Replacements for £6.4m injury-hit Benjamin Mendy, Man City’s star defender

With the news that Manchester City’s flying Left Back, Ben Mendy, is on the sidelines probably for close to 2 months after knee surgery in Barcelona yesterday ..

.. this gives a headache for many FPL managers who have the popular defender in their squad. Mendy is currently owned by 18.8% of managers which means he’s in about 1.1 million teams! There is plenty of time to make your mind up due to the International Break but don’t leave it for too long if you’re going to be close to your squad budget with your wished-for transfer in.

The fiso community has already been giving the transfer conundrum some thought and below we cover their and our main suggestions to replace the effervescent Mendy.

A Liverpool Defender

Liverpool have been much improved defensively this season and Robinson (£6.4m/31.6%/71pts), Gomez (£5.1m/4.2%/46pts), van Dijk (£6.0m/16.5%/51pts) and Alexander-Arnold (£5.0m/18.5%/51pts) have all produced bountiful returns and all are at or less than Mendy’s £6.4m cost. Liverpool’s fixtures look reasonable although their only home match in the next 4 is the local derby against Everton.

Another Man City Defender

Laporte (£5.9m/11.9%/58pts) has been the stand-out value defender for Man City, followed by Walker (£6.5m/13.1%/54pts). It’s not clear who will replace Mendy at Left Back – perhaps Delph (£5.3m/0.2%/15pts) or Danilo (£5.1m/0.3%/0pts) or the two of them rotating? So a safer bet would be to go with Laporte who should not suffer from much rotation or a defender from another club.

A Form Defender

Rather than the above two options, you could look at diversifying. Nearly half the teams already have the most expensive defender Alonso who is £0.7m more than Mendy so other options could be:

Brighton’s Dunk (£4.4m/2.9%/40pts) with good fixtures coming up and the low cost freeing up funds to strengthen elsewhere in your squad;

Leicester’s Chilwell (£5.1m/2.5%/44pts) again with a good run of fixtures to look forward to;

Newcastle’s Yedlin (£4.5m/1.4%/35pts) who now that the Magpies might have turned the corner have some reasonable fixtures coming up;

Everton’s Digne (£4.8m/1.8%/33pts) who will have two good home fixtures sandwiched in between the derby with Liverpool.

Looking at the number of ‘transfers in’ this gameweek, not surprisingly the Liverpool players Robertson and Alexander-Arnold top the stats followed by Laporte. Then comes Dunk and the popular Doherty (£4.9m/16.5%/54pts) who is definitely one to consider if you don’t already have him given his ability to get forward into scoring positions and Wolves’ promising results.

FPL Season 2018-19 – Heavy hitters for £7.6m or less

Can Man United’s Anthony Martial continue his hot streak after the international break? (CC by 4.0) by Ardfern

Gameweek 12 was a delight for those FPL managers who like to punt on differential players every now and then. While traditional heavyweights like Eden Hazard, Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to register any attacking returns, less-owned and less expensive options such as Bernardo Silva (£7.5m, 10 points), Lewis Dunk (£4.4m, 9 points) and Salomon Rondón (£5.7m, 12 points) all brought home big hauls for their owners. With the international break upon us now and with the likelihood of heightened wildcard activity in the run-up to gameweek 13, we’re listing a few budget-friendly FPL assets that could be delivering big over the coming weeks and months.

Anthony Martial – Midfielder (£7.6m)
First on the list is Anthony Martial. Why? Because we even adjusted this article’s title, just to be able to fit him in. The Man United forward, who’s listed as a midfielder in FPL, is in fantastic form and saw his price rise by £0.1m to £7.6m already since last weekend. Our threshold was originally going to be £7.5m, but the Frenchman seems too good to ignore at the moment. He has regained a place in José Mourinho’s starting eleven and he was even on penalty duty against Man City last Sunday, though Pogba is expected to take over again once he’s back from injury. Martial has scored 6 goals and provided 1 assist over the past 5 gameweeks, with a mouthwatering 54 points as a result. United seem to be slowly recovering from their abysmal start to the 18-19 Premier League campaign and Anthony Martial is one of the main reasons for their improving performances. Though the Red Devils are still far from their best form, games against Palace (home), Southampton (away), and Fulham (home) in the next four gameweeks should reap full points for Mourinho and nice returns for FPL managers.

Marcos Alonso – Defender (£7.1)
Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso is the only defender on this list, partly because £7.6m is not a relevant differential threshold for defenders and partly because he plays more as a winger than a left-back most of the time. As a matter of fact, Alonso is the official game’s most expensive defender, but also the player with the most points per million of all regular first-team players. For each million of his price tag, the Spaniard has so far returned 12.11 FPL points, which is why we decided to include him in this list. What’s more, the Chelsea full-back is currently the highest-scoring player in the entire game (86 points). He has provided his owners with at least a clean sheet or an attacking return (assist or goal) in 9 out of this season’s first 12 games, with a total of 6 clean sheets, 7 assists, and a single goal to his name so far. Thanks to his clean sheet points, Alonso outscores many similarly-priced midfielders and forwards in the game, including Gylfi Sigurdsson, Marko Arnautovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic. It might seem a lot to invest £7.1m in defender, but in the case of Marcos Alonso, it’s really not.

Glenn Murray – Forward (£6.6)
Despite having already netted six times in the Premier League alone this season, Brighton’s number-one striker Glenn Murray is still owned by just 5.5% of all FPL players. The hard-working forward is manager Chris Hughton’s first choice up front, as he confirmed that age (Murray turned 35 this year) won’t be a reason for him to rotate Murray, as his fitness is up there with the best in the squad. The Englishman scored 2 goals in his last 5 Premier League games, though one of those games only lasted 15 minutes for him due to a head injury, and it seems likely that he’ll be adding to his tally after the international break. With games versus Huddersfield (away), Palace (home) and Burnley (away) coming up over the next four gameweeks, Murray could be bringing home the bacon for his FPL owners. At his current price tag, he presents an excellent option for the position of third striker in your squad.

Kenedy – Midfielder (£4.9)
Life in the Premier League is hard and unpredictable. Up until two weeks ago, things were looking grim for Newcastle as they found themselves bottom of the league. Now, two gameweeks and two victories later, the Magpies have found some room to breathe in 14th place. Scoring goals has been a problem for Newcastle this season and the lack of creative minds in the team is a major reason for that. One of the few players who seem capable of delivering that crucial bit of creativity is midfielder Kenedy, who’s listed as a midfielder in the official game, but who often operates higher up front, either behind the strikers or on the left wing. The Brazilian has so far returned just 1 goal and 1 assist in 12 games, but keep in mind that Newcastle have had an unforgiving opening schedule of the 18-19 campaign. With two wins on the trot, and home games against West Ham, Wolves and Fulham on the calender over the coming six gameweeks, things could be looking up for the Magpies. If they do, expect the very kindly-priced Kenedy to play a key role in the process.

