Gameweek 2 of this season’s Fantasy Premier League offered up an increasingly rare conclusion. Namely, Erling Haaland (£14.0m) blanking despite so many managers pinning their hopes on him in terms of captaincy. The Norwegian failed to score against Newcastle despite numerous opportunities. In terms of our other Gameweek 2 captain picks, it was a case of what could have been. A second-consecutive score of 5 points was recorded by Ollie Watkins (£8.0m) following him picking up just an assist in a 4-0 win for Aston Villa against Everton, whilst Mo Salah (£12.5m) found the net, but only off the back of a rebound following a missed penalty, meaning it was only 5 points for him vs Bournemouth.
Salah captainers after Haaland blank pic.twitter.com/zGNp9wU3N2— FPL Marcin (@FPLMarcin) August 19, 2023
Our differential option for Gameweek 2 also accrued 5 points, Eddie Nketiah (£5.6m) winning the Arsenal penalty which saw them overcome Crystal Palace by a goal to nil at Selhurst Park this past Monday night. But with little time to waste, we now cast an eye on Gameweek 3 and select another three premium captain picks, as well as a potential differential diamond ahead of Friday’s 18:30 deadline.
Marcus Rashford (£9.0m) vs NFO (H)
Gameweek 3 already feels like last chance saloon for the highly owned Marcus Rashford (£9.0m) with many FPL managers starting to lose patience with the Man Utd attacker. Listed as a midfielder, Rashford has blanked in each of the opening two gameweeks, scoring just 5 points in total. More was expected of the England international who had such a strong second half of last season offensively under Erik ten Hag, but is yet to rediscover that potency going forward.
Man United are 3rd best with an NPxG of 4.42 in the league, Keep Rashford and Bruno for one more GW vs NFO (H) pic.twitter.com/lf3JKE3kJR— FPL GOAT (@FPLGOAT7) August 22, 2023
Man Utd host Nott’m Forest, whom the Red Devils played four times last season in league and cup, winning on each occasion by at least two clear goals. Rashford scored in the two fixtures which he started and will be expected to have opportunities to open his tally for the new campaign here. With an ownership still well above 40%, captaining him is the best way to capitalise should the 25-year-old rediscover his scoring touch in Gameweek 3.
Martin Odegaard (£8.5m) vs FUL (H)
A key development took place in the midst of Arsenal’s Gameweek 2 encounter with Crystal Palace from an FPL point of view. The Gunners were awarded a penalty but to the surprise of everyone, regular spot kick taker from last season Bukayo Saka, did not step up to take the kick. Instead, he passed the ball over the captain Martin Odegaard (£8.5m) who duly slotted home what turned out to be the winning goal for Arsenal, earning the midfielder 11 fantasy points.
Martin Odegaard on taking the pen over Saka:— AfcVIP⁴⁹ (@VipArsenal) August 22, 2023
"We have been taking in pre-season a lot and I’ve scored all of mine so I just asked him (Saka) and he gave it to me, so I have to thank him for that one." [metro] pic.twitter.com/I56wagQJXs
Whilst it’s most certainly not confirmed that Odegaard will be on penalties for the foreseeable future, it does enhance the Norwegian’s FPL credentials for the armband in Gameweek 3, as Mikel Arteta’s side welcome Fulham to Emirates Stadium. The Cottagers were beaten 0-3 by Brentford last weekend and will be without centre-back Tim Ream through suspension after his red card against the Bees. It would be no surprise if Arsenal are in-amongst the goals here with Odegaard playing a key role.
Erling Haaland (£12.0m) vs SHU (a)
Of course, Erling Haaland blanking in Gameweek 2 doesn’t mean we wouldn’t throw our weight behind the Man City forward being named skipper again in Gameweek 3, especially with him likely to be even more determined to get back on the scoresheet at least once. The vast majority of FPL managers will no doubt put their faith in him again and understandably so against newly promoted Sheffield Utd. Haaland of course, has already bagged a brace this season vs one newly promoted side, that being Burnley in Gameweek 1.
All of Sheffield Utd goals concede where Right winger crossed and striker scored.— FPL_Mith (@FPL_Mith) August 19, 2023
GW1: J. Ayew assisted to Edouard
GW2: Aurier assisted to Awoniyi and Wood
GW3: Foden/Alvarez assisted to Haaland?
The signs are ominous for Sheffield Utd in regards to what is in store for them this campaign. Already the Blades have been beaten twice, although in both cases the margin of defeat was only a single goal. Man City though, represent a significantly higher level of opposition and despite not scoring, Haaland showed no signs of struggling for service without Kevin De Bruyne in the team, with Phil Foden stepping up to the plate creatively against Newcastle. As is the case in every gameweek nowadays, not captaining Haaland is an extremely dangerous play.
Diogo Jota (£8.0m) vs NEW (a)
Considering the plethora of options at the disposal of fantasy managers when it comes to viable midfield selections, it is no surprise that many players listed in that position by FPL go under the radar. One such player is Diogo Jota(£8.0m), who has started both Premier League fixtures for Liverpool this season in the centre of a front three. Although he failed to make an impact against Chelsea, Jota bounced back in style vs Bournemouth, gaining a goal, an assist and 12 FPL points.
| Diogo Jota got off the mark for the season on Saturday, firing in Liverpool’s third against Bournemouth.— Próxima Jornada (@ProximaJornada1) August 21, 2023
Jota now has 48 goals in the Premier League, making him the second-highest Portuguese scorer in Premier League history.@DiogoJota18 | @LFC
Newcastle at St. James’ Park awaits the Reds in Gameweek 3 and it is perhaps the difficulty of this fixture that may put fantasy bosses off moving for Jota at this stage. However, if you’re looking for a differential captain to get the jump on your mini-league rivals, the Portuguese star fits the bill. A starting player in an attacking three that can carve through any team in the Premier League on their day, Jota is more than capable of hauling big once again.