Highs and lows dominate GW15. Into 16 (and with 17 in the back of our minds) we think the most attractive fixtures are 1) WHU vs. CHE, 2) TOT vs. STK, and 3) LIV vs. EVE. Outside of these fixtures, we have what could be classified as the battle of the bottoms (Palace vs. Bournemouth, Huddersfield vs. Brighton, Swansea vs. WBA, Newcastle vs. Leicester) and the Manchester derby.
For forwards this week, we think: Morata, Kane (c), Firmino are best positioned to rack up points. Chelsea faces a WHU which has been completely and morally defeated. Their only saving grace was they managed to put themselves ahead of City last week, scoring an early goal, and managing to hang on for at least 45 minutes. Sadly (and we would have loved to see a WHU win), West Ham fell apart and were unluckily dismantled by the likes of Silva and KDB.
On the flip side, it was encouraging to see them play under new management which actually looked like an improved side. Marcos Alonso and Danny Drinkwater were rested midweek and should feature. The only question we have is whether Conte (and other managers) will look to rotate given the back to back fixtures.
Willian and Pedro have seen relatively quiet playing times over the last couple of weeks and could easily be swapped for Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata.
Chelsea have won 6 of their last 7 matches and are in fine form while West Ham have failed to win their last 8 matches. For fantasy purposes, the matchup lines up well for Chelsea given West Ham have conceded at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 matches.
Kane still gets the armband this week as the side goes up against Stoke. Indeed, the Spurs side have looked less dangerous, Eriksen is playing deeper, Alli has been his own biggest critic, and Kane has been experiencing goal-drought (or at least inconsistency?).
With Spurs sitting in 6th place, we do think Poch will look to steer the ship right and will look to critically gain 3points while silencing some critics.
Firmino makes our squad after an impressive performance in the previous week against Brighton. Almost City like, Liverpool have scored at least 3 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches.
Very quietly, the side has risen to 4th in the league and continues to put together strong performances while burying opponents. Liverpool have now won 5 of their last 6 matches and playing at Anfield should serve as a nice kicker. Everton have failed to win their last 15 away matches and this should be no different.
In midfield – Sterling, Zaha, Salah, and Surman are our picks for the week. Sterling and Sane at this point are fungible. Again, we have disliked picking players from Derby’s and when superteams clash but in this instance, we will opt for at least 1 City player.
Aguero should play in the middle given the importance of the game, flanked by Sterling and Sane. Then again Pep could go with two forwards, with 5 midfielders and 3 at the back. Then again, Pep cold go with 1 forward, 4 midfielders and 5 defenders. Then again, postulating on what a bald man who maybe a tactical genius at this point seems folly. We just don’t know. Zaha, Salah, and Surman all fit the bill of being attacking midfield players. Surman continues to be the most cheap-but-valuable asset in the game. If you can buy an assist for 5MM each week, it’s worth the money. Zaha and Salah both play teams which have struggled in defense this season.
Finally, in defense, we’ve opted for a double-Chelsea defense. In fact, given the number of games that Chelsea could foreseeably keep a clean sheet over the next couple of weeks, we are attracted to even trying to go for triple Chelsea defense. Alas, Morata and/or Hazard are valuable enough where it’s only worth it to keep two defenders.
Outside of that, we think either Palace or Bournemouth have reasonable chances of keeping a clean but that also applies to the various slop-fest games this week (Huddersfield vs. Brighton, Swansea vs. WBA, Newcastle vs. Leicester). Tottenham and Liverpool should also be able to produce clean sheets given how poorly Stoke and Everton have been on the road.