Gameweek Nine should be intriguing, with several of the big guns having relatively easy fixtures… on paper. Chelsea and the Manchester clubs look to have extremely favourable matchups, and fantasy managers are understandably drawn to those games as they decide their FTs and also captain picks. However, Friday night sees a less fashionable game kick things off as West Ham take on Brighton, and that is where we will begin our stat filled preview of this weekend’s games for the folks at Sportito. They have free and cash entry games where you can win real cash prizes. Check them out!!
The community is down a man this gameweek, as we discovered yesterday that Phil Goldring AKA @FPL_Loon is no longer with us. Remembered by all who had the pleasure of interacting with him as a thoroughly kind and decent man who loved and valued his place in the FPL Community, he will be sadly missed. May he rest in peace. And the rest of us, be nice to each other…
West Ham v Brighton: Hart and Antonio provided nice points for fantasy owners in GW8, but the Hammers continue to be inconsistent. That said, they have won two out of their three home games, with the only loss coming in a 2-3 loss against Spurs and so will be confident against Brighton who have only picked up a single point in their preceding 4 away games.
Michail Antonio (£7.5m, 0.7% TSB) offers real differential value for owners who want to get on board with the Hammers favourable schedule. He has a proven history of big and consistent returns and is playing as a de-facto forward, but for now I feel other midfielders such as Wilfried Zaha offer more for a cheaper pricetag. For Brighton, Tomer Hemed (£5m, 1.8% TSB) serves the final game of his suspension, but after this gameweek he does present an interesting alternative to those going down the cheap 3rd striker route. Brighton have Southampton, Swansea and Stoke coming up in their next 3 games.
Predicted Score: West Ham 2 Brighton 0
Chelsea v Watford: Chelsea’s home form has been one of the startling aspects to this season, with one win, 2 losses and a draw in their 4 home games. Eden Hazard continues to frustrate, with only 7 points total from his 5 games to date. Azpi has been the star from the Blues, averaging 5 points per game in the opening 8 games, even counting his OG in GW8. Watford meanwhile have 3 wins and a draw from their 4 away trips to date.
Alvaro Morata (£10.2m, 14.1% TSB) makes his return to Premier League action, having missed just the defeat to Crystal Palace in GW8. He looked sharp midweek in the Champions League draw with AS Roma, combining well with Eden Hazard (£10.6, 4.7% TSB). Chelsea need to improve their home form if they want to rejoin this title race, and Morata provides them with the firepower needed to do that. The Pensioners only have 2 difficult fixtures in their next 10, and so Morata and Hazard should be on every manager’s radar.
Predicted Score: Chelsea 3 Watford 1
Huddersfield v Man Utd: Man United have kept clean sheets in 8 of their last 9 Premier League matches, and they travel to a team who have only scored twice in their last 6 Premier League games. Huddersfield are coming off successive defeats to Tottenham and Swansea, and will not be feeling confident of getting anything from this game. Start all your Man United stars.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.8m, 57.6% TSB) has blanked in only 2 games this season, and one of those blanks came in the scoreless draw against Liverpool. That blank, and a growing reputation that he doesn’t have the explosive gameweeks we associate with Kane, Aguero/Jesus or even Morata, means that he is being sold by droves of managers this week. In GW10 & 11, United face Spurs and Chelsea in very difficult fixtures so moving away from Lukaku may prove to be the correct decision in the medium term. However, this gameweek he should fill his boots against Huddersfield.
Prediction: Huddersfield 0 Man Utd 4
Man City v Burnley: City have won 3 of their 4 home games this season, scoring 18 goals and only conceding 3. Burnley are just off a good away win against Everton, and are unbeaten this season on the road with 2 wins and 2 draws.
Sergio Aguero has been on the bench for City’s past two fixtures, but has yet to feature since his rib injury. With Jesus playing the full game midweek in the Champions League, there is a lot of speculation that Aguero will start in his place at the weekend. Hopes were boosted in the past few minutes, as Pep announced:
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 20, 2017
Prediction: Man City 3 Burnley 0
Newcastle v Palace: What a different a Zaha makes. Pointless, goalless and hopeless for the opening 7 games, Wilf returns and they beat the champions. This week they visit the Magpies who are unbeaten in 3 at home, having recently frustrated Liverpool.