Marko Arnautovic – Forward (£7.1)
Many FPL managers will be discarding West Ham assets in the build-up to gameweek 13, because the Hammers are hosting a rampant Man City. Overlooking the East Londoners completely would be a mistake though, because after playing the reigning champions at home, the fixture schedule turns very kind. In the four weeks after the City game, West Ham are playing Newcastle (away), Cardiff (home), Palace (home) and Fulham (away), which seems like a run that was cut out for Hammers striker Marko Arnautovic. The extremely confident Austrian forward has scored 5 goals and given 2 assists in just 10 games this season, with a total of 52 FPL points as a result. His blank versus Huddersfield last weekend was somewhat of a disappointment, but he was one of the stand-out performers the week before that, when he bagged one and prepared another to bring home 12 FPL points. This also illustrates the inconsistency with which Arnautovic is still associated from time to time. Nonetheless, with the Hammers improving their form and attractive fixture list for the Hammers after gameweek 13, the team’s attacking focal point is expected to provide attacking returns for some weeks to come.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 12 Preview

“Gameweek 11 saw Raheem Sterling score 21 points, the biggest haul for a single player this season” (Source: Wikimedia Commons / Flickr) by Brad Tutterow

Gameweek 11, with an average score of 52, was quite a high-scoring week for many FPL managers. Several players scored well over 12 points, such as Richarlison (15), Sané (14), and of course Raheem Sterling (21), and gameweek 12 is offering us another few very interesting fixtures with a high potential for big hauls. Before previewing gameweek 12, we’ll review the performances of our picks for gameweek 11 below.

Premium pick – Laporte (Man City) – 2 points
Premium pick – Sterling (Man City) – 21 points
Premium pick – Kane (Spurs) – 7 points
Differential – Willian (Chelsea) – 2 points
Differential – Arnautovic (West Ham) – 12 points
Captain – Aguero (Man City) – 13 points
Captain – Mooy (Huddersfield) – 3 points

Some observations ahead of Gameweek 12

While at the start of the season Watford was looking like this season’s surprise package, it’s turning out to be Bournemouth who are continuing to defy the odds. Sure, the Hornets are still performing more than fine with 19 points from 11 games and a current 8th position, but the Cherries can be found still two steps higher up the ladder. With six victories from the season’s first 11 games, in which they scored a total of 20 goals, Bournemouth are currently the Premier League’s “best of the rest”, even before United. As a result, the appeal of several Cherries’ assets, such as Aké, Fraser, and Wilson have been steadily growing over the past weeks. The latter is even mentioned as a serious option for the English national team.

Fortunately Eden Hazard is back to full health and ready to rip Everton apart on Sunday, but the Belgian’s injury caused many an FPL headache for a few weeks in a row. In that time though, Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea have coped wonderfully well with the absence of their star man. This is, of course, thanks to the team’s high work rate, but Willian and Pedro in particular have made considerable contributions in Hazard’s absence. The former has a goal and an assist in his last three games, while the latter scored one and assisted another last weekend. Hazard’s 70 FPL points are still far out either player’s reach, but as budget enablers or a cheaper way into Chelsea’s passing machine, Willian and Pedro have great potential.

Last Sunday we got yet another confirmation that Man City at home is practically a guarantee for goals, usually in favour of the home team. Southampton were blown away by the Cityzens last weekend, with Raheem Sterling, Kun Aguero, and Leroy Sané leading the way to a comfortable 6-1 victory. With United still struggling and in 7th place currently, coming weekend’s Manchester derby could easily become an affair to remember.

Just a day earlier, Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle booked the first victory of the season in a solid match against in-form Watford. The Magpies were neither the best nor the most threatening team on the pitch, with Watford registering 10 attempts at goal and a ball possession of 58%, but they finally got that bit of luck that has been eluding them so far this season. Newcastle haven’t been playing the worst football this season, especially considering their toothless summer transfer window, but they often got the short end of the stick. Just think of their 16 attempts at goal away to Southampton two weeks ago. With a very friendly fixture calendar for the coming weeks, the Magpies could be on their way up.

Premium picks

Our premium picks for this week contain a high amount of Liverpool, considering the Reds are hosting Fulham and what could turn out to be the worst defence ever seen in the Premier League. First off is Roberto Firmino (£9.2m), who in theory is Liverpool’s striker, but who in practice can usually be found all over the final third. The Brazilian was initially rested for Liverpool’s disastrous visit to Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday, but Jurgen Klopp brought him on after 45 minutes. In vain, unfortunately for them. Still, Firmino is expected to start against Fulham on Sunday. It’s absolutely true that his performances and FPL returns have been extremely underwhelming so far this season, with no attacking returns since gameweek 5, but a home match versus Fulham with Liverpool having to make up for their mid-week embarrassment feels too promising to ignore nonetheless.

The premium pick in midfield this week is Firmino’s team mate and fellow member of Liverpool’s lethal three up front, Sadio Mané (£9.8m). The Senegalese forward completed the 90 minutes in Belgrade on Tuesday, but was incapable of getting his team back into the game after conceding two goals in the first half hour. He was one of Liverpool’s more dangerous players, though that’s very relative, as Mané wasn’t up to par either against Red Star. With two goals and 17 FPL points from his last two Premier League games though, we don’t feel his FPL potential has been dented too badly. Only in gameweek 9 Mané didn’t play from the start for Klopp’s pressing machine and he’s expected to start against a more than willing Fulham defence at Anfield coming weekend. What better way to wash away a painful mid-week defeat than scoring a few goals in front of your own fans a few days later?

This week’s final premium pick is Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier (£6.3m), who didn’t start in the Champions League against PSV on Tuesday. He was brought on to replace Aurier after 75 minutes though, to help Spurs to their eventual last-minute comeback and the all-important three points. For this weekend’s away game against Crystal Palace, the young Englishman is expected to be in the starting line-up again, just like he has been without exception since gameweek 2. With a goal and four assists so far this campaign, Trippier is currently FPL’s third-most valuable defender, just behind Robertson (59 points) and Alonso (78 points). Palace, meanwhile, have the league’s worst home record, with zero victories and two draws in 5 games so far, a disappointing run during which the Eagles scored just two goals. A Spurs victory and clean sheet look probable coming Saturday.

A differential or two

This week’s first differential player in the spotlight is West Ham’s Felipe Anderson (£6.8m), who bagged a brace at home to Burnley last weekend. The Brazilian winger, who came over from Lazio last summer for no less than £35 million, has been in fluctuating form this season, but he was one of the best men on the pitch against the Clarets. He’s got just 3 goals and an assist to his name so far this season, but West Ham’s killer opening fixture calender should be taken into account in this regard. With a much kinder set of fixtures coming up, including games against Huddersfield, Newcastle, Cardiff, and Palace over the coming five weeks. Anderson is owned by just 3% of FPL managers, so he could well prove to be a considerable differential in the weeks to come.

