It’s impressive how quickly excitement and anticipation for the new season can turn into disappointment and dismay. We have come to expect the unexpected in the Premier League over the years and the opening gameweek of the new season was no different. From Courtois’ red card in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw to Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham, there was much action to be seen in the opening weekend.
Anyone who read my article on new arrivals to watch and took any notice may have reaped the benefits from several players in the opening round of fixtures:
- Dimitri Payet got off to an impressive start with an assist and a clean sheet to his name in their 2-0 away win against Arsenal.
- Andre Ayew scored a goal and received 3 bonus points to secure a total of 10 points in Swansea’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea.
- Georginio Wijnaldum scored a goal for his new side Newcastle in their 2-2 draw against Southampton, finishing on 7 points.
- Jeremain Lens picked up an assist in a poor game for his Sunderland side in their 4-2 defeat against Leicester.
- Matteo Darmian had an impressive game for Manchester United, scoring 8 points for a clean sheet and 2 bonus points in their 1-0 victory against Tottenham.
Several other players that I picked to impress this season also got off to a good start. Nathaniel Clyne picked up 7 points on his Liverpool debut and Riyad Mahrez got a brace. I wish I had taken my own advice with several of these players but there is a long season ahead. I did, however, advice my dad on the inclusion of Darmian, Wijnaldum and Mahrez in his team which understandably is a decision I have come to regret.
- Yaya Toure (Manchester City) 16 points– if he has rediscovered his form of a couple of seasons ago he could be a slightly cheaper and more rewarding way into the City team
- Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) 15 points– With a points haul of 60 from last season, Albrighton is already off to a much better start. Only time will tell to see if he can keep this form up however.
- Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) 15 points– A player that I tipped before the game and one that demonstrated from the off why. Will probably make his way into many teams now especially at a small starting price of £5.5 million.
- Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) 14 points– City never looked like they would concede a goal and Kompany has already showed what he’s capable of from set-pieces.
- Adrian (West Ham) 11 points– Made several crucial saves to keep Arsenal at bay. Could be another high scoring season for the goalkeeper.
- Joseph Gomez (Liverpool) 11 points– Somewhat of an unknown quantity but Gomez made his mark in the opening fixture. Will be interesting to see if he becomes a frequent starter as a result.
- Arouna Kone (Everton) 11 points– Only managed 24 points last season and is already up to 11 this season. Will be hoping this is only the beginning of a good season for the Everton striker.
With a large number of teams struggling around the 20s, I guess I can consider myself lucky with my points tally for the opening gameweek:
Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) 6 points– Leaving the likes of Courtois and Cech out of my team was a risky move going into the first week, but was a decision that turned out for the best. The Stoke v Liverpool game was not one to remember up until Philippe Coutinho’s goal and Mignolet had little to do. Liverpool face Bournemouth next where another clean-sheet is highly plausible.
Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) 1 point– Having conceded 2 goals, Chelsea defenders did not get off to a good start. Ivanovic specifically had a few chances to try and create a goal but did not take any of them. So early on it is easy to make rash decisions, but at £7 million he may be one worth re-considering over the next few gameweeks. With their next game against Manchester City it may also be wise for him to sit out.
Cedric Soares (Southampton) 3 points– Safe to say Cedric had an eventful start to his Southampton career. The defender only lasted 45 minutes but during that time got an assist and a yellow card. With no clean sheet available, at least his early substitution prevented me from losing another point for goals conceded. His early departure and their next fixture being against Everton does cast some doubt on the next gameweek.
Matteo Darmian (Manchester United) 8 points– On paper I was expecting both sides to score when Manchester United played Tottenham. As a result, Darmian started on my bench. Turns out, however, Darmian was one player for United that really stood out as they eased to a 1-0 victory. He was voted as MOTM by United fans and rightfully so. Defensively he looks strong and he made several runs up the flanks to aid the attack. Luckily for me, Bellerin sat out of Arsenal’s defeat and subsequently Darmian came into my starting lineup. Next week I’m optimistic of him having a repeat performance against Villa and won’t be leaving him on my bench.
Memphis Depay (Manchester United) 3 points– After all the build up regarding Memphis Depay prior to the game, and having taken up the #7 shirt, it was a slow but steady showing from the player. It took a while for the midfielder to get in the game and when he did there was little space to operate in. Upcoming games against weaker teams will give a better idea of what he is capable of.
Dimitri Payet (West Ham) 6 points– Payet was one player that I was fully confident in having in my team and his performance against Arsenal showed why. The midfielder oozed confidence and helped his side to victory with his inch-perfect free-kick for West Ham’s opener. West Ham take on Leicester and Bournemouth in the next two game-weeks, giving Payet even greater opportunity to open his tally.
David Silva (Manchester City) 6 points– Despite a virus, David Silva returned to play the full game on Monday night in City’s convincing 3-0 win. The midfielder was unlucky not to be rewarded the opening goal or any bonus points as he was one of the stand-out players in the game. Silva did manage to get extra points for an assist and a clean-sheet, however, and has gotten off to a good start.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) (C) 4 points– Hazard had a highly disappointing start to the season. Very few opportunities came his way and in hindsight not the best choice for captaincy in my team. I’m hoping he’ll play a greater part in their next game against West Brom but early evidence suggests he is off to a slow start.
Jordon Ibe (Liverpool) 3 points– At only £5 million, Ibe was the risky choice in my team. On a positive note, Rodgers started him from the off and he did get a clean sheet. The youngster did, however, only get limited time on the ball and had very few opportunities to run at his opponents. Firmino started from the bench and there is the risk that he may start the next game in his place.
Odion Ighalo (Watford) 6 points– I made the initial decision to go from a back 4 to a back 3, in the process moving Darmian to the bench. The player that I started in his place was Ighalo. You can therefore imagine my annoyance when Ighalo started from the bench and Darmian went on to get 8 points. Luckily for me, however, not only was Darmian brought into my team Ighalo came on and scored a goal. Why Ighalo didn’t start from the beginning I don’t know but I’m hoping he did enough to earn a place in the starting lineup next time out.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) 5 points– Up until the last minute Rooney was my captain. Turns out it would have been a better option to keep him. It also would have been better had Rooney not dawdled and let Walker score an own goal rather than score it himself, but we can’t have it all. The striker had a tough time against Tottenham, in a game with not many chances, but he will fancy getting on the score-sheet over the next few matches. Rooney will also have to if I am to reconsider my attempt to get Aguero in my team sometime over the next few weeks.
- Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)- 2 points
- Cameron Jerome (Norwich City)- 1 point (came on as a sub but had a great goal wrongfully disallowed for a high boot)
- Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)- 0 points (out injured)
- Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)- 2 points
Plans For Gameweek 2
No planned team changes going into the second gameweek. Both Sanchez and Aguero are too far off match fitness to be of consideration at this point and two free transfers may come in handy.