A lifelong Birmingham City fan, Tom relocated to Germany for five years after graduating from university, where his interest in the Bundesliga developed. He began writing about and betting on German football for FST in 2016. He's also an avid fantasy football player and closely follows the Premier League and European competitions.
Gameweek 9 is almost upon us just a few days after some decent mid-week European competition. Last weekend started off exciting with Chelsea’s 3-0 win at home to reigning Champions Leicester, but ended rather dull with Jose Mourinho parking the bus in a 0-0 draw against Liverpool at Anfield. At least there was plenty of action in between! Arsenal’s 3-2 win at home to Swansea, Bournemouth’s 6-1 comeback against Hull City, and Southampton’s 3-1 win over Burnley earnt plenty of points for players we recommended in last week’s article.
Read more below to see our recent winners and find out our recommendations for who to take and who to bench for the upcoming fixtures!
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Last Week’s Winners!
Last weekend saw the first tie of the season. Both Buddy Sullivan’s “bon bon” and Sam Mackenzie’s “Jaap Stams Egg Head” ended with 84 points. They bagged themselves £20 in bet365 free bets and, most importantly, an FST Mug!
FANTASY FOOTBALL WINNERS – WEEK 8
Buddy Sullivan’s “bon bon”
Sam Mackenzie’s “Jaap Stams”
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Who to Buy
Theo Walcott or Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – Price: £7.9m and £11.3m respectively
Theo Walcott’s brace in Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Swansea earnt him a spot in the Fantasy Premier League “Dream Team” for the 2nd time in four matchdays. He’s Wengers current choice for the right wing and he’s played the full 90 minutes in almost all of Arsenal’s matches so far this season. Walcott’s 40 points from the last 4 matches – tallied from 4 goals, 2 assists and 4 bonus points – have pushed him up the charts to have the joint highest total score (alongside Diego Costa) pre-matchday 9. Arsenal face Middlesborough and Sunderland in their next two matches and for a price of just £7.9m his form has to be worth the investment.
Alexis Sanchez tallied himself 5 points from an assist last time out. Though his scores have been lower over the past 2 matchdays, he still has the second highest total score and is averaging 8 points per match over his last six thanks to his 4 goals, 4 assists and 6 bonus points. He is the most expensive midfielder in the Fantasy Premier League at £11.3m, but he’s categorized as a midfielder and as such earns five points per goal instead of the usual four points that a fantasy forward receives. Wenger’s use of him as a forward on the pitch makes it much more likely he’ll be involved in the goals and hence should be worth the few extra million.
Charlie Austin (Southampton) – Price: £6.5m
Charlie Austin makes it into our list for the 2nd week running. Thanks to the performances of some of the “bigger name” stars over the past matchdays, Charlie Austin has flown largely under the radar. He’s worked his way into Southampton’s starting eleven ahead of Shane Long and his brace in Southampton’s 3-1 win against Burnley last weekend tallied him 13 points – from 2 goals and 3 bonus points – and took him up to four goals and one assist from his last 4 appearances. Not bad for a striker who costs just £6.5m and is only selected by 7.7% of people. Though Southampton face Manchester City on Sunday, City are without a clean sheet in 5 matches across all competitions so this could be a decent opportunity for the Saints.
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) – Price: £8.2m
Dele Alli makes his way into our list for the first time this season thanks to his return to form. Alli is nowhere near as popular as he was towards the end of last season, possibly due to the increase in his price tag (£8.2m). However, despite not featuring in the Fantasy Premier League “Dream Team” as of yet, he has been quietly grinding out some decent points away from the spotlight. Alli’s equaliser a minute from time against West Brom last weekend ensured Tottenham maintained their unbeaten start and earnt Alli the maximum bonus points for a 10 point haul. He’s scored 3 and assisted 1 over Spurs’ last 5 matches meaning he’s averaging around 7 points per match. Spurs have a “winnable” fixture away to Bournemouth next weekend so Alli should prove to be a decent transfer in.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – Price: £9.5m
Though most will have noticed Lukaku when he broke his 1139 minute goalless run with an 11 minute hat-trick against Sunderland, followed by a goal and an assist against Middlesborough to earn himself back-to-back “Dream Team” spots, since then fewer and fewer people have been transferring him in despite some decent point hauls. Lukaku scored one from open play against Manchester City last time out, earning himself 8 points, and took his tally up to 5 goals and 1 assist over his last 5 appearances for Everton. He has the 2nd highest total score of any forward which makes him a steal at £9.5m, especially when considering that Diego Costa has just 5 points more for the extra £0.7m, and he’d be a wise investment for the 75% who don’t have him yet as Everton face Burnley this weekend.
