It was well and truly a week for the regulars this time out, with the likes of Mahrez, Ozil, Kane and Lukaku all firing. It gave me what I thought was a pretty good score of 64 but only some very small green arrows, which has brought a theme to this week’s article; PODS. It seems to me that after a very crazy start to the season people have slowly adjusted to having a team they can be happy with. However, this has created a lot more ‘template’ teams with people a little less comfortable branching out and bringing in those POD’s ( roughly <5% ownership). I think I speak on behalf on a few of us when I say I have plateaued in recent weeks. I personally have floated between a high of 65k in gameweek 8 and a low of 96k after last week.
Watford v Man United
Likes; Man united certainly look to have made some progress on the attacking front, and if not for a lapse in concentration from Rojo, would have picked up their 9th clean sheet of the season. Sitting in second, with good fixtures to come, Rojo (5.5) (3.1%) looks a good way into the best defence in the league as long as you believe that his omission from the starting 11 was solely due to jet lag. On the attacking front Lingard (4.5) (0.9%) look like a potential cheap POD.
Dislikes; Rojo’s stupid tackle cost me a clean sheet and kept me on edge until the 93rd minute when the German maestro rescued my beloved United.
West Brom V Arsenal
Likes; Ozil (9.1) continues to deliver with assists and although the post prevented him from racking up more points for my side I’ll never complain when Arsenal lose. Despite a West Brom win there is no real fpl interest here nor are there any great POD’s coming out of the Arsenal, largely due to the real threat of rotation.
Dislikes; Sanchez (11.5) has now blanked for four weeks straight, although his highly appealing fixtures over the next 3 weeks (nor SUN avl), combined with his explosive potential is enticing me to hold.
Chelsea v Norwich
Likes; Chelsea played a lot better this week and if they can build on this solid home performance, albeit against Norwich, they will certainly add some spice to both the epl and fpl. As Mourinho continues to shuffle the team in the hope of trying to find some form, Willian (6.9) (4.7%) seems the only constant starter, and in light of decent upcoming attacking fixtures (tot BOU lei WAT) is a very sneaky POD option.
Dislikes; Courtois is getting closer to a return, thus diminishing the appeal of one of the few PODS I currently have in my team, Begovic (5.0) (2.1%).
Everton v Aston Villa
Likes; Everton are well and truly proving the worth of fixture based investment as they continue to make easy work of lower table teams. Lukaku (8.8) is well and truly at the centre of their impressive form, meanwhile an ability to keep up the clean sheets could see a soon to be returning Baines (6.1) (2.5%) emerge as big POD. Also despite no fpl returns on the weekend Deulofeu (6.3) (2.5%) was heavily involved on the weekend and remains a great POD going forward.
Dislikes; Early thoughts that Remi Garde would establish greater solidarity at the back were quickly diminished on the weekend. No real fpl relevance here.
Newcastle v Leicester
Likes; Vardy is well and truly the man and Mahrez isn’t far off either, chipping in once again with an assist. Despite tough upcoming fixtures it’s hard to suggest selling either of these players given they are well and truly running the show in the league’s top scoring team. In fact it could have easily been more for the pair this weekend. Although I don’t see the clean sheets being a common theme, Danny Simpson (4.0) (4.4%) is certainly a good bench filler.
Dislikes; Newcastle are really struggling this season and those who jumped on the Winjaldum bandwagon earlier in the season should have well and truly jumped off by now.
Stoke v Southampton
Likes; Despite a very shaky start to the season, Stoke have turned things around remarkably, particularly at the back, which has resulted in 5 clean sheets in the their last six. Wollscheild (4.3) (1.5%) has now become a regular starter and a genuine POD. Despite a disappointing loss, Southampton still looked pretty solid at the back, meaning Betrand (5.3) (2.0%) and Van Dijk (5.6) (3.6%) are also very viable PODS.
Dislikes; Pelle added a one game suspension to his disappointing run of performances. He was quickly shipped out of my team for Kane on Sunday night.