Ruben Loftus Cheek is back from injury and expected to play against Newcastle. At £4.5m he was retained by a lot of managers including yours truly through his injury, and it will be interesting to see how he links up with Zaha in the Palace attack. Roy Hodgson’s men have a very attractive run of fixtures in the next nine, with only Spurs away an obvious difficulty. For Newcastle, its all about Atsu and Ritchie for fantasy. Atsu has only managed one assist in his past three games, and Richie has three consecutive blanks but they have the quality and fixtures to provide returns in the coming gameweeks. They are likely to be the type of player you keep if you own, but you don’t transfer in.
Prediction: Newcastle 1 Palace 1
Stoke v Bournemouth: Stoke’s only two wins of the season came on home turf, and they are looking for back to back victories for the first time this season after their 2-1 win over the Saints in GW8. £5.4m Mama Biram Diouf is getting some looks from the fantasy hipsters, having scored 2 goals and one assist in the past 2 games. Bournemouth have yet to register so much as a draw on their travels this season, scoring once and conceding 7.
Stoke star player Xherdan Shaqiri will face a late test after sustaining an ankle injury but we would expect him to play – and provide returns – against Bournemouth. Bruno Martins Indi is confirmed out, but Joe Allen is expected to play after recovering from a concussion sustained on international duty for Wales. For Bournemouth, Callum Wilson played and scored in an u21 game this past week and we could see him in the very near future. After this game, Bournemouth play Chelsea in a difficult fixture, but from GW11 he provides a very nice differential option as the Cherries fixture list opens up with favourable opponents.
Prediction: Stoke 1 Bournemouth 0
Swansea v Leicester: According to Whoscored, Leicester have failed to win in 23 of their last 25 away games. However, they won’t have a better chance to get their first away win than against Swansea who have lost 3 and won one of their home games. However, that win did come in this past GW8 as Swansea continue their mini revival.
Tammy Abraham is the toast of the fantasy community following his brace last week, and offers the best cheap 3rd forward option for managers. Costing £5.7 and owned by 10.5% of fantasy gaffers, he is ideal to rotate in and out of the lineup depending on fixture. Arsenal next week may be one you rest him for, but the following week against Brighton you will want him in.
Prediction: Swansea 2 Leicester 2
Southampton v West Brom: Southampton are winless in their past 3 league games and, West Brom following tonight’s result have not won in 6 games. While both look relatively comfortable midtable sides that can change quickly if they are not careful.
We won’t know which of injured goalkeeping duo Boaz Myhill or Ben Foster will play for West Brom this weekend, as both trained but are not fully recovered. That is not much good for Foster’s 14.6% strong ownership, but this is precisely why it is essential to have a playing backup goalkeeper on your roster.
Prediction: Southampton 0 West Brom 0
Everton v Arsenal: Arsenal are winless away from home this season, with only one draw to show for their efforts. That contrasts sharply with 4 straight wins at home. Everton meanwhile have only won one of their last 6 Premier League games and Ronald Koeman is the bookies favourite for the sack, and it could happen this weekend if Arsenal inflict a heavy defeat.
Arsenal are a fantasy wasteland at the moment, with Sead Kolasinac, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette all underwhelming. With Laurent Koscielny returning and then limping out against Watford, Rob Holding will continue to offer a differential but how much that is worth right now is hard to say.
Prediction: Everton 0 Arsenal 2
Tottenham v Liverpool: Undoubtedly the tie of the round, as Spurs look to continue to dispel their Wembley curse following their 1-0 win over Bournemouth last weekend, their first home PL win of the season. Liverpool have been distinctly underwhelming of late, with two successive draws against Newcastle and Manchester United in their last two gameweeks.
Lots of fantasy interest in this game, with the big news just breaking that Ben Davies (£5.9m, 22.7% TSB) is fit to play this weekend. That will be a big relief to his owners, although a lot (myself included) have already moved on from him. Up front Harry Kane will hope to break his home PL duck, and Liverpool will no doubt provide him with ample opportunity to do so. However, with games against Man Utd and Arsenal coming up in the next 3 gameweeks, the Tottenham fixture list is looking a lot less appealing than those of Chelsea and Manchester City. Kane has scored his 6 goals this season in 3 fixtures, with 5 blanks and so a move from Kane to say Morata/Jesus may be the right move for the short-term.
Prediction: Tottenham 1 Liverpool 1