As you all surely know by now, the MCI vs ARS match that was scheduled for today was canceled due to concerns over the novel coronavirus. When Arsenal and Olympiacos faced each other in Europa League competition on February 27, several Arsenal players came into contact with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who later tested positive for the infamous COVID-19 virus. As a precaution, the Gunners placed some of that squad in quarantine, and the City match was postponed.
In the interim, every player from both squads for the Arsenal / Olympiacos match has tested negative for corona-virus, and Arsenal’s match with Brighton is set to go forward on Saturday. As a blog author, it’s tempting to try for a cheap laugh by writing a wry joke about how the virus scare ruined my double-gameweek plans.
But given the scale and seriousness of the global pandemic (yes, the World Health Organization officially declared it a pandemic today), that would be insensitive and irresponsible. At the time of this writing, over 100,000 people have been infected and nearly 5000 have died. Entire economies have been slowed and global markets have been plunged into turmoil—the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed in bear market territory today, having lost 20% of its value after reaching historic highs just a month ago.
Eleven million people in Wuhan, China are in forced lock-down, and the state of Washington has banned events of more than 250 people. The National Guard has been called in to sanitize schools in New York, and universities across the US have moved to online-only classes or shut down completely (including the University of Virginia, where my two oldest study.)
In the world of sport, many Champions League, Europa League, La Liga, Ligue 1, and Bundesliga matches will be played behind closed doors, and Italy has suspended sport altogether, including Serie A. Even here in the US, the Golden State Warriors will play the New Jersey Nets behind closed doors and the Seattle Sounders have postponed their game against Dallas FC. There is even talk that March Madness could be in jeopardy.
More postponements and cancellations will come, and the Prem may not be spared. Fantrax prices have already adjusted for this week, so I advise you to now wait until the deadline is closer before burning any discounts you may be holding. You’ll kick yourself if you sell Kevin De Bruyne at $5-and-change today, only to later find out on Friday that the player you bought in his place won’t be playing this weekend due to a postponement.
As always, be sure to be here for the Pre-Deadline Chat, where we’ll have all the news you need to know ahead of the Fantrax transfer buzzer. We should also have confirmed lineups for the Saturday’s early game (WAT vs LEI) in time to react.
And above all, wash your hands frequently, cough/sneeze into a tissue or sleeve, avoid touching your face, and monitor the CDC website for updated news on the pandemic.
Saturday 14 March 2020
- Watford vs Leicester
- Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace
- Brighton vs Arsenal
- Manchester City vs Burnley
- Newcastle vs Sheffield United
- Norwich vs Southampton
- Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Sunday 15 March
Monday 16 March
Bernd Leno (BRI vs ARS, $12.54): Three clean sheets and 51 points over his last four games, and this week he faces a Brighton side that hasn’t managed to win a single game in any competition since 2019.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (AVL vs CHE, $4.72): After spending four games in Frank Lampard’s penalty box for poor play, Kepa was restored to the S11 for last week’s FA Cup match against Liverpool. The Spaniard kept a clean sheet against one of the best attacking sides in the world, and then did the same when Chelsea steamrolled Everton on Sunday. He’s inexpensive, he’s in form, and he plays the relegation-threatened Villans this weekend. What’s not to like?
Vicente Guita (BOU vs CRY, $11.73): His last three games have all come against lower competition, and the result has been three shutouts and 56 points. This week he faces 18th-place Bournemouth, so the good times may continue to roll for the Spaniard.
Adrian (EVE vs LIV, $3.57): Liverpool have stumbled lately, and Goodison Park will be rollicking for the Merseyside Derby. But if Adrian looks set to deputize for Alisson again, he won’t break your budget.
David de Gea (TOT vs MUN, $10.32): Four clean sheets in his last five matches, and on Sunday he’ll face a Tottenham side that has now added Steven Bergwijn to a list of injured players that already included Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.
Dean Henderson (NEW vs SHU, $12.41): The Blades boast the league’s second-best defense, while Newcastle’s offense is joint-worst.
Alex McCarthy (NOR vs SOU, $5.66): Southampton’s form has taken a turn lately, but McCarthy makes saves and the Canaries’ attack is tied with Newcastle’s for the league’s worst.
Bukayo Saka (BRI vs ARS, $5.39): He’s averaging 8 ppg over his last three, and has notched two assists over that period. Priced at $5.39, he’s a very attractive option for the meeting with the woeful Seagulls this weekend.
