***NOTE: This article was written on Wednesday afternoon before Romelu Lukaku picked up an injury in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League tie against Malmo***
The best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards for Gameweek 9 are debated by Fantasy Football Scout contributors Az, Sam, Neale and Tom.
For those new to this feature, it’s a weekly piece that always takes the form of a ‘Free Hit’-type selection for the upcoming Gameweek.
All of our panelists have put forward an 18-man long-list of Fantasy players and will explain their notable inclusions and omissions below.
It also serves as a precursor to the Scout Picks, as the players listed will then be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.0m) for final our weekly selection.
Each writer must meet the following requirements:
- At least one goalkeeper costing £5.0m or less
- At least one sub-£5.0m defender
- At least one midfielder listed at £6.5m or below
- At least one forward priced at £7.0m or lower
- No more than three players from the same club
SCOUT SQUAD’S PICKS OF THE BEST FPL PLAYERS FOR GAMEWEEK 9
|GK||Jose Sa||Edouard Mendy||Edouard Mendy||Edouard Mendy|
|Vicente Guaita||Jose Sa||Jordan Pickford||Vicente Guaita|
|Jordan Pickford||Alex McCarthy||Alex McCarthy||Aaron Ramsdale|
|DEF||Reece James||Tino Livramento||Ben Chilwell||Ruben Dias|
|Ben Chilwell||Joao Cancelo||Joao Cancelo||Ben Chilwell|
|Ruben Dias||Cesar Azpilicueta||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||Lucas Digne||Tino Livramento||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Tino Livramento||Nelson Semedo||Tyrick Mitchell||Tino Livramento|
|MID||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Son Heung-Min||Kevin De Bruyne||Andros Townsend|
|Bryan Mbeumo||Demarai Gray||Bryan Mbeumo||Raphinha|
|Demarai Gray||Bryan Mbeumo||Son Heung-min||Conor Gallagher|
|Son Heung-min||Phil Foden||Raphinha||Bryan Mbeumo|
|FWD||Romelu Lukaku||Harry Kane||Romelu Lukaku||Romelu Lukaku|
|Michail Antonio||Romelu Lukaku||Ivan Toney||Odsonne Edouard|
|Odsonne Edouard||Jamie Vardy||Michail Antonio||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang|
|Raul Jimenez||Ollie Watkins||Raul Jimenez||Jamie Vardy|
|Armando Broja||Ivan Toney||Ollie Watkins||Armando Broja|
Most popular picks: Tino Livramento, Mohamed Salah, Bryan Mbeumo, Romelu Lukaku (four), Edouard Mendy, Ben Chilwell, Lucas Digne, Son Heung-min (three)
The battle between Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City for this year’s Premier League title looks set to be a cracker, with Liverpool’s offensive strength and Manchester City’s defensive resolve looking hard to ignore. But this week, all eyes will be on Chelsea, who have flattered to deceive in terms of their performances of late, but sit top of the table with 19 points out of a possible 24. Few are expecting Norwich to pull up trees against the Blues, and I’m featuring the marauding wing-backs at the top of my defender selections, although predicting who exactly will start is not an easy task. Romelu Lukaku will be my captain, too, despite Thomas Tuchel’s slightly worrying comments about his need for a rest.
Elsewhere, there are some fun picks that I am backing to deliver this week.
Tino Livramento is surely pushing FPL managers to start him rather than relying on his points off the bench and plays Burnley, who have scored fewer goals than all teams bar Norwich this season.
Bryan Mbeumo and Demarai Gray are carrying their sides’ chief attacking threat and are up against questionable defences, while Kevin De Bruyne looks the pick of the City midfield after scoring against Burnley and having an early withdrawal in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Up front, I fancy Michail Antonio to terrorise the Spurs backline and Odsonne Edouard, Raul Jimenez and Armando Broja all have good-looking games from an attacking point of view against Newcastle, Leeds and Burnley respectively.
Last weekend’s Pep roulette played havoc with some of the players that we thought were safe, such as Ruben Dias, but I expect him to be back this weekend and up against a Brighton attack who haven’t been scoring a huge number of goals. Joao Cancelo gets my vote, however, with his additional offensive threat.
Whilst Norwich have started to find more defensive solidity with their new formation, I don’t expect them to register a third consecutive clean sheet against Chelsea, hence why I’m picking Romelu Lukaku as the best captaincy option even after five blanks in the last six Gameweeks. In attack, Norwich have offered very little and therefore I suspect that the double-up in the Chelsea defence with Edouard Mendy and Cesar Azpilicueta will be a wise decision.
Mohamed Salah is in the form of his life and so choosing him feels essential. However, there is some fun to be had with the other midfield slots.
Everton’s fixture against Watford feels prime for attacking potential, especially if the Hornets defend like they did in Gameweek 8, so Demarai Gray will surely have a valuable role to play this weekend. Alongside him are two players high on confidence and in good form in the shape of Phil Foden and Son Heung-min, who both have a good fixture to do well. Son has registered two 13-point hauls and one six-pointer against West Ham in his last four Premier League matches against them. Foden, meanwhile, recorded an assist in Gameweek 9 as well as in the Champions League, where he was rested from 64 minutes onwards.
Up front, I am expecting the Jamie Vardy party to continue this weekend as Brentford will attack as they have over the opening eight Gameweeks of the season and leave the veteran striker some space. Having said that, I fully expect Brentford to give Leicester a great game like they did against Liverpool and therefore both Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney make my picks too.
