Right now, FPL seems impossible. Whereas Gameweek 8 could be written off as simply being one of those bad weeks, to have Gameweek 9 be even worse is devastating. Only three players with over 10% ownership exceeded eight points last time: this time there was just David Silva (£7.6m). It’s difficult enough to even get players on the pitch – Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) was an unused substitute, Mo Salah (£12.4m) was injured and Nicolas Otamendi (£5.6m) had a slight knock.
With this, many vice captaincies and bench players were needed. Not that Tammy Abraham (£7.8m), Heung-Min Son (£9.7m), Harry Kane (£10.9m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) or Kevin De Bruyne (£10.1m) delivered either. There was pre-match optimism for Callum Wilson (£8.0m) and Teemu Pukki (£7.0m), considering the only two teams without a clean sheet were about to face each other – so naturally it finished Bournemouth 0-0 Norwich. Spurs and Liverpool salvaged late draws with Watford and Man Utd whilst, at Stamford Bridge, nostalgic managers will have noticed Marcos Alonso’s (£6.2m) 14-point return. Callum Hudson-Odoi (£6.0m) outshone Abraham and Mason Mount (£6.8m) during Chelsea’s 2-0 win.
GAMEWEEK 10 FIXTURES
Friday 25th October
Southampton v Leicester (20:00)
Saturday 26th October
Man City v Aston Villa (12:30)
Brighton v Everton (15:00)
Watford v Bournemouth (15:00)
West Ham v Sheffield Utd (15:00)
Burnley v Chelsea (17:30)
Sunday 27th October
Newcastle v Wolves (14:00)
Arsenal v Crystal Palace (16:30)
Liverpool v Spurs (16:30)
Norwich v Man Utd (16:30)
OLE’S GUNNAR STAY
The international break was desperately needed at Old Trafford, where Man Utd found themselves lingering in 12th place after defeats to Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace. In fairness, their injury list included Anthony Martial (£7.5m), Paul Pogba (£8.4m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.4m) but the remaining attackers looked so toothless on Tyneside. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changed to a 3-5-2 formation on Sunday and it was encouraging, with Marcus Rashford’s (£8.4m) goal giving them a well-deserved lead.
Premier League points since Ole Solskjaer was appointed full time Liverpool 46 Man City 43 Chelsea 32 Palace 30 Leicester 28 Arsenal 25 Everton 24 Wolves 24 Spurs 22 Burnley 22 West Ham 22 Bournemouth 19 Newcastle 18 Man Utd 18 #MUNLIV— Orbinho (@Orbinho) 20 October 2019
They became the first side this season to take points away from Liverpool and are about to face Norwich (a), Bournemouth (a), Brighton (H), Sheffield Utd (a) and Aston Villa (H). The first two opponents concede plenty of chances, so it may be a good time to purchase Rashford, Daniel James (£6.1m) or even the returning out-of-position Martial. Yet their defensive improvements have slid under the radar – an xGC (expected goals conceded) total of 6.91 is the league’s best, even lower than Liverpool and Man City. With many managers trying to move their money further up the pitch, perhaps a thought should still go to Harry Maguire (£5.4m), David de Gea (£5.5m) and Wan-Bissaka.
JESUS SCORES AGAIN
Pep Guardiola continued his cruelty by benching Aguero for the second time in three games. He was the week’s most-captained player, yet Guardiola’s post-match quotes suggest there is too much uncertainty to justify keeping the expensive Argentine. After Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) scored again, the manager said: “Sometimes, I need Sergio for many things; sometimes, I need Gabriel. That’s all. The reason why (I picked Gabriel over Sergio) was because I thought Gabriel was in rhythm. When you play games with the national team, always you have the pace.”
After midweek Champions League action, Man City have a fantastic pair of home fixtures against Aston Villa and Southampton. Unfortunately, when asked about who will get the nod up front, the Spaniard added: “I don’t know what will happen in the next game.” Following that is a tough six-game spell that includes Liverpool (a), Chelsea (H), Man Utd (H) and Arsenal (a) but the immediate fixtures are promising for De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling (£12.1m) and Ederson (£6.1m). There’s too much uncertainty over their other players.
ANOTHER VILLA THRILLER
Aston Villa have conceded late winners to Arsenal and Tottenham but on Saturday it was their turn for a dramatic winner. Matt Targett (£4.4m) fired home a left-footed strike in the 96th minute to defeat Brighton 2-1. Whilst popular midfield option John McGinn (£5.9m) hasn’t taken part in recent goals, Jack Grealish (£5.9m) has found some form since being re-deployed as a roaming number ten. Manager Dean Smith commented: “I just felt we needed to move him on a little bit further, getting him closer to Wesley. We were more of a goal threat with him up there.”
Jack Grealish Villa record all comps Before Dean Smith: Played - 123 Goals - 9⚽️ Assists - 16🅰️ ⚽️ or 🅰️ every 4.92 matches Under Dean Smith: Played - 33 Goals - 10⚽️ Assists - 11🅰️ ⚽️ or 🅰️ every 1.57 matches Dean Smith clearly getting the best out of Super Jack 💜💙 #UTV— Adam Hopcroft (@ahopcroft13) 21 October 2019
However, before considering him as a differential option, it should be noted that Villa have a difficult run of games. Man City (a) and Liverpool (H) are up first, followed by Wolves (a), Newcastle (H), Man Utd (a) and Chelsea (a). They won’t approach those fixtures with fear though, having scored 11 goals in their last four outings.