20 Teams: 20 Players looks at the best fantasy football options from each team, each week. From the must starts to the best of a bad bunch, here are this week’s picks for Gameweek 9 of the 2016/17 season.
Arsenal (Middlesbrough H)
Theo Walcott: Arsenal’s no. 14 is putting together an impressive run of goalscoring form this season. The Englishman has the highest goal tally among midfielders in the Premier League with four so far. He continued in this vein in the Champions League with a long range curler to help his side to a 6-0 win over Ludogorets. It wasn’t the type of goal normally associated with the winger, but stood as further proof his game has developed leaps and bounds this season.
Bournemouth (Tottenham Hotspur H)
Junior Stanislas: Another player delivering on long held potential, the wideman bagged a brace a Gameweek 8 drubbing of Hull. With three goals in total thus far, the ex-Blackburn and West Ham player is putting himself in the fantasy shop window. This weekend’s clash with Spurs may be a tall order, but West Brom showed last week that their defence is penetrable.
Burnley (Everton H)
Tom Heaton: The Clarets have already proved their resilience at home this season, boasting the fourth strongest home defence in the league – most memorably shutting Liverpool out to claim a 2-0 victory in Gameweek 2. If Burnley hope to seal a similar result against another group of Merseysiders – Everton – the fortunes of Tom Heaton will be key. The England international has kept two clean sheets thus far and made more saves – 39 – than any other keeper in the league.
Chelsea (Manchester United H)
Diego Costa: It may be unoriginal to stump for the league’s highest goalscorer two weeks running but it’s with good reason. The man is in his best form in years and looks set to score at every opportunity. Seven goals from 24 attempts ranks him as not only the top scorer but the most clinical too. Certainly the most likely to dent Manchester United’s defensive stall in Gameweek 9.
Crystal Palace (Leicester City A)
Christian Benteke: He may have missed a penalty in defeat to West Ham last time out, but Christian Benteke has been Crystal Palace’s most impressive player in recent weeks. For an in-depth look at the Belgian, check out this week’s player profile.
Everton (Burnley A)
Maarten Stekelenburg: One of only seven Premier League goalkeepers to save two penalties in a single game, Maarten Stekelenburg’s stock rose after Gameweek 8 following a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. In what is likely to be tight affair, the Dutchman good be a safe option.
Hull City (Stoke City H)
Robert Snodgrass: The Tigers’ season went from bad to worse in a 6-1 defeat to Bournemouth last weekend and it’s hard to see any kind of transformation as they prepare to host an improving Stoke. Thier one shining light this season, Robert Snodgrass is the best pick from an underperforming bunch.
Leicester City (Crystal Palace H)
Riyad Mahrez: The Premier League player of the year in 2015/16, Riyad Mahrez has largely flattered to deceive domestically this season. In Europe however it’s been a completely different story. The Algerian international sealed the three points against Copenhagen with a goalscoring performance and with the Foxes all but qualified for the knock-out stages, Mahrez can turn his attentions and hopefully recapture his league form at home to Palace in Gameweek 9.
Liverpool (West Bromwich Albion H)
Roberto Firmino: The Brazilian has arguably been Liverpool’s stand out player this season, and his chipped in with three goals from both wide-midfield and withdrawn forward positions. With Daniel Sturridge largely anonymous in the 0-0 bore draw that was Liverpool v Manchester United, Firmino could well be reinstated to the centre-forward role, upping his goal threat considerably.
Manchester City (Southampton H)
Nolito: The tricky Spaniard made his presence felt last time out as he rose to finish off a David Silva cross an clinch a point for Manchester City away to Everton. Although suspension interrupted his run of games, the ex-Celta man has been a resounding positive for Pep Guardiola and likewise represents a canny fantasy investment.
Manchester United (Chelsea A)
Danny Blind: It was an accomplished defensive performance all-round for Manchester United in Gameweek 8 and although the likes of David De Gea and Antonio Valencia were the obvious recipients of praise, Daley Blind was again quietly effective. He kept the searing Sadio Mane in check and was instrumental to United’s solidity. He has also been one of the most creative defenders in the league with two assists and Jose Mourinho will need both sides of the coin in order to get a result at the bridge.
Middlesbrough (Arsenal A)
Stewart Downing: It’s been a troubling run of form of late and their summer imports are not making the desired impression. In times like this it can be best to revert to what you know and nothing fits that bill more for Middlesbrough than Stewart Downing. Facing Arsenal, don’t expect him to pull up trees, but with control over set-piece duties he currently holds the most creative potential.
Southampton (Manchester City A)
Charlie Austin: A brace against former club Burnley last Sunday was the latest chapter in Charlie Austin’s return to Premier League form. The striker now has seven in his last six across all competitions for Southampton and is starting to draw the interest of a large contingent of fantasy managers.
Stoke City (Hull City A)
Joe Allen: The Welsh Pirlo has been less a deep lying playmaker of late and more of a box to box goalscoring midfielder. Stoke’s fortunes have certainly taken an upturn as a result with an impressive draw with Manchester United and a win over Sunderland in Gameweek 8. Joe Allen has been central to that, contributing all three goals that Stoke have scored in that time.
Sunderland (West Ham A)
Jermain Defoe: There are so few positives currently at play for the Black Cats that Jermain Defoe and his four goal tally seem like the only option ahead of Gameweek 9. Only Costa, Ibrahimovic and Aguero have had more attempts on goal than the 33 year old this season and facing a an extremely leaky Hammers backline, he could feasibly come back to haunt his old side.
Swansea City (Watford H)
Borja Baston: Bob Bradley’s first game in charge may have ended in defeat but there were reasons to be positive. A debut Premier League goal for their big money signing was chief among the positive outcomes and Borja Baston will need to keep up such a level of performance in order to justify his price tag.
Tottenham Hotspur (Bournemouth A)
Hugo Lloris: The importance of the Spurs’ stopper cannot be understated and he proved it once more midweek as he cemented their draw with Leverkusen in the Champions League. No keeper has kept more clean sheets – 3 – than the Frenchman and against Bournemouth this weekend, you feel that he has a chance of stretching that tally.
Watford (Swansea City A)
Jose Holebas: No defender has made as many attempts on goal – 13 – and it’s an approach that clearly pays off, as the Greek international scored his second goal of the season in Gameweek 8.
West Bromwich Albion (Liverpool A)
Nacer Chadli: We predicted that the Belgian would come back to haunt his old employers and that’s precisely what he did as he helped the Baggies to a 1-1 draw against Spurs. Against a less than resolute Liverpool defence, Chadli could very well continue this purple patch.
West Ham United (Sunderland H)
Manuel Lanzini: The Argentinian started to look more like his old self with a winning goal in Gameweek 8 and could wreak havoc on a winless, injury ravaged Sunderland come Saturday.