Harry Kane‘s opening goal of his Premier League campaign came in Gameweek 8 and I expect he will continue to build on this run on Sunday. Since the 2015/16 season, Kane has registered four double-digit hauls against the Hammers and has returned in three of the last four fixtures between the sides. With Arsenal having very little turnaround time between Monday’s Premier League draw against Palace and Friday’s game against Aston Villa, as well as knocks to some key Arsenal personnel picked up in that match, I think Ollie Watkins could do well in the opening fixture of the Gameweek. The Gunners have failed to win any of their last three Premier League Friday evening kick-offs, losing twice and drawing once, which bodes well for the Villa attack this weekend.
Chelsea’s clean sheet prospects look as good as any this weekend, with Gameweek 9 opponents Norwich City failing to find the back of the net in six of their eight Premier League matches so far. And if you remove penalties, they’ve scored just one goal from open play all season. Edouard Mendy has already kept four clean sheets this term, while Ben Chilwell is averaging 11.5 points per match over his last two appearances. However, tonight’s Champions League XI will surely shape my final picks, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger on standby at the back.
Southampton’s home fixture against Burnley also stands out. The Saints improved against Leeds United last time out, restricting their opponents to just two shots in the box and 0.42 expected goals (xG). Tino Livramento has provided either a clean sheet or an assist in four of his last five appearances, and during that time, ranks top amongst team-mates for take-ons and second for passes received in the final third. It’s also worth noting that their opponents have conceded 97 crosses from their left-hand side this season – only Norwich have allowed more – and are averaging just over three shots on target per match. As a result, I’m more than happy to double up with Alex McCarthy.
Joao Cancelo makes the squad again after a classy midweek performance in the Champions League, and is joined by Everton duo Jordan Pickford and Lucas Digne, plus Tyrick Mitchell. The Crystal Palace full-back is perhaps something of a left-field inclusion but has looked the part this season, and has been one of the standout performers in Patrick Vieira’s improving side. I also think Newcastle United looked way too open down their right flank in Gameweek 8, with Sergio Reguilon afforded plenty of space in the final third.
Further forward, the inclusion of Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Son Heung-min and Romelu Lukaku largely speak for themselves, so I’ll dedicate a bit more time to some of my other picks.
Brentford duo Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney are about to embark on a kind run of fixtures, particularly from Gameweek 10 onwards. However, I’m happy to back them now, given that this weekend’s opponents Leicester City have conceded more goals than all teams bar Leeds, Watford, Norwich and Newcastle. Mbeumo hit the woodwork for the fifth and sixth time against Chelsea last time out, and will surely add to his tally soon, while Toney’s creativity will be key in unlocking the Foxes’ backline. Interestingly, the no. 17 ranks top amongst all forwards in the division for expected assists (xA) this term.
Meanwhile, Raphinha also gets the nod in midfield, having sat out Gameweek 8 after arriving back late from international duty. And despite missing that match, the Brazilian still features amongst the top five midfielders this season for crosses and efforts on goal. I also think he’ll get some joy down Wolverhampton Wanderers’ left side, especially if they persist with Marcal in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
The forward list is completed Michail Antonio, Raul Jimenez and Ollie Watkins, with the latter chosen given how vulnerable Arsenal looked when being pressed high up the pitch on Monday night.
‘Pick and hope’ is the mantra when it comes to selecting Chelsea and Manchester City defenders these days, with even the usually dependable Ruben Dias being benched for the reigning champions last weekend. The Blues have the best fixture of the Gameweek from a defensive perspective, up against a Canaries side with just two goals to their name; Josh Sargent’s tame effort against Brighton last Saturday, when the goal was gaping, epitomised their impotency. Who do we go for from the division’s two best backlines, then?
The truth is, despite our best efforts, there is no formula, no algorithm, no lasting, genuine insight into how Messrs Tuchel and Guardiola think with regards to their line-ups. A midweek rest doesn’t always equate to a weekend start (and vice-versa) with these two, although in the west London side’s case, a Wednesday night-Saturday lunchtime turnaround will surely have a say in how they set up against Norwich. Tuchel’s teamsheet at Malmo, then, will partly shape our Scout Picks selection, but until then, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy are my placeholders. Whoever is playing at left wing-back for Chelsea is averaging two shots and three penalty box touches per game this season, while an atypically open Blues backline are allowing Mendy plenty of efforts to save of late to bolster his clean sheet numbers.
Norwich are one of five teams who we seem to be routinely targeting for all the wrong reasons this season, with Burnley, Newcastle, Watford and Leeds the others in question. While we may be a little wary about a ‘new manager bounce’ as the well-moneyed Magpies enter a post-Brucean era, it sounds like it will still be the same coaching staff at the helm at Selhurst Park, so it’d be a surprise to see any fresh tactical innovations. Newcastle are still without a clean sheet and up against an ever-improving Crystal Palace side who should have defeated Arsenal on Monday, so Conor Gallagher – the Eagles’ lively leading shot-taker in 2021/22, who was again in the thick of it at the Emirates – and Odsonne Edouard are backed.
There was no new manager bounce at Watford last weekend, more of a ‘replacement boss faceplant’ as the Hornets slumped to a 5-0 defeat; anyone who saw the displays of Adam Masina and especially Danny Rose will know why I’ve gone for Andros Townsend over any other Everton midfielder, with Claudio Ranieri’s side butchered down their left by Liverpool. The winger himself is also the Toffees’ leading shot-taker and chance creator over the last four Gameweeks.
It’s probably too soon to get over-excited about Armando Broja given Ralph Hasenhuttl’s predilection for rotation and his somewhat lukewarm praise of the Albania international to date but at £5.0m, any game-time and goal threat is a bonus – something that can’t really be said when you’re a mid-price forward like Adam Armstrong. The towering Broja was the leading FPL forward for shots, efforts in the area and penalty box touches in Gameweek 8, capping off his fine display with a goal. With Burnley one of the worst teams for headed chances conceded, I’m willing to take another punt on him this weekend.
Full-year memberships, monthly subscriptions and a FREE trial are all now available.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.