Brentford’s Sergi Canós looks a good option out wide at a decent price
The second week of the English Premier League season laid down an early marker for several title contenders. The traditional “Big Six” had mixed fortunes this past weekend, and some fascinating storylines were made among the other sides.
Fantasy manager should recognise their key assets for the marathon ahead, especially among premium players. Mohamed Salah and Bruno Fernandes will definitely be key for the Fantasy Premier League, and some surprise players, such as Brentford winger Sergi Canós, have put their names on the map for potential selection in the next few weeks.
Manchester City v Arsenal
Two teams with contrasting starts to the season, both with different trajectories.
The champions are back on track after a convincing home win over Norwich City, with new signing Jack Grealish getting off the mark and Gabriel Jesus recording three assists.
The Gunners fell 2-0 to capital rivals Chelsea last time out. The job doesn’t get any easier, and Mikel Arteta must respond to his critics on a ground where he has never won as a manager.
Pep Guardiola could inflict the final nail in the coffin of his former No 2.
Aston Villa v Brentford
Both sides have made positive strides early this season. The West Midlands club, despite losing their key player, rebounded well from their opening defeat with a strong shutout win over Newcastle. The promoted Bees were unlucky to come away with a goalless draw from their London derby with Crystal Palace.
Both these sides play an expansive brand of football while also trying to remain balanced in defence. This match could produce goals, yet both sides may remain cautious to preserve their strong starts.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton
A perfect start for both these sides, who had differing expectations coming in. The Seagulls cruised past Watford last week, while the visitors threw away the lead twice to draw 2-2 away to Leeds.
Graham Potter still has the problem of poor conversion rate to deal with, but defender Shane Duffy notched his first goal in more than two years in their latest win. Rafael Benítez has his Toffees playing well and scoring — five in their first two. Their last meeting at the Amex ended in a goalless draw, yet this will be far more entertaining.
Newcastle United v Southampton
Both sides have struggled to get off the mark, with Saints earning their first point in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Neither side has been solid defensively, with Southampton (6) and the Magpies (4) conceding ten between them. This trend could mean both managers, who tend to be more attack-oriented, sit back and cancel each other out, despite the qualities of each squad.
Norwich City v Leicester City
The Foxes have had a mixed start to this season, and come off a poor 4-1 loss away to West Ham on Monday night. The promoted Canaries, who were predicted to go straight back down, need to work on their defensive spacing after the 5-0 drubbing away to Manchester City.
The difficult start continues for the hosts, facing the third straight side that finished in the top five last term to begin this season. Daniel Farke will have to adjust his tactics if he wants to lead Norwich to survival, but this will be a welcome reprieve for Brendan Rodgers.
West Ham United v Crystal Palace
The Hammers are flying in their bid to build on the brilliant consistency of last term! Eight goals in their opening two matches, including a brace from Michail Antonio the other night to silence the visiting Foxes, means they top the league in the early stages. Antonio, who will play for Jamaica during the coming international break, became the club’s all-time top-flight scorer with 49 goals.
Palace are in transition under new manager Patrick Vieira, and they have struggled to create clear opportunities. Goals will be hard to find, as the hosts have conceded just three goals thus far.
Liverpool v Chelsea
Two title challengers go at it in the marquee match of Week 3. Jürgen Klopp’s side cruised past Norwich and Burnley to get off to the best possible start, in what could be a testing year for the German manager.
The Blues smashed London rivals Arsenal last Sunday, with Romelu Lukaku marking his Premier League return with a goal. The visitors came into the season as bookies’ favourites to win the title, but this is their toughest early test.
These sides play quite similar styles, pressing high and managing space, so this could be a true early-season classic of Premier League contenders.
Burnley v Leeds United
The Clarets have struggled to get going this season, losing to both Brighton and Liverpool. The performance at Anfield will please manager Sean Dyche, despite lacking that finishing touch.
Leeds were thrashed on opening day by Manchester United, but recovered to earn a comeback point against Everton the next match. They have won both meetings with the Lancashire side, winning 4-0 in this fixture last term.
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford
Spurs have started off unblemished this season, despite scoring only two goals in their opening matches. These finishing struggles could be helped by main striker Harry Kane staying at the North London side this season, the England captain netting 23 league goals last term.
Newly promoted Hornets held off Aston Villa 3-2 on opening weekend, but were thoroughly beaten 2-0 by Brighton this past Saturday. They will need to bounce back quickly, but Spurs will exploit their lack of defensive stability.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United
Wolves are under new management, and have started on a positive note despite losing both their matches. Bruno Lage has implemented his pressing system quite well, despite the West Midlands club failing to score. They were unlucky to lose to Spurs last week; most pundits were pleased with their performance.
Manchester United fell back down to earth last week with a poor performance away to Southampton, dropping points in a 1-1 draw. The form of Mason Greenwood is a huge positive, the young striker scoring two in two to open the season. This week will surely see a bounce-back for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.