Our second differential pick is also a player who stood out in the last game he played, namely Tottenham’s Lucas Moura (£7.2m). The Spurs struggled against PSV at Wembley on Tuesday, but they eventually got the three points at home. Despite Moura not being directly involved in Tottenham’s goals, he was their biggest offensive threat and the man his team mates turned to for attacking solutions. Since gameweek 2, the Brazilian forward has played at least 75 minutes in every Premier League game, scoring 4 goals and providing 1 assist. After this weekend’s away game versus Crystal Palace, Spurs are facing Chelsea at Wembley and Arsenal at the Emirates before hosting Southampton. Moura could be a good choice as third midfielder, or a deluxe option for the position of fourth midfielder in your FPL team.

Need more inspiration then have a look at FISO’s Gameweek 12 transfers topic.

The captaincy

Liverpool are hosting Fulham coming Sunday, Salah has 2 goals and 2 assists in the last 3 Premier League games, and the Reds have to make up with their fans after the Belgrade fiasco. In other words, Momo Salah (£13.0m) is the number one captaincy option this week. Despite hitting the bar in the mid-week Champions League game, Salah was pretty much underperforming like the rest of his Liverpool team mates. Still, at home against the league’s worst away team (1 draw from six games in which the Cottagers conceded a worrying 16 goals), only a very brave or a very ignorant man would bet against Salah. That said, if you don’t have him yet and don’t have the budget to bring him in, Sadio Mané could be an excellent replacement as captain.

This time no punt as our second suggestion for the captaincy, but one of the more reliable top performers this season. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (£11.3m) missed gameweek 10 and only played for 26 minutes in gameweek 11 (in which he did provide an assist) due to a back injury. The Belgian Blues star seems to have recuperated completely now and he played in most of Chelsea’s Europa League match at Borisov in Belarus. So whilst he might not be completely fresh to start against Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, he’ll be looking to build on his current tally of 7 goals, 4 assists, and a game-high 79 FPL points. The Toffees have conceded 9 goals in just 5 away games this season, while Chelsea have scored 16 in 6 home games. It looks like goals are on the cards for this one and if that’s correct, expect Hazard to be on the scoresheet once again.

The FISO community are voting on who their FPL Gameweek 12 captain will be and currently Salah leads the way with 71% of the vote followed by Mané with 16% and Hazard and Aguero on 3% each.

Callum Wilson Entering the Realms of Essential Fantasy Pick

Source: AFC Bournemouth via Facebook

Callum Wilson is finally living up to his fantasy potential and making a name for himself as one of the top strikers in the Premier League. The Bournemouth hitman is now owned by more than 30 percent of players in Fantasy Premier League, and is the second-top choice forward after Sergio Aguero. Wilson’s first few seasons in the English top flight were plagued with injury, but the goal-hungry forward is finally starting to build up form. While fit, the Cherries man could be an essential pick.

After firing Bournemouth into the top division in the 2014-15 Championship campaign with 20 goals and seven assists, Wilson was expected to achieve big things. Indeed, the centre-forward started off magnificently. Wilson put away five goals in his first six top-flight games and earned himself an England call-up in the process. Tragically, in his seventh appearance in the campaign, Wilson suffered a serious knee injury against Stoke City which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Wilson is yet to remain fit for a full term in the top flight, but did manage to start 23 games for the Cherries in the 2017-18 campaign. He only mustered eight goals and two assists in 1982 minutes last time out, but this year he has more than doubled that output in terms of minutes played. In only 967 minutes, Wilson has notched six goals and registered seven assists for a total of 70 points. He only requires 32 points to beat his tally of last term and isn’t even a third of the way through the season.

Wilson is flourishing in a high-flying Bournemouth team who are beginning to look like genuine contenders for a top six finish. Eddie Howe’s men can be backed at around 9/1 in the football betting to finish above seventh, and if they can keep Wilson fit and firing on all cylinders, it wouldn’t be completely out of the question.

It isn’t often that budget forwards are considered essential fantasy picks, but it could be argued that Wilson is entering that territory. At only £6.7 million it’s easy to fit the Bournemouth man in, and it seems like a no-brainer at the moment for an in-form player whose position is absolutely nailed in Howe’s starting XI. With such high ownership, players without Wilson could suffer a serious drop in rank if he hauls.

Wilson is the joint-top player in terms of goal involvement in the division alongside Eden Hazard, and he is the second-most prolific forward behind Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The fact that Wilson has outscored Aguero, Harry Kane, and Mohamed Salah so far is highly impressive.

In terms of value for money and percentage of ownership, bringing Wilson in should be high up on the list of every fantasy football manager. There tends to be one player each season who massively outshines their price tag, and Wilson looks to be that player this time out.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 11 Preview

“Will Eden Hazard have recovered from his back injury by Sunday?” (Source: Wikimedia / Flickr) by Aleksandr Osipov

For a weekend that started off with so much injury and otherwise-related uncertainty regarding rotation and starting line-ups, gameweek 10’s average of 58 points was quite high. With big FPL names like Eden Hazard, Jamie Vardy and Marko Arnautovic missing out on a starting spot for their respective teams due to varying reasons, and with managers like City’s Guardiola and Liverpool’s Klopp not afraid to rotate heavily, picking a starting eleven in FPL was a nightmare for more than a few FPL managers. As a result, some of our differential picks last week performed wonderfully, with Callum Wilson‘s brace and Roberto Pereyra‘s glorious opener for Watford bringing home big hauls for their owners. Let’s see what gameweek 11 has to offer!

Some observations ahead of Gameweek 11

When Chelsea acquired Ross Barkley‘s services in January of this year for £15 million, opinions were divided on how successful he would become at the Bridge with many football fans betting (maybe at Novibet Sports) he’d have been better to stay at Everton where he should start every match. Where some people thought Abramovich was taking a huge gamble, others figured their club might have a huge bargain on their hands. As it stands, the latter group seems to have been correct. Under Maurizio Sarri, the young English midfielder is rapidly approaching his best form of his life and looks to be stronger and fitter than ever. With three goals and three assists in his last three Premier League games, his FPL appeal has risen fast and it could continue to do so for a while. You can see more debate on how Barkley’s value is perceived in FPL on this FISO FPL forum topic.

Brighton, meanwhile, have grown to become one of the most efficient and minimalist teams in the Premier League. Each of their last three games, against West Ham, Newcastle, and Wolves, have ended with the same scoreline: 1-0 to the Seagulls. Two of those three goals were scored by FPL evergreen Glenn Murray, who was the second player to reach 100 goals in Brighton history after netting against Wolves. With the kind schedule continuing for some time to come, it’s wise to start considering (defensive) Brighton assets for your FPL teams.

