Southampton vs. Wigan
The Saints put in a good performance against Manchester City but were simply over-matched. Of note were the six chances (and two goals) they created against the Champions. Two goals when they held only 35.9% of the possession, and against one of the most staunch defenses in the Premier league a season ago, points to their ability to find the goal. It was Lallana and Puncheon with two chances created apiece who were the most active in probing the Citizens defenses. Rickie Lambert was not given the start last weekend. He, and fellow substitute Steven Davis, scored a goal only 3′ after entering the fray. We’re expecting that he will get the nod in this game and we’re expecting more of the same. A year ago Wigan was awful away from home, allowing 35 goals on their travels while scoring 20. Lambert was last season’s top scorer in the Championship and we trust in him to find the back of the net over any of the other options Nigel Adkins has at his disposal. Wigan, eesssh, what? That’s a real word. It’s an expression meant to convey – Why? Why do we have to write a preview of the Latics? In one day we’ve gone from:
Moses, 21, has been heavily linked with a move for to Stamford Bridge, but Wigan want £9 million for their main asset, a price Chelsea are not willing to pay.
Wigan Athletic have announced that they have accepted a bid from Chelsea for Victor Moses.
So, we’re not certain what to expect but we’re not planning on seeing Victor Moses play for either Wigan or Chelsea this weekend – and frankly we’re not expecting to see him play for Chelsea much ever. Those left behind in Martinez’s squad will certainly have to play up the best of their ability to carry the squad through another potential relegation battle. Meanwhile, for fantasy premier league purposes, most every player you would want to own face late fitness tests:
Wide man Jean Beausejour missed last Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea due to a soft tissue problem and will be assessed, along with fellow midfielders James McArthur (back) and Shaun Maloney (dead leg), who both had to be substituted during the contest.
We could see a case being made for Jordi Gomez but he was not started last week. If he is an every week starter moving forward, he is worth adding in a double-transfer where you’re adding the extra £ to another player with the idea that Gomez is an expensive bench option. He is priced £5.5m and owned by just 0.8% of FPL managers. He entered the game on 49′ for the injured Shaun Maloney and created two chances, both from set pieces. With Moses departing, we expect to see Gomez in the lineup more frequently and certainly this weekend as not all the late fitness tests will make the starting XI.
Sunderland vs. Reading
UPDATE: Adam Johnson, Fantasy Premier League £7m, has signed from Manchester City.
It’s finally Steven Fletcher in from Wolves. He has been added to the Fantasy Premier League and ownership will be worth monitoring. As with Fletcher, and Jarvis, once a player’s added, we’ll tweet it – and issue a “Buy/Scout/Sell” rating in all probability – including his price:
The 25-year-old has signed a four-year deal on Wearside and goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s home opener against Reading.
He is already available and is worth adding before rosters lock tomorrow, Fletcher becomes an attractive option to replace either Torres or Pogrebnyak for this gameweek and next – with Chelsea and Reading both missing in action gameweek 3 – though his price will likely stay stable we’re looking at adding him sooner than later. Reading’s starting XI for the two matches they played over GW1 showed two different approaches with a 4-4-2 used in the opening fixture while a 4-5-1, with Pogrebnyak the loan striker, used in the 4-2 loss to Chelsea. It was Le Fondre scoring a late (90′) penalty to level the score 1-1 with Stoke City at Madejski Stadium. We liked Le Fondre, but this type of formation modification for home/away will significantly limit his upside and essentially ruin his potential as a low cost third striker. Pogrebnyak has no such problem. Pog has seen 18703 transfers in this gameweek, he is owned in 15.8% of league and netted a goal already. He remains out low cost option – if you want a striker for below £6.1 (where Petric is currently priced after 75927 transfers in) it is Pog.
Tottenham vs. West Brom
Luka Modric appears set to depart White Hart Lane for Spain after Chairman Daniel Levy agreed to the transfer. Via ESPNFC:
Luka Modric’s long-protracted move from Tottenham to Real Madrid is set to be rubber-stamped in the next 48 hours – after Spurs chairman Daniel Levy finally ratified a transfer that has rumbled on all summer.
