Gameweek 2 would see the first landmark fixture of the season, as Tottenham hosted Chelsea for their first Premier League match at Wembley on Sunday. Monday’s match would see another strong prospect as Everton travelled to Manchester City to face a Pep Guardiola side tipped by many to lift the Premier League crown come May. There would be an upset as Arsenal were stunned at the Bet365 stadium, meanwhile Southampton and West Ham played out a thriller at St. Mary’s.
Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek 2 review…
Jack Butland – Stoke City were a side tipped by many this season to struggle, having done little business other than to sell star player Marko Arnautovic to rivals West Ham. The signings made by Mark Hughes have been predominantly free signings, with the loan of Kurt Zouma thrown in from champions Chelsea. With their rivals spending serious cash, it’s no wonder the Potteries were tipped for a difficult season, with some even suggesting that a relegation campaign may well be on the horizon. They would stun Arsenal, however, as they turned in a magnificent performance to secure a hard-fought 1-0 win.
Marcos Alonso – Arguably one of Chelsea’s unsung heroes of last season was marauding wing-back Marcos Alonso, who had a superb season on returning to the Premier League after a spell in Italy. He turned out to be the match winner as Chelsea dug deep to beat Spurs late on at Wembley on Sunday. The Spaniard put the blues ahead in the first half when he whipped a delightful free kick into the top corner from all of 25 yards. Spurs knocked on the door until ten minutes from time, when sub Michy Batshuayi nodded into his own net. However, with the tide swinging in Spurs’ favour, Alonso was played in down the left, and he slammed in through Hugo Lloris to secure a priceless three points for Antonio Conte’s side.
Harry Maguire – A signing that may well have gone under the radar with the wild millions being spent this season is Harry Maguire. The towering centre-half signed for Leicester City from Hull for a hefty £17 million. Many would say that while Maguire is by no means the finished article, he certainly looks promising and could play a vital role in a Leicester City side looking to improve on their start to last season. Maguire’s willingness to play with the ball at his feet combined with a good understanding of when to clear his lines may well see him go close to the England squad in the near future. He was on target as Leicester beat Brighton 2-0 at the King Power stadium.
Eric Bailly – Manchester United look like returning to the side that dominated English football for so long under Sir Alex Ferguson. They have started the season in rampant fashion, collecting hefty wins over both West Ham United and Swansea City in their opening two. However, it’s the way United have won these games that has got their fans excited, and perhaps seen some even tip the Red Devils for a title under Jose Mourinho. The addition of Nemanja Matic looks to have been massive in solidifying United’s backline. One player that has started the season in fine form is Eric Bailly, who found the target at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
Christopher Schindler – Huddersfield have been the fairy-tale story of the Premier League so far. Many tipped the Premier League first-timers for a harsh introduction to life in the modern top flight. However, having stunned Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last week, they would secure what could be a vital three points in their first home game against a Newcastle side that looked blunt up top. This isn’t to say that the Huddersfield defence haven’t performed brilliantly. One of the standout men has been German centre-half Christopher Schindler. It was his penalty that sent the Terriers to the big time, and he looks to be continuing on from a magnificent campaign last season.
Paul Pogba – One thing that will certainly be exciting Manchester United fans will be the performances of French midfielder Paul Pogba. With the signing of Nemanja Matic, Pogba has been given license to get forward and support the attack. He has scored in both of his sides Premier League matches so far this season, and terrorised Swansea with his strong running late on in the contest. After heading against the bar to set up Eric Bailly, Pogba’s deep run from midfield was rewarded when he was sent through, for the Frenchman to dink the ball over the oncoming keeper. He would then secure yet another assist when he drove from midfield to set up Anthony Martial to finish the rout.
Richarlison – One of the surprise packages of the season so far has undoubtedly been Marco Silva’s Watford side, who after snatching a point at the death against Liverpool, pulled off a superb 2-0 win away at Bournemouth. One standout man was forward Richarlison, who recently signed from Brazilian side Fluminense. Having terrorised Bournemouth from the left-hand side, he would open the scoring when he was in the middle to bundle home from Andre Gray’s low cross. The Hornets weren’t finished there, though, as Etienne Capoue smashed a superb half volley into the bottom corner to secure the three points late on.
Riyad Mahrez – Much has been made of the transfer speculation surrounding Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez. Having been linked to a host of big clubs, most recently Arsenal, it had been reported that the Algerian was in search of pastures new. However, he turned in a man of the match performance as the Foxes swept aside Brighton and Hove Albion at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. Less than a minute in Mahrez tested Australian keeper Mat Ryan with a stinging shot. He spilled it, only for Shinji Okazaki to bundle in to get his second in two games. Mahrez would then cross for Harry Maguire to finish it on a comfortable afternoon for the Foxes.
Aaron Mooy – One player experiencing his first taste of Premier League football is Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy. This is despite having signed for Manchester City in the summer of 2016. Almost immediately after signing for City, he was loaned to Huddersfield town to play in the Championship. Of course, the rest is history, and the Terriers now find themselves in the big time. This prompted the club to make Mooy’s move permanent, for a fee of £8 million rising to £10 million. Having stood out in their opening day win over Palace, it was interesting to see how he would fair against Newcastle. In a second half of few chances, he played a one-two with Elias Kachunga, before curling the ball into the far corner to send the John Smith’s stadium into raptures, and secure a precious three points.
Jesé Rodriguez – Stoke City fans will have been delighted to see their club secure the signing of former Real Madrid forward Jesé Rodriguez on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. He proved his worth immediately by netting a superb winner for the Potteries against none other than Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. Having driven from midfield, the man who spent last season with Las Palmas played the ball to Saido Berahino, who returned the ball to Rodriguez. Running in behind the Spaniard drilled the ball in past Petr Cech to the delight of the home faithful. Stoke were able to hold on despite a late scare when Alex Lacazette slammed into the top corner, only for the Potteries to be saved by a linesman’s flag. It was a fantastic result for Stoke, who look to be a force at home yet again.
Chicharito – Many took notice when West Ham secured the signing of former Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen for just £13 million. With an impeccable goal-scoring record, it was seen as somewhat of a coup for the hammers, especially with the inflated transfer fees flying around at the moment. He scored twice in a late 3-2 defeat against Southampton. Both were finishes characteristic of the Mexican, both reacting quickest to a loose ball in the box. Having hauled themselves level from two down with ten men, West Ham looked to be set to take a point, until they gave away a spot kick deep into injury time. Step forward Charlie Austin, who tucked it away to secure a good win for Saints.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)