Fantasy Football

Well, that went surprisingly well. My score of 93 was comfortably ahead of the average score of 58. It meant I entered the charts at a respectable 30,225th, which when you consider there are 4.3 million players seems quite reasonable. The problem is, that was week one, and there are 37 more to navigate without disaster. And so, much like a sitcom that does really well in the first season, it’s time to write that all important second season.

Everybody in my lineup did something except my two offensive Southampton players. It turns out they haven’t scored a home goal since 2008 (rough estimate) and peddling their manager made no difference on that front. We’ll try and solve that conundrum later.

The Dilemma

Man Utd are the early front runners, with Lukaku and Mkhitaryan the main points bearers, and both have already seen their prices increase. They travel to Swansea in Saturday’s early game, which won’t be easy but it’s the type of game Mourinho teams win 2-0 with minimal fuss. Liverpool have a home game with Palace to look forward to, except Palace have a weirdly good record at Anfield and Benteke is bound to score. Having said that, Palace were woeful at home to Huddersfield as the Frank De Boer experiment looks like it may take some time to come to fruition. Owners of Mane, Salah and Firmino must fancy their chances of some points. Arsenal travel to Stoke, having pulled off a great escape on Friday night. Lacazette could have a field day against Ryan Shawcross though Martins Indi and Zouma will be tougher.

The main event of the weekend is Tottenham against Chelsea at Wembley. I’m having kittens about not owning Kane and absolutely got away with in week 1, and no matter how many people tell me Kane hasn’t scored a Premier League goal in August we all know it’s purely a coincidence. I am really curious to see how Spurs adapt to playing on that big Wembley pitch week in week out and of course these two met at Wembley in the FA Cup Semi finals, but so much has changed at Chelsea since then. I’m hoping I can get away without Kane for one more week, but if you own him, it’s Burnley at home next week, so don’t be too hasty to get rid. Chelsea meanwhile were a shambles and barely have 11 senior players, somehow. I’m sure it will improve for them but I wouldn’t be rushing to put any Chelsea players in for this week. Wait until it settles down.

I opted for Aguero over the Golden Boot winners and was rewarded with Aguero’s second half goal against Brighton. City looked slick and dominant in a 3-5-2 but they’ll rarely be afforded so much of the ball and they’ll have a much tougher test when they face Everton at the Etihad on Monday night. David Silva at £8.5m looks a snip playing in a central midfield role, obviously channelling his inner Zidane with his new hair do.

Bargain Bin

One thing that struck me on Saturday was how far forward Ruben Loftus-Cheek played for Crystal Palace. Playing as one of the two behind Benteke and priced at £4.5m, the injury to Wilf Zaha should cement his place in the team for a few weeks yet. After Liverpool they have three decent fixtures too. Steve Mounié made the best possible debut for Huddersfield, netting twice, and as a £6m forward in FPL he immediately becomes an option. The Terriers host Newcastle this weekend, who lost half of their defence to injury in GW1, so he’s worth considering. Huddersfield have back to back home games as they embark on a decent run of games in the next 5. Burnley shocked everybody with that win at Stamford Bridge and they host WBA this week, the first in a trio of decent looking home games in alternate weeks (2, 4 and 6). Vokes at £6m is an option if you think he can carry on his goalscoring form, but against WBA you’d struggle to see him getting much joy in the air.


The obvious choice is Romelu Lukaku, he’s probably on cloud nine at the moment after 3 goals in 2 competitive starts. His price is already up to £11.6m though. Any of the Liverpool trio are strong candidates – though I have to admit Salah (my choice) looks the worst of the three as was somewhat fortunate to come away with a goal and an assist. Mane is the priciest but a constant threat, whereas Firmino is a forward this season and valued at £8.5m, but the fact he has penalties might help. I also like Jamie Vardy’s chances at home to Brighton, he looked in top form against Arsenal last week, though Brighton probably won’t be as open as the Gunners were.

As for my own team, I’m leaning towards not making any changes and keeping my two transfers to shuffle the pack to bring Kane in next week. Mind you, it’s Wednesday night as I write this and I’ll no doubt change my mind hundreds of times between now and the Saturday 11.30am deadline. My reasoning is that I picked my gameweek 1 squad with the first five weeks in mind, and seeing as the lads did ok so far, I’m going to stick with my gut. One week of form is probably not enough to hang your hat on, so I’m a big fan of keeping my powder dry…even if it means relying on Southampton to actually score a goal. Any goal. Gabbiadini is under most threat, I could bring in Mounie to release the cash to bring in Kane next week, but we’ll see.

De Gea, Stephens, Dawson, Mee, Willian, Salah, Eriksen, Ward-Prowse, Gabbiadini, Aguero, Lukaku. (Elliot, David Luiz, T Carroll, Hefele)

Whether I regret benching David Luiz remains to be seen…Good luck and may all your arrows be green.