Back in London, Craven Cottage is the home of what could turn out to be the worst defence the Premier League has ever seen by the end of this season. Fulham spent more than £100 million over the summer in order to prepare for their return to the elite, but the results so far are far below par: 10 games played, 5 points, 11 goals scored, and no less than 28 goals conceded. That’s way, way too many. With visits to Liverpool and Chelsea on the agenda over the coming four gameweeks, Fulham manager Jokanovic needs to come up with a solution for his non-existent defence fast or things could get embarrassing.

Fellow newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers have had a very different and much more positive start to the season, with their current 10th place as a tangible result. Wolves seem to have lost some of their momentum though, after back-to-back losses to Watford and Brighton without scoring a goal in either game. If you don’t have any Wolves assets, perhaps wait and see how manager Espirito Santo solves this situation, but if you do have some Wolves players, don’t worry. In their last game against Brighton, Wolves showed some free-flowing football, had 60% of the possession, and took 25 shots at goal (of which 7 were on target). The points could start flowing back to Molineux again very soon.

Premium picks

Our first premium FPL pick will be facing Southampton at home on Saturday on the back of keeping an impressive six consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League. City’s Aymeric Laporte (£5.8m) has quietly become one of Pep Guardiola’s carrying players, not having missed a single minute of the 2018-19 Premier League campaign so far in an otherwise heavily-rotated team. His manager has hailed the Frenchman as one of the very best left-footed central defenders in the world and it looks unlikely that he’ll be dropped from the starting eleven anytime soon. Count on a seventh 6-pointer in a row for Laporte this weekend.

More up front, one of Laporte’s team mates has made it into our premium picks for this week as well. Despite scoring four goals, providing three assists, and bringing home a total of 56 FPL points so far, City’s Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) is still part of just 6.7% of teams in the official game. True, his price is steep and the rotation risk for City assets is considerable, but Sterling still deserves to be in more FPL teams. As a matter of fact, the City winger has had 40 touches in the opposition penalty area over the past five gameweeks, which is the most of any player in the Premier League. There are options with more potential than Sterling versus the Saints on Sunday.

Even though manager Espirito Santo stated he was very satisfied with the way his Wolves played against Brighton last weekend, just not with the result (0-1 loss), the Portuguese coach won’t be thrilled by the visit of Harry Kane (£12.4m) and co on Saturday. Wolves have now lost two games in a row in which they failed to score, while Spurs have started welcoming back some of their star players after extended injury periods, including Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. The London outfit will be looking to capitalise on Wolverhampton’s lesser form after failing to take a point from Man City last weekend and Harry Kane could well re-appear on the score sheet after blanking in the last three games.

Also keep your eye on the FISO FPL topic on Gameweek 11 transfers for further ideas for your FPL team.

A differential or two

With the uncertainty surrounding Eden Hazard’s back injury still persisting, it could be a wise choice to move the spotlight to his team mate Willian (£7.4m). The Brazilian forward has started the past five games for Maurizio Sarri, and he’s scored a goal and assisted another in his last two games for the Blues. He has also taken up considerable set-piece responsibility, often taking corners and free-kicks, especially when Hazard is not on the pitch. He’ll be facing the offensive Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt on Sunday, which promises to be a spectacular duel with considerable goal potential.

The other differential pick for gameweek 11 is West Ham’s talisman Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m). Of course, the Austrian attacker was left out of the match day squad last weekend due to illness, but he’s expected to be back (and came off the bench midweek in their Cup game) and raring to go at home to Burnley coming Saturday. He hasn’t scored for three games now, but not for a lack of trying. The West Ham man has ten attempts at goal over the past two games and with Burnley, he’s facing the defence that has conceded most attempts at target so far this season, at an alarming rate of almost 21 per game. Over the past five weeks, the Clarets allowed for 15 big chances, which is the most of any team over that same period. It looks like the perfect fixture for Arnautovic to add to this total of four goals this season.

The captaincy

It’s not the first time this season that we’re suggesting Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) as a prime candidate for the captaincy, but it is what it is. With City lining up at home versus Southampton on Sunday afternoon at 3pm and with Kun having scored 5 of this season’s 6 goals at the Etihad so far, there’s simply no way around the Argentinian ace. As a matter of fact, Aguero has won 47 of his 60 FPL points this season at home. The Saints have shipped 7 goals in 5 away games, which on itself is not disastrous, but City have scored 18 in 5 at home so far this season. A serious beating is on the cards for Southampton and Kun will be happy to land a punch or two.

Is your team actually doing quite OK and do you have the luxury of making a serious punt? Then consider Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy (£5.2m). The Terriers have looked like an outfit primed for relegation this season, but we shouldn’t forget that they’ve already faced four of the traditional top six, as well as in-form outfit Watford, Everton, and Leicester. Mooy hasn’t registered an attacking return yet this season, which explains his current season total of 18 FPL points, but if Huddersfield are to create any danger at home to Fulham on Monday, the Dutch-Australian midfielder will be involved. He has the vision to rip apart teams, especially teams that are as chaotically organised as Fulham are at the moment, and he’s on most set-pieces as well. Like we said, it’s a punt, but it could pay off handsomely and might add to the enjoyment of watching the Monday night football match.

If you don’t fancy that gamble then consider a Leicester player for their away match at Cardiff as they will really be motivated to mark the game with a performance deserving of their respect for Leicester’s billionaire owner who was tragically killed in a helicopter accident after last weekend’s match. Also don’t forget to check out the FISO FPL Gameweek 11 Captain Poll for further indications on who to select for your captain this weekend before the 11:30am deadline on Saturday 3rd November. Currently Aguero and Hazard lead the way with 60% and 30% of the vote each respectively.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 10 Preview

Craven Cottage

“Fulham’s Craven Cottage, currently the second-most porous homeground in the Premier League” (CC by 2.0) by Nick

We probably speak for a majority of FPL managers when we say that gameweek 9 was something of a disaster. The only players with a total ownership of more than 10% who made it into the Team of the Week were Everton’s Jordan Pickford (13.5%), City’s Benjamin Mendy (16.6%), and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (11.3%). The highest-scoring players though, were the previously mentioned Pickford with 15 points, United’s Anthony Martial (15 points with an ownership of 2.6%), and City’s Fernandinho (14 points with an ownership of just 4.8%). Most of the big FPL names either provided reasonable but limited returns (Salah, Aguero), no returns (Hazard, Lacazette, Kane), or, due to Champions League requirements, didn’t even start (Sterling, Mané, Firmino). In other words, let’s forget about last weekend and look forward to gameweek 10!

Some observations ahead of Gameweek 10

Last weekend, Arsenal made it 10 consecutive victories in all competitions after overcoming a positive Leicester City side. The Foxes had the best of the game during the first 45 minutes and were close to getting a penalty after Rob Holding handled the ball in the area. It was a Hector Bellerín own goal around the half-hour mark that gave them the lead at half time though. A different Arsenal came out of the dressing room as the Gunners pinned back Leicester and went from 0-1 behind to winning the game 3-1, courtesy of two Aubameyang goals and a stellar display from Mesut Özil. Arsenal have much to improve still, especially defensively, but by continuing on the current path, Arsenal might soon be joining the race for the title.

