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The long international break has come to an end and Premier League action can finally resume.
Not all players have returned from international duty with a clean bill of health though so Fantasy Premier League managers will need to be diligent with their team selection.
Manchester United’s trip to Chelsea is the game of the weekend, while Manchester City should have a comfortable outing against Burnley at the Etihad.
Here are a few tips ahead of Gameweek 9.
CAPTAIN – RAHEEM STERLING | MANCHESTER CITY | 11.1M
Raheem Sterling’s low ownership at the start of the season was understandable. His price had skyrocketed from 8m to 11m. With Mohamed Salah’s value also rising to a hefty 13m, the Englishman was simply too expensive, especially for FPL managers keen on Harry Kane (12.5m) as well.
Ahead of GW9 though, the City winger looks far more appealing. With both Salah and Kane failing to live up to their price tags so far, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (11.3m) has been the star of the show so far. However, recent form suggests Sterling is proving a worthwhile alternative.
The England international has delivered attacking returns in four of his last five outings, only failing to do so against Liverpool at Anfield. With three goals and two assists in that time, Sterling is – alongside Sergio Aguero – City’s finest FPL asset at the moment.
Having ended his three-year goal drought with England in a 3-2 win over Spain, he should be brimming with confidence and faces Burnley at home.
In the last five GWs, Sterling is the only player who can match Hazard’s eight attempted assists and has managed two double-figure hauls in that time as well.
Hazard is still the premier option as he is Chelsea’s standout performer while City have three or four players who could deliver big for them. However, with the Belgian facing United this weekend, Sterling is worthy of the armband and only has an ownership of 6.3 per cent, making him a great differential as well.
SERGIO AGUERO (11.3m) has an equally strong case to be named captain this week as his team-mate Sterling. It’s a toss up between the two. The Argentine has two goals and an assist in his last three GWs despite the fact that he’s been afforded just one big chance in that time. He’s only going to get better service.
HARRY KANE (12.4m) was picked up by several managers ahead of Tottenham’s home fixture against Cardiff in GW8 and disappointingly blanked. If you do have him in your team though, he’s always a captain candidate. He’s been in good form for England and enjoys playing West Ham who they face away.
Matt Doherty (4.7m) is currently among the game’s finest assets having registered three double-figure hauls in the last four GWs from right wing-back. Wolves take on Watford at home who will be without suspended regular left-back Jose Holebas. Doherty has attempted 10 assists this season and no defender has taken more than his six shots on target.
TWO TO WATCH
KEVIN DE BRUYNE | MANCHESTER CITY | 9.7M
Definitely keep an eye on the progress of Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian is in contention to face Burnley this weekend. His price has fallen from 10m to 9.7m during his absence through injury, making him even more appealing. De Bruyne notched up eight goals and 18 assists last season. He also created a whopping 105 chances. David Silva was second for City with just 61.
GLENN MURRAY | BRIGHTON | 6.6M
Glenn Murray has always been good value for money. He’s stubbornly consistent and while he’s blanked four times this season, three of those fixtures were against Liverpool, City and and Spurs. Brighton boast a stellar run of fixtures in the next eight GWs and Murray has been in good form, bagging five goals in seven starts so far this season.
TWO TO AVOID
LUCAS MOURA | TOTENHAM | 7.4M
The purple patch for Lucas Moura may have run its course. From GW2 to GW4 he bagged three goals and an assist for 29 points but has blanked for the following four GWs despite playing the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield and Cardiff in that time. Spurs have City, Chelsea and Arsenal to face in the next seven GWs and there are better midfield options in his price bracket.
WILFRIED ZAHA | CRYSTAL PALACE | 7.0M
Wilfried Zaha has steadily chipped away with points this season but Crystal Palace’s upcoming run of fixtures puts him woefully out of favour. After a trip to Goodison Park this weekend, the Eagles face Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and United on the bounce. With a host of budget to mid-range strikers in good form, the Ivory Coast international is not worth holding on to during this stretch.
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