Simon Says: FPL Gameweek 11 Preview

In this article, I will look to provide Fantasy Premier League managers with my insight and predictions for the upcoming GW11

When I created this website and set out a structure for content, I decided against doing gameweek previews and reviews every week, as every man and his dog were at it and as such, it makes it very difficult to stand out, so the ‘Simon Says’ section was created to explore hot topics and key themes that emerged each week.

So far, I’ve managed to identify key themes each week enough to create articles around them, but this week I haven’t been able to do that, as every FPL pundit and website has said everything that’s possible to be said about City assets!

So, I’m going to attempt my very first gameweek preview article and I’m hoping that my own interpretation of the information available to us is unique enough to stand out and interesting enough for you to enjoy – I won’t hold my breath!

Stoke vs Leicester 

  • Key player: Jamie Vardy, £8.6m, 15% ownership
  • Differential: Riyad Mahrez, £8.4m, 4.5% ownership
  • Score prediction: 2-2
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I think there’s goals in this game, simply put. As mentioned in previous articles we’ve written (FPL Captain Choices: Gameweek 11), Stoke have conceded the joint most big chances (26) of any team in the Premier League, along with Crystal Palace. Conversely, Leicester are, rather surprisingly, one of the teams to concede the fewest amount of big chances (11) with Manchester City who have also conceded 11 and Spurs being the lowest with just 7.

However, whilst they aren’t conceding big chances, they are more than attempting to make up for that with the sheer amount of shots they’re conceding on their goal! They are the worst team for it with a mammoth 166 total goal attempts conceded, with 82 in the box. So all that adds up to goals and if there’s goals, it’s hard to see party man Jamie Vardy not getting amongst them, after getting back to the goals last week from Mahrezs’ accurate low cross.

Huddersfield vs WBA

  • Key player: Aaron Mooy, £5.6m, 8.1% ownership
  • Differential: Laurent Depoitre, £5.2m, 0.5% ownership
  • Score prediction: 1-1
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WBA started out very WBA indeed, with two 1-0 wins at home to Bournemouth and then away to Burnley, but since then, they’ve gone gone on a run that’s now at 9 games without a win (5 wins, 4 draws) and I can’t see them getting the win this weekend either. Huddersfield are a good team at home and with the result against Manchester United still relatively fresh in their minds, they’ll be able to draw confidence from that.

Saying that, this is a game Pulis needs to win and they’ll be up for it after putting in a spirited performance in their 3-2 loss to Manchester City. Huddersfield will look to control the game with Mooy as their orchestrator and WBA will sit deep and play compact in order to limit the spaces for Huddersfield’s attackers. WBA will think they’ll have enough about them defensively to see off the Terrier’s attack and will look to take their chances on the break, as well as their set-pieces.

Newcastle vs Bournemouth

  • Key player: Matt Ritchie, £5.9m, 4.6% ownership
  • Differential: Joselu, £5.5m, 1.2% ownership
  • Score prediction: 2-0
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I was expecting good things from Bournemouth this season with the business they concluded over the summer, but it’s been disappointing so far. I think we have to be fair and say they’ve had some difficult fixtures to begin with, but even in the games that were winnable for them, they really haven’t performed and I don’t expect it to get much better for them this weekend against a team who have been very solid at home (3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss).

Bournemouth have created just 1 big chance on the road and are the second worst team, behind Swansea, for goal attempts away from home with 36. With King also a major doubt for the weekend, I struggle to see them scoring here, as Rafa will undoubtedly keep it compact. With Ritchie playing against his former club, he’ll be more than up for this game and as their central playmaker, I can see Newcastle getting a goal or two with him amongst the attacking returns.

West Ham vs Liverpool 

  • Key player: Mohamed Salah, £9.2m, 36.2% ownership
  • Differential: André Ayew, £6.9m, 1.3% ownership
  • Score prediction: 2-4
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Another game I’m predicting to have plenty of goals in. Liverpool have conceded an almighty 15 goals away from home, mainly down to the City 5-0 loss, so there’s a good chance West Ham get on the scoresheet at least. As far as the Hammers are concerned, only Stoke (20) and Palace (21) have conceded more goals than they have to date (19) and it’s very difficult to see Liverpool not scoring a fair few at the London stadium this weekend, even without their star man Coutinho, who’s a major doubt for this fixture.

