Gameweek 9: Fantasy Preview

Posted by John Culea

Victor Fraile/Getty ImagesForward Sergio Aguero leads Manchester City against Chelsea in the marquee game of the weekend.

There is one match to check announced lineups before kickoff as Premier League Gameweek 9 begins Saturday. This is beneficial since there may be roster rotation for Arsenal following their Champions League game Tuesday. The top-of-the-table Gunners play the early game at struggling Crystal Palace in what may be a demolition derby.


Crystal Palace (1-0-7) vs. Arsenal (6-1-1): The Eagles and caretaker manager Keith Millen are on the endangered list and offer no fantasy prospects. Conversely, Arsenal are loaded with goal-scorers. Aaron Ramsey has five, Olivier Giroud four, Mesut Ozil registered a brace last weekend, and Jack Wilshere has two goals in two games. Assists come freely and Santi Cazorla has fit in well since returning from injury. In Champions League play, Arsenal lost 2-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund. Giroud got the goal but brittle Wilshere was injured and is doubtful.

Aston Villa (3-1-4) vs. Everton (4-3-1): Christian Benteke leads Villa with four goals. There is little firepower beyond him.
Romelu Lukaku has four goals in as many games, Steven Pienaar returned with a goal, and Kevin Mirallas is in good fantasy form. Defender Leighton Baines is now three games without a clean sheet.

Liverpool (5-2-1) vs. WBA (2-4-2): Daniel Sturridge is the hottest scoring fantasy player with seven goals. He and Luis Suarez, who has three goals, seem to be reading each other’s mind. Simon Mignolet has had uncharacteristic dirty sheets the last five games. Steven Gerrard has two penalty goals in two matches. WBA have only managed seven goals but remain stingy with six conceded and have beaten the Reds three straight times.

Manchester United (3-2-3) vs. Stoke (2-2-4): The mediocre season continues at Old Trafford. Robin van Persie got back in the goal-scoring column and Wayne Rooney did everything but score against Southampton. In Champions League play, van Persie was rested and Rooney seemed to have a cover over the goal. Adnan Januzaj has made his case to be a regular with two brilliant outings and a promise of major fantasy points. United have leaked 10 goals. Stoke are the worst scoring team in the league with just four goals; however, Asmir Begovic, Ryan Shawcross, and Robert Huth are part of the defensive line that has only given up seven. Shawcross was ill during the week.

Norwich (2-1-5) vs. Cardiff (2-2-4): Both teams are relegation-threatened and offer little fantasy value.

Southampton (4-3-1) vs. Fulham (3-1-4): The Saints have conceded the fewest goals (3) in the league. Rickie Lambert, once a good fantasy pick is seeing more bench time. Fulham beat up Crystal Palace and Dimitar Berbatov found the back of the net for the first time this season.


Chelsea (5-2-1) vs. Manchester City (5-1-2): This is the marquee match of the weekend. Chelsea have Eden Hazard back in form and Samuel Eto’o looks menacing. David Luiz is a howler waiting to happen. Champions League play will complicate team selection although a brace by Fernando Torres may still not be enough for him to start. Hazard scored in the midweek road victory. . . . City leads the league with 20 goals and have Sergio Aguero with six and Yaya Toure with four, and David Silva is in distribution mode. In Champions League play, Aguero had a brace in an impressive come-from-behind 2-1 road win at CSKA Moscow.

Sunderland (0-1-7) vs. Newcastle (3-2-3): Doomed Sunderland have only five goals while being riddled for 20.
The Magpies' shaky defense may be without Fabricio Colocinni but Loic Remy (five goals) and a revived Yohan Cabaye will likely help secure a road result in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Swansea (3-1-4) vs. West Ham (2-2-4): Michu remains a fantasy disappointment, yet scored for the Swans at home in a Europa League draw. The Swans' mid-table mediocrity has them against the Hammers and in-form Ravel Morrison.

Tottenham (5-1-2) vs. Hull (3-2-3): Andros Townsend is the talk of London-town with a week of country glory and his first Premier League goal of the season. Roberto Soldado broke his goal-scoring drought. Townsend and in-form Paulinho were both rested in midweek for the near 3,000-mile Europa road trip. Jan Vertonghen and Jermaine Defoe scored in the game, won by Spurs.
Steve Bruce is doing his magic at Hull. The Tigers have scored only seven goals but are in ninth place. Steve Harper deputizes in goal for injured Allan McGregor.


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