The Premier League set a new record for most number of goals in a single round of matches (44) last week, but that didn’t exactly translate to big success for Fantasy Premier League managers.

With an average score of 59 – only an increase of nine from GW1 – the goal-fest evidently didn’t lead to a huge surge in points scored.

Son Heung-min, who was the biggest point scorer last week after scoring four goals in Tottenham’s 5-2 win over Southampton, was the second-most transferred out player ahead of Gameweek 2. Imagine the agony for those FPL managers.

Some of it may have been eased by Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hat-trick for Everton as he was among the most purchased players ahead of GW 2.

Last week’s most popular captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang only returned five points but the additional goals from elsewhere seemed to balance it out for majority of FPL managers.

Manchester United, whose players attracted a lot of attention from FPL managers, flattered to deceive, losing 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace but Manchester City stayed true to their reputation dishing out an excellent performance in a 3-1 win away at Wolves.

A number of surprising results have disrupted plans for a lot of FPL managers with an early wildcard ahead of GW 3 a popular thought process among FPL managers.

Irrespective of whether you plan to wildcard or not, GW 3 appears to be trickier than perceived earlier with the in-form teams - Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton – all having slightly tougher matches this week.

Fixture difficulty

Teams GW 2 Fixture *Difficulty level of next three GWs
Arsenal Liverpool (A) 3, 5, 3 - 11
Aston Villa Fulham (A) 4, 4, 2 - 10
Brighton and Hove Albion Manchester United (H) 3, 2, 2 - 7
Burnley Southampton (H) 3, 2, 3 - 8
Chelsea West Bromwich Albion (A) 2, 3, 4 - 9
Crystal Palace Everton (H) 4, 2, 2 - 8
Everton Crystal Palace (A) 2, 4, 2 - 8
Fulham Aston Villa (H) 3, 4, 2 - 9
Leeds United Sheffield United (A) 4, 3, 2 - 9
Leicester City Manchester City (H) 2, 2, 4 - 8
Liverpool Arsenal (H) 2, 3, 3 - 8
Manchester City Leicester City (H) 2, 3, 2 - 7
Manchester United Brighton and Hove Albion (A) 3, 3, 3 - 9
Newcastle United Tottenham Hotspur (A) 3, 4, 3 - 10
Sheffield United Leeds United (H) 4, 2, 5 - 11
Southampton Burnley (A) 2, 4, 2 - 10
Tottenham Hotspur Newcastle United (H) 4, 2, 3 - 9
West Bromwich Albion Chelsea (H) 2, 3, 2 - 7
West Ham United Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) 4, 4, 4 - 12
Wolverhampton Wanderers West Ham United (A) 2, 2, 2 - 6
*Highest value indicates higher difficulty of fixture (Via Official FPL site)

Wolves have the easiest fixtures among all teams in the league at the moment. Big guns Liverpool and Manchester City also have favourable runs in the next few matches and hence a triple up on either or both of the two teams seems to be a good idea. Chelsea also have a good couple of games ahead of them.

Arsenal and West Ham who faced each other in GW 2 have the hardest games, so do Aston Villa and Sheffield United.

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.

Son is a prime example of that, so is Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes who flopped despite being the most purchased player last week. However, not all trends always fail. Kevin de Bruyne delivered the goods for the FPL managers that brought him in last week.

Most transferred in players ahead of GW3

Posistion Player Club  Number of transfer ins
FWD Calvert-Lewin EVE 742014
MID Son TOT 674338
MID Rodríguez EVE 622085
MID De Bruyne MCI 535692
FWD Bamford LEE 499705
As of September 24, 2020 evening (IST)

Most transferred out players ahead of GW3

Position Player Club Transfers out
MID Aubameyang ARS 649558
MID Saint-Maximin NEW 458977
FWD Werner CHE 336724
MID Fernandes MUN 272785
DEF Egan SHU 263065
As of September 24, 2020 evening (IST)

Must-Have players in GW3

Raul Jimenez (Wolves): FPL’s Mr Consistent in the last two seasons, Jimenez has been at it again this season scoring in Wolves’ first two games of the season. With Nuno Espirito Santo’s team facing a favourable run of games, Jimenez is now in the must-have bracket. They face West Ham up next who have been leaking goals and have kept just one clean sheet in their last 20 Premier League matches. Jimenez scored when the two sides met in June and there’s no reason why he won’t repeat the feat.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool): The Egyptian may have blanked last week and faces an improved and in-form Arsenal side this week, but it is impossible to bank against Salah when he plays at Anfield, especially against Arsenal.

