Early Returns...

I don't want to steal the Monday Morning Manager's thunder but I had to at least throw out a little bit of post-weekend analysis based on the matches I saw Starting XI style...

1. Ballack - grr. Partially my fault for having scheduled a weekend of introducing my girlfriend to the family (and therefore NOT being on top of the news when he was downgraded) so I got screwed there. Hopefully, he salvages one game out of the week but I'm not holding my breath.

2. Sheva - wow, did he even play. I'm pretty sure 0.00 is not what fantasy managers were looking for.

3. Chelsea in General - with a makeshift (for them) line-up they comfortably picked apart a decent Citeh squad. Lamps looks to be back to his standard Premiership form. Drogba showed that he will benefit from the attention paid to Sheva and Lamps - look for a big season. Nice to see Robben get a run out. Hopefully, it will continue after Ballack, Makelele, and Cole have returned.

4. Arsenal - K2 should have had a hat trick (you know, the one the original nearly got for Pompey). Eboue looks like he's going to be the real deal - Lauren, enjoy the bench. Hoyte isn't quite ready. Whatever the question is, Hleb is not the answer.

5. ManYoo - Wow, talk about answering some questions. Now lets see if they can do it without Rooney for 3 matches.

6. Pompey - I'm still not convinced but at least I'm paying attention.

7. Reading - these guys are going to score, and they're going to stay up. They have too many options for most Premiership teams to contend with. In addition to the guys you probably knew about from last season's run (Kitson, Doyle, Lita, and Sidwell) Convey, Seol, and Shorey are going to make a fantasy impact. Sadly, Seol is listed as a striker. If he were a midfielder, he'd be in the mix immediately.

8. West Ham - If Zamora and Cole are going to provide additional striking options, these guys are going to be tough to beat.

9. Everton - Even minus the clean sheet, Tim Howard showed why he's the keeper to have this season. He's going to have lots of saves and get his share of wins.

10. Henry - Is he going to be ready by next Saturday? He certainly wasn't ready for Villa.

11. Anelka - If he shows up at the Reebok (which sounds likely) I'm going to have to change my opinion of that team. They will immediately be an interesting team to watch (which is something I'm not sure has ever been said about a Sam Allardyce-managed team). Now we can only dream that Mido will follow L'enfant Terrible to Wanderers and form the craziest strikeforce in the history of the Premiership.