In his Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 9 review, FPL author David Wardale finds Saturday woe and Sunday joy (mostly) from an action-packed Premier League weekend.
The rush to replace big-ticket strikers produced as much pain as gain, whereas an insanely reliable asset at the heart of the Old Trafford drama turned many a gameweek from disaster to delight.
Don’t forget to check out all our brilliant FPL Gameweek 10 tips right here.
Chelsea 7 Norwich 0 – Mount Joy
Chelsea’s demolition of Norwich was no big surprise, but the biggest hauls of the day proved less easy to predict.
Top of the shop came Mason Mount (£7.4m) with a hat-trick, an assist and a 24-pointer that more than doubled his tally for the season.
Owned by around 10%, he’d actually lost owners across every gameweek before Saturday’s encounter when a prescient/lucky 15,436 net managers took a major punt on the midfielder.
The ‘smart’ money (including my own) looked at the Blues’ striker crisis – both front men were injured – and correctly gambled that coach Thomas Tuchel would play Kai Havertz (£8.1m) out of position up top.
That mouth-watering prospect delivered a dry and dusty three points. Every single fellow Chelsea starter outscored him – five of them made it into double figures – and even substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.4m) managed more in 24 minutes than Havertz did in 70.
There was further doom for the 250,000+ who bought Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.2m), making him the sixth-most popular purchase of Gameweek 9.
The Spaniard stayed rooted to the bench, while the 329,469 who instead tapped into Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) enjoyed a 12-point total thanks to his third straight goal of the season.
All of that tells us a few things:
1) With the Champions League in progress, Tuchel loves to tinker with his defence, particularly against potentially easier opponents
2) Form (the lack of it) trumps fixtures when it comes to Kai Havertz
3) Since his first start of the season in Gameweek 7, Chilwell has been an attacking beast, topping the defenders’ charts for goals (three), shots (seven) and attempts on target (five), while also managing a third-best four key passes, although none have led to an assist
4) Let us not talk of, or even look at, Norwich
Chelsea will face Newcastle and Burnley before November’s international break. A triple-up on their assets remains perfectly justifiable, although to double-up in defence is to flirt with disappointment.
A word, also, for Mateo Kovacic (£5.3m), who bagged a brace of assists and two bonus points for a second double-digit haul of the season.
He’s produced returns in four of the five games he’s started when Tuchel has opted to play one man up front and he now leads the way for value among midfielders with an impressive 8.7 points per million (PPM).
Incredibly, even at £12.9m, Salah is second in that table, with 8.3.
Brighton 1 Man City 4 – Phil Your Boots
Brighton’s previously watertight defence – three clean sheets in their last five matches, just five goals conceded in eight Gameweeks – sloshed off at half-time three down to Man City.
Their chief tormentor was Phil Foden (£8.1m), who finished the match with an 18-point haul involving two goals, an assist and maximum bonus.
The England international is only the seventh most-owned player in Pep Guardiola’s squad, but he’s produced returns for three consecutive matches and led the way among all players for shots (eight) on Saturday.
Since Gameweek 7, he’s top for shots in the box (12), which demonstrates how advanced his role for City currently is.
Throw in three goals and two assists and Foden is as consistent an attacking threat as anyone not called Salah in the game at present.
Just over 100,000 managers tapped into all of that for the trip to Brighton. Three City players, including the benched Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m), were bought by more. None of them got anywhere near Foden’s output.
A Gameweek 10 visit from Crystal Palace is tempting managers – four of Guardiola’s men are currently in the top 30 for transfers-in – but the risk of rotation and a stiffening fixture list mean betting the house on City assets remains the trickiest of tactics.
One player consistently flying under the radar is Gabriel Jesus (£8.6m), although he is (finally) picking up owners this week.
An assist on Saturday was his third straight return and moved him up to third in the strikers’ standings, and yet he barely scrapes into the top ten for ownership among forwards.
The Brazilian has been used sparingly in Europe by Guardiola, but only two fellow attackers – Bernardo Silva (£7.0m) and Jack Grealish (£7.9m) – have been handed more minutes than Jesus’ 589 for the domestic campaign.
Man United 0 Liverpool 5 – Salah Blah Blah
From a fantasy perspective, there wasn’t so much to glean from the seismic events at Old Trafford.
You know about Mohamed Salah (£12.9m), although 24 points is a bit much even by his stratospheric standards.
You know that Diogo Jota (£7.5m) would troll those who sold him (and there were a net 311,545 of those) with his first double-digit score of the season.
