With no Friday night game to look forward to, Week 3 gets underway on Saturday with the lunchtime kick-off between Spurs and Liverpool. There are two clashes at opposite ends of the table as Manchester United travel to Hull and Palace host Bournemouth, while Chelsea face Burnley and West Ham go to City.
Tottenham v Liverpool 12:30
Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off features two sides that have realistic aspirations for the top four. Spurs, who finished third last year, are unbeaten in their opening two games, holding Everton to a 1-1 draw before last weekend’s 1-0 win over Palace. Victor Wanyama (£4.0m) was the unlikely hero that day, snatching a late winner with Harry Kane (£6.8m) and Vincent Janssen (£5.0m) still looking for their first goals of the season.
Liverpool’s form has been rocky. An impressive 4-3 win at Arsenal on the opening weekend was overshadowed by a 2-0 loss at Burnley, but their 5-0 win over Burton in the EFL Cup will have re-installed some confidence. Daniel Sturridge (£6.5m) scored twice and Jurgen Klopp will likely start with him in a three pronged attack including the Brazilian duo of Philippe Coutinho (£5.3m) and Roberto Firmino (£5.1m).
As for Spurs, TFF managers will have to wait and see if Dele Alli (£5.0m) is re-installed to Pochettino’s starting XI. The England international was left out last weekend but could get his place back and reward the 10% of TFF managers that have kept faith with his selection.
Chelsea v Burnley (15:00)
Antonio Conte has two wins under his belt from Chelsea’s two opening fixtures but next up is a Burnley side brimming with confidence after their 2-0 victory against Liverpool. Diego Costa (£6.7m) has found the net in both matches, repaying his manager’s faith for opting to start with him instead of new signing Michy Batshuayi (£5.3m).
The latter scored twice against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night and will be hoping that performance gives him a first league start of the season. Cesc Fabregas (£5.4m) has also found himself out of favour, with Oscar (£4.9m) preferred at the Spaniard’s expense.
As for Burnley, their most expensive player in TFF (and their top point scorer so far), Andre Gray (£4.5m) already looks like the Clarets’ main man and if they’re going to take anything from Stamford Bridge it’s likely to come through him.
Gray was a non-league striker just six years ago but already has a Premier League goal to his name, scoring the second in Burnley’s 2-0 win over Liverpool at Turf Moor last weekend.
Crystal Palace v Bournemouth (15:00)
Both of these sides would have hoped for better starts to the new season and will be disappointed to sit in 19th and 20th respectively. Palace have suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats, at the hands of West Brom and Spurs, while Bournemouth were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United on the opening day and 1-0 by West Ham on Monday.
New signing Christian Benteke (£5.2m) should start for Palace as Alan Pardew’s side enter a favourable run of fixtures. Neither team has been ruthless in front of goal so far, with Adam Smith (£2.5m) the only player in the two squads to get off the mark for the season.
Callum Wilson (£4.8m) should continue in attack for the Cherries and Eddie Howe will hope that he can rediscover the form that propelled him to the top of the TFF stats league at the beginning of last season.
Everton v Stoke (15:00)
Everton, like Palace, have a favourable run of fixtures which has seen Ross Barkley’s ownership rise to 18%. The £4.6m rated midfielder already has 12 TFF points this season and could be set for more against a Stoke side that were beaten 4-1 at home by Man City last weekend.
They did, however, beat Stevenage 4-0 in the EFL Cup midweek with Peter Crouch (£3.8m) scoring an impressive hat-trick. Whether he remains in the side is yet to be seen but it’s likely Mark Hughes will continue with Bojan (£4.5m) and Diouf (£4.2m) instead.
Leicester v Swansea (15:00)
The 15/16 champions are yet to register a win this season following a 2-1 defeat at Hull and 0-0 draw with Arsenal. They’ll fancy their chances against Swansea, who were also beaten by Hull last time out.
Robert Huth’s (£3.5m) return to Leicester’s back four paid dividends as the familiar selection of Schmeichel (£3.6m), Simpson (£3.2m), Huth (£3.5m), Morgan (£3.5m) and Fuchs (£3.6m) all earned five points apiece for a full clean sheet.