Salah has demonstrated consistently solid attacking returns so far and he’ll be the one looking to get in behind the defence and the one I’m predicting to do the most damage for Liverpool. For West Ham, André Ayew seems to be the man of the moment with 3 goals in his last 2 appearances and given that they’re not struggling for goals and Liverpool are struggling to defend away from home, I’m backing Ayew to get on the scoresheet again in this fixture.

Southampton vs Burnley

  • Key player: Virgil van Dijk, £5.4m, 2.0% ownership
  • Differential: Gabbiadini, £6.6m, 3.2% ownership
  • Score prediction: 1-0
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Burnley have been brilliant away from home in the Premier League this season, with wins against Chelsea and Everton, as well as draws against Spurs and Liverpool however, I think Southampton will turn them over on the weekend. They have enough quality in their team to get a goal and they generally keep the ball well enough to prevent Burnley having too many ventures forward.

Against WBA, Saints had 66% of the possession and I can see this fixture going a similar route with Burnley sitting deep and looking to hit Saints on the counter. Whilst they’ve been grabbing some goals away from home, the underlying stats suggest that it can’t last with them only having created 2 big chances so far away from Turf Moor. With van Dijk back in the starting 11 for Saints, they’re beginning to look stronger defensively and as such, I can’t see Burnley scoring in this one. Gabbiadini has been getting 90 mins in the last few games, so I’m backing him to get involved if they score.

Man City vs Arsenal

  • Key player: Sergio Agüero, £11.8m, 23% ownership
  • Differential: Alexis Sánchez, £11.8m, 3.3% ownership
  • Score prediction: 3-1
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Arsenal have a half decent record at the Etihad in recent times with 2 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats in their last 7 visits to the blue side of Manchester in all competitions and when they meet, there’s invariably goals. Of the last 10 times these two teams have faced at the Etihad, 8 games have featured 3 or more goals with both teams finding the net in 6 of them and there’s nothing to suggest that this Sunday will be any different, with City scoring goals for fun at the minute and Arsenal performing pretty poorly away from home, where they’ve conceded 9 goals.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Arsenal though. Now that they have Lacazette, Özil and Sánchez all playing together, I can only imagine that’s good for their efficiency in attack, as displayed in the demolition of Everton’s defence a few games back. This game should be open enough for Arsenal to get a goal and if they do I’m backing it to be Sánchez, who generally does well against City with 2 goals and 2 assists against them in his last 5 appearences in all competitions. However, City are flying at the minute and it’s hard to see Wenger’s men getting anything from this one. Agüero has 4 goals in his last 6 appearances in all competitions for City against Arsenal, so provided Pep doesn’t rotate him, I’m expecting him to be the main man for City.

Swansea vs Brighton

  • Key player: Tammy Abraham, £5.9m, 15% ownership
  • Differential: Alfie Mawson, £5.0m, 1.2% ownership
  • Score prediction: 2-1
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If Swansea want to survive this season, they’re going to need to start picking up wins in these kinds of games at the Liberty. They’ve been poor there this year, but have demonstrated resilience away from home. If they can translate their resilience from away games to home games and add a bit to their attacking play, then I can see them taking advantage of the kind run of fixtures coming up, starting with a win this weekend in this fixture. Both teams find it hard to score goals, but I think both will see this game as winnable and will attempt to win it, which should leave spaces for the attackers.

Tammy Abraham has been in great form for the Swans and he’s really starting to build his confidence ahead of a great run of fixtures, that have seen his ownership shoot up in recent weeks. He’s got 4 goals and an assist so far this campaign and I expect him to add to that tally this weekend – so do 100k other FPL managers who have drafted him in this week. Alfie Mawson bagged 4 goals last year and reminded us of that fact and the goal threat he possesses, when he got himself on the scoresheet for the first time this season against Leicester the week before. With Carrol’s accurate deliveries, Mawson is always a danger and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him score again.