These days it’s impossible to speak of defensive frailty in the Premier League without mentioning Fulham. The Cottagers have returned to the elite this season in admirable fashion, playing an attacking and entertaining kind of football, just like manager Jokanovic likes to see it. Besides the somewhat disappointing 5 points from 9 games so far, this approach has also resulted in no less than 25 goals conceded, which is simply too much to stay up. At this pace, Fulham will be picking the ball from their own net for the hundredth time before the end of the season, which would be inexcusable.

Last weekend’s 4-2 loss to Cardiff, who had up until then just scored 4 goals in 8 games, will have deeply worried Fulham fans, and with games against an in-form Bournemouth and Liverpool coming up in the next three, things look a bit grim for Fulham.

Over in Manchester, much of the focus is either on City’s non-stop goal production or José Mourinho’s antics at United, but City’s five clean sheets in a row is a feat that’s passing somewhat under the radar. Since conceding a goal against Newcastle in gameweek 4, Guardiola’s men have kept clean sheets against Fulham, Cardiff, Brighton, Liverpool, and Burnley. Combine that with the return of midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne and assist machine Ben Mendy, as well as the scintillating form of players like Mahrez and Bernardo Silva, and it doesn’t seem like the City bulldozer is coming to a halt any time soon. Only Gabriel Jesus seems to not be quite able to get himself points.

After losing 0-1 at home to Brighton, Newcastle United are now bringing up the rear in the Premier League, with a very meagre 2 points. Though it’s hard to speak positively about the Magpies these days, the score against Brighton last weekend doesn’t say it all. Rafa Benitez’ team had more than 65% of the ball possession and an impressive 27 shots on goal, but it was their finishing that was extremely lacking. With their schedule now easing up considerably for the foreseeable future, it’s not unthinkable that we’ll see Newcastle recovering from what has been an abysmal start to the 2018-19 Premier League campaign.

Premium picks

Our first premium pick of this week is Liverpool’s star man Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) for two very simple reasons: he has the fixture and he seems to be now more on the form as well. The Egyptian winger scored a brace in the 90 minutes he got against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Wednesday and is likely to start against Cardiff at home on Saturday. The Reds have scored 8 goals and conceded none at Anfield, while Cardiff have conceded 7 and scored just 1 in four games. It looks like it’s going to be a one-sided affair in Liverpool this weekend, the perfect opportunity for Mo Salah to truly live up to his price tag.

Our second premium pick of the week is kind of an obvious one, after scoring back-to-back braces against Fulham and Leicester over the past two weekends. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) did so in just 57 minutes of football, coming off the bench on both occasions to bring the victory home. We’d almost forget that he also provided an assist in that short period of time, bringing his FPL total for the last two gameweeks to an incredible 27 points. The Gabonese striker will be facing Crystal Palace this weekend, whose defence has been far from frail at home, but who still have conceded 5 goals in 5 games. Against a Gunners outfit that only seems to be improving week in, week out, the Eagles might be in for a beating and Aubameyang could be delivering the punches.

The encounter between Leicester and West Ham at the King Power Stadium coming Saturday is promising to be one rich in goals. Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) might not have played his luckiest game against Arsenal last week, but you’d bet on him to bag a goal or two versus the Hammers. Leicester have scored 7 goals in 4 home games so far, while West Ham have been porous on the road, conceding 9 goals in just 4 away games and will be missing one of the star players, Yarmolenko, due to a serious ankle injury last weekend. Vardy has scored 3 goals and given one assist in the seven games in which he has participated so far this campaign, and he has Cardiff (away) and Burnley (home) coming up after West Ham. In other words, the Englishman is a good pick but do check if he has recovered from illness during the week.

A differential or two

Cedric Soares (£4.4m) is probably one of the more under-rated players in the Premier League. The Southampton right-back is a pretty constant performer for a team that has been somewhat hard to define this season and with a price of just £4.4m, he’s an excellent fourth or fifth defender in the official game. In both games in which the Saints kept a clean sheet this season, Cedric brought home maximum bonus points. Those six points are in fact equal to the bonus points collected by the entire Southampton defence (including goalkeeper) so far this season. His 9-point haul last weekend must have delighted the 4.8% of managers who own him and more defensive returns could be in the making when low-scoring Newcastle make their way Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

Watford’s Roberto Pereyra (£6.2m) has undoubtedly frustrated more than one manager this season with his inconsistent returns. His two goals in the season opener versus Brighton catapulted him to the top of many wanted-lists, but despite Watford’s continued good form, the Argentinian dribbler largely failed to produce. His 8-point haul last weekend was just the third time he scored more than two FPL points, after scoring in this season’s first (2 goals) and third fixtures. Watford have been high up and low down at times this season, but they always seem to be able to score and Pereyra is the midfielder most likely to benefit from that. With Huddersfield, Newcastle, and Southampton coming up in the next three games, now might be when he displays an extended streak of good form and attacking returns.

Also keep an eye on the FISO Forum Gameweek 10 transfers topic where you’ll see trending player transfers for Saturday’s FPL team deadline.

The captaincy

Even though Eden Hazard (£11.4m) greatly disappointed in FPL terms last weekend, we feel we simply have to mention him as a prime candidate for the captaincy this weekend. The Belgian magician is human, after all. With an away match against Burnley coming up on Sunday, Hazard is one of this weekend’s most attractive options for the armband. The Clarets have recovered from their sub-par start to the season, but they’ve still let in 6 goals in 4 home games, while Chelsea scored 8 in 4 away games. With two goals and two assists, Hazard was directly involved in 50% of those away goals. Keep an eye on developments surrounding his slight back problems, but if you have him, he should probably get the captaincy this week and he was rested in their Europa Cup match on Thursday night.

Our second captaincy suggestion is a bit more of a differential in Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson (£6.4m). The English forward is having a great season so far, with 3 goals and no less than 7 assists in 9 games, and on Saturday he’s rolling up to Craven Cottage, home of the Premier League’s worst defence. While Bournemouth currently boast the league’s fourth-best attack (16 goals) and have created the most big chances (29) after Man City, Fulham have the conceded a staggering 25 goals and 27 big chances, a league high as well. Let’s put it this way: a 0-0 draw seems very unlikely.

Dortmund Betting Circle

Lucien Favre must be one of the most underrated managers in world football. Despite never having won a trophy outside of Switzerland, in the last decade he has guided both Borussia Mochengladbach and Nice to the Champions League for the first time in their clubs’ history, turning mid-table dwellers into elite competitors.

Dortmund however, are far from a mid-table dweller. Since the 2009/10 season, only once have BVB finished outside the top four in Germany, though since their Champions League final loss to Bayern in 2013, they have dropped off the pace both on the domestic and the European front, while the Bayern juggernaut has ploughed on relentlessly.