Marcos Alonso (AVL vs CHE, $7.69): After a torrid two-game stretch where he followed a goal against Spurs with a brace against Bournemouth, the 29 year-old Spaniard went quiet in Chelsea’s 4-0 romp over Everton. But the Villans will be fighting for survival on Saturday, which should further expose a defense that is already the league’s worst. Alonso could be set for another banner performance.
Scott Dann (BOU vs CPL, $3.10): Dann has started Palace’s last three games, and they’ve all ended in clean sheets. His average return over that span is almost double his price, so he’s excellent value for the trip to Bournemouth.
Japhet Tanganga (TOT vs MUN, $2.70): He has started the last two games and averaged almost twice his price over that period. He’s not 100% nailed-on, but his ability to play on either side of Tottenham’s defense does add versatility, and at $2.70 he’s a low-risk enabler who can help stretch your spending elsewhere.
Kiko Femenía (WAT vs LEI, $5.52): He’s back from injury, and Watford’s right back would have put up nine points against both Palace and Liverpool if not for a yellow card in the Eagles game.
Dani Ceballos (BRI vs ARS, $4.79): On Saturday the 23 year-old Spaniard put in his first full shift since returning form injury and registered 11 points. I expect his production to exceed his price when he travels to the Amex this weekend.
Mason Mount (AVL vs CHE, $15.37): Double-digits in each of his last two, and next up for Mount is the team with the worst defense in the league.
Ross Barkley (AVL vs CHE, $4.45): He has started two of Chelsea’s last three games, notching one helper the first time and two helpers the next. He produced double-digit returns in both. Excellent value if he looks set to continue in the S11 against the Villans.
Billy Gilmour (AVL vs CHE, $1.00): Although he has been bossing games for Chelsea lately, his deeper positioning doesn’t seem to lend itself to Fantrax productivity. But for $1.00 he’s an excellent enabler.
Harvey Barnes (WAT vs LEI, $12.74): Five goals in his last seven games, including a brace in his last match. He tends to do best at home, but he’s still a good bet for the trip to face the Hornets.
Marc Albrighton (WAT vs LEI, $3.03): Albrighton got a rare start over the weekend and posted a brace of assists and 14 points. That should see him keep his place, so he’s a great value for the Watford match.
Sadio Mané (EVE vs LIV, $18.74): His Egyptian counterpart tends to develop impotence away from Anfield, but that is where Mané has been at his best.
Bruno Fernandes (TOT vs MUN, $4.72): Since he first pulled on a United shirt, he’s only missed double-digits once. He’s still a bargain at under $5.
Allan Saint-Maximin (NEW vs SHU, $7.82): He scored the winner against the Saints in his first full shift after recovering from a minor injury. If the Magpies’ attack is able to generate anything against the Blades, he’ll be the most likely route.
Adrej Duda (NOR vs SOU, $3.57): The Saints are in poor form, and Duda is at his Fantrax best at home.
Michail Antonio (WHU vs WOL, $7.28): Antonio has taken 39 points from his last three home matches. I like him a lot this week.
Diogo Jota (WHU vs WOL, $12.07): He blanked last time out, but put up 2 goals and 2 assists over the two games prior. His production doesn’t suffer away from home either, and this week he squares up to a West Ham defense that has allowed fifty goals this season.
Alexandre Lacazette (BRI vs ARS, $9.17): The Frenchman hasn’t been starting lately, but it hardly matters. He scored in a 31-minute appearance against West Ham, and scored and assisted in a 5-minute cameo against Newcastle.
Pedro (AVL vs CHE, $4.92): Thirty-five points over his last two games, and this week he travels to Villa Park to take on the worst defense in the Prem.
Jordan Ayew (BOU vs CRY, $13.62): This guy is hot, hot, hot lately. Fifty-four points over his last three games, and a goal in each of his last two.
Anthony Martial (TOT vs MUN, $13.75): Three goals over his last four games. Manchester United are in excellent form and will head to London full of confidence this weekend.
Billy Sharp (NEW vs SHU, $2.97): Sharp has cracked back into Sheffield United’s S11, and has bagged two goals over his last three games. Both of those came at home, but for $2.97 he’s a solid play if your budget is strained.
Troy Deeney (WAT vs LEI, $7.96): Leicester can be difficult to break down, but Watford just beat Liverpool 3-0 and Deeney put up 19 points in that game. He takes pens too, so he offers goal threat from open play as well as from the spot.
How badly were you hurt by the MCI/ARS cancellation? Are you dumping any City or Arsenal players this week? Who are you adding? Please let us know in the Comments below.