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The 11 best players to buy for your FPL team in Gameweek 3

Well, that was a painful Fantasy Premier League gameweek, wasn’t it?

Don’t be too downhearted if you had a tough time of it, it was an extremely low-scoring week with an average score of 44 points representing a net deficit of -20 compared to the first round of Premier League fixtures. Let’s take a glass half-full approach; the only way is up.

At this stage of the season, it is vital to not panic. A number of proven FPL assets have so far failed to live up to their reputations and are being sold en masse as a result, but to borrow some wisdom from everybody’s favourite (fake) Scotsman Mel Gibson, sometimes it is better to just “hold!”.

If you have either or even both of Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, for instance, you might have spent your Saturday evening banging your head against the wall as they took it in turns to miss glorious chances against Spurs.

They are skating on thin ice, for sure, but selling either before a home game against Nottingham Forest would be a risky move that could backfire. If they continue to fluff big chances this weekend, the decision to sell becomes much more justifiable.

It is also worth playing the fixtures at times too, by identifying the teams that have the most favourable schedules. FPL bosses are hot on Brighton players at the moment, which is understandable given how well they are playing, but the Seagulls face Manchester United, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester City before the end of October.

i‘s top three scorers in Gameweek 2

Here were the three highest-scoring players from i‘s starting XI for Gameweek 2.

  • Bryan Mbeumo – 16 points vs Fulham: All hail Bryan Mbeumo, Brentford’s temporary talisman and the highest-scoring player in Gameweek 2. Two goals (including a second from the penalty spot already this season) and a clean sheet ensured a very tidy score indeed.
  • Pervis Estupinan – 11 points vs Wolves: Brighton’s fixtures begin to turn from Gameweek 4 onwards, and Roberto De Zerbi’s nightmarish rotation policy will go into overdrive once the Europa League kicks off. But for now, Pervis Estupinan is the best defender in the game.
  • Mo Salah – 5 points vs Bournemouth: That Mo Salah was our third-highest-scoring player is a telltale sign that last weekend was largely a disappointment. Salah scored but only after having a penalty saved; it could have been better, but it could have been worse too.

In contrast, Chelsea, City and Spurs have kinder runs and may offer greater points potential in the short to medium term. Banking on Chelsea assets may seem hazardous considering they have barely won a game in 2023, but if they do start to click the upside is huge.

Once again, there is a Friday deadline this week at the slightly later time of 6.30pm.

Gameweek 3 fixtures

Friday 25 August

Saturday 26 August

  • Bournemouth vs Spurs
  • Arsenal vs Fulham
  • Brentford vs Crystal Palace
  • Everton vs Wolves
  • Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest
  • Brighton vs West Ham

Sunday 27 August

  • Burnley vs Aston Villa
  • Sheffield United vs Man City
  • Newcastle vs Liverpool

Ederson (Man City)

Manchester City have kept back-to-back clean sheets and looked extraordinarily solid at the back, limiting their opponents (Burnley and Newcastle) to a combined xG of just 0.57, according to Understat. For context, the next best record is Nottingham Forest’s 1.39.

As mentioned, City have a nice fixture run coming up which should boost their chances of keeping further shutouts. With so many defenders to pick from, choosing Ederson is the simplest and safest route to those sweet, sweet clean sheet points.

Price: £5.5m Points: 12 Gameweek 3 fixture: Sheffield United (a)

Malo Gusto (Chelsea)

A few budget-friendly defenders are beginning to emerge as FPL options including Tottenham’s attack-minded left-back Destiny Udogie (£4.5m) and Rico Henry (£4.6m), who has started the season brilliantly with Brentford.

If funds are tight, though, Chelsea right-back Malo Gusto, who costs just £4m in FPL, could be the one to bring in. The 20-year-old Frenchman has replaced the injured Reece James in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting line-up and created 24 chances in 21 league games for previous club Lyon last season.

Price: £4m Points: 2 Gameweek 3 fixture: Luton (h)

Pervis Estupinan (Brighton)

After the opening two gameweeks, Pervis Estupinan tops the following charts among defenders: chances created (eight), shots (five), big chances created (three), assists (two, level with Serge Aurier), expected assists (1.49) and goals (one, level with five other players).

The Ecuadorian has already risen £0.2m in value, but as indicated by the stats above, still offers exceptional value at just £5.2m. The Seagulls have a mixed bag of fixtures coming up, but will play at the Amex in three of their next four, starting against West Ham on Saturday.

Price: £5.2m Points: 18 Gameweek 3 fixture: West Ham (h)

William Saliba (Arsenal)

Fulham supporters could be forgiven for being a little bit apprehensive about the post-Aleksandar Mitrovic era at Craven Cottage based on last weekend’s performance against Brentford. Despite playing at home, Marco Silva’s side registered the lowest xG in the Premier League in Gameweek 2 without the Serbian leading the line.

