After 9 weeks, the head of the EPL table has taken on a familiar appearance, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham occupying the top 5 slots.
The one team missing from that list of usual suspects is Manchester United. They sit in 10th, with just 14 points and a negative goal differential.
The resiliency displayed in their last two league matches must have heartened doubting fans and strengthened José Mourinho’s job security, but all that was cast back into question by their comprehensive Champions League defeat at the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus last night.
Afterwards, Mourinho had this to say: “Juventus is a different level of quality, I have to be honest. A level of quality, stability, experience, know-how.” Is that really what United’s executives and fans want to hear from the manager of (arguably) the biggest football club in the world?
José will have an opportunity to get back on the road to recovery this week when Everton come to call. Below is the weekend’s full slate of games, followed by my best ideas for your squads for Game Week 10.
[DEADLINE NOTE: Five (count’em, Five!) matches start together 15 minutes after deadline time, so Fantrax managers can see ten team lineups (all of Saturday except Leicester & West Ham) in the hour before the Fantrax deadline this week!]
Bernd Leno (CRY v ARS, $4.06): Only Huddersfield have scored fewer league goals than Palace, and none of the 5 goals the Eagles have managed this year have come at home. That’s right, none of them. That makes Leno a great choice for the Game Week 10 tilt with the Eagles. Caveat: Petr Cech has passed fit but is not (yet) expected to take back the starting role.
Alisson (LIV v CAR): Cardiff are averaging less than a goal per game, half of that in one match at home against sorry Fulham. Liverpool have conceded only three goals in nine games. Points for a victory and a clean sheet look likely when the Bluebirds visit Anfield.
Ben Foster (WAT v HUD): The Hornets welcome the league’s worst offense this weekend. And after that, Foster faces Newcastle and Southampton. Why not buy him for this weekend’s plum fixture and then hold on through that nice little upcoming run?
Héctor Bellerín (CRY v ARS, $10.43): Héctor had three double-digit games in a row prior to Leicester, and if not for his own-goal, that also cost him a clean sheet, he’d have had a fourth.
Kiko Feminía (WAT v HUD, $5.00): Kiko turned his second start of the season into a 15-point Fantrax bonanza. He doesn’t have much of a track record to indicate whether that was a one-off or not, but he plays Huddersfield this week and costs only 5 bucks. I challenge you to find a lower-risk fantasy investment than that. (Tip-of-the-hat to Ken for the early shout on this one.)
Bruno (BRI v WOL, $4.92): Bruno put up 10 points in the to-nil defeat of Newcastle on Saturday, and would have returned his price even without the clean sheet. He was substituted in the second half with a back complaint, but I’m sticking with him as a long-term hold unless he is confirmed out this week. He’s cheap, and after Wolves, his next six opponents are Everton, Cardiff, Leicester, Huddersfield, Palace, and Burnley.
Lucas Digne (MUN v EVE, $10.51): Double-digit returns in five straight games, all without a goal or an assist. How does he do it? Crosses, that’s how — from both open play as well as corners.
Benjamin Mendy (TOT v MCI, $13.45): Away to Tottenham isn’t exactly a tasty match up, but Mendy notched 10 points at Anfield in Game Week 8. At least he offers the potential to reward you in other ways if City can’t keep a clean sheet against Liverpool’s potent offense.
José Holebas (WAT v HUD, $10.67): He’s back from suspension just in time to face the lowly Terriers. Huddersfield have scored only four goals this season, and have conceded 18, so Holebas could find joy at both ends of the pitch.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (CRY v ARS, $10.21): We tend to think of AWB as a barnstorming wing-back, but he actually collects most of his Fantrax points playing defense. He should have plenty of opportunity for tackles, interceptions, and blocked shots when the Gunners open fire.
Dejan Lovren (LIV v CAR, $5.73): The cheapest route into the probable Liverpool clean sheet against Cardiff. And frankly, the Croatian has been outscoring the rest of ‘Pool’s defenders anyway.
Note: Bellerín, Feminía, Holebas, and Wan-Bissaka have dual eligibility and can be played either as defenders or midfielders.
Mesut Ozil (CRY v ARS, $9.50): Having now notched three goals in his last four games, the German finally appears as if he’s interested in playing professional football again. I’m not sure I believe in him just yet, but his current form combined with the caliber of the opposition forces him into our thoughts this week.
Anthony Knockaert (BRI v WOL, $11.52): He was rested against Newcastle, and the side missed him. He’ll surely be back in the S11 this week, and although the Wolves’ defense is pretty tight, Knockaert usually performs well at home.
André Schurrle (FUL v BOU, $12.78): A goal in each of his last two games, can he make it three in a row when Bournemouth visit?
James Maddison (LEI v WHU, $13.85): He has gone quiet after huge fantasy hauls in Game Weeks 5, 6, and 7, but he could get back on track at home against Hammers.
Kevin De Bruyne (TOT v MCI, $8.64): I’m going to wait and barn-door him after the Tottenham game — this fixture isn’t the best, and he may not be ready to go a full 90 minutes just yet. But I can’t fault you for picking him up right now. The price is right, and he’s capable of doing damage even if all he gets is an abbreviated appearance.
Jonjo Shelvey (NEW v SOU, $7.59): Three games in a row with double-digit returns, and you can still get him for less than 8 bucks. I recommended him last week, and I’m doing it again this week. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that he doesn’t get shown red for doing something stupid (but deep down we know that’s coming at some point, don’t we?).
Felipe Anderson (LEI v WHU, $9.80): His lackluster performance against Tottenham got him yanked off the pitch before the hour mark. I think that will motivate him for the trip to King Power stadium.
David Brooks (FUL v BOU, $9.33): Anybody against Fulham, right? Well then, why not Brooks? Among his fellow Cherries, only Callum Wilson has had more SOTs this season. Jefferson Lerma ($7.66) is worth a look too. But it has been five games since Ryan Fraser ($15.48) has even shot on target, so at his premium price, I’ll take a pass on the Scot.
Note: Ozil and Schurrle can be played either as midfielders or as forwards.
Callum Wilson (FUL v BOU, $12.88): He pulled a stinker over the weekend, returning a dismal -3. But what better way to get back on track than to head over to Craven Cottage to feast on the league’s worst defense?
Aleksandar Mitrovic (FUL v BOU, $13.94): It has been three games since he has scored. But he has only failed to register a shot on target twice, and home to Bournemouth feels like a good opportunity for him to get back on the scoreboard.
Jamie Vardy (LEI v WHU, $11.79): Home to West Ham, the case for Jamie Vardy this week looks pretty compelling.
Mo Salah (LIV v CAR, $23.04): He’s pricey, but ‘Pool are at Anfield against Cardiff. I’d be scared to be without him (then again, I’m always scared to be without him). Sadio Mane ($15.24) is expected to be fit if you just can’t make room for the Egyptian.
Sergio Aguero, (TOT v MCI, $21.03): He was rested for last night’s Champions League tilt with Shakhtar Donetsk, so he’s a lock to start the clash at Wembley on Monday.
Danny Ings (SOU v NEW, $9.78): It has been 5 games since Ings has hit double-digits, but I’m going with fixture over form when he hosts Newcastle this weekend.
Troy Deeney (WAT v HUD, $9.19): He missed out against Wolves with a hamstring problem, but Javi Gracia expects his captain to be ready to face Huddersfield this weekend. Let me repeat that: Huddersfield this weekend.
How are your Fantrax squads shaping up? Do you have any differential picks you think will do well? What stars do you think will flop this week? Come on in and let us know in the comments below.
Will you add Kevin De Bruyne to your Game Week 10 Fantrax squad?
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