Swansea’s summer signing Fernando Llorente (£4.9m) is yet to score but he did produce a key contribution against Burnley. Stephen Kingsley (£2.4m) retained his place in the side despite the return of Neil Taylor (£3.1m) but the Swans will need to be at their best to keep Jamie Vardy (£6.3m) and Ahmed Musa (£4.7m) quiet with the pressure mounting on both to get off the mark.
Southampton v Sunderland (15:00)
Nathan Redmond (£4.3m) is the Saints’ top point scorer so far having found the back of the net against Watford, but it’s their defence that could be set to pick up points this weekend against a Sunderland side that already look like relegation candidates.
Fraser Forster (£3.2m) should start in goal for Southampton and looks set to challenge Joe Hart to be England’s number one.
David Moyes’ side need a boost after losing the Wear-Tees derby to Middlesbrough last weekend. Patrick van Aanholt (£3.1m) was on the scoresheet that day and remains one of the most attack-minded defenders in TFF, although the Black Cats’ propensity for clean sheets seems to be decreasing as each game goes by.
Watford v Arsenal (15:00)
Watford and Arsenal go head-to-head at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon as both sides look to register their first wins of the season. The Gunners were beaten 4-3 at home to Liverpool before their 0-0 draw at Leicester last time out, while Watford drew 1-1 with Southampton before their implosion at home to Chelsea.
Etienne Capoue has raced to 14 TFF points, scoring in both of the Hornets’ opening fixtures. It’s slightly surprising considering he plays in a defensive role but with Troy Deeney (£5.1m) and Odion Ighalo (£4.7m) struggling for league goals it’s good to know that other players on the pitch can chip in.
As for Arsenal, they look stronger at the back now that Laurent Koscielny (£4.5m) has returned and last season’s top scoring defender Hector Bellerin (£4.4m) also got his first clean sheet of the season last time out.
Alexis Sanchez (£6.0m), in 18% of teams, has only four TFF points to his name but it’s surely only a matter of time until he produces the goods. Will it be on Saturday?
Hull v Manchester United (17:30)
This game won’t be easy for Jose Mourinho’s men. Despite the fact Hull are one of the favourites to be relegated, Mike Phelan has done a fantastic job so far and they’ve recorded back-to-back wins in the new campaign. A 2-1 win over Leicester was followed up by their 2-0 win at Hull, with Robert Snodgrass (£3.6m) looking like he could be the Tigers’ main man this year.
But keeping Manchester United quiet won’t be easy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£6.6m) already has three league goals this season and has shown every sign that he’ll be one of the leaders in the race for Golden Boot.
Mourinho has opted to play two attacking full-backs, Luke Shaw (£4.2m) and Antonio Valencia (£3.8m), which has paid dividends with both chipping in with a key contribution a piece.
West Brom v Middlesbrough (13:30)
Sunday’s early kick-off should be a close encounter. The Baggies let a 1-0 lead slip against Everton last weekend but Tony Pulis’ side are always capable of producing a clean sheet. To do so against Middlesbrough, it’s likely they’ll have to contain the in-form Alvaro Negredo (£4.9m). A goal and two key contributions in his opening two appearances for the Teessiders is a pretty decent return but he’s still been chosen in just 6% of TFF teams.
The man to stop Negredo could be Gareth McAuley. The £3.0m rated defender scored last weekend, and again in the EFL Cup midweek, highlighting his threat at both ends of the pitch. He’s also a cheaper option in defence than Johnny Evans (£3.1m) and slightly preferred over Craig Dawson (£3.0m).
Manchester City v West Ham (16:00)
City are already looking ominous. They have a 100% record so far this season and with the arrival of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona, you get the feeling that Pep Guardiola’s philosophy is starting to take shape.
At £3.9m Bravo comes in as the second highest priced keeper in TFF, £0.1 less than David de Gea and £0.1 more expensive than the now frozen out Joe Hart.
The Hammers got their first win of the season on Monday, beating Bournemouth 1-0. They’ll also be buoyed by the fact they took three points from the Etihad last year, the winner coming from Diafra Sakho (£4.5m) who has missed the start of the campaign through injury.
Dimitri Payet (£5.3m) missed out last weekend but should return to Bilic’s starting line-up on Sunday. So often the inspiration last season, it’ll be Payet’s creativity that West Ham will hope can get them a result.
Source: Week 3 preview
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