After a short week, we give our thoughts going into Gameweek 9. 1) City are dominant in every respect. Even with the two goals they conceded, the side is firing on all cylinders AND has significant depth. After Stoke had brought the score-line back to 3-2, instead of falling apart, it looked as if City were angered and went on a rampage 2) Chelsea could use Morata back. The side looked sluggish without their main striker, 3) United did not look great. With Pogba still sidelined and dare I say it, missing Fellaini, United did not look coherent against a side which has generally struggled defensively 4) Swansea and Abraham have a nice run of fixtures and he is too cheap not to slot in as a third option (opening up opportunities in the midfield), 5) Arsenal have no heart, and 6) Palace scored and won.
Up front this week we like: Jesus, Morata, Abraham. Jesus and City have not skipped a beat with Aguero out. We expect Aguero to be worked back into the rotation this week though his minutes may be limited out of precaution. This City side has reached a point where you almost need to own an individual across forward/midfield/defense.
Offensively City have taken close to 19.4 shots per game and have been averaging 8 shots on target (leading second place by a margin of +2). Man City have scored at least 4 goals in their last 3 home matches and have scored over 2.5 goals in the last 7 of their 8 matches. Given City’s current dominance, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see Pep potentially put together some new starters including Bernardo Silva, Gündogan and Yaya Toure. We still think Jesus is the best option up top this week and worthy of the arm band.
Morata should be returning from injury and will be fit to start in Chelsea’s matchup against Watford. We expect Hazard and Pedro to line up behind him, with Conte & Co looking to recover from last week’s loss against bottom-ranked Palace. Chelsea have looked somewhat exposed in the midfield with Kante missing. Marco Silva on the Watford side will probably leave much of his starting XI unchanged given they were able to solidify a 2-1 surprise win over the Gunners.
Abraham at his current value of sub-6MM is too cheap not to own. Considering his point total to date, 39, he is by far the most point/value player among all top 10 forwards. Abraham is only trailing 8.6MM Vardy by 1 point and is less than 10pts away from Jesus, Morata, and Kane’s season totals. Yes, the argument here is that Swansea have been terrible offensively but this week they do play a flailing Leicester at home. Leicester have failed to win 23 of their last 25 away matches. We still expect some shakiness as Shakespeare was relieved of his manager duties during the week, with Michael Appleton taking charge of the Leicester side.
In midfield, we have focused on attacking midfielders yet again – Sterling, Mhkitaryan, Antonio, Choupo-Moting. As we’ve discussed, owning City assets vital given the sides’ current form. United play Huddersfield in what should be a very one-sided affair. Even with the lack of depth in the United midfield, we like this fixture before it turns to Tottenham and Chelsea back to back. Huddersfield have failed to score in 5 of their last 6 matches while Man Utd are undefeated in their last 10 matches. Antonio and Choupo-Moting are mid-priced options where there is decent upside to score. Antonio should be filling in for much of Carroll’s role and is essentially an out of position midfielder. Choupo-Moting is in a similar situation though Stoke are devoid of capable strikers which hampers his ultimate fantasy value.
On the bright side, they play a Bournemouth side which is 19th in the league and incapable of keeping a clean sheet and/or winning games. Bournemouth have lost their last 4 away matches.
In defense this week, we think cleans are most likely to come from United, West Ham, Chelsea, Stoke, and City. We think David DeGea is still the best option in accessing United’s defense while having no problem paying up for Alonso for the upside from goals/set pieces. Southampton still have a good run of fixtures and their defenders are still worth a mention.