Ahead of this evening’s FPL deadline at 7pm, we assess gameweek 9 through a statistical lens as fantasy managers continue to snap up Manchester City assets.
Friday 20th October
West Ham vs Brighton (20:00)
Saturday 21st October
Chelsea vs Watford (12:30)
Huddersfield vs Man Utd (15:00)
Man City vs Burnley (15:00)
Newcastle vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
Stoke vs Bournemouth (15:00)
Swansea vs Leicester (15:00)
Southampton vs West Brom (17:30)
Sunday 22nd October
Everton vs Arsenal (13:30)
Spurs vs Liverpool (16:00)
Premier League leaders City top the team points table, having scored 29 goals across eight gameweeks while conceding just four times. Almost 46% (252) of these points have been scored by City midfielders, who dominate the FPL standings:
Tripling up on the Citizens seems like the ideal scenario for FPL managers at present. Though City have been quite robust in defence, Guardiola’s commitment to playing the ball out from the back will offer up big chances to teams that press the Sky Blues high up the field. Napoli’s Marek Hamsik came very close to punishing the patented City build-up at the Etihad on Tuesday:
Nicolas Otamendi (£5.8m) and Kyle Walker (£6.6m) still represent good investments considering City’s fixture list, though fantasy funds may be more wisely spent in attack. Raheem Sterling (£8.1m) continued his excellent form in front of goal in the Champions League, netting City’s opener before Gabriel Jesus (£10.7m) tapped in from an exquisite Kevin De Bruyne (£10.0m) cross. Leroy Sane is just three points behind Sterling in the FPL standings, costing £0.4m more than the England man. The Germany winger played the full 90 minutes against Napoli, while Sterling and David Silva (£8.6m) were both substituted in the final 20 minutes. With Sergio Aguero (£11.5m) fit enough to make the bench in City’s last two fixtures, it is only a matter of time before the Argentine is reintroduced to the starting line-up. While Pep Guardiola’s teamsheet will sting from time to time, owning three City attackers should ease the pain when the inevitable rotation kicks in.
Second-placed Manchester United sit just eight points behind their neighbours in the FPL points standings, having amassed an outstanding seven clean sheets in eight games. Phil Jones, who rose in price to £5.3m this week, is the go-to option for those investing in Jose Mourinho’s backline. The England defender constantly flirts with injury, however, so David de Gea (£5.6m) is a safer bet for those FPL bosses looking to cut down on ‘teamsheet tension’.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.8m) is the only player sitting in more than half of all FPL teams, with an ownership base of almost 58%. The Belgian striker managed just one shot against Liverpool in GW8 as Mourinho shackled his horses against Jurgen Klopp’s outfit. While a GW9 trip to struggling Huddersfield should prove profitable for Lukaku owners, ties at home to Spurs and away to Chelsea in the following two gameweeks could see the United forward struggle to provide returns. The Red Devils’ performance away to Southampton in GW6 suggested that Mourinho’s pragmatism could hurt Lukaku’s output, while the torrid display at Anfield confirmed that idea.
The return to fitness of Alvaro Morata (£10.2m), along with a firing Eden Hazard (£10.6m), should see Chelsea bridge the team points gap as Antonio Conte’s side look to take advantage of a prolonged run of good fixtures until the end of 2017 and beyond. Investors may want to hold fire on Blues defenders, however, as some indifferent performances coupled with the loss of N’Golo Kante have seen Chelsea look susceptible at the back.
An out-of-form Arsenal face some tough fixtures over the next seven gameweeks, meaning the Gunners could easily be overtaken in the team points table by both Chelsea and Liverpool. The Reds’ fixture list also reads well in FPL terms from GW10, with Mohamed Salah (£9.2m) the pick of the bunch having been nominated as Liverpool’s first-choice penalty taker.
The aforementioned pair of Jones and De Gea are excelling in the PPM table, suggesting a double-up on the United pair could prove fruitful. Sandwiched between the duo is Burnley’s Stephen Ward (£4.6m); the Ireland full-back has notched a goal, an assist and seven bonus points as part of a Clarets defence that has kept three clean sheets. Sean Dyche’s men have conceded a league-high average of 19 shots per game this season, though 54% of teams’ total efforts against Burnley were from outside the box. Once a GW9 trip to red-hot city is out of the way, Burnley’s fixture list should see Ward continue to offer good value in the budget bracket.
Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference today will be key to assessing Ben Davies’ (£5.9m) viability as an FPL pick, though the Welshman’s long-term prospects look suspect considering that Danny Rose made Spurs’ bench on Tuesday.
Planning ahead, Watford midfielder Richarlison (£6.2m) is one to watch. Returning an excellent 7.5 PPM so far, the Brazilian is hot property despite playing away to Chelsea in GW9. From GW10, Marco Silva’s attack-minded team face Stoke, Everton, West Ham and Newcastle before the schedule briefly stiffens. Should Richarlison return points at Stamford Bridge, the bandwagon will begin rolling at pace.
In terms of GW9 transfers, it’s hard to look beyond City attackers playing at home to Burnley. Sané has scored 87% of his FPL points at the Etihad, though Sterling (68% of points scored at home) might just be a safer bet considering his substitution on Tuesday. With three home games in the next five, Harry Kane (£12.8m) will need to replicate his away form at Wembley to prove his worth in FPL; just seven of Kane’s 47 points (15%) have been scored at home. Liverpool travel to take on Spurs in GW9, with Klopp’s post-match comments last weekend suggesting the Reds will not attempt to ‘park the bus’ on Sunday.
Considering Kane’s Wembley woes have been largely a result of teams setting up defensively, the visit of Liverpool might just be the perfect remedy as the England striker looks to net his first home strike of the season.