Joe Allen (Stoke) – Price: £4.9m
While the inclusion of Joe Allen on our list raises the question “how long can his form continue?”, his price tag alone should be enough to justify his selection. Almost all fantasy teams have “that” cheap midfielder as the £100m budget is simply too limited to have a squad full of the “top” players. Joe Allen seems to be doing all the work at Stoke, scoring 4 goals in his last three, but has also been in fine form at the international level, scoring 2 in his last three for Wales. Stoke have a “winnable” set of fixtures ahead, with five of their six upcoming matches being rated 2 or lower in the “fixture difficulty rating”. Now would be a wise time to invest in some Stoke players.
Who to Bench
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
Zlatan stays on our bench list this week. Ibrahimovic slipped away from the fantasy forward top 2 for the first time after matchday 7 and his performances simply haven’t been up to scratch for a star of his calibre. Ibra has taken away just one goal and one assist over his last five Premier League matches and we have to question whether his (now) £11.4m price tag could actually be distributed better elsewhere given the current form of some other forwards. Especially when considering that United have a tough weekend ahead, travelling to Mourinho’s former stomping ground, Stamford Bridge, to face Chelsea.
Etienne Capoue (Watford)
People who were early to jump on the Capoue bandwagon may have already seen the best he has to offer for this season. Capoue’s 4 goals and 1 assist over Watford’s opening five matches – more than he had contributed in his past 3 Premier League seasons combined – saw his popularity skyrocket. However, the tank seems to have run dry and he’s taken just the minimum points from a series of “soft” fixtures against Burnley, Bournemouth and Middlesborough. Now would be an optimal time to cash in on his increased price tag and make a profit in a transfer for a cheaper player, such as, Stoke’s Joe Allen.
Michail Antonio (West Ham)
Michail Antonio is another player who’s early form has taken a turn for the worse. He scored 5 goals over West Ham’s opening 5 matches, featuring in the Fantasy “Dream Team” twice, but has also taken just the minimum from The Hammers’ last three matches. Antonio’s lack of action has largely come from his side’s lack of form. West Ham do have a “winnable” fixture against Sunderland this weekend, but it’s about risk versus reward – his price has been on the decline since matchday 6, so now’s the time to jump ship if you don’t want to take a loss on transferring him out in the future.
Alvaro Negredo (Middlesborough)
16.6% of fantasy managers still have faith in Alvaro Negredo – making him the 5th most popular foward – despite his disappointing performances over their last six matches. Negredo’s strong start to the season, where he earnt 19 points over Middlesboro’s opening two matches from one goal and two assists, saw plenty of people snap him up early. Since then, however, the Spaniard has contributed nothing and taken just 10 points over his last five appearances. His price tag of £6.5m is, admittedly, not burning a huge hole in your budget for a striker who plays 90 minutes every weekend. However, with difficult fixtures against Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea over their next four matches, you’d be better off swapping him out for similar priced forwards such as Southampton’s Charlie Austin or West Brom’s Rondon.
Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Leighton Baines (Everton), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Scott Dann (Crystal Palace)
All of the above are some of the latest doubtfuls ahead of Gameweek 8, though there are, of course, plenty of other current injuries to be aware of. Leaving doubtful players in your lineup in the hope that they are fit in time is a gamble, but it can sometimes have its reward. If you choose to leave a doubtful player in your lineup and take the risk, then make sure to order your benched players. That way if your doubtful player doesn’t feature, the players you want to be automatically switched for the absent player will be subbed in after all this weekend’s matches are finished.
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