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Staff Picks: Best EPL Fantasy Fixture, Week 9

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We've taken a look at the Week 9 Premier League fixtures and picked our favorites for fantasy investment. Do you agree?

For the first time this season there's a clear consensus among staff. Do you agree?
For the first time this season there's a clear consensus among staff. Do you agree?
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Simon (Stall express) - Southampton v. Leicester City

This pick has the look of goals. Take a look at some stats:

  • There have been over 2.5 goals in Saints last 6 home games.
  • Saints have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 home Premier League matches.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals in The Foxes last 4 games.
  • Leicester have scored at least 2 goals in their last 4 games in the Premier League.
  • Saints have the 4th highest shots on goal at home stat with an average of 18.

Leicester have been fantastic this season but their success has often come when they play to a tempo the opposition struggle with, the match against Aston Villa being an example. At a far from slow but steady tempo in first half to madman pace from the point of the 1st Leicester goal onwards, we saw how effective they can be. This is a tough style to maintain not only during a game but in a sequence of them. The Foxes lack both pace in the centre back positions but also tight protection in front of them. Space will be there and the sides positive approach leaves them even more vulnerable on the counter attack.

I feel the bubble will burst at some point. Where against Arsenal they were still able to maintain their attacking vigour losing 2-5 to the Gunners, I'm wondering if this game could be the right time and the right side to exploit the Leicester weaknesses despite the stats. Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle are the obvious picks and I'm regretting not picking them up on the BD in Fantrax. They will be in my thoughts when planning the side later in the week. The one that could be interesting is Dusan Tadic. I think he holds pen duty and I think I see signs of last seasons form and confidence in his play. For Leicester the obvious Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy continue to be options if you think the Foxes attack won't slow down.

Charles (the orphanage) - Chelsea v. Aston Villa

It's great to be back in Fantasy World following the International break. All eyes are on a couple of troubled squads and that is the most intriguing fixture. Chelsea hosts Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have certainly disappointed this year coming off their runaway dash to the Premiership title last season. Many of the fantasy favorites like Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas have not performed on the field or in fantasy action. The "Special One" Jose Mourinho is on the hot seat. Who'd a thunk it going into the season? Nobody...

Struggling Aston Villa appears to be just what the doctor ordered. Tim Sherwood reloaded the team this offseason and the results have yet to gel. How is Brad Guzan, the American goalkeeper going to play following two losses in goal for the United States this past week? Can Rudy Gestede continue to deliver? Can the Villains bring a game to Chelsea? Sherwood appears to be on a short leash as Villa is in the relegation zone with only 4 points at this juncture. This will be a fun one to watch with some interesting sub plots from these two teams who have yet to play their best soccer.

Jason (jasonuk17) - Southampton v. Leicester City

Leicester City and Southampton have combined to score 30 goals in 8 weeks--and have allowed a combined 25 goals over that time. Only a fool would bet against a high scoring match this weekend when the two face off. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, as always, are likely candidates to have a great match, while Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane will be great picks for the hosts. This should be a high-scoring affair, both on the pitch and in the fantasy world, and having at least one player from each side should be on the mind of every FPL manager. Just make sure it isn't one of the goalkeepers!

Gavin (Gavin Wright) - Crystal Palace v. West Ham United

Two of the early season's surprise packages, Palace and the Hammers will face off in what should be an enthralling encounter. Alan Pardew's side have been exciting in attack all season, with a fluid attacking contingent comprising Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Yohan Cabaye, Jason Puncheon and Bakary Sako. They have recently brought in Wayne Hennessey in goal to good effect, with the Eagles keeping clean sheets in each of their last two matches against Watford and West Brom.

West Ham have been excellent away from home, taking down Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City on the strength of new star man Dimitri Payet and solid performances from the likes of Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate and Victor Moses, so it'll be interesting to see if they can continue their habit of taking down top opposition on the road or if Palace's recent defensive strength will keep them in the top 4.

Investment in consistent performers like Payet and Cabaye is advised here, while you may also want to give some serious consideration to the other attacking options outlined above. Defenders and goalkeepers will be major differentials, but could make a big impact if you guess correctly. In any case, expect a fun, high-energy contest.

Chris (Chris_Manfredi - Southampton v. Leicester City

Let's go over some numbers: The Foxes are tied for the second most goals in the league (17) and have conceded the fourth most (15), playing well on the road with two victories along with as many draws. Out of their eight games, four have been at least 2-2: a 5-2 loss at Arsenal, a 4-2 victory against Sunderland, a 3-2 win over Aston Villa and a 2-2 draw with Stoke.

Meanwhile, the Saints have won twice and lost a pair at St. Mary's, scoring eight and allowing seven. One team has scored three goals in five of Southampton's overall octet of tilts: a 3-2 loss to Manchester United, a 3-1 win at Chelsea, a 3-1 victory over Swansea, a 3-0 loss to Everton and a 3-0 win over Norwich, while in addition to that there was a 2-2 draw at Newcastle.

Marc Albrighton, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have combined for 13 goals and eight assists for the visitors, while Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic have managed nine scores and seven helpers for the home side. You probably shouldn't expect much in the way of defensive returns, but you can't go wrong with any, or all, of the players in the competing offensive trios. My hopes are sky high for an exciting, back-and-forth goal fest!