Gameweek 8 was all about the Spurs premiums as both Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son delivered double-digit hauls, with unusual suspect Rodrigo Bentacur joining them with a 12-pointer. Popular picks William Saliba from Arsenal, who scored and kept a clean sheet at Brentford, and Joao Cancelo from Man City were the only other two players in gameweek 8’s FPL Team of the Week with an ownership of more than 3.4%. The rest of the side was made up of serious differential fantasy picks, including 0.9%-owned Everton goalie Asmir Begovic, 0.2%-owned Arsenal midfielder Fabio Vieira and 0.6%-owned Everton striker Neal Maupay.
With Arsenal and Spurs kicking off GW9 and Manchester City and Manchester United playing the derby on Sunday afternoon, this gameweek is looking like another great opportunity for the non-premium and differential fantasy picks. Leicester’s home game against Nottingham Forest, Brentford’s visit to Bournemouth and Everton’s encounter with Southampton at Saint Mary’s stand out particularly, as they all feature some talent that combines haul potential with relatively low ownership. On top of that, we have Liverpool’s home game against a Potter-less Brighton and Chelsea’s visit to a less-than-sturdy Crystal Palace in the “clear favourites on paper” category just like you might have favourites with online gambling casino.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 9 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 1st.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per September 30th , 2022)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Mendy (CHE), Sanchez (BRI), Ward (LEI)||Pope (NEW), Iversen (LEI), Ward (LEI)|
|DEF||Zinchenko (ARS), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Perisic (TOT)||Saliba (ARS), Trippier (NEW), James (CHE)||Zinchenko injury, Trippier form+fixtures, TAA lack of returns|
|MID||Salah (LIV), Rashford (MUN), Odegaard (ARS)||Maddison (LEI), Zaha (CRY), De Bruyne (MCI)||Maddison fixtures, Salah lack of returns, Rashford injury|
|FOR||Jesus (ARS), Isak (NEW), Mitrovic (FUL)||Toney (BRE), Mitrovic (FUL), Isak (NEW)||Isak injury, Jesus fixture swing|
As we mentioned in the intro already, many of the popular premium fantasy picks are facing tough opposition (read: each other) this weekend. There is, of course, no looking past Erling Haaland in his current form, regardless of the opposition, but looking purely at gameweek 9, we’ve decided to go with Mo Salah (£12.9m). The fact that he has scored 2 goals and given 3 assists in six league games so far, and that he is still considered to be underperforming by many, kind of says all you need to know about the Egyptian star. Like the rest of Liverpool, Salah has not looked his elite self during the first weeks of the current season, but he has still been more than ticking along. Over the international break, he played 90 minutes and scored 2 goals in the friendly against Niger and was then rested for Egypt’s second friendly versus Liberia earlier this week. He should therefore be coming into the home game against Brighton fully rested and ready to fire. Salah should provide a stern test for Roberto de Zerbi’s defence in the Italian’s first game as head coach of the Albion, after Graham Potter was brought in by Chelsea earlier this month. Liverpool should also start to benefit from players coming back from injury that have missed the start of the season.
What if we told you that there is a player who FPL-points-wise performs better than Kevin de Bruyne, but costs about half of the Belgian’s hefty price tag? And what if that particular player was actually only outscored by just two other players in the official game, with those two players being Erling Haaland and Harry Kane? And what if we just top this off by saying that this player also has a pretty decent run of fixtures coming up as well? You’d probably consider bringing him in and that’s why Ivan Toney (£7.3m) is our non-premium fantasy pick of the week for GW9. The Brentford striker already has 5 goals and 2 assists to his name, and he also ranks joint-first in the entire league for big chances created. As far as big chances for him go, he’s had 7 with only two other forwards getting more of them. This weekend’s opponents Bournemouth boast one of the leakiest defences in the Prem with only Leicester conceding more than their 19 goals from seven games. After missing out on his England debut over the international break, Toney will want to show what he can do and the Cherries look like the perfect opponents for the occasion.
The budget enabler
When it comes to Chelsea assets, the 2022-23 campaign has been largely disappointing up until now, which correctly reflects the club’s start to the current season. The Blues are currently in seventh place in the Premier League, they lost their Champions League opener against Dinamo Zagreb and manager Thomas Tuchel was recently sacked in favour of former Brighton tinkerman Graham Potter. As a result, none of Chelsea’s fantasy assets have really shone so far, but that might change over the coming weeks. They have a reasonably favourable run of fixtures coming up and Graham Potter’s appointment has brought some new optimism into the club. Naturally, most of the attention goes out to the likes of Reece James and Raheem Sterling, but we feel there might be some great budget-enabling value in the Chelsea backline as well. Wesley Fofana (£4.4m) was brought in from Leicester for a cool £75 million over the summer and even though we have little data of him in a Chelsea shirt, we don’t think that he’s been bought for the bench. Potter’s Brighton was one of the defensively most astute teams in the league and while it remains to be seen whether he can achieve the same at Stamford Bridge, Fofana feels like a low-risk gamble with considerable upside at this point.
For our differential fantasy pick category, we have determined that an ownership of 10% or higher disqualifies players from being candidates for a mention. Fortunately for us, James Maddison (£8.0m) still finds himself well below that threshold with an ownership of just 7.6% at the time of writing. Despite Leicester’s horrid start to the season, Maddison has been putting up some encouraging numbers. The Foxes number ten has scored 3 goals and provided 1 assist for a total of 29 FPL points from six starts. Not too bad, especially considering that run included away games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Brighton and Spurs, and a home game versus Manchester United. While Leicester have been enormously underperforming as a team, their attack seems to be doing OK. Scoring 10 goals in seven games is alright, but conceding 22 goals over that same run is definitely not. Manager Brendan Rodgers needs to steady the ship ASAP and the upcoming run of fixtures could help him do so. It’s Nottingham Forest at home this weekend, followed by Bournemouth away, Palace at home, Leeds at home and Wolves away all the way until gameweek 14.
Even with a Manchester derby on the agenda for Sunday, it’s probably madness to go against Erling Haaland as your FPL GW9 captain for this gameweek. City are hosting United and Haaland has not blanked yet this season. On the contrary, he scored a minimum of 6 FPL points in all but one league game and managed three double-digit hauls. Having said that, we’re liking the full week of rest for Salah as Liverpool come up against Brighton for their first game after Graham Potter’s departure, so we’re “risking” it and sticking the armband on Mo.
If you don’t have either Salah or Haaland, you’re playing a risky game, but fortunately, there are plenty of good captaincy alternatives available in GW9. Kevin de Bruyne against United is one of them, just like Luis Diaz against Brighton. A more “out of the box” pick would be Brentford’s Ivan Toney for the visit to Bournemouth, Leicester’s James Maddison for the home game against Forest or Kieran Trippier for Newcastle’s game at Craven Cottage.