Oh it feels so good to be back! And what a great first gameweek it was too. 13 goals scored in the first two games, 7 debutants opened their account, Burnley equalled their entire 2016/17 away wins total by beating the champs, 14 different players scored double figures in FPL and Liverpool still can’t defend set pieces. How did we survive three months without this? Saying that I’m pretty sure it got so bad for me over the summer that at one point I even watched a game from the eighth tier of the Venezuelan U21’s.
With all of the excitement of the first week it would be easy to overlook the fact that the gameweek 1 average points total was higher than I ever recall seeing it. 58pts is a huge average to open the season and with over 4m entrants to start the FPL season our total of 74 could only put us just inside the top 600k! Madness.
If last week someone had offered me 74pts in gameweek 1 I’d have bitten their hand off, but never for one moment did I think that kind of total would leave us outside the top 250k, let alone the top 500k. Either way, it gives us a solid foundation in which to work with. So let’s have a look at who scored our points.
Obviously Wayne Hennessey conceded three. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t pick a Crystal Palace goalkeeper expecting clean sheets EVERY week but losing 3-0 at home to a team that are expected to go straight back down is alarming! I’m usually against using a free transfer on a keeper but if this continues then I may have to.
At the back our week began on Friday night as Rob Holding got a start against Leicester, and we all know how that went. Obviously three months with no Premier League football was enough for me to completely forget Arsenal cannot defend. Although Arsenal probably deserved the win Leicester looked a constant threat and any hope of points for Holding were gone within a matter of minutes of the kick off. The two men alongside him fared far better. Maya Yoshida and Kyle Walker picked up comfortable clean sheets and both came exceptionally close to attacking returns too. Walker from his constant marauding runs down the right and Yoshida from his surprise addition to Southampton’s list of free kick takers. 6pts apiece did us no harm at all.
In midfield we had an even split of two delivering for us and two not. Sadio Mane and Paul Pogba backed up all of their pre-season hype with a goal each whilst Kevin De Bruyne and Wilfried Zaha both blanked in favourable matches. Pogba looked a cut above anyone in the West Ham midfield and with Nemanja Matic looking everything we expected I think the Pogba bandwagon could gather serious momentum in the coming weeks. I’ll happily admit I spent the summer shouting about how much of a bargain Pogba looks this season and from early viewing the 8.0m price tag is a blinder. Sadio Mane looked his usual self and I have no doubt he will continue to score goals like he did Saturday. De Bruyne is my tip for Player of the Year and I don’t expect to be talking about his quiet games very often this season. Wilfried Zaha also had a quiet game in the 3-0 hammering by Huddersfield and with reports of his injury costing him the next four weeks, I think his stay in our line up will be a brief one.
Up top we simply cannot start anywhere other than with Big Romelu Lukaku. YOU, the readers voted him our captain this week and you did yourselves proud. His brace and maximum bonus points scored us a superb 26pts and showed exactly why he is by far the highest owned player in FPL. Unsurprisingly his value has increased this week with his ownership up to 52% and the sooner he is 12.0m the better! The biggest question left though is if 2.3m people own him, then what are the other 2m doing? Alongside him we had another of the impressive Liverpool front line, Roberto Firmino. He notched a goal and an assist in the 3-3 draw with watford and given that he is clearly the designated penalty taker in James Milner’s absence his FPL appeal has increased heavily. No price increase as of yet but at 8.5m he looks a steal. Last up was a player I just knew would disappoint us and so he did, Manolo Gabbiadini. Confident of him starting I felt the potential reward outweighed the risk but alas I was wrong. With the threat of rotation with Charlie Austin lingering I’m not sure he is likely to be hanging around. Especially given that a handful of mid priced strikers showed far more in gameweek 1.
There we have it. gameweek 1 out of the way and a fairly consistent return all round. I was contemplating saving the transfer this week but with Zaha’s injury I had no choice.
Zaha (OUT) – Son (IN)
Gabbiadini (OUT) – Mounie (IN)
With Zaha out I just didn’t see a huge amount of appeal in the sub 7.0m market. A few names stood out but none as prominently as Heung-Min Son. He looked a threat the minute he came on against Newcastle and for 8.0m I wanted him. This meant I needed to free up funds and the excuse to bin off Gabbiadini was there. So we’ve pulled a Mounie.