But things seem to be changing this season. After a disappointing and sketchy 2017/18, Dortmund have flown out from the blocks this year, winning six of their first eight Bundesliga games and all three of their Champions League ties including a 4-0 demolition of Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night. In their last seven games they have scored 30 goals which includes a 3-0 dismantling of Monaco and a 4-2 comeback win over Bayer Leverkusen.

It’s not hard to see why they’re performing so well. Their squad has the perfect blend of experienced heads – Marco Reus, Axel Witsel, Mario Gotze, Marcel Schmelzer, Lukasz Piszczek and Paco Alcacer – and emerging talent – Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, Jacob Larsen, Achraf Hakimi, Mahmoud Dahoud, Adbou Diallo, Julian Weigl and Dan-Axel Zagadou – all of who are 23 or under.

With so much quality, and strength in depth, it’s allowed them to compete on both fronts this season, without a hint of a fatigue. Sancho and Alcacer both scored in the 4-0 win over Stuttgart on Saturday, yet both didn’t start on Wednesday. Their team is so interchangeable, Pulisic needs a rest, Philipp comes in. Hakimi needs a rest, Guerreiro comes in. It’s the same across the board, and that’s not forgetting the likes of Sebastien Rode, Omer Toprak and Alexander Isak who haven’t kicked a ball this season. Shinji Kagawa and Mario Gotze have only played two games each.

And they’re playing some quite beautiful stuff too. Their second goal vs Atleti on Wednesday just epitomised their approach this season – sharp, quick, incisive – BVB have ripped teams apart time and time again this season with their one, two touch football and it feels very much like the Klopp days of old where they used to blow teams away in mesmeric style.

It’ll be interesting to see whether they can keep it up, though. Bayern’s start to life under Niko Kovac has been stodgy at best, and in the past month they have been humbled 3-0 at home by Monchedladbach and 2-0 away at Hertha Belin, but with all the talent as their possession, you’ve got to think that they’ll find some kind of form soon, even if that means cutting Niko Kovac loose. The bookies still see Bayern’s as favourites too – big time. With Betfred, the champs are 1/3 to retain the title. Dortmund in comparison are 11/4 despite their early four-point advantage over Bayern.

The xG (expected goals) stats are in Bayern’s favour, though. From their games so far this season, Bayern are expected to be around 1.5 points better off than they are, while Dortmund are expected to be over 5 points worse off than they are. Of course, this only based on stats, but it’ll be interesting to see whether this evens out over the rest of the campaign.

And Dortmund have at times looked shaky at the back this season which includes not fixing the goalkeeping issue which plagued them so evidently throughout 2017/18 – his error vs Augsburg is further indication that Burki still can’t be full relied upon.

Plus, of course, BVB have been here before. Dortmund won their first 11 games of Thomas Tuchel’s reign, but it wasn’t enough to keep on the tail of Bayern who romped away with the title, despite the fact that BVB only lost four games all year.

However, Bayern were a different proposition back then, and they have struggled to adapt to life post-Guardiola. Last season Jupp Heynckes bailed them out, but that surely can’t happen again. Bayern need to get used to Niko Kovac and fast, or else this dazzling Dortmund team might just halt the juggernaut.

The last six Bundesliga titles have all gone to the way of Bayern, though that run will have to end at some point. Maybe this really could be Dortmund’s year. There are plenty of caveats, but at 11/4, they really do seem like a good bet.

Written by Betting Circle

Can Liverpool Go One Better This Time?

Liverpool fans will have just about erased the memories of events in Kyiv last season. Events that saw their beloved club fall short at the final hurdle in their pursuit of Champions League glory, as they were beaten a Real Madrid side that captured its third successive win of the competition.

However, they were handed the perfect opportunity to banish those memories when they were paired with French giants Paris Saint-Germain in this season’s Group Stage and it was without question the biggest clash of Matchday 1.

A clash that posed many questions, ones such as whether Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp could dust themselves and embark on another European adventure or whether PSG led by fellow German Thomas Tuchel could finally reach the Champions League summit.

The answers we got from that encounter told us that Liverpool certainly meant business, while their French counterparts were shown up by the increased level in competition. It’s all very well getting better of Dijon and Nantes back home but, for them, the Champions League is where it really matters.

However, for all the buoyancy that Liverpool had after that win at Anfield they would have no doubt been deflated after their efforts in Matchday 2. A trip to Napoli saw them outfought and outclassed by Carlo Ancelotti’s men as the hosts snatched a last-minute winner.

It was a result that has many asking whether Liverpool can go one step further this time around, the betting odds for the Champions League final seem to suggest that perhaps they cannot. The Merseyside outfit are currently fifth favourites at 9/1.

That is not to say that they are rank outsiders but they will have to up their game if they are to deliver a sixth success in this competition. Although at the same time and whisper it quietly, it may well be that the Premier League is their real focus this season.

Liverpool fans have conquered Europe on five different occasions, with their last success being that night in Istanbul back in 2005 when they staged a dramatic comeback against Italian outfit A.C. Milan before eventually winning on penalties.

But on a domestic front they have not won an English league title since 1990, a trophy drought that is almost to much to bare for a club that was so dominant at home during the 1970’s and 80’s under the likes of Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

And with the way that Liverpool have started proceedings in the Premier League this season, both manager and players alike will be confident that this is the year that an English championship trophy is finally returned to Anfield.

Going into the international break they are one of three teams that are joint top with 20 points, while it is only goal difference which puts both Manchester City and Chelsea above them as the Premier League takes its annual October hiatus.

So perhaps Jurgen Klopp will feel that although the Premier League is the longer route to success, it could well be the one that is more likely to pay dividends at the end of the season. Although at the same time, there won’t be many complaints should Liverpool manage to lift the Champions League instead.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 9 Preview

“Back to Premier League action for Raheem Sterling after a successful international break” (Source: Wikimedia) by Brad Tutterow

As if the Premier League wasn’t hard enough to predict for FPL managers, this campaign’s second international break has thrown some more uncertainty in the mix. What to think of Raheem Sterling’s outstanding first-half display against Spain in the Nations League? Is he continuing in this vein against Burnley? And what about FPL big shots Sadio Mané and Mo Salah, who both came back from international duty with (slight) injuries? Are Romelu Lukaku’s two goals versus Switzerland what he needed to start carrying a struggling Manchester United? With some managers likely to use their first Wildcard around this period, Gameweek 9 is promising to be an eventful one.

Some observations ahead of Gameweek 9

After this we’ll be focusing on the Premier League, but it feels fitting to start with the Three Lions. England’s national team had a relatively successful two Nations League games against top-class opposition, namely Croatia (0-0 draw) and Spain (2-3 victory). While Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford shone in Sevilla, Harry Maguire and especially Ben Chilwell stood out a few days earlier against Croatia. It looks like most of England’s players are coming back to their clubs this week after a well-deserved boost of confidence.

