Gameweek 2 is almost here. We don’t have a Friday night deadline to worry about this week, so we’ve got just that extra bit of time to obsess over whether we should take that -8 hit or not. Lovely.
This is essentially a look at which players should be on the radars of FPL managers for the upcoming gameweek, and would all fit into an affordable team. Last week’s picks were more of an all-star team as Lukaku, Kane and Aguero were all chosen up front – this should keep things more interesting.
GK: Tom Heaton – West Brom (H)
Tom Heaton arguably provided the greatest value of any player in FPL last season, with him being the top scoring keeper in the game at just 4.5m. He picked up 149 points, as well as a ridiculous 21 bonus points – a record amount for a goalkeeper. So many of these points came at home, with Burnley’s home record keeping them up seeing as they only won once away from home.
Burnley have their first home game of the season, with West Brom travelling to Turf Moor. Don’t know about you, but Burnley vs. West Brom at 3 on a Saturday afternoon as the second game of the season has 0-0/1-0 written all over it.
Other Goalkeeper Options: Asmir Begovic, David de Gea, Kasper Schmeichel, Fraser Forster.
DEF: Ryan Bertrand – West Ham (H)
A player who was mentioned in last week’s picks, Ryan Bertrand could be an absolute star this season. He kicked the season off with 8 points as Southampton drew 0-0 with Swansea, picking up 2 bonus points for his efforts. He made the most key passes of any defender in the league last week with 4, showcasing his fantastic attacking potential.
With the lack of predictability in the Southampton defense (Cedric is being linked with Chelsea, they’re looking at Hoedt from Lazio, and Van Dijk hasn’t left), he’s the 100% nailed option, and is likely to rake in the points with their lovely run of fixtures.
DEF: Sead Kolasinac – Stoke (A)
Arsenal’s new signings got off to a flyer last week, with Lacazette scoring and Kolasinac grabbing an assist, with the defender grabbing 5 points despite conceding 3 goals, managing to nick a bonus point as well. It’s very likely that Kolasinac will now operate as a wing-back seeing as Arsenal’s first choice defenders are back to full fitness, including Mertesacker and Mustafi, with Koscielny returning soon as well.
We saw how dangerous he was in the Leicester game as one of his marauding runs managed to result in an assist, it’ll be great to see how he gets on as an actual wing-back.
(He’s number 31, by the way).
They play Stoke this week, who didn’t get off to the best start, losing 1-0 against Everton as Mame Diouf played in the right wing-back role. Kolasinac has plenty of potential for attacking returns if he does end up operating as a wing-back.
DEF: Harry Maguire – Brighton (H)
Seems odd recommended two defenders that took part in a match that ended 4-3, but let’s treat it as an opening day anomaly. Maguire also managed to grab an assist in that game, looping a header to the far post for Okazaki to tap in. Maguire was a goal threat for Hull last season, picking up 2 goals and 2 assists for them from centre back, with his threat coming from forward runs and due to him being bloody enormous.
Leicester host Brighton at the weekend, who lost 2-0 at home to Man City last week, where they didn’t really pose much of a threat going forward with two shots on target, both coming from their own towering centre back, Lewis Dunk.
Maguire’s goal threat and Leicester’s chances of a clean sheet make Maguire a great pick this week.
Other Defensive Choices: Phil Jones, Nathan Ake, Kyle Walker, Ben Mee.
MID: Christian Eriksen – Chelsea (H)
A player mentioned in the GW2 captain choices article, Eriksen is another fine shout for any gameweek 2 side. He bagged 2 assists and 3 bonus points against Newcastle last week while also having more shots than any other player in the league, showcasing his massive attacking threat.
Spurs play Chelsea at home this weekend, a side who are missing several key players due to Fabregas and Cahill being sent off, while Bakayoko and Hazard still aren’t quite ready from their preseason injuries.
Eriksen has also played a key role against Chelsea in recent matches, with him being directly involved in the last 6 of Spurs’ goals against Chelsea (1 goal + 5 assists), notably setting up both of Dele Alli’s goals as Spurs beat Chelsea 2-0 at White Hart Lane last season.
