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Fantasy Premier League: Looking Ahead to Gameweek 3

By Alex Fairchild



BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet celebrates the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on August 24, 2013 in Birmingham, England
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet celebrates the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on August 24, 2013 in Birmingham, England

Two Fantasy Premier League rounds are behind us and a third looms this weekend. A preview of Gameweek 3's action, which includes some slick footballers to buy, are below.

Goalkeepers:

Simon Mignolet has been Liverpool's man of the season in the eyes of many. There is no doubt that the Anfield keeper has had a strong start to his first campaign with the Reds, as he is yet to concede in two matches. After keeping out Jonathan Walters penalty on the opening weekend, he stopped a couple of blazers from Christian Benteke. However, Mignolet will face Manchester United come Gameweek 3, so it may be time to bring in that substitute keeper, as a third shutout on the trot will be unlikely against a powerful United squad. Liverpool will be without Kolo Toure as well.

If you must replace your keeper, beware that Petr Cech and Brad Guzan will not be in action this weekend, as the two clubs have a bye week built in by Chelsea's UEFA Super Cup tie.  

Defenders:  

A Chelsea full back is lighting up the FPL once again, getting up to a flying start with a goal and two clean sheets. Branislav Ivanovic was a stalwart back for owners last year and it looks as if the Serb will be at the helm of many fantasy teams this year. Though one must be careful. Chelsea will not be in action this weekend, so it would be wise to wait for the team to return to Premier League play before signing the right back.

Steven Whittaker failed to produce another extraordinary display in the second round of play. The Norwich City man is a consistent starter though and is a very inexpensive signing. With Ivanovic in my team, I have brought Whittaker off the bench this week to replace the absent Chelsea player. While the right back is unlikely to net much the rest of the season, he faces an attacking Southampton side this weekend. He should be a sure bet to pick up a point each time you are forced to play him.

Everton's Leighton Baines is yet to produce non-defensive points even though the left back has been influential in the Toffies's first two games. But his right-sided counterpart, Seamus Coleman, is one of the FPL's top defenders. Coleman had a massive 13 point  start to the campaign and tacked on a shutout last weekend. The pair could be in trouble this week, as they play an in form Cardiff City. After the Welsh side put in a flurry of goals against Manchester City, Cardiff will be confident as they play another of the league's top teams. Both backs are sure to take defenses across the league to task. Baines is creating four chances per match on average, while Coleman has produced more assists than all EPL backs in this calendar year.

Jose Enrique of Liverpool is another back bringing the ball forward. With his presumed replacement, Aly Cissokho, forced to sit due to injury, he will have another chance to produce an assist, and perhaps a third clean sheet if United and Liverpool play the defensive match that the former played with Chelsea. John Arne Riise and Pablo Zabeleta will also make things happen in forward positions.

Midfielders:

Paulinho came out of his shell in the team's match against Swansea. Playing as a four forward at times, the box-to-box midfielder mustered a few attempts on goal. Had it not been for a stubborn Michel Vorm, Paulinho would have opened his Premier League account in style. The Tottenham transfer will have to put himself out in front once again if his side hope to thrash Arsenal come the weekend.

Speaking of Tottenham midfielders, Nacer Chadli and Andros Townsend are not bad buys. The former has been one of the league's most prolific chance creators from the midfield and while he is no Gareth Bale, all you can ask of your midfielders is that they create for their teammates. Townsend has been able to create for himself as well, dribbling five defenders in his only Premier League appearance. Though one performance is not enough to go by, Townsend will be one to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Forwards:

Last weekend was a bit frightening for Iago Aspas supporters. The Liverpool man, who had an excellent preseason is yet to get off the mark for his new club in the league. Against Aston Villa, Aspas played behind Daniel Sturridge once again, but had extreme difficulty influencing the match. Perhaps it is his small frame or that the forward needs more time to become acclimated with the power and pace of the Premier League.

The man playing in front of him has had no trouble, getting out of the gates brilliantly. With two goals in two games and League Cup success, granted it was against Notts County, Sturridge is the most in form player in England, and perhaps the world, since the season commenced earlier this month.

Michael Laudrup has hurt quite a few fantasy owners in failing to start Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony. Being the powerful forward that he is, it is somewhat shocking that he is yet to get into a starting XI that could feature a powerful tandem between himself and Michu. As for whether or not to buy or sell Bony, it would be wise to keep him on the bench, at least, as he will be dangerous once he gets into his groove.

Over 105,000 users have signed Frazier Campbell for Gameweek 3. After his ingenious performance to see Cardiff by the Citizens, Campbell will take on a strong Everton defense at the weekend. Campbell costs £5.6 million and could be an excellent addition to owners as that team's main man this campaign. &&&   My FPL team for Gameweek 3 is below:

Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet

Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta, Leighton Baines, Steven Whittaker

Midfielders: Paulinho, Lucas Leiva, David Silva, Kevin Mirallas

Forwards: Iago Aspas, Wilfried Bony, Edin Dzeko

Share your FPL team and thoughts on this week's action in the comment section below, or on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages.

Follow Alex on Twitter: @alex_f_football  

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