After a surprising yet entertaining opening weekend to the Premier League season, we’re back with our Gameweek 2 Fantasy Preview. We hope you drafted in the likes of Ivanovic, Michu, and/or Torres last week. They delivered the goods. Who will perform this weekend? Let’s jump right in and see.
I. Manchester City @ Liverpool: A 10-man Liverpool side conceded 3 goals at West Brom, while Manchester City conceded 2 at home to Southampton. Will Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Mancini have had enough time to fix their porous back lines in one week or will we see more goals on display this Sunday?
International rivals Luis Suarez [9.5m, Uruguay] and Carlos Tevez [9.2m, Argentina] are your most likely goalscorers, so you could do much worse than drafting in one of those two star strikers. Tevez is the guaranteed first choice option at Manchester City of course with Sergio Aguero out of action for about a month with a knee injury.
At the back, it’s tough to predict. You won’t find a much better goalkeeping matchup in the Premier League than HART vs REINA, so if the score surprises and the match is a 0-0 or 1-0, you’ll know that one or both of those men has had one of their typical extraordinary performances.
Gerrard [9.5m] and Allen [5.5m - cheap as chips] are your long term Liverpool midfield options, though this week doesn’t seem like the week to go out and acquire either one. For Manchester City, keep faith with Toure [8m], Silva [10m], or Nasri [8.5m] – all of whom have the attacking capability to unlock even Liverpool at Anfield.
Manchester City are the champions, and with the heat already on new manager Brendan Rodgers, I don’t like Liverpool’s prospects in this one. Perhaps a draw is what they should hope for, even at home, but I’ll take Mancini’s men on the road.
Prediction: 1-2 Manchester City win
II. Fulham @ Manchester United: This is a bit of a strange selection on form as Fulham not only have been a tough side for Manchester United to beat in recent seasons but they’ve also just won 5-0 against Norwich while Manchester United have lost 0-1 at Everton.
That said, Manchester United don’t lose two games in a row very often. RVP [13m] should start alongside Wayne Rooney [12m] and Kigawa [8.5m] should pull the strings from midfield. All three are FPL studs. Norwich couldn’t create an attack at Craven Cottage, but Fulham’s back four hasn’t seen an attack like this yet this season, and they’ll have a hard time coming to grips with the likes of RVP and Rooney.
At the back, David de Gea was a bright spot in the Everton game. At 6m, he’s reasonably priced, and a sound short term and long term selection.
Prediction: 3-1 Manchester United
III. Studs & Duds: Graham and Michu of Swansea are your cheap studs at home to West Ham. I like Dyer but he’s not a big goalscorer despite his opening weekend brace, he’s more of an assist man, so Graham and Michu are the long term and short term stud selections.
Tottenham players are studs despite West Brom’s obvious confidence after the win against Liverpool so Gareth Bale and Adebayor [if he starts] are studs. Jermain Defoe could get the start again but his days as a cheap stud are numbered – he’s a dud soon.
I like Sunderland to score at home to Reading. So James McClean is a midfield stud. He picked up all 3 fantasy bonus points at Arsenal in a solid performance – without registering a goal or an assist. Campbell and Saha are not quite as nailed on studs, as their playing time isn’t guaranteed, but if either start – at 5.5m you can’t really go wrong.
Chelsea are studs against Newcastle – who were held to a Europa League draw in Athens and may suffer from tired legs at Stamford Bridge this weekend. Hazard and Torres are studs. Lampard and Mata slightly less, as from the run of play they have not been in as advanced positions. Frank Lampard surely won’t receive a penalty every week, will he?
I’m not sure what to make of Aston Villa and Everton – so these players are on the stud/dud fence. The trio of Ireland, N’Zogbia and Bent are all affordable and at home, could be studs, but Everton looked superb against Manchester United so proceed with caution. N’Zogbia and Ireland are so cheap that it’s not a massive risk, and Bent is on penalties, so you could do way worse. Fellaini, Pienaar and Jelavic are the similarly priced counterparts who are on the stud/dud fence this week.
Newcastle players are duds despite the 2-1 win against Tottenham. I know Stoke are playing at home – and it’s a tough place to play, but they are duds for me this week. Sorry Crouch, Walters, Huth, and Shawcross fans. Arsenal are studs – and I think Santi Cazorla will show his class to inspire an away win.
Both Norwich and QPR lost 5-0 last week – big time duds – but this week I expect both teams to score. Cisse / Taarabt are the QPR players to have while Grant Holt is Norwich’s best bet. They’re cheap, so you could do worse than taking a risk on any of those three.
IV. Gameweek 2 Best Eleven:
GK: De Gea
D: O’Shea – Vertonghen – Ivanovic
M: Michu – Bale – Hazard – Cazorla – McClean
F: Rooney – Bent
Subs: Mignolet – Graham – Clyne – Baker