With both Manchester teams beginning their campaign in Gameweek 2, Everton continuing their good form and Wolves starting a very promising run of fixtures, Opta Gonz analyses what that may mean for Fantasy managers pondering their Gameweek 3 transfers. 

(It’s worth noting that Opta Gonz uses the league on FanTeam as a starting point. This league is slightly different than the official FPL in terms of rules and player prices. You can still join for €25 and fight for a prize pool of more than €1,000,000).

Missing In Fantasy Action: Manchester United

Expectations were high at the Theatre of Dreams for Manchester United’s first game of the season vs Crystal Palace. In the build up to the Gameweek, the dilemma (Fantasy) managers were facing was largely around which Manchester United asset to bring in – can we trust Greenwood to startIs Bruno Fernandes the one or can we save some cash by going Rashford or Martial?

Legitimate questions, for which the answer should have been – ignore all, look elsewhere

It started with Greenwood on the bench – coming on at half time, Greenwood failed to score with a header, arguably United’s best chance in the game (the goal they did score, aside) and Greenwood’s only attempt inside the box (3 shots in total). 

Rashford had a single touch inside the penalty area in 90 minutes and the same number of shots as Martial – one.  In the end it was Bruno with 3 attempts and 5 chances created who was the most involved player throughout the match. However, as Van de Beek was introduced, we saw Bruno moving deeper and Van de Beek operating slightly ahead of him – a potential case for concern for Bruno owners.

Following a very lethargic performance, Fantasy Managers should consider a wait and see approach with regards to United assets – if you have them, I would expect the game vs Brighton to be a bit more open so holding on to them may be the correct choice, but I would also contemplate moving, particularly if your team doesn’t already include a couple of the options we will see below.

De Bruyne unleashed in Fantasy

At Molineux things worked out largely as expected.  Manchester City beat Wolves, with Kevin De Bruyne being the star of the show (what’s new?), with 1 goal (a penalty he earned) and 1 assist to his name, together with 6 chances created (highest of any midfielder for Gameweek 2) and 4 attempts (all 4 on target, with 2 inside the box) – his xGI every 66 minutes tells the whole story. 

What the numbers don’t tell you however is that Pep Guardiola tweaked the system in order to give De Bruyne more freedom – he played in the hole, flanked by Foden on the right and Sterling on the left with Fernandinho and Rodri as the so-called double-pivot

We have seen this in the past, in particular against tougher opposition, but with David Silva moving on to pastures new, could this be the go-to tactic? If so, De Bruyne should be the first name on your team sheet (if he is not already, with the current fixture run City has).

As for the other City assets, Foden and Jesus scored 1 goal each, with Sterling providing one of the assists with his only chance created.

At Wolves, a new partnership is emergingPodence assisted Jimenez once again, after a brilliant nutmeg on De Bruyne (the audacity!). He created 2 chances and was close to scoring as well with one of his 2 attempts

It currently looks like Podence will be the main beneficiary of Jota’s move to Liverpool – his price won’t continue to mimic his own diminutive size, if that is the case. 

A word on Vinagre – he was again named on the subs-bench but had to come on for the injured Marçal after 8 minutes. The extent of Marçal’s injury is unknown at this point, so if you have Vinagre it is probably best to ‘hold’ and see if you can benefit from Wolves’ good run of fixtures coming up. 

The Inzaghi of Merseyside?

Everton put 5 past West Brom, with Calvert-Lewin grabbing the first hat-trick of his career in the Premier League.

He was top in the gameweek for xGI (2.51), scoring 3 goals in 6 attempts inside the box, with 7 penalty area touches in total – suggesting whenever he touched the ball in the area, he pretty much took a shot at goal.

This little, or not so little detail, was indirectly highlighted by his manager Ancelotti, who said:

‘I had a fantastic striker in Inzaghi, who scored 300 goals and 210 with one touch.’

It is still early days and a lot more tap-ins are needed before DCL reaches Super Pippo’s level (I wonder if he would have scored as many had VAR been in place throughout his career!), but with James Rodriguez (1 goal and 1 assist), Richarlison (3 assists) and Digne creating chances he will definitely be much closer come the end of the season.

Elsewhere in Fantasy GW 3

Southampton gave Fantasy managers with Spurs assets a gift at the 2nd half at the St. Mary’s – their high line was broken by Son and Kane 5 times with the former grabbing 4 goals and the latter 1 goal and 4 assists. Ings made the score more respectable with a brace.

At the Emirates, a single assist by Aubameyang puts him on the chopping board for many Fantasy managers. With just one attempt against a usual leaky West Ham defence, a high price tag, and an easy switch to a Manchester City asset on the cards for many, the suggestion is the Gabon international‘s stock will be on the way down.

At St. James’ Park, Brighton completely neutralized Newcastle. Lamptey (2 assists in 2 games) was unlucky not to get a double-digit haul having been substituted just before the hour mark with Brighton going on to keep a clean sheet.  

He gave Saint-Maximin a headache while the Newcastle man was still around, before the winger had to be substituted due to injury. With 0 chances created and a solitary attem<pt in the first 2 gameweeks, managers should be looking for a switch in that 4th midfield spot. 

Suggested transfer options

Alli/Bruno/Aubameyang/Chelsea Mid -> De Bruyne

Alli/Bruno/Aubameyang/Chelsea Mid -> James Rodriguez

Allan Saint-Maximin -> Podence

Adams -> Calvert-Lewin

Martial -> Calvert-Lewin

Martial -> Jimenez

Wan-Bissaka -> Saiss