Welcome back from the international break, hopefully all those little niggly injuries that forced you to miss a day or two off work have cleared up and you are, like Premier League players up and down the land, raring to go for Gameweek 9.
Over the two-week period Fantasy Football Scout has had a little makeover. You may have noticed drop-down menus appearing and the addition of an entire new section. Pro Pundits provides a platform for some of the leading voices and rising stars from across the Fantasy world to share their insights.
Learning from the best is an excellent way to improve as an FPL manager. Whether that’s by tracking the moves of The Great and The Good – it is noteworthy that Greyhead achieved his best-ever FPL rank last season of 85th overall – or hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Opening their equine gobs this week are Scoutcast regular Az, six-time top 5,000 veteran Utkarsh Dalmia (aka Zophar), community influencer Ash (aka the Chief), and former FPL winner Simon March.
Az has set his black box to record and will share his musings as the season progresses; Zophar talks us through his Wildcard choices; Ash considered replacement ‘keepers given the likely return of Alisson; and Simon prepares to leave the ‘Pukki Party’.
Who is the best FPL captain for Gameweek 9?
FPL managers face a tricky choice ahead of Saturday’s 11:30 BST deadline. For the first time this season, the leading pair in the captain poll do not play for either Manchester City or Liverpool. Form and enticing fixtures propel Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson to the forefront of managers’ thoughts.
David concludes in his Captain Sensible article:
Abraham’s statistical form over the last four weeks has been hugely impressive in terms of shot volume, placement, accuracy and quality, while Newcastle look particularly susceptible away from home under Steve Bruce. Meanwhile, Wilson is the standout Bournemouth option as Norwich come to the Vitality Stadium. While shooting less often than Abraham, his chances tend to be slightly more accurate and of higher quality when they do arrive.
The reason for Liverpool and Man City players being largely overlooked is down to uncertainty and unfavourable fixtures. How much can we trust Pep? Will Sterling or Aguero even start? And will Liverpool experience another hard-fought match against Manchester United?
In the Captain Video for Gameweek 9, David explained why the league leaders might be in for a difficult afternoon on Sunday:
Man United … are potentially capable of frustrating Liverpool based on some decent defensive stats – they have conceded only 6 big chances in the last four … and Liverpool have a history of coming to Old Trafford and struggling … we can’t guarantee there will be an open enough game for Salah and Mane.
David also reminded us of Manchester City’s recent travails at Selhurst Park and noted that both Sterling and Aguero have room for improvement, while De Bruyne is returning from injury. He concluded:
If we are talking question marks there are just loads of them – the players I can’t trust, the fixture I can’t trust, so no Man City I can’t really captain one of their players this week.
Should we be worried about Sterling?
Questions were being asked in this week’s FPL Question Time about Manchester City players, with Fusen worried about Sterling’s form following one goal and no assists in his last four starts. Gregor, who has three top 1,000 finishes and came 29th in the world in 2016/17, replied:
I think he’s a keeper for now. Fourteen points over the last five Gameweeks is bitterly disappointing but given the strength of Manchester City’s next three fixtures, their need for wins and their emphasis to go on the attack, I think the returns should be just around the corner.
Sterling has always been … prone to as many frustrating blanks as he is double-digit hauls. I think back to Gameweeks 15-22 last season when he didn’t score more than six FPL points in a single fixture and remember a similar twitchiness to what we’re experiencing now … [I’ve kept him because] he has scored 463 points and banked 67 attacking returns in the last two seasons combined.
Sterling is included in the Scout Picks for Gameweek 9.
In Case You Missed It
In a community article, Hedge examined the lack of clean sheets so far this season, finding that the ‘big six’ have averaged just 1.8 shut-outs in the opening eight Gameweeks. Although his research suggests that the number of clean sheets will improve.
Meanwhile in his members-only piece, Neale focused on defenders with attacking involvement. He picked out a few budget and premium-priced players worthy of consideration.
Neale also brought us all the treatment room latest in two quote-laden round-ups. There was good news for De Bruyne owners as Pep announced that the Belgian is back in training. And Rotation’s Alter Ego once again provided us with his handy summary for each team. Could Lacazette feature on Monday night?
Leicester City were given top-billing in Neale’s Frisking the Fixtures update:
Between Gameweeks 9 and 17, the Foxes meet only one of the ‘big six’ – and that is a home fixture against an Arsenal side not renowned for their defensive aptitude.
Although Jamie Vardy surprised FFS community writer some witty pun when he used expected goals to review striker performance. The Foxes forward has an xG90 of 0.27 – the lowest he’s ever had across his 6 seasons at Leicester.
G-Whizz not only shared his thoughts with us in FPL Question Time this week but also posted the Gameweek 9 DS stats, fixtures and clean sheet odds. Chelsea and Leicester City have, respectively, a 48% and 46% chance of clean sheets in their home matches today.
And Meltens kindly previewed Gameweek 28 in Fantasy Allsvenskan. Impressively, with three Gameweeks to go there are four managers from the FFS mini-league in the top 10 overall. Well done to them!
If you’re a member and are yet to get to grips with the custom statistics tables, you can view this movie for an explanation of how they work. Also, remember to tag them so that people can find the tables with ease.
In the Pundits Playoff Community Tournament the squads have been announced and Matchday 1 is about to take place. There is still time to vote for your favourite team avatar, please do so via this link. The entry from “A Whole Lawro B*llocks” looks particularly good to me.
For a full update on all FFS mini-leagues and community competitions, please click here to read the latest round-up.
The fixtures for Gameweek 9 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
Best of luck for Gameweek 9!
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