With this week’s Carabao Cup games putting eight Premier League sides in action, it offered a rare and well-received resting opportunity for the other 12 teams. Tuesday saw the announcement that Cardiff vs Leicester will still go ahead, following the tragic helicopter crash that killed The Foxes’ owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Meanwhile, the early kick-off on the South Coast gives us a Saturday 11:30am deadline.
Saturday 3rd November
Bournemouth vs Man Utd (12:30)
Cardiff vs Leicester (15:00)
Everton vs Brighton (15:00)
Newcastle vs Watford (15:00)
West Ham vs Burnley (15:00)
Arsenal vs Liverpool (17:30)
Wolves vs Tottenham (19:45)
Sunday 4th November
Man City vs Southampton (15:00)
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (16:00)
Monday 5th November
Huddersfield vs Fulham (20:00)
The dazzling Eden Hazard (£11.3m) missed out on Chelsea’s 4-0 goal fest at Burnley with a back injury, lowering his ownership to 45% and ensuring a nervous wait to see if he makes Sunday’s match with Crystal Palace. Assistant Gianfranco Zola gave a positive update on the Belgian after photos emerged of him back in training, saying: “He’s looking good for the weekend.”
A fully-fit Hazard is surely a must-have for FPL managers, with home meetings versus Palace, Everton and Fulham amongst their next four games. Team mate Olivier Giroud (£7.8m) is doubtful with a leg injury, although Pedro (£6.3m) recovered from illness by coming off the bench during last night’s 3-2 cup win over Derby.
With Marcos Alonso (£7.0m) delivering his first attacking returns in six weeks and Ross Barkley (£5.8m) in outstanding form, Chelsea assets are in high demand right now. For Barkley, managers need to decide whether competition from Mateo Kovacic (£5.9m), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.2m) and Cesc Fabregas (£6.3m) is worth risking for such a low-price, in-form differential. Perhaps Barkley is safe for Sunday though, having seen Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek put in a midweek shift.
The weekend kicks off with Bournemouth hosting Manchester United. The Cherries fear no-one right now, with three consecutive clean sheets and convincing victories at Watford and Fulham. Ryan Fraser (£6.1m), David Brooks (£5.1m) and Callum Wilson (£6.6m) will be confident of adding to their great form, despite it beginning a daunting ten-game run that sees them face Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Spurs and the return fixture at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho boldly benched Romelu Lukaku (£10.8m) against Everton last weekend and it just about paid-off, despite Paul Pogba’s (£8.0m) ludicrous penalty run-up. The Manchester derby is up next, before fixtures pick up considerably from Gameweek 13.
‘How do I get to my car’— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) October 30, 2018
Across the city, Pep Guardiola continues to toy with the FPL community by rotating his deep talent pool. Against Tottenham on Monday night, it was Leroy Sane’s (£9.2m) turn to sit on the bench alongside returning star-man Kevin De Bruyne (£9.8m). Now that KDB has been eased back into proceedings, expect even more line-up headaches as City balance European commitments with a difficult turn in the fixture list.
After the Southampton game is Man Utd (H), West Ham (a), Bournemouth (H), Watford (a) and Chelsea (a). Owners of Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) must fear that this spell will combine with an eventual run of games for Gabriel Jesus (£10.2m), who has only started twice in the league. In-form Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) has played all 90 minutes of the last three Premier League matches, whilst Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) didn’t play in Gameweek 9 against Burnley.
Hazard and Lukaku weren’t the only frights on Halloween weekend, with Jamie Vardy (£9.0m), Andrew Robertson (£6.4m) and Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) also missing from starting line-ups. Robertson owners no doubt smirked when Cardiff scored a consolation goal, as Liverpool conceded their first Anfield league goal since February. He’ll surely return on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp’s men face in-form Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
Owners of the left-back, Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Sadio Mane (£9.8m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) needn’t panic though, as they follow up this tricky trip with a generous home game with Fulham. Spurs expect to welcome Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) and Dele Alli (£8.9m) back to their starting 11, having followed their Monday night cameos with starts on Wednesday, as they beat West Ham 3-1. Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m) and Danny Rose (£5.9m) remain sidelined, whilst Harry Kane (£12.4m), Lucas Moura (£7.2m) and Kieran Trippier (£6.3m) were rested.
Arnautovic has been playing with a nagging knee injury for quite some time but missed the Leicester clash through illness. He limps out of most matches but still turns up to play the next one, managing to score four goals in his eight games. Instead of using this as a chance to finally fix the ankle, manager Manuel Pellegrini chose to bring the forward on for half an hour against Spurs.
His 16.3% ownership will surely rise due to the hard-to-resist long run of games that includes home matches with Burnley, Cardiff, Crystal Palace and Brighton. At such a low price, Arnautovic is an enabler who is likely to become a huge part of the FPL landscape until New Year.
Staying with West Ham, clean sheet potential really boosts the case for Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m). The former Swansea man’s 137 saves last season were only bettered by Jack Butland, averaging 3.61 per game. Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m), meanwhile, has strong underlying stats and scored the opener at the King Power Stadium.
The Hammers' opponents in GW10 equalised in the last minute through Wilfred Ndidi (£4.9m) in a match that was soon overshadowed by horrific events off the pitch. A club in mourning, Leicester called off their midweek Carabao Cup tie but have decided to proceed with Saturday’s trip to Cardiff. Claude Puel’s team will largely depend on what frame of mind his players are in, with the likes of Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m) particularly close to their friend Srivaddhanaprabha.
From a footballing perspective, the trip to Wales continues their promising sequence of games that includes Burnley and Brighton. Vardy was controversially benched by Puel but will be determined to prove him wrong this time around, it just depends on the impact of last week’s events.
Elsewhere, Everton continue their up-and-down fixture list with a home game against Brighton while Newcastle’s strong run of fixtures is hampered by a complete inability to score goals. This will be of interest to Richarlison (£6.8m), Kenedy (£4.9m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) owners, whilst the Magpies’ opponents Watford boast an in-form Roberto Pereyra (£6.4m).
Wolves host Tottenham in a bizarre Saturday night time slot, originally scheduled for Sunday lunchtime but moved because of next Tuesday’s Champions League clash with PSV. Unchanged for an incredible nine games, Wolves finally made one alteration to the line-up as they brought in Adama Traore (£5.4m) for the 1-0 defeat at Brighton.
Finally, the weekend closes with 20th-placed Huddersfield facing relegation rivals Fulham. Owners are rapidly losing patience with Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.9m) and Andre Schurrle (£6.0m), whilst The Terriers arguably have the most favourable fixtures of everyone, also facing West Ham, Wolves, Brighton, Newcastle and Southampton in their next eight games. It’s just a shame they have no FPL appeal – scoring just four goals in ten games, with their only player above 4% ownership being back-up goalkeeper Ben Hamer (£4.0m).