Given the fact that there is more chance of my 5 year old niece curing cancer than there is of Crystal Palace keeping a clean sheet against Liverpool, we have to start Rob Elliott. The only 4.0m starting GK in the game gets the nod for us. He was halfway to an unexpected clean sheet against Spurs last week, until the brain dead half wit that is Jonjo Shelvey got sent off. Away to Huddersfield this week, it looks a both teams to score if I ever I’ve seen one.
The back three gets a bit of a reshuffle. Fixtures have played a big part this week as both Rob Holding and Maya Yoshida make their way to the bench and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Danny Simpson come into replace them. Kyle Walker remains and will feature in the first Monday night football of the season at home to Everton. This will be a battle of the full backs as he faces Leighton Baines but I can’t help but feel City control this. The lack of any real pace or threat at left wing for Everton also makes me think Walker will have license to bomb forward at will. Trent AA gets his first start for us after a mightily impressive few days. Starting in place of the injured Nathaniel Clyne he has settled quickly and even scored a sublime free kick against Hoffenheim. At 4.5m he could prove to be one of the biggest FPL bargains in the early part of this season. Palace at home is good enough for us, especially given that he now won’t be facing Zaha. In FPL terms Danny Simpson is about as boring a pick as you can find. 0 goals and none assists in eight years as a Premier League player means I’m certainly not picking him for attacking returns. But I’m not wholly convinced Brighton will score. They lack a cutting edge at this level and Leicester should have too much. I’m gambling on a clean sheet here.
In midfield the decision of who to bench was far easier. Tom Carroll against United doesn’t interest me one bit. So we will start with the new boy Heung-Min Son. I’m not 100% sure if he will start but he really should. Watching Chelsea last week I have no concerns naming a player facing them. Son’s performance last season was nothing short of stunning and I really think he will prove to be a great pick up at £8m. Next to him is Kevin De Bruyne. For £10m he’s pricey but I guess if we have learnt anything this summer is you have to pay for class now. A blank this week won’t be a major worry but will definitely have me contemplating how much we could do with that money. Sadio Mane will be licking his lips at the thought of facing Crystal Palace after watching what Huddersfield did to them. Liverpool do tend to struggle at home to Palace but I think this will be a comfortable win with them scoring a few. Last up is Paul Pogba. An early kick off for him it will be nice if he can help get us off to a flier. Swansea didn’t look too bad defensively last week away to Southampton but I’m certainly not expecting them to repeat that feat this week.
Up top we start with another player facing Swansea, Romelu Lukaku. After hitting the ground running he will be raring to go. He will be a strong captain candidate this week but there is always something iffy about a captain in the early game. Don’t forget, you get to vote below for our weekly captain so it will be interesting to see if people still fancy him to lead the team again this week. Another who will be surely be included within the captaincy discussion is Roberto Firmino. Like Mane, he will be buzzing at the thought of facing Palace. After his goal and assist last week I certainly wouldn’t argue against giving him the armband. Last but not least is a new boy to the FPL Updates XI and a new boy to the Premier League, Steve Mounie. Following his two goal debut showing last week I have no hesitancy getting him in. He looks a threat in all areas and stunningly is still only owned by 3.2% of managers. Throw in the fact his next five games are Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham, Leicester and Burnley he looks a great value pick up. I can’t even tell you how pleased I was that his price stayed at 6.0m on Wednesday when I brought him in. But I can certainly tell you that I don’t expect that to still be the case by the time you are reading this.
So there we have it. Only gameweek 2 and already a points hit! A justifiable one if I’m honest though and two players I feel could be around for a fair few weeks.
It’s one thing starting the season well, it’s another thing maintaining it. I think we have a team here that can realistically achieve 50+ points in gameweek 2 and a jump up the rankings. What will be key though is who we captain. I won’t lie, I was a little worried leaving the captaincy decision up to you all last week but you all proved your knowledge (and common sense) by picking Rom. Well, we will ignore the 20 or so who picked Hennessey! So here we go again. Maybe a little tougher this week but please feel free to vote for our gameweek 2 captain and hopefully help us bring in some sexy green arrows.
Thanks again for reading and good luck this week!
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)