It was a great opening weekend. Big players came up big, and we begin to see how managers will approach the season
Four teams start their season this weekend, so we have a lot to learn about how they will line up.
Week 2 offers a few tantalizing matchups too.
Saturday, 19 September
[Our early game, which should provide confirmed lineups before the Fantrax deadline]
No major or new injuries to report that should affect your team.
Everton’s new signings added a spark, and defensively they weren’t half bad either. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, among others, has added value with the new signings providing better service and more opportunities.
West Brom gave up three goals, worrying even if two were from penalties. The Baggies will need to find a way to keep Matheus Pereira involved. He looked the best of all the bunch on the pitch, but he needs help if he’s going to stay relevant as a fantasy option.
Liam Cooper, a regular starter at center-back last year, has been cleared for Leeds. Nothing new for Fulham.
Yes both teams lost their first week back in the EPL, but there were stark differences between the two. Leeds looked confident and unafraid against (and away to) Liverpool. Fulham, on the other hand, did not put up much of a fight against Arsenal in a 0-3 London Derby loss. Both gave up goals, but Leeds also scored three of them.
Paul Pogba remains a doubt for United because of a positive Covid-19 test, but there seems to be a chance he plays. Summer signing Donny van de Beek is available, and maybe more likely with the Pogba doubt. Crystal Palace is still without three key defenders. Connor Wickham is out, with Christian Benteke still a doubt.
Manchester United opens its season with high hopes. Can the Red Devils build on the successes of last year? Will they lineup in a similar formation? The Eagles scratched out a win in their opener. They got a little lucky, but a win is a win in the EPL.
The long list of injured Arsenal defenders would have been daunting a year ago, but now they have upgraded so those on the injured list probably aren’t worth looking at anyway. The Hammers remain mostly injury free.
Arsenal looked organized both going forward and defending. It was a promising start for the Gunners and they will look to build against the Hammers. West Ham did not start well. Many people were excited about some of the fantasy options to start the season. Game one did not work out well with a 0-2 loss against Newcastle. I wouldn't panic ... yet.
Sunday, 20 September
Nathan Redmond will miss the Spurs match after suffering an injury in their Thursday Carabao Cup match. Stuart Armstrong has a chance to at least make the squad. Lo Celso is healthy, so may get a start, but feels too early for new signings to get the start.
Both teams struggled last week, each losing 0-1. Spurs and Jose Mourinho may start to feel the pressure if they don't get some results soon. Spurs have quality, especially going forward, so there is always a chance for a big game. Southampton had some chances last weekend and were a bit unlucky.
Big doubts remain for key fantasy players for both squads. Allan Saint-Maximin and Adam Lallana are both doubtful for their respective squads. With so many other options out there, not sure they are keeping a place in my lineup. Ryan Fraser could make an appearance for Newcastle, but still not sure I’m investing in him yet. Callum Wilson looks to be a potential good signing moving forward.
Newcastle’s recent signings came through for them in week one. It was a solid win. Last week Brighton were... Brighton. I think Brighton will be Brighton again this week too. Not seeing much value there.
The biggest news is that Timo Werner has been announced fit. Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, and Christian Pulisic are not quite ready, although progress is being made. Longer term injuries remain, but otherwise Liverpool is at full strength.
This has the feel of a big game, even this early in the season. Liverpool are the champs and repeating isn't easy. Chelsea have spent big and will want to send an early message that they are a team to be reckoned with. Liverpool was shown to be vulnerable last week, and Chelsea may see an opportunity. Excited for this one!
Wilfred Ndidi filled in at center back last weekend for Leicester. Johnny Evans is still out, but Wes Morgan might be back. For Burnley James Tarkowski looks like he may be available, and Nick Pope should return too.
Leicester put in a solid performance, even if they needed some help from two pks. Their wingbacks continued to get forward and be dangerous. They might be weekly options. Harvey Barnes looked dangerous as well, and with all those options giving service Jamie Vardy becomes valuable. Burnley knows who they are, and that’s a team that plays and defends together. It’s a match of two opposing styles.
Monday, 21 September
No major injuries to report for either squad. Lys Mousset is out for Sheffield.
Aston Villa begin their season Monday hoping they can jump start a better season. Sheffield had a dream season a year ago, but a nightmare start. I’m not sure they can match their season from a year ago, but Sheffield should be able to bounce back.
Riyad Mahrez has been cleared, but Aymeric Laporte won't make the squad. Kun Aguero and Bernardo Silva still need more time. No injuries of note for Wolves.
This is an intriguing match. Wolves looked solid across the field in their opener. Confident and dangerous. Manchester City come in with high expectations for their season. Lineups are never guaranteed with Pep Guardiola, but the big guns should be back and are always an option in a fantasy lineup. These two teams have no problem taking the game to the opposing team, and there could be some goals in it. Could be a great way to end week 2!
What other news have you heard? What lineups make your nervous? Good luck with your final changes!