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Fantasy Football Top Picks – Gameweek Two

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Last week was hard, really hard. Many a manager struggled around the 30 mark, and I got a mere 27. But fear not, few big name players scored well but it’s a long season and fantasy managers who have them in their teams will be rewarded in the long haul. If this gameweek had come in the middle of the season you’d take it in your stride, no one likes a slow start, but don’t let it worry you if you are down outside the top two million. If you had a good week, congratulations. Keep it up. And I hate you.

 

Gameweek One Review

Wayne Rooney was denied a goal against Spurs by the clinical finisher Kyle Walker but if he can get into those positions more often and with Villa up next, he continues to be a must have at this early stage. Bournemouth looked good going forward and will continue to make chances but the prowess of Gestede for Villa was eye opening. If he can gain a regular spot he could well be the new Benteke. Everton and Watford played out an entertaining draw where neither defense covered itself in glory. Ighalo and Barkley certainly would have made their ways onto some peoples watch-lists.

It was all about Leicester this weekend. Albrighton and Mahrez both scoring 15 points each. They were far more attacking than had been anticipated under Ranieri and they do have very attractive fixtures still but they won’t get to play against Sunderland and Younes Kaboul every week. Norwich were unfortunate against Crystal Palace but they don’t look like keeping many clean sheets and Cabaye has already got on the scoresheet but beware of their fixtures.

The late kick off was where it started to get interesting. Courtois’s red card hurt a lot of fantasy teams and there was nothing from Hazard or Costa but, for Swansea, Ayew was really impressive, epitomized but his little drag back before his goal. Gomis was also constantly causing trouble and is apparently on penalty duties so his appeal is growing.

On Sunday the shock of the weekend was at the Emirates as Diego Payet and West Ham won 2-0 against Arsenal. Cech was flapping all over the place and the Arsenal midfield was kept quiet by a £4.0m 16 year old defender playing in midfield – Reece Oxford. Payet though was the main man and looks like he could well keep up his highly impressive assist record.

Newcastle and Southampton drew 2-2 and Wijnaldum was very impressive for the home side whilst Southampton made numerous chances with Mane, Tadic and Pelle all causing trouble. That trio look like good investment with their strong fixtures ahead.

Liverpool stuttered past Stoke, a lackluster display saved by a Coutinho screamer – he looks like a good way into the Liverpool team – although Benteke was a good target man he just lacked the runners around him.

On Monday night we got the first dominating display by a big side came from Man City. Toure who has dropped price dramatically to £8.5m, scored two goals but Silva ran the show and will surely be worth his £10m price tag. Also, Aguero came off the bench to confuse things more.

 

Gameweek Two Preview

For the first time ever there is a game on the Friday night so remember that means the deadline is now Friday night at 6.45pm.

The first fixture is Man United v Aston Villa. Villa conceded a fair few chances against Bournemouth so I expect United to punish them and they could well keep a clean sheet as well. Wayne Rooney £10.5m is still the top pick.

The early kick off on Saturday is Southampton and Everton. Everton conceded twice against Watford, while Southampton were very good going forward against Newcastle. I expect Southampton to score at least two against the Merseyside Blues. The points could come from anywhere though. Pelle, Mane and Tadic are the top picks, but with Pelle £8.0m, in good form he is the main man.

Tottenham face Stoke and they started well against United before the goal so if they can play at a high tempo with some width which they have been missing then they could come out winners but Stoke are no push overs. They put up a good fight against Liverpool and now have star man Xherdan Shaqiri £7.0m, if he plays he could be a fantastic differential.

Sunderland play Norwich and I wouldn’t recommend having anyone from these teams. That said, if Sunderland are going to get clean sheets this season, this is the sort of game that they will. If you are looking to replace Courtois you could do worse than Costel Pantillimon £5.0m.

Swansea and Newcastle should be a very good game, both having exciting attacking options, Wijnaldum and Gomis being obvious ones. However, Andre Ayew £7.0m looks a class above and can score as well as supply Gomis.

