Gameweek 6 saw many of the power and premium players outperform. With big results from City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal, there was a plethora of points to go around. Heading into GW7 our focus is set squarely on 1) Huddersfield vs. Tottenham, 2) United vs. Crystal Palace, 3) Arsenal vs. Brighton, and 4) Newcastle vs. Liverpool. Man City travel to face Chelsea in the battle of the week though we are going to steer clear of players from both sides just given the unknowns. In either case, we find that power teams facing up against each other generally have a lower probably of a high-scoring or one-sided game, which hurts fantasy production.
Forwards: Lukaku (c), Lacazette, Kane. Lukaku easily wins the armband this week given the ease of the fixture. Palace has continued to be horrendous under new management, and we expect no changes heading into this weekend. Handing over the team to a fresh Roy Hodgson with the expectations of playing City and United back to back is unfortunate for all parties involved. Bookies by far and away have this as the easiest matchup with a bet on a United win returning the worst payout odds across the league. Statistically, Crystal Palace have lost their last 7 matches and failed to score in every one of those matches. United are 1) undefeated in their last 20 home matches, 2) have kept 7/8 clean sheets going into this weekend, 3) have won by at least a two-goal margin in the last of their four home matches, and 4) haven’t lost to Crystal Palace the last 13 times these two sides have met. Lukaku (despite his high ownership) still has the best odds to score this weekend and deserves the armband.
Lacazette scored a nice brace last week with a goal in open play and a wonderfully taken penalty. With him and Sanchez on the pitch, it is clear now that Lacazette is on pens, which gives his fantasy outlook a positive boost. Arsenal are up against Brighton this week (who played well against Newcastle) and will look to continue to relieve the pressure on Wenger. With a win here, and a Chelsea loss to City, there are scenarios where Arsenal and Chelsea could be in the same spot in the table after this weekend. Arsenal have scored at least 2 goals in their last 6 home matches. They have generally played well at home and have even managed to keep 6/8 cleans.
Kane. Tottenham travel to play Huddersfield. Harry Kane has really shown that he is much more comfortable on the road than at Wembley. Tottenham have scored at least 2 goals in their last 5 away matches. Huddersfield, on the other hand, started the season extremely bright but have recently failed to win a game in their last five competitive matches. We do not expect any major changes to the spurs side. Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli both sat out the squads midweek 3-0 win over APOEL and will be set to play. Christian Eriksen also missed the Champions League encounter presumably to ensure that he is fit for the weekend.
In midfield, we like Salah, Mkhitaryan, Choupo-Moting, and Surman. Mo-Money-Mo-Salah continues to seamlessly find the back of the net making him one of two (Coutinho being the other) ownable Liverpool assets in the absence of Mane. Firmino occasionally being boxed to the wing is hurting his goal scoring ability and fantasy production (it is too unpredictable to know when Sturridge will feature). Liverpool were lucky to walk away from the Leicester affair with 3 points. We still like Salah given his unwavering selfishness to take shots. As we’ve mentioned, United have the best fixture of the weekend. With Ashley Young and Henrikh Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming off early in the 4-1 win over CKSA Moscow, it is likely that both players will see a start against Crystal Palace on Saturday. We also expect Antonio Valencia to return to the starting XI after staying home during the midweek fixture.
Two less popular and budget options we have this week are Choupo-Moting and Surman. Choupo-Moting actually has fantasy potential given he plays attacking midfield and on occasion out-of-position forward in lieu of Jese. The only concern is that since Stoke drew against United, the squad has gone on a losing streak, failing to win in the last three games, of which they only scored once. Southampton, who the face this weekend, have also been defensively competitive and offensively abysmal. On balance it should make for a low scoring affair but we do like Choupo-Moting’s prospects going forward. Bournemouth take home Leicester at home. Surman is our budget pick and we think his central midfield positioning sets him up nicely to collect assists going forward. Leicester have generally played poorly on the road, failing to win 22 of their last 24 away matches. We were impressed by Bournemouth’s win against Brighton two weeks ago and think that they were unfortunate to lose last week to Everton. We have confidence that Eddie Howe will manage to right the ship eventually and avoid relegation.
Defensively – City and Arsenal have the easiest matchups this week and should have a better than 50% chance of keeping a clean. Crystal Palace have yet to score a goal this season and WBA are struggling offensively whilst relying on their defense to win (read: draw) games. A quick glance at how bad Palace are: Palace are without a goal in 450 minutes this season. They have failed to find the back of the net in six consecutive league games (includes last year) for the first since January 1995. It is also worth mentioning that over this time-period, they’ve had three managers – Sam Allardyce, Frank de Boer and Roy Hodgson. City should clean up nicely.