FPL: Countdown to GW3 - Pep 2.0, targeting Man United and home advantage

FPL GW3 Column

New seasons always bring an abundance of shiny toys we want in our FPL team and this season is no different.

We have to restrain ourselves from being blinkered by one good week, so although we have seen lots of impressive performances in the first fortnight of Premier League action, don’t go knee-jerking in too many punts.

Deciding which players look good for one week and which players can consistently deliver FPL points is the real quiz.


Pep 2.0

Arsenal players celebrate goal against Leicester City
Arsenal players celebrate Granit Xhaka’s goal against Leicester City

If you’re not already, it’s time to take Arsenal seriously and we should be looking at how we can triple up on the Gunners.

Mikel Arteta is looking like Pep 2.0 and his team are playing some Man City-style football. Gabriel Martinelli (6.2) is criminally under-priced in FPL this year and with 16 points in his two games so far, it’s become impossible to justify the extra spend on Bukayo Saka (8.0). Looking at the average position maps from last weekend, I was delighted to see Martinelli more advanced than Saka, as well as clock a higher expected goal involvement, which bodes well for their next couple of games against newly promoted Bournemouth and Fulham. 

Elsewhere, Gabriel Jesus (8.0) justified his 74% ownership with a whopping 19 points and whilst his former Man City teammate Oleksandr Zinchenko (5.1) blanked, he once again caught my eye.

Despite playing left-back in a back four he is, just like FPL royalty Joao Cancelo (7.0), adopting inside midfield positions regularly with lots of touches around the opposition box. His ceiling is way higher than the other Arsenal defenders and even though he’s not getting a full 90, with Kieran Tierney waiting in the wings, I still think he’s the stand-out Arsenal defender to own.

He looks like he’s going to thrive now he’s a key cog in this team and similarly to Jesus, he’s been coached by Arteta before, so we can’t doubt how highly he must be rated by the Spaniard. 


Target Man United?

Fixtures play a big part in our thinking when making transfers and deciding who to captain each week. Historically there are a handful of teams we target every season. Usually, we’re talking about the newly promoted teams plus a couple of others and, so far this season, Manchester United have to be on that list. 

There are very few softer centres than United at the moment and only Leicester and Southampton have conceded as many goals (6). Don’t be surprised if Mohamed Salah (13.0) is the most captained GW3 player ahead of his trip to Old Trafford.


No place like home

Nottingham Forest defender Neco Williams
Nottingham Forest defender Neco Williams

Now we’ve seen all teams play at home, I’ve been impressed with the newly promoted teams’ attacking threat. Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest won and Fulham earned a draw against Liverpool. If these teams stay up it will be their home form that will be the difference maker.

Backing him at home, I decided to start Neco Williams (4.0) in GW2 and he rewarded my loyalty with seven points. Sure he was a tad lucky to keep a clean sheet but his attacking play was delightful to watch. He had the most touches of anyone on the pitch, four shots on goal (two from inside the box) and was on all set pieces. That’s not something you expect from the cheapest player in the game.

Home advantage is huge for any team in FPL and if I’m ever unsure of which player to bench or captain, I usually favour the player with a home fixture.


Final thoughts

Gameweek success often comes down to captaincy and in the first couple of weeks, it’s been pretty obvious where to go.

Sure, Erling Haaland (11.7) only earned five points this week, but the decision to captain him against Bournemouth was the right one on paper.

This week is a bit more interesting and I could put up good arguments for attackers from Spurs (home to Wolves), Man City (away to Newcastle), Arsenal (away to Bournemouth) or Liverpool (away to Man United).

Go well!

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