We are 9 weeks into the 2016/17 Premier League season and a pattern of consistency is still missing. Just when you think Pep has made Manchester City an unstoppable force he goes win less in 3 league games and back to back home ties. When you think Jose will return the Red Devils of Manchester United to title challengers he is win less in 3 and has 3 loses plus conceded in 7 of the 9 games. When you think just maybe Tottenham can follow up their win at City they draw back to back. When you think Liverpool could blow everyone away they lose at Burnley and become only the second side to fail to score against United. Finally, when Arsenal look the only settled side in the league and roll off 7 straight wins, they fail to beat Middleborough and could easily have lost.
The league is looking the most competitive in years and it's all the better for it. A dramatic title race involving multiple sides is just what we need and a quarter of the way through that is just what we have. Note: no side has been lower than 5th after 8 league games and won the title. Jose would need to create one more piece of history to break that stat.
It is great for the viewing but it's pretty tough this season as a fantasy football fan. The must have players seem to switch week to week and from team to team. Where before we could happily sit on Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thiery Henry, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez etc, there is no such player in 2016/17. No player who dominates the league in fantasy points returns or not one just yet. It is a case of catching the right players in the right streaks of form.
So who are the hot and cold players heading into week 10.
Straight to the point Lukaku is not only hit 6 goals and 2 assists this season but he may be the most consistent forward in the league this season. Lukaku has 5 double digit scores in 8 in Fantrax which is a points scoring system that doesn't favour his style normally.
He faces West Ham this week who are his favourite prey with. Lukaku has scored in 6 staright games against them for Everton. He will probably hold penalty and direct free kick duties if Baines is out. Sounds like a troll trap I know but if he performs this week I think we need to start looking for a new Troll King.
Typically he blanked the week I bought him for my FPL side but Theo has 5 goals and 2 assists this season and 4 goals in the last 6. Going further 7 double digit scores in 9 under Fantrax rules. Facing a Sunderland side who may rival and beat the famous Derby side for fewest wins in a season.
3 clean sheets in 4 games, unbeaten in 8 league games and 6 wins in that run. He also pulled of some great saves against Boro suggesting the form goes with the stats.
Sunderland has scored just once in the last 4 homes games against Wengers Arsenal and not in either of the last two seasons.
Perhaps too expensive for your tastes but returning 3 double digits in 4 games in Fantrax and the cheapest way into the Arsenal backline facing Sunderland he is offering value in FPL.
If you are fancying a one week gamble than you could be tempted by the dribbling skills of Hazard in Fantrax. 7 double digit scores in 9 games show consistency. Just the one explosive score in that run 26 points against Burnley has kept him from the must have category but he is getting there. Tricky tie in week 10 at Southampton but he may hold pen duties.
Four weeks in and he was a must have and season keeper conversation. 6 weeks later and 0 goals 0 assists in 5 league games make him a very expensive gamble. Zlatan is on his worst goal scoring run in 10 years but does face a Burnley side who are giving up plenty of possession and chances home and away. Further they have conceded at least 3 goals in all their away games suggesting they are very much a home bird.
Its not as if he isn't trying. 23 shots in the last 5 games without a goal is a run that can't continue much longer. For those who hold him, week 10 is the big week. Fail to break his drought and we can expect to see patience run out on the big man. My guts says this is an all or nothing week for him. Either he explodes back into our thoughts with a brace or better or the form line continues.
Who would have thought a fit Kun would be in the cold camp? Enter Pep and his tactical changes and we see Kun lacking confidence for perhaps the first time in this EPL career. 3 league games without a goal is nothing to worry about for most but it's Kun!
Against Southampton he found himself given a role requiring him to come deeper for the ball. At 28 years old he may be too long in the tooth to learn new aspects to his game and be able to perform them effectively but that is the challenge his manager has set him.
Week 10 sees him face the WBA parked bus which doesn't seem the ideal match up to restore his ruthless goal scoring. City have scored 3 in each of their last 3 visits to WBA.
The warning signs were apparent coming into week 9 and most of us were too scared to drop. I'd imagine the same happens in week 10 but with Kuns fixtures coming, dropping him is tough.
8 games 0 goals and 1 no play. That is very unlike the Dane who often supplements his consistent assist making with goals. His opening goal of the season is way overdue then and visitors Leicester City have been terrible on their travels. Part of that can be put down to opposition adjusting to their game plan this season but they clearly have also had eye on the Champions League. With qualification to the round of 16 almost down they may return a better focus to the league.
On the plus side Eriksen has 18 shots in his last 4 with 6 on target. Of all of those on the cold list perhaps Erisken is my favourite to break through.
His opening 5 weeks on Fantrax saw a points return of 73 points. While he started the season at a very high price he looked like he would return consistent returns for his value with the knowledge he was one of the few players who can explode with fantasy returns in the Fantrax points system. From week 6 it's been a different story. Facing a Liverpool side who look pretty strong right now he may find himself defending more than attacking.
Also an opening week favourite with 4 goals and 1 assist in the opening 5 games he has blanked since. He hasn't even returned a single SOT in the following 4 games. Capoue has the perfect fixture in week 10 to help him back to form with the visit of hapless Hull. Possibly a week to play him in FPL but be warned he has got subbed in 3 of the last 5.
One more who had a monster start to the season in Fantrax returning 84 points in the opening 5 weeks. Since its 25 points in 4 games as his form reflects his sides. A trip to Watford mean a number of blocked shots etc but that elusive next clean sheet doesn't look likely.
Can you see things turning for any of the players above?