Week 9 was a momentous occasion for AM FC. It was the weekend I picked the correct captain for the first time this season. You won't often hear me praise Luis Suarez (don't get me wrong, he's a world class player, I'm just not a fan of his antics) but I doff my cap to him on this occasion. I entrusted him with the armband and he repaid me with a quite superb hat-trick - aren't football fans fickle?
His 35 points doubled to 70 and slotted in nicely alongside goals for Olivier Giroud, Daniel Sturridge, Mathieu Debuchy, an assist for Aaron Ramsey and clean sheets for Neil Taylor, Dejan Lovren and Artur Boruc. 165 points for the week has moved my Yahoo team back in to the top 2,500 and I'm hoping Week 10 can bring similar success.
I was also lucky enough to witness my first live NFL match at Wembley on Sunday, and was delighted to see my team the 49ers defeat the Jaguars, while Spurs beat Hull at White Hart Lane. Not a bad birthday, eh?
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Let's look at the week ahead ...
Week 10 Fixtures
Arsenal v Liverpool
Cardiff City v Swansea
Everton v Tottenham
Fulham v Man Utd
Hull City v Sunderland
Man City v Norwich
Newcastle v Chelsea
Stoke v Southampton
West Brom v Crystal Palace
West Ham v Aston Villa
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We have a lot of tight looking fixtures this week so I can only see one game that really leaps off the page. Manchester City were unlucky to lose at Chelsea after Joe Hart and Matija Nastasic's horrible mix-up and have been playing very well at the Etihad so I would expect them to dispatch 18th place Norwich without too much drama. Chris Hughton's men have struggled for goals so a home win without conceding also seems a decent bet, which means I'm considering including a City defender, midfielder and striker in my Yahoo team.
On the subject of Chelsea, I don't expect a trip to St James' Park to be easy but this is a Newcastle side who have just managed to lose to Sunderland (albeit in a derby) so I'd expect Jose Mourinho's side to have enough to win and keep the pressure on (and possibly overtake) Arsenal after knocking them out of the League Cup in midweek. As always it's worth noting that Newcastle v Chelsea is the early Saturday kick-off so we'll get starting line-ups before Yahoo's deadline to check if Oscar starts or whether Fernando Torres gets a chance to continue his improved form.
Going back to Arsenal, their meeting with Liverpool at the Emirates should be a cracking game and full of goals, so I reckon it's worth hanging on to some attacking players from both sides. My prediction is a 2-2 draw, which as mentioned above would give Chelsea the chance to top the table if the win on Tyneside, but it's a result neither side would (or should) be too disappointed with after excellent starts to this season.
Next up is Manchester United's trip to Fulham. A friend of mine - a die-hard United fan - was at Old Trafford on Saturday and claims they were "atrociously bad" for 65 minutes before the comeback. It appears David Moyes is almost totally reliant on his strikers to keep him out of trouble at the moment but the good news is that should be enough for them to claim another vital win at Craven Cottage. I'll always have a soft-spot for Martin Jol after his time at Spurs but I do fear for Fulham this season. Something doesn't feel right about the current make-up of the squad and I'm not sure they'll have the required fight if they get dragged in to a relegation battle; I hope I'm proved wrong.
Speaking of relegation battles, Sunderland will have belief they can get out of trouble after their huge win at Newcastle but they face a tricky test in Week 10 against a decent Hull outfit and I'm leaning towards a home win for Steve Bruce against his old team. It's also difficult to see past a West Brom win over Crystal Palace at the Hawthorns and I expect to field at least one representative from the Baggies, possibly two.
The remaining four games are difficult to call in either team's favour. Southampton should sneak past Stoke but it's not a certainty by any means and a goalless draw wouldn't surprise me, while Everton v Tottenham has 1-1 draw written all over it. The all-Wales clash between Cardiff and Swansea is another game that could be low scoring and potentially heated, while West Ham v Aston Villa will also go down as a 1-1 draw on my accumulator coupon, with both teams well aware of how important it is not to lose.
There could well be some value in defensive players from Southampton and Swansea, but I feel the best chance of attacking fantasy points will come from the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and West Brom.
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