Ahead of Gameweek three there was much talk on the Twittersphere about the premature usage of the wildcard. I had already decided that week three was far too early to waste such a thing and many people in the know had come to the same conclusion. As is always the case in this game, however, people are free to do what they want, when they want and the performance of certain individuals is never guaranteed. As a result, many who opted with playing their wildcard this week will have boosted their totals to date substantially thanks to the performances of several “bandwagons” that have emerged from the pack at this early date.
Going into this week, while I had decided not to use my wildcard, I did have two free transfers that were to come in handy. With a holiday to embark upon I, like many, chose to take out the likes of Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay prior to their European game. Witnessing the heroics of Depay that I had waited for with bated breath for weeks and the suddenly emergence it would seem of some form, was the kind of luck that I have come to expect playing this game. It turned out, for this week at least however, that Manchester United are still struggling to create anything of substance up front in the Premier League for some unknown reason.
In order to finance the specific transfers I wanted, I also opted for the controversial move of transferring out Eden Hazard. This is the usual risky transfer I choose to make at the early stage of the season before regretting it at a later date when he becomes unavoidable and struggling to find a place for him in my team. This transfer was completed, however, before the arrival of Pedro to the Chelsea squad. To say that the ex-Barcelona man arrived with a bang would be an understatement. In his debut for his new side, the Spaniard scored a goal, picked up an assist and got three bonus points. While Jose Mourinho seemingly has issues to contend with defensively, Pedro is already lining himself up nicely to becoming an attractive (and cheaper) replacement for Hazard in many Fantasy teams.
For this Gameweek, my transfers will be described as jumping on a few bandwagons. The main two that I wanted were Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez who I put in in place of Rooney and Hazard. Sanchez I had in my Fantasy team from the off last season and the only reason why I didn’t this season is because of his early absence. With Arsenal’s current lack of a world-class striker, Sanchez has every opportunity to pick up where he left off last season. As for Aguero, his goal tally in recent seasons speaks for itself. While he failed to find the net in Manchester City’s 2-0 away victory against Everton, you feel there is ample opportunity to increase his tally over the next few weeks.
In order to finance these transfers I needed to take out Memphis Depay, a player who has the potential to score on a regular basis but has yet to set the world alight. In his place came Riyad Mahrez, an unknown only a few weeks ago but one I highlighted from the start as one to look out for, to the biggest bandwagon going at the moment. Having scored another goal this Gameweek against Tottenham, however, it is a bandwagon to get on and seemingly comfortably travel on from week to week.
With my personal transfers out of the way, here are this week’s top performers.
- Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth) 17 points– Wilson was one player subjected to high expectations prior to the start of the season. Despite being part of a newly promoted team, Wilson’s goal scoring record of last season meant that he was a player that had a good chance of making the jump to the Premiership successfully. Bournemouth’s opening two fixtures didn’t signal the best start for the side but this week’s game against West Ham saw them leap into life. The side not only scored their first Premiership goal ever, but Callum Wilson scored the first Premiership hat-trick of the new season. Many will have dumped him out their team with the deployment of their wildcard, but those who stuck by the striker will have reaped the rewards.
- Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) 15 points– Manchester City have gotten off to a flying start so far this season and have already accumulated three clean sheets on the bounce. Vincent Kompany has been the main attraction in previous games, scoring two goals alongside his two clean sheets, but this week Kolarov was the one to look out for. Having scored 7, 9 and now 15 points (courtesy of a goal) Kolarov and the City defence is looking solid and showing no sign of wavering.
- Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) 14 points– Despite not keeping any clean sheets in their opening three games of the season, Scott Dann picked up an impressive haul of points in their game against Aston Villa by scoring a goal and getting an assist. Their upcoming fixtures are against tough opposition so Dann will have to keep scoring goals you would think if he was to remain a tempting choice.
- Pedro (Chelsea) 13 points– The off pitch drama between Manchester United and Chelsea threatened to distract from the Spaniard’s arrival to the Premier League, but his debut performance was something not to be ignored. If he continues to the standard he set in his opening game, he has the potential to be this season’s player to have.
- James Morrison (West Brom) 12 points– Despite missing an early penalty, Morrison almost went on to redeem himself in their 3-2 defeat by Chelsea. With two goals to his name, the midfielder ultimately cost himself a hat-trick when his penalty was saved by Thibault Courtois. In a season where West Brom have hardly been prolific thus far, it is nice to see someone stepping up.
- Tim Krul (Newcastle) 11 points– When Manchester United took on Newcastle at Old Trafford in the early kickoff of the Gameweek, I don’t think many expected the home side to draw a blank. When watching the game itself, it is also surprising that neither side managed to find the net. Ultimately, however, that was the case and Krul was largely to thank. The keeper made eight saves, earning him two extra points on top of his clean sheet. In a game where you would expect Newcastle to concede, clearly anything is possible from now on.