Swansea v Bournemouth
Likes; An entertaining game between two struggling sides. This game advanced King’s (4.6) (0.1%) appeal as an out of position POD as he looks to lock down the lone striker role in a Bournemouth side that continues to create chances, despite their inability to get points on the board. Ayew also continued to highlight his importance to the Swansea team with a goal and an assist, but is probably a little less attractive than other midfield options.
Dislikes; Asides from the two players mentioned above, these two struggling sides aren’t particularly fpl relevant right now.
Man City v Liverpool
Likes; Klopp’s Liverpool continue to provide a high intensity attacking game, whist also showing their knack for the big games. Despite the encouraging nature of Brazilian performances in this game, it’s still a little hard to predict the red’s line up. Nonetheless Firmino (8.0) (1.3%) could emerge as a fantastic POD route into a rapidly improving Liverpool attack. Despite an inability to keep clean sheets in recent weeks, their defence is certainly improving, making the very attacking Moreno (4.9) (4.0%) a POD I’m comfortable having in my team. Aguero’s fabulous solo goal was the only highlight in a disappointing night for the Sky Blues, placing him firmly on our watchlists as he looks to reaffirm his status as the best fpl player.
Dislikes; Man city look a totally different team altogether without the solidarity of Kompany and Otamendi at the back, which should make many of us consider laying off the significant fpl stake that many managers currently hold in the city team. Keep an eye out for Silva’s (9.9) return though, he also makes a huge difference and could actually be a great POD at 4.9% ownership.
Tottenham v West Ham
Likes; Tottenham are undefeated since gameweek 1 and look the real deal at the moment. A catalyst of this has been Harry Kane’s return to the form that saw him capture the attention of all fpl managers last seasons. Although the theme is PODS this week it’s hard to look anywhere else but straight at Kane (9.5). However, if you believe their defence will rediscover their early season form, Kyle Walker (5.0) (2.3%) could certainly serve as a both a POD and budget route into their defence. Eriksen (8.4) has also looked lively of late and this finally turned into points this week, increasing his appeal as a POD with 6.1% ownership.
Dislikes; Hard to tell if Tottenham were just way too good, or if West Ham really are a different team without Payet.
Crystal Palace V Sunderland
Likes; The pace and regularity of Palace’s attacks will encourage those who have targeted Bolasie (6.1) (4.3%) as a POD to hold tight.
Dislikes; Both of Sunderland’s wins under Allerdyce has seen them concede at least twice as many chances than the opposition, they are lucky to be where they are and that’s saying something.
Darren Rudolph Award; Wayne Hennessey got it all wrong, although it wasn’t entirely his fault, he will feel largely responsible for the loss.
Ryan Bennet Award; After 6 weeks, Erik Pieters had 6 fpl points, he scored 12 this week, a testament to Stoke’s improved defence, but a surprising score nonetheless.
Jonjo Shelvey Award; Ross Barkley. I know he is capable of big scores but to have one attacking return in the previous 7 weeks, which included a 6-2 win makes this week’s score of 19 a bit of an outlier.
‘Sir’ Jamie Vardy Award; after last week I proclaimed that the award shall be renamed if Vardy could equal the great Ruud Van Nistlerooy. This award is about people popping out of nowhere in a particular week. Jamie Vardy on the other hand game from a non-league nobody to premier league star in just over 3 years and thus the award remains symbolic of a rise from zero to hero, but now acknowledges Vardy’s efforts, in true British style, with the title of ‘Sir.’ This award’s first recipient is Firmino who despite being a fpl midfielder played as a forward. Until really only this week Firmino looked like he may have been yet another potential dud Liverpool transfer. However, he may like Sir Jamie Vardy be transforming from dud to stud very quickly.
Great to have the Premier League back after what seemed like an eternity. Biggest question for me right now is picking 3 strikers. What are you going with? Lukaku, Kane, Vardy for. Certainly keeping a close eye on Aguero though.
Oh and case you didn’t notice, Leicester lead the league, it’s this crazy stuff that makes the Premier League the most entertaining league in the world.