FPL Gameweek 10 – The Fixtures: Aguero rest, Hazard doubt, Salah moves up penalty queue and Leicester value

Champions League minutes are on the agenda again ahead of GW10 as Sergio Aguero warmed the bench for Manchester City in the Ukraine. Eden Hazard is a doubt for Chelsea this weekend as the Blues go on a favourable fixture run, while Mohamed Salah confirms his ranking as Liverpool’s second-choice penalty taker. Leicester assets could be worth investing in over the medium term, along with players from both Brighton and West Ham.

GW10 FIXTURES

Saturday 27th October

Brighton vs Wolves (15:00)

Fulham vs Bournemouth (15:00)

Liverpool vs Cardiff (15:00)

Southampton vs Newcastle (15:00)

Watford vs Huddersfield (15:00)

Leicester vs West Ham (17:30)

Sunday 28th October

Burnley vs Chelsea (13:30)

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal (13:30)

Man Utd vs Everton (16:00)

Monday 29th October

Spurs vs Man City (20:00)

SERGI-NO SHOW

Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) was an unused substitute as Manchester City won 3-0 away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday. The forward’s 51.6% ownership will be hoping the rest means Aguero can remain on the pitch for the entire game against Tottenham in GW10 – the Argentine hasn’t made it past the 65-minute mark in any of the last five gameweeks.

David Silva (£8.5m) opened the scoring, Aymeric Laporte (£5.8m) nodded in a second from a Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) corner while Bernardo Silva (£7.6m) came off the bench to grab City’s third after a one-two with Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m).

Having returned from injury off the bench in the GW9 demolition of Burnley, KDB lasted 69 minutes in the Ukraine. Kyle Walker (£6.6m) shook off an adductor issue to feature from the bench, coming on for deputy right-back John Stones (£5.3m). Leroy Sane (£9.2m) was another unused substitute as Raheem Sterling (£11.2m) played the full 90, having been rotated to the bench last Saturday. Benjamin Mendy (£6.3m) made it a third 90-minute outing in a row for the Citizens.

With such a wealth of options available, Pep Guardiola will continue to disappoint FPL investors in City assets. While Aguero’s managed minutes are frustrating, the striker appears the safest attacking option in the Etihad ranks as Gabriel Jesus (£10.2m) continues to struggle. Centre-back Laporte has now started all 12 of City’s games across league and European competition. Guardiola’s side face Southampton (H), Manchester United (H), West Ham (a), Bournemouth (H) and Watford (a) from GW11.

That GW12 derby comes after ties against Everton (H) and Bournemouth (a) for Jose Mourinho’s men. United also take on Crystal Palace (H), Southampton (a) and Arsenal (H) over the next six gameweeks.

Current top GW10 transfer target Anthony Martial (£7.3m) played another 90 minutes on Tuesday as the Red Devils fell to a 1-0 home defeat against Juventus.

Mourinho named the same XI that drew 2-2 with Chelsea in GW9, making no substitutions in the game. The boss cited the absence of injured trio Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m), Marouane Fellaini (£5.0m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.7m) as the reason for not using his bench.

Leading GW10 captain pick Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) grabbed a brace on Wednesday night as Liverpool beat an admittedly poor Red Star Belgrade outfit. The Egyptian fired in a right-footed effort from inside the box after a Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.0m) pass before sending a second-half penalty straight down the middle of the goal.

Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) had opened the scoring from an Andy Robertson (£6.4m) cutback while Sadio Mane (£9.7m), recovered from a hand injury, poked home late on after being put through by Daniel Sturridge (£5.8m). Before his goal, the Senegal attacker saw a spot-kick saved, after stepping up with Salah having been substituted. FPL’s most expensive player himself got to take the Reds’ first penalty as James Milner (£5.7m) was sat on the bench. If it wasn’t a definite before that, Mane’s miss and Firmino’s presence on the pitch confirms that Salah will take penalties if Milner is absent. The English midfielder has started eight of nine league ties this season, however.

