Gameweek 2 - The Review

H17 2017-08-23 Others

Following up from a goal-filled Gameweek 1, we saw more goals and action in Gameweek 2. I recall this week’s events through a Fantasy perspective.
*Swansea 0-4 Man Utd*
The gameweek began with Manchester United outclassing Swansea 4-0 with a virtuoso performance. My top captain pick for the week, Romelu Lukaku (£11.6m) got amongst the goals again. Eric Bailly (£6.0m), Paul Pogba (£8.1m) and Anthony Martial (£8.0m) also got on the scoresheet. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£8.2m) and Pogba grabbed 2 assists apiece Lukaku has further emboldened his status as a Fantasy must-have. He’s in 54.2% of all teams, has scored 3 in 2 and has an excellent run of fixtures coming up. If you still don’t have him in your team, what are you doing?
I've owned Mkhitaryan from the start. And so far, he’s repaid my faith and then some, with 4 assists in 2 games. With slim pickings in the bracket, he’s still one of the outstanding choices. With LEI (H), STK (A), EVE (H), SOT (A) and CRY (H) in United’s next 5, it’s not too late to jump on him. Paul Pogba too, followed up a goal in the opener against West Ham with a goal and 2 assists. Pogba is another choice in the bracket, though my personal pick is still the Armenian. Mkhitaryan plays further forward and does also take some of the set-pieces, which adds more to his appeal.
United kept a second clean sheet in a row and there will be more to come. Phil Jones (£5.0m) is one of the Portuguese’s favorites, and looks to have locked down a spot. He represents phenomenal value for money till the time he inevitably gets injured. The Englishman should certainly near the top of your defensive watchlists.
As for the Swans, a decent first half defensive effort was let down in the second half. Being part of a defensive rotation, the likes of Lukasz Fabianski and Kyle Naughton should do well in the future. Swansea have CRY (A), NEW (H), TOT (A), WAT (H) and WHU (A) in their next 5.
*Bournemouth 0-2 Watford*
Bournemouth endured a frustrating home debut to the season, with a 2-0 defeat to Watford. Richarlison and Etienne Capoue scored, while Andre Gray bagged an assist. It was a disappointing result for people who owned Asmir Begovic (£4.5m), Charlie Daniels (£5.0m) and Nathan Ake (£5.0m). Bournemouth have not looked impressive in either of their first two games thus far and it may be time to avoid their players until their form picks up. This is especially as the South Coast club take on Man City and Arsenal in their next two games.
For Watford though, it was a different story. This follows a 3-3 draw to Liverpool. Richarlison (£6.0m) supplemented an assist in the first game with a goal in this one. With 0.4% ownership, he could prove to be just the ultimate differential with attractive fixtures up ahead if you’re feeling punty. Andre Gray (£6.5m), who got an assist in his first game in Watford colors, could also be a good budget pick-up. Watford’s next five fixtures are BHA (H), SOT (A), MCI (H), SWA (A) and WBA (A).
*Burnley 0-1 West Brom**
Again – West Brom did what West Brom do best – eke out a 1-0 win. In a dour encounter at the Turf Moor, Hal Robson-Kanu’s winner saved what looked like a certain goalless stalemate.This again strengthens what we already knew – invest in the West Brom defense who have picked up 2 clean sheets, divest in their attack. Ahmed Hegazi (£4.7m) followed up his 15-point haul at the Hawthorns last Gameweek with an 8-pointer here, picking up 2 bonus points. Even though Hegazi has seen large investment in the last two Gameweeks, I would still advise to stay clear. Gareth McAuley could be back soon, which means the giant Egyptian’s place could be in danger. Craig Dawson (£5.0m) is safer if you really want a Baggies defender.
As far as Burnley are concerned, it was a disappointing show from them. They struggled going forward, even though they were okay in defense. Sam Vokes (£6.0m) and one of their £4.5m defenders, as part of a defensive rotation, are the only Fantasy options to consider.
