GW10 is fast approaching and fantasy football predictions are as tough as ever. For those of you who are struggling with selection we have your GW10 Picks of the Week.
So, lets dive straight into team selection. Between the sticks I’m backing Burnley’s Tom Heaton. Since the start of the season Heaton has averaged over 4 points a game, despite conceding 3 goals on three occasions.
His price of £4.6 has increased from the start of the season but he is still firmly in the budget category. He has been kept busy. He is topping the table for the number of saves made so far, 46.
Next up for Burnley is an away fixture against a deflated Man United who failed to find the net against Chelsea.
Stoke are a team that are discovering a bit of form, they have now gone unbeaten in 4 and have won their last two. Next up in their fixture list is a Swansea side currently sitting 19th.
I’m expecting big things from Ryan Shawcross over the coming weeks. Not only does he marshal the Stoke defence but he is a bit of a hidden goal threat.
Admittedly, nothing has come off for him yet but the signs are promising. This season he has averaged 0.9 shots per game. A figure that rivals Adama Diomande, Granit Xhaka and Seamus Coleman.
I feel that a price of £4.9 and a selection percentage of 1.7% gives him the nod against the Swans for GW10.
Liverpool are scoring for fun at the moment, (ignoring the United match), to the point where you don’t consider any of their defenders. We’ve previously posted a small piece on Liverpool’s defensive options and I still think that there are clean sheets are coming.
The most attractive option is probably Nathanial Clyne. Clyne tops the points tally out of the Liverpool defence with 26. But with budget and selection in mind I have opted for Dejan Lovren.
A comparison between the two sees Clyne’s price at £5.5 with a selection percentage of 9.8%, where Lovren costs £4.1 and is selected by 4.1% of managers.
The two players are evenly matched, despite their varying roles in the back line. Clyne is given an opportunity to press up the line and offer an extra option in the final third. Where, in contrast Lovren sits back breaking up the oppositions play.
Of the two, Lovren is the more likely to find a goal by heading up for set pieces than Clyne. Saying that, Clyne has the better chances to get an assist. If you are struggling to pick one, toss a coin.
Another 50/50 between teammates is the selection of Bournemouth’s Adam Smith or Charlie Daniels. Both cost around the same, £4.7 for Smith, or £5.0 for Daniels and they both have the same amount of points, 38.
One way that you can split them is their points total over the last four games. In that time Daniels has racked up an impressive 25 points, while Smith has earned 17.
Following their current form, Charlie Daniels is your man if have that little bit extra to spend. Although, either man looks a good option against a Middlesbrough side that’s lacking goals.
That sets my contradiction up nicely for my first midfield option, Middlesbrough’s Adama Traoré. Yes, Middlesbrough are struggling for goals but a cameo performance by Traoré against Arsenal last week has earned him a wildcard place in my team.
Obviously, I’m not expecting Traoré to take Bournemouth apart and grab a hat-trick. But, he looks the spark that Middlesbrough desperately need. At a price tag of £4.8 and a selection percentage of 0.1%. I’ll take my chances and keep my “told you so’s” till later.
West Ham’s Dimitri Payet is the first big name in my 5-man midfield. West Ham have had a poor start to their campaign but have won the last two games so things appear to be turning around.
Payet has spent some time on the touchline, which has hampered his numbers, but, he has already managed 4 assists.
He’s not scoring as freely as he was last year though, he’s only found the net once this season. But he is currently averaging more shots per game than last season, 3.4 currently.
West Ham will be looking for their playmaker to find that key pass and start placing those freekicks into the top corner like we are all used to him doing.
Picking the right Liverpool midfielder week-to-week is a bit of a minefield. Do you go for the intermittent goal scorer Mané, technical wizard Coutinho, or the floating Lallana?
Well, I’ve gone for the floating striker Roberto Firmino. Watching Liverpool play can be frustrating from a fantasy football perspective as you never know which one is going to spark some magic.
From what I’ve seen of Firmino, he’s a bit of a nearly man. He’s either the one who passes to the guy who assists or he’s making the run just behind the goal scorer. Don’t let that put you off the Brazilian though.
At this point, I’d love to give you a belting stat that justifies my decision but I’m drawing a blank. My decision was made from not believing Coutinho can keep scoring from range. There is also a 26% difference in selection between Coutinho and Firmino but only 10 points separates them.
Let me throw a curveball at you in midfield – Nemanja Matić. I know defensive players are usually penalised in a fantasy football points system but there is some reasoning behind it.
Would you believe your mate down the pub if he said Matić has the same number of assists as Payet and De Bruyne? Well, he’s not lying! The three of them are joint top on the assist table with 4.
Now, before you get too excited. Chelsea play Southampton away, so its not the easiest fixture but neither was beating Man United 4-0.
Matić is a very modest £5.0 with a selection percentage of 3.3%. He has made 556 passes so far, placing him 6th in the passing table so he could give your team the edge with a few more assists.
The final place in the midfield had me looking to Arsenal. The lime light has been on Theo Walcott recently as he has been on a run of goals. His price of £8.1 is tempting too, but instead I’m opting for Alexis Sánchez.
Why? I hear you ask. Experience. Walcott finds a patch of form every now and then and if you’re lucky, you catch it and put him in. Sánchez is a different animal (a duracell bunny comes to mind*) and you know he will always be involved with play.
*other battery powered bunny available.
Perhaps I’ve been blinded by looking long term rather than at the form sheet but I feel the £11.3 price tag is justified. Especially with tough fixtures coming in GW11 and GW12.
Walcott has played an extra hour over Sánchez and has scored one more goal (5). Sánchez is joint top in Arsenal assists with Alex Iwobi with Walcott just behind.
Striker selection has been a bit of a struggle. There doesn’t seem to be that one stand out player at the moment. So, I’ve gone for the big names in Diego Costa and Sergio Agüero.
I’ll start defending my decision on Agüero by stating that I know about there is uncertainty around his selection. But, is there really any concern around him?
In his last three appearances he has had an attempt on goal every 17.9 minutes, exactly what you want from a striker. As a comparison, last season he was shooting every 19.8 minutes.
Man City play West Brom away in GW10, with WBA keeping 2 clean sheets this season. City will take some comfort knowing that West Brom do concede more at home than they do away.
I’ll be keeping faith with Agüero for a few more weeks with the upcoming fixtures, unless there is a clear sign to transfer him out.
Diego Costa is an easier choice to make as he is sitting as top scorer with 7 goals. Conte has lined Chelsea up in a 3-4-3 in recent weeks, and it looks to be paying off.
In the last three games Chelsea have played a 3-4-3 they have kept 3 clean sheets and scored 9 goals. Beating champions Leicester 3-0 and Man United 4-0 along the way.
Costa is effectively left as a lone striker in the middle with two wide men stretching the opposition defence. To try an maximise points I’ve paired Chelsea’s Matić and Costa for GW10 Picks of the Week.
A little word of caution if you’re planning on captaining Costa. His shall we say, physical, style of play does draw a yellow card, or, 4 if you’re counting. As a result, he is a yellow card away from a ban.