Following the international break Holly Shand looks ahead to Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 9 and explains which players we should be hopping on board...
"Chelsea are now fulfilling the potential they held at the start of the season, with their free-flowing football."
The Headline Pick: Hakim Ziyech - Newcastle United (A)
Chelsea's start to the season was steady at best, but we've seen a vast improvement in their performances and creativity over the last few weeks, with Hakim Ziyech at the heart of all of that. Chelsea are now fulfilling their potential, with their free-flowing football.
Ziyech has started just two games so far for the Blues, but in that short spell he's racked up one goal and three assists, to give him consecutive double digit hauls. Chelsea have scored seven goals over those two games and his influence on their style of play is clear. No player has created more than his four big chances over the last four games.
Up next for Chelsea is an away trip to Newcastle United and you can only see Chelsea's goal-scoring form continuing in this fixture. No side has had more shots on target (24) than the Blues over the last four games and Newcastle have conceded the most goal attempts of any side over this same spell, with 75.
The Budget Pick: Aaron Cresswell - Sheffield United (A)
With some of the most widely-owned defenders in the game currently flagged with injury, many fantasy managers will be forced into making a defensive transfer ahead of the weekend. There's still a desire to invest in a defender with both clean sheet and attacking potential, and West Ham's Aaron Cresswell has just that.
Cresswell already has three assists to his name this season and the Hammers have kept three clean sheets over this same period. He hasn't missed a single minute of Premier League action this campaign and over the last four games he tops the underlying statistics for successful crosses with nine.
The Hammers are in a great fixture spell and clean sheet potential doesn't get much better than facing a Sheffield Untied side who have just four goals from eight games this campaign. The odds are certainly stacked in Cresswell's favour as the go-to defender for our Gameweek 9 teams.
The VAR Pick: Bruno Fernandes - West Brom (H)
We tipped Bruno Fernandes to bounce back last gameweek and he did so in emphatic fashion, with two goals and one assist taking him to a 17 point haul. That's his third double digit return of the season, although all of them have come on the road, but up next at Old Trafford it's a West Brom side that look destined for relegation.
The confidence is certainly back for Manchester United now, with Fernandes carrying the magic quality of posing both goal and assist threat. Not only does Fernandes sit third for shots over the last four games level with Mo Salah, but he's also created 12 chances, which also sees him third across all Premier League players.
Manchester United retain their reputation as penalty kings, having been awarded three spot kicks in their opening seven games. Meanwhile, West Brom have conceded two. Bruno Fernandes looks to have retained penalty duty, despite missing against Newcastle United earlier in the season.
The Sleeper Pick: Ollie Watkins - Brighton (H)
Ollie Watkins has seven attacking returns from seven Premier League games this season, but still sits in fewer than 10% of Fantasy Premier League squads, making him a significant differential. Add into the mix a fantastic long-term fixture schedule taking us right up to Christmas and beyond, and he's a great option.
We are blessed with plenty of choice in the budget forward category this season, with Watkins one of the outstanding options. He produced three goals from four big chances in his last four games and we should be encouraged that he could be on penalties, having converted from the spot in Gameweek 7.
Up next it's a Brighton side who have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last three away games, conceding seven goals over that spell. Now that Jack Grealish is among the top five owned players in the game, adding Watkins as a pairing can make your investment in an in-form Aston Villa side even stronger.
The Wildcard Pick: Dominic Calvert-Lewin - Fulham (A)
It's been a quiet few weeks for Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the highs of scoring in his opening five Premier League games. He's amassed one goal and one assist in his last three games and his ownership has stagnated somewhat since he crossed the threshold of being in over 50% of Fantasy Premier League sides.
This drop-off in form has coincided with the absence of Richarlison and James Rodriguez through suspension and injury respectively, which has had a huge impact on this Everton side as a whole. It's massively reduced their creativity, options and space on the pitch, but the good news is that both are expected to start in Gameweek 9.
The fixture couldn't get much better for Everton than an away trip to Fulham, and there are other favourable opponents in the pipeline too. Fulham have conceded eight goals across four home games this season and arguably this Toffees side will pose a far greater attacking threat than most of their opposition to date.
Back Everton to beat Fulham at 20/23 in Gameweek 9.
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