FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 9 Preview

“After his late equalizer for Norway against Spain during the international break, is Josh King finding the net again versus Norwich this weekend?” (CC by 2.0): Picture by cfcunofficial

Frustration reigned once again in the world of FPL as gameweek 8 represented another low-scoring round for many, with an average score of just 36 points. The last gameweek before the second international break of the 2019-20 campaign was especially marked by the misfiring of so many premium and popular FPL assets, including the seven players that had been given the best odds for scoring a goal at any time in the build-up to gameweek 8. The likes of Salah, Sterling, Aguero, Aubameyang, Pukki, Son and Kane all blanked. This provided other less premium and sometimes simply non-premium assets to shine, with players like Villa’s Wesley (14 FPL points), Wolves lightning bolt Traoré (16 points) and Arsenal defender David Luiz (15 points) rewarding their managers in big ways. Expect many wildcards to have been activated during the international break, and watch out for those few surprising results and performances that always seem to materialise in FPL right after such a break.

Finally, don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 9 is set at 11h30 (BST) on Saturday, October 19th.

How did our picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Raheem Sterling Wolves (home) 2
Premium P-E Aubameyang Bournemouth (home) 2
Non-premium David Silva Wolves (home) 3
Non-premium Todd Cantwell Aston Villa (home) 2
Differential Riyad Mahrez Wolves (home) 1
Differential Diego Rico Arsenal (away) 2
Captain P-E Aubameyang Bournemouth (home) 4

Premium picks

Gameweek 8 was not much a success for premium FPL assets, as the likes of Mo Salah, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, just to name a few, failed to score. Considering the historical consistency of the official game’s biggest names though, we’re counting on (some of) them to deliver as usual this weekend. Our first pick is Harry Kane (£10.9m), star man of an terribly out-of-form Tottenham outfit. Spurs are definitely not in form, having lost four of the last five matches they played, including an embarrassing 2-7 home defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and a painful 3-0 loss to Brighton in the week prior to the international break. Kane is sort of an exception to the problems at White Hart Lane, as he already has 5 goals and 1 assist to his name in the Premier League. He was lacklustre against Brighton in gameweek 7, but he posted attacking returns in each of the four gameweeks before that (3 goals, 1 assist, 27 FPL points). In gameweek 9, he is facing a hugely disappointing Watford, who are bottom of the league as we speak with just 3 points and a worrying 20 goals conceded in just eight games. A comfortable win in a home game against a team in crisis might just be what Spurs need to get back on track.

Seeing as Liverpool face United at Old Trafford and City play away against a very solid Crystal Palace, our second premium pick for gameweek 9 is Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m). The Gunners are a bit hard to predict at times and their away game against Sheffield United does not look like a walk-over under any circumstance, but it’s not too crazy to expect a return from PEA in this fixture. Bar gameweek 8, the Gabonese striker has scored or assisted at least once in every round (7 goals, 1 assist, 55 FPL points). Sheffield are currently in 13th place with a respectable 9 points from eight games, but only 3 of those points have come from home games (a 1-0 victory over Palace back in gameweek 2). Liverpool came away from Bramall Lane two gameweeks ago with a narrow 0-1 win, so Arsenal have their work cut out for them, but if there’s one man who can lead the line for the Gunners, both literally and figuratively, it’s Aubameyang.

Non-premium picks

Leicester’s playmaker James Maddison (£7.2m) was at the heart of a bit of controversy during the international break (see here for more details), but we don’t believe this will affect his chance of starting against Burnley this weekend or his desire to add to his current tallies (2 goals and 2 assists in the Premier League). The young Englishman came back from injury in gameweek 8 and promptly scored an equaliser at Anfield. At a price of just £7.2m, Maddison is assured of a central spot in Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven and with a kind run of fixtures coming up, starting with Burnley at the King Power, he’s a bit of a bargain. The Clarets have yet to win an away game this season (3 draws and 1 loss from 4 games) and they have conceded 6 goals over that run. This should be three points in the bag for Leicester and Maddison could be the one to make it all happen.

If you would have said at the start of this campaign that Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham (£7.7m) by the beginning of gameweek 9, would not only be Chelsea’s starting striker, but the Premier League’s joint-top scorer (8 goals in 8 games) and the FPL asset with the second-highest increase in price (after teammate Mason Mount), some people would have probably thought you’d lost your mind. You wouldn’t have though, because that’s exactly what the situation for Chelsea’s academy graduate is at the moment. This coming Saturday, the Blues are hosting Newcastle, who have conceded 11 goals in just four away matches as well as 23 shots on target, which is the second-worst record in the league. Add to that Abraham’s 7 big chances in the last four rounds (joint-most with Aguero) and the fact that only that same little Argentinian had more shots in the box (16) than his 13 over that period, and the Chelsea man actually becomes a more than decent candidate for the captaincy.

A differential pick or two

With City and Arsenal facing defensively solid opponents in Palace and Sheffield, and with Liverpool rolling up to Old Trafford, many of this season’s “template” premium FPL assets are involved in difficult fixtures. These kind of coinciding match-ups usually also represent a moment to shine for differential picks, like Bournemouth’s Josh King (£6.3m). While his teammate Callum Wilson has been passing somewhat under the radar despite his 5 goals and 3 assists so far, King has barely even appeared on the radar. Still, the Norway international already has 2 goals, 3 assists and 38 FPL points to his name, which translates to an average of just under 5 points per game. Not bad for a striker of £6.3m. He has recorded two hauls of 10 points or more this season (10 points in gameweek 5 at home to Everton and 12 points in gameweek 7 at home to West Ham), from which we could infer that one, he is a bit “streaky” and two, he shines in home games. This Saturday, Norwich visit the Vitality Stadium and no team in the Premier League has conceded more goals (21). On top of that, only West Ham have allowed for more big chances than the Canaries (26 vs 24). It could be goals galore for the Cherries and King could well be amongst them.

Our second differential pick of the week is Aston Villa’s Wesley (£6.1). The Brazilian striker had a bit of a slow start to the season, but his double strike and single assist in gameweek 8 away against Norwich brought his totals so far to 4 goals, 1 assist and 40 FPL points. His price rose by £0.1m over the international break, but his ownership still stands at a mere 2.8%, which makes him a pretty big differential overall. Villa are facing City and Liverpool in gameweeks 10 and 11, do keep that in mind, but it’s Wolves away and Newcastle at home after that, while this weekend the Villains are welcoming Brighton to Villa Park. The Seagulls have conceded 6 goals in 4 away games so far and it might just end up being quite an open game on Saturday, seeing as both teams have shown positive attacking intent this season. Wesley is definitely punt, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it pay off.

The captaincy

Gameweek 9 is an interesting one in terms of the captaincy, because of the fixture set and the fact that the traditional “post-international break unpredictability” might be part of the results again. With Liverpool visiting Old Trafford and City going to Selhurst Park, while Spurs are hosting a Watford side that is having a horrid start to the season (3 points from 8 games), our pick for the armband is Harry Kane. Considering the match-up and Kane’s seeming immunity to both fixtures and the form of his own team, we feel his upper arm is probably the safest place for the armband this weekend. In case Tottenham’s current form makes you hesitant, which we can understand, you have two of this season’s revelations in Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount who are facing Newcastle at Stamford Bridge. As a matter of fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Abraham end up being gameweek 9’s most-captained player.

The Captain Poll for GW9 on the FISO Forum favours Sterling ahead of Abraham, Wilson, Aguero, Son, Kane, Salah & KDB.