After the top English clubs fell on not one, not two, but on three occasions this week in European competition these sides will be happy to head back home for some good old fashion English football.
Rise and shine everyone because the early one’s a treat. Two of the most prestigious clubs from London face off at Stamford Bridge. While neither side has come close to playing top notch football, the talent pool in this match is nearly unmatched and is worth the early wake up.
This London Derby will be followed up by a slew of interesting fixtures, including; Swansea vs. Everton, Stoke vs. Leicester City and Newcastle vs. Watford. All the fun leads up to Man City vs. West Ham; where Dimitri Payet one of the EPL’s most impressive stars thus far looks to lead his side to victory against the mighty Blues from Manchester.
Lock of the Day
Diego Costa (Chelsea) Forward – Salary: $9,700:
I know I rip on the Chelsea striker often, but I can’t imagine we see another dull performance. It’s a favorable matchup for the big, physical striker against a side that sometimes gets knocked for being a bit soft. In a historically bad start for Jose Mourinho, you can bet he’ll be looking to this matchup against one of his whipping boys in Arsene Wenger as a perfect statement to announce his sides return to form. Prediction: Chelsea sit deep and counter in perfect Mourinho fashion allowing Arsenal to dominate possession while grinding out the win.
Second Choice: David Silva (Man City) Midfield – Salary: $9,000:
One thing was missing from last weekend’s games, the best player in the league was unfortunately unavailable. However, this week is a different story and I don’t see any signs of the little Spaniard slowing down.
Worth Your Buck
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) Forward – Salary: $9,400:
The big Belgian striker has been a worthy investment thus far for fantasy owners, bouncing back from a poor campaign last season. Aside from Lukaku’s contribution, it’s been the play of Barkley, Kone and Naismith that has kept the pressure off the #9 and allowed for him to flourish. While they have a tough matchup vs. Swansea I expect this battle to be one with attacking intent and a minimum of three goals to find the net. If you know Romelu Lukaku at all you’ll know that these days against the slightly weaker back lines are when his impact is truly felt. Remember what happened vs. Southampton a few weeks back…
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) Midfield – Salary: $9,600:
He’s simply a joy to watch. It took me a few weeks to finally trust him and that’s my mistake, but after his performance last weekend, I’m sold. The performance was spectacular as the Algerian ferociously helped turn a 2-0 loss, into a 3-2 victory with just 20 minutes remaining. Not the most gifted guy in the world, he’s majestically calculated. Perfectly, comfortable with himself and his abilities, Mahrez is so assured of himself that he’s unafraid to take on anyone at any moment. It won’t be an easy matchup vs. Stoke (it never is), but then again nothing has been easy for Leicester this season and I think they like it that way. As the inspiration and engine behind the side sitting second in the table I think he’s worth the buck until he proves otherwise.
Aleksandar Kolorav (Manchester City) Defender – Salary: $6,500:
Seriously, if you want a surefire play Aleksandar Kolorov is your guy. He’s scored double digit points in every EPL game thus far and there is really no reason it should ever stop. Kolorov is in one of the best positions a player could ask for. First and foremost, his side is absolutely stacked to the brim with talent. Defensively, he’s shielded in the midfield by two of the most athletic players in the game, covered on the inside by one of the best center back pairings in the world and has a top ten goalie cleaning up anything else that might sneak through. Tactically speaking, he’s got unlimited freedom to take the flank at any moment and drive forward at will. With a bevy of wingers who all choose to stay tucked in, Kolorov essentially is free to roam as far forward as he pleases, crossing and serving until the match ends or his leg falls off (thankfully we haven’t seen the latter yet).
Jose Rondon (West Brom) Forward – Salary: $5,300:
Although playing for West Brom, a side that isn’t expected to put up big numbers as a squad, he’s had a pretty solid start to his EPL career. The South American forward is clearly capable of handling the physical rigors of the league and has a touch of class that a side like West Brom needs in order to survive this season. I think will see a Rondon and Berahino partnership form this weekend and maybe a fireworks show to go with it. After all, Aston Villa have to be devastated following a crippling debacle vs. Leicester City last weekend.
