The Fantasy Premier League is one such game where your two months of planning and researching can be thrown out of the window one moment into the new season. Fabian Schär (NEW) and Pascal Groß (BHA) both emerged as the highest point scorers in last Gameweek, both of them commanding ownership of less than 2% as Gameweek 1 concluded.
Players with a high TSB% blanked this Gameweek, most notably Harry Kane (TOT) and Gabriel Jesus (ARS), and although the latter retained his spot in most squads given Arsenal’s great fixture run-in, Kane faced the wrath of his owners as an instant price drop ensued post GW1 with most managers opting for Erling Haaland (MCI), who faces AFC Bournemouth at home this weekend.
With the likes of Bukayo Saka (ARS), Mason Mount (CHE), Luis Díaz (LIV) and Phil Foden (MCI) getting their campaigns off to a slow but steady start, it was Spurs’ Dejan Kulusevski who emerged as the standout £8m midfield pick post Gameweek 1.
With all these to take into consideration among many others, here’s my FPL Gameweek 2 team ahead of Saturday’s 5 pm (IST) kick-off between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park.
Gameweek 2 Deadline: Saturday 13 August at 11:00 am (British Summer Time) and 3:30 pm (Indian Standard Time).
Best FPL team suggested for Gameweek 1
Gameweek 1 Score: 67 points
Gameweek 1 Rank: 1,941,176
Overall Rank: 1,941,175
Chips Activated: None
Am I happy with my Gameweek 1 score? Maybe. Was there anything that I could have done differently to get this total above 80? Certainly. But does this mean I’ll have to bring in some changes? Absolutely not.
Look, serious FPL players like myself spend the entire pre-season analysing different players, teams, their structure, their fixtures, and every other key element that plays a part in backing any FPL asset come GW1 and onwards, and although people don’t talk about this much, the level of variance at play in this game, at all times, is absolute bonkers.
Let me give you an example: this was the first time since 2017 that Tottenham Hotspur scored four or more goals in a league encounter. However, this was also the first instance where both Harry Kane and Heung-min Son failed to hit the back of the net despite Spurs scoring four. In terms of odds, this is very rare and didn’t look possible until it happened last week.
This is the level of variance I’m talking about, and although people are jumping the gun on Kane, I doubt there’s anything to choose between the two of them from GWs 2-6. Kane can easily score a brace against Chelsea while Haaland just scores a goal or even blanks against Bournemouth, which is certainly possible if you’ve watched football enough.
This takes me back to my initial question: am I happy with my Gameweek 1 score? Yes. Simply because nine of my eleven starting assets performed well and impressed me sufficiently with their performances to get another go this Gameweek. Secondly, the two assets that failed to live up to my expectations were the Aston Villa duo of Leon Bailey and Lucas Digne, although in their defence I’d like to add that it was more to do with Steven Gerrard’s poor game management than anything else; Villa were poor, really, really poor. There was no cohesion and an evident lack of understanding. But the Villains will square off against a club in Everton who are stuck on a similar boat. Moreover, the plan was always to take a punt on them for the first two Gameweeks, rolling the two free transfers and then bringing in better players at a similar price range.
There’s one piece of advice that I’d like to share with you since this has more often than not served me well: you can never win the FPL in the first couple of weeks, but you can certainly lose it all in the first couple of Gameweeks.
I’m not someone who likes making rash decisions. With everything that I plan to do, there’s always a process, a method attached to it. Sometimes they do backfire, but more often than not they’ve given me my desired results.
Gameweek 2 of the 2022/23 FPL season starts with a 5:00 pm kick-off between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park. Steven Gerrard’s men will look to right the wrongs of their opening-day debacle after a woeful performance against the newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth, while Frank Lampard will be looking to get a similar sort of response from his Everton side that went down 1-0 to Chelsea at home last week.
Saturday, 13 August
Aston Villa v Everton (5:00 pm)
Arsenal v Leicester City (7:30 pm)
Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United (7:30 pm)
Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth (7:30 pm)
Southampton v Leeds United (7:30 pm)
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham (7:30 pm)
Brentford v Manchester United (10:00 pm)
Sunday, 14 August
Nottingham Forest v West Ham United (6:30 pm)
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur (9:00 pm)
Tuesday, 16 August
Liverpool v Crystal Palace (00:30 am)
(Fixture timings are subject to the Indian Standard Time)
Best FPL XI for Gameweek 2
Budget Remaining: £0.5m
Free Transfers Available: 1
Transfers made: None
Point Hits (If any): Zero
Captain: Erling Haaland
Vice-captain: Mohamed Salah
As discussed in our very first FPL podcast episode, my plans to roll two transfers remain intact. I’d be lying if I say I wasn’t tempted, but the upside of rolling two transfers and then making three on the go in Gameweek 3 is just too enticing to let go. With Digne scoring just the 1 point in GW1, I was tempted to revert to Manchester City’s Kyle Walker given it’s the best route to the City defence at £5.0m, but that in turn stops me from getting my intended target — an £8m midfielder. Rolling two transfers gets me to an £8m midfielder in three moves in GW3. But if I make a move now, it’ll mean I’ll have to make four transfers in GW3 to get my desired squad for that week. Thus, by making a move now, you’d be costing yourself up to 12 points in hits to get a balanced squad.
