This Saturday evening Everton welcome high flying Chelsea in what should be a cracking encounter at Goodison Park.
The home side have only garnered 2 points from their opening two fixtures, but that belies the quality of their performances. They surrendered the lead in the final ten minutes against both Leicester and Arsenal, but still have much to feel positive about.
Offensively, Steven Naismith has deputised brilliantly for the injured Ross Barkley and is the top scoring forward in FPL, while Irishmen McGeady & Coleman have chipped in with goals of their own.
For their own part, Chelsea are one of only three sides who have earned maximum points from the two fixtures (albeit against weaker opposition, Burnley & Leicester) and have been solid in both defence and attack. Ivanovic has been the 2nd best defensive player in fantasy football (22 pts), and the midfield trio of Fabregas, Hazard and Schurrle have both scored themselves and provided the ammunition for new front-man Diego Costa to maintain his 100% goalscoring record for Chelsea. Fernando Torres is crying into his cornflakes!
Three to Target:
Cesc Fabregas: (Cost £9.2 million, Ownership 34.2%).
The Spaniard has begun this EPL season as though he was never away, topping the assists charts with three from two games. His purchase from Barcelona may have appeared to be a luxury signing for a squad which already boasts several top attacking midfielders but he has provided this Chelsea side with both the invention and eye for the through ball they’ve missed since the 2012/13 with Juan Mata. More than that, the former Arsenal captain also possesses the ability to contribute defensively to the team, something his compatriot lacked in the eyes of his manager. He has formed the perfect partnership with Matic in midfield, as well as providing the attacking prowess missing from the games of Mikel or Ramires. Leading his team with 83 passes per game, and also coming up with 1.5 shots on target per game, he is central to everything Chelsea do and it is only a matter of time before he scores himself. Last week Aaron Ramsey scored against Everton last week by arriving in the box at the right time from midfield, I think Fabregas will have similar opportunities to open his account this week, especially if Andre Schurrle misses out or is left out of the starting lineup due to a minor leg injury.
Eden Hazard (Cost £10.0 million, Ownership 18.7%)
Last season Hazard had a brilliant campaign scoring 14 goals and 10 assists, ensuring he ended up as the 3rd highest points scorer on www.fanfeud.com and the PFA Young Player of the Year award. However, he also felt the wrath of his manager Jose Mourinho who publicly called out the Belgian for a perceived lack of willingness to sacrifice himself for the team, leading to multiple stories linking him with moves to Barcelona and PSG over the summer. Chelsea fans have to be delighted he is still playing in in their colours as he has started this season in fantastic form, leading his team in both dribbles per game (7.5) and key passes (4.5 pg), as well as scoring the goal which sealed the 2-0 win over Leicester and earned him the man of the match award. Like Fabregas above, he is key to everything Chelsea do offensively, and needs to be in your fantasy lineup.
Steven Naismith (Cost £5.1 million, Ownership 14.5%)
Naismith came into this season with few fantasy owners expecting him to be relevant to their team. However, entering week 3 he is the top scoring forward in fantasy football with 18 points from 2 games. Hardworking and an efficient finisher on limited opportunities (he has scored his 2 goals from only 4 shots on target) he is proving himself the ideal foil for former Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku up front for the Toffees. Everton will find it hard to create chances against this week’s opponents but I think if they do score, it will be exactly the type of goal the Scotsman excels in… a ball deflected into his path in the box, or a pull back from the bye line from one of Everton’s brilliant fullbacks. Get him in your lineup. He’s unlikely to be on the winning team on Saturday, but he could well be on the scoresheet.
Chelsea defensively are very strong but if they have a weakness it is defending attacks from wide areas. This should mean that the likes of Baines, Coleman and Mirallas should have opportunities to contribute. Meanwhile, Everton have shown themselves vulnerable to set pieces this year and in Cahill, Terry and Ivanovic, Chelsea have 3 great options from those situations and could get on the scoresheet.
Picking one of these players could prove to be a key differential in winning with your fanfeud.co.uk lineup this week. Good luck!!