Welcome back all! We have two weeks down in the books, and I’ve provided some insight below into what I saw from a handful players, for better or for worse. Although I wish I could write about every player, remember that while we would to amass all of the players in the Fantasy Premier League universe, we are obligated to field a starting XI from your fifteen-man squad within the constraints of our budget. Hopefully some of these players below will at least be on your radar as you move forward with transfers and potential Wild Cards.
Speaking of Wild Cards, while I am by no means an expert, my suggestion would be to at least wait until the end of the transfer window to see how the Premier League sides look come September. Furthermore, we will have an early taste of both Champions League and an international break which should allow us to get some minor feel as to how managers plan to rotate their players. Basically, don’t blow up the squad yet, unless your team is complete and utter garbage, in which case we can think up some more appropriate names for your team in order to rebrand your squad. Anyway, here’s my two cents from Gameweek 2:
Away: Manchester United (4) – Home: Swansea (0)
Paul Pogba, MF (£8.1): 15 pts, 1 goal, 2 assists, 1 CS, 2 BP – Completely involved in every critical moment of the match – United’s first goal at the end of the first half came from a corner he won for the team, and moments later it was Pogba again that connected for a beautiful header in the box. His effort was denied by Łukasz Fabiański and then subsequently cherry-picked by Bailly to open up scoring. Later, Pogba’s goal came from directly intercepting the ball on his own side of the half, which he promptly gave to Mhikitaryan to bring up the field and sprinted into the open space behind the defender to clinically chip home the third goal of the match. Pogba is playing like a monster, and at £8.1m, he is the player I’m most likely bringing in to save money and replace Kevin De Bruyne.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, MF (£8.2): 10 pts, 2 assists, 1 CS, 1 BP – Mkhi earned Man of the Match through 2 assists, 4 key passes, 12 chances created and 90% passing accuracy. The Armenian should so plenty more chances to add to his growing assist tally (4 in 2 matches, along with 2 clean sheets!), and is the key cog to unleashing this fearsome United counter-attack. His price has already climbed to £8.2m, so I would hop on that bandwagon now while United’s fixtures remain easy.
United Defense – 2 Clean Sheets in 2 matches for De Gea (£5.5), Valencia (£6.5), Bailly (£6.0), Jones (£5.0), Blind (£5.5). So far, there has been no rotation for the Manchester United defense, although that may certainly change when the group stage of Champions League begins on September 12th. While I personally might make the move the move for Pogba this week and have 3 attacking players from United, it will come at the cost of missing out on many potential clean sheets over their next 5 relatively easy fixtures – Home to Leicester, Away to Stoke, Home to Everton, Away to Southampton, Home to Crystal Palace. For those of you looking to divert your Kyle Walker money elsewhere, I highly recommend buying into this defense. Remember that just because Bailly cherry-picked a goal this week doesn’t mean that he is their biggest attacking threat out of the backfield, as they all could score at any moment. Jones and Blind are nailed down as starters in the early going and could be a great place to save cash while investing into the most solid defense through two weeks.
“Away:” Chelsea (2) – “Home:” Spurs (1)
Marcos Alonso, DEF (£7.0): 16 pts, 2 goals, 3 BP 1 yellow card – Man, his free kick, as well as his glamorous hairdo, were absolute stunners and couldn’t have come at a better moment for the Blues. After being shocked at home in their home opener, the opening goal in their “away” match at Wembley served as a reminder to not take the defending champs lightly. Alonso’s second goal, however, was a fantastic sequence of defense spurred by David Luiz’s winning the ball from Wanyama, and Alonso streaking down the left and driving home a shot that Hugo Lloris probably could have deflected had he opted for a kick save. I regretted not bringing him in earlier last season, and while his 7.0m price tag may be off-putting to some, you are really being afforded the opportunity to start the equivalent of a 3rd or 4th MF in one of your DEF slots who will take set pieces, earn cleansheets.
Christian Eriksen, MF (£9.5): 7 pts, 1 assist, 2 BP – Eriksen sets the pace for the entire Spurs attack, and I honestly thought they looked destined to score a goal or two behind his strong effort all match. That being said, his 1 assist came off one hell of a free kick that was accidentally banged home by Chelsea sub Batshuayi, whose first touch after entering the match was an interception and sublime header that sent Eriksen’s free-kick past Courtois and into his own goal. Eriksen has looked absolutely dangerous in both matches, and I think he is a safer bet to be involved in all of Spurs’ goals this season – when Harry Kane awakens from his August slumber, Eriksen will be the one setting him up for goals.
