Fantasy Football: Gameweek 9 tips

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Gameweek nine is upon us - and with it brings another chance to shoot up your fantasy football mini leagues.

Here are five players you should consider signing for your teams before tomorrow morning's deadline.

Andros Townsend £5.7m (Tottenham)

Last season a permanent fixture in many a fantasy football team was cream of the midfielders, former Tottenham talisman Gareth Bale.

While the Welshman proved to be a points cow for nearly half of teams, his then club-mate Andros Townsend was loaned on January’s deadline-day to help salvage Queens Park Rangers’ Premier League status.

We know the rest of the story. As Bale waved adios to Spurs and cringed out ‘Hala Madrid’ to the Bernabeu, Townsend who had made headlines for his gambling antics, returned revitalised from his fruitful Loftus Road spell had been plotting his own ascendancy towards stardom.

Lady Luck has smiled on the Chingford born wide-man, as an early season injury to squad rival Aaron Lennon and Andre Villas-Boas’ decision to slowly integrate new boy Erik Lamela into the team has paved the way for this inverted winger’s run in the side.

One goal and one assist do not really justify his contribution to the north Londoners’ respectable start to the season. The league’s most successful dribbler has ensured the path his predecessor Bale once lit up has remained illuminated and with less than 6% of teams having selected the blistering youngster, a £5.7m price-tag is a punt that Townsend himself would probably love a flutter on.

Ravel Morrison £4.5m (West Ham)

This fiery young starlet has finally started to silence the doubters that have criticised his stalled career through a series of performances that have brimmed with his outrageous talent.

Plucked from the cobbles of Manchester – he is a street footballer, athleticism, raw ability and a penchant for producing wondrous moments of skill; he is a YouTube editor's dream.

Two goals and one assist from five starts represents great value for a £4.5m midfielder and with West Ham United’s next three matches comprising of Swansea (A), Aston Villa (H) and Norwich City (A).

This prodigious teenager could look to exploit some fatigued Swansea players with their Europa League fixture against Kuban Krasnodar likely to weigh down Michael Laudrup’s thin squad.

In Gameweek seven he obliterated the (then) tightest PL defensive partnership of Jan Vertonghen (£7.1m) and Michael Dawson (£5.2m) by galloping 60 yards to exploit Spurs’ high defensive line that helped crown an impressive 3-0 victory - he will line-up at the Liberty Stadium in similar circumstances and with some eye-catching form on his side.

Neil Taylor £4.4m (Swansea City)

To continue the theme of career turnarounds, Neil Taylor has had a year to forget.
Against Sunderland 13 months ago his ankle heinously broke and dislocated. This saw Ben Davies (£5m), a club and country compatriot step into Taylor’s left-back berth for the forthcoming season.

Football offers up lots of odd symmetry though, as Davies’ ankle also gave way in Gameweek eight against the Mackems’ and has opened up an avenue for Taylor to reclaim his position.

It may have taken the former Wrexham full-back a while to work his way ahead of Davies had his ankle not sprained in that 4-0 drubbing. But it is worth pointing out that he enjoyed a great debut season under ex-supremo Brendan Rodgers, having helped them to an 11th placed finish and in the process a staggering 14 clean sheets as well: resolute.

With the higher priced defenders failing to consistently show any defensive resilience in the opening stages of this campaign. It is the more modest valued defenders that are worth keeping an eye on, Taylor in particular.

Especially as none of Swansea’s midfielders provide much natural left-sided width – allowing Taylor the license to push forward and support the potent threat of Michu (£9m) and Wilfried Bony (£7.5m) could churn out some surprise points from an unexpected source.

Hatem Ben Arfa £7.1m (Newcastle United)

He has been described as a “maverick” by manager Alan Pardew. That opinion is echoed around Tyneside repartee, unplayable on his day but largely inconsistent.

Sunday’s derby against rock-bottom Sunderland represents the type of game where anything could happen. Full-blooded studs will fly no doubt and with both sides packed with players not of Tyne-Wear flesh and blood it will be vital the occasion does not get to them.

Newcastle’s French contingent have been assembled longer, are gathering a bit of form and held on to a valuable point against Liverpool last weekend, while there opponents have the misery of being this season’s basement strugglers.

Reminders of the 3-0 home mauling at St. James Park last season will have pulsated through the minds of Pardew’s squad in training this week.

Of course football is unpredictable, but if his players are up for it (which they will be), it is difficult to imagine a Sunderland outfit with only one point in eight games being able to stop the attacking gusto that the visitors possess.

Kevin Mirallas £7.2m (Everton)

Attention will naturally be on which powerhouse striker comes out on top in the game between Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke (£8.8m) and Everton’s on-loan Romelu Lukaku (£8.1m) on Saturday in an intriguing duel – it’s a Belgium enthusiasts ‘El Clasico’.

But anybody who saw how Villa’s Spanish left-back Antonio Luna struggled in the second half against Andros Townsend last Sunday may want to seize the chance to bring in a player with similar pace and trickery to take advantage of the vulnerability he revealed that game.

It is likely that Kevin Mirallas will be awarded with this opportunity having starred against Hull City in his sides last showing, claiming a season high 13 points with a goal and an assist.
It was evident that Luna had too much on his hands with Townsend regularly cutting inside and Kyle Walker (£6.1m) exploiting the space in-behind with overlapping runs down the right channel.

So the threat of Mirallas and the marauding Seamus Coleman (£5.6m), who is arguably better in possession than Walker could be utilised in much of Everton’s attacking ventures at Villa Park – leaving another Belgian to possibly steal the show ahead of the two star forwards.

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