The Preview: GW2

After a long summer where the waiting game drained out the fans despite the Euros, Premier League was back this weekend, and so was FPL. The much anticipated 21/22 season started with a superb Game week 1 with some very obvious outcomes and some unexpected ones. And there is no other statement that defines the FPL and the Premier League any better.

As part of a weekly publication, The Stands brings to you the preview of the GW2 and outlines all the important information you need to know

Injuries and Absentees

1. I. Gundogan – Was suspected to be injured, but participated in full training in the last two days. Will be involved in the match day squad.

2. Joel Veltman – In isolation, as per government protocol. Will miss the match.

Fixtures

Liverpool v Burnley (3-0)

Liverpool were in full sync when they played Norwich away last week. The fixture against Burnley marks the return of fans at Anfield in the Premier League and the team will be read to delight their fans back in the stadium.

Burnley did not light up things last week at Home, against Brighton, where they had just 35% possession and three (3) shots on target. Their goal came from a set-piece very early on in the game.

Players to watch – M. Salah, S. Mane, T. Alexander Arnold and R. Firmino.

Aston Villa v Newcastle (2-1)

Aston Villa in their first match in the Premier League without the 100m Manchester City player, Jack Grealish, looked like a disjointed team with a lot of individuals. Mixing a bunch of new players was always going to be a task. However, they showed enough to ensure us that they can beat a hapless Newcastle that is down on individual quality and team cohesion.

Both the teams are currently in the almost stage with work to be done in the defensive department, and therefore the game will see both the sides score. Villa can be expected to have a small edge over Newcastle though.

Players to watch – D. Ings, C. Wilson, E. Buendia and E. Martinez.

Crystal Palace v Brentford (1-1)

Crystal Palace were hapless against a dominant Chelsea while Brentford partied hard in their first ever Premier League match by shocking Arsenal. However, no conclusions can be set by just one result for each side.

Match against Chelsea should have started a road towards improvement for P. Viera and his newly assembled Palace side, while it will be interesting to see if Brentford could keep the excitement in their veins on a much smaller occasion, away from Home.

Players to watch – W. Zaha, I. Toney, B. Mbeumo and J. Ayew.

Leeds v Everton (2-1)

United were always going to topple a Leeds United team that sticks to man-marking even against a side with forwards that make plenty of runs and play in a fluid manner. However, Everton may not be able to exploit the shortcomings in the defensive system of Leeds United.

Further, neither the goalkeeper, Pickford, nor the Centrebacks at Everton are good ball players. The Everton team also lacks a regista style midfielder that will tick the ball for 90 minutes and therefore Leeds are expected to keep the ball higher up for long durations (with the help of their own regista, K. Phillips – who was on the bench in the Manchester United game). This fact alone will tilt them towards a win.

Players to watch – Richarlison, Digne, Bamford, Harrison and Raphinha.

Man City v Norwich (4-0)

Manchester City, as expected dominated the ball against Tottenham. However, without a recognized no. 9, the team played a little out of shape. The personnel on the field were unable to take their chances either, as Man City slipped to an opening day defeat to Tottenham as Son scored a deserving winner.

However, another expectation out of the Pep Guardiola side is to come back stronger and thrash a lowly Norwich, who solely relied on the runs of Pukki and Cantwell in the match against Liverpool.

Players to watch – All Manchester City attacking players that start. (KDB, Gundogan and Mahrez in particular)

Brighton v Watford (0-1)

Burnley stroked up a lead against Brighton, however the sea gulls clawed their way back to a victory with some hard work.

However, Watford were impressive in their showings against Villa. I. Sarr terrorized Targett all day long and Watford showed some brilliant combinations in the midfield.

Players to watch – I. Sarr, K. Sema, N. Maupay and P. Grob

Southampton v Man Utd (0-3)

Manchester United were impressive against Leeds in their opening day fixture and put up a well rounded performance with United acting as a kryptonite to M. Bieslas team. They have also had a similar history with Southampton, who did not show anything in the first gameweek suggesting that they will not concede more goals.

Expect a straight forward result with United edging over due to individual quality, with will be further bolstered by more first team additions like Sancho and Varane.

Players to watch – B. Fernandes, J. Sancho, M. Greenwood and A. Armstrong.

Wolves v Tottenham (0-1)

Both teams, despite being on the opposite ends of the table, had a result which spoke more about the opponent than themselves. Leicester edged over Wolves relying on individual quality while Wolves missed their chances. While, Tottenham hung around while City missed their chances and took the lead as Son scored a brilliant outside the box goal.

Expect a cagy match with Tottenham taking the slight advantage. Both teams will be aware of the threat the other team poses on counter.

Players to watch – H. Son, L. Moura, S. Reguillon and R. Jiminez.

Arsenal v Chelsea (0-2)

Arsenal seems to be at an all time low while Chelsea seems to be at an all time high. Such contrasting direction should lead to a straight forward result. The solid Chelsea defence can be expected to keep a clean sheet with the Arsenal attacking trio of Willian, Lacazette and Aubameyang missing yet another fixture due to COVID.

Chelsea fans will be excited to see their record signing R. Lukaku back again in the Chelsea colours as will look to come out all guns blazing. Some other rotation can be expected on the Chelsea side as the manager looks to integrate all the senior squad players into the team after a busy summer break.

Players to watch – R. Lukaku, T. Werner, R. James and B. Chilwell.

West Ham v Leicester (1-1)

Two teams who have high potential, but did not turn up with their 100% in the first fixture. However, both teams managed the wins and therefore, a tighter game can be expected as both teams try to come back to life.

Both teams have enough quality to defend against the other while both have enough quality to score too. Classic 1-1 draw in the making.

Players to watch – M. Antonio, J. Vardy and H. Barnes

Capitan Pick

Bruno Fernandes might edge M. Salah for this weekend as both face easy opponents. The ultimate factor for our team has been that J. Milner started the match in GW1 and might start again, casting doubts over the penalty taker status of M. Salah.

Bench Options

Any Everton or West Ham defenders can be benched for the weekend in favour of players that might score more than 2 points.