After a very strong showing in Week 1, the Best XI struggled to duplicate its success in the season’s second week. Here’s a look back at the Week 2 squad’s performance:
In goal, Asmir Begovic entered the weekend with a favorable matchup at home versus Crystal Palace, but the keeper allowed one score to the visiting side, while making four saves throughout the match.
Along the defensive line, Leighton Baines secured a clean sheet against West Brom and earned bonus points in most fantasy leagues for his man-of-the-match showing. Pablo Zabaleta and Manchester City were stunned by Premier League new-boys Cardiff City, with the promoted side winning 3-2 in their club’s home debut. Finally, Luke Shaw’s Southampton defense conceded a goal after just three minutes. The club held Sunderland scoreless for the rest of the match, but Shaw was substituted off at half-time.
The midfield was carried by David Silva’s assist, which gave the Spaniard a goal, a clean sheet, and an assist through two games on the Best XI. Then, the remaining trio of Kevin Nolan, Philippe Coutinho, and Ross Barkley each helped their sides keep clean sheets, with Barkley earning a yellow card in the process.
Up front, Edin Dzeko opened his scoring account with a 52nd minute goal against Cardiff City, while the Dutch pair of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Robin van Persie were each held scoreless as their respective sides fell victim to clean sheets.
Gameweek Three features a couple of heated rivalries slated for Sunday, with Manchester United traveling to Anfield to play Liverpool and Arsenal hosting Tottenham in the North London Derby. Also, Chelsea and Aston Villa will not feature in this gameweek due to the match they played to finish Gameweek One.
Numerous clubs will be coming off matches held in the middle of this week, whether in European competition or in England’s Capital One Cup, so there could very well be some rotating of players this weekend to compensate for the increased workloads. Taking all of that into account, here’s a stab at this week’s Best XI:
David De Gea (Manchester United) – Through two games this season, the Red Devils have allowed just one goal and De Gea has been credited with a total of nine saves. Sure, United plays at Liverpool this weekend, but new manager David Moyes will not be flustered by Anfield’s theatrics, given his years of experience in leading Everton across town for countless Merseyside Derbies. Further, Liverpool has mustered just two goals through two games this season, both scored by striker Daniel Sturridge, who centerback Rio Ferdinand should be quite familiar with through his time spent in the English national team setup.
Seamus Coleman (Everton) – Coleman has a goal and an assist through two matches and Everton is coming off a clean sheet performance last weekend. The Toffees travel to Wales to face Cardiff this weekend and after the Bluebirds’ brilliant display over Man City, Everton will not take the promoted side lightly.
Angel Rangel (Swansea City) – The Swans, who were one of the league’s pleasant surprises last season, have yet to earn a point through two matches this term. Having played Manchester United and Liverpool already, Swansea has been battle-tested in the early going, which should help Rangel’s fantasy stock against a West Brom side yet to score this season.
Gael Clichy (Manchester City) – The City defense struggled mightily last weekend against Cardiff City without captain Vincent Kompany, who is sidelined with a groin injury. The skipper will not be fit for this week’s tie versus Hull City, but City will be eager to avenge their unexpected loss in front of their home supporters and Clichy could stand to benefit.
David Silva (Manchester City) – Silva has transitioned seamlessly into new manager Manuel Pelligrini’s setup, both scoring and setting up a goal through two games. The left-footed player could very well add to his statistical haul this weekend when City host Hull City.
Michu (Swansea City) – After scoring 18 goals in his debut Premier League season, Michu isn’t going to sneak up on anyone in his sophomore campaign. That being said, it shouldn’t be long before the Spaniard notches his first of the season and this weekend’s fixture at West Brom seems like a ripe opportunity.
Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) – A summer signing from Juventus, Giaccherini scored his first Premier League goal last week against Southampton and has looked quality through two matches for the Black Cats, averaging three shot attempts per game. The Italian should be plenty involved while playing Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – The North London Derby is known for producing goals galore and featuring end-to-end play, a scenario that favors Walcott’s skill set. Tottenham has yet to allow a goal this season, but Walcott will be pitted against arguably Spurs’ weakest link defensively in Danny Rose. Look for the speedster to reward the Arsenal faithful with a goal.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – “Kun” has a goal and an assist to his name through two matches and plays a vital role in City’s attack as the connecting man between the midfield and front man. The Argentine should enjoy plenty of space against Hull City’s defense as the Citizens figure to dominate possession.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – As the transfer window deadline approaches, it appears more and more likely that Rooney will stay put at Manchester United. The world-class striker showed no signs of being distracted versus Chelsea last game and could be the one to break Liverpool’s scoreless defensive record come Sunday.
Rickie Lambert (Southampton) – Lambert and Southampton travel to a Norwich side not known for their defensive prowess. Couple that with the striker’s average of 5.5 shot attempts per game, and Lambert could see his name on the scoresheet this weekend.
Coleman - Rangel – Clichy
Silva – Michu – Gianccherini – Walcott
Aguero – Rooney - Lambert