Fantasy Premier League – Key Notes & Lessons Taken From GW2

August 19, 2022

Written by: FPLijah

Gameweek 2 was one that wasn’t all that stressful in terms of transfers heading into the gameweek, but instead, the big decision was captaincy. As mentioned in previous articles, your gameweek one team should’ve been set up to be able to save a transfer in GW2, ensuring two free transfers going into Gameweek 3, after some time to assess certain players and teams. Many FPL managers started the season with Kane and made the switch to Haaland in GW2. Some opted to go without the likes of the greatest FPL asset of all time, Mohamed Salah, and some just wanted to be different by going for Saka in midfield over the highest-owned player in FPL history, Gabriel Jesus and were punished for it (and rightly, so).

In the first of its kind for this season, this article will highlight the keynotes and lessons taken from the previous gameweek to help us decide on transfers, likely captaincy, and strategy. The information below will have a combination of the ‘eye-test’ as well as statistics, which encompasses the best of both worlds in the debate of ‘Grass FC’ vs. ‘Analytics FC.’

Aston Villa 2 – 1 Everton

After both teams began the season with a loss, GW2 was important in gaining momentum for both Aston Villa and Everton. The FPL favorite Leon Bailey was heavily relied upon, with many hoping for more than one attacking return, however, BAILEY WAS BENCHED! If you’ve read my GW2 articles, as well as watched my GW2 Team Selection Video on YouTube, or just followed me on Twitter/Instagram, you would know that I benched Bailey from my own team as I had doubts over his start with Andreas Pereira, a very decent replacement in my starting XI. After Villa lost in GW1, I had this sneaky feeling that Bailey could be benched due to a change in formation employed by Steven Gerard, by going two up top with Ings and Watkins, and that is exactly what happened!

xG:  2.31 vs. 1.58
Shots:  12 vs. 15
Shots on Target (SoT):  3 vs. 4
Big Chances (BC):  3 vs. 1

The match itself was quite entertaining. Digne has continued to be an FPL troll this season, where you just aren’t sure what you’re getting from him: Will it be 15 points, a red card, or an own goal? You just truly never know with him, and in GW2, he rewarded those FPL managers that took a chance on him by scoring an own goal and ruining his own cleansheet in the process in the 87th minute of play. Fun fact: when Digne played for Everton last season, he scored an own goal against Aston Villa, and now he’s done the same thing for Villa against Everton.

Some key notes on the match is that Watkins looked electric in the counter attack, with an xGI of 1.41. Watkins assisted both goals for Aston Villa, and missed one big chance, which was created by Bailey after he was subbed on. Coutinho was subbed off in the 59th minute after an injury, and to be honest, he isn’t an FPL option at present. Diego Carlos took three shots, all in the box, with one big chance as well, showing that he could be decent value for £4.9m – however, he has picked up an injury, and his return date is unknown (ruling him out of our teams as a possible Bailey replacement).

I think the only FPL asset worth getting from Everton is Patterson as a £4.0m bench fodder to come in when it is needed. He played quite advanced, taking two shots, with one in the box. Gordon had a goal disallowed.

Arsenal 4 – 2 Leicester

A dominant display by ‘the Arsenal,’ showing the rest of the league that this season, they are here to challenge. A total of 19 shots, with seven on target, saw Arsenal breeze past Leicester.

xG:  2.96 vs. 0.46
Shots:  19 vs. 6
Shots on Target (SoT):  7 vs. 2
Big Chances (BC):  5 vs. 1

Gabriel Jesus was instrumental, having a hand in every single goal that was scored for Arsenal (2 goals and 2 assists). His 19 point haul is the biggest of the season thus far, and it was coming. Jesus was the 2nd most transferred out FPL asset heading into GW2, and if you read my Transfer Activity article for GW2, you would know that I warned you against making such a rash transfer. A snippet from the article, “Mass sales of Jesus is reactionary, to put it lightly. He looked good against Crystal Palace, despite just his one effort at goal. The goals will come! Arsenal faces Leicester, Bournemouth, Fulham, and Aston Villa in the next four fixtures. I will say this again; the goals will come!”

Jesus took seven shots (all 7 in the box), with three big chances, missing two of them in the process. At record-breaking ownership, I’d say at present, Jesus is the most essential FPL asset in the game. Martinelli continues on his goal-scoring form after putting the ball at the back of the net in the 75th minute. Saka still looks a tad flat and not getting the output that many FPL managers expected from him. He took just effort at goal and came away from the game with an xGI of 0.32. I wouldn’t sell him just yet, as Arsenal have a great run of fixtures. Saka and Martinelli have shared corners. Zinchenko still looks like he could be a steal at his price, playing very advanced, and definitely 1 to consider in our transfer plans.

