Gameweek 2 preview

August 16, 2016

Man Utd v Southampton

Stoke v Man City

Burnley v Liverpool

Spurs v Crystal Palace

Swansea v Hull

Watford v Chelsea

West Brom v Everton

Leicester v Arsenal

Sunderland v Middlesbrough

West Ham v Bournemouth

Our first Friday night fixture of the season sees Southampton travel to Old Trafford. It’s an 8 o’clock kick off. Your team needs to be readied an hour earlier than that. Potentially making his debut will be Paul Pogba, who’ll set you back a relatively cheap sounding £8.5 million. The man most likely to miss out is Juan Mata. But that’s alright, because I don’t think too many people expected him to start last week anyway. 

Chris Smalling is back from his ban and could come in for Daley Blind, completing what could be a first choice United back five for the foreseeable future. Matteo Darmian appears completely out of favour, nailing the full back slots for Antonio Valencia and Lake Shaw. New signing Eric Bailly completes the back four with David De Gea in nets. 

It’s not so clear cut across town at the Etihad. The full backs are still on rotation. It might take a few weeks to get a handle on Guardiola’s feelings towards Sagna, Zabaleta, Clichy and Kolarov. Maybe he prefers a particular pairing for the league and the other two for Europe. Otamendi and Stones will play in the middle until Kompany is fit, but that doesn’t look like it will be until September, at which point he’ll probably suffer another setback. Joe Hart is toast. Providing Pep gets his back four playing, Willy Caballero, could be good for early season clean sheets. Until the cash is splashed on the sweeper keeper. 

Looking good to follow on from last week’s clean sheet are Swansea who play Hull at home. Perhaps in anticipation of this, two Swans have seen their value increase. Stephen Kingsley and Leroy Fer will now set you back £4.1 and £5.1 respectively. Jordi Amat, who has filled in the position vacated by Ashley Williams, is still at £4 million. They’ve improved the squad predominantly in attack with the additions of Fernando Llorente and Borja Baston, both of whom should feature this weekend. Llorente marked his debut last weekend with the assist to Fer’s goal. 

And will we finally see the return to action of all those poor lambs that needed the extra week off to recover from the Euros? Arsenal will be glad to see the return of Laurent Koscielny in particular. Also, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud should surely be ready for action. Dimitri Payet got 24 minutes against Chelsea. You’d expect him to start in the Hammers home tie against Bournemouth – their first in league match their new stadium. There’s definite points potential there.

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