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EPL Roundup and Gameweek 3 Preview

Will looks at the key news in the English Premier League

Stefan Jovetic celebrates his second goal against Liverpool
Stefan Jovetic celebrates his second goal against Liverpool
Laurence Griffiths

The English Premier League continues this weekend and the transfer deadline finally closes on Monday. Ahead of Fantasy Gameweek 3, I’ll look at the big talking points.

What did we learn from Gameweek 2?

Man City will not surrender the title easily –
Chelsea were many people’s pre-season tip for the title but Monday’s 3-1 win over Liverpool could have made those people have a rethink. City were impressive from start to finish and in Stefan Jovetic (who I tipped as a pre-season sleeper) they may have unearthed another goalscoring threat. Sergio Aguero scored his second of the season and will be a must pick in all Fantasy Leagues when he returns to the starting lineup. This could be this weekend but he will definitely regain his place after the international break.

3-5-2 is a difficult formation to learn – Man United’s continued woes can be blamed on a number of factors but it’s clear that Louis van Gaal’s new 3-5-2 system is proving tough for the players to adapt to. Without experienced central defenders or wingbacks, United look under pressure in defense and are struggling to break teams down. QPR are also struggling with 3-5-2 although Hull City have made a fine start to this season but they have been using the formation for a number of seasons under Steve Bruce.

Experienced defenders help you keep clean sheets – Aston Villa kept their second clean sheet of their year with their newly formed experienced defense. Randy Lerner’s cost cutting measures had led to a glut of young players being blooded over the past 2 years but Paul Lambert has now reverted back to veterans to keep them secure at the back. Any one of Guzan, Vlaar, Cissokho, Senderos and Hutton look solid fantasy options although they should be benched for games against the top 6.

Tottenham could be this season’s surprise package – Spurs’ 4-0 victory over QPR could be a sign of great things ahead for the North London club. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have added steel and intensity to their existing flair and the likes of Adebayor, Eriksen and Lamela could turn into fantasy stars this term.

What can we expect from Gameweek 3?

City slickers are captaincy material –
Man City have an inviting looking home game against Stoke and Stefan Jovetic is this week’s best looking captaincy option. It’s difficult to tell whether Edin Dzeko or Sergio Aguero will partner him so it may be better to look elsewhere for captains although David Silva or Samir Nasri could be nice sleeper picks.

Liverpool’s transition will be tested again – 6 days after their timid display against Man City, Liverpool face up to the resurgent Tottenham and will need to improve to get anything from the game. Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli are likely to make their debuts but they will need to settle quickly otherwise Brendan Rodgers’ Reds will fall behind in the race for the title.

Home comforts – If you’re looking for a cheap fantasy option this week then look no further than the star players from Swansea, Aston Villa and Newcastle. Goals have been hard to come by for these teams but they all look solid in defense and have winnable looking home games. Good pickups here would be Bony, Sigurdsson, Vlaar and Janmaat.

Best of the rest – The pick of the games could be Everton against Chelsea but its tricky tie to call. Man Utd and Arsenal could both come unstuck against the promoted pair of Burnely and Leicester respectively.

Transfer news

The transfer window closes on Monday and there’s plenty of activity this week that could help your fantasy roster. Here’s a quick overview:

Angel di Maria (Real Madrid to Man United) –
There’s no doubt as to the biggest deal of the week as Argentinian star di Maria moves to Old Trafford for a British record transfer fee. However, United’s travails are well documented and it’s difficult to see exactly where di Maria will play. He could play behind the strikers but there’s a good chance he could start at left wing-back which would reduce his fantasy impact. My advice would be to wait and see where he plays before signing him up.

Wilfried Zaha (Man United to Crystal Palace) – As di Maria enters Old Trafford so Zaha heads out of the door. The former wonderkid is returning on loan to his former club Crystal Palace and this could be a good move for him. If he can recover his confidence, Zaha’s silky skills could light up the Premier League and offer fantasy managers a very cheap source of goals from midfield.

Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea to Everton) – Cameroon striker Eto’o managed 12 goals for Chelsea last year but looks set for a similar stop-start role at Goodison. He will backup Romelu Lukaku and unless he can find a regular starting spot his fantasy value will be pretty limited.

Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan to Leicester City) – The veteran Argentinian will add some experience and steel to Leicester’s midfield but steer clear from a fantasy standpoint as he has no value.

Federico Fazio (Sevilla to Tottenham) – Another Argentine arrives on English soil with Fazio’s move to Spurs. It’s unlikely that he will go straight into their team but he will have some solid fantasy value after the international break.

Michael Dawson (Tottenham to Hull) – Fazio’s arrival at White Hart Lane signalled the end of Dawson’s nine-year career at Tottenham. The former England defender will slot in to Hull’s back three and could be valuable in fantasy leagues although his new Hull teammates like Curtis Davies will be cheaper.

Key injuries

A quick look at some players who should be dropped from your roster due to injury problems:

Olivier Giroud
The Arsenal striker is out until the New Year after breaking his leg at Everton last week. Alexis Sanchez will lead the line at Leicester and it remains to be seen if Arsene Wenger will add another striker to his roster before Monday’s deadline.

Chris SmallingI would recommend dropping any Man United defenders at the moment due to their poor form but Smalling will not play this week after leaving the field last weekend. He’s likely to miss a few games but it’s not a long term problem.