The transfer deadline is approaching [more on that in further articles in the coming days] but for now, let’s keep focused on gameweek 3 of the Fantasy Premier League and jump straight into our preview.
I. Arsenal @ Liverpool: Perhaps we’ll see a few more transfers in and out before the gameweek deadline closes, but it is highly unlikely that the new signings will feature for their new clubs this weekend – they just won’t be registered in time.
Liverpool will be high on confidence after going toe-to-toe with Premier League champions Manchester City at Anfield last weekend, whilst Arsenal will be looking for their first goal scored of the season after two bore 0-0 draws.
Something has to give. Liverpool have suffered a blow with the injury to Lucas this week but new signings Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin will do their best to fill the gaps. One player who may not feature prominently, and certainly isn’t a Fantasy Premier League option at this point, but has impressed me in spells in “real life” this pre-season and early into this year has been Jonjo Shelvey. He held up well against Manchester City, but despite the cheap 5.4M FPL pricetag, he’s not a long term solution.
Raheem Sterling is just 4.5M in the FPL and classified as a midfielder, if he continues to earn regular starts, he could be the bargain buy of the season. Again, it’s a bit early, but he has significant upside should he keep his place.
Suarez and Gerrard, as usual, are the FPL selections for Liverpool. Both are 9.5m.
Arsenal are clearly missing RVP but Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski will need to start scoring, ASAP, for Arsene Wenger’s men to shine. It will be interesting to see if Arsenal come out and try to keep the ball with Cazorla and Arteta and get their passing game going on the road. Liverpool will be implementing a possession style under Brendan Rodgers this season as well, so it’s strength vs. strength. I can see a score draw as a likely outcome.
That said, I think Liverpool will have a bit more in the tank and win this one.
Prediction: 2-1 Liverpool
II. QPR @ Manchester City: Manchester United are at Southampton in a game that should see 3+ cumulative goals scored, but we have to go with the Premier League champions at home as our “Fantasy Friendly” selection.
Tevez. Balotelli. Silva. Nasri. Yaya Toure.
What more is there left really to type?
The Premier League champions take on QPR at home and though Mark Hughes’ men will come out in a defensive manner, you have to expect Mancini’s men to grab 2+ goals. Sure, Van Persie and Welbeck or Hernandez are just as likely to breach the Southampton back four, but let’s stick with the home banker.
Prediction: 3-0 Manchester City win
III. Studs & Duds: Adebayor, Defoe, and Sigurdsson are all studs for Tottenham at home to Norwich. Of course, Manchester City and Manchester United attackers and defenders are studs, as just mentioned. Kagawa, RVP, Tevez, Silva, etc. Make sure to have some Manchester coverage.
Newcastle’s Cisse and Ba are studs against an Aston Villa team struggling to get started this season under new boss Paul Lambert.
Despite the road trip, Petric and Ruiz are studs for Fulham at West Ham. Berbatov, of course, is a stud if he’s available, but it’s doubtful that he will be registered in time. Also on the road, Everton players Jelavic, Fellaini, Pienaar, and new signing Mirallas [7.5m] are on the stud/dud fence at West Brom – leaning to studs. Mirallas scored two goals in the League Cup win over Leyton Orient midweek and could be due his first league start.
Duds this week are the aforementioned QPR and Southampton teams, along with Reading and Chelsea players – who don’t have a game this gameweek. Norwich players are duds at Tottenham as well.
IV. Gameweek 3 Best Eleven:
D: Rafael – Zabaleta – Steven Taylor
M: Michu – Bale – Kagawa – McClean
F: Van Persie – Tevez – Adebayor
Subs: Begovic – Chico – Demel – Fellaini