FPL Fixtures Game-week 3
Welcome to FPL Fixtures Analysis Game-week 3. Well there goes GW2 – we hope you ended up happy with your team accumulating some decent points (ie you owned Ibra and Kun and capo’d one of them). We move on swiftly to GW3 though, no rest for the wicked here. It is worth noting there is an international break after GW3, which will coincide with the end of the transfer window. So hopefully we’ll have plenty to keep us occupied while the internationals are being played – as Arsenal look for a defender and a striker (yeah right), Liverpool for a left-back, Chelsea look to stop Conte spending anymore Russian cash and Hull look to buy anyone. In the meantime let’s have a look at those teams with decent fixtures coming up, while also issuing a warning of those sides whose up and coming look somewhat precarious! Finally we’ll end as usual with “One week wonders” which may be especially useful for those managers planning to play their wildcard in front of GW4 and therefore have a free shot at some punts this week. Right, let’s get this show on the road.
Let’s begin as always with a helpful visual aid in the form of the fixture tracker for the next six GW’s before we get onto the wordy bit…
Our full range of trackers can be found HERE They include a full version of the above up to GW19, a Rotation Analysis one and the all singing, all dancing Interactive Fixture Tracker (coming soon).
Everton – Stoke (h), Sunderland (a), Middlesbrough (h)
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[/three_fourth]The win at West Brom may just give Everton the shot in the arm they need to push on to a decent season ahead – the win coincided with Ronald Koeman saying that Romelu Lukaku wants to stay at the club, so maybe things are looking up for the blue half of Merseyside. The Toffees begin a run of decent looking fixtures with the visit of Stoke and ex-Evertonian Mark Hughes. As Koeman starts to have an effect on his new troops, we would strongly advise some Everton cover, whether it be at the back or more offensively minded. Stoke actually have a good recent record at Goodison, winning the last two there, though we have learnt pretty quickly to ignore most of which Roberto Martinez touched. The Potters have made a slow start to the season and were hammered 4-1 at home by Man City in GW2 and picked up just a point at Boro on the opening day.
This is a new Everton and Koeman would appear to be up for the challenge. The Toffees certainly look to have sufficient attacking talent to hurt the Potters with the likes of Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas and Yannick Bolasie all worthy of winning a match single handedly on their day. The flip side to that argument is that all have the uncanny habit of frustrating/disappointing/driving FPL managers mad for weeks on end! New signing Ashley Williams has been bought to provide some stability at the back and looks excellent value at just 5mln – both Williams and Bolasie came off the bench at West Brom and will be likely starters from hereonin for the Toffees.
After the international break Everton travel up to Sunderland. Now Moyesie looks like he will emulate Big Sam by ensuring the Black Cats are difficult to beat and this won’t be an easy ride for Everton, but we expect them to allow their quality to shine through. The Toffees were humbled 3-0 at the Stadium of Light last season, but this was of course in May, when Sunderland traditionally start playing and beat everyone – Everton will instead be focusing on the 6-2 hammering they afforded Sunderland in November and also the loss the Black Cats suffered at Boro on Sunday. If Moyes cannot get some of his defenders back by the weekend, it could get messy.
Everton then entertain Boro at Goodison in GW5 and while we would expect the newly promoted team to try and keep things as tight as possible, we are confident that Koeman’s men will find a way through the Boro defence – Everton have, after all, scored in all but two of their last 20 matches at home.
Arsenal – Watford (a), Southampton (h), Hull (a)
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[/three_fourth]One point from the opening two matches sees the Gooners already playing catch up and the knives out for Monsieur Wenger. The gap between Arsenal and City, United, Chelsea and Hull is already looking ominously large. However, it may just be time to think about getting some Arsenal cover if you haven’t already got some. Problems at the back remain, though the return of Laurent Koscielny is a big boost as was seen by the clean sheet at Leicester. Kos was partnered at the back by Rob Holding who is priced at just 4.5mln – Gooners defensive coverage for 4.5mln with these fixtures – hmmmm, don’t mind if i do. The fixtures look good for sure and with Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud also returning one would think the Gooners can turn their form around. The trip to Watford should hold no fear for the Gooners as they triumphed 3-0 at Vicarage Road in April, with Giroud scoring one. Goals should not be an issue for the Gunners this year and so if you don’t fancy Giroud, then looking at the midfield there are a variety of options covering a price range from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at 6.0mln up to Alexis Sanchez at 11.0mln with the likes of Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil all covering the middle ground.
Southampton are the visitors to the Emirates in GW4 and the Saints have yet to win at Arsenal in the Premier League – in fact we have to return to 1987 for the last Gooner home defeat to Southampton. Again, there would appear little to fear for Wenger’s men assuming they can just score at least one more than their shaky defence concedes.
And then in GW5 it’s Hull away – the kind of game where you’d be happy to captain Alexis and Ozil, maybe even Giroud. That’s of course assuming that Hull, who have collected maximum points so far, don’t turn out to be this season’s Leicester.
