Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 2
Welcome to Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 2. Hello and welcome to the Tips article for Gameweek Two and my maiden one for the FPL 2017/18 season.
Now hopefully with everyone present and correct after Gameweek 1 and no fallers, let’s look to the second obstacle in this thirty eight fence steeplechase.
‘On we go’. That’s both an instruction and a mantra for this love-to-hate game of ours. Itchy trigger fingers need to be soothed in balm, not scratched. Our mile-a-minute FPL minds need rest and contemplation and not further torture. And I would like to win the lottery and retire from pen-pushing. Seeing as none of these things are going to happen let’s get begin with a question. Who needs new players? Wow . . . that many?
Anyway, I was quite fortunate enough this past weekend to be able to watch four full matches and one half-match live, one full re-run and then extended highlights of the other four matches on opening weekend. To this end, I have decided to use my own personal feelings to what I witnessed interspersed with statistics derived from the relevant games to strengthen cases where necessary. With limited stats so far this season, I don’t see what else I have to go on so I hope you know I haven’t just chucked names up in to the air to see how they land.
David de Gea was actually tipped alongside Hugo Lloris by our own Kop Warrior last week and with each already gaining a clean sheet, pretty much hassle-free it should be said, then I see no reason to exclude both of them as my premium picks. Each costing £5.5M, Lloris currently leads by one point having garnered that by making a few more saves in his match. Also on the side of the Frenchman is the low ownership rate compared to the United man. Hugo is 13.9% at time of typing and David de Gea is far and away the most popular goalkeeper in the game at 32.3% ownership. To counter the plus points of the Gallic goalie, with a settling in period perhaps needed at their new temporary Wembley home and a wounded Chelsea ahead, they also have trips to Everton and West Ham United to contend with across their next five whilst the Spaniard at Old Trafford faces a run of games until Gameweek 8 which shouldn’t cause too much trouble and has the potential for more clean sheets.
Ben Foster was actually also tipped last week (hang on there’s a pattern here) and he too put up his first clean sheet of the season at home to Bournemouth last Saturday. With what looks like to be another incarnation of a pretty stingy home defence at the Hawthorns and games against Burnley, Stoke City, Brighton and West Ham United in his next four, you aren’t too late if you haven’t got your 4.5M goalie set as yet. The one-time England international also earned a bonus point which could be a sign of things to come.
Talking of bonus points going to the begloved lot, the giant Dane at Huddersfield Town, Jonas Lossl, also sternly marched out of his debut match at Selhurst Park with additional points to his clean sheet. The ex-Midtylland, Guingamp and Mainz goalkeeper looks like a brilliant signing for the Terriers as he repelled both Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha on his way to earning two bonus points which took him to the top of the goalkeeper chart after the first weekend. This guy could be pivotal to the hopes of the new lads staying beyond one season in the Premier League.
Rob Elliot proved indeed to be first choice at the Toon (Rosco and Milburn we never doubted you) as he was handed a start on Sunday at home to Tottenham. Not having had much chance with either goal – they were both close range and he did spread himself as best he could – then there should be no reason he would lose his starting place. Probably handy if you have him already and you may not want to use a transfer on a goalkeeper this early, but you know, he’s here if you need him.
As for the premium defenders I promote Kyle Walker, Sead Kolasinac, Ryan Bertrand and Ben Davies with a mention for Patrick van Aanholt (stay with me I’ll cover that a little later).
