After the international break, Gameweek 9 was a low-key, low-scoring return to FPL action that was sandwiched by two impressive braces. Whilst Anthony Martial (£7.3m) kicked off the weekend with two goals that almost defeated Chelsea, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) came off the bench for a second consecutive substitute haul – that’s four goals and 27 points in just 57 minutes for the Gabonese forward.
Elsewhere, though, highly-owned names such as Eden Hazard (£11.4m), Marcos Alonso (£7.0m), Harry Kane (£12.5m) and Richarlison (£6.8m) had frustrating blanks. But at least they collected appearance points, as Pep Guardiola’s feared ‘Wheel of Rotation’ claimed Raheem Sterling (£11.2m) as its latest victim. Misery was compounded by Sadio Mane’s (£9.7m) absence through a hand injury and the benching of Roberto Firmino (£9.3m), as Liverpool scraped past Huddersfield with Mohamed Salah’s (£12.8m) winner. Even here, the Egyptian continued to avoid any bonus points.
Gameweek 10 looks much more promising, with juicy fixtures for Liverpool (vs Cardiff, home) and Watford (vs Huddersfield, home) alongside goal scoring potential at Fulham vs Bournemouth and Leicester vs West Ham. Stand-out captaincy options include Salah and Eden Hazard, whilst the weekend climaxes with Monday night’s Tottenham vs Man City showdown. It may not appeal to FPL players though, with Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) up against strong defences.
Defence is led by two members of Newcastle’s backline, despite the Magpies’ poor form placing them bottom of the league ahead of an away game. Their opponents, however, are Southampton, who haven’t scored in their last four games. Alongside Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) and DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) are Jose Holebas (£4.8m) and Andrew Robertson (£6.4m), who have the enticing combination of strong clean sheet potential and a history of attacking returns. Between them, they have one goal and six assists so far.
With his ownership at a low of 30%, Salah facing Cardiff at home is a great opportunity to make recent sellers rue their decision. He may not match his 32 goals of last season, but the ability to devastate at any given time is still there. Watford’s Roberto Pereyra (£6.2m) had an explosive start to the season, scoring twice on the opening day and adding a Gameweek 3 goal against Crystal Palace. The subsequent weeks brought a predictable regression to the mean, culminating in a surprise 4-0 home defeat to Bournemouth. With the Argentinian scoring against Wolves on Saturday, perhaps Pereyra is returning to form and facing Huddersfield at home is a great way to continue that.
I buy Pereyra and Holebas and Watford fall out of form. I sell Pereyra and Holebas and they're beating Wolves 2-0 away. That's life. #FPL— Vigilante (@Vigilanteasy) October 20, 2018
Already appealing, the recent decision to move Richarlison from left wing to up front makes him difficult to resist. Everton’s upcoming fixtures are a bit up-and-down but an out-of-position midfielder seems almost fixture-proof. Hyphens everywhere! A trip to Man Utd isn’t as daunting as it used to be either, so owners may want to resist benching the Brazilian. Another mid-priced midfield revelation has been Leicester’s set piece wizard James Maddison (£7.0m), whose early Premier League form has already earnt him an England call-up. Armed with three goals and two assists, the Foxes start a fantastic run of fixtures by hosting West Ham.
Our optimum squad is captained by Callum Wilson (£6.5m), who leads the line for Bournemouth against a frighteningly poor Fulham defence. The Cottagers have conceded 25 goals in nine games (just under three per game), of which 21 of these are in open play. Unless Slavisa Jokanovic solves this overnight, Bournemouth will be expected to take advantage.
To finish, it may be odd to go with a double Arsenal strike force but it’s difficult to predict exactly who is about to hit double figures between Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette (£9.7m). Between them, an extraordinary six goals have been scored in their last two games. Whether Unai Emery starts them together - or introduces Aubameyang from the bench – it seems that Arsenal just can’t stop scoring. They aim to make it 11 consecutive wins (in all competitions) at Selhurst Park.
As for ‘best of the rest’ goalkeepers, the only other expected clean sheet belongs to Liverpool’s Alisson (£5.6m). Joe Hart (£4.6m) owners will expect save points against Chelsea, as will those of Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m). The clash at St Mary’s may also provide a clean sheet for Alex McCarthy (£4.5m), considering Newcastle’s severe goal scoring allergy. They can defend solidly though, which is why they dominate the list of the next five, with Federico Fernandez (£4.4m), Jamaal Lascelles (£4.8m) and Paul Dummett (£4.4m) sitting narrowly behind Steve Cook (£4.6m) and Ricardo Pereira (£5.1m).
Two Manchester United midfielders are tipped to do well, as Martial’s recent goals should keep him in Jose Mourinho’s starting 11. Alongside him is fellow Frenchman Paul Pogba (£8.1m), if he’s still on penalties following his miss at Burnley. Except for last weekend, Eden Hazard is on incredible form and has quickly became FPL’s second most-owned player – present in over 50% of teams. The Chelsea man is the league’s top scorer with seven goals, in addition to three assists. To be involved in ten goals in only nine games is remarkable and is certainly a player to fear for both Burnley fans and non-owners. Mane’s projected points is only as low as 5.96 because of his recent injury and the uncertainty of playing time.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.9m) was very unlucky to miss out on the optimum squad, as he’s highly-tipped to score at home to Bournemouth. For all Fulham’s defensive struggles, they know how to make amends further up the pitch and the Serbian striker is the focal point of their team. His five-goal total is fairly impressive, although he’s not scored in three games. Teammate Luciano Vietto (£5.5m) is also worth a mention, with just 0.9% ownership.
Both teams are expected to score, meaning that David Brooks (£5.1m) and Josh King (£6.4m) are in prime position to contribute for Eddie Howe’s side whilst, following on from Maddison, both of Leicester’s frontmen are projected to produce against West Ham – Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.9m) and Jamie Vardy (£9.0m).