Chelsea – Burnley (h), Swansea (a), Liverpool (h)
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[/three_fourth]We’re likely to see an efficient and well-drilled Chelsea under Antonio Conte and there has already been enough evidence of this in the first two gameweeks. We feel that efficiency will be enough to justify investing in the likes of Eden Hazard or Diego Costa as they look to consolidate their good start to the season over the next few weeks. Two relatively straightforward matches are in store for the Blues before the enigmatic Liverpool visit Stamford Bridge in GW5. The visit of Klopp and co should be a cracker of a match and too close to call at this stage, but it’s the next two matches for Chelsea that justify their place in this article.
First up is the visit of Burnley and while we can envisage Andre Gray causing some problems at the back for John Terry and Gary Cahill, the likes of Hazard, Costa and co should have way too much going forward for the Burnley defence. The Blues then travel to Swansea, where they lost last season, but as we know last season was a strange one for Chelsea and they are very much focused and determined to put it behind them. Both Costa and Oscar have excellent scoring records vs the Welshies and with Conte’s influence only increasing in the camp it will be a major surprise if Liverpool don’t arrive at the Bridge with Chelsea six points better off than they are now.
Man City – West Ham (h), Man Utd (a), Bournemouth (h)
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[/three_fourth]Now, before I bang on about Pep’s managerial skill, City’s clinical football and their likely title challenge, I should tell you that the Citizens were a late entry to this article. I had Palace teed up to write about and while the Eagles do have some decent looking fixtures on paper, I felt firstly that Pardew’s team are too unreliable to tip them at this stage and secondly that City have quickly adopted Pep’s system and they look primed to beat most of the teams they come up against. They were described by many as “far from their best” as they swept aside Stoke 4-1 in GW2, so heaven help those they come up against when they are playing well.
West Ham arrive at the Etihad in GW3 and with the attacking talents of Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Nolito together with the early season form of Raheem Sterling, City should have enough to cover any threat coming from the clearly less than 100% fit Dimitri Payet. The loss of Andy Carroll also significantly weakens the Hammers attacking prowess. Maybe City will actually keep a clean sheet and please the owners of John Stones finally.
It’s the big one in GW4 – the Manc derby at Old Trafford – United vs City, Jose vs Pep – the one we’ve all been waiting for. It’s too close to call, but we have a sense it’ll be action packed, full of drama and excitement and likely plenty of goals so we’d recommend holding onto those City attacking assets. GW5 sees City entertain Bournemouth at home which should be a fairly routine victory for Pep’s men.
City’s fixtures may not look as pretty as Palace’s or indeed West Brom’s, but I’m fairly sure I know who most of you will be more concerned about covering in terms of your FPL team, although Christian Benteke’s arrival for Palace may just give them the spark they need, though we’ll take a watching brief on the Eagles for now.
BE WARY OF…
Watford – Arsenal (h), West Ham (a), Man Utd (h)
Poor old Watford must be wondering who they have upset at the Premier League. If their first two fixtures of a trip to Southampton and a visit from Chelsea wasn’t enough, they have then been handed three more fixtures where frankly you’d be surprised if they got more than one point. In total. First up Arsenal come to town and the Gooners did the double over the Hornets last season, scoring seven goals in the process and conceding none. Ouch.
A trip to West Ham follows and we all know how tough that can be if Dimitri Payet is back and looking capable of repeating last season’s form. GW5 sees a home tie with Jose’s Man Utd who will be fully prepared and disciplined to produce another away win and continue their good start to the season.
Overall then, we wouldn’t go anywhere near any Hornets for now except Etienne Capoue as your 5th midfielder – athough in fairness he probably justifies somewhat better than that right now with two goals in two matches. But those fixtures……..
Hull – Man Utd (h), Burnley (a), Arsenal (h)
All I’m going to say is for Hull’s sake, let’s hope they can get a result at Burnley in GW4 for their home matches in GW3 & 5 look nasty! However, two wins out of two so far will at least give the Tigers some confidence that no-one saw coming but they will now face a proper test over the next three game-weeks, with Andrew Gray in GW3 hardly a pushover on current form.
Swansea – Leicester (a), Chelsea (h), Southampton (a)
We were told Swansea had a nice start to the season fixture-wise. Well they did, for two whole weeks – and they cocked up the second one of those – but now they change. First up a visit to the Champions, who may not have started as well as last season but will still be hot favourites to see off the Swans. Swansea then host Chelsea before then visiting Southampton. I’m going to break the rules of the article here and look beyond the next three weeks to prove to you to avoid Swansea – GW6 sees a home match vs Man City before Liverpool appear in GW7. Avoid – simples.
ONE WEEK WONDERS
Hull vs Man Utd
A one week punt on United players at Hull brings endless possibilities of fun and frenzy. Clearly most eyes will be on Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 3 goals in his opening 2 league matches has grabbed everyone’s attention with FPL seemingly split between those happy managers that own him and the unhappy ones who don’t but are trying to find a way of getting him in asap, without ripping up their whole squads. Jose is clearly focused on making a proper challenge for the Premier League and will therefore ensure his team go into this apparent “gimme” with no air of complacency – and having seen Hull replicate United’s perfect start to the season, that would be wise. But the return of Paul Pogba appears to have lifted United to another level and we feel they should have too much for Hull – with Ibra our pick to be dominating the headlines again this weekend, of course. You have to go back to 1974 for Hull’s last win over United and the Reds have scored 16 goals in the last six meetings between the two.
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Thanks for reading FPL Fixtures Analysis Game-week 3. This article was written by Cookie