Fantasy Football Preview: Manchester City blitz and Saints march on

Man City Inc Dzeko

Game-week two contains some stand-out matches and a few potential surprises, with players from Southampton, Aston Villa and Manchester City all worthy of consideration.

Fixture analysis: Arsenal will hope to continue their fine goal-scoring form from Wednesday during their visit to Fulham, and in so doing get their first league points of the season. The Europa League pair of Tottenham and Swansea face off on Sunday, with both sides likely to stick with the forwards that helped them hit five during the week.

For almost certain goals, look no further than Cardiff’s first home game in the Premier League against Manchester City; while Aston Villa against Liverpool could also contain its fair share of entertainment.

Manchester United versus Chelsea is clearly the game of the week, but history gives an uncertain view of what to expect – cagey or free-scoring? Given the men in charge, and the importance of early season success, I suggest the former.

The bargain of the weekend could be found in Southampton’s home game against Sunderland. The Saints should win, with both their strikers and their defenders capable of racking up a healthy amount of individual points.

Player analysis: In defence, the Southampton pair of Luke Shaw (4.6) and Dejan Lovren (5.0) could be set for another good game...on the way to a very good season. Up front, Rickie Lambert (7.5) will also be looking to add to his goal-tally against the Black Cats and could be the smart pick for the weekend’s top scorer.

Then again, if Manchester City play anything like they did last Monday, Cardiff City could be in for a long 90 minutes, with Edin Dzeko (7.5) the pick of the Blues’ strikers. He may not have found the net against the Magpies, but his all-round play was superb. And with Manuel Pellegrini putting his faith in the Bosnian, Saturday could see the first of many great goal-scoring performances from the former Wolfsburg man.

Also expect a good showing from Fernandinho (8.0) and, with City’s injury woes, it may be a risk worth taking picking Jack Rodwell (5.5) as the most likely man to partner Joleon Lescott at the back.

Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris (6.0) is already proving to be an outstanding pick in goal, and further up the White Hart Lane pitch, Roberto Soldado (9.5) could continue his fine early form against a Swans defence that suffered at the hands of another prolific striker last weekend. The Spaniard may be expensive, but he currently looks the most likely to challenge Robin van Persie (14.0) for the golden boot.

Speaking of whom, the Dutchman may be one to avoid this week with Chelsea hard to break down and a single-goal-victory the most likely outcome. For value in this game, consider Anderson (5.0), who David Moyes appears to like. Given the Blues’ strength in midfield, I can see the Brazilian coming in as United attempt to keep up with Jose Mourinho’s interchanging midfielders.

Shinji Kagawa (7.9) could also be a good bet, should Moyes play Welbeck out wide and bring the Japanese play-maker in behind his main striker.

For Chelsea, expect good performances and potential points from Kevin De Bruyne (7.0) and John Terry (6.0).

In other matches, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud (8.5) will be hoping to continue his goal-scoring form against Fulham at Craven Cottage. While those with an eye on Aston Villa’s home match against Liverpool could do well to ignore the attacking players on show and plump for Antonio Luna (4.5) or Jores Okore (4.5).

Captain choice: This week I would go for Dzeko, who is set to be one of the highest scoring players of the weekend...if his luck is in.

images: © ulicar, © mafue

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