SportSoccer

Five talking points ahead of FPL Gameweek 10

SoccerBy Colm Hayes
Theo Walcott is no stranger to injury
Theo Walcott is no stranger to injury

Theo Walcott's injury has changed the plans of many a fantasy manager, while Sergio Aguero is burning a 13million-pound hole in our fantasy pockets ahead of GW10.

Aguero

Who'd have thought that nine weeks into the season, the merit of having the Premier League's best striker in your FPL team would be questioned?

However, Sergio Aguero's lofty price tag (now £13.0m after a fall last night) combined with a return of two points in three gameweeks has seen the Argentine's stock plummet.

Having failed to start against Everton in GW8, and then being left on the bench for a mammoth Champions League clash in Barcelona, worries surfaced that Aguero might not be Guardiola's type.

However, ahead of City's loss to Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, the Spanish boss had this to say on the striker:

I want to be clear again. I am so happy with Sergio and hopefully he can stay for a long time here. I want from deep in my heart he can stay here and play with us.

 

He is a special player, he is a striker who scores millions of goals in his career. I know for strikers it depends on the moment, but we cannot forget how many goals he scores for us.

It would seem that the rumours of Aguero sustaining an injury during the last international break may be the real reason behind the Argentina striker's lack of minutes and apparent sluggishness.

This clip from Wednesday night certainly suggests that the City hitman is not at 100%, with a Sky pundit commentating that maybe Aguero is carrying a minor knock:

Despite all of this, Guardiola's team have an alluring schedule [West Brom (a), Middlesbrough (h), Crystal Palace (a), Burnley (a)] over the next four gameweeks.

If Aguero re-finds his form quickly, those selling will live with serious regret. However, with the Citizens hosting Barcelona this Wednesday, the striker may not play 90 minutes at the Hawthorns; though he has proved time and again that he can bring in points hauls in much less time.

Once again, Aguero represents a huge dilemma in FPL, whether you're sticking with him or getting rid.

What to do with Walcott?

The biggest fantasy news this week has come in the form of a Theo Walcott hamstring tweak. Brought in by almost 90,000 managers since Saturday, the Arsenal forward now looks extremely likely to miss a juicy away tie against Sunderland before two tough fixtures for the Gunners [Tottenham (h), Manchester United (a)].

If you own another Arsenal attacker, the obvious solution seems to be to ship the England man out to accommodate attacking assets from the likes of Liverpool or Stoke City. However, between GW13-15, Arsenal have home ties against Bournemouth and Stoke sandwiching another London derby against West Ham.

Those who have just picked Walcott up can look to those fixtures as a reason to hold, considering the fact that the winger is only likely to miss this weekend's fixture.

However, a strong bench will be required in order to compensate for the £8.1m man this weekend, who is well known for regularly picking up slight injuries which have frustrated owners in previous seasons.

Liverpool schedule ripe for double up?

An enticing run of fixtures for Jurgen Klopp's team means that FPL managers can seriously consider a double helping of Liverpool's rampant attack. Walcott's injury has only added to the allure of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and, to a lesser extent, Adam Lallana.

As we have seen over the opening nine gameweeks, it is a lottery as to which Reds asset will score the most points in a given week. Owning two of the above four players gives FPL bosses a better chance of garnering points from a Liverpool fixture, as the league's joint-highest scoring side play just two of the current top eight [Southampton (a), Everton (a)] over the next nine gameweeks.

Backing against the Tigers

With 22 goals conceded over the first nine fixtures of the season, Hull City look to be belatedly taking up the mantle of Premier League whipping boys.

Nineteen of those goals have come since GW5, with the Tigers having made a surprisingly good start to the season before letting the floodgates open. That average of almost four goals conceded per game is a worrying statistic, with Bournemouth putting six past the Tigers in GW8.

Michael Dawson's return to fitness may offer Mike Phelan more solidity in defence but Hull are still operating with a threadbare squad. Is it time for Fantasy managers to begin basing their transfers on attackers playing the currently-lame Tigers? In Troy Deeney and Charlie Austin, Hull's backline face two strikers in the next two weeks that have the ability to punish any sign of defensive frailty.

With picking a consistent third striker proving relatively difficult at the moment, managers could do worse than look to Hull's fixture list for inspiration.

Can Bournemouth provide the cherry on top?

Away to Middlesbrough, home to Sunderland and away to Stoke is a schedule that would catch the eye of any FPL player who peruses the fixture list. Since getting trounced 4-0 by Man City in GW5, Eddie Howe's side are unbeaten (two wins, two draws).

After putting six past Hull, the Cherries showed their steely side with a 0-0 draw at home to Spurs. Having enjoyed a price rise to £5.6m after a 21-point haul at the KCOM stadium, Junior Stanislas was ruled out through injury for GW9.

The winger's fitness is still in doubt, which promotes both Charlie Daniels and Callum Wilson as the most enticing Bournemouth assets. A fantasy darling last year with three goals, five assists and seven clean sheets, Daniels opened both attacking accounts against Hull. Howe's team have conceded just three times since GW5, while the full back's raids from the left could prove fruitful.

Wilson, meanwhile, has both scored and assisted twice in the last four gameweeks. The striker should also still be the Cherries' designated penalty taker, despite Stanislas netting from the spot against Hull. Howe had this to say after the 6-1 thrashing of Hull in GW8:

We always like the players to take responsibility; we had a designated penalty taker.

 

For whatever reason he didn't want to take it, so that's something we'll look at.  

The 24-year-old has been transferred in by nearly 37,000 managers ahead of Bournemouth's fixture at the Riverside on Saturday, with a rise in price from £6.5m looking likely.