Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 10 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Starting in August 2018 I made a point of mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So now, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
It's fair to define Gameweek 9 as a disaster. A measly 30 points leaves AM FC languishing down at 1.3m in the overall rankings, not helped by no-shows from my two most expensive holds - Mohamed Salah and Sergio Agüero. Add to that yet another captain blank in Tammy Abraham and it really couldn't have gone much worse. If fortunes don't improve this weekend then a trigger of the wildcard will need to be considered ahead of GW11. But before it comes to that let's try and kick-start a recovery with a dive in to this weekend's fixtures ...
Friday 25 October 2019
Southampton v Leicester
Saturday 26 October 2019
Man City v Aston Villa
Brighton v Everton
Watford v Bournemouth
West Ham v Sheffield Utd
Burnley v Chelsea
Sunday 27 October 2019
Newcastle v Wolves
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Spurs
Norwich v Man Utd
The first thing to note is the Friday night kick-off as Southampton host Leicester, which means your FPL team must be locked in by 7pm BST (British Summer Time) this Friday 25th October. As always we'll focus on players from the teams that look set for comfortable wins, with goals and potential clean sheet points on the cards. As I stated last week, this hasn't always worked this season due to some unexpected unpredictability, but it's an approach that has brought success through my previous 15 years playing fantasy football and so I'm keeping the faith. That means backing Manchester City at home to Aston Villa and Liverpool hosting Spurs, while Arsenal should edge Crystal Palace at the Emirates. I also like Wolves at Newcastle, Chelsea at Burnley and we'll try to pick a player flying under the radar from the remaining teams. With that in mind, here are the guys to keep in your thoughts ahead of Gameweek 10 ...
David Silva (MF - Manchester City v Aston Villa) - Pep Guardiola has it all planned out. This will be David Silva's final season at Manchester City before returning to Spain to finish his career, with young Phil Foden to take up the creative midfielder mantle from the start of 2020/21. At 34 years old Silva's game time will be carefully managed and indeed the little magician was given the night off as City crushed Atlanta 5-1 midweek. However, he will be expected to start against Aston Villa this weekend and is a player to seriously consider given his fantasy form so far. Two goals, five assists and six bonus points from just seven starts, and a bona fide FPL bargain at just 7.6million. Get involved.
Alexandre Lacazette (FW - Arsenal v Crystal Palace) - This column is being penned prior to Arsenal's Europa League clash with Vitoria Guimaraes but reports in the media suggest Alexandre Lacazette will start as the lone centre forward after fully recovering from an ankle injury, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang given a deserved rest. If the Frenchman proves his fitness tonight then Unai Emery would surely be tempted to start with both forwards against Palace this weekend, restoring a partnership that was so prolific last season. Lacazette had started this campaign well with two goals in two start before injury struck and I'd expect him to pick up where he left off if given the opportunity.
Matt Doherty (DF - Wolves @ Newcastle) - Does anyone else remember the Newcastle v Wolves clash from last December? If you were a Matt Doherty owner you certainly should. The Wolves wingback has already made a fast start to the season and attracted a whole new gang of groupies by popping up with an injury time winner to delight fantasy managers far and wide. I'm not saying history will repeat itself on Sunday but there is certainly a strong possibility of a Wolves win and clean sheet, with Doherty likely to be given a chance to roam forward down the right flank.
Roberto Firmino (FW - Liverpool v Tottenham) - If you're a Sadio Mané or Mohamed Salah owner then you have every right to go in to the weekend feeling confident of a strong fantasy showing from both men as a fragile Tottenham side visit Anfield. However, this feels like a week for Roberto Firmino to shine in and around the opposition penalty area as he finds himself up against the creaking defensive partnership of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. The Brazilian has had a decent start to the season with three Premier League goals and four assists but as a Spurs fan I fear those stats are going to look far better by Sunday afternoon.
Wilfried Zaha (MF - Crystal Palace @ Arsenal) - I had Chelsea's Mason Mount pencilled in for this slot when I started researching on Wednesday but as time has ticked on I've been drawn towards Wilfried Zaha for Palace's London derby with Arsenal. The Gunners should win the game (which explains the Lacazette pick above) but I have zero confidence in their defence's ability to keep a clean sheet. Zaha - linked so heavily to a mega-money move to the Emirates in the summer - will undoubtedly be the danger man on the Eagles' counter-attack and I believe we'll see some fantasy returns from a player showing glimpse of his best form in recent weeks.
Captain Choice: Raheem Sterling (MF- Manchester City v Aston Villa) - I'll be honest, Raheem Sterling has been trolling this season whenever I've listed him as the column captain choice for the gameweek ahead. However, the England man's sensational hat-trick in midweek combined with a home fixture against Villa - mixed in with doubts over Sergio Agüero getting the start over Gabriel Jesus - means I'm leaning towards handing the armband to the him once again. Don't let me down Raheem!
That's it for Gameweek 10's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to post them in the comments below or hit me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend and for the rest of the season.