The Premier League has returned with thousands of fans at every game, and boy, how much have we missed the roar and the passion of the crowd cheering and booing? And the English top-flight’s opening weekend certainly did not disappoint one bit with its 34 goals and not a single draw.
Defending champions from Man City were surprise losers after their 1-0 defeat at Tottenham as the saga of Harry Kane continues — The England captain was absent from the Spurs’ squad, and his future at the club is still in doubt due to interest from the Citizens.
Personally, I had a fantastic 90 points in FPL highlighted by Bruno Fernandes (£12.1m) and Mo Salah (£12.5m) delivering big points. I can’t wait for the second week to present more.
Reminder: the FPL deadline is 11:00 BST on Saturday 21 August, not Friday. Let’s check out those players that can come in handy for the upcoming week:
David Raya (£4.5m, Crystal Palace vs Brentford)
The win against Arsenal was such a dreamy start for Brentford. Much credit goes to Raya’s goalkeeping, even keeping a clean sheet. It’s generally best not to transfer a keeper right at the beginning of the season, but Raya’s so cheap that facing CRY (A), AVL (A), BHA (H) and WOL (A) he seems like a reasonable option till GW-5. Crystal Palace under Patrick Vieira is still in transition, so Thomas Frank’s Bees have a good chance to carry their momentum forward.
Owned by only 3.0% suggests it’s still a gamble whether Brentford’s performance was just a one-game wonder or a sign of a stable back line. Against teams like the above mentioned till GW-5? Worth a shot at Raya’s price.
Alisson Becker (£6.0m, Liverpool vs Burnley)
Liverpool players will be dying to see the fans return to Anfield, and that will pump them up to continue their winning form against a lackluster Burnley side. Also, the Reds look stable at the back even without Robertson (£7.0m), and that’s great news for Allison. The Brazilian goalkeeper didn’t have much to do during the 3-0 win over Norwich, and one expect another clean sheet as Burnley faces the same issue as last season: lack of goals. Unfortunately, we’re limited in how many ‘Pool players we can own, so you might not be willing to invest £6M here.
Konstantinos Tsimikas (£4m, Liverpool vs Burnley)
On the budget asset watchlist, Kostas Tsimikas (£4.1M) is deputizing for the injured Andrew Robertson for a short run. He took seven of Liverpool’s 11 corner-kicks against Norwich. The Greek left-back, owned by 25.5%, looks to be settling at the back and gets forward, and is delivering corners that promise assists to come. On top of that, expect a clean sheet against a dull Burnley side.
Japhet Tanganga (£4.5m, Wolves vs Spurs)
Tanganga faced quite a few 1v1 situations against City’s Jack Grealish (£8.0m) and Raheem Sterling (£11.0m), and did pocket them, earning a clean sheet against the defending champions as a reward. Owned by just 0.6%, the Spurs defender looked at least good enough to be a rotational player. He has decent fixtures til GW-4, including WAT (H) and CRY (A). He faces more difficult tasks later, but after a CS against the champions, could he be a long-term hold?
With Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.0m) and James Rodriguez (£7.0m) out for now, Digne is the prime candidate for set-pieces. He took five corners last time, so the Frenchman’s attacking abilities will feature in the near future. With defensive-minded Rafa Benetiz managing, a few clean sheets should be coming the left-back’s way, especially facing LEE (A), BHA (A), BUR (H), AVL (A) and NOR (H).
Ricardo Pereira (£5.5m, West Ham vs Leicester)
After missing the end of last season injured, Pereira looks fit and back to his 2019-20 form when he was dangerous moving forward. The Portuguese fullback excelled at overlapping runs and delivering accurate crosses during the 1-0 win over Wolves, earning a clean sheet and even providing the assist on Jamie Vardy’s goal. Except Man City in GW-4, the Foxes don’t have tough fixtures til GW-7.
Luke Shaw (£5.5m, Southampton vs Man United)
There is a reason why Luke Shaw is the highest-owned defender in FPL (55.2%). The English fullback may have not delivered an assist or gained a clean sheet in the opening 5-1 win over Leeds, but his form and momentum has been on cloud nine since last season and during the Euro 2020. A certain Raphael Varane (£5.5m) may line up alongside him against Southampton, allowing Shaw to advance further into attack.
Ruben Dias (£6.0m, Man City vs Norwich)
Let’s just say Ruben Dias had a bad day at office against Spurs. His decision making was not quick enough, but he should bounce back against newly-promoted Norwich that is again struggling to score goals. Pep Guardiola can’t afford to lose again, so the Citizens will try to hold strong at the back to gain their first clean sheet of the season.
Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m, Brighton vs Watford)
£6.0m is a bargain for a regular starter and attacking threat who created 4 chances and had 2 shots, even netting one of the goals in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa. Watford has some ideal fixtures coming, so the winger seems like a good option against BHA (A), TOT (A), WOL (H), NOR (A), NEW (H) and LEE (A) through GW-7.
Said Benrahma (£6.0m, West Ham vs Leicester)
The same can be said about Benrahma who is at the same price and who scored while providing another in his team’s 4-2 victory over Newcastle. With Jesse Lingard most likely staying at Man United, Benrahma is filling the void. He can create trouble for Leicester.
Mason Greenwood (£7.5m, Southampton vs Man United)
Greenwood caught the eye again during the Leeds game with his link-up play, run-behind approach and deadly finishing. Scoring one of the five goals, for £7.5m he’s one to have in your squad for sure. Despite looking excellent over the weekend, the youngster did have just one shot and created once, but his upcoming fixtures till GW-7 are attractive: SOU (A), WOL (A), NEW (H), WHU (A), AVL (H) and EVE (H). Edinson Cavani is expected to return to training on Tuesday; if he is not ready for the weekend, Greenwood is likely to start as the central striker for the Red Devils.
Heung-Min Son (£10.0m, Wolves vs Spurs)
With Harry Kane’s future on hold, Son is the main man and is one of those players who just needs one chance to reach the scoresheet, as evidenced when the South Korean scored the lone-goal winner against Man City. Spurs do have a shaky squad this season, but their upcoming fixtures still offer Son opportunities to score and assist.
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m, Man City v Norwich)
Kevin de Bryune had an 11 minute warm-up session in the losing effort against Spurs. It’s essential for Man City to have the Belgian playmaker fully fit, which he does seem to be. The Norwich game will help him gain momentum, and it would be no surprise to see him scoring and/or providing for the likely win.
Bruno Fernandes (£12.1m, Southampton vs Man United)
One of the stars of the weekend, the Portuguese playmaker scored a hattrick, partly thanks to a brilliant performance by Paul Pogba. With set-pieces and PKs in his locker, he is a must-have again vs Southampton.
A cheap add-on option is Paul Pogba (£7.6M), who looked like he was wearing the France national shirt while providing four assists against Leeds. He already has more assists in just one game than he had all of last season (3).
Mo Salah (£12.5m, Liverpool vs Burnley)
Salah just makes life easier for fantasy managers. After yet another top-class FPL performance over the weekend, the Egyptian winger should again be a prime candidate for the captain’s armband against Burnley.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m, Leeds vs Everton)
DCL scored once from five shots against Southampton, so when he faces an open Leeds side, the English striker will surely get chances.
For £0.4m less, Richarlison also scored and assisted over the weekend. There is doubt whether he plays the entire 90 minutes, given his constant involvement in football since last season, having played both Copa America and the Tokyo Olympics over the summer. It’s crazy how he played even 88 minutes against Southampton in the opener.
Danny Ings (£8.0m, Aston Villa vs Newcastle)
Despite the 3-2 loss to Watford, Danny Ings scored. Given the squad surrounding him, he should get more chances to score. The Magpies always suffer at the back, and many predict them to be candidates for the relegation battle, so Dean Smith will see this game as an opportunity to gel all his summer signings for the win. Ings can play a major role in doing just that.
Jamie Vardy (£10.5m, West Ham v Leicester)
After a quiet run-in at the end of last season, many questioned Vardy’s hunger and fitness levels, but his howling celebration after putting the ball into the net against Wolves said it all. Even at age 34, playing at the highest levels, Vardy’s pace and clinical approach are intact. Both will come in handy for the Foxes, so West Ham’s defense will have trouble stopping the ‘Vardy Party’.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m, Arsenal vs Chelsea)
Harry Kane may be in limbo, but Romelu Lukaku is crystal clear about his future with boyhood club Chelsea. Already a favorite to win the Golden Boot, the former Inter man is set to feature against rival Arsenal. The Gunners were terrible at the back in their opening game, giving the Belgian the perfect opportunity to make his mark. Many regard him as the final piece of the puzzle for the Blues, so surely Lukaku will be a major fantasy asset. Buy him sooner rather than later.
Who is the best captain for GW-2
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Kevin De Bruyne
Other (Please mention in the comments section)
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What do you think of our picks this week? Which player do you think I have missed? Any budget player you think will shine over the weekend? Whom are you planning to captain? Who will be a hit and a miss? Please let us know in the comments section below!