Newly-promoted Wolverhampton are having a more than smooth return to the Premier League and several of their players have been growing consistently in terms of FPL potential. The likes of wing-back Matt Doherty, who scored 15 FPL points in gameweek 8, striker Raul Jimenez and midfielder Joao Moutinho are proving to offer outstanding value for money so far this season along with full-back Jonny who made his debut for Spain against England. What makes Wolves assets even more attractive, is the fact that the new boys have started all of this season’s 8 league matches with the same eleven players. If you value security of playing minutes and are looking for decent budget-enabling players, Wolves is where you should look.

Jonny Evans has been a Premier League mainstay for years, but since leaving relegated West Brom for Leicester City last summer, the Northern-Ireland international has only played 186 minutes so far this campaign. Better times might be ahead for him though, after Leicester centre-back Wes Morgan was booked for his second red card of this early 2018-19 season last gameweek. The captain of the Foxes seems to have passed his peak and it would be no surprise to see Evans cement a spot in the starting eleven over the coming weeks.

Speaking of getting into the starting line-up, Chelsea’s Ross Barkley seems to be returning to his former best under both club coach Maurizio Sarri and national team boss Gareth Southgate. The offensive midfielder is not a starter for Sarri, but he has accumulated 277 minutes already this season, which is more than twice as much as last season’s measly 129 minutes in total. For England, Barkley has started in both games this international break, displaying some improved confidence and overall satisfying performances. Keep an eye on the developments surrounding his playing time at Chelsea.

Premium picks

With Salah and Mané surrounded by injury uncertainty, it’s time for good old Kun Aguero (£11.3m) to make a return to this column. The Argentinian striker wasn’t called up by his national team during the break, which saved him from travelling back and forth to the Middle-East to face Iraq and arch-rivals Brazil and should have allowed his slight heel problem to fully recover. This coming Saturday, City are facing Burnley, which could mean goals for Aguero. The game is far from being a certain walk-over as Sean Dyche’s men seem to have gotten back some of their (defensive) form after a horrible season opening, but a betting man would go for City to win comfortably at the Etihad. If City get 1 or 2 goals in the 1st half, Burnley’s defensive frailties may be exposed in the 2nd half particularly if injury doubt central defender, Tarkowski, is missing. With rival striker Gabriel Jesus having played most of the match against Argentina, Kun will likely be starting this weekend and when he does, he’s always likely to score. Kevin de Bruyne may also be making his first appearance of the season and his eye for a pass may help Aguero.

With fixtures against Huddersfield (home), Cardiff (away), and Fulham (home) coming up over the next four gameweeks, making a considerable investment in Liverpool’s raiding left-back Andy Robertson (£6.3m) doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea. The Scotsman has kept five clean sheets, provided two assists, and accumulated a total of 49 FPL points in just 8 gameweeks, making him the second-highest scoring defender in the official game, behind Marcos Alonso. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Liverpool bringing home a few more clean sheets over the coming weeks particularly if Van Dyke fully recovers from his rib injury, which, in combination with Robertson’s tendency to go forward and support the attack, makes the defender an interesting premium transfer target. The alternative that is playing on many managers minds, is to bring back Man City’s attacking full-back Ben Mendy (£6.2m) into their team now that he’s recovered from injury.

On Sunday, Everton welcome Crystal Palace to Goodison Park. Though the Eagles are performing on par away from home this season, with two victories and six points from four games, they remain an outfit that finds it difficult to find the net and they may be missing their star player, Zaha, due to injury. Everton will probably dominate large parts of the game and create more chances, and when they do, attacking midfielder and playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) is likely to be in the thick of it. The Icelandic international has scored four goals in his last four Premier League games, including a double strike against Leicester last gameweek, bringing home 33 FPL points over that period. Marco Silva’s men are finding their stride, and with Richarlison and new man Bernard around him, Sigurdsson’s hot streak might not be ending just yet.

A differential or two

James Maddison (£6.9m), Leicester’s creator-in-chief after the departure of Riyad Mahrez, will be coming into gameweek rested and ready to go. The young offensive midfielder (and dead-ball specialist) didn’t have any international duties to fulfil over the past week, so the hope is that he will simply continue where he left off about 10 days ago. Maddison is facing West Ham (home), Cardiff (away), and Burnley (home) after this coming weekend’s match against Arsenal with new purchase Leno in goal, which could mean big points. Even the Arsenal game coming Monday evening has potential for the Englishman, as the Gunners have conceded no less than 11 big chances over the past four gameweeks. Only Cardiff and Watford have conceded more (both 14) big chances over that same period.

One of gameweek 8’s top performers was Bournemouth forward Joshua King (£6.4m), after scoring a brace away at Watford, thus making a considerable contribution to Bournemouth’s impressive 0-4 victory over the Hornets. King has three goals and an assist to his name from the last four league games, taking home 28 FPL points in the process. This Saturday’s opponents Southampton have so far taken just three points from four away games this season, while conceding very close to two goals per game in those four games. King, who is also the penalty specialist for the Cherries, is rumoured to have injured his ankle over the international break, but the damage seems limited. Keep an eye on his situation in the coming days in any case.

The captaincy

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) could be the only member of the club’s lethal front three to start against Huddersfield on Saturday, which would make him even more of a reference point up top. Both Mané and Salah are said to have suffered light injuries while away with their respective national teams, and Klopp might well decide to take this opportunity to grant the two attacking stars a well-deserved rest after a killer schedule for the Reds. Firmino looks set to start against a Huddersfield team that has taken just two points from four away games so far this season, scoring 4 goals and conceding a worrying 11. Liverpool, on the other hand, have scored 8 in four home games, while conceding exactly zero goals. It looks like goals are on the menu for the home team this weekend and captaining Firmino wouldn’t be a bad idea given Liverpool do have other creative players to provide the assists for him.

After mentioning his team mate as a premium pick earlier on, we’re going for Man City’s Raheem Sterling (£11.1m). The English dribbler had an excellent week and a half with the national team and now seems ready to fire in the Premier League. Next up for City are Burnley, who have conceded the most shots per game (20.1) since the start of the 2018-19 season, including 20 against Cardiff and 19 versus Huddersfield in gameweeks 7 and 8, respectively. Combine City’s league-high 174 goal attempts with Burnley’s underwhelming defensive stats and it suddenly becomes clear why Sterling (4 goals, 2 assists, 50 FPL points) is a stand-out candidate for the captaincy coming weekend, especially if you don’t have Aguero in your team.

FPL 2018-19 Second international break (8 to 19 October)

“Dutch defender Van Dijk, here duelling with Austria’s Marko Arnautovic, had a solid game versus Germany this international break” (Own work) by Ailura

After another exciting Premier League weekend last week, the 2018-19 campaign’s second international break has seen Premier League players flying all over the world to join their respective national sides. With the Nations League offering a new and very welcome alternative to the usually rather boring international friendlies that used to take place over the international breaks, there were plenty of attractive fixtures on the calendar this week. What to think of Holland versus Germany, Spain against England, or Brazil hosting Argentina, for example? In this article we’ll take a closer look at the performances so far of some of the most interesting FPL assets ahead of gameweek 9.