Jurgen Klopp’s team face a very favourable fixture run from GW10, taking on Cardiff (H), Arsenal (a), Fulham (H), Watford (a), Everton (H) and Burnley (a) in the next six gameweeks. Trent-Alexander Arnold (£5.1m) is the main high-ownership worry for FPL bosses. The full-back has been benched for the Merseysiders’ last two league clashes but played the full 90 against Red Star. TAA, owned by 19.8%, fell in price on Wednesday night as the uncertainty over his start grows with Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) lurking and Joe Gomez (£5.1m) highly capable in the right-back slot.

Spurs conceded a late goal to draw 2-2 away to PSV, dealing their chances of reaching the Champions League knockout stages a serious blow. Tottenham have one point from three games in Group B, five off second-placed Inter Milan and eight off top side Barcelona.

Lucas Moura’s (£7.3m) deflected effort levelled the scores in the first half, as Kieran Trippier (£6.3m) found the Brazilian in the box after an incisive Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) pass. The Dane was influential on his return from injury, with his pinpoint second-half cross allowing Harry Kane (£12.5m) to head home from point-blank range. The striker also struck the woodwork with a headed effort.

Spurs face a fairly tough run of games in the next five gameweeks, with clashes against Man City (H), Wolves (a), Palace (a), Chelsea (H) and Arsenal (a). That schedule softens significantly from GW15, which starts on December 4, while the club’s last UCL group game is on December 11. While reaching the Europa League knockout rounds is still a distinct possibility, a Champions League exit would ensure the Premier League is top of Mauricio Pochettino’s priority list as Spurs’ fixtures turn positively going into the busy Christmas period.

ALL AT CHELSEA

Eden Hazard (£11.4m) has been ruled out of Chelsea’s home tie against BATE Borisov on Thursday and is a doubt for the trip to Burnley on Sunday.

While the Belgian would normally be heavily captained for a fixture against the league leaders in shots conceded, his status requires caution. Both owners and potential investors will hope for a further update from Maurizio Sarri in his post-match press conference on Thursday night.

Chelsea face Palace (H), Everton (H), Spurs (a), Fulham (H) and Wolves (a) after travelling to play the Clarets this weekend. Marcos Alonso (£7.0m) has not registered an attacking return since GW4, though Chelsea have kept two clean sheets in the last five gameweeks and were minutes away from shutting Liverpool out in GW7. Encouragingly, the defender – who has just signed a new five-year deal at Stamford Bridge – was getting very far forward against United in GW9.

The Spanish full-back is an easy makeweight for Man City’s Mendy but his 45.9% ownership means a haul will hurt the rank of non-owners. Chelsea’s next three fixtures in particular look ripe for returns at both ends of the pitch. David Luiz (£5.5m) and Antonio Rudiger (£5.9m) offer cheaper routes into a settled Blues backline.

Ross Barkley (£5.7m) has two goals and an assist over the last two gameweeks, though may only become an FPL option if he definitively shrugs off the challenge of Mateo Kovacic (£5.9m) for a starting berth in Sarri’s midfield three.

FLEET FOXES

Leicester City have a run of six profitable-looking games before the schedule stiffens in GW16. Claude Puel’s charges come up against West Ham (H), Cardiff (a), Burnley (H), Brighton (a), Watford (H) and Fulham (a) from GW10 to GW15.

Facing three of the league’s four leakiest defences (Cardiff, Burnley and Fulham) should offer James Maddison (£7.0m) the chance to get back among the points. The midfielder has posted two consecutive blanks after returning attacking points in each fixture between GW4 and GW7.

Leicester’s creative force did make two big chances for his teammates in GW9, however. Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno (£4.8m) kept out a Harry Maguire (£5.5m) header while Wilfred Ndidi (£4.9m) nodded off the crossbar, with both opportunities coming from Maddison deliveries. The ex-Norwich man has scored an average of six points across four home games so far, ahead of the Hammers’ visit on Saturday.