Brighton 0 – 0 Newcastle

To be honest, I have no idea how Brighton came away from this match without a goal. Two efforts at goal were cleared off the line, and Brighton had three big chances!

xG:  1.50 vs. 0.22
Shots:  13 vs. 4
Shots on Target (SoT):  5 vs. 1
Big Chances (BC):  3 vs. 0

Trippier owners are very lucky (although true, I do say that with a bit of salt as Trippier was in my draft heading into GW1, until deadline day when I removed him). Brighton had more shots on target than Newcastle had total shots in the entire game. Gross looked great again and is showing us that he should be our Bailey replacement after his four chances created in the game.

Is it time to sell Trippier? Well, when I initially had him in my team, the aim was to sell heading into GW3 – however, you could easily bench him against Manchester City and Liverpool (for the likes of Neco Williams, who looks great for Nottingham Forest) and then have a great run of amazing fixtures.

Manchester City 4 – 0 Bournemouth

It was simply too easy for Manchester City, racking up a total of 19 shots against Bournemouth. When watching the game, all I kept thinking was how many Manchester City would score, and not if they’d win, as that seemed like a guarantee after just a handful of minutes into the game.

xG:  1.75 vs. 0.13
Shots:  19 vs. 3
Shots on Target (SoT):  7 vs. 1
Big Chances (BC):  2 vs. 0

The big decision heading into GW2, was captaincy between Salah (against Crystal Palace) and Haaland. After Man City scored four, Haaland coming away with just one assist was quite underwhelming, but Haaland captainers were the winners in GW2, since Salah blanked. Haaland only took eight touches in the match. That may worry a lot of FPL managers, but he got into great positions and often wasn’t fed the ball. Foden should have squared the ball to Haaland to score a tap-in into an open goal, but decided to take a shot instead (which was saved) and was subbed off at half-time due to not passing the ball. We assume that Foden was subbed off due to not passing, as it didn’t make sense for him to be removed for any other reason, as he looked electric, scoring one and assisting one in the first half.

De Bruyne was creative and advanced as he usually is and instrumental in every City attack. KDB created five chances, with the highest xGI in the match with 0.79. Gundogan looked impressive for his price of £7.5m (I still prefer the £8.0m mids). Cancelo came away with an assist and 11 points as well and is higher up the pitch than Kyle Walker.

Southampton 2 – 2 Leeds

A very even game without much splitting both teams, based on the final output (2-2), as well as underlying stats, which can be seen below.

xG:  1.22 vs. 1.93
Shots:  14 vs. 13
Shots on Target (SoT):  4 vs. 5
Big Chances (BC):  2 vs. 3

From an FPL perspective, Rodrigo is the one to target at just £6.1m. He scored two goals and took five shots against Southampton. He plays direct, and with the injury to Bamford, we could see him hitting crazy levels, and a bandwagon may just form, especially after scoring in GW1 as well. Both Harrison (1 assist) and Aaronson are sharing set pieces, so they could be decent value as a 5th mid.

From a Southampton point of view, Aribo looked great once he came onto the pitch, taking three shots in the box and scoring one. Kyle Walker-Pieters also scored for Southampton and is playing quite advanced (one to watch at a decent price).

Wolves 0 – 0 Fulham

Not the most exciting of the weekend, but a big game for both teams nonetheless. Personally think Fulham should’ve nicked the win, but it was not meant to be.

xG:  0.89 vs. 1.49
Shots:  7 vs. 9
Shots on Target (SoT):  1 vs. 3
Big Chances (BC):  2 vs. 2

Wolves played completely on the counter-attack, and I am sure so many Neto owners may have thrown their TV remote out the window after he did not score a HUGE chance, skipping past the goalkeeper and unable to convert.

Mitrovic missed a penalty, and let’s be honest, had that went in; we would’ve seen a huge bandwagon for him despite his tricky fixture run after he scored two against Liverpool in GW1. Andreas Pereira, unfortunately, went off with a knock in the 85th minute, but as a 5th mid in our squads, he looks to be an incredible value, on set pieces and playing quite advanced up the pitch.

Brentford 4 – 0 Manchester United

This result was by far the biggest of Gameweek 2. We all knew that Manchester United was on low at present, but to lose 4-0 to Brentford (it was 4-0 at half-time if you didn’t watch the game), was just a result that was unexpected (to most fans).

xG:  1.61 vs. 0.92
Shots:  13 vs. 15
Shots on Target (SoT):  7 vs. 4
Big Chances (BC):  2 vs. 1

The Man United defense just looks too leaky at present, heads have dropped, and players are just low on confidence. Mix that with off-the-pitch/changeroom drama, and you’ve got a perfect combination for disaster. De Gea made a huge error for the first goal, with the ball going through his hands (DaSilva goal). I’d personally sell any Man United FPL assets if you took the punt initially. It just didn’t work out and it’s time to accept the error and move on.

DaSilva has seen a huge spike in transfers in, as he scored in both GW1 and GW2 and has since risen in price to £4.6m. Just a reminder that he should be your 5th mid if you decide to bring him in, and he scored from 2 shots (both outside the box) with a total xG of 0.07. Do not expect him to keep scoring at this pace. The FPL asset worth getting, however, is Ivan Toney. Toney came away with two assists, four chances created, and two big chances created. He has an amazing run of fixtures, which can be seen below, and at just £7.1m, he may just be worth it.