Rafa Van der Vaart did not earn the start last weekend, but was a like-for-like swap with Gylfi Sigurdsson. We’re expecting to see all three of the Gareth/Rafa/Gylfi three-headed beast to start the match. Also possible to start will be new arrival Adebayorlikely to see action as well. This is what we have to work with:
Emmanuel Adebayor is now back in the fold following this week’s transfer from City. Andre added: “He had an extremely good season here last season and it’s almost like he already belongs to the family. It’s pretty clear what he can do for us.”
Reading very far between the lines, we still think he will start, with Villas-Boas making the unconventional move in the hope that Ade makes an early impact and can be later substituted. Adebayor can be used as a foil for the attacking midfielders, creating space for them that does not exist when Defoe is on the pitch. His physical presence is matched by his movement on and off the ball and we love this fact about Ade:
17/11 – Emmanuel Adebayor was the only PL player to register double figures for both goals (17) and assists (11) last season. Strings. — Opta Sports (@OptaJoe) August 21, 2012
We also expect to see Rafa in the starting lineup. Interestingly, opta stats credit Sigurdsson with three chances created and none for Rafa. But it was the addition of the Dutch maestro that led to Spurs attacking the Toon end with purpose. Bale has actually seen a net transfer loss with 13588 transfers in, but more than offset by 22921 transfers out. He has the most transfers out of any Spurs player but Modric. Bale was his usual self with two chances created, three dribbles, and four crosses. He didn’t find the target as frequently as he is able, but we expect the adaptation to AVB’s tactics and the return of Adebayor will see Bale remain in the top echelon of midfielders this season.
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen is set to make his debut as Younes Kaboul is ruled out with a knee injury.
Emmanuel Adebayor is set to start following the completion of his transfer from Man City on Tuesday.
Stoke City vs. Arsenal
Stoke City lost two points at the death when Le Fondre netted a 90′ penalty in gameweek one. The draw may have been disheartening, but Tony Pulis will need his squad to have put that behind them in order to focus on a more dangerous opponent. The Potters will be without Dean Whitehead, suspended, and that additional chink in their armour will likely be exploited by Wenger’s Gunners. Crouch, Walters and Kightly remain viable options in fantasy premier leagues, but none can be expected to provide much this weekend. With a trip to Wigan in GW3 followed by fixtures against Manchester City and Liverpool, we’re not investing in Stoke City until late-September.
In their opening game it was Crouch who created three of the teams seven chances. No Potter attempted more than Whelan’s 35 or completed more than 21. They held possession for 47.5% of the time against the Premier League new boys. This is a side who does not match Arsenal in natural attributes, tactics or work rate. For more info – consult the Stoke City Buying Guide.
Of far more importance to fantasy premier league players is the situation at the Emirates. Podolski played well, as did Giroud, though neither found the net. Arsenal held 70.1% of possess, completing 637/702 passes – 91%, allowed just 222/294 passes to be completed against them, and created 18 chances while allowing three. Say what you like about scoreline – if your team creates three chances a match every match, and mine 18, I’ll lay the mortgage on my team every match and retire a wealthy man.
Key for the Gunners was new signing Santi Cazorla who created seven chances and embarked on five dribbles. (again, all stats via the lovely EPL Index!). What plagued Santi, and the rest of the Gunners, was the lack of a lethal touch. You hate to say “if only they’d had Van Persie” but 23 shots were fired by Arsneal and just three found the target. That will improve as the weeks progress and players like Walcott (4 shots, 0 on), Gervinho (4, 0), Ramsey (3, 1) and Cazorla (4, 1) will reap rewards later this season.
There was no such problem with passing the ball. Mikel Arteta was dominant, he completed 114/119 passes – 96% – completing more than 50% of the passes of his opposition. Tellingly, Arteta created no chances, and his skill on the ball coupled with his ability to lie deep in the midfield, make him perfect for pulling the strings in Wenger’s offense, but he will not earn enough in a fantasy premier league to justify his luxury price. For now, it is Podolski, Cazorla, Walcott and Giroud that should command ownership, with Arsenal’s defenders playing well enough to sneak a start or two as well. £4.5m rated Carl Jenkinson is up to 3.7% ownership and, if you’re playing a wild card – not recommended – he is a good option to come in this week. If Koscielney and Sagna are still missing next weekend, and you’ve saved a transfer this week, he is a lovely way to manage two swaps and find a little extra cash as you sell Ashley Cole or John Terry. Szczesny may miss but we’re expecting him to come through late fitness tests.
