Did you enjoy the peace and quiet? Two weeks of not having to make any decisions on this mess has been quite a relief, especially as players are falling left, right and centre. Last time out, which seems like a lifetime ago, I scored 54, narrowly beating the average of 51. That resulted in a small drop to 44,655th in the overall rankings, which I will gladly accept as a finishing position 30 weeks early. Of course overnight since my week 7 preview, Sergio Aguero got himself into a little car incident and was ruled out of their trip to Stamford Bridge, whilst his strike partner (in my team) Alvaro Morata limped off before halftime. Let’s dissect the latest
Injuries, so many injuries. The weekend starts with Liverpool vs Man Utd, though both sides are missing key players. Pogba remains out and is now joined by week 7 hero Fellaini, who was injured on International duty. Lukaku has been carrying a knock which he supposedly played through against Crystal Palace and then limited his minutes in Belgium’s doubleheader. He did, however, appear from the bench in their second game which suggests he’ll be fine. Please be fine. Liverpool though are definitely without Sadio Mane, who is sidelined for 6 weeks with a hamstring injury. Speaking of hamstrings, the situation with Alvaro Morata is nothing short of infuriating. His spell on the sidelines seems to differ from 6 weeks to back next week depending on who you ask. Chelsea are away to bottom club Crystal Palace, so it would be nice to know either way. Eden Hazard, on the other hand, seems to be back to his best in terms of form and fitness and with a relatively low ownership, now could be the time to invest.
Harry Kane’s latest battle with Wembley sees Bournemouth as the visitors. Kane has been in sensational form and I’m willing to forgive his blank at home to Swansea a few weeks ago on the grounds that he is one of the few premium strikers without an issue. Take Sergio Aguero for example – originally ruled out for 6 weeks prior to the Chelsea game, the Argentine has allegedly started light training. Be injured or don’t be injured, but don’t do this to us! City are at home to Stoke so maybe £10.5m for Gabriel Jesus might be worthwhile. Arsenal have injury problems at the back, with Mustafi, Koscielny and Kolasinac all carrying various knocks ahead of their trip to Watford, but at least their attackers are healthy.
A lot has been made of Sean Dyche’s ability to mould a team into defensive shape after Burnley’s 1-0 win at Everton last time out. The Clarets are at home to West Ham this week and that could mean more clean sheet points are up for grabs, even the enforced appearance of sub keeper Nick Pope has done little to destabilise the Burnley back-line. Elsewhere Brighton embark on a run of decent looking fixtures, starting with struggling Everton at home. Although Hemed is still banned, Gross (£5.7m) in midfield looks a fairly astute pickup with Knockaert (£5.7m) yet to really hit the heights. Southampton have back to back home fixtures again, though all we’ve really learned so far is that they can defend but goals are hard to come by. Leicester are also about to embark on a decent four-game run, starting with WBA at home on Monday. They’re usually good for a goal but they’re also not particularly cheap.
It’s only been a few days since the last round of International fixtures and that can lead to some strange team selections as players arrive back late or with knocks. Keep a close eye on the team news from Friday’s press conferences and cross your fingers that everybody comes back in a good enough state to play.
Harry Kane is the obvious choice this week, even if he has to play at Wembley it can’t be a thing forever. Can it? Eden Hazard is my second pick, he travels to Crystal Palace with Chelsea with penalty duties and goals for Belgium in his locker. My final pick is Gabriel Jesus, who will surely start for Man City regardless of Aguero’s situation…
My team is in all kinds of trouble, my previous transfer of Lacazette for Aguero happened due to a lack of viable alternatives and a hint of desperation. I’m hanging tight for the team news on Friday, with Atsu and Morata different degrees of doubtful.
De Gea, Mee, Fernandez, Monreal, Brady, Atsu, Salah, Eriksen, Lukaku, Morata, Lacazette. Subs: Mbemba, Evans, McArthur, Elliot.
I have £1.6m in the bank so I’m considering Kane and Vardy for Morata and Lacazette and just hoping for the best with Atsu. It’s a 4 point hit though which I hate doing, but it’s needs must.
Another confusing weekend ahead, I’ve already got the dread. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck and may all your arrows be green.