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Ball Watching: Reviewing Gameweek 7

Mike Gottlieb

Mike Gottlieb is a podcast host and contributing writer at He is a supporter of the Colorado Avalanche, San Diego Chargers, and Chelsea FC. He also understands how random that is.

I. A Lifeline for Yaya

Yaya Toure showed signs of life after Edin Dzeko's withdrawal from City's clash with Villa at the hour mark. Prior to the change, the Ivorian was in his poor current-season fantasy form, but looked lively after City went to a lone striker system. The switch in tactics forced Toure to play in a more advanced position, resulting in a much anticipated first goal for City and the fantasy owners.

II. Wingman

If you're looking for new low-priced defender, Leicester fullback Jeffrey Schlupp is your man after he scored for the Foxes in their 2-2 draw with Burnley over the weekend. Playing as a winger was a departure from the norm for manager Nigel Pearson, but it appears to have paid dividends for Schlupp. If the tactical switch continues, his budget pricing will be coupled with favorable matchups over the next five fixtures (at Swansea, v. West Brom, at Southampton, v. Sunderland, at QPR). The time to invest is now.

III. Don't Tame Your Tigers

Yes, Hull are coming up on one of their toughest sets of fixtures with games against Liverpool, Arsenal, and Southampton, but that does not mean that you should bench the likes of Nikica Jelavic and Mohamed Diame (both of whom scored again this week). We'll see if Steve Bruce continues his soiree with the 3-5-2 formation against the stronger sides, but either way, if you own Jelavic, Diame, or Abel Hernandez, start them as if you normally would. All three of those teams have struggled to maintain clean sheets this season and that's not a characteristic you want when facing Hull City this season.

IV. The Number of Budget Forwards is Growing Rapidly

Last week, I discussed how there are some lesser-priced forwards available to replace the suspended Wayne Rooney that are performing at the same rate at their higher-priced counterparts. This week, you can add the likes of Saido Berahino and Papiss Demba Cisse to the list, with the latter bagging two braces in his last three games. While that pace won't continue, it appears Newcastle are going to score goals, and it's most likely going to be the Senegalese striker who scores them.

V. As If It Couldn't Get Worse For Arsenal

Calum Chambers is now suspended for yellow card accumulation. Losing to Chelsea again. Seeing Cesc Fabregas spray the ball about the pitch the way they had hoped Mesut Ozil would (and hasn't). Those all hurt. However, the stat that hurts the most: Fabregas' assist total = 7. Arsenal team assist total = 7. That's pain.

VI. Return of the Villains

We have spoken about Aston Villa's brutal stretch of fixtures on the podcast, but with the collapse of Everton defensively, I say you can feel comfortable picking the offensive options back up. Christian Benteke is inching ever closer to a full return from his Achilles injury and the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann have looked dangerous, at times, against even the best of opponents. Now is the time to buy the options at their lowest. I'd stay away from Brad Guzan until Thanksgiving when he comes across the likes of Burnley, Crystal Palace, and Leicester.