Liverpool vs. Manchester City
How far have Liverpool fallen that we’re no longer sure if they can give as good a game as Reading or Southampton? Nothing against the newly promoted sides, but the volume of cash flowing from Anfield should have at least provided the ballast to stick in the top half of the table. At times, Liverpool appeared to be fighting 18 months of Kenny Dalglish instilled direct-attack footy. Not the hoof-if and chase, mind, but the incisive long ball that Gerrard and Alonso used to carve defenses four years ago, which Dalglish modified to volume crosses last season, and which Rodgers has removed and replaced with possession football. Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and even Steven Gerrard do not seem to fit in this new brand of Anfield football and their replacements have not had quite long enough to jell into a cohesive attacking side.
Luis Suarez was once more heavily involved in the offense and, despite his poor finishing (only 2/8 shots on target), remains a target for Fantasy Premier League managers looking to replace Torres or Aguero. He created two chances – level with Gerrard, one behind Glen Johnson – and passed efficiently, completing 35/40 passes. Borini looked less involved in the attack in the first Premier League match than he had in Europa league, and carried his poor form into Thursday’s match against Hearts. Liverpool’s attack, missing Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll, needed a 78′ own goal to record the 1-0 win in midweek.
Daniel Agger did earn the start after seeing red last weekend, while Gerrard, Suarez, Johnson and Skrtel were all rested ahead of the clash with the Champions. Agger will be missing this weekend through suspension. Jose Enrique, who also missed out last weekend with a knee injury, may also miss out. That would mean another match for Martin Kelly. It could also mean a long day for Jose Reina in goal. We can’t move from our summer assessments much from one weekend, but Borini has not looked as involved in the attack as we expected following his move this summer, other wise the Liverpool Buying Guide still rules the day.
With Manchester City you never know what you’re going to get. That used to be a statement of the rotation policy, the plethora of attacking player and the volume of fantasy premier league points being spread across a variety of players from week-to-week. Add to that a defense that is conceding liberally, Man City now provide less reason than ever to purchase from the back. Kun Aguero is out for at least a month, and the question of who will partner Tevez is a vital one.
If Manchester City’s own website is to be believe (and why not?) then it should be Dzeko’s spot this weekend:
Dzeko, bidding for a place in the starting XI for Sunday’s trip to Liverpool, bagged a hat-trick in the small-sided training match and hit one stunning strike from 20 yards giving Gunnar Nielsen no chance.
We’re still expecting that all three of Balotelli, Dzeko and Tevez see the pitch as Mancini likes to rotate his players even within the game. We rate them Tevez > Dzeko > Balotelli this weekend. Of more importance for the 14.7% of Fantasy Premier League managers who’ve invested £10m in the playmaker, what is wrong with David Silva?
Lets take a moment to reflect on the fact that Silva completed 50/57 passes, created three chances and had 75 touches while only losing possession 14 time (all stats via the exceptional EPL Index). That is one of the top performances in any other match on the weekend but for Silva, the poor penalty and another missed opportunity later on had fantasy premier league managers questioning his fitness. We expect he will put this behind him and provide enough value to match, though not exceed, expectation.
The opening fixture was, in light of David Silva’s perceived absence, the Yaya Toure Show. Yaya was remarkable, he recorded 143 touches, completing 120/130 passes and creating four chances (Nasri, 5) while assisting on a goal. He put one of his two shots on the frame and embarked on a successful dribble just to round out his day. He is still priced at just £8m despite his total selection reaching 31.2% 24 Aug. Yaya (21272) and Nasri (53403) have seen their prices stay level despite increases in ownership.
UPDATE: Adam Johnson transferred to Sunderland on 24 August.
That is all the info we’ve found fit to print. Check back throughout the week for more column and follow us on Twitter @FantasyGaffer for lineups, goals, Fantasy Premier League information and more.