Nottingham Forest 1 – 0 West Ham

Nottingham Forest has started their Premier League campaign in brilliant form. West Ham simply wasn’t clinical enough to take a point.

xG:  1.36 vs. 2.26
Shots:  13 vs. 19
Shots on Target (SoT):  6 vs. 4
Big Chances (BC):  3 vs. 2

Declan Rice missed a penalty (saved by Dean Henderson). After last season’s heroics with regards to FPL, it’s safe to say that no West Ham player is worth getting into our teams at present. From a Nottingham perspective, I’d say only one man should be in your team, and that is Neco Williams. He ranked 3rd for xGI in this fixture at 0.55, and at £4.0m, he actually has us questioning whether we should start him instead of keeping him as our 5th defender/bench fodder.

Chelsea 2 – 2 Tottenham

This one isn’t an argument but rather factual when I say this: This was the biggest and most exciting match of Gameweek 2. It had everything, both on the pitch and on the sidelines, with both managers and staff. The emotions were visible and was exactly what the Premier League is all about.

xG:  1.58 vs. 1.01
Shots:  16 vs. 10
Shots on Target (SoT):  3 vs. 5
Big Chances (BC):  2 vs. 4

Although statistically, the game was in the balance, from the eye-test, Chelsea were the better team on the day, but Spurs were just more clinical and never gave up. Koulibaly opened the scoring for Chelsea, with Hojbjerg equalizing. The emotions of the goal spilled over onto the bench, as the managers of both teams had to be separated. The moment Spurs scored, you just know that some FPL managers would’ve made an emotional transfer and discarded Reece James from their team. As I always say when it comes to players like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James, their ceilings are just far too high, and even when the cleansheet is gone, the likeliness of a goal or assist or both are always present, and that’s exactly what happened. Reece James scored in the 77th minute, to the pure joy of those FPL managers who still kept faith in him.

Harry Kane then equalized for Spurs in the 96th minute from a corner, which topped off a brilliant game of football. During the handshakes, the emotions got ahold of the managers yet again and thus was separated, both receiving red cards. Son looked very quiet in the game, and for a price tag of £11.9m (price fall this morning), he isn’t showing that he is worth having. If you do have him and only have one transfer available, I’d say give him another chance this gameweek. If you have two free transfers available to you, switching to Kane is a very viable option, as that means an easy swap to Haaland in future gameweeks.

Liverpool 1 – 1 Crystal Palace

After the drama of the weekend, Liverpool played Crystal Palace at Anfield for the first home game of the season. This fixture was a huge one with regards to both the Premier League, and Fantasy Premier League. From a Premier League perspective, Liverpool came into this game having dropped two very important points against Fulham. Going into this fixture against a tricky Crystal Palace team was a must-win game for Liverpool and their fans.

From an FPL perspective, the big decision of GW2 was captaincy between Haaland and Salah. After Haaland came away with just one assist over the weekend, many FPL managers were already hiding behind the couch before this fixture began. Fun Fact: Haaland was captained the most in GW2, and this was the first time since GW7 last season that any FPL player was captained more than ‘The King’ of FPL, Mohamed Salah, so there was quite a lot riding on this game. A further fun fact is that Salah has never scored in GW2, but all records are meant to be broken, right?

xG:  2.07 vs. 1.04
Shots:  24 vs. 7
Shots on Target (SoT):  4 vs. 3
Big Chances (BC):  3 vs. 4

Well, to the excitement of Haaland captainers and the dismay of those who went with the ever-consistent Mohamed Salah, Mo did not score or assist a single goal. Liverpool were clearly the dominant team, taking 24 shots – however Crystal Palace played a perfect match of defending deep and executing perfectly on the counter-attack, notching up more big chances than Liverpool.

Darwin Nunez received a red card for violent conduct after seemingly headbutting Andersen (some disagree that it was a headbutt), whilst Liverpool were already a goal down. Luis Diaz then went full-on ‘Super Saiyan,’ playing as if he wanted to take on Crystal Palace on his own. He scored a wonder goal after dribbling and skipping past five players and taking a curling shot from outside the box to send Liverpool level in the match. The crowd was Liverpool’s 11th player after Darwin’s departure, but it just wasn’t enough to get the win.

Zaha was clinical and looked in brilliant form. He broke the Liverpool defensive high line and hit the perfect shot, which went in off the post. Zaha is essentially fixture proof, and if you’re willing to take the punt, he isn’t a bad option. His upcoming fixtures are shown below.

Many managers have opted to sell Robertson ahead of GW3 and made the switch to Diaz. I understand it, but I think this is a time that patience comes into play. I personally will be sticking with Robbo (assuming that he or Virgil van Dijk aren’t injured). Robertson got into amazing positions against Crystal Palace and was playing as the central striker on more than one occasion. He passes the eye-test for me.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be too rash when making your transfers!

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