FPL GW9 - The Flags are Out
The red flag certainly adopts a different meaning right now due to injuries hitting harder and faster compared to the first lockdown we experienced earlier in the year. This time round, the global pandemic has reaped havoc as a number of big names could be side-lined over the coming weeks. The most recent International break really has come at a bad time globally and this is shown by the amount of players being tested positive for COVID 19 after playing out games for their respective countries.
At the forefront would be Mo Salah (12.3M) who tested positive for the virus after partying well into the night at his brother’s wedding and will now miss the big game with Premier League table toppers, Leicester City on Sunday. The dreaded ‘25% chance of playing Illness’ shines out brightly on his profile, with a whopping 270,000+ managers already giving him the boot. With the Egyptian talisman, who remains in 43.4% of teams, is out of action for GW9, lots of fantasy gaffers are looking into suitable replacements. Don't expect a return for Salah in GW10 either.
A leading candidate is Bruno Fernandes (10.6M) as the Portuguese international continues to collect a healthy amount of points for what is still a shaky Man United team. A key plus would be his contribution to the team as he is the only player who has scored more than 20% of his teams fantasy points! This week's popularity has given him a price rise with most managers taking the chance early, even though the international break is far but over. Bruno is also third on the overall list for most chances created in the last four games and an upcoming game against the league’s joint worst defense certainly makes him a lucrative asset. Since United are yet to taste victory at Old Trafford, he looks set to show again why so many clubs were after his shirt.
It could also be time to offload any Spurs assets as they face a difficult run of games in the next few weeks. The numbers don’t lie as Tottenham will be playing five games out of the next six against teams that have a difficulty rating of four. Son and Kane are probably the most likely to be moved on, with the latter possibly more likely to remain in teams, owing to penalty responsibilities and a slightly more nailed on prospect of starting games.
Should you wish to take Son out of your team, it may be worth looking at Ziyech (8.2M) as he comes up against a side that has faced the most amount of shots so far this season in the form of Newcastle United. It’s a simple and logical swap, especially since the Chelsea man has posted double digits in his last two encounters.
Heading back to Spurs and many people are still intrigued by Gareth Bale and his recent performance for Wales. The Tottenham man started for his country and even provided an assist on the wing for a favored false nine in championship player David Brooks. Despite performing well for Wales and showing reasonable promise on his return for Spurs, it still appears that his pace is off. It could be a long time before we see the Bale that romped the league back in 2012/13, so maybe hold off for the time being.
One of the surprise features behind the Premier League season so far would be Aston Villa. At the heart of their success is Jack Grealish (7.5M), who is being widely touted to become a major part of the English national set-up, after playing very well in a recent 2-0 defeat to Belgium. The midfielder is full of tricks and guile, with a standout moment being his cheeky flick over Meunier, creating endless adulation across Social Media. So, could Jack Grealish be ready to take on the mantle as captain in your fantasy team?
Well, feeding Ollie Watkins certainly helps his prospects as the league’s newcomer scored a stunning hat-trick against champions Liverpool and repeated the feat away at Arsenal. The Villa also have a green lit run of games against fairly mediocre opposition, so the points really could start to rack up the Midlands side very quickly.
Finally, is the once impenetrable and even free-scoring Liverpool defense in jeopardy? Not only is Van Dijk out long-term, but there is also rumor that muscle problems could leave both their star studded full-backs on the side-lines. Since the champions have major problems at the back, it’s hard to overlook Jamie Vardy (10.1M) and current league leaders Leicester City. The Foxes main man has bagged goals in his last three games and did fire a hat-trick away at Man City earlier in the current campaign.
Liverpool are likely to field a make-shift defense this weekend with the likes of Milner (5.3M), Matip (5.4M) and Neco Williams (3.9M) likely to get called upon. With Tsimikas (4.9M) a valid option to fill in at right back. As the momentum builds for Leicester and with knowledge that the fixtures ease up considerably after their game with Liverpool, making the move for Vardy could prove a masterstroke.
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