Here are some tips and insights into Gameweek 3, which will begin on Saturday, the 30th of August, 2014. I will update this after Gameweek 2 has finished.
Manchester United versus Burnley
Manchester United will be taking on Burnley at Turf Moor in the early Saturday kick-off. Although this does seem like the kind of game where you should captain Mata or Rooney – I’m still not convinced about Manchester United’s attacking abilities (despite the fact that they technically have the easiest start to the Premier League). Firstly, Burnley have proven that they’re more than willing to try and stick it to the big teams at home (they went 1-0 up against Chelsea and fought extremely hard against Swansea). Secondly, United looked toothless and uncreative against Swansea in the opening game of the season. Personally, I’ll be waiting to see how well they fare against Sunderland. If they screw up at the Stadium of Light, I’ll be cutting Mata or Rooney from my team until they regain some semblance of form.
I’m also a bit concerned about having De Gea as my goalkeeper, as United’s defence looked pretty shaky against Swansea. It’ll be interesting to see if their new signing, Marcos Rojo, will make a big impact or whether he’ll start his first game against Burnley.
All in all, I can’t say that I have any major confidence in Manchester United at the moment, especially seeing as Louis van Gaal has admitted that it could take a few months before they reach the level that he expects them to play at. If things go badly against Sunderland, I’ll be winding down United’s involvement in my team. However, if they can shake off the last loss and go at Sunderland with some determination, I’ll be holding on to them for the sake of some of their easy fixtures.
Update: Although Mata scored in their 1-1 draw against Sunderland, I still think that United are looking pretty dire at the moment. Their defensive frailties are making it difficult for me to justify picking De Gea as a goalkeeper. Offensively, they look toothless, which means that it might be a good idea to lower the amount of United players that you have on your team.
Manchester City versus Stoke
As you probably already know, City are fierce at home. However, we also know that Stoke are no pushovers.
- I wouldn’t bet my house on either team keeping a clean sheet.
- In saying that – I’m not completely confident in Stoke at the moment, simply because they had a bad first game to the season, in which they lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.
- Stoke’s defensive abilities should keep the game at one or two goals apiece. i.e. Don’t expect a rout.
- Although Bojan had a great pre-season; he is yet to prove himself in the Premier League. If he doesn’t score one or two over the next couple of games, Fantasy Football managers will begin to transfer him out. Update: Bojan failed to start against Hull and was brought on half-way through the game. Still hasn’t put any points on the table. Time to bring in Naismith instead?
- I’m expecting Crouch to become more of a bench-warmer as time goes on (unless Bojan blows it).
- Update: Stoke only managed to draw with a Hull side that were down to ten men. They are not looking too great at the moment.
Newcastle versus Crystal Palace
- Palace were unlucky against Arsenal. Although it must be said that Arsenal were without their full squad and that they didn’t play particularly well.
- It’ll be interesting to see how Crystal Palace adopt to life without Tony Pulis (or whether they’ll continue to adopt his stubborn defensive tactics). Their game against West Ham this afternoon should be an interesting indicator. Update: Losing 3-1 at home to West Ham isn’t a great sign. Personally, I’d shy away from Crystal Palace players in the near future, lest they become the designated whipping boys of the Premier League.
- Newcastle don’t look too great in attack at the moment. As it stands, they’re drawing 0-0 in their game against Aston Villa. If the result ends this way, their striker Rivière might prove to be a little too steep for £7 million (he didn’t have a great scoring record in France either). If his price starts to fall, I’d be quick to dump him sooner rather than later. Update: Newcastle defender Mike Williamson was sent off in the 90+ minute, which means that he will miss Week 03.
- Defensively, Newcastle seem to be pretty OK. Maybe it’s time to pick up Coloccini for £4.5 million? Their next game against one of the top six sides comes in Gameweek 9.
Quick Tips / Insights
- Chelsea are away against Everton. Although you would expect Chelsea to win – I doubt that it will be an easy game for them. Personally, I can see a 1-0, 1-1 or 2-1 scoreline (provided Everton recover from their first match blues against Arsenal this evening). Will Lukaku prove his former manager wrong? Or will he let it get to his head and completely under-perform?
- Eden Hazard netted his first goal of the season against Leicester, while Fabregas notched up yet another assist. Will a duo of Hazard and Fabregas in midfield prove to be lethal combination this season?
- Arsenal are away against Leicester, who have fought tooth and nail in their last two games. Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez was subbed off at half time against Everton, which might prompt a few people to sell up. Currently, I think that his £10.5 million price tag is a little too high. Expect this to come down over the next couple of weeks if he doesn’t start picking up the points.
- I’d bring in a Southampton defender if I were you. Their fixture list is looking pretty “easy” over the couple of game weeks, which means that you could rack up a few clean sheets with bargain buys such as Yoshida (£4.5 million). Update: Yoshida picked up a clean sheet against West Brom today. Not bad for the paltry sum of £4.5 million!
- Spurs take on Liverpool at home. It’ll be interesting to see how Spurs react, given their horrific performance against Liverpool last season. Personally, I reckon that it will be tighter than what most people expect. I also don’t think that we’ll see a clean sheet for either side.
- Ramsey will rise in price over the next couple of days. Two goals in two game weeks will see him transferred in by a lot of FPL managers.
- Aston Villa are looking pretty solid at the moment. Two clean sheets in a row and their next game is against Hull at home. Maybe a cheeky Villa transfer for the sake of a clean sheet or two is in order?
- Luis did not start for Chelsea against Leicester (two games in a row). Time to transfer him out unless Ivanovic or Azpilicueta get injured. He is far too pricey to be sitting on the bench and his price is going to tumble down as a result!
- Southampton’s Shane Long is yet to make a mark. Against West Brom, he was brought on in the 46th minute. Fellow striker Graziano Pellè is proving to be a tad bit expensive at the moment (£7.5 million), so I’d move him out if I were you.
- If you’re interested in a monetary investment, take a look at Gylfi Sigurdsson. This is the second week in a row that he has put points on the table, which means that his price is going to rise throughout the next couple of days. Whether or not he’ll actually continue his run of form remains to be seen, however.