The international break couldn’t come quickly enough for my side after the loss in Gameweek 7. @SportsByGotti handed me my biggest loss of the season thanks to goals from Chelsea’s Willian and Callum Wilson of Bournemouth. A Matt Phillips assist was just the icing on the cake, as my side were humbled by nearly twenty points. The (biased) fixtures computer pits my squad against that of @TAMc10 in Gameweek 8. @TAMc10 would have beaten out my side if we had faced each other in each of the last five gameweeks. Will this week be any different? I’ll need an improvement from my players to upset the odds.
|A World Cup without Joe Allen is not one I want to watch|
As usual with international breaks, most squads will now be fretting over the fitness of many players. My side is not immune from this, and the biggest red flag this week is hanging over the most in form player in my squad, Joe Allen. The World Cup qualifiers did throw up some questions about some other players in my squad. How come Arnautovic has scored more goals for Austria this season than Stoke City? Jesse Lingard acquainted himself well with England, can the 1m signing become a regular starter for my fantasy side?
Tate will be fretting over a number of players before Saturday. One of his highest points scorers, Adam Lallana, is still recovering from a groin injury. He’ll have to decide is it worth leaving a roster spot open for the Monday night game between Liverpool and Manchester United, or use up his players during the weekend games. He also has Marcus Rashford in his squad; can he risk leaving two spots open to play before Monday? This really becomes a conundrum for Tate as both his other Forward players, Alexis Sanchez and Abel Hernandez are playing at three o’clock on Saturday.
Three players he won’t have to think too hard about including this gameweek are a Midfielder and a pair of Defenders that have been putting up consistent double digit scores. Azpilicueta and Koscielny at the back both have home fixtures that look like possible clean sheet opportunities. Burnley travel to Southampton on Sunday, Steven Defour already has a goal and three assists this season, but all of those came at Turf Moor and The Saints have kept three clean sheets in a row at home, perhaps Tate will rotate his fourth highest scorer to the bench.
What I Need To Happen
While @TAMc10 has two Arsenal players, I have two of my own, Bellerin and Cazorla. If the Gunners can breach the Swansea rear-guard and dent the points total of @TAMc10’s goalkeeper, I hope the Spaniards are the one’s doing the damage. Unfortunately I also have two players competing in the Monday night game, both for Man Utd. But should I gamble on the fitness of Henrikh Mkhitaryan? Should I try and second guess the starting eleven of Jose Mourinho? Will it include the Armenian, or Jesse Lingaard? Not only is the Fantrax fixtures computer against me, but the Premier League fixture makers are out to screw me over too!
I need Joe Allen to be fit. I need the Welsh wizard to be playing. I need Stoke to let loose against Sunderland in their relegation six-pointer. If Joe starts and doesn’t score 40 points I’ll be severely disappointed. Yet if Allen cannot overcome his hamstring niggle, I can fall back on the goal that is inevitably coming from Jack Wilshere….
|Wilshere scoring away in Slovenia (16 months ago)|
The previously undefeated @EPL_MOstradamus suffered a first reversal of the year which tightened up the league, and just goes to show how hard it is to predict a winner between all the managers. Anyone can beat anyone. Not only did I get that matchup prediction wrong, but got four other predictions wrong too. Leaving only four correct. Not a great week, but if you follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter you will see this week’s predictions all come true, probably.
Good Luck Everyone.