Watford have had a good start to the season and their first home game is against West Brom. Don’t be fooled by their 3-0 defeat to City, when West Brom get it wrong they get it badly wrong but manager Tony Pulis threw his hands up, and they won’t make the same mistake again. Pulis teams are good value for clean sheets and this could be another of them. Ighalo and Deeney still look like good cheap options, but for a bit of a left field pick for this gameweek, it could be Joleon Lescott £5.0m.

16 year old Reece Oxford burst onto the scene at the Emirates last weekend

Next up, it’s the clash of the titans in West Ham v Leicester. Both enjoyed fantastic first games and Reece Oxford is now a good option to save a bit of money in defence. Up front, Dimitri Payet will clearly be the Hammers main man this year. For the Foxes Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy look the main options for more consistent points. Both teams have really good fixtures coming up but my main pick has to be Payet at £7.5m.

Early on the Sunday, Arsenal go to Crystal Palace and will want to sort themselves out after the disappointment against West Ham. With Walcott not starting he isn’t really an option, especially with Alexis Sanchez £11.0m coming off the bench last weekend and having a big impact. Even in a team of stars, Sanchez is another level.

The big one for this weekend is Man City v Chelsea. Chelsea will be without Courtois – and of course their usual pitchside doctor – but the main picks for the game have to be City players. Toure has notched a couple of goals, Sterling’s pace could expose Terry and Cahill, Aguero could be back, but David Silva £10.0m was phenomenal against West Brom. Silva ran the game and if Matic can’t get hold of him he could well do the same this weekend.

Monday night football is the Cherries going up to Anfield. It is unlikely that Eddie Howe will allow his team to be overawed by the stadium and situation and they will cause Liverpool problems. Despite this, Liverpool should control the game even if they don’t dominate on the score sheet, I expect a clean sheet as well and youngster Joe Gomez £4.6m is my pick for the game.

 

Captain Choices

There are a few options again. Like I have mentioned there is Wayne Rooney on the Friday night against Villa. Christian Benteke is at home to Bournemouth and Graziano Pelle is at home to Everton. For me, I have spent big on Rooney and if I am not to captain him against Villa who would I captain him against? Benteke was clearly the focal point for Liverpool, but it is yet to be seen if that will be a bad thing or not for his points returns. Pelle is the form choice for an attacking team against a defensively unstable team.

Summary

The main issues are of course if you are a Courtois owner with a non playing goalkeeper back up and Theo Walcott. I would say keep Theo for the weekend, see what Sanchez is like and more importantly keep yourself two transfers for the following gameweek giving you far greater flexibility. If you are a Courtois owner though and have no playing goalkeeper for the next three gameweeks you could do a lot worse than get Adrian £5.0m in. Importantly though, keep calm, trust in your selections and save your transfer; it’s just the beginning.

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Chelsea

Willian could hold key to Tottenham landing Anthony Martial

If Manchester United land the Brazilian it would undoubtedly improve Tottenham’s chances.

Jamie Watts

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Manchester United are reportedly preparing a £60 million bid to bring Chelsea winger Willian to Old Trafford this summer, according to reports from the Daily Mail, with manager Jose Mourinho having been linked with an approach for his former star for some time.

Chelsea were unwilling to sell at that time, but it is possible that Willian could be interested in a new challenge after apparently growing frustrated with life at Stamford Bridge, according to recent reports from Sky Sports. He managed a combined 25 goals and assists in 55 appearances in 2017/18, but only 20 of his 37 Premier League outings actually came as a starter.

Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham meanwhile, have become frustrated at United’s assertion that Anthony Martial will not be sold this summer (Sky Sports), after Mauricio Pochettino made the Frenchman his priority target last month (the Sun), as he looks to bolster the supply line to Harry Kane next term.