With the transfer discussion out of the way, let’s talk about our Captaincy picks. Despite Mo Salah repaying the trust of more than 3 million FPL managers who gave him the armband for Gameweek 1, it is almost impossible to look past Erling Haaland for Captaincy on Gameweek 2. After scoring a brace in his debut against West Ham United, the Norwegian’s ownership has skyrocketed well above 50%, and I’d be surprised if at least 80% of those managers don’t Captain him. Other than Haaland, Salah is another decent shout but not expected to pull up any trees as Liverpool are hosting Crystal Palace at Anfield, while Son and Kane face Chelsea, though given Chelsea’s defensive wobbles of late, I’d fancy both Kane and Son ahead of Salah for Gameweek 2.
Aaron Ramsdale was really impressive against Crystal Palace and I certainly didn’t expect him to come away from this fixture with a clean sheet. He pulled off two great saves (one from point-blank range, and another one-on-one), both massive chances for Palace to get their foot in the game, but Aaron was equal to the task.
Given Arsenal are welcoming Leicester City to the Emirates Stadium, there’s more potential for a clean sheet (CS) in this fixture than the one before, and hence he’ll be my starting goalkeeper for Gameweek 2.
Danny Ward owners, particularly the ones who started him, were massively let down by Brandon Rodgers and his shambolic substitutions. Leicester looked comfortable and at ease until Rodgers started making his tactical blunders. From earning a comfortable CS to shipping two goals in the second half, Ward owners were sent packing with just one solitary point.
The Liverpool duo of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) and Andy Robertson (£7m) retain their spots in my starting XI. Liverpool host Crystal Palace at home on Monday night. Besides, following last Gameweek’s reality check for Jürgen Klopp’s side, I expect the Reds to bounce back and record their first win of the season.
João Cancelo is a nailed starter for Manchester City as they prepare themselves to face the newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium. This could be a game that sees Cancelo haul double-digit points, which has also tempted me to bring in Kyle Walker as well, though as I mentioned above, making a move this Gameweek will hamper your squad-building ability for the coming Gameweeks.
Finally, Lucas Digne of Aston Villa completes my back four with Neco Williams sitting on the bench as my second substitute. Although Villa massively disappointed me in their GW1 outing, I’m willing to give them another bite at the cherry with a home fixture against Everton, who themselves are short on numbers both defensively and offensively with a whole load of starters on the sidelines with injury.
Just like my defensive line, I don’t see any reasons to switch things up in the middle of the pitch either.
Salah retains his spot as my marquee midfielder, with Liverpool playing Crystal Palace at Anfield on a Monday night.
Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal will look to add to his goal from Gameweek 1 against Leicester who, despite a good start to their GW1 fixture, showed their defensive fragility and thus are a team there for the taking if the opposition play their cards right.
Both Pedro Neto and León Bailey retain their spots ahead of home fixtures against Fulham and Everton respectively. Neto, in particular, played well in the first game, recorded a pre-assist and was heavily involved in the final third, assuring his owners that results will come. Bailey, on the other hand, got into dangerous positions, and against AFC Bournemouth, he was one of the few bright spots for Villa and Gerrard. Moreover, what’s more encouraging is that despite Villa’s lacklustre performance on the pitch, Bailey didn’t get hooked off and completed the full 90 minutes, giving me hope for a better result on Gameweek 2.
On paper, this is the best Gameweek to get the maximum points from your forward line. And simply for this very reason, my front line consists of Erling Haaland and Gabriel Jesus. Haaland against Bournemouth has goals written all over it, while after watching Leicester and their struggles against high-pressing systems, Jesus should reward his owners with a goal involvement or two. Moreover, both of these strikers are expected to play the full 90 minutes for their respective teams, hence making them essential picks. Whatever your team composition might be, having one of Haaland or Jesus for GW2 is a must, and I just can’t stress it enough.
How line up the rest of our team for Gameweek 2?
Ali’s Team (Devilsowntheater)
Captain: Erling Haaland
Vice-captain: Gabriel Jesus
Chips Activated: None
Budget Remaining: £0.3m
Gameweek 1 score: 34 points
Overall Rank: 7,475,999
Anshuman’s Team (Aesterfell)
Captain: Mohamed Salah
Vice-captain: Harry Kane
Chips Activated: None
Budget Remaining: £0.0m
Gameweek 1 score: 64 points
Overall Rank: 2,543,363
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