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Fantasy Premier League: Three essential tips ahead of FPL Gameweek 9

Ahead of gameweek 9 of Fantasy Premier League, we bring you three absolutely essential tips you need to read before you save your FPL team for this weekend. 

We take absolutely no responsibility when our advice falls flat on its face, of course. Good luck!

Make sure to listen to this week’s episode of The Fantasy Faithful podcast in which we give even more FPL tips and advice, including who to captain, which players to transfer in, and some cheeky differentials to set your team apart. 

Join our fantasy league: qcey3l

Fantasy Premier League: Essential tips for FPL Gameweek 9

What to do with Mo Salah?

Everyone’s nightmare scenario played out last week when it was announced that Mo Salah (£12.3) had tested positive for Covid-19 while in Egypt for his brother’s wedding. The likelihood is he had it before leaving England and has probably spread to others attending the ceremony.

Hopefully the Liverpool winger recovers quickly and gets back to full health, but for FPL managers this create the much less serious headache of what to do with him if he’s in your team; sell or hold? We think there’s a case for both.

Assuming Salah just misses the next match, then it’s entirely reasonable to hold onto him before he returns for Gameweek 10. If you have owned him since the beginning, then you have seen his price rise and might not want to lose that surplus value. This can make it difficult to bring him back into your team at a later date.

The problem is, he’s not guaranteed to be missing for just one week. We don’t have an exact return date in mind, just an estimation.

As Dara pointed out on this week’s podcast, there’s no guarantee Salah will make a quick recovery. Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the fittest footballers in the world, took 19 days to return a negative test after contracting the virus. Mild cases typically take up to two weeks to recover, but more severe ones can take up to six weeks.

What we do know is that Salah will definitely miss the Leicester City game after returning a third positive on Wednesday. Is that enough to justify a sale? On the pod all three of us said we would be holding for now, but there’s definitely a case for selling.

The Egyptian takes up a hefty amount of your budget to just sit there on your bench, especially when there are some excellent midfield options available right now. Not to mention, you can always buy him again later. Yes, the price may be an issue, but you get one free transfer a week for a reason.

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Sell Son or Kane?

Tottenham Hotspur‘s upcoming fixtures look about as appealing as plastic sushi, with the Lilywhites set to face Manchester City this weekend, before taking on Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester and Wolves between now and Christmas.

With a whopping 58 percent of FPL managers owning Heung-min Son (£9.6) and another 45 percent owning Harry Kane (£10.8), the question of keeping or selling one or both has been a hot topic this week.

If we look at Spurs’ recent form, we can see there’s a decline in their attacking numbers from the first four gameweeks to the last four. The numbers are still decent in some respects, but their underlying statistics no longer top the league as they once did.

At the intersection of form and fixtures, Spurs fail the test and that makes it very tempting to sell. But as this season has shown, fixtures almost don’t matter. It’s been more open this year than it has in a long while, in part due to the absence of live crowds.

Not to mention that players like Son and Kane, who have connected with each other for nine goals, are virtually fixture proof. “They play every week and they can score against anyone,” Harry pointed out on the pod.

Son has an impressive five goals and one assist in eight appearances in all competitions against Man City, and although Kane’s return of two goals and two assists in nine games is not as stellar you would back him against any side.

These are big game players backed up by a manager who traditionally loves to bring it in the big games. There is always the worry that Jose Mourinho will set his team out in a frustratingly defensive formation in these matches, but there will still be chances for goals.

With all of that in mind, it’s reasonable to sell one and keep the other, so as not to be overly reliant on Spurs.

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Triple up on Villa?

One of the surprise packages of the season are Aston Villa, who are sitting pretty in sixth place just three points off the top spot with a game in hand. The Birmingham outfit have left us with egg on our faces after we tipped them for relegation in preseason.

The Villains, who have already humbled Liverpool and Arsenal, have scored the third most goals (18) and possessed the joint-best defensive record (nine goals conceded) in the league.

With value available all over the team, FPL managers have flocked to Villa for budget options. Jack Grealish (£7.5) and Emi Martinez (£4.8) are the two most popular picks with 36 percent and 27 percent ownership respectively.

At this stage it would be foolish not to have Grealish in your fantasy team. The England international has completed the most key passes (19) in the division, and is also second for big chances created (6), expected assists (2.81xA) and assists (5).

With the team in such fine fettle at the moment, we’re getting to the point where it’s worth considering a triple up on Villa assets.

This writer’s plan is to steer clear of tripling up this season so as not to be overly reliant on one team or another from week to week, and as I already have both Martinez and Grealish in my FPL squad I would have to be very sure about commiting to another.

Ollie Watkins (£6.1) is testing that resolve, however, having scored a brace in that recent in over the Gunners, bringing his tally to six goals in seven league games. His transition from Championship gunman to Premier League striker has been seamless and at his current price he is a snip.

So while owning three players from any one club is still a risk, the value for money you get with Villa is so good that it feels worth it. That said, there are other excellent budget forwards available, such as Che Adams (£5.9) and Patrick Bamford (£6.1), that could fulfill the same role.

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