The Fantasy Premier League roller coaster never fails to disappoint. After the highs of Gameweek 1, its successor brought FPL managers back down to earth with a dose of reality.
An average score of 41 was 24 shy of the GW1 tally with Sheffield United and Everton the only ones in the Premier League to keep clean sheets while a Teemu Pukki-inspired Norwich were alone in their efforts to score more than two goals.
Make sure you’re strapped in though because looking at this weekend’s fixtures, this ride is about to get wilder. Manchester United and Tottenham enjoy attractive home matches against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United respectively. Meanwhile, there are certainly goals on offer away from home for Chelsea at Norwich and Manchester City at Bournemouth.
Here’s a few tips to help guide you.
CAPTAIN – HARRY KANE | TOTTENHAM | 11.0M
Of the Spurs players who started against City, Harry Kane had the least touches – just 25, a whopping 39 fewer than goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. That said, his anonymity was less to do with him than Pep Guardiola’s side absolutely dominating proceedings in a strange draw.
If you own the prolific striker, this is the kind of fixture you’ve been waiting for, one that should produce a completely different performance to the one he delivered at the Etihad.
Kane would’ve looked at Pukki’s hat-trick against Newcastle last weekend and thought: ‘Right, my turn.’
Confidence is low for the Magpies and Spurs were absolutely dominant in their last home game against Aston Villa during which their skipper registered an incredible eight shots on his own, delivering two goals.
Despite his quiet outing against City, Kane still boasts a Threat Index of 99, more than Roberto Firmino (98). Expect him to come good against a Newcastle defence that looks vulnerable.
RAHEEM STERLING (12.2m) was again one of the most threatening players in GW2 and should see more chances come his way at Bournemouth to add to his tally of four goals. His 10 shots so far leads the way along with Pukki.
MOHAMED SALAH (12.5m) has already been ditched by nearly 300,000 FPL managers since his blank against Southampton. He did come close to scoring at St Mary’s though and remains a threat. Captaining him at home to an Arsenal team yet to be tested could deliver a big differential.
ANTHONY MARTIAL (7.7m) is the United player FPL managers are flocking to at the moment after his goals in the opening couple of games. He looks as though he should extend his streak but it’s worth noting that he’s only had five shots so far. He isn’t displaying the potential to hit a high ceiling with a big haul yet and that’s why he’d be a bold call ahead of the likes of Sterling and Kane in particular.
ONE TO GET
TEEMU PUKKI | NORWICH CITY | 6.8M
Speaking of a bold captaincy, Pukki was our pick last week and it certainly paid off handsomely for those who were brave enough. The striker’s hat-trick against Newcastle in GW2 has seen his stock rise quickly with his original price of 6.5m already up by 0.3m.
Pukki is currently the most lethal striker in the league with 10 shots and four goals. Even though he faces Chelsea at home in this round and has City to play in GW5, he’s proven himself to be fixture-proof while Norwich should stay true to their gung-ho approach. His price will only continue to rise so get him in now before it’s too late.
ONE TO AVOID
JOE GOMEZ | LIVERPOOL | 5.5M
It may seem a little knee-jerk to advocate dumping the Liverpool centre-back after he was benched at Southampton but Joe Gomez has a few things going against him. Joel Matip has looked excellent beside Virgil van Dijk not only at St Mary’s but also during their Super Cup win over Chelsea. Sure, Gomez may come back in to face Arsenal but he’s most certainly a rotation risk now.
Even if he does feature for the next few weeks, Liverpool have looked out-of-sorts so far with their defence a little shaky, especially in the absence of Alisson. While Trent Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk and Andy Robertson are all capable of attacking returns, Gomez – who doesn’t even go up for corners and free-kicks – is wholly reliant on clean sheets for his points and those don’t look entirely certain at the moment.
DANI CEBALLOS | ARSENAL | 5.6M
Last week’s bargain buy lived up to his billing as Todd Cantwell bagged two assists for Norwich. Dani Ceballos – another midfielder who registered two assists in GW2 – gets the nod this week. He may not remain a bargain for long though with his price sky-rocketing after his dominant display for Arsenal against Burnley.
The Spaniard played five key passes against the Clarets and every attack seemed to go through him. He’s also on set-pieces and looks like the chief creator for the Gunners. At just 5.6m, he’s a steal and even though he has a tough run ahead Spurs to play following this week’s trip to Anfield and then United away in GW7, you must act now if you’re keen on him.
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Arsenal director Josh Kroenke said the club’s activity in the summer transfer market shows they still have an “aura”.
The Gunners, despite public protests at the Kroenkes’ ownership, spent north of £100million in bringing Gabriel Martinelli, Dani Ceballos, William Saliba, Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz to the Emirates Stadium.
Kroenke admitted the club’s transfer policy required a dramatic rethink after last season’s second-half capitulation to Chelsea in the Europa League final condemned them to another year out of the Champions League.
But Kroenke – the son of owner Stan – says the Gunners will have turned heads since.
“This summer, even though we weren’t in a position of strength coming out of Baku, I think there were a few people caught off guard that Arsenal Football Club still has the aura that it does,” he told BBC Sport. “We’re excited to keep pushing that now and into the future.
“I think we had a very strong summer. We addressed certain areas on the pitch for this season and in the years ahead. We had certain age profiles that we were after.
“Without Champions League football we weren’t exactly sure, but I encouraged our football operations department to be aggressive and when Arsenal Football Club knocks on a player’s door it’s a different knock.
“We knew we wouldn’t have Champions League football and that’s what those type of talents are after.
“My main message to Vinai (Venkatesham, managing director) and Raul (Sanllehi, head of football) coming back from Baku on the plane and then throughout meetings all day the following day with them and Unai (Emery, head coach), was: ‘Let’s be aggressive and find out what’s possible’.”
The Kroenkes received strong criticism from supporters over the summer, but Josh said their transfer activity was not a response to shut fans up.
“I would say that if you’re reacting and doing club record signings based on public opinion, you’re not going to go very far as a club,” he added. “We weren’t reactive this summer, we were actually proactive.
“It was unfortunate that the summer unfolded publicly the way it did with some of the supporters’ groups. I tried to answer some of their concerns to the best of our ability.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
England women’s manager Phil Neville has called for the football community to “send a powerful message” and boycott social media for six months in response to the rise in racist abuse of players after Paul Pogba was targeted online after missing a penalty for Manchester United at Wolves.
“I just wonder whether now, as a football community, in terms of really sending a powerful message is come off social media. Six months, let’s come off social media. Let’s see the effect that it has on the social media companies, whether they are really going to do something about it,” Neville said.