Premier League Predictions and FPL tips – Gameweek 9
The Premier League is back after the international break.
Will any teams be rusty after a fortnight of not playing together?
Here’s our take on this week’s action – as well as our Fantasy tips and predictions…
Chelsea vs Man Utd, 12:30pm
Saturday lunchtime brings a humdinger of a game to announce the return of the Premier League in style, with potential plot lines all over the place. Can the late salvo at Old Trafford two weeks ago help make it a memorable return to Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho – or will the pressure be piled straight back on?
For his part, Maurizio Sarri will be hoping for all three points to underline his side’s staying power in the title race – particularly after the frustration of conceding late against Liverpool at home last month.
Safe pick: Eden Hazard, Chelsea, £11.3m
Value pick: David de Gea, Man Utd, £5.9m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: Expect a classic Mourinho set-up against a fellow ‘Big Six’ outfit – although even that might not be enough to prevent a Chelsea side enjoying life under Sarri snatching all three points with their extra attacking quality.
Bournemouth vs Southampton
Two South Coast rivals go head-to-head at the Vitality on Saturday, but only one side will be actively looking forward to the return of Premier League football.
Bournemouth’s 4-0 away mauling of Watford will give Mark Hughes plenty to think about as he tries to get a tune out of a Saints side that still look devoid of confidence – particularly once they concede.
Safe pick: Josh King, Bournemouth, £6.4m
Value pick: Nathan Redmond, Southampton, £5.3m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: A derby that has probably come at just the wrong time for a badly out-of-form Saints side. Eddie Howe’s remarkable work at the Cherries continues to impress, and they should move further clear out of the relegation conversation here.
Cardiff City vs Fulham
Two teams who can’t buy a win meet at the Cardiff City Stadium. Neil Warnock will surely sniff blood against a Fulham side wobbling badly at the back – if the Bluebirds can finally find some shooting boots.
Slaviša Jokanović needs to find a defensive formula that works for his side to at least keep the Cottagers competitive before the January transfer window opens.
Safe pick: Josh Murphy, Cardiff, £4.8m
Value pick: Kevin McDonald, Fulham, £4.4m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: The Bluebirds missed a golden chance for a first Premier League victory against struggling Burnley a few weeks ago, but this could finally be the week where they get that monkey off their back against a Fulham side that needs to learn how to box clever in the Premier League.
Man City vs Burnley
After successfully nullifying his nearest rivals two weeks ago, Pep Guardiola will be hoping it’s a return to business as usual this weekend against a Burnley side steadily improving but still not quite clicking to the extraordinary heights of last season.
This is the start of a tricky quartet of games for Sean Dyche’s side – will he settle for damage limitation?
Safe pick: Raheem Sterling, Man City, £11.1m
Value pick: Ashley Barnes, Burnley, £5.7m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: It won’t be the easiest game for City at the Etihad, but a comfortable home win beckons for the Citizens once they break Burnley’s stubborn resistance.
Newcastle vs Brighton
The frustrations continue for Rafa Benitez after his Magpies side somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last time out.
A home game against a Brighton side with a woeful away record provides the perfect opportunity to finally build some momentum – although the Seagulls have shown already this season they can stay in a game and take one chance when it arrives.
Safe pick: Matt Ritchie, Newcastle, £5.9m
Value pick: Maty Ryan, Brighton, £4.5m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: This same fixture finished in a drab 0-0 draw last season, and you wouldn’t bet against the Seagulls similarly digging their heels in to settle for another stalemate against a shot-shy Newcastle side.
West Ham vs Spurs
With Spurs’ injury troubles continuing, can West Ham turn a traditionally feisty London Derby to their advantage on Saturday afternoon?
The Hammers showed a little complacency in their 1-0 defeat to Brighton at the Amex and need to start showing evidence that their bumper summer spending spree was worthwhile.
Safe pick: Kieran Trippier, Spurs, £6.3m
Value pick: Pedro Obiang, West Ham, £4.4m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: Derbies can be cagey affairs, but both these sides can entertain in the right mood, and the slightly makeshift nature of the likely starting XIs on show means a high-scoring draw could be on the cards at the London Stadium.
Wolves vs Watford
The season’s early surprise package, Watford, take on the season’s current surprise package, Wolves, at Molineux – but can the Hornets stop the rot against a Wolves side that already look closer to the likes of Everton and Leicester than the rest of the relegation strugglers?
Gracia will be all too aware a losing run rarely ends well for any Watford boss, and will surely aim for a clean sheet as a minimum to start restoring confidence.
Safe pick: Roberto Pereyra, Watford, £6.2m
Value pick: Ryan Bennett, Wolves, £4.2m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: Not the game Javi Gracia would have picked to follow a 4-0 home mauling. Nuno’s fearless Wolves side to continue their upward trajectory.
Huddersfield vs Liverpool, 5:30pm
It’s friends reunited in Yorkshire on Saturday evening, as Jürgen Klopp comes up against the best man at his wedding, David Wagner.
Football rarely shows any room for sentiment however, and the Reds boss will surely be aware his side have been below par in recent weeks. Expect the Terriers to battle as they always do – but their resistance may be futile.
Safe pick: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool, £9.3m
Value pick: Christopher Schindler, Huddersfield, £4.3m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: A game that has come at the perfect moment for Jürgen Klopp with an open opportunity for the Reds to get back to their fluent best with a hassle-free away victory.
Everton vs Crystal Palace 4:00pm
Sunday’s TV game brings a meeting of two sides currently moving in different directions, with Palace manager Roy Hodgson aware that his Palace side has squandered golden opportunities against Wolves, Bournemouth and Newcastle for vital points in the race for survival.
Everton have been inconsistent this season but seem to finally be hitting their stride after following up their comfortable 3-0 win against Fulham with a clinical 2-1 win away to Leicester.
Safe pick: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton, £7.4m
Value pick: Wayne Hennessey, Crystal Palace, £4.6m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: Things finally look like they are clicking for Toffees boss Marco Silva after a subdued start to his tenure on Merseyside. Expect their additional star quality to shine through against a Palace side still overly reliant on Wilfried Zaha.
Arsenal vs Leicester, 8:00pm
Are Arsenal genuine contenders for a Champions League place? It would be foolish to rule them out the race given their current hot streak in the Premier League, but their reputation as flat-track bullies against sides outside of the Top Six will surely face its sternest test yet against a Foxes outfit that blows hot and cold.
Puel’s side is still capable of springing the odd surprise, but victory at the Emirates may be a stretch.
Safe pick: Mesut Özil, Arsenal, £8.3m
Value pick: Ben Chilwell, Leicester, £5.0m
Fantasy Football Analyst prediction: Another relaxed home win for the Gunners to back up the Arsenal board’s decision to finally move the club in a new direction last summer.
Find more FPL Tips here.
All image sources from PA Images