There were more surprise packages in the second round of Premier League matches, with the biggest surprise of all coming at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City crushed the reigning champions 3-0.
Fans expecting a deluge of productivity from Chelsea have been left disappointed in the opening two games, with the champions suffering their worst start in seventeen years. However, in fantasy football it always pays to remember that form may temporary, but class is permanent.
Diego Costa is now approaching full fitness and he certainly has the class and character to break Chelsea’s recent funk sooner than many would expect.
Here are six more hotshots who are likely to make an impact this weekend.
1/2. Matteo Darmian & Juan Mata
Steve McLaren’s reign as Newcastle United manager is still in its infancy, but already there is the notion that they will struggle. Not in their favour is the fact that the Magpies have arguably the hardest opening ten games in the league – and their next stop is Old Trafford.
Italian international fullback Darmian has been one of the strongest of the Premier League newcomers, with two clean sheets already to his name. Given the contrast in recent form between the two sides, Darmian should play a major part in your squad for GW3.
Mata is another sure bet to score points – he has looked dangerous so far this season and should enjoy a fruitful afternoon against Newcastle’s shaky defence.
3/4. Yohan Cabaye & Jason Puncheon
Aston Villa is a club still in transition, forcibly adjusting to life after Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph. Don’t let the opening day win at Bournemouth fool you, because Villa are always vulnerable to the occasional thrashing.
By contrast Crystal Palace have begun the season in good spirit, as the Pardew factor remains as potent as ever. There can be no doubt that Palace will bounce back from their unfortunate home defeat to Arsenal, and there are two players that would be ignored at your peril this weekend.
Yohan Cabaye’s ability from set pieces will surely make an impact if the Villa players lose concentration in the same way they did on many occasions last season.
And like his teammate Cabaye, Jason Puncheon is a player of opportunity. Puncheon is not the most skilled footballer, but he is fast, direct, and more than capable of capitalising on situations of uncertainty. He is a less common pick than the usual stars ahead of this weekend’s clash, so his presence will enable you to pick up a differential source of points.
5. Dusan Tadic
Southampton were shell-shocked by an Everton side that attacked purposefully on the counter and scored three times without reply, in a perfect reversal of the scoreline that was yielded in last season’s corresponding fixture.
A trip to Vicarage Road is next for the Saints, and this game is probably the biggest banker for a ‘Both Teams to Score’ bet. Watford have played some pleasing football in the past two games, particularly in their season opener at Goodison Park, but their defence is likely to concede more often than not due to the open style of play employed by manager Quique Flores.
Ultimately, Tadic is the type of player that exploits any naivety in opposing players, and the current Watford team remains something of an ‘uncut diamond’ so the Croat would be a useful addition in GW3.
Chelsea are a wounded animal after a chastening 3-0 defeat at the Etihad, and their current plight (though surely to be short-lived) has been further compounded by backroom controversy. However, a trip to the Hawthorns provides Chelsea with a fantastic opportunity to finally get off the mark.
West Brom are fuelled by home advantage but the team has not played with a lot of gusto, remaining goalless this season despite the club doing some good business over the summer.
Unlike bank breakers such as Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard, the inclusion of Willian in your squad should not unduly stretch your resources and an assist at least from the midfielder is not an unreasonable expectation this weekend.