The waiting between these two weekends for the full match week is not going to be good for the nerves or blood pressure. I’ll be dreading the extra week for potential “injured in training” reports. But I applaud the EPL for giving the players a little break.
I am sticking with those who are most sure to play over these two weekends. Or at least trying to. Or maybe not. Here’s a reminder of the games over the next two weeks ahead and a few thoughts.
Saturday 8 February 2020
- Everton vs Crystal Palace - This is one of the better match-ups for the week, and Fantrax gets confirmed lineups. The Eagles aren’t exactly bleeding goals, but they also haven’t kept a clean sheet since Dec. 7 and haven’t won since Boxing Day. In the last three games Everton scored 1, 2, then 3. Maybe 4 this weekend just to keep the count going.
- Brighton vs Watford - This is a pretty big game for both teams trying to stay alive in the EPL. Brighton are in 15th, but only three points above Watford. Both teams give up goals, so there are some potential buys. May not be the most fun game on the menu, but there could be some hidden gems.
Sunday 9 February 2020
- Sheffield United vs Bournemouth - Bournemouth have won their last two. Sheffield are steady as you like and staying strong. Not sure how to read this one and if there are lots of points up for grabs here.
- Manchester City vs West Ham - This just feels like one of those revenge games. West Ham have conceded 10 times in their last three matches. Pep lost to Jose last week. I see the potential for a City explosion. Also, Pep, please let Aguero take penalties. Thanks.
Friday 14 February 2020
Saturday 15 February 2020
- Southampton vs Burnley - Two mid-table teams playing at mid-table levels. Not seeing a ton of value in this game outside of Ings, and for me there are too many other choices up front to spend the money there. But if you’re looking for a differential pick, he could be your guy. He hasn’t scored in three games though, so beware.
- Norwich vs Liverpool - The premier match-up hands down. Top of the table vs bottom on the table. Liverpool have conceded 1 goal, yes ONE GOAL, in their last 10, so have 9 clean sheets. The Reds also know how to score some goals, with at least 2 goals in 8 of their last 10. Against a different side, I might say something like Norwich haven’t been so bad recently, but this isn’t a different team, it’s Liverpool.
Sunday 16 February 2020
- Aston Villa vs Tottenham - Spurs had arguably their best win of the season last week. Can they build on this? I’m not convinced. The new strikers for each team found the net in their opening game a week ago. Also, Villa haven’t kept a clean sheet in this decade!
- Arsenal vs Newcastle - I like this match-up for the Gunners. They are playing a bit better defensively, which maybe isn’t saying a whole lot, but Arteta has added some stability and some class. Can you really keep Aubameyang quiet for 2 games straight? With their awful away form, I really don’t think Newcastle will.
Monday 17 February
- Chelsea vs Manchester United - Can we just have Lampard and Ole suit up to really make this fun? Lampard was one the best week-in-and-week-out fantasy players. It’s a huge game for both teams and a great way to end the game-week. United haven’t scored in 3 games.
- Raheem Sterling joins other English strikers on the injury list. I warned him last week! Still too many questions about his replacement for me to take a gamble on Jesus with other options available.
- James Ward-Prowse is a bit of an injury concern after being stretchered off the field in the Saints’ cup tie last week. He has an extra week, but I’m staying away.
- Zinchenko is out this game from his card, but maybe a few more because of Pep’s ire.
- Lerma and Delph are also out, but if you’re reading this blog, I’ll assume you weren’t considering them anyway.
Last minute thoughts…
I’m going to second what David says this week in his Fantrax preview. Good stuff and not much to add.
A few final player ideas to muddle your thinking a little more going into this muddled match week:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyamgeang ($17.40, ARS vs NEW): He should have scored at least twice last week. I see him breaking out this week.
Richarlison ($17.25, EVE vs CPL): 4, 18, 14, 19 points in his last 4 games, and somehow missed out even though Everton scored 3 goals in a good win. You’ll have team news too, which helps. Add to this that you can play him as mid. He’s a bit pricey, but he’s tempting.
Serge Aurier ($11.62, TOT vs AVL): He is creeping up in price, but he continues to produce. 13, 10, 11, 8 in his last 4. Only two of those were with clean sheets.
Pascal Gross ($9.00, BHA vs WAT): I advised Aaron Mooy ($6.52) a week ago, and Gross came back in to steal some of the set pieces and all the glory. I think either is solid this week.
Hector Bellerin ($2.47, ARS vs NEW): 9 and 15 in the last two games. Newcastle don’t score much away from home. Not a bad buy at his price.
Mbwana Samatta ($1.05, TOT vs AVL): He scored in his opener. There is potential value here, which opens some funds up for other big name players.
In other news, EPL owners have voted to go back to the European deadline for summer transfers. That means a return to August chaos for the 2020-21 season, a month when your prized star is vacuumed up by Real Madrid or benched by a high-priced signing from who knows where. At least we will have the Summer Olympics to put us in a congenial mood before that happens.
How are your rosters shaping up? What questions do you have? Have you heard any actionable late news? Please share in the pre-dead chat, and then come back for each day’s matches over this stretched out game-week!