MID: Mohamed Salah – Crystal Palace (H)
Another player mentioned in the captain choices article was Mo Salah, who impressed on his Premier League debut as he bagged a goal and won a penalty against Watford, claiming 11 points. He also had 5 shots on goal in that game, the second most of any player that weekend.
They play Crystal Palace at Anfield this weekend, a side who lost 3-0 at home to Huddersfield. Palace are still settling in under their new manager, who’s looking to implement a 3-4-3 system which many players may need time to get used to.
Salah’s minutes may be managed somewhat due to this game being book-ended by Champions League qualifiers against Hoffenheim, but he should still start and could rake in the points against a dodgy Palace backline.
MID: Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Swansea (A)
Mkhitaryan enjoyed a very decent preseason for Man United, and kicked off the league season with 2 assists against West Ham in a 4-0 win. He played directly in the #10 position for United, while creating 5 chances throughout the match, showcasing his creative abilities.
United travel to Swansea this weekend, where Mkhitaryan will look to continue his early form. Swansea conceded 29 shots against Southampton last week, though they kept a clean sheet seeing as Southampton couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo. With the likes of Mkhitaryan and Lukaku, United should have more joy.
MID: Matt Ritchie – Huddersfield (A)
A cheaper midfield option this week would be Matt Ritchie of Newcastle. He didn’t get up to much last week as Newcastle were dispatched by Spurs, but they have a much kinder fixture this time round as Newcastle play fellow new boys Huddersfield.
One reason why Ritchie has cropped up on the radar is due to the suspension of Jonjo Shelvey, who was sent off due to stamping on Dele Alli. Shelvey, the greedy bugger, was taking the majority of set pieces for Newcastle. With him out of the side, Ritchie will likely be on everything – corners, free kicks, potentially penalties.
Other Midfield Choices: Sadio Mane, Dele Alli, Gini Wijnaldum, Paul Pogba, Kevin de Bruyne.
FWD: Romelu Lukaku – Swansea (A)
Big Rom kicked off the season in style, scoring twice in United’s aforementioned 4-0 battering of West Ham. He claimed all 3 bonus points, and saved many teams in the last performance of the weekend. Mine included.
As mentioned in the captain choices article, he touched the ball in the box once every 9 minutes, the most often of any player that week, while also having 5 shots on goal. He’s the true focal point of United’s attacks, and is set to bang in plenty of goals this season. United play Swansea away this week. Though they’ve improved under Paul Clement, they conceded 34 goals at home last season, with only Hull managing to concede more.
In this fixture last season, United won 3-0 with 2 goals coming from their then-number 9, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Lukaku is currently owned by almost 53% of current players, meaning that over 2 million people have him in their sides. They’re probably going to captain him. To be safe, you probably should too.
FWD: Steve Mounie – Newcastle (H)
One of the differential heroes from last weekend, Mounie managed to grab 2 goals and 3 bonus points as Huddersfield shocked Crystal Palace, beating them 3-0.
Though Ritchie offers some potential, Newcastle are still a weakened side due to injuries to first-choice defenders Lejeune and Dummett in the match against Spurs. Mounie could capitalise on this and continue his fantastic form for Huddersfield.
Mounie could really prove to be the real deal. Looking at the top 5 leagues since August 2016, Mounie has scored the 2nd most headers (7), has the 2nd most aerial duels won (300), and the 2nd highest percentage of aerial duels won (65.5.%). Against a side that’s just lost its 6′ 3″ defender, we could see more from the big man.
FWD: Jamie Vardy – Brighton (H)
Double Leicester, oh yeah. That’s right, they’re back. Well, probably not, but they have a bloody good fixture. Vardy scored twice against Arsenal at the Emirates, showcasing that he can get the job done against anybody on his day, racking up 13 points while claiming 3 bonus points.
He only managed two shots against Arsenal, but should have plenty more as they play a Brighton side that conceded just two goals against Man City, but one came from an own goal and the other came from a direct defensive mistake, showcasing that they’re somewhat fallible.
Other Forward Options: Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Benik Afobe, Sam Vokes, Marcus Rashford, Christian Benteke.