The Gunners are one of his favourite opponents with Salah scoring six goals and providing four assists in seven matches against them. Salah also has the highest ICT index (Influence, Creativity, Threat) in the league, suggesting that he is the most likely player to score or assist. One doesn’t have to look beyond GW1 where he scored a hat-trick against Leeds.

Timo Werner (Chelsea): The German striker is yet to score in the Premier League but this weekend might be the time with Chelsea taking on West Brom who have conceded eight goals in their first two matches. Werner has looked Chelsea’s sharpest player and has won two penalties in as many games so far. The Blues, albeit without Werner, smashed six past Barnsley in the League Cup on Wednesday and looked to have clicked as a unit for the first time this season. With a lot of managers shipping him out ahead of GW3, he could be this week’s Son Heung-min.

Differential Picks

Chris Wood (Burnley): Wood was a popular FPL pick last season, but Burnley’s late FPL start has meant he has been overlooked this season. He did his case a lot of good by scoring in Burnley’s 2-4 loss at Leicester. Up against Southampton who shipped five goals against Spurs last week, Wood could be a difference-maker for your team with only 2.2% teams owning him. At £6.5 million, he seems quite a steal.

Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City): Forever in the shadow of Sergio Aguero, Jesus hasn’t delivered well enough in the past when FPL managers have brought him in when Aguero has been injured. However, Jesus passed the first test against Wolves and looked quite threatening throughout the whole game, getting his due with a late goal. With him set to feature for at least a month or two more where City have favourable fixtures, he is an excellent option to have. He is owned only by 3% FPL managers and at £9.5 million he is cheap for a premium striker.

Daniel Podence (Wolves): The Portuguese winger has made an impressive start to the season with two assists in as many games. With better luck, Podence could have easily had a goal to his name. At £5.5 million he can lend great balance to your FPL sides. With ownership of just 4.2% and the fixtures that Wolves have in front of them, this could be a perfect time to buy Podence and he won’t even cost you a fortune.

Matheus Pereira (West Brom): The Baggies face a tough test against Chelsea this week but Frank Lampard’s men always give opponents a chance or two. Pereira smashed a brilliant free-kick last week and also added an assist to it. He was the Championship’s top assist provider last season and his performances so far indicate that he can make the step up to the Premier League. Only 2.5% FPL managers own him but that number is certain to rise through the course of the season.

The captaincy conundrum

The most important decision ahead of every FPL gameweek. Last week, many managers didn’t get it right with Aubameyang and this week it’s trickier.

With Spurs facing Newcastle who were smashed 3-0 by Brighton, Son and Harry Kane are big candidates. Kane has a habit of going on a scoring spree once he gets among the goals and after his first of the season last week he could be in for a high-scoring week. Son is also an excellent candidate. He usually went on scoring runs when Kane was not in the team but last week Jose Mourinho seemed to have found a way to make them click together. With Kane dropping in midfield to provide space for Son to make his runs, the South Korean might have the edge over Kane.

Salah, thanks to his Anfield record, is always a good candidate when Liverpool play at home. With the Egyptian also on penalties, it makes his case stronger. There has been an increase in the number of penalties in the new campaign and with the new handball rules kicking in, banking on a penalty taker could be a safe option. Jimenez also comes in that bracket. He is a type of player who consistently scores, even if he may not net multiple times. In terms of safety, Jimenez is the best bet this weekend.

But if you are looking for a differential captain pick, the likes of Timo Werner or Gabriel Jesus could be options worth exploring.

FPL Deadline for GW3: 3:30 PM IST, Saturday, September 26, 2020

(Stats Courtesy: Fantasy Premier League website)