Arguably the most hated club owner in Europe, Mike Ashley has dangled Newcastle United (and not for the first time) to a few prospective buyers. Ashley wants the club sold by the New Year, but the HMRC’s pursuit of tax abuses by the club could significantly hamper that forecast. Nonetheless, Rafa and the 50K faithful Geordies who turn up at St. James on Saturday will dare to dream of a future with competent ownership. What does that mean for #EPLdraft? Probably nothing! But with an in-form Zaha coming to town, I like this fixture more than most this weekend.
Let’s get started.
- Postscript from GW8: The points weren’t rolling in for defenders during Burnley vs. West Ham, but all bets were off when Andy Carroll lost what little mind he has left and was promptly sent off in the 27th minute. Southampton’s overrated fullbacks, Cedric and Ryan Bertrand, were once again outside the top 40 in scoring. On the left, Bertand defers most wing play opportunities to Redmond and despite his quality, the majority of Cedric’s crosses continue to find mostly opposing centrebacks.
- Studs: Azpilicueta and Davide Zappacosta were terrified every time Wilfried Zaha was on the ball last Saturday and so long as Hodgson slots him in as a left-sided striker, Zaha is a top 10 midfield start, period. When the Clarets travel to the Etihad, they’ll find waiting for them one Leroy Sane who’s proven to be overwhelmingly deserving of the preseason rankers who fancied him as a 4th rounder. In one expert preseason mock, Gottlieb took him in the 2nd round.
- Duds: In the last two weeks, Dele Alli and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been scoring points in Steven Defour and Moussa Sissoko territory. If Mkhi can’t get healthy scoring against Huddersfield, he’s firmly in sell-low territory. For both Alli and Mkhi, they’ve feasted on lowly clubs and GW9 will further determine whether they’re season-long assets or trade bait. I’m leaning toward the latter, but there’s a very good chance Liverpool’s defense will make a fool out of me.
|1||Lukasz Fabianski||Antonio Valencia||Kevin de Bruyne||Gabriel Jesus|
|2||David de Gea||Ben Davies||Christian Eriksen||Romelu Lukaku|
|3||Fraser Forster||Kyle Walker||Leroy Sane||Harry Kane|
|4||Hugo Lloris||Marcos Alonso||Eden Hazard||Mohamed Salah|
|5||Joe Hart||Sead Kolasinac||Philippe Coutinho||Alvaro Morata|
|6||Petr Cech||Cesar Azpilicueta||David Silva||Alexis Sanchez|
|7||Kasper Schmeichel||Serge Aurier||Wilfried Zaha||Sergio Aguero|
|8||Thibaut Courtois||Virgil van Dijk||Xherdan Shaqiri||Raheem Sterling|
|9||Ederson||Phil Jones||Pascal Gross||Alexander Lacazette|
|10||Jack Butland||Nicolas Otamendi||Dele Alli||Anthony Martial|
|11||Heurelho Gomes||Hector Bellerin||Henrikh Mkhitaryan||Roberto Firmino|
|12||Jordan Pickford||Nacho Monreal||Mesut Ozil||Tammy Abraham|
|13||Jonas Lossl||Aaron Cresswell||Nathan Redmond||Manolo Gabbiadini|
|14||Mat Ryan||David Luiz||Cesc Fabregas||Richarlison|
|15||Asmir Begovic||Harry Maguire||Michail Antonio||Pedro|
|16||Rob Elliot||Jose Fonte||Riyad Mahrez||Jamie Vardy|
|17||Wayne Hennessey||Davide Zappacosta||Matt Ritchie||Chicharito|
|18||Simon Mignolet||Kyle Naughton||Gylfi Sigurdsson||Mame Biram Diouf|
|19||Nick Pope||Charlie Daniels||Manuel Lanzini||Joselu|
|20||Boaz Myhill||Maya Yoshida||Tiemoué Bakayoko||Joshua King|
|21||Jamaal Lascelles||Jordan Henderson||Chris Wood|
|22||John Stones||Granit Xhaka||Wayne Rooney|
|23||Laurent Koscielny||Abdoulaye Doucouré||Jay Rodriguez|
|24||Christopher Schindler||Juan Mata||Ayoze Perez|
|25||Christian Fuchs||Fabian Delph||Shane Long|
|26||Martin Olsson||Mario Lemina|
|28||Simon Francis||Grzegorz Krychowiak|
|29||Davinson Sanchez||Alex Iwobi|
|30||Jan Vertonghen||Aaron Mooy|
|32||Ben Mee||Aaron Ramsey|
|33||Ryan Bertrand||Yohan Cabaye|
|34||Kurt Zouma||Tom Carroll|
|35||Pablo Zabaleta||Cheikhou Kouyate|
|36||Ahmed Hegazi||Mikel Merino|
|37||Matthew Lowton||Steven Defour|
|38||Cedric Soares||Robbie Brady|
|39||Michael Keane||Andros Townsend|
|40||Alfie Mawson||Anthony Knockaert|
This season, our weekly fantasy Premier League ranks are a one-man affair, with Benji Wade taking over the mantle. You can find him on Twitter: Follow @benjiwade.