*Leicester 2-0 Brighton*
2015/16 champions Leicester beat newly promoted Brighton 2-0, with goals from Shinji Okazaki and Harry Maguire (£5.0m). Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) bagged both the assists. Mahrez showed glimpses of his silky best. Even though he submitted a transfer request earlier this month, it looks as if that has not affected his output on the field. If he does stay at the King Power Stadium, Mahrez is definitely one to consider GW4 onwards if he keeps this form up. Maguire can be an excellent acquisition, after GW4. The English defender backed up his goal threat with a 15-point haul. Leicester face Man Utd and Chelsea in their next two fixtures.
For Brighton, it was again a step too far, as they faced another ex-champion in their bow into the top flight. Until Anthony Knockaert (£6.0m) displays form, it may be worth staying away from their options. However, with good fixtures, their defenders may be good value for money at £4.5m for the home games.
*Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace*
Liverpool notched their first win of the season against Crystal Palace, with my second choice for captaincy, Sadio Mane (£9.5m) getting on the scoresheet. The Reds rested a lot of key player with a view to their Champions League qualifier this mid-week. This was much to the chagrin of Fantasy managers, a lot of whom invested in Mohamed Salah. Mane is a big-game player, and even with mixed fixtures ahead, I’d advise getting him in if you need a premium midfield pick. This fixture has confirmed that Klopp does have a view on Europe as well. This could lead to more rotation down the line, and perhaps no Liverpool assets are safe from this bar Mane and Roberto Firmino (£8.5m).
For Crystal Palace, this was a much improved defensive show after losing 3-0 to home against minnows Huddersfield. They only had one big chance which was scuffed by Christian Benteke. With good fixtures up ahead, Timothy Fosu-Mensah (£4.5m) could be a good pickup in defense for a budget option. Their attackers are probably best left untouched for now.
*Southampton 3-2 West Ham*
In a thriller at the St. Mary’s, Southampton shed their goal-shy tag to beat 10-man West Ham. Manolo Gabbiadini (£7.0m), Dusan Tadic (£6.5m) and Charlie Austin netted for the Saints, while Chicharito (£7.1m) notched a brace. Maya Yoshida, Steven Davis and Nathan Redmond were amongst the assists for the South Coast club, while Michail Antonio (£7.5m) and Diafra Sakho did so for the Hammers. Gabbiadini and Chicharito have shown offer two of the best options in the mid-priced striker bracket, with attractive fixtures up ahead.
Southampton’s next 4 fixtures are HUD (A), WAT (H), CRY (A), MUN (H). West Ham take on NEW (A), HUD (H), WBA (A), TOT (H). With this in mind, another enticing option in midfield is Antonio. The versatile midfielder got an assist on his return from injury. He has shown last season how fearsome his heading ability is, and he may be the best option in the sub £7.5m bracket currently. The West Ham defense again was poor, and you should stay away from them with a barge pole. The Southampton defense, however, was let down by their goalkeeper Fraser Forster, whose parries were taken advantage of. Keep them if you have them.
*Stoke 1-0 Arsenal*
In Saturday’s late kick-off, Arsene Wenger’s problems were compounded as Arsenal slumped to a defeat at Stoke. Jese Rodriguez (£6.0m) netted on his Potters debut, assisted by Saido Berahino. Jese has seen some investment due to his attractive price tag, but I would recommend staying clear. Stoke’s next 4 fixtures are WBA (A), MUN (H), NEW (A) and CHE (H), mixed at best. Even though their defense kept a clean sheet too, I would advise staying clear, with none of them representing value at £5.0m+. Geoff Cameron is the only option at £4.5m and he could be replaced by Bruno Martins Indi in defense.
As for Arsenal, this game showed why you should stay clear of them for now. The only one worthy of an exception is Alexandre Lacazette (£10.5m), who had a goal unfairly ruled offside. Their defense showed cracks again, and it is wise staying away from them. Granit Xhaka (£5.6m) had a lot of investment in him last week, but as I pointed out in my GW1 roundup, it was a bandwagon destined to fail. Mesut Ozil has also not shown any signs of his best yet. Perhaps only the return of Alexis Sanchez can galvanize this Arsenal side.