Although Kyle Walker wasn’t tested too much against Brighton, he essentially was playing right winger for most of it. With the return to training of Benjamin Mendy on Monday which should threaten Danilo’s place on the left, I would back the England defender to be the one to go to for City defensive coverage and this is mainly due to his starting position in this side. It appears Pep favours a back three and if they can gel together nicely that can help Walker gain clean sheet points as well as any attacking returns which must inevitably come. I liked some of the link up play between Kevin De Bruyne and Walker. The twitteratti were of the opinion that the new Bosnian defender at Arsenal, Sead Kolasinac, likes a bit of a wander up the park. I agree, and his first assist which followed his first goal the week previous in the Community Shield, points to an attacking defender that could be potentially used further wide as wingback once Koscielny and Mustafi make their returns to the team which would only strengthen any forays behind enemy lines. The big player can definitely tackle (he won all four he attempted) and pass but it is his positional sense, which may be quite fairly attributed to settling in to a new environment, which worried many watchers but this may not matter much if Arsenal eventually tighten up and he continues to contribute offensively. Ryan Bertrand is another of these wingbacks who appear to be more at home bothering their brethren on the opposition than defend their own goal. Not that the ex-Chelsea player can’t do that, he definitely can but against Swansea he appeared to be essentially a winger. He was winning free kicks offensively and on some of the inswinging corners shared with James Ward-Prowse, I noted that all Saints corners are going inward to the keeper so that’s obviously a training tactic used and pretty soon I’m sure we’ll be seeing Bertrand benefitting in FPL points from this. Ben Davies should keep the Tottenham left back spot on principal after Danny Rose and his nonsense to the press about his weekly wage and Tottenham’s transfer dealings. That and also the fact that he helped the Whites’ repel Newcastle and he topped that off with a goal and a clutch of three bonus points for his efforts. I do get a feeling he’s seen as back up though but I would consider him as Rose is sidelined until next month. The spot could be his to lose now.
Patrick van Aanholt took most of Palace’s corners and although priced at £5.5M and although maybe not so appealing due to the Eagles’ opening result, sometimes you need to look beyond the headlines and the playing position again was wide left of a midfield five so in essence he is playing as and Out Of Position (OOP) player. Things will take time to be transferred fully to the Frank de Boer ethos of playing but PVA will play a huge part of it judging by what I witnessed during the highlights on Saturday. With a trip to Anfield holding no fear to a team with a good recent record there and then homers against Swansea and Southampton and a trip to Burnley, he is worth a second look for the shortlist for those maybe looking to replace the suspended Gary Cahill.
Phil Jones was tipped by our own Cookie before the season started so this one is for him. Hats off Mr Cooks! Having witnessed the performance against West Ham I think £5.0M or one which will rise slightly, is excellent value for a player Mourinho likes and can rely on. Well worth taking on with the fixtures ahead for the Red Devils and being the cheapest way in.
Harry Maguire won every ball in the Arsenal area during Leicester set piece attacks and should for me go on to prove one of the best signings of the season. He assisted for Okazaki’s goal on Friday and I think he will be counting 4 or 5 goals come the season end. At just £12M the Sheffield lad is always a massive threat and although the fixtures for the Foxes are a bit in and out. A goal or assist can always make up for the lack of a clean sheet.
Ahmed Hegazi was tipped by me in pre-season but I didn’t take him personally. Cue 15 points. Can’t win ‘em all right? At just £4.6M and perhaps likely to be over that by the time this goes to print, the Egyptian had scored just once in over 80 games before Saturday so naturally he was due to score! An added clean sheet and bonus points were just fantastic for his owners and it would be hard to see him being left out now particularly as the free kicks which followed his goal appeared to be aimed towards him in particular. He could still be excellent value to get in to the Baggies’ backline. Choo choo!
We MAY just have found our £4.0M playing defender by a couple of strokes of luck/misfortune. Chancel Mbemba of Newcastle came on against Tottenham as the Magpies’ second defensive substitute after injuries to both Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune. So if these two are to be out for a period of time, then Mbemba may be called upon to fill a hole in the back line which appears stretched. A word of caution though as Newcastle also have Haidara and Hanley (ugh surely not!) who are also both at £4.0M. Mbemba played though and for the majority of the game, so Rafa may stick with the Congolese.
Kevin De Bruyne was seen as the trouble-free way in to the Manchester City attack. The only hitch is, he didn’t score any points against Brighton so that has one or two in a pickle but if you were fortunate enough to see the match like me, then you will have seen that he assisted the assister for Aguero’s opener and was generally on the edge of the box picking up the ball from everyone else and moving it on. He was heavily involved and selling him after week one makes no sense whatsoever. It’s unlikely anyone would be transferring him in now but with the way the fixtures fall for the Citizens, I would still back this guy to get the goods sooner rather than later.