Manuel Lanzini (West Ham) Midfield – Salary: $3,800:
Looking for a cheap play in the midfield then look no further than Manuel Lanzini. The Argentine has been all the rave since moving to West Ham and his performances have done a nice job of backing it up. Although they don’t have the best matchup facing a side that has yet to concede this season the armor has to crack at some point and if West Ham do it will likely involve, probably Dimitri Payet, but definitely Manuel Lanzini as a close second and for this price it could give you the extra cash you need to grab an extra big name guy.
Heurelho Gomes (Watford) Goalie – Salary: $4,400:
If there is one thing I will say about Watford thus far it is that they can defend. They often lineup with 5, 6, heck even 7 players who have suited up on the back line in the past during their careers. While Nyom is also a pretty solid value play at the back, I like Gomes as a solid play in a game Watford can win if you’re trying to save some money at goalie.
The In Betweeners
Andre Ayew (Swansea) Forward – Salary: $7,500:
He plays the right and that means he’s up against Brandon Galloway. I understand Galloway had a solid week against Chelsea, but the teenager is just not ready for this veteran playing absolutely sensational football. Ayew struggled last week in a poor effort from the Swans, but in this matchup there is no way that repeats. He was player of the Month in August and I don’t think we should think anything has changed in September because of one tough performance.
Jermaine Lens (Sunderland) Midfield – Salary: $6,400:
A few years ago this explosive winger was all anyone in Holland could talk about. Then he signed with Dynamo Kyiv and it was like everyone forgot the young phenom ever existed. None the less, Jermaine Lens still has his best years in front of him and has remained in the mix for the Dutch side for several years now. Sunderland are thrilled to have him and his start at the Stadium of Light has been spectacular and it is inexplicable to me why no one is even mentioning it. Like many Dutch wingers, Lens has the ability to impact the game in a variety of ways. With goals in the forecast, expect Lens to rack up points whether he scores or not.
Allan Nyom (Watford) Defender – Salary: $3,700:
The Cameroonian wingback has been a nice addition to the Prem defending nicely and helping Watford jump start attacks from the back. This is just a very straight forward play, he’s averaging almost 10 pts a game and cost practically nothing for that average. If he has a bad week it’s still no big deal at that price and he’s got good upside based off his early season performances.
Traps to Avoid
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) Forward – Salary: $10,700:
I understand he’s got a great matchup vs. Ivanovic who has easily been one of the worst players in the league so far, but if he gets the call I think Mourinho will have a plan in place to minimize space around the area and provide the Serb with a midfielder doubling from above. If he doesn’t get the start then Sanchez is likely to see Azpilicueta, which is a nightmare matchup for him against the one guy who can stay with the Chilean’s quick first step. Just read my analysis on Hazard below and it will make more sense. Then again there is a lack of stuff in many of the guys in the Arsenal squad, so figuring out who’s going to put in a performance is never easy to say.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) Midfielder – Salary: $10,000:
He is talented enough to make me eat my words, but his form has been abysmal and I think Arsenal will see more of the ball. For me, I’m recommending avoiding him because his task seems daunting with Oscar just returning from injury and both Willian and Pedro unavailable, forcing more pressure upon the previous POTY. In a grind it out contests such as this you have to turn to the grittier guys and avoid the guys with any sort of fluff in their game. Sorry, I know it’s harsh to say Hazard has some fluff in his game, but honestly he does…Otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here over a month in still waiting for his first goal.
Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) Goalie – Salary: $5,200:
If you see Sunderland as a sign to play Bournemouth defenders think again. I’m telling you there is going to be goals from both sides in this one and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it ends in a draw. The looming possibility that this one could have multiple goals in it and no clear victor worries me a lot. No reason to pay good money for Boruc with those thoughts running through your head. Look further down the list and you will find plenty of cheaper options.
Remember to hit me up on twitter with any questions you have @onthelaces.