*Huddersfield 1-0 Newcastle*
Huddersfield’s dream start to the Premier League continued with a 1-0 win over Newcastle. Aaron Mooy (£5.5m) scored with a sumptuous finish, with Elias Kachunga assisting. The Australian is definitely a budget pick to consider. He assisted last week at the Selhurst Park and also takes numerous set-pieces, bolstering his appeal in as the prime pick in the <£6.0m segment. Huddersfield defenders also kept their second consecutive clean sheet. At £4.5m, they also represent good value for money in a rotation pairing.
As for Newcastle, it was another frustrating day out. Matt Ritchie (£6.0m) came very close to scoring with a delicious first-time chip, but was prevented by Jonas Lossl. Ritchie may have failed twice in a row, but with attractive fixtures up ahead, I’d bare more patience with him if you have him. Chancel Mbemba (£4.0m) could be the cheapest short term defense option. With Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune out long term, the Congolese could have a run in the Newcastle rearguard if they don’t sign any other centre-backs.
*Spurs 1-2 Chelsea*
In the headline clash of the week, a depleted Chelsea emerged victors against Spurs. Marcos Alonso (£7.0m) scored twice, with David Luiz (£6.0m) and Pedro assisting. For Spurs, Christian Eriksen (£9.5m) assisted Michy Batshuayi’s own goal. Alonso racked up a massive 17-pointer with his brace, and showed his goalscoring abilities as a defender are par none. Alonso is definitely someone you should eye when Chelsea’s fixtures ease up. David Luiz, at £1.0m cheaper, is another alternative. On Sunday, he added an assist to his goal against Burnley. Chelsea’s attacking options, however, are better left ignored until Eden Hazard returns.
For Spurs, Harry Kane (£12.5m), the most expensive player in the game, returned 1 point again. But I would advise to not lose patience with him yet. His next fixture is Burnley at home, where he’s a prominent captain choice. . Once again, Kane hit the woodwork with a well taken shot in the first half. He was perhaps unlucky not to score, just like against Newcastle. His frustration should come out in the form of goals against Burnley. Another notable point was the return of Kieran Trippier (£5.4m). The right-back represents magnificent value, at a cut-price route into the league’s best defense. Trippier also took corners yesterday, aiding his prospects. He is generally very attacking too, and will soon be a must-have. Get him in.
*Man City 1-1 Everton*
Manchester City rescued a point against Everton, but not before Kyle Walker was controversially sent off. Raheem Sterling came off the bench to score for the Mancunians, while Wayne Rooney continued his fairytale return to Everton with another goal. Dominic Calvert-Lewin assisted Rooney. For City, this match reinforces the belief that their defense still has cracks despite the large spending. It might not be worth investing in an expensive defense in FPL for whom clean sheets will come scarcely. Their attack, too, threw up many talking points.
Kevin de Bruyne (£10.0m) again was in a restrained role, and failed to make things happen. At the moment, he represents very poor value. Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) also had a wayward outing was hooked at halftime. Aguero himself was poor, and scuffed a couple of chances you’d expect him to bury. But one positive sign was that he was at least in the right positions. Man City take on Bournemouth in their next encounter, and I would expect whoever starts up top for City to be in the goals.
For Everton, Wayne Rooney (£7.5m) made it two in two. I’m still not convinced by Rooney as a Fantasy option, as much as I love him otherwise. He looked very anonymous barring the goal, Everton’s next 3 fixtures are CHE (A), TOT (H) and MUN (A). As a result, it’s probably worth avoiding their prospects for a while. One to keep an eye on is Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.0m). The young forward has 2 assists in the 2 goals. If Ronald Koeman keeps him in favour, he will be a brilliant pick post GW5.
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