Gameweek 2 preview

August 23, 2013

24 Aug 12:45 Fulham v Arsenal
24 Aug 15:00 Everton v West Brom
24 Aug 15:00 Hull City v Norwich
24 Aug 15:00 Newcastle v West Ham
24 Aug 15:00 Southampton v Sunderland
24 Aug 15:00 Stoke City v Crystal Palace
24 Aug 17:30 Aston Villa v Liverpool
25 Aug 16:00 Cardiff City v Man City
25 Aug 16:00 Tottenham v Swansea
26 Aug 20:00 Man Utd v Chelsea

Game of the weekend is the United v Chelsea clash on Bank Holiday Monday. Which presents a few early season headaches for fantasy managers. Firstly, at least one of those Chelsea players is going to have to go. There may not necessarily be any benefit in keeping any for this clash. Secondly – and obviously, it’s against United, and if Chelsea are going to lose any game this season, it’s most likely to be this one. Thirdly, look at City’s run of games. It’s Cardiff this week, followed by Hull and Stoke. That’s where the points are over the next few weeks. A swift change from Chelsea to City should reap big rewards. It’s pretty much a straight swap – Cole for Zabaleta for example. Or Hazard for Silva. Torres for Aguero.

Villa play Liverpool. Villa fans will be encouraged by both performances in gameweek 1, and given those results, there’s definite potential here for Villa players to pick up a few more points. The cheapness of Weimann and Agbonlahor may tempt some managers to hold on to them at the expense of their Chelsea options. It’d certainly make it easier to bring Robin Van Persie in, if you decided to start without him, by dropping Hazard, Mata, Torres etc than it would one of the Villa squad.

It’s unlikely Wayne Rooney will play any part. He notched 8 points last week from two assists and a bonus mark, but given Cheslea’s interest in the player, and the reports that they’ll be making another bid for him, you can rely on Danny Welbeck partnering RVP up front. Mourinho should pick what he considers to be his best XI. This could mean starts for Mata and Hazard together. It will be interesting to see who he opts for up front. Remember, Romelu Lukaku scored a hat trick against United in the last game of last season. And given that Torres started against Hull, and Ba against Villa – well, it’s his turn isn’t it?

Arsenal’s start could go from bad to worse. It looked at one point as if Arsenal were ready to spend big before the season started. The lack of activity, the loss against Villa last weekend, and the loss of key defenders to injury and suspension makes this trip to Fulham look harder than it should be. They’re going to have to improvise at the back, with possibly Bacary Sagna starting as a centre half. A clean sheet doesn’t look easy. The best chances of a shut out could come at Stoke as they take on Palace. Asmir Begovic was unlucky last week not to keep a clean sheet, and Stoke looked as defensively tough as always. And look out for Ross Barkley, who is by far the most transferred player in to squads this week. His price has gone up a notch to 4.6 million, so still remains very affordable. He’s been talked up a lot in the last few seasons, has gone out on some successful loan spells, and looks to have finally broken into the first team.

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