It’s important to have a good gameweek before an international break. If you don’t, you have to sit on it for two weeks, rather than the usual five or six days.
It’s a shame, then, that every single FPL manager scored below the Gameweek 8 average. The OfficialFPL Twitter account called it an “unprecedented day in the history of the game”. Mathematicians, statisticians and data analysts across the world held emergency summits to acknowledge the numerical impossibility of such an occurrence. It even made the front page of the Guardian.
The wait for redemption has been long and arduous. Some FPL managers fell by the wayside, unable to take it anymore. Others threw in the towel on their own volition; unwilling to put their bodies and minds through another 30 gameweeks of pain and fatigue.
For those who made it through the international break, join me on the jagged precipice of Gameweek 9 and we’ll peer into its fiery caverns together. Hand in hand, template in template.
Here are the bookies’ odds.
Gameweek 9 Clean Sheet Odds & To 2.5+ Goals Odds
The bookies have no time for bogeys
Crystal Palace are Man City’s bogey team. This is one of the world’s infallible truths, like the sun rising each morning or the fact that modern art will always be overpriced.
But the bookies don’t seem too worried about that. It’s almost as if a freak result back in 2018 doesn’t have any bearing on a match taking place almost a year later. Haven’t the bookies factored in the fact that Andros Townsend consistently scores 30-yard volleys in the Premier League?
With a 50% chance for City to keep a clean sheet, it seems not…
Chelsea top for the first time this season
The fact Chelsea are the most likely team to keep a clean sheet this gameweek says more about their opposition than their current defensive form.
With just one shutout in the 19/20 campaign, they’ll be hoping to double their tally when they host goal-shy Newcastle.
But it might not be that straightforward. Eagle-eyed readers might remember Gameweek 5, in which Liverpool perched proudly atop the clean sheet odds ahead of their home tie against the Magpies. And what happened? They conceded within the first 10 minutes.
Tomori owners will be hoping the bookies get it right this week.
Bournemouth vs Norwich forecasted for goals
It’s always nice when two teams playing each other have a 30% or less chance of keeping a clean sheet. That tends to mean one thing: GoalFest 2019.
The headline act is likely to be Callum Wilson, but with Teemu Pukki, Josh King and Harry Wilson also on the bill, this could be a GoalFest to remember. Neither team have kept a clean sheet so far this season and, with both sides much more comfortable attacking, that doesn’t look like changing any time soon.
Gameweek 9 Anytime Goalscorers By Position
Kane’s still got game
The Fantasy Premier League site reports that Kane’s ownership currently stands at 19%. But here’s a challenge: go through your mini-league and see how many of your rivals own him. I can guarantee it’s less than 19%.
Kane isn’t popular at the moment. Fellow premiums like Aubameyang and Aguero have comfortably outscored him, with cheaper alternatives like Vardy, Firmino, Pukki and Abraham also enjoying a better start to the season.
But a home fixture against struggling Watford might be the ideal opportunity to reinstate himself as one of the game’s in-vogue assets once more. The bookies have given him a massive 61% chance of netting against the Hornets.
Sterling top whilst Salah falls short
It’s rare that Mo Salah is given less than a 50% chance of scoring these days, but an away trip to Old Trafford and a poor run of form has taken its toll on his odds.
Instead, it’s Raheem Sterling who is handed the top spot among midfielders with a healthy 57%. He’s hardly been in prolific goalscoring form himself for City, but the bookies have (probably rightly) deemed a trip to Selhurst Park as the easier of two away fixtures.
Despite his popularity, Sadio Mane once again falls short of his Egyptian colleague. That 4% difference is likely due to Salah’s penalty duties.
They say the bookies never forget. (They do alright? Don’t argue with me on this one, it’s a very common phrase.)
It appears they’ll never forget that time when Doherty was really good. He’s still good, of course, but he probably isn’t “22% likely to score” good these days. Still, the bookies consistently back him, among all other defenders, to produce the goods.
Digne and Alonso come close to the Irishman, and the ever-popular John Lundstram continues to defy his FPL position with a 15% likelihood of scoring against Arsenal to show for it.
By the way, did you hear what FPL General said about Lundstram in the latest Fantasy Weekly pod? If you haven’t, you really should.
Fair warning: it’s a bit parental advisory. Not “Frankie Boyle” parental advisory, but not exactly “Moana” either. You can listen by clicking the play button below.