Everton vs Watford

  • Key player: Richarlison, £6.4m, 16.4% ownership
  • Differential: Calvert-Lewin, £5.0m, 2% ownership
  • Score prediction: 1-2
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Marco Silva really has done a fantastic job at Watford so far, particularly away from home where they boast the 4th best record in the Premier League. They’ve got 3 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss in 5 games away from Vicarage road and have scored 10 goals in doing so, which could have been more had Richarlison took his two glorious chances at Stamford Bridge, where they were brilliant for the vast majority of the game. A struggling Everton side up next for them and guess what? It’s at Everton.

Not only do Watford have a brilliant record away from home, but so does their Brazilian wonder boy Richarlison, who’s got 3 goals and 2 assists to his name. He’s looking utterly fearless and possesses all the necessary attributes to really trouble Everton on the weekend with his skill and pace. Everything points towards this man taking the game by the scruff of the neck and I’m backing him to do so for his owners. Whilst Watford have been good, they have conceded a fair few goals (18) and Everton, whilst struggling, have the quality to get on the scoresheet and I’m predicting that they will and that their young talent Calvert-Lewin will be involved.

Chelsea vs Manchester United

  • Key player: Romelu Lukaku, £11.6m, 51.6% ownership
  • Differential: Pedro, £7.9m, 2.5% ownership
  • Score prediction: 1-1
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Mourinho has a rare chance to actually put the plans for the triple decker bus down and really attempt to take the game to Chelsea on Sunday, but I doubt he will do that. I expect this to be another very tight, tactical game with both teams likely cancelling each other out however, given the nature of Chelsea’s recent result in mid week, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see United knick this game. It all depends on how adventurous Mourinho is feeling and he rarely takes too many risks.

Stamford Bridge hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for United in the past, with just 3 wins coming in the last 20 games. Saying that, Chelsea really don’t look right at the moment. They arguably should have lost to Watford, with Richarlison missing such easy chances, weren’t convincing at all against a very poor Everton side and we all know how their game against Roma went.

So this really could be a good chance for Lukaku to show his critics that he can do it in the big games and I think he’s going to get back to the goals this weekend. Chelsea’s defence just looks so poor at the minute and Lukaku and co should be able to exploit it. On the Chelsea side of things, the focus, tactically speaking, will be keeping Hazard quiet and I think Pedro could slip under Mourinho’s radar and pop up with something to stop United getting what would be a huge win.

Spurs vs Palace

  • Key player: Harry Kane, £12.6m, 30.4% ownership
  • Differential: Heung-Min Son, £7.9m, 1.3% ownership
  • Score prediction: 4-0
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We were so reliant on Spurs at White Hart Lane last season that we almost expect them to win 4/5-0 every time they’re at home against a weaker side, but this hasn’t happened yet. This is the kind of game us FPL managers want to see Spurs take off in, as they have struggled to do it for us so far at Wembley this year. Some will be so wary of this that they may even look elsewhere for the captain, but it’s Kane all day for me. Any one of the 3 pictured above could do the damage, but I’m backing Harry to finally explode in a game that he really ought to be doing well in.

Some might even argue that Kane could be rested for the visit of Palace, but I would disagree. Spurs sit 8pts off league-leaders City and simply can’t afford to drop more points in games like this and that, to me, means playing his best team. Kane starts for me, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come off early if Spurs are winning comfortably by that point, but aside from that, there’s no doubt in my mind Kane starts.

Palace have the unfortunate pleasure of an unwelcome record in the form of the worst team in the league for big chances conceded, along with Stoke, on 26. Kane and co have just come off the back of a momentous victory against world giants Real Madrid, beating them 3-1 at Wembley on Tuesday night and you have to think that the morale must be through the roof right now and that they’ll use that to their advantage against Roy’s Palace. I really can’t see anything other than a comfortable Spurs win.

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