summer. Although normally as close as there is to fantasy football poision, the Italian striker was at his best when on loan at the Stadium of Light two seasons ago. Handing a starting spot on his second debut, Borini came close to scoring but was ultimately unable to help his new permanent club from falling to the bottom of the table. At £5.5m, probably best avoided until Sunderland start to find any kind of form.

Spurs, meanwhile, started their £22m signing Son Heung-min. The winger has a good scoring record both in the Bundesliga and internationally for South Korea, which would make him a definite one to watch were he classed as a midfielder in the fantasy game. Unfortunately, he is an 8.0m forward, which means there are better options to be had at the moment – especially as his debut suggested that he needs some time to adapt to both the league and his team-mates.

Leicester 3 – 2 Aston Villa

Neither Aston Villa nor Tim Sherwood have been known for solid defensive displays in recent seasons, but the signing of Joleon Lescott on deadline day was a significant step down that road. His communication with his close friend and former Manchester City team-mate Micah Richards is excellent, and a great foundation for such a talented and experienced centre back partnership. Indeed, Villa managed a clean sheet for the first 72 minutes of the match, only to then concede 3 to a Riyad Mahrez-inspired Leicester. At 5.0m, Lescott is still more costly than the 4.5m Richards, but if they start keeping clean sheets then the older player could become a magnet for bonus points.

As for the home side, Gokhan Inler helped Leicester continue their trend of signing veteran Serie A central midfielders, after Esteban Cambiasso wrote himself into the club’s history books last season. Inler had an unimpressive debut, as his team mounted a magnificent late comeback to which he contributed little. Priced at 5.0m, he was never a high-scoring player in Italy, although he could pop up with some assists if he starts to settle in and Leicester continue their rampage.

Yavi Ganeshamohan is a devoted follower of the Premier League and can never resist a new fantasy football challenge.

Viktor Enoksen

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