A concern for Maddison owners will be that he has been substituted in each of the previous four gameweeks, while the presence of Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.9m) in Leicester’s starting line-up is often pushing the No 10 into a wider role on the left of Puel’s attack; though Maddison did feature more centrally against the Gunners as Puel deployed a 3-4-1-2/5-2-3 system.

Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) had to leave the Emirates pitch late on during the GW9 clash due to illness but has declared himself ready for GW10. The Foxes’ first-choice penalty taker is owned by just 4.9% of FPL bosses and could prove a canny medium-term differential, especially if the forward can up his shot count. Vardy has fired 17 attempts at goal so far this season (one every 30.5 minutes), with eight of those hitting the target. However, Puel's comments at his press conference on Thursday mean Vardy is a GW10 doubt. The manager said: “Two days later, he was not well. He has stomach problems. He came back today in the training session. We will see if he can start for this game. We will see if he can make progress. He had a problem and he needed a little more time and we will see if he can be available.”

The Foxes have kept just two clean sheets over nine gameweeks, conceding 15 times. Ricardo Pereira (£5.1m) might prove the most viable route for those looking to lump on the Leicester defence – the Portuguese defender has played in a wide-right attacking role or as a wing-back in each of the last three gameweeks. Ben Chilwell (£5.0m), who grabbed a GW9 assist as Hector Bellerin (£5.4m) diverted the left-back’s cross/shot into his own net, is a more assured starter while Maguire will continue to be a target for Maddison’s set-pieces.

BRIGHTON, MAN

Discussed ahead of GW8, Brighton have registered two clean sheets in a row as the fixture list continues to look fruitful. Chris Hughton’s men play Wolves (H), Everton (a), Cardiff (a), Leicester (H), Huddersfield (a) and Palace (H) in the next six. Shane Duffy (£4.5m) could continue to provide value in defence, while Mat Ryan (£4.5m) has picked up five bonus points and three save points over GW8 and GW9. The Seagulls did allow West Ham and Newcastle a combined total of 44 shots over those two games, however.

Anthony Knockaert (£5.5m) now represents a risky investment considering Hughton’s revelation that the Frenchman’s omission away to the Magpies was tactical.

Jose Izquierdo (£5.9m) could possibly enter the budget midfield debate should he maintain a start, though the winger could share minutes with Knockaert. Glenn Murray (£6.6m) will hopefully be back in action soon after sustaining a nasty head injury at Newcastle in GW9 but is unlikely to feature against Wolves on Saturday.

West Ham, another side considered ahead of GW8, have just one particularly difficult fixture in the next six. Manuel Pellegrini’s men take on Leicester (a), Burnley (H), Huddersfield (a), Man City (H), Newcastle (a) and Cardiff (H) through to GW15. Ties against the low-scoring Terriers, Magpies and Bluebirds could see Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m), Issa Diop (£4.3m) and Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m) provide budget returns. The Hammers have kept just one clean sheet, at home to Chelsea in GW6, so far this season but only conceded one goal in each game between GW7 and GW9.

In attack, Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) continues to represent the standout investment despite having to manage an ongoing knee problem. The Austrian leads the way among FPL forwards in attempts, shots on target and touches in the box over the last two gameweeks, while he sits second for efforts inside the area in his position. Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) made several good saves to deny the West Ham talisman at the London Stadium in GW9.

Manuel Pellegrini has allayed any fears that Arnie’s knee issue is hampering the striker’s ability to score. The Irons manager said: "We are always talking with him and asking him and he can play. Maybe because he missed the goals the last two games you immediately link it with his knee, but all the players have moments where they cannot score and others where they score more. Marko will return to be the striker that he was last season.”

Teams discussed ahead of GW9: Liverpool, Newcastle, Fulham, Bournemouth

Gameweek 10 Captain Picks: Salah, Hazard, Wilson, Lacazette & Martial

Gameweek 10 Projections: optimum squad, best of the rest