This week in Talking Points we look at what to look out for in game week 10 to be prepared for the early game week 11 transfer. We look at the teams with a good run of games and the teams with a tough run of games, and we consider the implications of last weekend’s formation changes and if these will be repeated this weekend. All the while we chat about this weekend’s action in our comments section.
Good Runs from game week 10 onwards
Stoke are unbeaten in four Premier League games, winning two and drawing two, which their best run since March. They could extend that positive run with a very favourable set of games against Swansea (H), West Ham (A), Bournemouth (H), Watford (A) and Burnley (H).
Since Lee Grant was introduced in GW6, he has racked up nineteen points, keeping two clean sheets and scoring a bonus points in the process. He is without a doubt the budget keeper of the moment and Hughes won’t want to force Butland to come back quickly. Getting Grant now and then replacing your other keeper with Butland when he returns could be a good strategy for the rest of the season.
In midfield Shaqiri came to life with a brace, both goals from outside the area. All three of his goals this season have come from outside the area – more than any other player. Allen and Arnautovic remain good options too as they are very involved and keep getting in dangerous positions. On the other hand, don’t purchase Bony as he is yet to open his Stoke account and as a result is low on confidence.
Liverpool continue their march and share first spot with Arsenal and Manchester City. There is no reason to believe the machine will stop, as the next five games against Palace (A), Watford (H), So’ton (A), Sunderland (H) and Bournemouth (A) all look winnable.
Since Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge, there have been more Premier League goals netted in games involving Liverpool than any other team. This shows Liverpool have been fantastic going forward, but whilst on attack, sometimes they are left vulnerable at the back. Loris Karius doesn’t install any confidence in his defenders so if you’re looking for a Liverpool defender we recommend Clyne as he can joins in attack down the flanks and doesn’t solely rely on clean sheets. On the image below (left) you can see that Liverpool preferred attacking West Brom over the right and the average position (right) shows how high Clyne was.
In midfield we keep on singing the same tune, pick a Liverpool midfielder according to your budget and stick to it. Consider doubling up to fully capitalize on form and fixtures.
Leicester have disappointed so far this season, with their priority seemingly lying in the Champion’s League. They face a daunting trip to Spurs next, but after that, four winnable games against West Brom (H), Watford (A), Middlesbrough (H) and Sunderland (A).
The Foxes have been able to continue the home reputation from last season, as they remain unbeaten at home this term (three wins and two draws). They are one game away (W13 D7) from matching the longest unbeaten home run in the top flight since Chelsea’s 21-game streak which ended in August 2015. Away from home however they are on a barren run of four consecutive losses. Given this, setting up a defensive rotation with a Leicester player is a good idea as they have every chance to shut out any visitors at the King Power Stadium.
In attack the Tinkerman has been back to his old tricks as the busy Champion’s League schedule has forced him to rotate his attackers, including star players Vardy and Mahrez. This game time risk and the lack of form makes it difficult to recommend a player now, monitor over the next period and look for improvements.
Bad Runs from game week 10 onwards
West Ham grabbed a late winner to register their second 1-0 win a row against Sunderland. Bilic will recognise the importance of this dramatic winner, with a home game against a revitalised Stoke, which seems to be the easiest game in the next five. The other four read Everton (A), Spurs (A), Man Utd (A) and Arsenal (H).
Similarly to Conte at Chelsea, Bilic opted to start playing three central defenders to shore up defence. This system has reaped rewards so far, as the Hammers recorded two clean sheets in a row since switching to this system. It also suits wingbacks Cresswell (who is back next week) and to a lesser extent Antonio, as they can get to the byline and whip in crosses. Cresswell looks a great option as he’s actually listed as a defender in the game, so you can hold for now. Antonio has faded compared to his impressive start and suffered some price drops recently.
Edimilson Fernandes individual highlights VS Sunderland. Incredible home debut. pic.twitter.com/m8EilMI66l
— WestHamFCLive (@WestHamFCLive) October 24, 2016
Fellow midfielder Dimitri Payet provided another assist. Only Mesut Ozil (19) has provided more Premier League assists than him (16) since the start of last season. Every attack is running through Payet and as he’s shown this season, the team doesn’t necessarily need to be in form for him to score points. Over the weekend, Payet created six chances – more than any other player. Hold him through this run of games.
Chelsea chalked up their third consecutive win but have some tricky games in the next five, as they face So’ton (A), Everton (H), Middlesbrough (A), Spurs (H) and Man City (A).
After the defeat to Arsenal which marked their third winless game in a row, Conte decided to change to a 3-4-3 formation and the Blues haven’t looked back since. Three wins in a row with the latest a resounding win against former Stamford Bridge favourite Jose Mourinho. The change in formation has brought out the best in both attack and defence, so despite the difficult run of games you can hold on to your Chelsea assets or even consider to buy one for the long term.
The winning streak also brought three clean sheets, and the main benefits of the new system are undoubtedly the wing backs Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses. Bombing forward and supporting attack, they have every chance to get assists or have a go at goal themselves. We recommend Alonso as he’s listed as a defender in the game, which means he can fully capitalise on clean sheets. Alonso is also a prime candidate for bonus points, against United he made four interceptions and won 100% of his aerial duels.
Eden Hazard is also enjoying the new formation as he gets a lot of freedom and is allowed to play high up the pitch, sometimes even further than Diego Costa. Both are very involved in attacks and are good choices going forward.
Other Talking Points
- Manchester United continue to disappoint as they failed to win for three consecutive games. The defence did not look focused against Chelsea and gifted a goal after thirty seconds, the start of a below-par performance overall. The attacking play also needs improvement and star man Ibrahimovic has not scored a goal since GW4. The price tag of the Man United assets is too high to keep on to them while they’re underperforming, whilst there are better replacements elsewhere.
- The noisy neighbours are on a bit of a slump themselves, as they drew for the second time in a row against Southampton following the loss against Spurs the week before. The defence is still not quite sorted out while the attack is not clicking as it was in the beginning of the season. Sterling is no longer involved and looks more like the player that disappointed last year than the one who impressed in the first six weeks. De Bruyne went off with an injury at half time and these injuries are starting to frustrate his owners. Aguero has not scored for three weeks, and the rumours that Pep want to replace him with Aubameyang will not improve his confidence. Hold on to one player for now, but don’t double up.
- Southampton continue to impress as pre-season favourite Redmond got on the scoresheet again. His partner in crime Charlie Austin was kept quiet but is still the prime candidate to occupy the third striker spot. The defence looked very solid again and a Saints defender looks like a shrewd investment long term.
- Our buy recommendation for Lukaku still stands as he was on the FPL scoresheet again, providing the assist for Bolasie’s goal.
- Sunderland are now without a league win in 10 attempts, losing seven and drawing three. You can hold Defoe if you believe he will get the occasional goal and Pickford for his price, but any other Sunderland player should be sold.
- Swansea are without a win in their last eight Premier League matches, drawing two and losing six. Bob Bradley hasn’t been able to provide a shock effect as of yet and the Swans upcoming games are a bit of a mixed bag (Stoke (A), Man Utd (H), Everton (A) and Palace (H)), so stay away for now.
- Crystal Palace have conceded in their past 15 Premier League away games, their longest run on the road in the Premier League without a clean sheet. If you have any Palace defenders, bench them for away games.
- Hull’s decline continues and they have now conceded 19 goals in their last five Premier League games, as many as in their previous 16 in the competition. Sell all if you haven’t already.