- Petr Cech (Arsenal) 11 points– After a huge level of hype regarding the arrival of Arsenal’s “saviour”, Cech disappointed in his opening two fixtures having conceded on both occasions. The goalkeeper demonstrated exactly why the Gunners bought him on Monday night, however, when he made several crucial saves to help his side to a draw.
With a large number of small point scorers in my team, this week has admittedly not been the best.
Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) 3 points– With the option of Simon Mignolet who was playing the highly skilled attacking force of Arsenal or Kasper Schmeichel up against Tottenham, I decided that the latter was the better option. Schmeichel would have rewarded me with a clean sheet had it not been for Alli’s goal. 3 points are better than none but Mignolet would have been the better option.
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) 7 points– As Bellerin has showed on numerous occasions, he is keen to help out on an attacking basis but this week his points came about purely from a defensive point of view. He has his goalkeeper to thank for the clean sheet against Liverpool, however, and the points were a nice addition to my team.
Matteo Darmian (Manchester United) 5 points– In another 0-0 draw this Gameweek, Manchester United were lucky to make it out with another clean sheet as Aleksandar Mitrovic struck the bar. Darmian and his fellow defenders are already becoming consistent performers but the Italian specifically is liable to a few yellow cards it would seem. If he continues to keep the goals out then this is not a huge problem, but if the warnings continue to pile up to the point of suspension then there may be an issue.
Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) 1 point– Crystal Palace are seemingly a team that you cannot rely upon defensively but Ward has already shown that he is capable of finding the net at the other end. This time against Aston Villa, it was his fellow defender that scored and only an own goal that prevented them from taking all three points and a clean sheet. Ultimately, however, his point score was low for this week.
Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) 1 point– The once solid defensive unit of Chelsea seems to be crumbling. Seeing the recent performances of the current Champions, it is hard to believe that John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic were the two highest scoring defenders of last season. This time around Chelsea played a West Brom side that had yet to score a goal this season and yet conceded a penalty, two goals and received a red card. It is time to get Ivanovic out of my team before it is too late I think.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) 10 points– I cost myself 4 points with my transfers this week with my third transfer being Depay to Mahrez. At least something came off this week, with Mahrez finding the net once more and maintaining his place as top scorer so far this season. People talk about not jumping on bandwagons, but at present he is very hard to avoid.
Dimitri Payet (West Ham) (C) 4 points– Having backed Payet as my captain last week, and expecting a large number of people to captain the obvious choices I.e. Rooney, Sanchez, Aguero etc, I opted for the same again. While it worked out last week (just about) this week West Ham fell to a surprising home defeat against Bournemouth. Captaining someone with only 2 points is never a good result and one that cost me this week.
David Silva (Manchester City) 3 points-So in Manchester City’s opening three fixtures David Silva has put in Man Of The Match performances each and every time. The Spaniard is who makes the team tick and is more often than not the one creating the goals. Despite this he continues to get no bonus points as he is not the one scoring or directly assisting the goals themselves. Here arises my problem with Silva. He is clearly one of the best players there is but unless he starts getting on the end of moves rather than creating them, he is not bringing in the points.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) 3 points– Sanchez will have been one of the players that people rushed to get into their team prior to the start of the third Gameweek despite Arsenal taking on Liverpool. The midfielder struggled to convert any of his chances however and as a result ended with only three points courtesy of a clean sheet. With someone of Sanchez’s calibre in the team, however, it is only a matter of time before he puts them in the net.
Odion Ighalo (Watford) 2 points– Since his opening goal of the season, things have been comparatively quiet for Ighalo. The Watford striker has been given a place in the starting lineup for the last two games but has failed to score on either occasion. Maybe his opening appearance from the bench shows that his best place is as a super sub but I still feel he has the potential to be one of the best strikers on a budget.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) 2 points– Aguero is another that many will have rushed to put into their team for this week. Despite City extending their winning run with a 2-0 victory, Aguero was not involved with either goal and subsequently did not finish with anything higher than 2 points. As my vice-captain, neither of my choices did very well but with Watford up next the City striker is clearly the wise captaincy choice for the next week.
The curse of the defender continued this week as I had 12 points sitting there in comparison to my 4 in the starting side. From now on I feel that swapping my bench around may be the best way forward.
- Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) 6 points
- Cameron Jerome (Norwich) 2 points
- Cedric Soares (Southampton) 6 points
- Jordon Ibe (Liverpool) 1 point
So this week was the first time I saw red arrows and finished with a point score below average. The hit taken for transfers at the beginning of the week will have played a part, together with captaincy choice, but I feel my team is in a better place for the next few weeks now. Having also changed another of my players for the next week I hope that things will improve.