Christian Eriksen set up both Spurs goals for Alli and Davies and looks set for another huge season and if you owned him from the start then you will be rubbing your hands with excitement. You must have known it was your day when he assisted the second goal by simply running towards the ball and letting it hit off him and in to Davies’ path. Apart from that though, he was his usual classy self and completed 91% of all his passes which allowed him to scoop all the bonus points on offer. The Dane collected an identical ‘points per match’ (PPM) as his midfield partner Alli last season and I favour him slightly on the basis that he outscored him by 30 points to 17 in bonus points last season and this season it appears he has started in a similar vein.
Mohamed Salah was my personal preference for Liverpool coverage before the season begun and I’m still advising you to pick him up and sooner rather than later. Rather predictably the three Liverpool goals in the draw at Vicarage Road were shared around the big three – Mane, Firmino and Salah all scoring, and Salah won the penalty, scored by Firmino, with a surge in to the box which ultimately ended with the concession of a penalty by Heurelho Gomes in the Watford goal. The Reds have two tough looking fixtures in the next three including an away game to Manchester City in Gameweek 4 which could be set up perfectly for an attacking Liverpool. But before that it’s two home games against Palace and Arsenal – two teams who lose goals like, well, Liverpool really. Salah will be dipping for points amongst it all I think.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan impressed me hugely on Sunday and collected two assists and I think this could be a break out season for the Armenian at United. He created more big chances (2) and key passes (six) than any other midfield player in the game at the weekend. Always a favourite of mine but he looks to benefit from playing in an even better side this season and I can’t see me, despite having Lukaku, staying away from this midfielder for very long. With the fixtures already documented as being weighted favourably for Jose’s Giants – Swansea (away), Leicester (home), Stoke (away), Everton (home), Southampton (away), Crystal Palace (home) – then this guy could be feeding Lukaku more than once in this run. As a tiny side tip or more a ‘watch this space’, I could not believe how much Nemanja Matic was covering the ground, beating players and making forward decoy runs one of which allowed Lukaku in for his opener. That £5.0M price tag could help a number of us out in the coming weeks. What a signing regardless!
Aaron Ramsey came off the bench with Giroud and won the game for the Gunners. I mentioned in pre-season that his forte was appearing in the box late on and getting goals. Usually this is a trait reserved for the very best midfielders. Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard jump to mind. I think Ramsey has that and he was unlucky with such a run and header just before he scored against Leicester. His goal you should go watch again. His first touch was world class to let him get that shot off. At £7.0M I think it is worth investing especially if you are faced with solving a problem like Fabregas or Zaha. The sooner he starts the better for Arsenal’s sake in my eyes.
I have three options at £5.5M and firstly it is Marc Albrighton of Leicester. As I go in to later, Jamie Vardy often has Albrighton to thank for assisting him and it was a brilliant cross to set the striker up for his first goal at Arsenal. The directness of the former Aston Villa player is undoubted but his assist stats, just 6 and 7 in the last two seasons, could do with some improving but Leicester do have Brighton and Huddersfield soon and then a lovely run of fixtures from Gameweek 7 to 11.
Robbie Brady and Aaron Mooy are both also priced at £5.5M and it is the latter Mooy, who holds more sway due to his contributions for the Yorkshire club during their first ever Premier League win. A corner kick and free kick taker the Aussie assisted one goal and is nailed on to continue as the one-time club record signing. The fixtures look decent as well. Republic of Ireland international Brady is always a threat from free kicks and corners but does have some nasty away fixtures to negotiate over the next while but if you can rotate, then you should consider as this guy looked fairly handy against Chelsea.
One such player who could be considered with Brady for rotation is Christian Atsu of Newcastle (Burnley/Newcastle rotate nicely now the awkward Gameweek 1 fixture is beyond us). I was impressed watching the ex-Chelsea player (everyone’s an ex-Chelsea player these days of course) and the lads on this site who saw him in the flesh on Sunday and from what I gleamed from twitter were all encouraged by his performance. The Ghanaian is just £5.0M and I believe it’s only he or Matic at that price who are worth considering currently, but as an attacking threat, Atsu is the more direct of course. I really hope he settles and the Geordies get the best of him as the poor kid has had more loans than Wonga.