Considering his replacement Raul Jimenez last scored a league goal in March 2022, Arsenal look to have as good a chance as any team of keeping a clean sheet in Gameweek 3. With Gabriel named as a substitute in Arsenal’s first two matches, William Saliba is now the safest option from their backline.

Price: £5.1m Points: 13 Gameweek 3 fixture: Fulham

Phil Foden (Man City)

With Kevin De Bruyne injured long-term and both Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez leaving Manchester City over the summer, Phil Foden has never had a better opportunity to nail down a starting spot in Pep Guardiola’s XI.

Foden certainly took his chance against Newcastle on Saturday, setting up Julian Alvarez for the game’s only goal and creating seven chances across the 90 minutes, more than any other player in Gameweek 2. Over the next five weeks, City face a newly-promoted side, followed by four teams who finished 10th or lower in last season’s Premier League.

Price: £7.5m Points: 12 Gameweek 3 fixture: Sheffield United (a)

Raheem Sterling (Chelsea)

In an ideal world, an FPL player will tick the following three boxes: they are posting strong underlying statistics for instance shots on goal and/or chances created for attacking players; they are passing the eye test, i.e. they are in good form and playing well; and they have a promising fixture coming up against an inferior and/or out of sorts opponent.

Which brings us to Raheem Sterling. The stats do not make for good reading – he has only had one shot and created two chances in 171 minutes in the opening two gameweeks. However, he impressed during Chelsea’s defeat to West Ham and faces Luton at home on Friday night. At just 2.1 per cent owned, he’s a nice differential option.

Price: £7m Points: 4 Gameweek 3 fixture: Luton (h)

Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford)

Sometimes, it’s best to not overthink things in FPL. Bryan Mbeumo is in good form in a team that is playing well, is listed as a midfielder but is playing as a striker, and has good fixtures with back-to-back home games against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth (with Everton to come in Gameweek 6).

It can be tempting to avoid buying a player on a hot streak in the expectation that you may have already missed the boat, but factoring in the above there is no reason why Mbeumo can’t continue supplying the goods for a while longer yet. His strike partner Yoane Wissa (£6m) is also an excellent option in the forward positions.

Price: £6.6m Points: 23 Gameweek 3 fixture: Crystal Palace (h)

Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)

FPL managers are cutting their losses on Manchester United’s midfielders with Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes both among the most sold players ahead of Friday’s deadline after each failing to provide any attacking returns so far this season.

That seems hasty given United face Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford next. Of the two, Fernandes has posted the better underlying numbers and has looked in better form. Expected goal involvement (xGi) measures the quality of expected goals plus expected assists; Fernandes recorded the highest xGi (1.74) of any player in Gameweek 2.

Price: £8.5m Points: 4 Gameweek 3 fixture: Nottingham Forest (h)

Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

It goes without saying that one of the main appeals of Bukayo Saka as an FPL asset was his status as Arsenal’s first-choice penalty taker. At least, that’s what we – including Mikel Arteta, apparently – all thought, until Martin Odegaard stepped up and dispatched his spot-kick in the win over Crystal Palace.

It was a frustrating one for Saka’s owners and while it will limit his points ceiling if Odegaard has assumed penalty taking duties, he remains a great option, particularly in home games. Saka scored 10 goals and provided seven assists in 19 matches at the Emirates last season, averaging 6.58 points per game.

Price: £8.6m Points: 13 Gameweek 3 fixture: Fulham (h)

Erling Haaland (Man City)

Erling Haaland endured a rare off day in front of goal against Newcastle, failing to score from any of his four shots on goal, two of which were on target. The 91 per cent of FPL managers with Haaland in their teams will have rued his two points, although those who risked captaining someone else will have rejoiced at his profligacy.

It would be an almighty surprise if he blanked for the second game in succession given City face Sheffield United in their next match. Haaland scored six goals in as many appearances against newly-promoted teams last season.

Price: £14m Points: 15 Gameweek 3 fixture: Sheffield United (a)

Nicolas Jackson (Chelsea)

A Chelsea triple-up feels bold given how things went for them at the London Stadium but the fixtures really are difficult to ignore. After hosting Luton at Stamford Bridge on Friday night, the Blues face Nottingham Forest (h), Bournemouth (a), Aston Villa (h), Fulham (a) and Burnley (a) in their next five.

It is the kind of schedule that should offer Nicolas Jackson encouragement as he searches for his first goal in Chelsea colours. Things haven’t gone his way so far, but Jackson’s underlying numbers are decent: he has had six shots, three big chances and recorded an xG of 1.48, which suggests that goals should be forthcoming.

Price: £7m Points: 2 Gameweek 3 fixture: Luton (h)

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