We entered Gameweek 3 ahead of the international break knowing that we would face a disappointing fortnight without any Premier League action. We also eagerly anticipated the naming of Big Sam Allardyce’s first England squad, perhaps in the hope we would see some new faces ahead of the Three Lions’ first World Cup qualifying match against Slovakia come early September. It was also the last opportunity to see Premier League sides play before the end of the transfer window, meaning that there was as ever, lots of activity as the window gets ever closer to slamming shut. Anyway, here’s our FPL Gameweek 3 Review, where we take a look at who came to the fore for their clubs this weekend.
Here’s the Gameweek 3 dream team:
Shay Given – A veteran of the Premier League, an injury to Jack Butland has seen Irish stopper Shay Given thrust back into the thick of things as Stoke have struggled with their opening few fixtures, picking up just 1 point in their opening three matches. They lost 1-0 at Everton on Saturday, and Given seemed like he may turn out to be the hero, when he pushed Leighton Baines’ penalty onto the post, before the ball cruelly rebounded against his head and nestled in the net. A solid performance from Given, while Stoke will no doubt be concerned with the start they’ve made to the season.
Ben Gibson – Nephew of Chairman Steve Gibson, Ben has flourished over the past couple of seasons for Boro. Who have made a convincing start to the season, remaining unbeaten after three games. They faced an ever-solid West Brom side at the Hawthorns, on a Sunday that wasn’t as ‘Super’ as it should have been. Middlesbrough’s strong defensive work inside their own box meant WBA were starved of chances, and thus unable to break the deadlock. A solid performance from Boro, who may have nicked a goal on another day.
Scott Dann – Few will be more nervous following a shaky start to the season as Crystal Palace, who are yet to win a match, despite having played home games against both West Brom and Bournemouth. Having brought in Chritian Benteke to take on the goal scoring burden, Palace will hope to start improving and fast. One threat that they will always pose is that of Scott Dann in the air, and what better way to prove it than to loop a header over the opposition keeper in stoppage time from the edge of the box to salvage a point for your side. One would imagine that with Benteke in from Liverpool, they’ll start to improve in no time.
Antonio Valencia – Having enjoyed Manchester United’s 100% start, Antonio Valencia looks a different player in the right-back position he started to take up under Louis Van Gaal. The Ecuador international has flown up and down the wing, delivering cross after cross. It took 92 minutes against Hull City at the weekend, but United were eventually able to wear down the Tigers’ defence before Rooney squared for Marcus Rashford to score a dramatic late winner. This sparked pandemonium among the United fans, who spilled onto the pitch as rapturous celebrations reined throughout the away end. A very well fought performance from the Red Devils.
Jonny Evans – We’re only too used to seeing a West Bromwich Albion centre-half feature in the dream team. Their solid goal scoring ability combined with their knack of grinding out clean sheets makes them perfect for FPL managers at low costs. West Brom fans seem to be losing patience with his perceived ‘boring’ style of play. One thing Pulis does bring is solidity at the back, as we saw in their 0-0 boredraw with Boro on Sunday. A solid performance from Evans, while not much else can be said about the match.
Alexis Sánchez – One of the most talented players in the league, Alexis has been blighted with injuries over the past six months, but his return to full fitness could help to spark a revival from Arsenal, who will be looking to improve having only taken four points from their opening 3 matches. Sánchez registered 2 assist while also picking up his first goal of the season as Arsenal eased past Watford, a side who have suffered with their difficult run of fixtures. Arsenal will always score goals, which makes Sánchez worth the punt for any FPL managers looking for a top bracket midfielder. There’s definitely more to come from Alexis this season.
Raheem Sterling – After seeing Manchester City sign both Nolito and Leroy Sané this summer, few would have had hope for Raheem Sterling this season. However, Sterling has started the season on fire, and looks a totally different player under Guardiola, than the timid, weak winger we saw at the Euros this summer. He registered an assist in each of City’s first two matches, before bagging a brace this weekend at home to West Ham on Sunday. His direct and quick interplay have made him a real favourite of Guardiola, and fans of England will no doubt be delighted to see him potentially beginning to grow into the player he looked like he might become at Liverpool.
Willian – A star in a terrible Chelsea side last season, fans were unsure whether Brazilian Willian would be able to replicate the form that made him the Blues’ star man last season. This weekend he answered his critics, chipping in with a goal and a superb performance against Burnley at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners in a game they always had under control, and keeps up their 100% start to the season. They’ll be pleased to win so convincingly having needed late goals from Diego Costa in each of their last two matches. A very good performance from Willian, but he’s not the only Chelsea midfielder to feature in the dream team…
Eden Hazard – The revitalised Belgian seems to be getting back to the player we saw guide Chelsea to a league title under José Mourinho two years ago. He began the game by picking the ball up just inside the Burnley half before driving towards goal and curling a low drive past Tom Heaton into the bottom right corner of the net. Having already netted twice this season, he will pose a real threat against the best of them, and quite frankly was too good for Burnley on the day. Sean Dyche admitted in his post-match interview that there’s not a lot his side could do against a side with world-class players like Chelsea.
James Milner – The man for all days, James Milner, put in an ever-consistent performance in his new left-back position, and netted when he coolly converted a penalty won when Erik Lamela clipped Roberto Firmino’s heels in the box. Liverpool has a number of chances to kill off Spurs, which they continued to spurn, and you just had a feeling that they’d regret not putting the game to bed. They did, as Danny Rose snuck in at the back post to volley past Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool net. Jürgen Klopp will be disappointed to see his side throw away what would have been an impressive win. Liverpool have had a frustrating season so far. After beating Arsenal, they lost to Burnley at Turf Moor, and continue to show that their poor defending will cost them dear in a particularly strong Premier League.
Jermain Defoe – In a week where few strikers netted for their sides, it’s Jermain Defoe who takes the place as lone striker in the dream team after he scored what looked like would be precious winner at St. Mary’s against Southampton. He turned José Fonte on the six-yard box, before being tripped by the Portuguese defender, and would step up and convert, seemingly taking a vital three points back to Wearside, however it was not to be. Young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, deputising for the injured Vito Mannone, would let a Jay Rodriguez shot squirm beneath his body, handing Southampton a lucky point. Pickford had enjoyed a good performance to this point. Sunderland will be encouraged by the performance while Southampton know they must improve.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)