However, Martial’s revelation that he wants to leave the club could be vital for Spurs, as Mourinho has previously stated that he would never stop a player from moving if they really want the move and the money is right. And he’s backed up his words, selling two-time Chelsea Player of the Year Juan Mata to his current club in 2014.

Photo: Getty Images

The Red Devils are currently stacked in terms of depth for the left wing, with Marcus Rashford struggling to start games over January signing Alexis Sanchez, but wide-right is somewhat scarce and Willian would undoubtedly improve United’s balance for the better.

Although the manager would prefer the Frenchman went abroad, if he asked for the move to north London, Willian’s transfer to United would undoubtedly improve Pochettino’s chances of securing his key man. United will also be buoyed by their recent business with the west Londoners, having surprisingly secured the signing of Nemanja Matic from Stamford Bridge last summer.

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Everton

Gylfi Sigurdsson shows why Everton splashed £45m on his services

Everton fans will hope they see Sigurdsson in fine form next season.

Mathew Nash

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Iceland pulled off another shock at a major tournament, as they managed to hold out for a draw against Argentina. Alfred Finnbogason scored the equaliser after Sergio Aguero had given the Albiceleste the lead. Lionel Messi then saw a penalty saved as Iceland fully deserved a share of the spoils.

One man who was in sensational form throughout the game was Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. Only recently returned from a knee injury he was the beacon of quality that Iceland needed. When they needed a player to keep possession he was there and he was a constant thorn in the side of Argentina’s defensive generals.

It was a performance that will remind Everton fans just why they spent £45 million to bring him from Swansea City last summer. It also highlighted that, used correctly. The ‘Iceman’ could be Everton’s talisman.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

When Sigurdsson arrived last season he did so at the same time as two identical players. Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney also joined Everton last summer leaving them overbooked in that area of the field.

With Everton failing to bring in sufficient wide options, Sigurdsson also found himself playing wide left for much of his time at Goodison Park.

What is clear from the Iceland game is that Sigurdsson is best in the number 10 role, playing off of the front-man and hopefully next season that is where Everton will see him. With Cenk Tosun ahead of him, pace out wide and reliable generals behind him in midfield the Icelander will be free to roam and play his best football.

If Everton do that, then they will see more and more of the real Sigurdsson next season.

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Manchester United

Chicharito shows he’s capable of replacing Marko Arnautovic at West Ham in brilliant Mexico performance

The striker was unrecognisable from last season at West Ham.

Jamie Watts

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West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic is still heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, although the club have attempted to deter interest by slapping a whopping £60 million price tag on the Austrian, according to the Daily Star.

Although the price is considerable, it’s conceivable United could match the fee, or something close and Manuel Pellegrini may have to begin lining up replacements, in case a switch to Old Trafford materialises. But the Chilean coach may very well have his man already on yesterday’s evidence, ironically, in the form of former United fan favourite, Chicharito.

Photo: Getty Images

Chicharito made a name for himself throughout his career for his impressive ability to improvise a finish in the penalty area, and his movement, which has led to countless poacher goals. However, his performance for Mexico yesterday could indicate a change of responsibilities for the striker in the future. And West Ham will be thrilled.

Against Germany, he did everything but put the ball away. Non-initiated viewers may have been shocked to find out that the striker went into the match one goal off a career tally of 50 for his country, as he plied for the 90 minutes as a forward linch-pin, connecting play in the final third for almost every counter-attack. His general touch, awareness of approaching defenders, vision to see runners and execution of passes were all sensational on the night.

Photo: Getty Images

It could be argued that his national pride conjured this new style. but now there can be no doubting he has the ability to play the Arnautovic-type role, and in emphatic fashion. And if Pellegrini can tap-into this style, he could already have the Austrian’s ready made replacement at the London Stadium.

Last term the 30-year-old struggled to break into the team on a regular basis under David Moyes, making 33 appearances in all competitions, bagging eight goals and an assist, but his contribution next year could be far more valuable.

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