After a long and arduous international break, FPL finally returns this weekend to kickstart two non-stop months of footballing activity before the FIFA World Cup. There will be eight rounds of Premier League matches played over the next six weeks, which means plenty of opportunities for FPL managers to score points and rise through the rankings.
GW9 sees four of the biggest teams in the league face off with Arsenal hosting Tottenham in the North London Derby and Manchester United visiting Manchester City, and here are some of the biggest talking points ahead of the weekend.
Any 8m midfielder to James Maddison (7.9m)
GW9 might be the perfect time to get off your 8m midfielders from top sides, such as Dejan Kulusevski, Luis Diaz, and Bukayo Saka, in favour of Leicester City midfielder James Maddison. Although the Foxes are at the bottom of the table with no wins in seven games, Maddison has been one of the best-performing midfielders in Fantasy Premier League.
The Englishman has three goals and an assist in six matches this season. He also starts an exceptionally favourable run of fixtures, including games against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Leeds United in the next four.
Wilfried Zaha (7.2m)
Wilfried Zaha already has four goals in five starts this Premier League season and could be an incredible FPL option for managers all the way up to the World Cup break. Although he has only played 440 league minutes, Zaha’s underlying numbers are phenomenal. He is averaging 0.59 non-penalty xGi per 90 minutes for Palace and is also on spot kicks for the Eagles.
Crystal Palace have a tough fixture in GW9 at home to Chelsea but have an excellent run of games post that, with matches against Leeds, Southampton, and Wolves at home.
NPxGi per 90
Haaland (12.0 m)
Manchester United (H)
Salah (12.9 m)
Jesus (8.1 m)
Maddison (7.9 m)
Nottingham Forest (H)
Captaincy is a tricky decision in GW9 for Premier League fantasy football managers. The best player in Fantasy Premier League, Erling Haaland, has a complicated home game against Manchester United which could go either way, while Mohamed Salah has an easier home outing against Brighton.
Haaland is yet to blank in any of his seven appearances for Manchester City this season, scoring 11 goals and bagging an assist. Salah, on the other hand, hasn’t scored in each of his last three appearances for Liverpool and has looked noticeably ineffective this season for the Reds in his changed role. Haaland is likely to be the popular choice for FPL managers worldwide due to his barnstorming start to the season, but Salah could be a fantastic differential for this week despite his poor run of late.
With Arsenal playing Tottenham, the appeal to give the armband to Harry Kane or Gabriel Jesus reduces due to the unpredictability of the North London derby. One potential out-of-the-box captaincy option is James Maddison, with Leicester facing the worst defence in the league – Nottingham Forest – at home in GW9.
Shivaan’s FPL Team Selection for GW8: Wildcard activated, Mohamed Salah captain
After an incredibly profitable GW8 haul of 60 points, I activated my first wildcard of the season in GW9. With many teams’ having a fixture swing and just seven weeks before the game resets during the World Cup, this seemed like the perfect time for my fantasy football squad to use the wildcard.
In my FPL wildcard team, I have gone with the budget goalkeeping duo of Ward and Iversen from Leicester City, mostly to save money for the rest of my squad. In defence, the premium trio of Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Joao Cancelo are alongside Nico Williams and Marc Guehi. The midfield is settled, with Andreas Pereira as the budget enabler, three mid-priced options in Martinelli, Zaha, and Maddison, and one premium FPL asset in Mohamed Salah.
Up front, Erling Haaland and Aleksandar Mitrovic are must-haves for all Fantasy Premier League managers, and they are accompanied by Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke, who has a terrific run of fixtures coming up and offers value at 5.7m.
As for the captaincy, I have been switching between Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah throughout the international break, but I think the risk-taker in me will put the armband on the Egyptian in GW9 for the higher upside. Best of luck for Gameweek 9!