Isn’t it great to have football back in our lives again? The Premier League kicked off the new season with a bang, giving us some clues about which players we can count on to deliver, and raising doubts about others.
But the GW-1 afterglow is over now, so it’s time to put your FPL manager cap on again so you can apply the lessons you learned over the weekend to GW-2. Here’s the slate of fixtures:
Saturday 13th August
- Aston Villa vs Everton
- Arsenal vs Leicester
- Brighton vs Newcastle
- Manchester City vs Bournemouth
- Southampton vs Leeds
- Wolves vs Fulham
- Brentford vs Man United
Sunday 14th August
Monday 15th August
- Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
A couple of these matches stand out. Spurs looked sharp against Southampton, so it’s probably best to avoid any Blues’ defender, even the attacking wingbacks James and Chilwell. On the other hand, Man United looks a mess from the front to the back, so I’d avoid all Red Devils this week.
So that’s where not to look. But if you’re shopping for transfers, let’s find the players who seem poised to pay dividends in GW-2.
Aaron Ramsdale (£5.0m, Arsenal v Leicester)
Ramsdale faced a few nervy moments against the Eagles, but he managed to pull through with the clean sheet, owing to fantastic support from fellow teammates such as William Saliba. The Foxes may have shown determination in earning a draw against Brentford, but the Arsenal defense is resolute and that will make life difficult for Leicester, who have still made no summer transfers.
Ederson (£5.5m, Man City v Bournemouth)
The Brazilian keeper didn’t really have much to do beyond making a couple of crucial saves against West Ham to turn his first game of the season into City’s first clean sheet of the season. Bournemouth may have surprised the lot of us by earning three points against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, but facing the English champions will be a whole different ball game. I’m expecting Ederson to notch clean sheet #2 here.
Honourable mentions: Newcastle’s Nick Pope (£5.0m), with Leicester’s Danny Ward (£4.0m) as a cheap option for the bench.
Kieran Trippier (£5.0m, Brighton v Newcastle)
Newcastle is becoming such an interesting team to follow, and Kieran Trippier looked sharp against Nottingham Forest, where he earned his first clean sheet of the season. As long as he is fit and fresh, the former Atletico Madrid is a perfect fit for the team’s tactics and he plays a key role in everything they do.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.1m, Arsenal v Leicester)
At the time of writing, Arsenal’s new attacking left-winger/back has become the most transferred (152,000) player for GW-2. His presence up front was threatening; he’s one of those fullbacks who can grab an assist while keeping a clean sheet at the same time, so if you want him it’s best to lock in this former City player before his price increases further – which it already has by £0.1m.
Joao Cancelo (£7.0m, Manchester City vs Bournemouth)
Despite the yellow card, Cancelo had a decent GW-1 with a couple of dangerous passes inside the opposition’s box and a few shots on goal too. The Citizens’ #7 has a silky skillset and is driven to attack , which often results in hefty returns.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m, Liverpool v Crystal Palace)
Trent may have disappointed fantasy managers in GW-1, the talented youngster having a poor display at Fulham. But he is a premium player who will deliver big soon. A home match against the Eagles could be just the opportunity.
Honorable mentions: Manchester City’s Nathan Ake (£5.0m); Fulham’s Kenny Tete (£4.5m); Arsenal’s William Saliba (£4.5m); Spurs’ Ryan Sessegnon (£4.5m)
Gabriel Martinelli (£6.1m, Arsenal v Leicester City)
The Brazilian international had an instant impact against Palace, and it was really his movement and timing that led to his goal — a performance which increased his price-tag by £0.1m. He’s still a bargain though, and with Chelsea redoubling its efforts to sign Wesley Fofana, Martinelli could be facing a depleted Leicester defense this weekend.
James Ward-Prowse (£6.5m, Southampton v Leeds)
The England international is a set-piece specialist who take penalties and free-kicks, but also sometimes scores from open play. That’s what happened in GW-1 against Spurs despite the 1-4 defeat. He’s a good differential and has an excellent track record against Leeds.
Dejan Kulusevski (£8.0m, Chelsea v Spurs)
The talented winger had a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win over Southampton, displaying a sharp, clinical performance. The Swedish international has been involved in 15 Premier League goals since his debut in February, and now he’s the second most purchased midfielder (after Gabriel Martinelli) for GW-2, earning over 55,000 new owners for Spurs’ trip to Chelsea.
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m, Man City v Bournemouth)
The duo of Belgian midfielder KDB plus Norwegian striker Haaland is truly looking dangerous. KDB does what KDB does, delivering breath-taking crosses and smooth behind-the-run through balls. He also has excellent finishing ability in his locker. All this was on display against West Ham and should continue throughout the campaign.
Mo Salah (£13.0m, Liverpool v Crystal Palace)
The most-captained player in GW-1 delivered as usual, so he will once again compete for FPL armbands when he faces the Crystal Palace. The Egyptian likes to feast on Eagles: In the previous seven meetings with Crystal Palace, he has seven goal contributions (four goals plus three assists).
Honorable mentions: Spurs’ Son Heung-min (£12.0m); Manchester City’s Phil Foden (£8.0m); Newcastle’s Joelinton (£6.0m); Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (£8.0m); Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey (£6.0m),
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.6m, Wolves v Fulham)
What a statement Mitrovic made in GW-1: Two massive goals against title contender Liverpool! On top of that, Mitro made Virgil van Dijk look like an average defender. Now the Fulham striker goes up against a lacklustre Wolves side that has just lost captain Connor Coady to Everton, so expect another statement. Plus, the price-tag on him is a massive bargain.
Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m, Arsenal v Leicester)
Despite having a fantastic pre-season, the Brazilian international blanked in GW-1, which may fuel his motivation to remind us why he came into the season as the most-picked player in FPL history. Plus, news that Wesley Fofana is close to joining Chelsea could destabilize the Foxes’ defense, which may help Jesus grab a couple of a goals.
Darwin Nunez (£9.0m, Liverpool v Crystal Palace)
Other than Mitrovic and the usual Mo Salah performance, it was Darwin Nunez who made his mark at Craven Cottage. The Uruguayan striker played just 44 minutes but had four goal attempts, eight penalty-area touches and 0.56 xG. Over 62,000 FPL managers have splashed for Nunez ahead of Liverpool’s home encounter with Crystal Palace.
Erling Haaland (£11.6m, Manchester City v Bournemouth)
The star of the week, and potentially the entire season, Erling Haaland has arrived in the Premier League with a bang. In a couple of days, City’s #9 will surely become the week’s most-transferred player. Given his two goals in GW-1, it’s no surprise that he got a £0.1m bump in his price tag. That’s tough on those who went for Harry Kane and are now looking to switch to Haaland, but the Norwegian striker also appears to be City’s new favored PK man, so he’s really a ‘must-have’ no-brainer now.
Honorable mentions: Newcastle’s Callum Wilson (£7.5m); Leed’s Patrick Bamford (£7.5m); Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (£7.5m); Brighton’s Danny Welbeck (£6.5)
Can’t decide who to captain this week? Check out our GW-2 Captain Poll for the pros and cons of each of the top choices.
And while you’re at it, join our FPL NMA mini-league, our Fantrax NMA-11 mini-league, and our Fantrax NMA-17 mini-league. Not sure how to play Fantrax? No problem! Everything you need to know is right here.
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What do you think of our picks this week? What is your FPL strategy? Who will be a hit or a miss? Who’s on your watch-list? Who’s your captain? Please let us know in the comments below!