Football

Weekly Monster Gameweek 9 Preview

Welcome to the Weekly Monster Gameweek 9 Preview. I’m Kieran (@FPLRatchet) and I’m back to bring you my lineup for Fanteam’s €50,000 Weekly Monster contest ahead of Premier League Gameweek 9, hopefully providing some helpful tips along the way. Let’s do this!

What is the Weekly Monster?

The Weekly Monster is a weekly competition held on Fanteam.com where players choose a starting XI (no subs) from the teams playing that Gameweek from a budget of 100.0M, with the objective of scoring as many points as possible. Players score points using the same system as in the €1M season-long game – a scoring system that will feel very familiar to those who have played FPL.

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Weekly Monster Gameweek 9 Preview

Players are priced in accordance with the match odds for each given fixture. This means that the price list will differ every week, and will often read very differently to the season-long game, as prices are brought up or down depending on the quality of the fixture, and the form of the player.

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Goalkeeper

My starting GK for this week is Lukasz Fabianski (8.0M) away at Sheffield United.

Slightly more expensive than I usually go for the Keeper slot in my Weekly Monster side, but Fabianski still looks great value to me. Say what you will about David Moyes, but West Ham’s defence has come on leaps and bounds since he took charge. Moyes felt like a stop-gap appointment when it happened – just someone reliable to stave off relegation, then make way at the end of the season, but it looks like Moyes has earned himself the role for much longer than was initially expected after some really impressive form for the Hammers. West Ham are now quite solid defensively, having conceded just 10 goals so far – only one more than the best defence in the league…

Sheffield United, on the other hand, have had a really tough start to this campaign after impressing last season, sitting stone bottom of the table having scored the second fewest goals of any team with just 4 so far. The signs seem to me to be pointing towards a West Ham clean sheet here!

Defenders

I’ve gone with four at the back this week, just as a result of there being more appealing defensive fixtures than usual this week in my opinion, and a lack of options in midfield.

My first defender is Lucas Digne (9.0M), facing Fulham away from home.

Despite Everton’s questionable defensive form this season so far, Fulham may be the perfect fixture for Everton to get a clean sheet on the board. Fulham are 17th in the table for goals scored with just 7 so far, and potentially having the option of Richarlison on the left flank after his suspension means that I can foresee a dominant Everton performance here, reminiscent of the types of performances we were seeing at the start of the season when the toffees briefly found themselves at the top of the table.

A game like this could see the classic clean sheet + attacking return combo we love to see from attacking Full-backs in fantasy football, as Digne has still looked really threatening going forward, whipping in high-quality crosses towards Calvert-Lewin and attempting some dangerous looking direct free-kicks as well.

My next defender is Arthur Masuaku (7.3M), up against Sheffield United away from home.

I told you I really liked that SHU vs WHU fixture! I’ve taken a risk this week going with double West Ham defence, banking on their clean sheet coming in. I think it’s as good shout for a double clean sheet as any this week, and at those prices both players look to me to offer great value for money.

Although, to be honest, my budget restricted me from my first choice West Ham defender in set-piece taker Aaron Cresswell, Masuaku offers plenty of threat going forward in his own right. His xGI (expected Goal Involvements) per start is an impressive 0.24, meaning we can expect roughly a one in four chance of a goal or assist, on top of his clean sheet potential. I like those odds!

My third defender this week is Patrick Van Aanholt (7.1M), facing Burnley away from home.

Burnley may be the only more appealing side for one of my defenders to face than Sheffield United, having scored just 3 goals so far this season, leaving them bottom of the table for goals scored. Palace are also enjoying a generally positive starts to the season having switched to a 4-4-2 setup. This may allow greater scope for PVA to get forward like we know he loves to by linking up with new Left-mid Ebere Eze.

Van Aanholt is a bit of an FPL treasure, playing in a defensively stubborn Palace side, but always attacking aggressively and directly whenever he can, and contributing to set pieces and even penalties sometimes as well. He’s the ideal explosive full-back capable of a huge haul, and looks brilliant value for 7.1M this week.

Finally, my fourth defender this week is Stuart Dallas (6.4M), playing Arsenal at home at Elland Road.

Although you may not have seen it quite materialise into points yet, the underlying stats suggest that Stuart Dallas is FPL gold. He’s often deployed in midfield, making him one of very few potential out of position defenders this year, and he’s racked up the highest xG of any defender so far this season with 1.52, despite having just the one goal to his name so far.

He also plays for an underrated defensive outfit in my opinion – I think Bielsa’s attacking and often chaotic style can make things appear more out of control than they actually are. This, in my opinion makes Dallas a great asset to own, and with Arsenal lacking in attack so far this season, here’s hoping Dallas is a shrewd pick going into Gameweek 9…

Midfielders

I’ve gone with just the three man midfield this week, including a big differential to hopefully fire me up those ranks.

My first midfielder is Jack Grealish (10.9M), facing Brighton at home.

