The opening gameweek of the 2017/2018 has come to an end, and for the majority of FPL managers it was remarkably high-scoring. A mixture of both defensive and attacking returns from marauding full-backs as well as double digit scores from popular midfielders have left managers feeling positive going into gameweek 2. However, while many will be banking a transfer, others will be looking for the opportunity to gain on their rivals. Here are five differential picks that might do the trick.
ROMELU LUKAKU – £11m – TSB: 7.9% – Brighton (A)
Manchester United opened up the gameweek with a reasonable performance in a 2-1 victory over Leicester City. However, they lacked a cutting edge, with Marcus Rashford unable to manage a single touch in the box or even an attempt on goal. He was replaced by Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku with over 20 minutes to go, suggesting that Lukaku may be ready to start by the time the weekend rolls around. Lukaku is coming off a decent World Cup with third placed Belgium and is known as a flat-track bully, many of his goals coming against the lesser teams in the division. After Brighton fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Watford, they may be low on confidence, and Lukaku will likely have the opportunity to start his season with a bang.
JAMIE VARDY – £9.0m – TSB: 7.0% – Wolves (H)
Despite scoring 20+ goals in two of the past three seasons, Jamie Vardy has generally been overlooked going into this campaign. A tricky opening fixture at Manchester United plus expectations that he wouldn’t be ready to start in gameweek 1 were two reasons why. Another was that Leicester City’s creativity would be vastly reduced after the sale of Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City. Vardy did indeed begin the campaign from the bench, but came on to grab his side a consolation at Old Trafford, meaning he will likely lead the line in gameweek 2. Additionally, though boss Claude Puel has stated that Leicester can’t replace Mahrez, he claimed the performance of new-signing James Maddison (TSB: 1%) was very encouraging. Many who watched the game would agree, and it certainly bodes well for Vardy that Maddison and Demarai Gray (TSB: 1.2%) look ready to fill the void in Leicester’s frontline. Vardy and co could return well at home to newly-promoted Wolves.
BERNARDO SILVA – £7.5m – TSB: 7.6% – Huddersfield (H)
Manchester City were very impressive away to new-look Arsenal, picking up from where they left off last season with a comfortable 2-0 victory. Bernardo Silva was heavily tipped to start well after an impressive pre-season and praise from manager Pep Guardiola, and Silva justified the plaudits with a second-half goal in a brilliant performance at the Emirates. The caveat to Bernardo Silva’s potential prior to gameweek 1 was the threat of rotation, but it seems unlikely Guardiola will drop him considering both his form and David Silva’s absence from the match day squad last time out. Huddersfield went down 3-0 at home to Chelsea at the weekend and will be up against it versus the free-scoring champions. If City are in the goals as expected, Bernardo Silva will likely be involved.
RAHEEM STERLING – £11.0m – TSB: 2.8% – Huddersfield (H)
Another Manchester City player that should be considered this week is Raheem Sterling. His lack of ownership is mainly due to his hefty price tag of £11.0m and because many fantasy managers expected a late return after England’s World Cup run. It was a little surprising to see Sterling both start and score in gameweek 1 and he should start again in a tasty looking home fixture against Huddersfield. Bernardo Silva is certainly the more budget-friendly option, but with news that Kevin De Bruyne has picked up an injury, many of De Bruyne’s owners may be able to stretch their funds to include Sterling. He returned a staggering 18 goals and 17 assists in the Premier League last season, so with less than 3% of managers owning the Englishman, now might be the time to buy, with a potential double-digit score in the offing.
DELE ALLI – £9.0m – TSB: 5.0% – Fulham (H)
Tottenham were not at their best in their victory over Newcastle in gameweek 1. Star man Harry Kane looked off the pace and Spurs looked vulnerable at the back. Despite their issues, Dele Alli looked fresh after England’s World Cup campaign and scored a great match-winning header after ghosting in at Martin Dubravka’s back post. Fulham conceded numerous chances in their home loss to Crystal Palace at the weekend, so Alli will likely get opportunities in his attempt to improve upon 9 league goals last season. Spurs centre-back Davinson Sanchez (TSB: 2.9%) is also another interesting option ahead of gameweek 2. He had the most efforts on goal of all Spurs assets against Newcastle – perhaps spending the summer with fellow Colombian and now Everton defender Yerry Mina has helped improve his goal threat.
Good luck all.
Written by FPL Forum (@FPLForum)