Away: Watford (2) – Home: Bournemouth (0)
Richarlison, MF (£6.0): 11pts, 1 goal, 1 CS, 3 BP – Brought in by new Watford manager Marco Silva from Fluminense for £11.2 million, Richarlison, the U-20 Brazilian national, has shown his talent without having yet played a full 90 minutes under Silva. His goal came on a complete hustle play, as he had his first attempt blocked and then kicked it in from his backside past Adam Smith and Bournemouth keeper Asmir Begovic. Earlier in the match, he made the same Bournemouth Defender look pretty silly after putting the ball over the Smith’s head and then immediately nutmegging him after. I’m not sure how to post video files yet, but just check it out here: Richarlison Nutmegging Smith. Watford’s GW 3 and 6 fixtures are the only appealing ones of their next 4: Home to Brighton, Away to Southampton, Home to Man City, Away to Swansea, but he could easily net another goal or two as he becomes more comfortable with his new surroundings. Manager Marco Silva says Richarlison does not yet speak word of English; fortunately for him and grammar nerds like me, Gol and Goal are in fact cognates.
Nathaniel Chalobah, MF (£4.5): 2 pts, 1 CS, 1 yellow card – One of Silva’s other new signings, Chalobah actually had 3 great chances to score and missed all of them. While I am not here to praise how efficient he was in blowing his big shots, he has played all 90 minutes in both matches and is constantly on the attack for the Hornets. At the sneaky £4.5m 5th MF price point, we want someone that is going to play all 90 minutes, making Chalobah a great option if you need someone cheap to help you afford more expensive players on your team.
Josh King, FWD (£7.4): 2 pts, blanked – The good news has been to see King start and play all 90 minutes in both matches. The bad news is that he is blanked in both matches. Afobe rooneyhas also started both matches, with Defoe coming in for him in the 2nd half – avoid them at all cost! Bournemouth look to be really struggling, and as someone who started this FPL season with King on my side, I already jumped ship after their disappointing GW 1 loss to West Brom. I think King will be the best scoring option in their attack, but he’s already dropped .1 in value and will probably continue to come down as managers move to similarly priced FWDS like Chicharito, Gabbiadini and Rooney. Until they find themselves on the pitch, stay way.
Away: West Ham (2) – Home: Southampton (3)
Chicharito, FWD (£7.1): 13 pts, 2 goals, 3 BP – The little green pea bagged two goals off rebounds, epitomizing what he’s always been best known for: goal poaching. Both of his finishes were sublime reactions to saves by Southampton keeper Fraser Forster, seemingly by himself and unmarked in the perfect posisition for both repounds. The man has an uncanny talent for scoring, and both goals came as West Ham played with 10 men after Marko Arnautovic’s idiotic explusion in the 33rd minute for elbowing Jack Stephens directly in the face. Chicharito should have plenty of opportunities spearheading the attack, and will likely continue to rise in price as the week moves on. He’s my top forward buy in the £7-8m price point, as the Hammers now play away to Newcastle, Home to Huddersfield and away to West Brom.
Michail Antonio, MF (£7.5): 5 pts, 1 assist – In his first start of the season, he only played 67 minutes due to his recent return to fitness, but sneaked by Romeu and blasted a left-footed shot hard and low that Forster could only deflect to the waiting feet of our little green pea, who nailed it home. Antonio will more than likely play all 90 minutes next match with Arnautovic suspended, and as they expect Manuel Lanzini to return to fitness soon, he could find himself involved in a very lethal scoring relationship between himself, Chicharito and Lanzini. I already thought about naming them ACL but will avoid doing so for entirely superstitious reasons.
Gabbiadini, FWD (£7.0): 7 pts, 1 goal,1 BP – Manolo Gabbiadini opened scoring with a low, curling shot from left side, and later put a screamer off the crossbar. He was eventually subbed for Charlie Austin, but looked active in the Southampton attack and should benefit a higher level of possession from his team’s usually stalwart defense on the other side.
Charlie Austin, FWD (£6.4): 7 pts, 1 goal (penalty), 2 BP – Austin subbed in for Gabbiadini in the 80th minute and banged home a gut-wrenching penalty in stoppage time to end the Hammers comeback hopes. I only brought it up because Tadic took one earlier in the game and I found it curious they switched later.
Dusan Tadic, MF (£6.5): 6 pts, 1 goal (penalty), 1 yellow card – Tadic plays all 90 minutes on the right wing, hits a penalty, but yet no bonus points. Austin comes in for 10 minutes, scores a game winning penalty, and nets 2 BP. I don’t get it one bit, but the important thing is that Tadic for once produced a result instead of just a lot of spectacular plays with no final finish…oh wait, he actually put the penalty off of Joe Hart’s foot, barely sneaking it in…honestly he is still hard for me to trust, so I will wait and see. Ward-Prowse, a popular cheap MF pick, came in off the bench in the 65th minute for Mario Lemina and probably isn’t worth the roster spot if he’s not getting regular starters minutes.