Thursday, 25 October 2012

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 9

We’re entering that period of the season which is the exact opposite of the summer of 2011 – there is plenty of football. It’s enjoyable for the fans, but this is where teams that start the season strongly face their sternest tests, and squads have to be utilized to the max (eg. Picking one out of Valencia/Nani/Young becomes a legitimate headache in FPL).

This is also a time where luck rears its ugly head (some may argue it’s always been that way). I could’ve bet my house that Cazorla would tear Norwich (who’d been at the end of hidings from Liverpool and Chelsea previously) apart, and Spurs with their pace might be a match for Chelsea’s midfield. As it turned out, Dembele and Bale missed out as Mata stamped his authority at White Hart Lane, and Cazorla returned that dreaded 2. More of the same with Pienaar who, instead of returning the points I expected him to, got sent off.

Enough ranting about luck. On we go.

Gameweek 9 fixtures:

Aston Villa v Norwich
Arsenal v QPR
Reading v Fulham
Stoke v Sunderland
Wigan v West Ham
Man City v Swansea
Everton v Liverpool
Newcastle v West Brom
Southampton v Tottenham
Chelsea v Manchester United

The Big Boys:


Despite some heartening early performances, Southampton are in trouble (and reportedly, so is Adkins’ job), and Tottenham are smarting from last week’s defeat to Chelsea. The Lilywhites have an eminently winnable couple of fixtures coming to heal those wounds - make sure you have Jermaine Defoe though them. You may drop Vertonghen after gameweek 10, but hold him for now if you have him. Gareth Bale missed out last week due to personal issues (Happy Fatherhood to him), but should be back to face his former club.

Nobody expected Norwich’s first win of the season to come against Arsenal, and following a disappointing European home performance most uncharacteristic of them, the Gunners now face an improving QPR at the Emirates. Lord Bouldemort’s magic is fading, and there are suspicions that we’re seeing the old Arsenal again. This is certainly not the best time to buy their players on retail, given their current form and the fact that they travel to Old Trafford the week following this.


The blockbuster fixture of the gameweek is Manchester United’s trip to unbeaten league leaders Chelsea. Two reasons Chelsea have dropped just two points are Eden Hazard and Juan Mata – this pair seems unaffected by the level of opposition they face in the league. Particularly Mata, who has scored 3 and assisted 5 in his last four league games for Chelsea . Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie face Chelsea and Arsenal in the next two matches, but it’s probably worth keeping (but not buying) them.


The third plum tie of the gameweek is Swansea’s trip to the Etihad. Sergio Aguero will help City’s goal difference and your FPL points, and is a guy well worth buying given the upcoming fixtures. City’s defence isn’t altogether unsuspect yet, so there are points on offer for Michu.


Everton head into the Merseyside derby without their top midfielders Fellaini (injury) and Pienaar (suspension), so Liverpool should have an easy time of it. The points have started coming for Luis Suarez at last. Raheem Sterling is the cheapest FPL source of what might be a short run of good points. Gerrard always seems to show up on derby day, but he’s more of a hold (and then sell) than a buy.

The Other Guys:


West Brom are one of the league’s most improved sides, but they are suspect away from home, and now that their defensive injury problems are fixed (doesn’t mean you should pick any of their defenders right now), Newcastle should really get going. Demba Ba is the FPL gold in that team, and if you’re looking to invest in their midfielder, Hatem ben Arfa is a more consistent source of points than any other Geordie midfielder. Hold on to James Morrison if you have him already, but there will be better times for buying him.

Here’s a lovely stat of the week for you to chew on: there have only been two scorers for Sunderland this season – Steven Fletcher and Demba Ba. In short, if Fletcher doesn’t score, Sunderland don’t. The battle of the red stripes at the Britannia has the makings of a clean sheet for Stoke, so Begovic and Stoke defenders are good choices (the fixture list isn’t exactly bad either). Consider this a make or break week for Steven Fletcher, whose early run of goals seems to be drying up. He could restart his run like Michu did after a bad patch, or dry up for good. Given the way Sunderland are playing, the latter seems more likely. As mentioned earlier, Stoke have a better run of fixtures after playing all the top sides, so Crouch and Kightly are worth looking at.

Grant Holt, Norwich striker

The clash at Villa Park is between two sides who’ve begun the season in suspect fashion, to say the least. Norwich City will be buoyed after last week’s big win, their first of the season, and should nick this one too. Grant Holt appears to have embarked on a nice little run of goals, and should enjoy himself against Villa and probably in the next few games.

Wigan and West Ham are two tough sides entirely expected to stay up, and it has the makings of a tight game. Wigan players, like Stoke ones, are generally bad FPL players, with every player’s inconsistency in scoring points making them all not worth buying at any given time. The same can’t be said for West Ham’s skipper, Kevin Nolan. Andy Carroll would be a good gamble to take if you fancy a punt.

Dimitar Berbatov, Fulham striker

The London derby between Reading and Fulham should end in happiness for the Cottagers, particularly given that their best player, Dimitar Berbatov is fit again. Tuck in. Ideally, this should be the last time you keep any Fulham defenders, because the fixtures aren’t kind. Berbatov is immune to that, of course.

The Blogger’s Team

I know this is a pretty sub-par team, but let’s just say I paid the price for pulling the transfer trigger too soon, buying Pienaar for Yaya Toure 15 minutes before the former got sent off.

UPDATE: And now I hear Zabaleta is ruled out. Talk about sub-par.


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