And you know that Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m), despite being relieved of a goal by the most marginal of VAR calls, will keep on shipping owners when there’s Spurs, Man City and Chelsea to come over the next four Gameweeks.
Buy Salah, seriously consider Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.6m), who brought in ten points yesterday. We’ll move on to a subject that inflicted almost as much pain as being a United fan.
Brentford 1 Leicester 2, West Ham 1 Spurs 0 – Sunday Round-Up
That subject is Jamie Vardy (£10.8m).
A series of pithy numbers tells his particular tale of woe.
Transfers in: 1,354,820. Captained by: 720,806. Knee issues felt in warm-up: 1. Minutes played: 45. Touches: 6. Points scored: 1.
The Leicester striker is a veteran when it comes to managing his various ailments, so those who (perfectly understandably) saw him as a Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m) replacement could still prosper.
The Foxes’ immediate schedule, however, is not overly promising, with Arsenal and Chelsea to come over the next three Gameweeks.
At least the side has a bit of depth to the striking department these days, with new signing Patson Daka (£7.1m) replacing Vardy and providing an assist to go with his goal against Man United and the four he hit in Europe across a decidedly productive seven days.
Midfield, meanwhile, is where Leicester’s points are to be found.
The excellent Youri Tielemans (£6.4m) scored for the second straight game and now has four returns from his last five starts. James Maddison (£6.7m) also found the net.
Manager Brendan Rodgers admitted his side looked tired against Brentford, and the Foxes’ Europa League campaign should be factored in by those considering investment.
But there’s a bit of form brewing in their ranks and a good mini-run of fixtures kicks in with a visit from Watford in Gameweek 13.
As for Brentford, they’ve endured two home matches where they should have got more than a narrow defeat for their troubles.
The 18.1% who own Ivan Toney (£6.5m) had to make do with a third straight blank, although his upcoming schedule is far too good to lose faith in him now.
The big worry is squad depth.
Both Bryan Mbeumo (5.6m) and Ethan Pinnock (£4.7m) went off with issues on Sunday, and while the Bees still offer good prospects of cheap returns, a few injuries could change the dynamic at the club very quickly indeed.
There was little dynamic about Spurs’ performance at West Ham.
The game was won by Michail Antonio (£8.1m), who helped save the Gameweek for any number of fantasy managers burned by Havertz and Vardy blanks.
But it was Aaron Cresswell (£5.5m) who brought in the big points, courtesy of an assist, a rare clean sheet and maximum bonus.
Owned by 14.3%, the full-back’s fan club has only dipped below the 1.2 million mark once this campaign – right before Sunday’s season-best 12-pointer.
The Hammers have Liverpool and Man City to face before the end of November, however, so fresh investment in their assets looks risky.
Attempting to tap into Tottenham’s riches is more frustrating than anything, with a strong sense of boom or bust about them.
Both Harry Kane (£12.1m) and Heung-Min Son (£10.2m) put on owners on the back of, respectively, 12 and nine-point displays at Newcastle. Son, in fact, had hauled for three straight Gameweeks.
Against West Ham, they were toothless, with just two shots between them.
Consistency is not a Tottenham thing at the moment. Except when it comes to Hugo Lloris (£5.5m), that is.
The keeper is in the top three for saves, with 28, this season and only Son (53) can better his 39 points among Spurs players.
That is as damning a stat about Tottenham’s fantasy output as there is.
Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1 – Making Emile Of It
Arsenal’s slow transformation into a team to be relied upon continued with a relatively comfortable win over Aston Villa that made it six games unbeaten for Mikel Arteta’s side.
The most consistent performer during that run has been Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.0m), who has produced four goals and an assist.
His six-point haul against Villa was marred by a missed penalty, but since Gameweek 4 he’s riding high for shots (19), big chances (4) and, among strikers, key passes (eight).
The star of the show on Friday night was undoubtedly Emile Smith-Rowe (£5.4m).
The bargain basement midfielder has been very hit or miss this season. He’s figured in all nine games so far and blanked in seven of them.
The other two, however, have produced double-figure hauls of 12, against Spurs, and 13 versus Villa.
That’s helped him to a very tasty 7.4 PPM average, although a mixed bag of fixtures to come for the Gunners will likely temper major investment in the starlet.
Villa, meanwhile, are horribly unpredictable.
A team that grafted to a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in Gameweek 6 have shipped eight goals in the subsequent three defeats.
