Yes, England have made it to the World Cup. Yes the “monkey joke” saga is more tedious than watching back-to-back episodes of Hollyoaks commentated by Michael Owen, but cheer up the Premier League is back!
Which means it’s time for all of us to don our fantasy suit – or fantasy tracktop for those of you who prefer a more Tony Pulisesque approach – and sort out our fantasy teams.
Here’s our four choices for the weekend and remember, under any circumstances, do not try to motivate your team by cracking a joke involving spaceships and monkeys!
1) Asmir Begovic
After a promising start under the man who, according to Harry Redknapp, masterminded QPR relegation, Stoke have returned to the familiar surroundings of the bottom half of the table.
West Brom, on the other hand, have claimed United’s scalp and stopped Arsenal’s Ozil-propelled juggernaut, so why pick Begovic we hear you asking.
Well, to start with the Stoke custodian is ranked seventh among his goalkeeping colleagues in the value for money table, he will only set you back £5.5m and, most importantly, Stoke have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight league games against Albion.
2) Seamus Coleman
Cheaper than Paul Weller and Vespa enthusiast Leighton Baines, Everton’s other full-back (we might have to trademark this) is as reliable as his more illustrious colleague, having scored 34 points in his first seven games.
Everton host fellow European challengers Hull (bet you didn’t expect that, did you?) and have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last eight games at Goodison Park. Overlook Coleman at your peril.
3) Adam Lallana
Alongside Andros Townsend, Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere, Lallana is part of a breed we thought extinct – the English midfielder.
New-found exemplars of this species seem to enjoy roaming around the middle third of the pitch, passing to their team-mates and, shockingly, even getting past their opponents.
Considering that tomorrow Lallana is likely to come up against Anderson – a man oblivious to the aforementioned behaviours – you could do worse than investing £6.0m on the Saints midfielder.
4) Loic Remy
We selected Remy in our fantasy XI two weeks ago and he the gamble paid off handsomely. So handsomely in fact, that the Newcastle striker gets the nod again, particularly as his £7.7m price-tag is more inviting than some of his more expensive colleagues.
Newcastle-Liverpool hasn’t finished 0-0 since 1974, so expect plenty of goals at St James’ Park and given that Alan Pardew’s team is as reliant on Remy as a car is on fuel, the Frenchman could be on target again tomorrow.