Gameweek 1 Review – Saturday and Sunday

Ramsey Leaves it Late
The Welshman fired an injury-time winner as Arsenal made hard work of overcoming Palace at the Emirates. While Alexis Sanchez chipped in with an assists (and seems to have a share of dead-ball duties) Ramsey served notice that he’s set to maintain the form that saw him deliver 10 goals in 23 appearances last term.

Brede Hangeland’s opener denied many Fantasy managers defensive returns, though Mathieu Debuchy picked up an assist for Ramsey’s strike to get his season up and running and was bombing forward throughout. Arsene Wenger has concerns on the opposite flank, however, with Kieran Gibbs withdrawn midway through the second period: Wenger later stated that the left-back may have picked up a hamstring or Achilles injury. Nacho Monreal looks the likeliest to benefit, though Callum Chambers owner will be hoping the versatile youngster could offer a replacement once Per Mertesacker returns to take his place in the heart of the back line.

United Fail to Flatter
The Red Devils’ growing injury list finally caught up with them. Louis van Gaal’s side were heavily backed after a 100% record over the summer but with the Dutchman forced to field debutants Ryan Blackett and Jesse Lingard, it’s clear they remain in an uncertain transition period. Wayne Rooney’s strike may have vindicated the show of faith but the 2-1 reverse suggests that Van Gaal has plenty of work to do. Interestingly, the Dutchman changed formations at the break, switching from 3-4-1-2 to a 4-4-1-1, with Juan Mata still tucked in behind Rooney. This saw Nani introduced with a subdued Ashley Young shifted to a traditional left-back role.

Berahino Bags a Brace
Handed the role in “the hole” behind Victor Anichebe, Berahino struck twice (including a spot-kick) as the Baggies kicked off with a 2-2 draw. Three road trips (sou, sea, tot) and the visit of Everton in the next four suggests that Berahino could struggle to maintain this promising form, though.

In defence, the 4.0-priced Andre Wisdom was again selected at right-back, though the similarly-priced Chris Baird dropped to the bench after starting the last few friendlies in central midfield.

Davies Benched in Spurs Win
Spurs earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory at West Ham in Mauricio Pochettino’s first match in charge, despite playing over 60 minutes with 10-men. Debutant Eric Dier bagged a 15-point return thanks to a goal, clean sheet and maximum bonus, though with the likes of Jan Vertonghen closing in on a return, it remains to be seen where Dier stands in the pecking order. Kyle Naughton’s dismissal means he is set to sit out next week’s visit of QPR, while the uncertainty surrounding the left-back berth was underlined by the decision to field Danny Rose ahead of Ben Davies.

Toffees Share the Spoils
Romelu Lukaku proved his fitness in time for The Foxes clash, though the Belgian was overshadowed by goalscorers Steven Naismith and Aiden McGeady. Naismith was handed the role behind Lukaku after Ross Barkley was ruled out with injury and, with a potential long-term absence for the youngster on the cards, Naismith could be poised for an upturn in game time – his classification as a forward in FPL somewhat dents his appeal, though. Winger McGeady, at 5.5, is worth monitoring, though games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and United in the next six looks a barrier to investment. Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas made the bench and were both introduced late on. Both would seem likely to be in line for starts for the visit of Arsenal in Gameweek 2. This would presumably put both Naismith/McGeady and John Stones under threat.

Sterling the Star for Reds
A goal and assist from the youngster helped Liverpool to a narrow win over Southampton in the first game of the post-Luis Suarez era. Fielded on the left of a 4-2-3-1 formation has instantly found his form – with the maximum bonus also accrued, few will be deterred by back-to-back road trips to City and Spurs.

Aguero Seals it for City
Manuel Pellegrini started with Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko up front at Newcastle but both were overshadowed by the fit-again Argentine in City’s 2-0 win. Emerging from the bench on 83 minutes, Aguero needed just seven minutes to find the net and remind us just how devastating a Fantasy force he can be.

With another week until the champions’ next league match against Liverpool, there’s every chance Aguero’s match sharpness will be up to scratch, allowing Pellegrini to start the diminutive frontman. His return immediately places concerns over Jovetic’s security of pitch time, though the Montenegro international turned in an impressive shift, with five attempts on goal and a trio of chances created for his team-mates at St James’ Park.


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