The top teams only keep an average of 1 clean sheet for every 3 games. Yet Spurs are on 5 clean sheets in 9 games, Arsenal and Chelsea are on 4 in 9, and Leicester City, Bournemouth and West Ham on 3 in 9. Indeed, with 9 clean sheets in one game week, those who have spent wisely on their defense have certainly been the beneficiaries of this weekend’s FPL action demonstrating you don’t always need to spend big on attack.
Game week 9 summary by Leon
- Chelsea put in a stunning display on Sunday, embarrassing Mourinho and his Manchester United side. Sticking to their successful 3-4-3 formation, Hazard shined in attack and led the 4-0 romping. Man U looked like lost sheep most of the game, the only change being Lingard replacing Young in the starting lineup. The defense was poor and they struggled to move the ball fluidly. Also, Bailly has now suffered an injury so further bad news for Mourinho.
- Manchester City also had a frustrating day, utilising a 3-4-2-1 formation with skipper Kompany back in the side. However a 1-1 draw against a resolute Southampton side was the result.
- Klopp made just one change to his Liverpool team with Lallana coming into the midfield of the 4-3-3 wide and Sturridge sitting on the bench. In attack they excelled but the defense from set pieces left a lot to be desired.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 24, 2016
- Champions Leicester returned to previous form with Musa shifting to the wing and okazaki replacing Vardy upfront. Both additions scored in a 3-1 victory over Palace.
- Burnley were the surprise victors of the weekend, securing a late goal over Everton. A 4-5-1 formation with Kightly and Arfield in the starting lineup seemed to benefit the whole squad but they need to tighten up on the defense and communication. Koeman meanwhile gave Barkley and Mirallas a start this week but the real star was Bolasie who led most of the attacks. Barkley was very quiet throughout.
- Arsene Wenger was forced to make one change on his birthday. Elneny replacing the injured Cazorla while Xhaka remains suspended. They came against an unassuming Middlesboro side who put in a solid display keeping the score at 0-0. Boro were feeling festive as they utilised a Christmas tree 4-3-2-1 formation. Ayala coming in for Chambers as centre back and Clayton operating in midfield. Traore put in a great attacking display causing Koscielny many a nightmare.
- Pochettino preferred South Korean Son over Janssen upfront due to the latter’s lack of form. The change failed to create anything in a 0-0 draw with Bournemouth. Bournemouth themselves put in a good display with King and Gosling replacing the injured Stanislas and Surman. Arter was a notable mention, contributing a lot to his team and showing great sportsmanship after the match.
- Bob Bradley’s Swansea side came out refreshed with 6 changes in the starting lineup. One of which saw Mawson coming in as centre back, helping his side win a clean sheet.
Sunderland meanwhile, failed to turn their fortunes around. The return of Kone and Pienaar saw some improved defensive work but their clean sheet was snatched in the last minute. With the joint worst attack in the Premier League they look like a team to avoid. They just lack any creativity in midfield, Rodwell, Pienaar and McNair not offering much going forward.
- Hull are another side in dire straits, the welcome return of skipper Dawson in defence did not stop the 2-0 Shaqiri influenced defeat. After suffering another injury blow, this time to left back Andy Robertson, Clucas shifted position once again to left back. A run of defensive errors and poor communication meant they reside in the relegation zone.
Buy Alonso by Parth
My buy recommendation for the week is wing-back Marcos Alonso. When rumours started surfacing that Chelsea was in for the younger Alonso I felt just a tad underwhelmed. After all, how were we supposed to feel secure with a player who couldn’t even carve out a name for himself at Sunderland and Bolton, especially when the world was moving on to £100m players and transfer records were being broken left, right and center. However, fast-forward 3 weeks into Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 revolution we see Chelsea have kept 3 consecutive clean sheets while Alonso was credited with the assist the ’30 second’ Pedro goal.
Focusing first on Alsono’s defensive duties, he has averaged 3.3 Tackles, 2.3 Interceptions and 3 clearances per game. He has also been dribbled-past only once a game. So there is no doubt he has added a bit of defensive resilience in the Chelsea ranks.
— Leisure Leagues (@leisureleagues) October 23, 2016
In attack, Alonso allows Hazard the license to roam infield by occupying the wide position vacated by Eden. Marcos is good at crosses, so his wide position allows balls to be rapidly recycled into the Chelsea attack. In the last three games Alonso has assisted one goal, has averaged 1.5 shots per game, and made an average of 1.5 key passes per game, demonstrating his contribution to attack beyond crosses.
So I feel Alonso is good buy. He’s the new Leighton Baines.