It’s difficult to be happy with your Fantasy Premier League Gameweek score as there are always things you could have done better. So the level of satisfaction one gains after an FPL gameweek depends completely on your expectations.

However, in GW-1 of the 2020-’21 FPL, it depended simply on two things. Whether or not you owned Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and, if you did, whether you handed him the captain’s armband.

An opening day hat-trick from the Egyptian ensured his owners had a good beginning and a great one for those who captained him. For those who didn’t have him, thoughts of an early wildcard may have crossed your minds.

Surprisingly only one-third of the FPL managers owned Salah for GW 1 despite being one of the best performing players in the last few seasons.

Beyond Salah, it was a week for defenders with five of them scoring double-digit points; a reminder for those who felt it’s not wise to invest in your backline.

Arsenal’s Gabriel, Chelsea’s Reece James and Leicester City’s Timothy Castagne scored 44 points among them and were on the radars of few FPL managers ahead of GW 1, as their single-digit ownership percentage shows.

But with the deadline for GW 2 closing in, it’s time to dust yourself, lick your wounds and get ready for another roller-coaster of a weekend. After a truncated first gameweek (where many big-hitters were absent), the second game week will see a full quota of fixtures.

Enter Manchester City and United; which translates to more headaches for FPL managers.

Fixture difficulty

Fixture difficulty for all 20 PL teams

Teams GW 2 Fixture *Difficulty level in GW 3-5
Arsenal West Ham (H) 5, 3, 5
Aston Villa Sheffield United (H) 2, 4, 4
Brighton and Hove Albion Newcastle United (A) 3, 2, 2
Burnley Leicester City (A) 2, 2, 4
Chelsea Liverpool (H) 2, 2, 3
Crystal Palace Manchester United (A) 2, 4, 2
Everton West Brom (H) 2, 2, 4
Fulham Leeds United (A) 2, 3, 4
Leeds United Fulham (H) 4, 4, 3
Leicester City Burnley (H) 5, 2, 2
Liverpool Chelsea (A) 3, 2, 3
Manchester City Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) 3, 2, 3
Manchester United Crystal Palace (H) 2, 3, 3
Newcastle United Brighton and Hove Albion (H) 4, 3, 4 
Sheffield United Aston Villa (A) 2, 4, 2
Southampton Tottenham Hotspur (H) 3, 2, 4 
Tottenham Hotspur Southampton (A) 2, 4, 2
West Bromwich Albion Everton (A) 3, 2, 3
West Ham United Arsenal (A) 3, 4, 4
Wolverhampton Wanderers Manchester City (H) 2, 2, 2
*Highest value indicates higher difficulty of fixture

Teams like Everton, Manchester United, Manchester City, Wolves, Leicester City and Chelsea have relatively easier run of games to come in the upcoming weeks with a few of these teams facing just one difficult game. So owning assets from these teams could be beneficial.

Teams like West Ham, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Aston Villa have really tough games coming up. Although the Gunners have a good match this week their games beyond that are very difficult. So any investment in players from those teams might have to be short-term.

The big ins and outs

Player sales and purchases are good indicators of the likely top performers in the coming gameweeks but this parameter also tends to be volatile. Performances on just one gameweek can affect the ownership of players. However, the price rise/fall of a player depends directly on the movement in the player market in FPL, so it’s an important factor to look at when you are trying to maximize your squad value.

Most transferred in players ahead of GW2

Player Position Player Club
Midfielder Bruno Fernandes Manchester United
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City
Midfielder Willian Arsenal
Forward Patrick Bamford Leeds United
Defender Gabriel Arsenal
As of September 17, 2020 evening (IST)

Most transferred out players ahead of GW2

Player Position Player Club
Forward Timo Werner Chelsea
Midfielder Heung-min Son Tottenham
Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool
Forward Dany Ings Southampton
Midfielder Sadio Mané Liverpool
As of September 17, 2020 evening (IST)

Must-have players in GW 2

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) - The Gabon striker will be in this bracket in most GWs. But having finally signed a new contract at the club and facing a West Ham side that struggle to keep a clean sheet, Aubameyang is a player that is hard to overlook this week. The Hammers have conceded nine goals in five matches so far including their pre-season games.

The Arsenal skipper already opened his account last week and has a stellar record against teams in the lower end of the table. So when Arsenal play a struggling team at the Emirates, Aubameyang is a must-have in your side.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) - Last year’s golden boot winner got off to a perfect start in GW 1 netting a brace in Leicester’s 3-0 win over West Brom. The Foxes looked extremely threatening and Vardy was in the thick of things. He had the highest ICT index (Influence, Creativity and Threat) among all forwards in FPL in GW 1.

Even though they face a solid defence in Burnley, the Foxes are a force at the King Power stadium where they have won three out of their last five matches scoring nine goals in process.

Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) - The Portuguese midfielder has been a revelation since joining the Red Devils from Sporting Lisbon in January. He has had a goal contribution in almost every United match since then and has seen his FPL price rise to 10.5 this season.

He is also the most transferred in player so far this GW. On penalty duties for United, who win a high amount of spot-kicks thanks to their fluid attack, Fernandes is a player difficult to overlook especially considering the easy run of games that United have.

Differential Picks

Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) - The English winger impressed last season with six goals and ten assists to his name despite only coming into the thick of things later on in the season. Barnes, however, started the new season well and was one of Leicester’s most threatening players. His threat index was only bettered by Salah and Sadio Mane in GW 1 and he had four shots against West Brom.

With just 3.8% ownership, Barnes could be a game-changer in coming weeks for Leicester and your FPL teams. At just £7 million, he offers a good value too.

Tariq Lamptey (Brighton) - The 19-year-old wing-back was Brighton’s best player on the pitch against Chelsea and was unlucky not to have a goal contribution to his name. In terms of the ICT index, he is the seventh in the list of defenders after GW 1 which is not a bad outcome considering his price of just £4.5 million.

With Brighton have a decent run of games and with Lamptey virtually playing as a winger in Graham Potter’s system, the former Chelsea trainee could provide much more attacking returns than clean sheet points.

Andy Carroll (Newcastle United) - While all eyes are on Callum Wilson, Newcastle’s Andy Caroll has emerged as a pretty good alternative. Against his former club West Ham, Caroll registered four shots as many as Wilson. In terms of his threat index, he is seventh among all FPL forwards after GW 1.

The former Liverpool man scored twice in four pre-season matches and has earned Steve Bruce’s confidence. At just £5.5 million, he could be a bargain.

Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) - Having got on the scoresheet last week, Lacazette, owned by just 4.8% of teams, could be a big differential pick this week. The French striker loves the Hammers and has scored thrice in the last five matches against the East Londoners.

The captaincy conundrum

The biggest decision ahead of any gameweek is where to put the captain’s armband. It can make or break your points tally.

This week, the prime candidates are Aubameyang, Vardy and Fernandes who seem to have the fixture and form factors going their way. Salah faces a tough fixture against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge so his prospects aren’t exactly exciting this week.

Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero are always candidates but an away game at Wolves where City lost last year makes their chances of a big score return unlikely.

However, West Ham’s abysmal form and poor defensive record gives Aubameyang the edge over his rivals.

FPL Deadline for GW 2: 3:30 PM IST, Saturday, September 19, 2020

(Stats Courtesy: Fantasy Premier League website)