Jack Grealish hype has reached new heights over the international break, with some England performances matching the extremely high levels set by himself in the Premier League already this season. He looks like a player playing with full confidence and really on the crest of a wave right now, and although I actually like Brighton as a team more than most people might, I never like to bet against someone with supreme confidence like Jack Grealish has right now, as I just feel like those players are always capable of pulling something special out of the bag, regardless of the opponent.

My next midfielder for this week is Ferran Torres (10.6M), up against Spurs away from home.

So this is the big differential! I love the Weekly Monster as it allows me to jump on some risky players like this who I wouldn’t usually consider including in my season-long team, but have the potential to offer a ticket into those profit positions if it pays off how I’d like. Much like Grealish, Torres is on the crest of a wave right now, showing some good form for City in both the Premier League and Europe, and scoring a career first international hat-trick against Germany over the break! The punt is that this confidence can make him City’s main man going forward this weekend, and hopefully he can reward my risk here!

Next up is Mateusz Klich (9.0M), against Crystal Palace away.

Leeds have looked a threat going forward from day one in the Premier League despite a poor display against Leicester last time out, and Palace away represents a good opportunity for Bielsa’s men to respond to this poor result.

Klich has impressed me throughout so far, looking like a player with good quality who finds himself often in potentially dangerous scenarios, and always looking for the killer through pass – though, the key to his appeal is that he is on penalty duty for Leeds.

My third and final midfielder this week is Wilfried Zaha (8.8M), facing Burnley away at Turf Moor.

Zaha has had a fantastic start to the season, racking up 5 goals and 2 assists in his first 8 league games, and felling that out-of-position midfielder slot us fantasy managers love that was vacated by the likes of Richarlison and Anthony Martial from last season. Palace’s switch to a 4-4-2 has allowed Roy Hodgson to really maximise Zaha’s potential to his credit – a move that, in hindsight, was probably the reason for the signing of Left-midfielder Ebere Eze in the summer, who it appears was signed to replace Zaha on that left flank to allow him to push forward to play in a front two. On penalty duty as well, Zaha is FPL gold at the moment with three very nice fixtures coming up.

Attackers

I’ve gone with a big-hitting three man attack this week, with plenty of enticing options available…

The first attacker for me this week is Timo Werner (13.7M), facing Newcastle away from home.

With Hakim Ziyech up and firing now, my bet is that this is the time Chelsea assets kick into gear and really start to live up to the hype they had before the season started. Ziyech looks to me to be the creative spark that this team – and Werner in particular – were crying out for, similar to what Bruno Fernandes was to Man United after he signed for them last January, he’s the type of player that can be a catalyst to improve the attack as a whole.

Newcastle are also looking below par defensively, sitting at 16th in the table for xGA, and having been somewhat fortunate to get some of the results they have so far this season. This could be a perfect formula for Timo to really come into his own.

My next attacker is Harry Kane (9.2M), facing Man City at home.

City’s defence has improved this year, no doubt about it, with Guardiola finally seeming to settle on a back four that works, including the very impressive Ruben Dias. However, Harry Kane has been the best player in the League for me this season so far, and seeing him play at home in the form he’s been in, 9.2M just seems too cheap. He’s been the fantasy asset of dreams putting up ridiculous numbers, so here’s hoping Mourinho can outsmart Guardiola, and Kane can deliver as he has been so far this season once again.

My third and final attacker this week is Jamie Vardy (9.0M), facing Liverpool at Anfield.

Usually, Liverpool at Anfield is a fixture to avoid at all costs, but Liverpool’s entire first choice back four could potentially be out for this game, and who better to prey on the weaknesses of inexperienced defenders than Jamie Vardy? Vardy is a Premier League goalscorer with not just incredible pedigree, but the nouse and football know-how to exploit any youth centre-back’s weaknesses and put them under a huge amount of pressure. I can see a high scoring game here, and here’s hoping Vardy can benefit.

Captaincy

My captaincy for this week is Timo Werner (13.7M). In excellent personal form, and with an in-form Hakim Ziyech feeding him against a sub-standard Newcastle defence, Werner I feel could be the explosive differential captain I need to shoot me up the ranks this week, with most managers, I imagine, choosing a Man United player facing West Brom at home, or maybe Sadio Mane. I somehow see United having quite a difficult time against West Brom, though, so I’m hoping that fixture is the Red Herring I need to distract managers from the explosiveness of Timo. On penalty duty now too it seems, I’m hoping he can bring home the goods for my team this weekend! Jack Grealish (10.9M) is my Vice-Captain.

Strategy

I’ve gone with a more defensive setup this week, departing from my favoured three at the back formation as a result of better defensive fixtures on offer than attacking ones for midfielders, in my opinion. It’s good to have a plan, but there’s no point blindly sticking to it if the hand you’ve been dealt doesn’t work with it.

Every week is different, and we as managers need to adapt and play the cards we’re dealt! I’m hoping that captaining Timo and selecting Ferran Torres plus double West Ham defence can give me the differential factor I need this week, to go alongside more popular picks like Jack Grealish. As always, managers, wishing you the best of luck for the Weekly Monster Gameweek 9!

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