Their top points scorer for the season, keeper Emi Martinez (£5.5m and 41), had his total boosted by Friday’s penalty save and the fact he missed Gameweek 4’s drubbing at the hands of Chelsea.
But things are clearly not clicking with Dean Smith’s side and their key assets, like the team as a whole, are unreliable.
Everton 2 Watford 5 – Where Did That Come From?
Unreliable could become Watford’s watchword this season.
Having been royally roasted by Liverpool last week, Claudio Ranieri’s men went a goal down early at Goodison Park and were trailing 2-1 with 12 minutes to play when all hell broke loose.
Chief raiser of that hell was Josh King (£5.5m), who completed a hat-trick, while fellow forward Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m) squeezed a goal, two assists and 12 points from a frenetic 26 minutes off the bench.
His quality time did include a fifth yellow card of the season, however, so he’ll miss next week’s visit from Southampton.
That will have implications for the 9.3% who own him, while the Hornets’ most popular outfield player, Ismaila Sarr (£6.2m and 15.4%), blanked for a third straight gameweek, during which time he’s managed just one shot on target and a single key pass.
Everton’s defensive inadequacies remain. They’ve kept only two clean sheets all season and the 7.5% who’ve kept faith with Lucas Digne (£5.3m) have now had the pleasure of two -1 hauls over the last five gameweeks.
The Toffees’ attacking options were at least boosted by the return of Richarlison (£7.4m), who came off the bench to score his second goal of an injury-blighted start to the campaign.
Southampton 2 Burnley 2 – Tino’s Tops
The budget delights of Southampton defender Tino Livramento (£4.3m) continued apace in the 2-2 draw with Burnley.
Owned by an increasingly grateful 16.8% of FPL managers, the full-back made it three consecutive returns with a goal against the Clarets.
He’s now delivered either clean sheet or attacking points in five of his last six fixtures and has a good enough run of games until early December for him to keep on delivering.
The Saints might also have found a striker to put away a few more of the respectable 116 shots they’ve had this season.
Armando Broja (£5.0m) made it two goals from his two starts, although he was withdrawn with an ankle injury that makes him an early doubt for Saturday’s trip to Watford.
Burnley’s lack of bite up front is there for all to see. They’ve managed just seven goals in nine matches, which is the league’s second-worst total.
But three of those have now been scored by new signing Maxwell Cornet (£6.0m), and from only four appearances and two starts.
His brace on Saturday earned his 4,196 owners a monstrous 15 points. Should he continue his sparkling form, he could be a differential for the ages.
Leeds 1 Wolves 1, Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 1 – Rounding Up The Rest
One of the more curious issues of the season so far has been the FPL love-in for Leeds winger Raphinha (£6.7m).
The Brazilian is currently found in one in five of all fantasy squads. Only three midfielders are owned by more, but 23 of them have outscored him and 12 of those cost less.
He returned from injury for the visit of Wolves, blanked and left Elland Road on crutches. A social media post from the man said this latest injury was ‘nothing serious’, but managers will need more concrete news than that if they hope for a haul away at Norwich in Gameweek 10.
Leeds’ patchy form continued and they needed a late penalty from Rodrigo (£6.3m) to earn a point against a Wolves side starting to look the part under Bruno Lage.
Hee-Chan Hwang (£5.7m) scored his third goal in four starts. He was set up by strike partner Raul Jimenez (£7.6m), who now has three assists and a goal over the same time frame.
Leeds have great fixtures to come, Wolves less so. But it is the latter team with the form at present.
Form, where Crystal Palace are concerned, involves drawing match after match. They made it four of those in a row with a 1-1 stalemate against Newcastle despite out-shooting their cautious visitors 15-6.
Manager Patrick Vieira’s decision to pair Christian Benteke (£6.3m) with Odsonne Edouard (£6.5m) again paid dividends as the former scored for a second straight match.
The assist came from last season’s cheap-as-chips defender Tyrick Mitchell (£4.5m). It was his first attacking return of this campaign, but Palace have only kept two clean sheets and their defenders, as a result, remain of little interest at present.
The same could be said of the entire Newcastle side. Bar Callum Wilson (£7.3m), at a pinch.
The striker made it two goals in two starts since his return from injury and he could be one to watch should the Magpies find a decent manager to shape what talent there is in the squad.
Then again, a short-term schedule involving visits from Chelsea and Brentford and trips to Brighton and Arsenal doesn’t exactly scream either goals or defensive points for anyone in a Newcastle shirt.
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