Premier League: GW2 Starting XI

No Friday game, which means we get an extra day to tinker and transfer, for those FPL managers who didn’t quit make the grade with their GW1 squads. For me, I’ll consider myself lucky, finishing on 84 points and feeling I don’t have any pressing needs that need to be addressed. I will be watching a handful of players, after their GW1 totals didn’t quite measure up to their expectations. It’s a short list and I wrote about them in my GW1 Retrospect including, Joe Gomez, Ryan Fraser and Raul Jimenez.

Ahead of GW2 I’ve got some mixed feelings towards the fixtures. Liverpool travel to St. Mary’s, where they look to pick up their first clean sheet of the season, after conceding one to Teemu Pukki and Norwich City. Gomez, while not a punt, was a £5.5 “budget” option in the Liverpool defense, a player who could be moved if another team shows promise defensively. Notice I didn’t say, Man United?

Aston Villa host Bournemouth as Fraser looks to rebound after a rather poor performance that saw just a one point performance. The Cherries were highly discussed after a solid season, where I feel they overachieved in the early part of the season, but fell flat after the holiday fixtures. At £7.5, he’s not cheap and could be make weight, if I decided to go a different direction, potentially adding that seconds City midfielder in Bernardo Silva.

Finally, it’s the Wolves hitman, Raul Jimenez, who will be tested on Monday, as Molineux plays host to the upstart Red Devils, who’s 4-0 win was impressive, but not to the point I am jumping that bandwagon quite yet. Jimenez and teammate, Diogo Jota were both off the mark all game against Leicester City, as the Mexican finished with no attacking returns. It’s the Wolves home opener, as they participate in Thursday, Europa League action, but I feel this game will features goals for both sides.

With thoughts out of the way, as I consider options moving forward, I will start GW2 with an unchanged starting XI. Nick Pope and Burnley travel to the Emirates to face an Arsenal squad that wasn’t overly convincing against Newcastle in GW1. The Gunners defense wasn’t impressive last season, but off season changes saw Unai Emery’s group post a clean sheet on the road? Pope posted a clean sheet in his opener and the Burnley defense could be similar to the one we saw a few years ago.

It’s a 4-man back line, as I line up with double Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk and Gomez and double Man City in Oleksandr Zinchenko and John Stones. Last week resulted in 22 points last week, which is an average I would take over 38 weeks. Liverpool has the easier fixture against the Saints, who conceded three goals to Burnley. The concen this week is Man City hosting Spurs, a series that has been dominated by the Sky Blues, usually resulting in a clean sheet, the exception being the Champions League Semifinal last season. While good for my defenders that means Harry Kane could struggle.

It’s also four across the midfield led by Liverpool’s, Mo Salah. The Egyptian looked to be king after last Friday’s fixture, as he was highly captained, getting many FPL managers started off right. Man City’s, Kevin De Bruyne, who looked good last week, but was out played by Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling. Still, he was highly involved and looked to be fit, picking some good passes. While Anthony Martial has already picked up a £0.1 price increase, I switched to him late in the week ahead of GW1 and he paid dividends, not only with the price increase but with a goal. If he gets the minutes, he could post some fanastic returns. As I spoke about already, Fraser faces Villa, who conceded three goals to Spurs. The Cherries have a big potential on the attack, hopefully they show us more then they did in GW1.

Biggest concern this Harry Kane, the Spurs hit man saved it for late in GW1, but finished on a brace. Well worth his £11.0 price tag, start the season off right. However, an early trip to the Eithad Stadium and City does two things, first it gets City out of the way until GW25, but it also puts the premium forward under pressure to perform for FPL managers. He missed out on the Champions Legue Semifinal last year, so he could play a key role. However, City have been good against Spurs, so it will be interesting to see how both teams come out.

Finally, Jimenez gets the nod again and I’ve already spoke a little about him. It’s an interesting early season match up. The only concern some have are the fatigue after their Europa League fixture at Molinuex against Pyunik. Wolves up by four goal after the away leg, I could see both Jimenez and Jota rested to in preparation for United, as they won’t be needed for this game. I do like his chances to redeem himself this week against a questionable defense in United. One game does not make a season and United still have many questions to answer as to how this defense will play this season.

CONCLUSION

Expectations for GW1 were exceeded and looking ahead I am “keeping it real” and not expecting a bit week. I would be happy to see 58-60 points this week, factoring in a no attacking return for Kane and Salah picking up another goal and assist. The Egyptian will also get the armband for the second week in a row, irregardless of his 120 minutes played in a meaningless cup game on Wednesday. Good luck in GW2, maybe your arrows be green!

 

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