By Neil Leverett
- Premier League leaders Liverpool make short trip to Old Trafford to face old rivals Manchester United on Sunday
- Crystal Palace host champions Manchester City, whilst Spurs look to home comforts versus rock-bottom Watford
- Struggling Everton host West Ham, whilst Arsenal steel themselves for trip to Bramall Lane on Monday night
PREMIER LEAGUE, ENGLAND – As the domestic season rocks back into action after the international break, who are the five must-have players for Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 9?
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As the Premier League campaign resumes this weekend, managers will be flocking to Liverpool players if not already owned, as the league leaders look to heap further misery on former title rivals Manchester United, and for us Sadio Mane is the man to put faith in for Gameweek 9.
With Mohamed Salah nursing a knock, the Egyptian king is a slight doubt to face the Red Devils, but even if he plays, Salah has struggled to make an impact against United in recent meetings.
Providing a goal and assist in the Reds’ late-late show against Leicester City a fortnight ago, Mane meanwhile is proving again indispensable for fantasy managers, and against a United defence that not only continues to fail to keep the opposition out – home and away – but that may be without David De Gea who sustained a hamstring injury for Spain in midweek.
Whilst it should be noted that in the corresponding fixture back in February, both sides drew a stalemate, but under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – the man who so terrorised the Reds’ back line in the past – United will be surely be desperate to stick a spanner in Liverpool’s works. If that means United play an attacking game, that should play handsomely into the Senegalese’s hands on Sunday.
Wolves future looks decidedly brighter than the vista that met them a few games ago, capped by a magnificent victory against the champions at the Etihad Stadium last time out. As Southampton roll up Molineux this weekend then, we are plumping for Roman Saiss to make an impact – possibly at both ends of the field.
Since Diogo Jota’s 95-minute leveler against Crystal Palace last month, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have turned the corner and have won their last three games in all competitions.
Having not conceded a goal in the last two Premier League outings also, Wolves looked to kicked themselves out of their rut and look upwardly mobile in the top flight standings, but more importantly look as defensively solid as last term.
Saiss, a bit-part player last season for Santo, has now firmly established himself in Wolves starting XI. Scoring in Gameweek 4 against Everton also, the Moroccan could be in for further spoils as the Saints visit the Black Country this weekend.
After our claims that Raheem Sterling may be in the reckoning for the Golden Boot this season, the rather alarming dip in form of the Manchester City forward have had many a fantasy owner getting rather twitchy, but the England remains in the must-have category and is in line to hit his league goal stride this weekend.
Having netted just one league goal in the last four outings, Sterling missed out on the spoils of City’s 8-0 demolition job of Watford with a place on the bench, but having grabbed a hat-trick in midweek for the Three Lions, a trip to Selhurst Park could be just the ticket for flying Citizen.
Kevin De Bruyne’s return from injury could be pivotal for Sterling’s hopes, and with the Belgian fresh and raring to go to face Crystal Palace, his many frustrated owners may be rewarded for their loyalty here.
Sterling has found the target in two of his last three visits to his habitual South London environs, and with Pep Guardiola desperate to keep hold of Liverpool’s coat-tails, the Spaniard will demand a showing after the international break, where Sterling may find his niche once more.
Whilst not at the height of his powers currently, Jamie Vardy‘s retirement from England duty has served the Foxes striker well, and with Brendan Rodgers looking to still hit his peak with Vardy, Gameweek 9 could again see Vardy in amongst the goals.
Remaining in rather inconsistent scoring form, Vardy has nevertheless hit a double in two of his last three league games at the King Power Stadium and as Burnley make the trip south from Lancashire, the Premier League’s record consecutive goalscorer will spear-head Leicester’s efforts again.
The Clarets remain one of the most resolute teams to break down on the road, but Leicester will be seeking riposte after a agonizing defeat at Anfield and the best way to do that arrives this weekend. The Foxes are still considered the most likely of all teams outside the top six to break into it, and Vardy will be bent on making the dream and distinct reality once more in Gameweek 9.
A man on the periphery of many Fantasy Premier League players, Aston Villa’s Brazilian striker Wesley has crept onto our radar this weekend for Gameweek 9, as one of the most in-form front men tries his hand at the Brighton & Hove Albion back line.
With four goals in his last three games, Wesley netted a hat-trick away to Norwich City before the international hiatus, with the Villa man showing all facets of play that first attracted manager Dean Smith to his talents.
As Graham Potter’s rather Jekkyl and Hyde Seagulls swoop into the Midlands this weekend, Wesley will fancy his chances of adding to his tally and with Villa Park look to be rather comfortable surroundings for Birmingham’s resident Brazilian, the forward could quickly become a Villan – and fantasy – cult hero this season with another strong showing this Gameweek.
Premier League Gameweek 9 begins on Saturday lunchtime, as Everton host West Ham United, kick-off 12:30 pm UK time.
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