Netherlands vs Germany (13 October 18)

With both national teams going through a phase of transitioning, the Nations League meeting between Holland and their German arch-rivals was one of this international break’s most interesting fixtures. The Dutch booked an impressive 3-0 victory, though the scoreline could be considered somewhat flattered considering the Germans were the better team for many parts of the game. The first and third goal were scored by Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk (£5.9m) and Gini Wijnaldum (£5.5m), respectively.

The two starters under Jurgen Klopp gave an excellent performance against Die Manschafft, and something that’ll please about 15% of FPL managers in particular is Van Dijk’s involvement. The imposing central defender is marked as an injury doubt in the official game, but he completed the 90 minutes as captain against Germany. As far as Wijnaldum goes, he was one of the best players on the pitch, going box-to-box and demonstrating the kind of threat he can bring in attack as well. Holland are still facing Belgium tomorrow, but both Liverpool players should be returning to England healthy and full of confidence.

Croatia vs England (12 October 18)

Last Friday, the Nations League presented us with a replay of the World Cup 2018 semi-final between Croatia and the Three Lions, though the empty stadium in Rijeka turned it into a bit of a strange spectacle. Gareth Southgate started with several FPL hard-hitters, including Harry Kane (£12.5m), Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) and Harry Maguire (£5.5m). The match ended in a 0-0 draw, but England probably deserved a victory. Both Harry Kane and Eric Dier hit the woodwork, while big chances were wasted by Sterling and especially Marcus Rashford. Particular stand-outs in the England squad were Leicester’s Ben Chilwell (£5.0m), who had an outstanding full debut and created a big chance for Rashford, John Stones (£5.3), and Jordan Pickford (£4.9m), though the match wasn’t very exciting overall.

In terms of FPL, the most promising performances were probably those of the previously mentioned Chilwell and Pickford. The Leicester left-back was a candidate for the Man of the Match award after displaying some fine defending and incisive attacking moves, while the Everton goalie helped England keep a clean sheet with some expected but nonetheless decent saves against the last World Cup’s runner-up. With an attractive run of Premier League fixtures coming up after this international break and the absence of European football for both squads, these two players could be increasing in FPL popularity and value over the coming weeks.

England had a much better performance in front of goal last night against Spain scoring 3 goals in the first half against Spain thanks to Sterling (twice) and Rashford with Harry Kane instrumental in setting up chances. Spain did reply in the 2nd half with their second goal literally the last kick of the match in te 8th minute of injury time to make the overall score 3-2 to England. Wolves’ Jonny made his debut at full back for Spain.

Belgium vs Switzerland (12 October 18)

In this match, no less than six Premier League players appeared in the starting line-ups. The most interesting of these, from an FPL point of view, played on the side of the Red Devils, with Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard all starting from the kick-off. Belgium didn’t completely manage to dominate the game and the Swiss eleven couldn’t place enough consistent pressure on the Belgian backline to truly become dangerous themselves, so it ended up being Romelu Lukaku’s individual qualities that brought home the three points for the Red Devils. The Man United striker (£10.9m), who is a sure starter under José Mourinho, netted twice, including once just minutes from the end after missing a sitter a few minutes earlier, to make it 2-1 for Belgium. Despite United’s struggles so far this season, Lukaku looked energised and keen on scoring, which could be interesting news for the more daring FPL managers among us.

Eden Hazard (£11.3m), currently the Premier League’s best player, didn’t really manage to put his stamp on the game against the Swiss. It was clear from the first moment that the little forward is full of confidence at the moment, but his dribbles missed a bit of that magic that he’d been displaying in the EPL over the past weeks. It should also be said though, that the Swiss kept spaces very small at the back and usually gave Hazard a double cover, so FPL managers shouldn’t be worried about the Chelsea star man. With league games against Burnley, Everton, and Palace coming up in the next four gameweeks, Hazard should be adding to his FPL points total soon.

Saudi Arabia –vsBrazil (12 October 18)

Brazil visited Saudi Arabia for their first game of this international break last Friday. With Ederson in goal, Gabriel Jesus as striker, and Fabinho and Fred in the midfield, the Brazilians started off with four Premier League players. Later on, Spurs winger Lucas Moura and Everton star Richarlison came on as well, in minutes 46 and 72 respectively.

Man City’s Gabriel Jesus (£10.2m) opened the scoreline in the 44th minute, his eleventh goal for his country in just 23 games. He was taken off in the 72nd minute, but he’ll be pleased with his performance and his goal, especially now that Kun Aguero seems to be the starting striker of choice for his club manager Pep Guardiola. The two of them will likely be competing against each other tomorrow, when the sides meet for a friendly game in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It’ll be interesting to see if another good performance by the Brazilian increases his chances of becoming City’s number one striker, especially for FPL managers, as a starting striker in the current Man City squad at a price of £10.2 can be considered a bargain.

As far as Lucas Moura (£7.4m) and Richarlison (£6.7m) are concerned, they played 45 and 18 minutes respectively. Moura wasted a considerable chance when shooting straight at Saudi Arabia’s goalie in a promising position, while Everton’s winger/striker caused the Saudi goalkeeper to be sent off with a red card after handling his vicious shot outside the box. FPL managers will also find it interesting to know that Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) didn’t come off the bench on Friday, which can be good news considering his club’s exhausting schedule over the past month.

Liverpool and the African Cup of Nations qualifiers

Liverpool’s players, who are generally known for their high-intensity approach to games in the Premier League, have been appearing somewhat less energetic since a week or three, four. The club’s congested playing schedule, which contained encounters with teams like Chelsea, City, and PSG, was blamed for it. Seeing as the Reds look to be a serious challenger for the Premier League title this year, we figured it would be interesting to take a quick look at the performances of their attacking front three. Where Firmino spent a match on the bench against Saudi Arabia, his partners-in-crime Momo Salah and Sadio Mané completed the 90 minutes for respectively Egypt and Senegal.

Egypt played a home qualifier against tiny Eswatini and won 4-1, a victory that included a goal from Salah (£12.8m). Those who were wondering if maybe the Egyptian was suffering from less confidence as a result of him being less decisive so far than last season, should really check out his goal against eSwatini last Friday. He was left with a slight groin injury after the game, but he could be fit for when Liverpool face off against Huddersfield coming Saturday.

Sadio Mané (£9.9m) had an equally successful outing with his national team as Senegal beat Sudan 3-0. The Liverpool winger was a threat throughout the game and provided the assist for the decisive 2nd goal. Like his colleague Salah, Mané didn’t come out of his international game unscathed, as he is rumoured to have picked up a hand injury. It doesn’t seem to be too serious though, and if it will give him a short period of well-earned rest before returning to Premier League action coming weekend, FPL managers who own him won’t be too unhappy, and neither will Jurgen Klopp.