Latest posts by Charlie Widdicombe (see all)
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- So VAR, So Good? Is Video Assistant Referee Systems Helping? - January 29, 2018
- Sanchez And Mkhitaryan: Winners And Losers - January 22, 2018
After what seemed like an eternity waiting for the international break to finish, premier league football finally returned this weekend, and Gameweek 8 did not disappoint. Crystal Palace notched their first goals first victory of the season against Chelsea, whilst a rampant Manchester City put 7 past Stoke. So, what can we read into the weekend from a fantasy premier league perspective?
Premier League – Premium Striker Choices
Romelu Lukaku was a major disappointment in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool, failing to find the net for only the 2nd time in 8 premier league games this season. He looked lethargic in the dour draw at Anfield, but it would appear unwise to drop him for next weekend’s game, where he will be well fancied against a Huddersfield side winless in 6 league games. Harry Kane also failed to continue his sensational form, but with Tottenham’s next game being against the leaky defence of Liverpool, it wouldn’t make sense to drop Kane. Alexandre Lacazette is perhaps one to avoid for now- he has been solid if not spectacular, but many managers will demand more considering his £10.4 million price, and there are definitely other, more valuable options around. Alvaro Morata was out injured this Gameweek, but following the news he is likely to be in contention for Chelsea in the midweek champion’s league game, his fairly low ownership (13%), and the fact that he is only 7 points off being the highest points scorer in the league despite missing 2 full games and starting GW1 on the bench, and Morata seems a gamble worth taking- if he’s fit, there’s no doubt that he’ll be leading Chelsea’s front line. The same assurance cannot be said for free-scoring Manchester City’s strikers- with Sergio Aguero available, it seems impossible to guess Pep Guardiolas choice for each week. Having said that, it would be harsh to place Jesus on the bench, given his recent performances against Manchester City and Stoke.
Rank of premium strikers for Gameweek 9:
Manchester City Running Riot
The more Gameweeks that go by, the harder it is to ignore City players. Scoring 24 goals in 5 games, in a run including high-flying Watford, Liverpool and Chelsea, has left fantasy league managers with a headache surrounding which offensive players to use for City. I have already mentioned above that both strikers (Aguero and Jesus) are desirable, but perhaps the midfielders offer just as many points with friendlier prices. David Silva has registered 1 goals and 6 assists, 8 bonus points, and has started every league game so far- the highest scoring city midfielder, and with a reasonable £8.5 million pricetag, Silva is the “safe” option. However, Raheem Sterling is only one point behind David Silva despite playing far less minutes at the beginning of the season. His form appears to have cemented his place in the City XI since Gameweek 5, and with only 8.8% ownership (compared to David Silva’s 26%), Sterling is surely a more appealing player. Kevin de Bruyne has also hit form, and is arguably city’s best performer at present, but his price tag (£10 million) is a deterrent compared to Sterling and David Silva, who have scored more points. Finally, Leroy Sane has produced some huge points hauls (13, 16 and 10 in Gameweeks 4, 6 and 8 respectively), and isn’t bad value at £8.4 million either. It will be interesting to see if Guardiola does choose to go with Aguero and Jesus up top, because one of these 4 midfielders (David Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne and Sane) would have to be dropped to accommodate this. Overall, my preference would be Sterling based on value and ownership.
Rank of Man City midfielders for Gameweek 9:
- David Silva
- De Bruyne
Premier League – Under the Radar Players
If you’re looking to take some risks to get you up the overall standings, here are some players that might be worth considering for Gameweek 9:
Alexis Sanchez, 2.5% ownership- Left out this week due to international exploits, it’s surely only a matter of time before Sanchez comes good. He’s provided 2 assists in 2 starts so far this season, and a leaky Everton defence could help get him on the scoresheet. A risk at £11.9 million, but maybe one worth taking.
Wilfried Zaha, 2.4% ownership- After his performance against Chelsea, Zaha’s ownership is sure to increase, but he must be considered by fantasy managers. Available for only £6.7 million, Zaha could replace a premium priced midfielder (such as Mhkitaryan) to accommodate improvements elsewhere. Back from injury, he could benefit from a rejuvenated Palace side against relatively leaky defences in Newcastle and West Ham.
Manolo Gabbiadini, 1.8% ownership-. Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino decided to restore Gabiaddini to the starting line-up against Newcastle, and he repaid the faith with a brace. Gabbiadini is a (fairly) cheap £6.6 million, and with some kind fixtures coming up (West Brom, Brighton and Burnley), Southampton are sure to start finding ways of finally putting the ball into the back of the net more often, and Gabbiadini may the one to start doing so- there’s a chance he could recapture the form that saw him score 6 goals in his first 4 league games last season. Shane Long or Charlie Austin are also long-shot differentials for the saints.
Erik Pieters (0.6% ownership)- Stoke have only kept a single clean sheet all season, hence why so few managers are going for stoke defenders. Pieters has played all but 2 minutes of Stoke’s campaign, and at £4.9 million is cheaper than other starting certainty Zouma (£5.5 million). Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Palace are Stoke’s next 5 fixtures- surely there are some clean sheets on the way for Pieters and the Potters?