Arsenal (2-2 vs Man City)
4-1-4-1: Szczesny, Debuchy (81’ Chambers), Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Flamini (90’ Arteta), Sanchez, Wilshire, Ramsey, Ozil, Welbeck (88’ Oxlade-Chamberlain)
Danny Welbeck got the immediate start he wanted up front and looked lively despite not getting on the score sheet. Wilshire was preferred in the central midfield role over Cazorla and impressed with a goal and assist, whilst Ozil was again contained to the more left-sided role. Arsenal will assess the full extent of Debuchy’s ankle sprain after he was stretched with Wegner initially stating “it doesn’t look good” and most news outlets are suggesting he could be out for three months making Calum Chambers an amazing value buy in FPL at £4.5M.
Chelsea (4-2 vs Swansea)
4-2-3-1: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Ramieres, Matic, Hazard (83’ Luis), Fabregas (82’ Salah), Schurrle (45’ Ramires), Costa (72’ Remy)
Costa’s so called “injury problems” over the last couple of weeks have no doubt cost FPL managers a few points. We suspect Mourinho has exaggerated or even fabricated this and successfully engineered his player a rest of the internationals. Ahem. Anyway, Schurrle came back into the starting lineup after missing out last time out with an injury against Everton, as did Oscar, as Mourinho went with his most attacking midfield trio. Expect one or both of Willian and Ramires to make the trip to City next week inplace of Schurrle and Oscar. Schurrle’s substitution at half-time here appears to tactical (no injury reported) with the Blue’s switching to a 4-3-3 to dominate the second half.
Liverpool (0-1 vs Aston Villa)
4-2-3-1: Mignolet, Manquillo, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho, Gerrard, Henderson, Lallana (61’ Sterling), Coutinho, Markovic (71’ Borini) Balotelli (71’ Lambert)
Without the injured Sturridge and Raheem Sterling rested, Liverpool played Balotelli as the lone striker with home debuts handed to Lallana and Markovic on the flanks and Coutinho reinstalled in the no.10 role. It wasn’t pretty. Manquillo kept hold of the right back berth whilst Glen Johnson recovers from a hip injury. FPL have Johnson slated for a return in GW5 although physioroom.com give no return date.
Manchester City (2-2 vs Arsenal)
4-2-3-1: Hart, Clichy, Demichellis, Kompany, Zabaleta, Fernandinho (77’ Kolarov), Lampard (45’ Nasri), Milner, Navas, Silva, Aguero (67’ Dzeko)
Much change from Pellegrini with 6 changes from last week’s starting XI (Clichy, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Lampard, Milner, Navas). Yaya Toure was rested after only returning from international duty on Friday. With Aguero as the lone striker, Silva was given a more advanced role playing behind the Argentine in what, overall, was a more defensive line-up than is typical for City. It will be very interesting to see what lineup and with what mentality Pellegrini goes into the early season crunch clash against Chelsea in GW5.
Manchester United (3-0 vs QPR)
4-3-1-2: De Gea, Rafael (67’ Valencia), Evans, Blackett, Rojo, Blind, Herrera, Di Maria (82’ Januzaj), Mata (67’ Falcao), Van Persie, Rooney
Three transfer window debuts for United with Rojo starting at left back, Daley Blind anchoring the midfield and Radamel Falcao coming off the bench. Falcao replaced Juan Mata with 20 odd minutes to go with Rooney dropping deeper to allow the Colombian to partner Van Persie up-front – perhaps a hint on how the team shapes up once Falcao is fit enough to start. As you can see from the average position map above from ESPN’s Gamecast, a lot of United’s players had a high advanced position with Di Maria almost level with Mata, who in turn was on the ball in close proximity to Rooney and Van Persie. Of course, United were very good here and we’ll take a closer look at the player stats and fantasy potential later this week. Will we change our initial stance on Di Maria after a 14 point score in FPL?