The new FPL season was opened by Alexandre Lacazette on Friday night in a match in which he impressed me in how he settled and adapted to it – took him 94 seconds in fact. The striker lead the line for Arsenal as they led, fell behind, then re-took a lead to eventually claim three points in a fantastic 4-3 win over Leicester City. His headed goal gave Schmeichel no chance and his calmness in celebration made is my kind of thing. Just clinical. He worked hard to when he was pushed to the left of the attacking trio as Olivier Giroud was introduced and even out there he still stretched the game and showed good touch and awareness of his team mates around him. Difficult I suppose to accommodate him along with two of the other big boys up top but a decent differential to any one of those and at 18.5%, I can see him getting further goals even if the next four games count three away games amongst them.
Alvaro Morata impressed when he came on but is the only Chelsea player who makes the Tips cut this week. Even then, I’m hoping very much he starts this weekend’s game at Tottenham. Conte to me is agitated with something and his star signing could again indirectly suffer, but then again he may want to give himself the best chance of winning. Against Burnley the Spain international instantly came on and got behind their back four which was something that Michy Batshuayi failed to do. Much like with Lacazette, it could be hard to fit him up front in your teams due to the riches afforded to us in attack this season. He’s clearly a first class striker though shown by his positioning for his goal, he’s going to get many more I’m sure. Hopefully for Chelsea!
Jamie Vardy was an excellent opportunity to use your Triple Captain chip in Gameweek 1 and I would hate to be the Guy to be a year late on that one. OK, now that the private joke has landed/failed, let’s look at the striker who opened his account for the season with two goals to put Leicester on their way to a potential victory at the Emirates on Friday. What’s not to like, he can score versus the big boys, is fit, sharp and is served very well by the foil and hard work of Shinji Okazaki, the guile of Riyad Mahrez and the direct wide play and excellent service of Marc Albrighton (mentioned above). Brighton at home next (potential captain) and then a couple of tricky ones but he’s a Premier League winner and can score in any game. I still feel he will move to a bigger English club in time.
Sam Vokes picked up where he left off from the back end of last season (scoring six in five) with two goals to beat Chelsea in the Clarets’ curtain raiser. He is now the main striker with Andre Gray leaving and the Welsh striker is now going to feel the pressure to get the goals in home games against West Brom, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town and West Ham United. If you have a midfielder who can rotate in when they go to Spurs, Liverpool, Everton and City across the next four trips, then fantastic because surely he isn’t going to get a brace at all those grounds. Then again he is playing as the focal point of a very useful system being played to his strengths.
I do take great pleasure in telling you that I picked Steve Mounie from the off this season and benefitted from his double at Palace. I looked at him all summer and followed pre-season and being honest, I’m disappointed he didn’t get a hat-trick! Joking/Not Joking as he did have a chance when clean through but dawdled a bit and was intercepted. But I brought him in thinking he had a fair opening run and that I would stick with him. I’m definitely sticking now. If you are looking for that third striker at low-end cost, get this guy in. Newcastle at home next whose defenders are dropping like flies.
Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane are tagged on here as a footnote for two reasons. For Lukaku, keep him or get him and for Harry Kane, keep him. Each hardly need tipping by me as most will have at least one of them but there should be no doubt at all that on another day Kane could have matched Lukaku’s opening day tally but for a bit of decent goalkeeping and a bit of bad luck.
To finish off this week, I followed a thread on twitter last week which asked for your worst ‘nails down a blackboard’ football cliché, the one that has you shuddering with embarrassment or shake with outrage. Mine follows see if you can spot it . . .
That’s all for your Gameweek 2 FPL Tips, I hope those of us who made a steady start are able now to kick on this week.
*clenches fists* *screams*
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 2
The League Codes for FF247 for the 2017/18 season are as follows:
Gameweek Tracker GW2-11