The opening weekend of the new Barclays Premier League campaign was as enthralling and unpredictable as we have come to expect in recent years.
Arsenal were beaten at home by West Ham, Swansea drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge and Leicester City netted four against Sunderland.
But in terms of our fantasy football teams, who are the big winners, big losers and players to keep a close eye on?
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Managers who thought they would be in safe hands with goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech will be kicking themselves now, as both players had weekends to forget.
Courtois was sent off in Chelsea’s opening clash with Swansea, scoring -2 points, while Cech made two uncharacteristic errors to gift West Ham a 2-0 victory at The Emirates.
Defensively Sunderland had a nightmare weekend leaking four goals with Sebastian Coates, Younes Kaboul and Billy Jones all scoring -1 points.
Swansea’s Federico Fernandez also scored -1 after conceding twice at Stamford Bridge and scoring an own goal.
Leicester City started their new campaign in a similar fashion to how they concluded the 2014/15 season scoring four against Sunderland. Marc Albrighton (one goal and two assists) and Riyad Mahrez (two goals) both made the Dream Team while Jamie Vardy could be one to watch after opening his account.
Those who took a calculated risk by including Liverpool and West Ham youngsters Joe Gomez and Reece Oxford reaped the rewards as both scored well. A clean sheet, assist and three point bonus saw Gomes score 11 points while Oxford won many plaudits in West Ham’s 2-0 win at Arsenal.
Listed as a defender but playing in midfield, Oxford is an intriguing prospect for fantasy team managers and could prove a bargain at just £4.0m if his form continues.
If not in your team, Oxford is definitely a player who should be in your Watchlist, as his potential to increase in value is huge.
Another Hammers player to keep a close eye on is 28-year-old new signing Dimitri Payet, who scored six points and claimed an assist on his debut.
His former Marseille teammate Andre Ayew, now at Swansea, also had a strong weekend as he scored against Chelsea, chalking up ten points in the process.
Payet is valued at £7.5m while Ayew is slightly cheaper at £7m, but both could be pivotal players for their respective teams in the early part of the season. Now could be the time to get ahead of the game with Payet selected by 3.9% of players and Ayew just 3.4%.
Joe Gomez – Liverpool defender valued at £4.5m, selected by 3.2% (Gameweek 1: 11 points – clean sheet (4pts), one assist (3pts), yellow card (-1pt), three point bonus)
Gomez got the nod from Brendan Rodgers late last week and didn’t disappoint, becoming the highest scoring defender in Gameweek 1.
Liverpool’s defence looked solid against Stoke City with new signing Nathaniel Clyne also showing the kind of form that made him so popular in fantasy teams last season.
Reece Oxford – West Ham defender valued at £4.0m, selected by 2.7% (Gameweek 1: 6 points – clean sheet (4pts), no bonus)
Oxford became one of the youngest players to start a Premier League match on Sunday, but the 16-year-old looked comfortable and composed on and off the field.
Could be a steal at just £4.0m, especially given that he is listed as a defender but actually started in midfield, increasing his potential to score goals and claim assists.
Andre Ayew – Swansea City midfielder valued at £7.0m, selected by 3.5% (Gameweek 1: 10 points – one goal (5pts), three point bonus)
Ayew joined Swansea this summer on a free transfer from Marseille and made a great start to his Premier League career, scoring at Stamford Bridge. Last season the Ghanaian scored ten goals and claimed three assists in 28 matches in the French top flight.
Yohan Cabaye – Crystal Palace midfielder valued at £6.5m, selected by 9.6% (Gameweek 1: 10 points – one goal (5pts), three point bonus)
Cabaye is a familiar face in the Premier League and scored 17 goals in 79 appearances during his previous stint at Newcastle United. The Frenchman has been reunited with former manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace and made the perfect start with a goal and a strong performance against Norwich.
Ross Barkley – Everton midfielder valued at £6.5m, selected by 4.2% (Gameweek 1: 9 points – one goal (5pts), two point bonus)
Barkley was unable to replicate his form from 2013/14 last season as he recovered from injury, but looked as though he was starting to rediscover it at the tail end of the season. Opened his 2015/16 account with a stunning goal against Watford on Saturday, and is good value at £6.5m.
Dimitri Payet – West Ham midfielder valued at £7.5m, selected by 3.9% (Gameweek 1: 6 points – one assist (3pts), clean sheet (1pt), no bonus)
Payet joined West Ham at the start of this season having created more chances that Lionel Messi last year. Provided the assist for Cheikhou Kouyate’s opener against Arsenal from a free-kick, and is likely to continue to create chances in the Premier League.
Jamie Vardy – Leicester City striker valued at £6.0m, selected by 3.3% (Gameweek 1: 5 points – one goal (4pts), yellow card (-1pt), no bonus)
This could be a big season for Vardy who finished the 2014/15 campaign in great form for Leicester. Opened his account on day one of the new campaign during his team’s 4-2 victory over a sorry Sunderland side, and could be worth a punt at £6.0m.
Graziano Pelle – Southampton striker valued at £8.0m, selected by 16.5% (Gameweek 1: 5 points – one goal (4pts), yellow card (-1pt), no bonus)
Goes into the season in good form and has now scored three goals in his last three games including two in Southampton’s 5-0 aggregate victory over Vitesse Arnhem. Was one of the Premier League’s top scorers last season with 12 goals in 38 appearances, although his form was much better at the start of 2014/15, tailing off towards the end.
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