AM's Week 9 Fixture Analysis

Nik Argiropoulos
Ben Dinnery is back with all of the latest team news following a momentary pause in proceedings for last weekend's FA Cup

Late Fitness Check GW23

Ben Dinnery is back with all of the latest team news following a momentary pause in proceedings for last weekend's FA Cup

If I told you I once again picked the wrong captain in Week 8, would you be surprised? I'm guessing not.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Oscar, two from Mesut Ozil, an all-action display from Luis Suarez and a clean sheet from Michel Vorm gave AM FC a terrific platform for a big fantasy week, but the decision to hand the armband to Romelu Lukaku was decisive, and not in a good way. His meagre 3 points (doubled to 6 - wow!) and a poor showing from Leighton Baines meant 110 points for the week, which we established a few weeks is no longer good enough to climb the rankings in Yahoo Fantasy Premier League's new format. In fact, it's only good enough to fall.

I've now dropped out of the top 3000 on 881 points overall and it already feels like it could be struggle to hit my regular season target of a top 500 finish. How are you getting on? Let us know in the comments section below this post.

The week ahead looks like this ...

Week 9 Fixtures

Aston Villa v Everton
Chelsea v Man City
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Liverpool v West Brom
Man Utd v Stoke
Norwich v Cardiff
Southampton v Fulham
Sunderland v Newcastle
Swansea v West Ham
Tottenham v Hull

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Arsenal at Crystal Palace - boy oh boy. If Fulham can score four at Selhurst Park, what could the Gunners do in their current form? Add to that the fact the Eagles are now manager-less after Ian Holloway left the club on Wednesday, and it really looks bleak for the home side right now. Initially I was concerned that Arsene Wenger may even rest a few players for this fixture, making it difficult to decide how heavily to invest, but that concern was reduced by the fact the match is the early kick-off here in London. This means we'll get starting line-ups approximately 10 minutes before the Yahoo deadline, allowing us to make some last minute changes if the Arsenal manager springs a few surprises. However, after the defeat the Dortmund we could well see a close-to-full-strength team again to avoid any chance of a shock upset.

You have to fancy in-form Southampton at home to Fulham despite the away side's fine result at Palace, with Mauricio Pochettino's side looking solid at the back and dangerous going forward, and I also like Swansea's chances at home to West Ham, with the Welsh side growing in confidence each week and with Michael Laudrup well clued up on how to set his team up against Sam Allardyce's new striker-less system. Tottenham v Hull is another fixture that looks good for the home side, with Andre Villas-Boas' men banishing some demons at Villa in Week 9 and aware that they would move back in to the top 4 with a victory. I'm also tipping Liverpool's strike-force to help get them back to winning ways against West Brom in front of the Anfield faithful, although the Baggies will put up a fight.

In the should-win-but-I'm-not-as-confident-as-the-fixtures-above category, we have Manchester Utd at home to Stoke. I never thought I'd have doubts about a United side winning at home to the Potters, but you can feel the nervous tension around Old Trafford at the moment and David Moyes isn't helping things with some negative management. United had a confidence boosting win in the Champions League this week and you'd think they'll have enough to pick up the 3 points here, but I still prefer the prospects of the sides mentioned above. Also in the slightly uncertain category are Newcastle for their trip to rock-bottom Sunderland. Everything points to an away win and that is the result I'm predicting with Loic Remy sure to prove a handful once again, but Tyne-Wear derbies have been known to throw up unexpected results so I'm always a little wary.

Chelsea v Manchester City should be a cracker as both teams are playing extremely well, but the game could go either way and players on both sides are pretty expensive, so I'll probably be staying away from the majority of options for fantasy purposes and will instead focus on the likes of Arsenal, Southampton, Stoke, Spurs and Liverpool. Aston Villa v Everton is another tricky one to predict now Paul Lambert can call on Christian Benteke from the start, but a 1-1 draw wouldn't be surprising, while I'll be avoiding Norwich v Cardiff completely - there are far better fixtures to focus on.

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So that's how I see the match-ups panning out in Week 9. Where are the player picks? I've decided to start splitting this column in to two parts, so part 2 will follow later today ...

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