With team news still to come after the midweek European competitions, it is perhaps too early to place a ton of focus on individual player selection for EPL Game Week 11. But we can certainly size up the fixture list to identify this week’s plumb fantasy matches, and those perhaps best avoided. Here’s what’s on tap for the weekend’s English Premier League games, and my take on the best and worst fantasy prospects among them.
Saturday 04 November
- Stoke v Leicester
- Huddersfield v West Brom
- Newcastle v Bournemouth
- Southampton v Burnley
- Swansea v Brighton
- West Ham v Liverpool
Sunday 05 November
Southampton v Burnley
Both of these sides have registered a cumulative total of just 9 goals — a paltry average of less than a goal per game. And both sides are well-organized defensively, with Burnley having conceded only 9 times and Southampton 10. By the numbers then, this shapes up as a low-scoring affair, and I would not encourage investment in either side’s attacking assets. One could argue that either team’s solid defense could offer a route to fantasy returns, but I don’t think this match will end 0-0, and I don’t feel like gambling on which team is more likely to keep the clean sheet when it could easily be either. In short, I don’t think there will be a ton of offense from either team, yet neither am I willing to risk investment in either side’s clean sheet chances.
Chelsea v Manchester United
Manchester United’s scoring record against top sides is poor, and Jose Mourinho has come under increasing criticism for playing football that, while effective, is uninspiring and dull. Away from home to the defending champions this week, I expect Jose to once again adopt a conservative posture. And except for the victory over Watford in Game Week 9, Chelsea have not scored more than 2 goals against a team in the top half of the table since GW2. I’m therefore not expecting a king’s banquet of offensive returns from this match, and in general I’d advise fantasy managers to stay away from it. In the interest of full disclosure though, I’m still hanging onto Eden Hazard for now on the hunch that he gets a PK in this struggle between rivals.
West Ham v Liverpool
Only three EPL sides have conceded more goals than WHU, and Jurgen Klopp’s men have scored more goals on the road than they have at home. And while Liverpool’s lineup will be strengthened by the likely return of Coutinho, West Ham find themselves in the midst of a potential defensive crisis, with Pablo Zabaleta suspended and doubts around the fitness of James Collins, Winston Reid, and Wayne Fonte. Against a depleted Hammers defense, Liverpool’s buccaneering offense could be free to run riot. Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana have returned to training but will remain sidelined, so the likely danger men are Coutinho and Mo Salah. I have the Egyptian in my NMA squad, and both players are in my NMA + Bench team. Just be sure to confirm Coutinho’s status before you pull the trigger on him.
Spurs v Palace
This fixture pits the #3 team in the league against one of the worst teams in EPL history. Palace leak goals and have netted just 4 times, while only the two Mancunian teams score more and concede less than Tottenham. This one has the potential to be a demolition, so you’ll want to hitch your wagon to one of the horses running up front. If you kept Harry Kane through last week’s injury, you’ll be crossing your fingers that he makes the starting lineup this week. Otherwise, Christian Eriksen and Deli Alli are the obvious offensive options. Hugo Lloris or any of the defenders offer a route to the potential (dare I say probable?) clean sheet and nearly certain win.
Manchester City v Arsenal
Man City seem to have elevated their game to a completely different plane than all the other EPL sides. Regardless of who Pep Guardiola names to the starting lineup, the Citizens generally look like they are toying with their overmatched opposition purely for fun. In ten games they have racked up an impressive 35 goals — fully 50% more than the league’s next most prolific side.
By contrast, though Arsenal sit in fifth, they have yet to prevail over a top half team, so I think City will expose them on Sunday. The only question is where to invest: When Pep spins his rotation roulette wheel, only he seems to know where the marble will drop. For clues, pay attention to today’s Champions League lineup against Napoli, and then place your bets.
So that’s an early look at some of the standout fixtures for GW11. What matches do you like? Which will you avoid? Share your thoughts in the comments below.