Admittedly, in GW9 we got Pep’ed. With a Sterling and Jesus double rotation, we were once again reminded of the dangerous of City’s midfield and the difficult task of guessing who plays where on any given week. On the bright side, the squad functions seamlessly regardless of who is starting (and to our point, the depth there is incredible). At the same time, from a pure fantasy perspective, certain assets are almost unownable given the chance of rotation and benching. Heading into GW10, top fixtures which pop out to us include City on the road to WBA, Arsenal at home to Swansea, Liverpool at home to Huddersfield, and Chelsea visiting Bournemouth.
Lacazette, Firmino, Aguero. Up top we think a premium setup of Lacazette, Firmino, and Aguero setup nicely given each of their fixtures. Starting with Lacazette, Arsenal are coming off a nice 5-2 win against Everton last week. Every time the side looks like it is going to refresh the #WengerOut hash tags, the squad manages to pull through and scrap together a nice showing. Heading into the Swansea match, Arsene Wenger has no injury concerns which should setup the side nicely. Danny Welbeck is still out, which is great and means that he is not going to try and Wenger the squad (typically this means playing players in out of position and losing 3-0 to lower-tier teams). It is likely that the squad that was employed against Everton, will be used again: Lacazette up top, Ozil + Sanchez behind 3-4-2-1. This is simply the best squad they have and should not be tinkered with. We are positive on the prospects of Arsenal putting together a +3 goal performance vs. a Swansea at home.
Firmino and Liverpool continue to disappoint and show their lack of competitiveness vs. bigger teams. Liverpool, as always, continue to be mediocre and almost Arsenal like. That being said, they face a historically weak Huddersfield team which put together their best performance last week in their 2-1 win over United (and had a couple good matches at the start of the season). Liverpool generally do fairly well at Anfield, having been undefeated at home in the last 6 matches.
Contrasting that, Huddersfield have failed to score in their last 3 away matches. Klopp’s side will look to recover after last week and will employ their best to secure 3 points. Firmino, will likely line up in the center with Coutinho and Salah supporting from both sides. We see little likelihood that Sturridge will start.
Aguero and City. Our love for City is equally matched by the distaste for their risk of rotation. In classic PEP fashion, Guardiola started Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus on Tuesday night but only one should line up here. It is our belief (and we have been wrong in the past), that Pep will look to start Aguero for EPL matches while utilizing Jesus for Champions League. Its worth noting that City have a match against Napoli coming up and only one of these two strikers will likely start. Our guess as good as yours, but we will go with Aguero.
Salah, Choupo-Moting, Sane, Ritchie. In midfield, similar format. Salah and Liverpool have an easy fixture with Salah continuing to be the attacking asset he is.
An undoubtedly selfish player who is not afraid to take shots even at the expense of our BPS points. Stoke go to visit CL-positioned Watford which may prove a little difficult given Watford’s recent form. Shaqiri missed Stoke’s 2-1 defeat at home last weekend but is expected to return this weekend which should strengthen the attacking prospect for the Potters. Sane is our favorite for this week’s City roulette midfielder given the discount to KDB but also better attacking prowess than David Silva. Sterling played 90 minutes against Wolves, which might mean he could be rested for another PL match, particularly as City have a trip to Naples. Matt Ritchie rounds out our midfielders given his moderate price tag and ability to create goal scoring opportunities (high $/assist value).
In defense this week, we are most positive on Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, and Southampton for keeping a clean sheet. Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 9 home matches. Chelsea currently face off against Bournemouth who sit at the second bottom of the league with only 6 goals scored.
Man City have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 7 away matches. Southampton are nearing the end of their favorable fixtures run (Burnley, Liverpool, Everton, City, Bournemouth, Arsenal to come) but continue to provide value as 5MM defenders have been netting cleans at a respectable discount to top-5 club players.